Category Archives: once upon a time

Once Upon a Time season finale sends viewers on an emotional roller coaster

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*Contains spoilers*

Some season finales act as a bridge between two seasons (How I Met Your Mother, 5×24 Dopplegangers). Others seem like a regular episode until a final bombshell in the last five minutes (The Big Bang Theory, 2×23 The Monopolar Expedition). Then there are the ones that send viewers through an emotional tailspin from beginning to end (House, M.D. 4×16 Wilson’s Heart).

The season finale of Once Upon a Time, A Land Without Magic, falls into the latter category.

The show started with a bang. Within the first five minutes, not only did Emma finally believe in the curse, but also Regina admitted to trying to rid the world of Emma and that the curse was real. Emma’s physical raging at Regina was like Katniss’s reaction to Peeta’s love reveal in The Hunger Games. Emma didn’t care about the curse and Regina was so guilty and distraught that she didn’t seem to care either.

What made last night’s finale so incredible wasn’t just that the curse was finally broken or that Henry, for all real world purposes died, it was the dynamic created between the characters. For the first time while in the real world, Regina puts herself aside. At least, that’s how it seems now. We won’t know until next season the story behind what Rumpelstiltskin unleashed onto Storybrooke. Given Regina’s evil grin at the end, it’s something that will go in her favor.

Now that the curse is broken, there’s a question of what now? Had the writers’ drug out the curse, there was a good chance it would become tedious. Forcing Emma to believe because of Henry was the most logical method. Her connection to him is why she is there.

This also provides the theory that Mr. Gold found a way to keep tabs on Emma and chose Henry for Regina to bring her to the town.

The finale ran viewers through a variety of emotions. Joy that Emma accepted the curse. Sadness for Henry and August. Amusement at the return of Maleficent and the nods to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (will we see Aurora? I hope so). Elation when the curse broke and when Mr. Gold learned Belle was alive. And finally shock at what Rumpelstiltskin chose power over bringing back his son. If the wishing well truly does bring back what someone wants, then he could have brought back Baelfire.

However, that will have to wait for another season.

ImageFor the next season, I could see a fight to defeat Regina. This could easily mirror Charming and Snow’s attempt to overthrow the Evil Queen. There are so many questions, but that’s the point of a season finale; to offer viewers a touch of satisfaction but to leave them wanting more.

Once Upon a Time accomplished that and so much more.

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Once Upon a Time portrays a female villain the right way

ImageFemale villains suffer from stereotypes just as their heroine counterparts do. Generally speaking, female villains are often vain, power-hungry, scarred or disfigured, lost love in a tragic fashion or possess a need to dominant. Putting female villains in a box is just as counterproductive as doing it to heroines. The difference ultimately is that it’s usually the hero that draws people into the story and keeps them there. If the villain is written poorly, then the hero—and the story—suffer.

In honor of tonight’s new episode of Once Upon a Time, let’s look at Regina Mills/The Queen.

Regina, also her name in fairy tale land, runs the town of Storybrooke. In the first episode, the Queen’s curse sends all of the characters to the real world. Everything about Regina speaks evil, from her severe appearance to demeanor. She walks into rooms with a sharp, no nonsense clip. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing or what world she’s in, her stride demands attention. Regina speaks with a clear, authoritative voice. Contempt drips from her anytime she speaks with Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White).

Throughout the season, Regina continues to commit acts to perpetuate her general evilness. She tries to send Nicholas and Ava Zimmer (Hansel and Gretel) out of Storybrooke when it’s discovered that they children live alone. She kills Sheriff Graham. She’s trying to get rid of Mary Margaret by framing her for murder. She kills her father to enact a curse for the sake of revenge. She leaves the Hatter in Wonderland, orphaning his daughter, to take back her father. There’s no question of her status on the show.

