ONCE UPON A TIME: 1.22 “A Land Without Magic”
KT is glad we got some happy endings with our cliffhangers.
I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but despite not one but two dragon fights, that actually felt fairly tame. Henry, of course, was never really in any danger.
What I wasn’t sure of was how bold the writers were willing to be about changing the basic premise of the show (and we’ll have to wait until fall to get the full answer). Henry has been a bit of a broken record all season about breaking the curse, to the point where the poor kid developed suicidal tendencies in order to make something happen. The idea of getting a second season of trying to break the curse certainly seemed like a tedious proposition to me, so I’m glad that’s not what they’re doing.
The question is, what are we getting? Fairy tale characters having to deal with our world, only now they all know who they are? Fairy tale characters dealing with our world, only now they all know who they are and have magic? Or is Mr. Gold’s roiling purple fog going to change Storybrook in an even more fundamental way? Will it send them all home?
(Tangent: I get that going home is a strong draw. But after living in the modern world with, say, a modern hospital, would you really want to go back? Magic is great, but if the price of magic is so very high, you wouldn’t want to strike that bargain every time you need an antibiotic, would you?)
I got it: Maybe season two is the inverse of season one. It’s set in fairy tale land, and everyone knows who they are except Henry and Emma. Er, yeah.
Anyway, all we can do is guess until fall. So let’s talk about the episode for a minute:
- Regina’s confirmation to Emma that yes, it’s all true—a hurried moment in the hospital supply room—was surprisingly anticlimactic. At least that avoids some of the usual cliches.
- I can’t decide how to feel about Emma waking Henry with “true love’s kiss.” On the one hand, I’m not about to suggest that a mother’s love isn’t a strong, incredible bond (and how appropriate for this to air on Mother’s Day, no?). On the other hand, I don’t remember the show ever talking about “true love” as anything other than romantic love, which makes this feel vaguely incestuous and icky. On the other other hand, Emma’s attachment to Henry has been a key aspect of her character development all season, so then this becomes the culmination of that arc.
- Mr. Gold continues to be the show’s true puppet master, generally two steps ahead of even Regina.
- On the other hand, probably the whole audience was yelling at Emma that no one ever in the history of pop culture has ever said “Here, throw it up to me and then I’ll help you up,” and not been double-crossing the poor schmuck in the hole.
- This is a show that loves its villains. Gold is one of the most interesting people around, and there continues to be altogether too much focus on Regina’s personal losses to simply hate her. I almost wonder if, down the road, she’ll just be one more resident of Storybrook with a dark, troubled past full of unfortunate choices.
What did you think? And what do you think the purple fog will reveal?