I haven’t written a review for Once Upon a Time yet, and these reviews will be inconsistent at best so hang with me here, I’m still a bit new when it comes to writing TV show reviews. That aside, I used to love OUAT with all my heart (it was my second favorite show, beating out The Walking Dead), and then season 4 came around.
Season 4 is when Elsa and Anna came around, which wasn’t awful but Frozen was already over-hyped in my book and now they were invading my show. They didn’t do much for the show that was already hanging on a thin piece of thread with me, and if I weren’t so invested in seeing Captain Hook and Rumbelle I would have stopped watching a while ago. Plus, I have this thing where if I start a show and I’m already half a season or so in, I make myself continue even if I can’t stand it anymore (which is how I made it to season 4 of Heroes, though Netflix removed it before I could finish, which I’m okay with). Anyway, this show has been going downhill ever since season 4 for me.
I never liked Emma and she seems to just keep getting even more annoying, and the actress is just getting worse at making facial expressions. Seriously, I don’t want to be mean or anything but most of the time she looks constipated. I would show examples with screenshots but that takes effort I don’t think is worth my time. Snow White and Prince Charming – AKA Mary Margaret and David Nolan – have been put to the side since they had baby Neal. I’m not overreacting when I say that they just stand around and look lost 90% of the time. I feel like the writers have all of these characters (Henry, Dwarves, Mr. Hopper, Ruby, etc.) that have so much potential with storytelling, yet they’re not utilizing them the way they should.
Only recently Mr. Hopper and Ruby have come back from a mysterious 1-2 season absence that is never quite explained. It’s really not hard to come up with a valid reason for their absence and it’s even easier to bring them back with a purpose instead of just filler content. Ruby had that episode last season titled ‘Ruby Slippers’ where she goes on a sort of adventure/quest (I’ve forgotten what it was they were after already) with Mulan and then they meet Dorothy along the way. See, I am all about good representation of the LGBT+ community in pop culture but the entire Ruby/Dorothy relationship made absolutely zero sense. They met in one episode and after one 2 minute heartfelt conversation they immediately fell in love… what? I get that this is a fairytale show but come on! At least give them two episodes with the chance to develop a story ARC and chemistry (most importantly) before having one wake the other with true love’s kiss. I mean, Emma and Hook haven’t even had that treatment yet!
Archie Hopper was absent for a good chunk of time that was never explained and then just popped up out of nowhere. I wouldn’t mind his reappearance if it was explained, but it wasn’t explained, of course, which brought disappointment to the depths of my soul. Emma’s had a twitching hand all season so far, and keeps on seeing herself get stabbed with a sword (arguably my favorite part of this season so far, the stabbing, not twitching cause that’s just awful acting). She visits Archie for a few therapy sessions (and walks in on Leroy, who gives her the level of sass I’ve been giving her), which I guess explains his sudden reappearance, to cater to Emma’s every wish and command. That’s also another problem I have with this show. Everybody goes to Emma with their problems expecting her to fix them. I get that she’s The Savior and all but come on! Don’t you have enough brain cells to know that she’s the most idiotic protagonist on modern TV? Apparently not, since they keep on flocking to her for help.
ANYWAY, rant over. Now I’m going to talk about the actual episode. I was excited for this episode because we get to see a lot of Hook. It seems like it’s been too long since Hook has been given something interesting to do that doesn’t have to do with Emma (him turning into the Dark One doesn’t count since Emma is the reason he turned).
So the episode starts off with Hook on his ship in a flashback, which is a good start for me, making me excited for the episode. From the preview I saw for this episode at the end of episode 5 a week prior I know that this episode will bring in characters from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which I haven’t read but thought was interesting nonetheless. I honestly expected Ariel to show up in this episode because how cool would that be? I miss Ariel! We need her back, but she needs a good reason to be back, not just appearing out of thin air with a flimsy excuse such as being stuck in an aquarium. Before I get off-topic again I would like to mention that I like past Hook more than present Hook because Emma has modernized him and frankly, made him soft. I miss the ruthless Hook who’d kill and double-cross people. Now he’s google-y eyed all the time and gets tossed around like a toy. That being said, I always look forward to episodes where there are flashbacks centered around Hook.
