Sunday, January 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time: "7:15 AM" and "Food of the Poisonous Tree"

I feel like I start every blog with an apology these days, but this week has been a particular whirlwind, and I've sort of taken the week off. Hence nothing on Once Upon a Time, Alcatraz, or Fringe (the Angel posts were something I did altogether at the beginning of January and just post-dated them to go live one at a time). I've been out of town for part of this week, and then returned home and my husband went away (we actually just missed each other at the airport) so it's been a very busy week for me.

But this afternoon I sat down and caught up on Once Upon a Time with my daughter (she hadn't seen the Hansel and Gretel one, so I showed her, and at the beginning I said, "I can't figure out why the shopkeeper who busts Henry is sneezing like that's significant, yet they never say why..." and no sooner were the words out of my mouth than I realized, "It's Sneezy!" How did I not catch that the first time around?)

We both loved "7:15 AM." It's the first time we watched one together where I hadn't seen it in advance (I like to vet them first) and so both of us were chanting, "Kiss him... kiss him..." every time Mary saw David, and when they finally DID kiss, we were cheering like hopeless romantics on the couch. You know, I've said this before, but for as much as we all loved the mysteries and science of Lost, every time there was a tragically romantic scene on that show (think Penny and Desmond) I was head over heels in love with the show. It just hits you in a different spot. We can follow all the twists and turns of Season 6, but nothing touched me like Ab Aeterno, where we saw Richard Alpert's backstory. The Constant was a mindbending work of genius, but my favourite part was the phone call at the end.

So watching this episode was so much fun, so joyful, and so rewarding because of how much heart it had, I truly loved it. We were both excited to see Red in the other world (that's the first time we've seen her over there) and can I just say that without the Amy Winehouse hair and makeup, she's quite beautiful. And Stealthy the dwarf! As soon as Grumpy said, "Stealthy!" I thought, "Uh oh... that's not one we know..." To think, Snow White was almost living with eight of them. Seven always did seem like a strange number.

But then there's that stranger in town. That mysterious, writerly stranger. As soon as he opened his wooden box to reveal an old manual typewriter, I was smitten. A man who carries a typewriter everywhere with him? Swoon...

Which brings us to this week's episode, and WHY is that guy here? How could someone outside have found out about Storybrooke? He's somehow obtained Henry's book, and he's not of the world of Storybrooke, yet seems to know something about the other world. Emma escaped that world as a baby; is it possible someone else escaped it, too? Is there another portal in another story where he perhaps made it out of the fairytale land before the curse was enacted, but he was given some memory of it? Something has brought this man here, and he seems to have glommed onto Henry right away.

In the other world, we watch a replay of Aladdin, one of my kids' favourite films. This genie runs through all the same rules as Robin Williams' genie does, though much quicker and with less pizzazz and rhyming. (I would have loved to see him break out into, "You ain't never had a friend like me!") And just as [spoiler alert for the one person who hasn't seen it] Aladdin grants his final wish to the genie by freeing him, this king does the same thing.

This, of course, is a much darker story. This genie doesn't grab a travel bag, honk the king's nose and head off to great adventures, but sticks around and becomes part of a much larger master plan. He tells the king when he first meets him that he's granted 1001 wishes, and watched 1001 of them go wrong, and that happens again here. First, the king frees him, and in doing so secures his own death. Second, he wishes that the third wish could be transferred to the genie, and thus allows the genie to make the horrible mistake with the third wish, trapping himself in something much worse than a gold lamp. It was a fantastic story, melding together two parts, and I didn't see any of that coming.

As Sidney and Emma work together in Storybrooke to "find who [the mayor] really is], looking for the crack in the mirror, as they put it, once again we're being tricked into thinking this is Sidney finding revenge in this world (albeit subconsciously) for what happened to him in the fairytale world, but instead he's as much in the thrall of the queen here as he is there (notice above the Mayor's door it says MAGISTER, which sounds a lot like MAJESTY, a nice touch). I love that the breakfast finer doubles as a pub -- there are no nighttime bars in Storybrooke (is there a curfew there or something?) It seems that while the Mayor sleeps, NOTHING happens.

