Monday, March 27, 2017

Running Away From Your Problems

Review/Recap of Once Upon A Time Episode 6.14 "Page 23" - SPOILERS!

Isn't it nice when a show FINALLY voices what you've known about a character FOR FOUR SEASONS???

Welcome to Once Upon A Time - where the audience knows more than the people actually writing the damn show.

Sigh... anyway.

Last week when I saw the promo for this episode, I figured this was going to be yet another cheap installment of "Regina vs Her Own Darkness" and bemoaning how she never gets a happy ending and she's an evil villain and can't ever be redeemed... blah, blah, blah....

If you've been following this show for any length of time, you know the drill by now.

I really didn't expect the Evil Queen storyline to be taken care of, though. I thought they'd just put off the problem to be solved another day (or never, the way these people are practically married to the old hag). So, I will register my complete and utter surprise that the Writers Room actually said - YES! Regina is OFFICIALLY redeemed and is No Longer A Villain! (at least, not in the traditional way).

Thanks for putting your stamp on something that's been official in the minds of your audience for a good four YEARS, guys.

I did like the twist that Regina needed to love herself to finally achieve happiness. That's a theme that's severely lacking, not just in popular culture, but in the world at large. Seeing as my job is to cover news and politics (and I'll try not to get too political here - I reserve that for other forums), I see this nearly every day. People are upset because Politician A said this, or Politician B did that, or Political Event X didn't go the way they wanted, so now they have to throw a hissy fit and act like immature children and annoy people with their bullshit. And it's not even the big political stuff - the internet is fueled by outrage culture on every side of the political spectrum. You HAVE to be pissed off at someone else's mistakes and you never, ever, ever, EVER try to look at it from their perspective. Heaven forbid you stop and think about the times that you did something stupid and, but for the grace of God, your misstep didn't become public fodder for some clickbait tabloid covered with janky internet advertisements.

Nope. Everyone has to be upset about EVERYTHING. Too much looking outward for outside causes to their problems, while never considering that their discontent with their own lives might actually be more internal. And lest you think I'm pointing fingers, I am very well aware of these failings in myself. I hate to admit it, but there are moments where I feel like I'm the worst human being on the planet and I will never achieve my glorious happy ending (or happy continuation, as I like to think of it) because I'm just not good enough at... whatever I'm trying to be good at.

In fact - going back to a moment in this episode, the one where Evil!Regina modified Cupid's arrow to find the person she hated the most and she ended up looking in a mirror - I've wondered sometimes if that's really why I hate looking in mirrors. Not because I find them creepy or disconcerting, but because I don't want to look at myself any more than I have to.

Okay... that went somewhere I wasn't expecting it to go. But I guess that's a sign of a really good story - it makes you look at yourself and helps you learn and grow in ways that aren't immediately obvious. Maybe help you find out things that very few people think about. Sure, it's easy to measure success in terms of career or family or hobbies. But even those successes don't ring true forever (goodness knows I've been blessed with good things in my life, but I don't always feel like I am) and you have to find your self-worth from within, not from how amazing other people think you are.

That's kind of why I think the whole self-esteem movement is full of BS. That was all about telling people they're special snowflakes and to ignore all the negativity and haters and critics. Nobody ever internalized it, so when they did run into problems, they - well - they ignored the criticism and refused to learn from the experience and just complained about it. By contrast, self-worth comes from a place of accepting your flaws and weaknesses and making them work for you, instead of sitting down and whining that life isn't fair because you had a bad day or something. That's why there are people who have encountered horrible things like debilitating illness, cancer, terrible accidents, sudden deaths of loved ones - but they still remain happy and positive and grateful for the things they do have.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that your happiness is dependent on your outlook on life. That's something that I'm working on learning and balancing with all the other things that I do.

For all the things I complain about with this show, that's honestly why I come back to it. For gems like this one. Keep in mind - the only reason Regina hated Snow was because Snow told a secret when she was a child and it led to the death of someone Regina cared about. Horrible, yes. But an innocent mistake that Snow White never thought would have the consequences that it did. Not when she was so young, anyway. The villain in that situation is - and always will be - Cora. And she's been dealt with already. So, no need to continue beating that dead horse. Literally.

(I may or may not be calling Cora a "horse." I've called her worse, so shush.)

And then... there's Captain Swan...

...sigh... what am I going to DO with you two?

Okay - I can understand why Killian is conflicted about the situation he's in. I really can. He's the type of person who would feel guilty about his past bad actions. He would feel like he needs to pay for his mistakes. Eye for an eye, and all that.

But the fact that he does feel bad and that he feels like he is unworthy of Emma and the accompanying happiness that a life with her would bring him is precisely why he is worthy and deserving of such! He accepts

When Emma found out about Killian's role in her grandfather's death (a grandfather that she never knew, by the way), I actually thought her attitude about it was going to make things okay - reminding Killian that Snow and Charming would forgive him and they knew that he was a changed man and that wasn't the kind of person he was anymore. But THEN - she has to go "If you can't trust my family, then we can't be together."

Really, Emma? REALLY????

So, Killian seeks out Captain Nemo and the Nautilus (I forgot that they were still in town, honestly) and resolves to leave Storybrooke with the crew of the submarine "To go out and find himself" so he can prove he's worthy of Emma and her family. Because running away from your problems is the PERFECT way to fix your life.

WHAT ARE YOU TWO CHUCKLEHEADS DOING???? You have gone to hell and back for each other - quite literally! If you two STILL don't know that you are the best things that happen to one another, there is NOTHING that is going to convince you that you both are deserving of being happy!


The good news is that Snow (unknowingly) intervenes with her typical bubbly "I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU TWO!" personality and that reminds Killian that he's being an ass (and so is Emma, in her own way) and it's time for him to patch things up with Emma and proceed with this engagement as originally planned.

The only mistake from here on out is Killian saying goodbye to Nemo and company on board the Nautilus - but that's only because Gideon is a piece of cow excrement and he took over the Nautilus operating systems in order to send Killian away from Storybrooke and Emma (apparently, True Love is what's going to save Emma from Gideon and the Black Fairy. GEE, WHO WOULD HAVE SEEN THAT COMING??)

Which, I'm all... once the sub is far enough away, couldn't Nemo and crew just take control back and zip back to Storybrooke? I'm sure there's some loophole that's going to be abused in the next episode. Because - DAMMIT, this SUCKS!

Next time -

If I don't see Gideon's head on a pike at some point, I'm going to be royally pissed.

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