Monday, 20 August 2012

Once Upon a Time: Desperate Souls / True North / 7.15am

I seemed to have missed Desperate Souls in my review document and so had to re-jiggle all the numbers and such when I saw in my notes that the episode names didn't all match up to the former document. It's an important episode too, and so it was lucky that I saw it!

Episode 1.08: Desperate Souls

We’ve seen that Rumpelstiltskin is as pivotal a character in Once Upon a Time as Snow, James and the Evil Queen, but we don’t know much about him. It’s clear that he’s a bad guy, yet he remains the go-to man when people want something done – for a price, of course. Anyway, Desperate Souls shows us how Rumpelstiltskin got hold of his immense powers.

There was a time when Rumpelstiltskin was just an ordinary man. The realm in which he lived took children away from their parents at fourteen years old to join the army, though they were all condemned to be cannon-fodder before they even left. Rumpelstiltskin is determined that his son won’t be subject to the same fate. Anyway, there’s some confusing things about a ‘Dark Person’ or some similar name and Rumpelstiltskin has to retrieve a special dagger in order to become this person so that he will possess his powers and be obeyed by all. Don’t worry: it still confuses me. Anyway, Rumpelstiltskin manages it and his name is magically inscribed on the dagger as a result. Rumpelstiltskin’s son is less-than-happy about this new change in events and while Rumpelstiltskin has gained these huge powers, he loses his son as a result.

Back in Storybrooke, Graham’s death was ruled as by natural causes by the coroner and two weeks on, Emma is still wearing her deputy badge. Not for long, promises the Mayor. Her choice for Sheriff is the long-time editor of Storybrooke’s newspaper, Sidney Glass and she doesn’t hide her desire to get rid of Emma. Emma looks like she has no chance when she is propositioned by an unlikely ally: Rumpelstiltskin. He wants Emma as Sheriff for his own reasons and isn’t averse to doing whatever it takes to get her there. Emma may be horrified by his tactics, but the rest of the town isn’t and Emma is voted in as Sheriff.

Episode 1.09: True North

This episode introduces us to Hansel and Gretel. Their father sends them to collect kindling while he fells trees, but when they return, he is gone. Using his compass, they go to look for him, but his compass is broken when they crash – literally – into the Evil Queen and her fleet of henchmen. She agrees to help them locate their father if they recover a precious object for her from the blind witch’s house. Like in the tale, the house is made from and stuffed full of candy and the twins must resist temptation if they are to get out safely.

They manage to steal the black pouch as requested and inside is a shiny red apple, intended to take down the Evil Queen’s greatest of enemies: Snow White. She’s impressed that they have succeeded where other children have failed and offer them a life of the greatest luxuries if they live with her. Like many children, they recognise evil when they see it and reject her proposition which prompts her to send them away in a swirling black vortex. They find themselves in the middle of the forest and inspiringly pick themselves up and start walking.

Back in Storybrooke, twins Ava and Nicholas Zimmer are caught stealing. Emma is called and she escorts them home, promising not to tell the kids’ parents. The truth is that they are orphans. Their mother died leaving them alone, and they have never known their father. Emma is determined that they will not become lost in the system as she was, and goes about trying to find their father – after all, no one ever leaves Storybrooke. With their father’s compass in tow, she seeks the help of Rumpelstiltskin who provides her with the information she needs in a rather scary manner. Emma manages to find him alright, but he doesn’t know anything about kids and doesn’t want to start. With Regina having called social services, Emma is left with no choice but to take Ava and Nicholas to Boston, with Henry’s warnings about what happens when people try to leave hanging over her head …

In other news, Henry asks about his father. Emma tells Henry of how she was working at a twenty-four hour diner when her father came in looking for pumpkin pie. He was training to be a fireman and often came in at night, despite his complaints that the diner didn’t serve pumpkin. When Emma tried to contact him on learning she was pregnant, she discovered that he had died saving others in a fire.

When I heard this, it was seriously one of the sweetest things I had ever heard come out of Emma’s mouth. She’s a great heroine, but not the most warm or personable of people, having spent her childhood in foster care and relied on herself all her life. These lovely images were then dashed later on when Emma confesses to MM that it was all a lie and Henry’s father was in fact a huge asshole. Just lovely! Way to end on a high note.

Just when we thought that that wasn’t enough drama for an episode, Emma tells MM of Henry’s theory about the part she plays in his book. MM already knows that Henry thinks that she is Snow and that David is Prince Charming and they are meant to be together. What MM doesn’t know is that Henry thinks that Emma is her daughter and Emma now breaks it to her!

And one last thing: Henry and Emma are discussing something by her car when a stranger drives by on his motorbike, asking for directions to a bed and breakfast. A startled Emma asks if he is staying and on receiving his assent, shares a look with Henry before giving directions to Granny’s. It seems that either Storybrooke is open to strangers again or that this Stranger (who I refer to such in my notes for the next few episodes before we learn his name) has a greater role to play in fairytaleland that even Henry doesn’t know of. Very interesting indeed.

Episode 1.10: 7.15am

Snow is living life as a fugitive in the forest and is visited regularly by Red who provides her with a basket of provisions every so often. When Red tells Snow that James is to be married to Midas’ daughter in two days, Snow goes in search of a cure for her broken heart. Of course, Rumpelstiltskin is the man to give it to her with the haunting words, “love has killed more than any disease. This cure, is a gift.”

To forget or not to forget?
We see Snow poised to down the potion, but she hesitates when a dove lands on her hand. It carries a note from James (he will always find her!) asking her to meet him at the palace if she has feelings for him. The lovestruck Snow does so but is thrown into a cage when captured and finds herself stuck next to Grumpy. King George (James’ father) knows that if James and Snow see each other, the Kingdom will be doomed as King Midas wreaks his wrath, so forces Snow to lie and break James’ heart. She walks away and finds a place with the seven dwarves. The little bit we see of the dwarves is an interesting take on how they became seven and I would like to see more of them in Storybrooke – only Grumpy has been present in both worlds so far.

Nearer the end of the episode, we see that James has decided not to marry Abigail and has come to find Snow. He bumps into Red who tells him that she never came back from her mission to find him and he tells her that he will always find her. We see a little hut-thing in the distance and the next scene seems to imply that this is where the seven dwarves live – if so, why had we never met them before? Anyway, Grumpy? (I think?) rushes to find Snow to tell her the news that James isn’t getting married only to find Snow in bed, rather puzzled and the empty potion bottle at her side! What is James going to do when he finds her?!

Meanwhile in Storybrooke, MM has become something of a stalker, making sure that she’s in Granny’s at 7.15 every morning because that’s the time that David comes in to pick up his coffee. There’s some serious unrequited love going on! When Emma finds out about it, she tries to talk a little sense into MM and the latter takes it on board and tries to keep her distance so David and Katherine can make their marriage work.

Needless to say, it doesn’t work and with some minor drama in the middle featuring an injured dove, a freak storm and some passionate confessions in an abandoned hut in the forest, MM and David confess their feelings to each other and we end with the two kissing passionately on the pavement! In mid-morning! With Regina looking on! Trouble is definitely going to ensue …

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