But back over in the fairytale world, I was very intrigued by the pain the Queen was in (even if some of it was put on). It was a hint of why stepmothers are always evil in the books -- maybe they didn't want to be, but they could never live up to the perfection of the first wife. They lived under the constant judgment of their husband, who married them out of convenience so they could be around in bed and to help raise a child, and when their husband died, they finally were free, and had very little sympathy for this rugrat who was the apple of their husband's eye, and who clearly paid them no attention (did Snow actually have any relationship with her stepmother? She doesn't seem to think anything her father says is out of line as he's addressing her at his birthday party). We're to believe the king is benevolent, but he says thoughtless things in front of a crowd, doesn't notice his wife's presence, and READS HER DIARY. (??) Which, of course, we know she meant for him to read, but still... I loved the little details of this episode, like the genie *almost* eating the apple but not (is the tree poisonous?) or the skeleton key of the queen's literally being a skeleton key, complete with skull (does the mayor's key ring open every little lock in the kingdom?)

I think this show is getting better and better every week.

19 comments:

Rebecca T. said...

this is honestly my new addiction. And a show my parents love as much as I do to boot!

My guess about the mysterious writer? GRIMM Or Grimauld or something like that. I mean, who else would know so much and be able to come in from the outside? I could be way off (and I almost hope I am because that seems TOO obvious) but that's my guess.

Also, Emilie de Ravin next week? As Beauty? And more Rumplestiltskin? SO excited!

Teebore said...

I've finally managed to catch up on this show, so I was glad to see you did too!

That mysterious, writerly stranger.

As I mentioned in my post about this episode, I wholeheartedly endorse their depiction of writers as mysteriously sexy. :)

This genie doesn't grab a travel bag, honk the king's nose and head off to great adventures

Because, of course, this genie isn't played by the insufferable Robin Williams.

It was a fantastic story, melding together two parts

I really liked the way all the pieces fit together. I saw the Queen's betrayal coming as soon as the Agrabah vipers appeared (nice nod to Aladdin), but I figured she'd trap him in the mirror, having totally forgot about that last wish.

Lost tended to go back and forth between the flashbacks and the island stuff as far as which was more interesting, depending on what was happening in a given episode, but this show's fairy tale re-imaginings are consistently more entertaining than whatever is happening in Storybrooke, with a few exceptions (like the Huntsman episode).

did Snow actually have any relationship with her stepmother? She doesn't seem to think anything her father says is out of line as he's addressing her at his birthday party

I get the impressions that Snow is mainly ignorant/naive. She can't fathom that her step-mother could be unhappy, she thinks nothing of her father's words because they're just so gosh darned nice! I get the impression that, at least until the Queen kicks her out, she's the type of person who would be flabbergasted to find out there are people in the kingdom who suffer, not because she's willfully overlooking them, but because the thought that everything just isn't as great as it is for her never enters her head.

@Rebecca T:My guess about the mysterious writer? GRIMM Or Grimauld or something like that.

Fascinating idea. I like it! That might help open the door to explanations of how the fairy tale world works (was it the inspiration for the tales we know, or something totally different? Did the curse pull everyone forward to modern times or sideways into another reality? etc.).

Dusk said...

Personally I think the stranger is the writers of Henry's book, maybe he's going to use the typewriters to repair and/or add to the story.

A few people think he's related to the Grimm brothers, I doubt it.

The 3rd opinion is that he's the 7 year-old boy that found Emma on the freeway. Maybe...not sure yet.

So Eq's actual name is Regina, I guess she really liked the name her father gave her and kept it. Most likley being Leopold's wife was probably political arrangement, maybe she even set it up herself, since she wanted to wipe out his whole family to get the kingdm for herself.

Side Note: How many kingdom's are there? We have Snow's, King George's and King Midas's, plus whatever land Rumplestiltskin is from. Then theirs at least two more castles Regina and Maleficent. So I would assume theirs a whole host of rulers that Regina could minipulate for her own gain.

Dusk said...

Also, Cinderella's kingdom.

@Teebore: I don't know that Snow's as niave as she seemed in front of her father. She knew that Regina had arranged his death, and was prepared to be killed by the Huntsman, and this would be shortly after Leopold's funeral.

Teebore said...

@Dusk: Side Note: How many kingdom's are there? We have Snow's, King George's and King Midas's, plus whatever land Rumplestiltskin is from. Then theirs at least two more castles Regina and Maleficent.

Is Regina's castle different from Snow's, or did she just refashion Snow's castle after Regina kicked her out?

At any rate, the show seems to be doing a pretty good job of widening and connecting its fairy tale world; I hope that continues so that we get a clearer picture of how this world fits together and all the different players/kingdoms/etc. that you mention.

Teebore said...