Regina’s motivation is her hatred for Snow White and resentment of her happiness. Hints throughout the show indicated that Snow was the reason Regina lost the one she loved, though at times it sounded as if Snow killed the man herself. If she had, then Snow would know the reason for the Queen’s tyranny.

ImageIn the last episode, The Stable Boy, viewers finally learned the reason why. As a young woman, Regina acts kind and tender. Regina’s mother, Cora, doesn’t want her daughter riding horses like a man or wasting her time. Power is Cora’s goal and her daughter is the tool to achieve it. Cora also uses magic, something Regina protests.

Later on, while meeting her lover the stable boy Daniel, a horse runs by carrying a girl screaming for help. Regina saves her and learns that her name is Snow White. Later on, Cora informs Regina that she saved King Leopold’s child and that he wishes to see her. Leopold proposes and Cora accepts for Regina.

When Regina tells Daniel about the problem, it’s tempting to feel sorry for her. Snow catches the two, and Regina swears her to secrecy. Through manipulation by Cora, Snow spills the secret. She believes that Cora truly wants her daughter to be happy, not that Regina’s mother will remove obstacles standing in the way of power.

In the end, Cora kills Daniel in front of Regina. Regina learns from Snow that the child told her mother about her relationship with the stable boy. While it’s clear that Regina feels anger at her mother when she discovers the depths of her manipulation, she casts blame on a child.

ImageRegina chooses to be evil. The theme of personal choice runs rampant through Once Upon a Time. Instead of looking at the situation thoroughly, Regina throws her anger at the easiest target: her new stepdaughter. It’s easier to hate a virtual stranger than a family member.

As Regina clearly uses magic, it’s reasonable to guess that she gains it from her mother. Whether that occurs through Cora’s death at Regina’s hand or a deal with Rumpelstiltskin remains to be seen. As witnessed at the beginning of the series and given what Regina named her adopted son, she holds no ill feelings towards her father.

However, she did sacrifice him for the curse.

Unlike other villains, Regina shows no signs of redemption. Hatred and resentment fuel her life. The writers of Once Upon a Time use Regina to the character’s full potential, avoiding the use of common stereotypes. Regina is tough with everyone, even Henry. Her weakness is her hatred. No one in Storybrooke makes the excuses of “PMS” or “typical angry woman” behavior. When it comes to female villains, Regina takes the crown.

Watch Once Upon a Time on ABC Sundays at 8 p.m.

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"Once Upon a Time" turns fairy tales into a modern day adventure

I wanted to be Cinderella-when I wasn’t imaging I was escaping the Death Star- as child. I watched the Disney movie and read books all the time. Meeting Cinderella at Disney World was my dream as a small child.

Years later, I found myself watching the new ABC show Once Upon a Time. Once Upon a Time is about a group of fairy tale characters that are stuck in the real world. A woman named Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is the only one who can save them, not that she completely believes that everyone around her is a fairy tale character. Her son, who she gave up for adoption, brought her to Storybrook, Maine. The first three episodes featured Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), The Queen (Lana Parrilla), Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Jiminey Cricket (Rapheal Sbarge) and others.

The fourth episode, The Price of Gold, featured Cinderella. You can imagine my excitement at this newest character.

Cinderella makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin to leave her horrible life. You’ll have to check out the show to find out what he wants. Her real life self is a pregnant teenager who ran away.
What makes Once Upon a Time such a fascinating, fun show is the blend of real world and fairy tales. The show jumps between the two, revealing the past of the various characters. Last week’s episode showed how Snow White and Prince “James” Charming met. It features a rich cast of characters that don’t fall into the stereotypical fairy tale roles. Snow White, for example, is strong, smart and can take care of herself. She and Prince Charming (or James, if you prefer), have an equal partnership.

Many of us look fondly upon fairy tales. Once Upon a Time winds those stories into a delightful modern-day setting. Each episode moves the story along while explaining the backstory. It’s one of those shows that viewers are sad to see the end.

Is it Sunday night yet?

Once Upon a Time airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays on ABC.

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