Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 2 – TV Review
I want to trust that Once Upon a Time is self-aware enough to see how much this resembles Guardians of the Galaxy. But I’m not sure.
TL;DR A monster comes to Storybrooke to be a temporary obstacle; Regina firms as the new Saviour; Emma commits to being the Dark One; the Camelotians are in Storybrooke, too; flashbacks to Camelot six weeks ago don’t illuminate much.
Typical problem-of-the-week stuff.
So this week in Storybrooke sees Emma realising that she needs to pad out twenty-something episodes, so she immediately drops her scary act from last episode and becomes more of a slimy snake, instead. The only person she isn’t mad at is Henry, but she does take the time to attempt to seduce Hook, and taunt Regina about the Fury that has come to town to take Robin’s life. Because some magic must have been performed in Camelot to save his life, and the Fury is an inter-dimensional debt collector or something. Regina opts to sacrifice herself to save Robin, but luckily Snow, David, Grumpy, and Arthur (what?) have her back, and the Fury just dissipates. Does that make sense? Meanwhile, Belle and Hook spend their time moping about how difficult it is to love a Dark One; one of the dwarves is turned into a tree when trying to flee Storybrooke; the Camelotians appear in town, so are set up in a refugee camp; and Emma has Excalibur stuck in its stone in her basement. And over in six week flashback to Camelot, Regina tries to pass herself off as the Saviour so that Emma won’t be put in a position to have to use her magic. Merlin is trapped in a tree/is a tree, but before the gang can get down to saving his wooden butt, they must attend a ball in their honour. Percival, one of Arthur’s knights, recognises Regina as the Evil Queen and tries to kill her, but Robin ends up fatally stabbed in the process. Emma is the only one with the right magic to save him, and despite warnings from Humple about a price to be paid, she does it.
It’s a good thing Regina and co split the cheque, huh?
So far, we’re not off to as troubling a start as we were last season. Season 4 piled on the Frozen stuff way too hard, whereas as this time we’re still mostly sticking to our core characters.
And like any good stretch in Once Upon a Time, it’s basically The Regina Show at the moment. And I’m pretty sure Regina’s the only reason anyone still watches.
So kudos, ABC.
Why I hate this episode:
But, as with any poor stretch of Once Upon a Time, Emma brings things down. Her promising appearance last episode in her evil form is promptly deflated when she opts for a bland LBD and bun combo this episode. And, I suspect for ease on the hair and makeup department, from here on out. She is equally impotent as a villain, as she is happy to just appear when anyone summons her, snark at them a little bit, and then poof away. Fucking murder somebody or something. Gosh.
And Emma has a little dig at Regina about how ashamed Henry would be of everyone if he knew what happened back in Camelot. Regina then rightly questions why Emma would erase their memories if it would cause them distress to have kept them. Emma evades and gives some “if I wanted you to know, you’d know” response. Bitch, get to the bloody point, already.
The Fury is comically ineffective. It has some stupid stipulation that it can only carry its prey to the underworld at the moon’s zenith, which is why Regina has ample time to track it down.
Regina also has to agonise over whether she could justify sacrificing anyone else in Robin’s place, before coming to the selfless decision to sacrifice herself. But then, much like the “huh?” ending of Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of people joining hands is enough to disperse the Fury’s life-taking power. The Fury even explodes or something. What?
The group of people who help Regina is pretty random. Snow and David are obligatory, but Grumpy, who is both grumpy and a third or fourth tier character (and never much of a fan of Regina) slips in. And Arthur, who, in accordance with the memory wipe, has literally just met Regina, steps in, too. What?
Emma’s Dark One hair is still pretty rubbish.
When I first saw the Fury I thought that maybe it could be the long-teased Black Fairy. But no, it’s just a female Groot with tits who has a passion for debt collection.
Is Grumpy really getting screentime?
Oh, and Henry is evidently old enough to have a love interest, because he has one now. Some Camelotian girl named Violet. He impresses her with an iPod at the Camelot ball. Good God, no.
But it’s not all bad:
I hope Emma does something mean to Violet. Then her existence wouldn’t be so wasteful.
This season looks like it could be the season of Regina. Emma’s still kind of a pain in the butt, but at least she gets to have a little more fun as a villain. And Regina’s journey to true Saviour status is what we’ve known all along was meant to be. It’s like how Blair became the main character of Gossip Girl over time, and Serena became the villain. Brunette power!
Regina’s altruism when choosing to sacrifice herself for Robin is nice. When your dude’s in distress, you gotta step up, baby.
Regina also acts smartly in the Camelot flashbacks. She makes Zelena keep her mouth shut about everyone’s true identities, and then offers herself as the Saviour when Arthur asks. I imagine (this is Regina, after all) that Regina likes being the centre of attention, but she also admits to Emma that she did it to keep Emma out of any situation where she’d have to use her magic. Because when Emma uses her magic, it pushes her further to the dark side.
This is evidenced later when Emma has to use magic to save Robin. Percival enchanted his sword to nullify Regina’s magic so Regina couldn’t heal herself, which forces Emma to use the spell necessary to save Robin. Humple warns her of the price of magic, but Emma ignores him and does it, anyway. She then starts turning all scaly like Rumple. I don’t know. Some body glitter could work for her.
Present day Emma also claims that she isn’t the one who summoned the Fury to Storybrooke. Intrigue.
Percival is a pretty smooth operator. He gives Regina a pendant under the guise of it being a gift from Arthur. But it’s actually a spy cam, and he witnesses Regina and the others discussing how she used to be Queenie and that she isn’t the real Saviour. He confronts her while dancing with her at the ball: Regina, back in her Queenie days, razed his village and smiled at him while doing it. He then tries to slay her, Robin steps in, gets stabbed, and David kills Percival. Way to go, David.
Arthur apologises for Percival, and is accepting of Regina and the gang after they come clean about who they used to be. But I’m not sure how much of that is sincere, as he and Guinevere later privately discuss how Arthur just needs the gang to fulfill the prophecy to defeat the Dark One. Because he wants the dagger back to complete Excalibur.
Emma wants the same thing, as we see her fail to pull the sword from the stone back in present day Storybrooke. Humple tells her again, as the name of the episode (“The Price”) suggests, that it will come at a price.
Regina tries to avoid going to the Camelot ball because she can’t dance. Snow and David offer to teach her, but Snow first suggests she put on a dress. Regina nonchalantly magics up one of her Queenie outfits, but Snow and David advise her to pick something a bit more heroic. I lol’d.
Oh, and David is the one to teach Regina the steps. After all these years, he finally picked the right woman.