Monday, October 31, 2011

TV: Once Upon a Time (episode 2)

Last Sunday night was the series premiere of ABC's Once Upon a Time, a new show that mixes fairy tales and modern times. The ratings were good - 12.8 million viewers. Still the network didn't want to take any chances and reran the pilot again this week before episode 2. Smart move. A good way to catch any one up who was intrigued by the water cooler talk Monday morning.

This week's episode was entitled "The Thing You Love the Most", and it is quite fitting. Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

A good bit of this week's episode takes place in present time Storybrooke, but we do get some past details as well.

The Evil Queen needed to get back the dark curse from Maleficent, the wicked queen from Sleeping Beauty (using the Disney name for her no less). I like how they established that Evil Queen had gotten the sleeping spell from the later, a nice touch to tie the two stories together. We see some of the special effects budget went for a pretty cool witch fight, but we know who wins out in the end. Maleficent warns that the price to enact the curse might indeed be too high. Still, the Evil Queen attempts it as we get a glimpse of other fairy tale evil too. But that first attempt falls through, so she goes back to her source for the curse to begin with - Rumpelstiltskin. He points her to where she failed and makes sure he will end up in a position of power in the new reality (thus his owning the town, plus he has a bit more power as well). The Queen realizes that to get what she desires she has to sacrifice the thing she loves the most. This sets up a nice tragic aspect to the character.

In the present day, Storybrooke seems to be a much sunnier place thanks to Emma Swan's arrival. The whole town notices that the old clock tower now works, much to Mayor Regina's dismay. She uses her influences to set Emma up in order to get her arrested again. This starts a back and forth between the two that gets more and more personal. But the Mayor has her finger in the entire town and no one is willing to cross her (not Archie Hopper the pschiatrist and not Granny the inn keeper), except perhaps the Sheriff. Circumstances cause Emma to bond more with Mary Blanchard whom young Henry has told Emma is in fact her mother. When it looks like Emma is ready to fold, she realizes she has to try to discover the truth and help Henry. They take action to insure they'll have an initial advantage. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold pays a visit to Regina and, when she demands some answers from her, we see that some enchantments still work in the modern world.

I could see nice differences between this episode and the pilot. They have done a lot with the sets for the modern times and scaled back a bit on the fairy tale past set up. I think as long as they keep a good balance between the two and use the "past" to supplement facts in the present as this episode did that the show will continue to do fine.

I am definitely in for the long haul on this one. I hope it survives or that the network has enough faith in it to give it at least a full season.


Jim McClain said...

"I think as long as they keep a good balance between the two and use the "past" to supplement facts in the present as this episode did that the show will continue to do fine."

You should really, really, really watch "Lost," then. Same producers, same type of storytelling. And this show has "Lost" Easter eggs all over it.

Unknown said...

Finally watched first two eps. I though the pilot was a bit dodgy in the fairy tale scenes. But by the end of ep 02, I was on the edge of my seat. Exciting and suspenseful and funny. I like how Regina is evil but it has a reason, whatever that reason is. Jennifer Morrison is awesome as a sexy badass. And Robert Carlyle is owning big time!

I will say I am hating ginnifer g's hair as Blanchard.