In the flashback, Hook gets captured by Captain Nemo (Finding Nemo, anyone?) and ends up on his submarine. Hook, of course, being the pirate he is doesn’t know what the bloody hell a sub is. Also, it seems like the writers are trying to make Hook a stereotypical English guy by making him say ‘bloody hell’ every 5 minutes. It gets quite annoying, writers, and reminds me of when John Constantine showed up in Arrow and kept on saying ‘mate’ every other sentence. Being a lover of Doctor Who, Sherlock, and multiple other British things, this angers me greatly. Unless it’s a character such as Ron Weasley, who’s trademark phrase is ‘Bloody Hell’ then you shouldn’t write it in every darn sentence. It’s overkill in the purest form.
Now back to Finding Nemo… wait… Captain Nemo. Sorry, I’m getting my Nemos mixed up (again). Hook is brought on this quest with Nemo and his second-in-command, who of course has a connection to him. The sea isn’t as large as you may think it is! Apparently you’ll run into long-lost relatives who are after revenge because you killed their (your) father. The octopus-thingy grabs Hook and his long-lost brother and Nemo saves him. I knew the second he said to stay close that that would happen. Even if he had stayed close to Nemo and his second-in-command (I’ll just call him Liam), the octopus-thingy still would’ve been able to reach him, I mean he ventured two or three steps behind them. I am very picky I guess, and very judgmental lately when I read/watch anything, meaning even the slightest misstep or error is blown up in my mind making me think it’s the worst thing in the world.
Now in current times in Storybrooke, there’s a cute little scene with Emma, Hook, and Henry in their new home, I’m guessing, and Hook throws away Henry’s pop tarts (rude!) once Emma leaves, and plans on making him a ‘Pirate Breakfast’. I’m sorry, Killian, I really am, but from what I’ve seen in old pirate ship museums, I would not want to eat a typical pirate’s breakfast of moldy bread and maggot stew, thank you very much. Killian asks Henry if he would like to show him how to work his ‘video machine’ – AKA PlayStation – making me laugh because he can’t because of his hook. Henry brushes him off and heads outside to take out the trash. There, the Evil Queen makes an appearance (of course) and leads him to the shed where Killian hid the shears that can take Emma’s powers away. Henry gets angry and heads to the docks, where he plans to get rid of them for sure. Killian finds him there and then they have an argument about Killian not having the right to make choices for his mom. News flash, Henry, EMMA TURNED HIM INTO THE DARK ONE WITHOUT HIS CONSENT, AGAINST HIS WILL WHILE HE WAS DYING. *Coughs* But y’know, whatever. That’s not very important anyways. And of course Nemo’s people capture them and takes them under water in their submarine.
Long story short, Henry and Killian make up and are on good terms again, and Killian knocks out his brother. He’s fine, though because him and Nemo are both in the hospital by the end, their hands interlocked (??) let’s just call it a father/son relationship cause Nemo is wayyy too old for Liam. Killian ends up telling Emma about keeping the shears and when I thought she was going to be a total jerk about everything, she forgives him and says how she would’ve done the exact same thing. Thank god, Emma’s actually being reasonable for once!
Now… to the worst part of the entire past few seasons: the Evil-Freaking-Queen kissed Rumplestiltskin. What the freaking heck writers? And while they were – I don’t even want to type it – Belle was outside the shop with the first picture of their child in her hands! I was so scared that she was going to walk in, but thankfully, being the smart girl she is, she slid it under the door and walked away. I swear, I nearly had a heart attack at that moment.
Overall, this was a good enough episode. Lana Parilla did a fantastic job as the Evil Queen in this episode (although I’m not a huge fan of the ARC and the Rumple/Evil Queen thing makes me want to vomit in my mouth), and I loved seeing a Hook flashback, as well as the Hook-Henry scenes. I’ve come to like Henry a tad bit more than Emma, which is weird because I usually cannot stand the kid. The actor seems to be getting slightly better as well, but just slightly. I think everybody just ends up being a better actor once paired up with Colin O’Donoghue (Hook).