Once Upon a Time

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Oh, man. I’m having so many complicated Disney feels today. I’m really glad I get to re-watch this episode and recap it and dwell in all the happy, lovely moments between Snow and Charming. I mean, really, just that gif. It’s like puppies and kittens and sunshine and happiness.

As if you couldn’t tell, this third episode centered on more Snow/Charming backstory, which continues the theme of this season mirroring the first. In 1×03, “Snow Falls”, we saw Snow and Charming’s first meeting, and here in “Lady of the Lake” we see them working as a couple, a team (and also being really frakking cute). Of course there was some sad as well, and a killer ending, but I’m going to focus on the happy. Mondays can always use a little extra happy.

Also, I’m going to try something out on this one, and you tell me how you like it. This episode in particular jumps around between three different space/time plot-lines, and with two in the Enchanted Land I feel like it’s confusing, so I thought maybe some color coding might help? The key is after the jump. Or maybe you all are way smart and it’s not necessary. We’ll see.

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This was Lana Parrilla’s week, y’all. I’ve never really been all that interested in Storybrooke Regina because she just seemed so static and one-note Evil, and she wasn’t given that much really to work with. They turned me around on this one. I love what they’re doing with her now, since we didn’t get much of it before, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

So, last week we had the big, awesome opener, diving right in, and this week we get Regina backstory, which was pretty much what happened in Season 1, with 1×02 being all about Regina prepping to enact The Curse. (Hopefully this means we get a 3rd episode full of Snow being The Awesomest, and Snow/Charming).

I wasn’t so much a fan of 1×02 (I fell in love with 1×03 and the Pilot more), but I think Lana Parrilla has really settled so well into the role of Regina compared to then that this outing was much, much better. Also, someone else pointed out that the writing has finally come up (some) from the camp it was before, so it’s worthy of Lana’s awesomeness.

Note: this week seems especially gif-tastic, so be forewarned.

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OUaT’s “we were on a break!”

It’s backkk. Yes, even though Once stopped being recapped here by episode 12 last season, they were nice enough to let me have a crack at it for the new season. This is kind of magical for me for a couple of reasons, and I think it’s only fair to be upfront about it, which I address after the jump.

I did do my homework and went back to read Melissa’s recaps. I understand the whole Graham-related disillusionment, but while I did love him, it wasn’t a huge straw for me. Also, I think that right after the recaps stopped the episodes got really good.

If you gave up sometime during Season 1, I encourage you to seek out the recap special episode they did called “Magic Is Coming” (can be found on Hulu here). I watched it and it does a really great job of outlining and summarizing the important people/things/events, leaving out the more minor character specific stuff (like Jiminy and Grumpy’s backstories) and, most helpfully, in a much more linear timeline than how things worked out in the season. Even if you have watched all the episodes, I think it’s handy and would recommend it, as a refresher or for clarification.

I’ll still do a run-down of the last half of the season (episodes 13-22) and then we can get into the season premiere,  which was pretty darn awesome, a tiny bit disappointing and featured my favorite Disney princess + prince and a Disney character I have a special connection to. Onward!

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Here is the last of our Year In Review posts for the 2012 regular season of tv. As usual, SB’s thoughts are in blue and mine are in purple. Read, agree, disagree, comment – you know how it goes! And get ready, because our summer 2012 coverage is kicking off soon!

SNL

OH MY GOD, KRISTEN WIIG IS GONE!  Our long national nightmare is over!  AND ALL THE PEOPLE REJOICED!

Okay.  It’s out of the way.  You knew it was coming, right?  Anyway, I thought this was a really good and funny season of SNL (the Mick Jagger finale not included).  Let’s review some highlights:

  • Jason Segel and The Muppets
  • Capitalizing on all the pedophiles in the news with Steve Buscemi (which would make an awesome title of a standalone TV show, right?)
  • JIMMY FALLON’S CHRISTMAS EPISODE, AM I RIGHT?  God, all the alums and everyone having such a good time … best ever.
  • Channing Tatum’s strippery monologue (and also, who knew he was so hilarious?)
  • Eli Manning making me laugh almost as much as Peyton did, which is a huge compliment
  • Even Lindsay Lohan was sort of interesting to watch, in a horrifying trainwreck sort of way
  • The introduction of the fake soap opera “The Californians”, which hilariously mocks how everyone in California is obsessed with driving directions and provided the INSANELY fun to imitate “What are YOU doing here?”

So overall, a very fun year.  But the big question on everyone’s mind was, where the fuck was Timberlake?  Yeah, yeah, he showed up from time to time, but I need him to host AT LEAST once a year.  Step aside, Alec Baldwin.  (And also, please no more Katy Perry ever on anything, okay TV Gods?)

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The above video has next to nothing to do with the post. I just think its fun. So I shared.

