Once Upon A Time Takes Stupid Pills When FrankenWhale Toys With the Dead
By Alex Cranz
Oh Once Upon A Time I get the need to expand the backstory of minor characters. When your cast is this big and interesting and you’re hoping to play a long game where your show goes on for many, many seasons you need all the fleshed out and fascinating characters you can get.
Only, maybe make the episode good? I don’t want to be mean, I hate saying that things were slow, lackluster and poorly paced, but things were slow, lackluster and poorly paced. We moved through poor Frankenwhale’s story at a weird pace. It was like watching a short film CliffNotes of Frankenstein when a regular film should be the CliffNotes of Frankenstein. And you tried to distract us with delicious eye liner and lightning and a nice use of black and white but it didn’t work. It didn’t work at all.
The Storybrooke world wasn’t much better off. Everyone was yelling like that made a difference and then they all debated letting ETHAN EMBRY die which is unforgivable and then they forced Frankenwhale to fix him and he ran out of the room and Snow was like, “Maybe we should have sobered him up first?”
If I were the sort of person to head desk at every stupid decision a person made on this show I would have had a concussion after this episode.
Seriously. Was the arrival of Hook and Cora to town followed by a wave of abject stupidity? Did that stupid bug Emma keeps catching become contagious? Emma was, for the most part, stupid free. She showed up after Belle was shot at the town line in no time flat which hints that she is psychically smart, but she brought her parents which was kind of stupid. But then way later she told her parents that she was the sheriff and they were just townspeople and couldn’t join her in interrogating Ethan Embry. Smart! But then she interrogated him and was like “You hit a man but you’re scare so just get a warning” which is kind of stupid too I guess? At least from a law enforcement perspective? I don’t know, she wasn’t the stupidest by a long shot so I feel I should just err on the side of “not stupid” for her this week.
Unlike her parents. They were just idiots all around. And Whale. Poor guy wasn’t stupid as much as a victim of alcoholism and weird characterization.
Red? Kind of smart? She pointed out that the curse isn’t actually that evil. It’s given them all second chances and afforded a lot of them a better life. Except, for like, Charming. He went from a super rich prince whose word was law to the guy who volunteers at the animal shelter. I get why he wants to go back and I hope that three seasons from now he becomes the villain when he quest for former glory and power twists him all up and Snow has to cry a lot and save him while Emma looks on sadly and clutches Henry.
Speaking of the little guy. WHAT WAS UP WITH HIM NOT SUCKING THIS WEEK? He didn’t run off half-cocked a mission for glory, he didn’t insult Regina, he didn’t stay up past his bed time and he was, in fact, just a pretty normal smart kid–all figuring out that all kinds of public domain characters could be lurking in Storybrooke. I’m crossing my fingers for a whole neighborhood of Greek and Chinese mythological figures. If I were the cheering sort I’d say three cheers for that kid and also super speed Red. They were little flashes of solidness in the darkness of stupidity.
What astounds me the most is that even though this episode was ostensibly about Frankenwhale Rumple’s dumb moves were so flabbergastingly stupid that it stole all of the poor resurrector’s thunder! In the Black and White monster land things started off well enough for Rumple. He showed up in his full and colorful glory with magic and a promise and set into motions Regina’s downfall in fairytale land. There was a cunning machine of a man.
But back in Storybrooke Belle took a bullet for him and his smarts went out the window revealing the very human and nasty fellow beneath. First there was revealing magic to a de-fairytaled Belle. Then there was refusing to help with the Ethan Embry problem because he didn’t care–even though he’s the most magical and thus has the most to lose if their secrets got out. And then. Oh sweet lord. Then he started harassing Belle because he figured if he was just stalkery enough she’d remember.
Look Rumps, despite what Angel and Edward Cullen have told you, stalking a chick is not romantic or sweet. It is creepy. And kissing a chick that does not know you? It’s a liiiittle rapey. Once Upon A Time has neatly skirted that aspect of waking a comatose person with a kiss in the past by establishing a relationship between the kissee and kisser. Waking up with your mom or lover hovering over you is one thing. Waking up with that really angry guy who shoots blue stuff out of his hand and acts like you’re married even though you don’t know him? Stuff of nightmares my friend.
