Once Upon a Time: True Love and Purple Fog

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?

3 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time: True Love and Purple Fog

  1. I actually enjoyed the episode. I will say that the big reveal that it all was true — and that Regina poisoned the apple — was rather quick and anticlimactic. And I can’t help but laugh at your statement:

    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.

    I will say, though, that I thought there was a good chance Henry was a goner. Perhaps I’m just watching too much Vampire Diaries and Game of Thrones, and I’m starting to believe that anyone can (and will) be killed. But you said yourself that his sole purpose this season was to tell Emma that it’s all been real. What else is left there to do? What’s his role from here on out? Death seemed to make sense.

    The true love kiss, well, yeah, it’s different. But then again, Emma grew up in the real world and love isn’t like it was in fairy tales. I guess that’s the point. And I’ve been watching this off and on, but has she ever told him that she loved him? Perhaps that was the point.

    My only real disappointment here was the storyline with the dragon…in the fairy tale world. Ok, well, in both (clearly, Emma can’t have that great aim when throwing a sword). I was bored by Charming’s entire storyline. There are so many stronger characters in the fairy tale world; that one just didn’t hold up.

    Finally (geez, I’m taking forever here), I’m glad to see where we’re going. For a while there, I really had no idea where we were headed when all was revealed. But the magic is interesting. Mostly because Regina, who was so distraught, got that smug smile back. That purple fog brings power back not only to Gold but to Regina, too, it seems.

    Just my reactions! But again, haven’t been watching every episode, so perhaps I’m still the bright-eyed newbie who enjoys what I see?

  2. Pingback: A Belated Open Thread: How’s Finale Season Been to You? | Raked

  3. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy the episode — I did! It just didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat the way a season finale sometimes can, ya know? I do stand by what I said about Henry, though. Although magic has serious consequences, at it’s heart, I think this show is all about happy endings — I don’t think it has the guts to kill a major kid character like that.

    Speaking of the dragon, though — we have Malificent, but have we ever met Sleeping Beauty? I still haven’t caught up with all the episodes I missed last fall, so I’m not sure.

    I was pleased to see Belle set free, though. I’ll be interested to see whether she has a tempering effect on Gold next season.

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