TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 4
Jesus Christ, after last episode’s skull-shreddingly uninteresting crap, I would have been happy with anything this time. Like, watching the Kardashians sober anything. I’m that desperate.
Luckily, it delivered.
TL;DR There’s an actual plot happening here. While Cinderella is a dumb, blonde bitch, at least she has something at stake.
I’m not happy with everything, though (could you expect any less?).
Motherfucking Henry still peeps into every goddamn scene and even the characters are getting sick of him. Emma herself pretty much tells him to fuck off so she can do her work.
Her work, this episode, is helping Mr. Gold (present day Rumplestiltskin) track down Ashley (present day Cinderella). Whereas as last episode had a foregone conclusion and was hopelessly devoid of tension, Cindy actually gets a decent subversion of her classic tale.
This hilariously occurs when Rumple vag-punts the fairy godmother in a random fireball (overkill, much?) and steals her magic wand. Cindy, understandably upset that she was about to get her extreme makeover and it went up in flames (ah ha!), proposes Rumple use the wand instead. He does. He also gets her to sign a contract to give him something in the future.
And here’s where I found myself not really giving a fuck about Cinderella. Aside from the fact she is played by Jessy Schram (who is SO 5 years ago), she’s just a fucking idiot. She doesn’t even take a second to read the contract. Rumple very explicitly warns her (with evil snicker, lisp and green glow) that he will ruin her shit when he returns, but she doesn’t care. Which makes it hard to care when he does turn up to indeed ruin her shit.
She is so pompous when he reappears that any attachment I had for her was gone. The scheme she cooks up with her hubby (played by that hot Aussie guy from The Secret Circle) and Prince Charming is still fun, but I was hoping she’d fail. Just to give her some karma.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Emma’s job for Mr. Gold has her bringing up (again) her whole “I gave my baby away for adoption and I regret it” thing. Henry is clearly within earshot in a couple of these scenes, but it looks like Emma is listening to me and trying to ignore the little brat. It’s nice they’re trying to give her some character development, but we’ve covered this already.
Regina continues being petty. She has a scene where she menaces Emma with knowledge of her nomadic lifestyle. This is supposed to be threatening. It comes off more like “I know where you lived. Mwaha. I’m irrelevant.”
And Emma ends up accepting a real job offer to work as the Sheriff’s deputy, so at least we can expect some kind of movement in the plot from here on.
Why I hate this episode:
I’m getting that Lost-esque vibe where we get a flashback for a random character each week while the present day plot stalls entirely. At least Lost had mist monsters and crazy bald guys. Here we just have a boring town where, by explicit plot device, nothing happens. Hmm.
Seriously, Henry. Fuck off.
At the end of the episode, in a last ditch attempt to let Ashley keep her baby, Emma decides to make a deal with Mr. Gold. And she’s just as fucking stupid as Cindy. There isn’t even a contract to not read. Gold just says he’ll ask for a favour, and Emma (who should know better, given she is a fucking bounty hunter, someone whose job it is to track down people who make deals they don’t want to honour) agrees. For a complete stranger. That’s not a powerful character moment, that’s plot contrivance to save melodrama ammo for later.
Also, why would Rumplestiltkin be so keen to get a baby/babies? What’s he going to do with them? Gross.
Reasons to watch:
At least there was an actual plot here. There is a protagonist (Cinderella), a villain (Rumple), conflict (the contract), and something at stake (the baby). A great improvement from last week’s skip through the forest.
It is revealed that Regina is fucking someone. This is set up to be an intriguing mystery. It is ruined about 5 minutes later when the Sheriff is shown to be that someone. But still, for a short amount of time, there was something I actually cared to see.
But yeah, really any improvement on last week would have made me happy, and it was, so I am.