Once Upon a Time: A Midseason Review

TVilicious-Once-Upon-a-TimeSo one week ago, Once Upon a Time also had its midseason finale. If I had to choose between which show I liked better, The Walking Dead or Once Upon a Time, I would go with The Walking Dead. It’s just more focused, I guess you could say, whereas Once Upon a Time has a habit of introducing new characters every other episode, and while I’ve yet to feel as though the show doesn’t know what to do with them all, I could very easily see that happening. And my only real problem with the numerous characters is that I don’t get to spend as much time with other characters. This is kind of a mixed feeling, because for the most part, I haven’t really come across a character that I don’t like.

I guess that mostly I’m surprised at how well the show has managed to tie together all the plot threads and characters, so that no one character is really dangling along the side. But with the introduction of newer characters, such as Aurora and Mulan, some of the other characters, like Sidney, haven’t made any appearances this season, at all. Sidney is a big one, especially because Regina’s been trying to redeem herself.

But with so much going on, I’m left wondering what Pinocchio’s doing, or Geppetto, or the Blue Fairy. The last I saw of the Mad Hatter, he had reunited with his daughter. How’s that working out for them? Well, I assume everything’s been okay, because we haven’t seen them. Hell, the last I saw of Geppetto, he was walking into Pinocchio’s empty room and still hadn’t found him. How’s that reunion working out for them? I have no clue if it’s even happened yet, or if it’s even going to happen.

It’s not that I wish the show didn’t have so many characters. I actually wish that the show had more time with all of them. But in terms of characters, while Once Upon a Time has done very well with developing female roles and having strong feminist themes, it kind of suffers from the opposite problems of most other shows. Yeah, it doesn’t objectify men, but it did introduce characters, such as Billy—whom I liked, because a mouse turned human would be interesting to watch—just to kill them. And Billy makes Ruby’s second dead potential love interest.

And then there’s Lancelot. Oh, Lancelot, how pointless thou wert. This is another character that just got introduced to be killed, and I didn’t really understand him or his goals, or why the Arthurian Legends were suddenly a part of the show, or why God was included in the episode with the Holy Grail. I don’t care what anyone says, by having that cup there, the show introduced religion, and while I’m not against that, it seemed out of place.

Like, we’ve got Lancelot, our Dead Bro Walking, so we’ve got to have some other Arthurian thing with him, right? How about the Holy Grail? Yeah, that works.

I actually expected that episode to introduce another kind of past arc. Like, how Snow and Charming spent all the time in Fairytale last season trying to find each other, I thought that all their flashbacks this season would be struggling to rid Snow of the curse. But thankfully, our Dead Bro Walking and Charming’s dying mother became our Deus Ex Machina before that episode ended. I honestly still don’t get the point of Snow being cursed the way she was.

Maybe the biggest problem with the show is that it would be hard for new viewers to get into it without watching earlier episodes. I understand that as a story, there would always be confusing elements for newer viewers, but Once Upon a Time would be really confusing.

Furthermore, it seems like the writers have written it in a way that will allow them to add any fictional character they feel like adding whenever it’s convenient. With the hat, they can practically go anywhere they want, and I’m not sure how Regina’s curse affects everyone. So everyone in Fairytale, except for those in the area Cora protected, got taken to Storybrooke. But people in Wonderland, or Neverland, didn’t make the crossover, because they weren’t in Fairytale at the time of the curse. So how the hell did Dr. Whale end up in Storybrooke? Did he pop back over just in time to be cursed?

And for that matter, how did the Mad Hatter end up in Storybrooke? The last place we saw him in the flashbacks was in Wonderland.

Did the curse affect those areas too? Because I was under the impression that it didn’t. The curse cannot affect every alternate world, because then, oh, I don’t know, Voldemort would be trying to massacre everyone.

And there’s just so many characters right now, that I’m honestly not sure which ones I should be talking about. It was neat watching Emma outside of her element, and I really like the relationship between Mulan and Aurora. Putting a traditionally weak princess next to a stronger female character was something I liked. I just don’t care about Philip at all, nor do I like that Mulan has a crush on him. And Rumpelstiltskin and Belle are incredible as ever, but there are just so many other characters.

And though I do like all the characters, some have started to disappoint me. Notably Henry. I do agree that he is a phenomenal character, and that he is believable, and thankfully the person playing him can act, but his treatment of Regina always bothered me. In the first season, we never really see him have too many conversations with Regina that could be considered, well, emotional. There are scenes of her buying him things, or bailing him out of trouble, but we never see how attached he is to the person who raised him.

Then, now in season two, we do see some of that, and though I can understand Henry wanting to get to know Emma, he is a little dismissive of Regina, who’s trying to make everything up to him. Something like that goes both ways. Would it really have been too hard for Henry to just, I don’t know, invite Regina to go to dinner with all of them at the end of the last episode?

Cora’s going to have a lot of fodder to work with the moment she reveals herself in Storybrooke. Just saying.

I could go on and on about this show, because there’s just so much to talk about, good and bad. I really like it, but sometimes I worry that the writers are writing it into a corner. What do you guys think about it?