The only good thing that came from Rumple’s visit to passionate, obstinate idiotville was Belle’s various reactions. Like her SCREAM OF FEAR WHEN SHE WOKE UP KISSING HIM.
And also her complete rejection of him when he showed up with the cup and kept telling her to stare at it. Of COURSE she was going to chunk it against the wall! The guy was all “STARE AT IT BELLE AND YOU WILL FIND YOU LOVE ME” and she was all “YOU KEEP STEALING MY AUTONOMY AND ACTING LIKE IT’S OKAY SO FUCK NO.”
Do you think this means we’re going to get a badass librarian Belle who hates Rumple and then eventually learns to love him? Or have they just conveniently sunk a ship? I kind of almost hope the latter? Primarily because Rumple really has shown little to no desire to “reform.” He’s planting lips on sleeping strangers, encouraging people to kill other strangers and threatening to murder the whole Charming family (I like how he singles out Henry with an eye gaze). If evil magic use is an allegory for addiction than Pa Rumple is off the wagon.
What? Pa Rumple? Oh yes. That sly comment was my reference to THIS particular smooch.
Cora and Rumple used to be S&M f-buddies guys. This might just be flotsam but it probably means Regina is actually Rumple’s daughter. Which means every way you look at it he’s the worst father of the show–and this is a show that features dads who abandon their children in rural Maine or leave their pregnant baby mamas in prison. One kid Rumple abandons to a magic-free world only to have regretsies. The other he creates exclusively as a tool to be used to get back to kid number one. Way to go dad.
Not that your second baby mama is much better. Cora continues to be the worst by breaking Regina’s heart and then taking a dump on it and then seducing Regina back to the darkside with a hug and a smile. Seriously, if Regina fell for all that and is actually joining up with her mother to take down the Charmings and steal Henry away she will snatch the Stupid Trophy right out of Rumple’s hands. Lets us all pray she’s just up to some trickeries and unlike her dear ol’ golden Pa doesn’t slide back into ultimate evil so easily.
- Oh Cora. Calling cars “carriages” and then acting like you were just sitting on Henry’s hand print plate the whole time. Even doormat Belle would have seen right through that one.
- If Regina doesn’t get a little happy at some point I will cry. I’m not saying her relationship with Henry needs to be healed, but maybe he can acknowledge her awesomeness briefly? Or she and Hook can bang? Or the town can slow cap in respect for her as she struts down main street? I’m not asking for much.
- So FrankenWolf is now a thing right? Because hot damn those two actors worked well together. That was the best performance I’ve seen out of Megan Ohry on the show yet! David Anders brings it out of her, but if he’s going to be a regular can he start applying the guyliner again? It really works with his face.
- Why is Grumpy allowed into all the planning meetings? Is he just there to be a slightly more violent Charming? Can’t Charming just embrace his mean streak and be done with it? It makes him more colorful and compelling anyways.
- Regina’s Fortress of Solitude/Batcave is fabuuuloooous.
- She’s totally faking it right? With her mom? This is very important to my heart.
- Ethan Embry’s ringtone maaay have made me laugh abruptly at the television. Mostly because I thought it was Emma’s ringtone.
- Speaking of Emma. Remember when everyone was being an idiot and telling the miner/janitor to HACK A PHONE and she was like “you’re all stupid and I’m a bounty hunter with software on a key fob idiots” and then hacked it in a heartbeat? That was nice. Smart cool Emma please stay with us a while longer. We’ve missed you.
- Three Weeks From Now: Where to begin! Cassidy Freeman from Smallville shows up as “Jack” and Jorge Garcia returns as the giant which means they’re doing genderbent Jack and using on of my fave underworked actresses and I cheered. Also we find out if Regina really fell for her mom’s crazy and Rumple goes on a roadtrip with Emma and they both look uncomfortable about it.