TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 12
The first episode of Once Upon a Time that I actually had more positive notes for than negative ones.
In international news, Hell’s temperature dropped by 1 degree today.
TL;DR Is it any coincidence that the first actually good episode of Once Upon a Time happens to be the one with almost no Emma, Henry or Mary? No. No it isn’t.
That’s exactly what I think happened. Emma has almost no role whatsoever this episode. Henry is in 1 scene, and Mary keeps her David bullshit to a minimum. Nicely done.
The Storybrooke plot this episode mainly concerns Gold’s dealing with a florist who has defaulted on his debts. After Gold repossesses his delivery van, the florist burgles Gold’s house. Bad move. The fairy tale plot follows a revised version of the Beauty and the Beast tale, with Rumple filling in for Beast. We learn of some deeper shades of Rumple though his interactions with Belle.
Elsewhere, Mary, Ruby and Ashley (that’s Cinderella) have a girls night out for some reason. And Queenie acts like the mad-awesome bitch she is.
To be honest, I don’t have any major problems with this episode. I’m as disgusted as you are.
If I had to really pick on something, it’d be the romance between Belle and Rumple. It’s all a little convenient and all a little Stockholm syndrome. But that’s pretty much what the Disney version is like, so no surprises there.
What this episode does right, though, is focus on the most interesting and well acted characters. Rumple’s back story (and present story), even if they are blandly obvious, at least convey some sense of emotion and impact. Regina gets to do some plot-twisting near the end of the episode, and the interaction between Rumple and Queenie is so delicious. Very Sebastian and Kathryn from Cruel Intentions.
Why I hate this episode:
But this is Once Upon a Time, so it’s not perfect.
David and Mary get more screen time together this episode. Just get over each other, already. It’s not gonna happen.
Ashley pops back up arbitrarily. She hasn’t been seen or heard from in a while. I’m guessing Jessy Schram probably had a contracted number of episodes so they’re just sticking her in there.
It’s kinda sad to see Emilie de Ravin slumming it in crap like this. You’d think that being in Lost (from the start, before it got shit) and in a movie with R-Patz would help you end up somewhere better than here. Oh well.
And Regina has already relented on her “stay the fuck away from Henry” rule for Emma from last episode. I know she only does it for her own personal gain, but still, bitch ain’t got no commitment.
Reasons to watch:
De Ravin and Robert Carlyle actually do a pretty fantastic job as Belle and Rumple. By the end of their flashback, I felt something genuine had grown between them, despite the whole “imprisoned as a slave” thing. Rumple gets extra points for his tragic inability to accept love, which manifests in a simultaneously frightening, sad, and humorous scene where he curses at Queenie into a mirror. He is a man trapped by his own paranoia.
I’ll give the show points for allowing de Ravin to keep her Australian accent, too. I don’t think her earnest portrayal would have worked if she was forcing an American accent.
Mary (wtf?) gets best line of the episode. After a hilarious scene where David accidentally gives her the Valentine’s card intended for Kathryn (dude be two-timing): “I think you should go home to Kathryn.” Smartest thing Mary has ever said.
Queenie gets runner up for best line with a self-aware dig at the message behind Beauty and the Beast. After telling Belle that kissing the man who has imprisoned you would be ridiculous: “What kind of message is that?” Indeed.
Sean (Ashley’s baby daddy) pops back up to be hot and shit.
Regina turns out to have masterminded the whole “florist/burgling/kidnapping” debacle for the sole purpose of having Gold arrested so she could have a chat with him while he can’t get away from her. That’s dedication. She and Gold are finally open with their knowledge of their fairy tale selves. This is an important step forward.
The best scene has to be when Queenie drops in nonchalantly on Rumple to discuss a deal. They’re total enemies, but I think they could be the best reluctant duo ever. She gloats like a massive boss, too. She gleefully tells Rumple that Belle killed herself after he threw her out. She’s smug, evil, cruel and everything I want/want to be.
The twist, as revealed in Storybrooke, is that Belle is actually under Queenie/Regina’s lock and key. Mwahahahaha!
Also, the florist’s business name is Game of Thorns. Topical!