This recap has been planned to be the final Once Upon a Time recap here at OCTV for a couple weeks now. I know I’ve been frustrated with the show for a while now and it seems most of our readers have too. If you’re one of those readers who’s joined us more recently, you should know how excited I was about this show when it first started. The entire concept thrilled me and I loved the first few episodes. I was especially impressed with all the extra symbolism and easter egg bits thrown in. Then Graham died. Now, I think there were some other issues earlier but they were more easily overlooked. While I, and most of the people I know, were upset about Graham’s death, we assumed it had a purpose. It was episode seven, after all, so now Emma or some other Storybrooke resident would start growing suspicious, right? Unfortunately everyone has thus far acted like Graham’s death by heart attack at the age of 30 (or around there) is totally normal and that the mayor, who had been threatening Graham at the time, is under no suspicion. And things have simply gone downhill since then.

That brings us to tonight’s episode, focused around Beauty & the Beast. I know I said earlier that this was going to be the last recap (and it is) but I was still hoping that something would happen to kick the story into gear. Something to give me a reason to stick around.

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This is my face every time I think something interesting might happen and am instantly disappointed.

I started watching this episode, fully prepared to be frustrated as the plot moved nowhere. Then, for most of the episode, it felt like we were getting somewhere. Emma was starting to be suspicious of Regina and working on finding out her secrets. And it seemed like we were going to get some answers in Storybrooke as well. Silly me. Everything that had been achieved was basically ripped away. Oh continuity, we hardly knew ye. So here’s how things are going to change in the recaps. Since Grimm, a supposedly procedural drama, is doing quite well at weaving mythology together, we’ll let them be the ongoing show. And for the Once Upon a Time recaps, I’m going to treat it like a procedural. Each episode will clearly have nothing to do with any of the other episodes and maybe this way, we can all enjoy them a little more. So if it seems like I’m ignoring key plot points…I am.

But ya’ll know what’s great about looking at each episode on its own, as though it has no connection with the rest of the show? It’s enjoyable. I had so much more fun with the show on the second viewing now that I’ve ignored continuity & decided to be besties with contrivance.

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We got trouble. Right here in River City. What? Wrong town? But seriously ya’ll, this show is…frustrating. To put it lightly. Now in all fairness, this episode was much better than last week’s. The back story involved Snow & Charming, people we all know and love and who have this weird thing called chemistry, so it wasn’t horrible. And I love Ginny Goodwin so even though Mary Margaret was behaving like an idiot, I still enjoyed it. But if you take aside the swoony bits, (Wow, apparently swoony is a real word. Go figure.) the story we’re left with isn’t much. Cuz you know, the last time we left Snow & Charming; Charming was off to marry another girl and Snow was doing her thing in the woods. Same thing the time before that. Which would be great if it gave us a more cohesive fairy tale mythology or things moved forward in Storybrooke. Alas, while Henry says things are changing, I’m thinking change never got the memo.

So until change really makes it and by that I mean the mythology starts to matter or someone gets a clue in Storybrooke, the recaps are going to be a little different. I’m going to approach the show more like a Hart of Dixie type show. You know, the kind you watch and like but never take seriously. This way I can still gush over the characters that I love but I also don’t have to recap every single moment of the Regina/Emma pissing contest. (Can you tell I’m not looking forward to the next episode?) And before any of ya’ll are like well why watch if it keeps pissing you off (granted none of you OCTV regulars would say that but for ya’ll just visiting), here’s the thing. This should be a great show. Fairytales are rich with ideas and characters and the freedom to embellish quite a bit is even better. Plus this show has some of the best writers in the business. Sure the show keeps telling us it’s from some of the Lost guys. But you’ve also got Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, and The Vampire Diaries writers on staff. Once Upon a Time should be a much better, much more suspenseful, and more creative show than it is. So my recaps might look at things differently now and show frustration, but it is only because I know how great this show could be.

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Who wants nightmares for breakfast?

Remember that childhood saying, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? Yeah if we went by that rule this recap would be over in a few sentences. I started to get into this issue last week by noting that Snow & Charming are kind of the glue in this show and they give us a reason to be invested in both worlds. After all, Emma has no ties to the Fairytale Realms other than her parents so finding a reason to break the curse stems more from them. And while these back stories can be interesting (though they aren’t always), I need more. The Cinderella episode was one of the better side stories the show has done because Cinderella & Thomas actually featured into Snow & Charming’s life. Rather than a related thread, they were part of the story’s tapestry. Now however, it’s become a series of different fairytales just to excuse stunt casting. I may be spoiled by other shows, hell I am spoiled, but that doesn’t do it for me. I need Once to start living up to its potential and giving me a good story. It has some of the best writers in the business. Show us.

That said, the casting of Emma Caulfield as the blind witch was inspired. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she was unrecognizable but damn if she wasn’t impressive as hell. But that inspired casting brings up another problem. Not all of the supporting characters have been as strong and I’d like to see the show change things up a bit, allowing for loopholes to keep characters around. The Vampire Diaries has actually become incredibly good at this, keeping characters that were supposed to be out after a couple episodes around for half a season. Once Upon a Time would do well to consider the concept.