@Dusk: I don't know that Snow's as niave as she seemed in front of her father. She knew that Regina had arranged his death, and was prepared to be killed by the Huntsman, and this would be shortly after Leopold's funeral.

Ah, that's a good point. That would be a rather quick turnaround. Then again, maybe Leopold's death was enough to "shock" the naivete away. Or maybe we'll get another episode that fills in the couple days between his death and what we saw in the Huntsman episode and helps transition Snow from naive princess to rugged survivalist.

Dusk said...

@Teebore: Regina has her own castle, remember when she poofed away after Snow thre the sword at her during the wedding? She killed her Dad there.

Teebore said...

@Dusk: Yeah, I just wasn't sure if that was her castle, or Leopold's castle, "redecorated" by her after he died and Snow was kicked out.

Dusk said...

I would assume Snow and James (what is his orginal name do you think?) would have kicked her out of Leopold's land.

And Nikki, it's Fruit from not Food.

Teebore said...

@Dusk: I wouldn't be surprised if we never find out James' real name, and they leave it as one of those "lost to his old life" kinda things.

Otherwise, since he was shown to be a poor farmer with a devotion to his mother and this show likes to revise the stories/fold them into each other, maybe Jack.

Dusk said...

Intresting, having the main guy named Jack would also be another Lost reference. But since his mother has such a strong hold on him, I bet his old life will come up again.

So, of the established town residents, we haven't seen the stories of Ruby, Dr.Whale or the complete story of the dwarfs yet. What would the curse do to "Happy" I wonder? And of course theirs the Stranger. Am I forgeting anyone?

Part of me wonders where the show will go after they've established the FTW histories of the main characters.

Because of the geography of the town, and the fact that these writers will have learned from Lost's problems, I doubt they would split the cast up and slowly intergrate a new crop of people, unless they intend to bring in other villians besides Regina and Mr. Gold, and show us their civilian lives. But would a long-term arc really hold up if it centered on Ci-Villans (yes, I've created their name already lol) of the town?

Teebore said...

@Dusk: we haven't seen the stories of Ruby, Dr.Whale or the complete story of the dwarfs yet

Nor Gepetto, though we did get a little info on him in Archie's fairyback. I wonder who Pinocchio is (Dr. Whale, since Pinocchio was eaten by one?).

Part of me wonders where the show will go after they've established the FTW histories of the main characters.

We already know they can deepen those histories (kind of how Lost could do multiple flashbacks for a character), and at least learning more about fairy tale world lends some impetus to another Snow fairyback, another Evil Queen, etc.

At the same time, I'm sure they can pull people from the chorus, so to speak, to tell more stories, like they did with Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, and then, of course, they could do multiple fairybacks of those characters, or interweave them into the main characters' stories, etc.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I found the mirror episode totally predictable, but I've seen The Postman Always Rings Twice.

There is speculation online (and I see here) that the writer is the writer of The Book.

I'm still finding the series pretty 'meh'.

The Question Mark said...

Yay Genie! That was a neat little twist with the Genie the Mirror being the same person! For the record, it's nice to see Giancarlo Esposito play a character who is not a TERRIFYING drug dealer. Seriously, gus Fring creeps me right the hell out.

The design on the Agrabah viper was pretty sweet! I hope we get to see Agrabah someday!

Are there any Jurassic Park fans here? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the guy who played Snow White's father was Eddie Carr from The Lost World.

Nikki Stafford said...

QM: Yes, he was definitely Eddie in the Lost World. I remember him better as the fabulous Toby Ziegler in The West Wing. He was amazing on that.

Now he's on the new Showtime show, House of Lies, but in a small role.

Teebore said...

@QM, Nikki: He's also Christina Appelgate's dad on Up all Night, and guest starred on one of my favorite episodes of the little-watched and under-rated Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles.

kluu said...

I was wondering how the town bought that the Mayor misappropriated $50,000 to buy land to build a playhouse on in a safe place and dint think something was wrong with this.

So, the mayor can take money for anything she likes without going though the counsel, buy land in her own name secretly and then just build something that couldn't cost more than a few thousand dollars and say it was for the kids and get away with it. Also who would think that a place in the woods a couple miles out of town is a safe place for kids to play?

Dusk said...

@Kulu: I think that applies to the fact that the curse grants her control/suspension of disbelief, such as Storybrooke being a small town, but David gets listed as "John Doe."

Colleen/redeem147 said...

So, the mayor can take money for anything she likes without going though the counsel

Like a subway? ;)