Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episodes 22 and 23 – TV Review
No apologies for this late review. I can barely muster any shits to give about Once Upon a Time, anymore.
My last note for this episode was merely “At least Sam Witwer is hot.”
He can crash down in me any day.
TL;DR Gold tethers all magic in Storybrooke to the Olympian crystal shard; Henry and Violet steal the shard to destroy all magic because magic is bad; Emma, Regina, and Gold scramble to stop him; Snow, David, Hook, and Zelena accidentally teleport to a new dimension and meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
So it’s been barely five minutes since Robin’s funeral, but Gold isn’t gonna sit on his hands. So he does a tethering spell to link all the magic in Storybrooke to the Olympian crystal shard he got from Hades’ ashes. Our heroes are on the case (although, Emma has concerns that Regina’s recent tragedies could send her dark again), but it’s Henry, reunited with “Oh, her? I think I remember her” Violet, who gets it first, and proposes they take it out of Storybrooke to destroy all magic forever because magic is dangerous. Despite the Storybrooke town line having always been a magic nullifier, Henry just goes out into the world with the shard still powered, and Regina and Emma team up to find him before Gold can. Henry takes it to New York to follow clues from Baelfire, who was apparently close to finding a way to destroy magic back in the day. And they find what they need: a reverse polarity Holy Grail. But then Gold gets the jump on him and takes the crystal back. Regina and Emma meet up with him, too, but he conceals his Anti Grail plans from them. Meanwhile, Zelena uses her portal powers for good and helps some of the townsfolk evacuate back to the Enchanted Forest in case Storybrooke collapses without magic. But her wand goes awry and she, David, Snow, and Hook are sucked into some new realm. Which turns out to be that of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the latter of which imprisons them. And then he takes Zelena’s wand and uses it, thanks to some blabbing from the gang, to steal Pandora’s Box. Because Belle is inside and he has beef with Gold/Rumple.
Having beef with Gold/Rumple is like having a blog. You’re not that special, honey.
I honestly don’t care about OUaT right now. Each episode gets more and more exhausting to watch. There are too many characters and too many plot points, but not enough character development or meaningful cause and effect.
Pretty much everything this episode happens because of magic and coincidence.
It’s like The Vampire Diaries, but without all the hot, young, CW people.
Why I hate this episode:
Henry and Zelena are the two major driving forces of the episode. So that’s not a good start.
The thing that most bothered me, though, was the arbitrary change in what the Storybrooke town line does. It’s always been a magic nullifier, and something so great in its power that any time someone has had to cross it it’s been a big fucking deal. But this episode, everyone crosses it offscreen. And it doesn’t nullify the Olympian crystal shard.
And when Henry made his big spiel to Violet about destroying magic and taking the shard out of town, I figured that was what he meant: take it over the town line to neutralise it. But no, he wants to road trip to New York to go through Baelfire’s old stuff because he was working on a way to destroy magic. Who is paying the rent on that place?
Tethering the entire town’s magic to one little crystal is laughably easy. What the fuck.
Was anybody just dying to see the return of Violet?
The Jekyll and Hyde stuff is pretty eye-roll-worthy. Penny Dreadful already started up on that this season. And Universal has been putting out news stories about their intent to remake the classic monster movies in a shared universe, of which Jekyll and Hyde is one. OUaT’s milquetoast interpretation is easily going to be the worst.
How does Hyde know how to use Zelena’s wand?
Regina has a big, meandering speech to Emma about how she’s always going to have the Evil Queen swishing around inside of her and that her past misdeeds will always hang over her wah wah wah. This is ground that’s been well and truly covered. Next.
Oh, and Hyde’s plan is to leave his world and make a new home in Storybrooke. Hades, much?
But it’s not all bad:
Sam Witwer is hot.
OUaT wisely leaves Baby Robin behind in Granny’s arms when the gang gets sucked into Zelena’s portal. Less baby always, please.
Regina’s road this episode is well-worn, but Regina’s redemption arc has always been the best thing about Once Upon a Time. Although the big speech wallows too much (and the next episode, as you’ll see, really pushes things past bearable), the earlier stuff with Emma worrying about how Regina will receive the news that Hook has come back makes sense.
And, admirably, Regina is really fucking pissed off. But she puts it aside to deal with the crisis at hand. Emma’s molly-coddling notwithstanding.
Henry uses his Author powers for a good reason for once. He wants to steal the shard from Gold, so he just writes in the storybook that it appears in his hand and it does. Smart. Wait, calling Henry smart? What’s happening?
I’m surprised Henry concealed the Anti Grail from his mothers. Cool. Wait, calling Henry cool?
Oh, and the Merry Men take Robin’s other child back to the Enchanted Forest. That’s one down, one to go.
TL;DR Henry destroys all magic, but then he and the gang get it back because they need to save the other gang over in Jekyll and Hyde land; Jekyll and Hyde land turns out to be a land of many characters; season 2 weirdness continues to creep in; Gold makes a deal with Hyde; Regina is physically separated from Queenie.
