TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 9
Will I ever stop being amazed and incensed by Emma’s hypocrisy?
TL;DR Emma keeps proving she is the least likeable hero on TV. A decent enough fairy tale back story kept my rage at bay.
Just like last episode, Once Upon a Time overrelies on the fairy tale novelty to disguise the total banality of the “real” plot in present day Storybrooke.
This week focuses on Hansel and Gretel. In fairy tale land, Queenie convinces the kids that she’ll help reunite them with their father if they help retrieve some of her property from the blind witch’s gingerbread house. Back in Storybrooke, Emma helps everyone learn that the best way for kids to grow up is in a family that didn’t know about them until about 4 seconds ago, isn’t ready for them, and is being thrust into a position of responsibility they were never informed of (until about 4 seconds ago). Heartwarming stuff.
So yeah, Emma is the big problem here. Again. She is such an unashamed hypocrite that I’m wondering if the show is doing it on purpose.
The main focus of her plot line this week is to get present day Hansel and Gretel’s father to take his kids. He didn’t even know he had them until Emma shows up at his place of business and is pretty much like “you have kids and you’re a Nazi rapist if you don’t take them in immediately. I don’t care about your life.”
Now, this is par for the course for politically correct pseudo-drama like this. Emma knocks it up a notch, though.
The other half of her plot line this week has Henry asking about his father. Emma tells him a big ‘ol lie about how he was a firefighter who died saving a family. She struggles with herself because she wants to tell Henry the truth (we don’t know exactly what the truth is, but she tells Mary that the firefighter thing is a lie. ie: he’s probs still alive), but is too much of a pussy. This occurs simultaneously with the “take your kids you irresponsible fuck” thing she has going on with Hansel and Gretel’s dad. Hypocrisy is apparently an alternative energy source in Storybrooke.
However, the fairy tale story with Queenie enlisting the help of Hansel and Gretel is solid. The girl actor isn’t half bad, and they do what they have to. Queenie herself gets to wear some cool outfits and put her magic powers to use, so that’s something.
Why I hate this episode:
I fully expect I’ll have the opportunity to whinge about Emma in future episodes, so I think I’ve said enough for now.
Henry is in quite a few scenes this week. He barely gets any expository dialogue, but just seeing him in a scene makes me anxious.
Regina is again a victim of Storybrooke’s insane vendetta against her when she hasn’t done anything outwardly wrong. When Hansel and Gretel are found to have no parents/guardians, Emma wants to help track down their father. Regina does the legal thing and gets child services involved, arranging for them to be sent into foster care. Regina: “I’m complying with the law!” Storybrooke: “That bitch!”
Also, are there no decent foster homes in fiction? Surely there has to be some kind of decent foster care out there. Give these people a break.
Queenie faces some undeserved scorn herself. Having completed their mission, she offers Hansel and Gretel life in her castle with all the perks. Gretel’s response: “Fuck you whore, you’re a terrible person.” The only evil thing Queenie had explicitly done was tell them that she had sent in other children to the witch’s house and they hadn’t returned. That’s it. Gretel was just following the script.
It doesn’t help that Queenie gets all emotional because the kids didn’t want her. They’re fucking brats, bro. You can do better.
You know what, I am gonna whinge about Emma. She makes promises to Hansel and Gretel that she can’t (and almost doesn’t. She’s only saved by magic) keep, then blames anyone but herself when they fall through. She tries to convice the dad that he has kids with a piece of information from Gold (that he made up from a blank card = no proof), and a compass that Gretel could have got from anywhere/the mother could have stolen. He is skeptical, and she tears into him. Bitch, you ain’t got no proof.
Oh, and there’s some more embarrassing CGI when Queenie summons roots to entangle the kids. But that doesn’t shock anyone anymore.
Reasons to watch:
Queenie gets a decent run here. She actually doesn’t do anything openly evil. Sure she’s twisted, but she only wants to get something from the witch, who is a homicidal cannibal anyway. And she does free Hansel, Gretel and their father. Not to anywhere nice (or habitable), but she keeps her promise. And she gets to look fabulous while doing it. That’s a clean winner. Snaps for Queenie.
Regina, while technically failing because the dad took the kids in, comes off okay. She only wanted Hansel and Gretel to stop being a problem, so it works for her. And nobody shouts her down this episode, which is nice.
And she gets to remind Emma that Henry isn’t her son. I’m glad somebody is.
The blind witch is a hot ass skank. She can nibble on me anytime.
The house looks fucking delicious. Points for practical effects (for the interior, anyway).
Gold continutes to be ominous. Hopefully we’ll get some payoff soon.
I lol’d when Emma said Henry’s dad was dead.
A mysterious outsider shows up at the end. Maybe he can help keep things from becoming unbearably stale. Well, more unbearably stale.
And I still love the bizarre sexual tension between Mary and Emma. They have a scene on a bed together, and Mary’s face is definitely more than motherly.