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Who else is totally thrilled that Once Upon a Time is back tonight? Don’t raise your hand, I know everyone’s excited. I’m still in mourning over the loss of Sheriff Graham (so hot!) but I’m willing to believe that Prince Charming can sweep me off my feet and take the pain away. Here’s where we left off:

Graham was dead. I know nothing else because I’m still terribly upset about this.

I still miss his facial hair.

This week gave us the history of Rumplestiltskin and Emma’s “race” against Sidney for Sheriff of Storybrooke. One story was really interesting. The other was really boring. I’ll let you guess which is which.

Fairytale Realm:

We start in the fairytale realm as a rather depressed looking Rumplestiltskin is spinning his wheel. An ogre war has decimated the land and so the Duke’s men are rounding up more soldiers. I don’t really understand the point of taking children when there are able-bodied men and women, but whatever.  A girl is taken and Stiltsie is worried about his own son who is 3 days away from being of age. While I was creeped out by the soldier leering at the girl, I did appreciate the continued implication of sexual abuse and rape in these stories just like real fairytales.

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Welcome to the fourth and final installment of OCTV’s mid-year wrap up, where Nicole and SB go over what they’ve been watching all year and take a step back to look at the seasons (or the seasons so far) as a whole.  If you missed part one, you can find it here, part two is here, and part three is here.  Gifs are generously rounded up by hockeybychoice, and as always, Nicole’s thoughts are in purple and SB’s are in blue.  Enjoy and be sure to comment!

The Vampire Diaries

I am still loving this show (even if I’m less enthralled with Damon than I used to be).  It continues to be excellent at managing a million things at once, even if sometimes that means that we don’t get to see certain people for weeks at a time (miss ya, Jeremy!).  I love love love Ripper Stefan and the entire Klaus and Rebekah story arc, and I’m intrigued by Katherine’s place in everything.  As per usual, the love story of poor, wounded Elena is the least interesting thing to me – the second a guy gets with her he turns into someone I don’t give a shit about.  She is excellent at making people boring by association.  That’s not a knock on The Dobrev because she is the opposite with Katherine, but Elena is room temperature vanilla pudding compared to Katherine’s…something exciting that they would make on Top Chef, like flaming spicy chocolate ganache, I don’t know.  Anyway, the show continues to be a thumbs way up for me, but I’ll let SB get into it since she’s OCTV’s TVD master and I know y’all want to hear from her.

Ooooh, TVD MASTER?  Well, I don’t know about that, but I have been spending a lot of time with TVD lately, as I recently wrote a Top Three Moments of Season Three (So Far) post for vampire-diaries.net, which is seriously the best fansite I’ve ever seen for anything (no exaggeration), which can be found here.

I am LOVING this season.  I had some serious issues with season two (namely, Rose and trying to cram too much in), but I think this season has been pretty great.  They slowed the pace down a bit, gave us a better idea of the general time frame of the show (two seasons equals a year), sent the kids back to high school (!!!), and turned the show’s sweetest remorseful bunny-killing vampire into a shockingly scary sidekick to a sociopath (holy god, the alliteration!).  The show is really functioning at its best this season, because there are several stories going on at once, but they’re all overlapping each other just enough.

And you know what else is pretty incredible?  That with an already large cast with a lot going on, that the show has managed to add in the Originals without it feeling like anyone is being cheated out of story time.  That takes a deft hand.  And oh GOD, you guys, the talent levels on this show–I can’t even handle it.  I mean for REAL–just think about the crying or almost crying scenes ALONE, JUST this season!  Stefan calling Elena.  Rebekah in front of the mirror.  Caroline when Tyler left angry.  Matt letting go of Vicki.  Bonnie holding Grams’ hand as she disappeared.  Anna and Pearl’s reunion.  Klaus’ Single Perfect Man Tear™?!?!?  Geez, you guys, and that is all in like nine episodes and without Sara Canning, who was a fucking all-star crier!

Anyway, I kind of took a detour there, but all of this to say that I’ve been really happy with this season and how it’s all been working together.  I’ve enjoyed the Damon and Elena slow burn, even as I feel the Stefan pain, and Caroline and Tyler are pretty much ripping my heart out.  The ghost episode was so fun, Simon Camden bled from his eyeballs (delightfully gross, and also wonderful inspiration for my Halloween zombie makeup), and I love the new Buffyication of Elena.  It feels weird to say that a season that’s already been so fab has promise, but I feel like it really does, like everything up to this, while it’s there have been payoffs all along, is really leading up to some like massive event of awesomeness.  Of course, said massive event is probably going to ultimately end up being me having a heart attack, but that’s just how I assume every season of TVD will end, from now until eternity.

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