So we can finally have her as the major villain again. Who knows? Once Upon a Time may have life left in it yet.
So Gold may have lost Pandora’s Box, but he does have that super powerful Olympian crystal shard, which would be useful in getting it back, no? Regina and Emma do their pathetic best to stop Gold from using it recklessly, but Henry sneaks in for the steal and unleashes the Anti Grail, killing all the magic from Storybrooke. Storybrooke survives, though. But oh golly gosh, they actually need magic to save the other half of the gang. And Belle, I suppose. Luckily, Gold bought his Once Upon a Time Season 2 DVDs, and knows that there is someone left in Earthrealm who possesses magic: the Dragon. But the poor old coot can merely show our heroes vision of the gang in the other world, and it’s up to Emma and co to find magic on their own. Which they accomplish by Henry making a very, very poorly-acted speech to a bunch of New Yorkers to believe in a penny wishing fountain. Meanwhile, the gang over in the other world discover it’s the Land of Untold Stories, a refuge for people fleeing their own worlds. They also find out the truth about Jekyll and Hyde, and use a new serum Jekyll has created to make the two of them physically discrete entities. They rescue Jekyll from Hyde’s murderous grasp and are saved when Henry’s wishing fountain water vortex gives them a way out. Everyone is reunited. Except for Gold, who has snuck over to the Land of Untold Stories to get his wife back. Hyde makes a deal with Gold to trade a solution to Belle’s sleeping curse for ruling Storybrooke, which is accepted. And Snow, having witnessed Jekyll’s self-separation, proposes to use the serum on Regina to forever rid her of Queenie. It works, and Regina crushes Queenie’s heart, turning her better half to dust. But psych, that dust reforms and plucks out the Dragon’s heart, setting up what could be OUaT’s best villain yet.
Think about it. She could be OUaT’s Kai.
That last minute jolt of Queenie fabulousness can’t undo the flailing trainwreck that the rest of the episode is, unfortunately.
Magic is so nebulous and flippant now that a bunch of gullible New Yorkers wishing on pennies because a deranged tween told them to is powerful enough to match all of the magic in Storybrooke.
Can we send Henry to live with the Merry Men, too?
Why I hate this episode:
The nadir of the entire double episode is Henry’s spectacularly awful rousing speech at the fountain. That would have been trash enough coming from anyone, but Henry ain’t got the acting ability to make it even the least bit effective. Was Henry really hurting for screentime or something?
Henry’s flip-flop on the magic issue was also a real drainer on the episode. Within seconds of triumphantly completing his quest to destroy all magic, he’s deflecting responsibility for his mission because he’s now been told that they need magic to save their families. What, you mean magic can be important and used for good, too? That’s crazy!
The entire point of using the separation serum on Regina was to take all the badness out of her in the form of Queenie. But then Regina, the supposedly new and improved pure version, just crushes Queenie’s heart with a bitter vengeance. That’s not very heroic, right?
And Queenie survives this because?
If the Dragon wasn’t even strong enough to create a portal, I don’t know what good he’ll be to Queenie, who has proven herself a formidable magician without any help from old, Asian men.
Gold’s deal with Hyde is, like, so whatever. Plot points plot points plot points. Just dump Belle’s body in her dad’s shop. See how long it’ll take him to crack. I don’t think he’d be so blasè when his daughter’s limp body is within lip’s reach.
Oh, and if the Land of Untold Stories is so easy to get to (it must be, if it’s a highly-populated hub for other world dwellers), why is it so hard to leave? Hyde’s desperation implies leaving is difficult. If these oodles of random people had the means to travel there, how come none of them have the means to leave?
But it’s not all bad:
I didn’t have the energy to scope out what kind of characters were in the market scene, but I suspect there were a handful of little teasers in there.
Although Hyde is bland and boring, I do enjoy Sam Witwer, so I’m glad he’s found a stupid reason to come to Storybrooke. And hey, Regina’s down a love interest, isn’t she?
At first, I didn’t like the creep-in of the obscurer parts of season 2 that OUaT has done its best to forget about. I wrote it off as a desperate attempt to impress us with continuity recognition. But given that OUaT has (to its detriment) pedalled as hard and fast away from that stuff as possible, and with the re-emergence of Queenie, a form of Regina, as a villain, I am instead excited that the show might return to the better days of the season 2 era. I wonder if Hyde knows Frankenstein?
I’m so fucking keen for Queenie to raise hell on these basic bitches. It’s about time she got her chance to face off against Emma for real.
And we won’t have to put up with any “I know you’re in there” fights or tentative attacks because she’s a separate person from Regina. Like Kai from The Vampire Diaries, Queenie can be a total bitch and our heroes don’t have to feel sorry for her. Let them fight, baby.
Oh, and being a doppelganger, she’s also a lot like Katherine from The Vampire Diaries. Which is the highest compliment a villain could be paid.