Monday, February 20, 2012

Once Upon a Time: "What Happened to Frederick"

When we last left Prince Charming, he was leaving the castle on the morn of his wedding, determined to find Snow White and convince her that he’s the one for her. What he doesn’t know is that she already believes that, but the king had threatened to hurt Charming if she didn’t tell him to buzz off and convince him that she didn’t love him. And so, with Abigail on her way to marry a prince, we begin this week’s story.

I’m not sure if it was always the writers’ intention to make Katherine/Abigail a really good person, or if the fan reaction to her was so positive they had to turn Abigail around, but I’m thinking the former. Katherine was always likeable from the start, but Abigail came off as cold and distant. Now we know why: she was in love with Frederick, who died saving her father’s life and was turned into a gold statue. I was a little worried that she was actually tricking Charming somehow, asking him to complete an impossible task knowing he would die doing it, but it was good to see that she wasn’t tricking him at all.

The Guardian of the Lake was a cross between the Lady of the Lake of King Arthur legend (a woman that would rise up out of the lake, although she was a good entity in that story, if I recall correctly, and was usually just an arm holding a sword aloft), and a Siren, which is what Charming eventually surmises she is. But he defeats her by knowing that her fake love isn’t the real thing, and only a man who has experienced true love can spot the phony one.

Over in Storybrooke, the same thing is happening. Katherine is at first upset that David has been with Mary behind her back, until she looks hard at the photo of the two of them together. Like Charming, she can spot true love, and knows that hers was the fake one. She wants the real thing, and is willing to let him go. Just as Abigail wished Charming the best, she wishes David the best… but the mayor won’t have THAT, and steals the letter that she leaves behind. But when Regina burns the letter, what exactly does that do? Did it actually erase Katherine somehow? When Storybrooke Frederick reaches the car (which, expectedly, had ended up in a ditch just short of the town sign), she’s gone. What happened?

Meanwhile, we see the new stranger in town a little more. He manages to put Henry’s book back together and get it back over to him, and he has a name: August W. Booth. (The W = Wayne.) I checked the Brothers Grimm page on Wikipedia and did a quick search for August, thinking that was a secret name for one of them, and while it wasn’t, there was indeed an August connection: The Brothers Grimm had collected up the various stories for their legendary collection from local oral histories and stories, and were helped along by their friend, August von Hauxthausen, with whom Jacob Grimm had gone to law school. Fans speculated when he first showed up that perhaps he was actually one of the Grimm brothers, but perhaps he’s someone who simply helps the process along by collecting the stories and seeing that it stays in one piece, without actually being the author of the tales. I know I’m intrigued. In his scene with Emma at the wishing well he expounded on the magical properties of water, and how the water will always lead you back to what you’d lost. Interestingly, we saw him washing the pages of Henry’s book… was he dousing each page in the water of the well that appears to be drawn from the fairytale world itself?

And then there’s poor David and Mary Margaret. That particular storyline was heartbreaking (my 7-year-old daughter, new to such things, gasped audibly when Mary said, “We can’t be together” and said, “I’m gonna die, Mummy, I’m gonna die…” as she clutched her chest dramatically). I was so sad to see it happen that way, but we know they will find their way back to one another. (But honestly, GRANNY telling her she should be ashamed of herself? Harsh… and so sad…)

Another great episode. What I love most about Once Upon a Time is that it’s slowly putting the fairytale world story together, but trusts that we’re willing to be patient and wait it out (hence the Belle story being introduced and then left, as they do every week). We know where the Snow White/Charming story ends up – they get married and live happily ever after… for a year – so we know he won’t be killed by the king. Knowing that, we can simply sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds.

But as for Storybrooke, that’s not a story that’s been told in the pages of a book; it’s still unfolding. OUAT continues to be a show that gives us stories of the week, but ones that are inextricably linked to one another.


Dusk said...

The book scene totally went over my head. Is he repairing it, putting back the pages Henry tore out? Adding to it? Creating false stories to throw Henry off?

When I first saw Storybrooke Fredrick I thought he was a high school student, but he shouldn't have been at Henry's school, and I was surprised they made Abigail a cougar lol! I know now he's the gym teacher.

I know that a big angle is the curse stripped Charming (I won't call him James since his charage for King Widmore is over) of his valour etc, but they are really making him a jacka$$ in Storybrooke. I'm hoping they start turning this around, probably through Emma interaction.

Even though Granny's harsh I like her.

My gut feeling is Regina has Sydney set up Katheryn's car.

Also, Katheryn said she wrote a letter for David and MM, so is their one or two?

Efthymia said...

Regarding Granny's harshness:
We know how gossip twists a story, so we don't know what exactly reached her ears -and to be honest, MM DID have an affair with a married man behind his wife's back, which isn't exactly the nicest thing a person can do. Also, perhaps Granny really likes MM and believes her to be a very good person, therefore she is incredibly disappointed by her and treats her more harshly than she would a person she didn't care that much about.

I find myself wanting to see Red's story more and more. Enough with snow and Charming already!

Gillian Whitfield said...

I finally got a PVR, so I can watch this episode more than once, and not on a crappy stream online.

I really enjoyed this episode. Not quite as good as Skin Deep, but it's a close second.

As soon as the camera showed "Frederick" (whatever his SB name is, I don't know), I knew that he would be Abigail's lost love.

As for August W. Booth, I don't know whether to like him or be suspicious of him. My personal theory is that he's the original author of the book. They've never said how old the book is, so it's totally possible that he wrote it, and is back. Also, he's been to FTW, and he's here to convince Emma that it's real,

I like Charming a lot better than David. It's probably a result of the curse, but I agree with Kathryn. He could have told her the truth, and avoid all the mess.

Nikki Stafford said...

I'm finding lately that I can post an absolutely gushing review, and say one thing that people take to be a criticism and it's all people mention. And I realized as I was typing up the bit about Granny that it might be misconstrued, and even though I rewrote it three times it still happened.

What I MEANT was, hearing her say that made me reel back because she's, well, Granny. She's so sweet and kind, and only when you hear it from her do you realize how deep Mary Margaret has stepped in it. If Granny will judge you for your actions, anyone will. It hurt me to hear Granny say that, just as it hurt to hear Mary Margaret say they can't be together. Hurt in the sense that I realized Granny was acting out of exactly what anyone would think in that situation, and it was sad to hear it.

That's what I meant. I love Granny as much as anyone else, which is why it hurt to hear her say that.

Rachel said...

NIkki, I've been reading your blog about Lost (and participated in the re-watch) for a couple of years. I was excited to see that you are blogging about OUAT -- my new fave show!

Anyway, I couldn't help but comment this time! I'm pretty sure the well from which Emma and August drink draws water from Lake Nostros (now underground). Thoughts?

Dusk said...

I didn't mean to harp on it, I get that what you meant Nikki. I said I like her because she's right, and because of her saying she'd go with August.

On the bright side, one picnic date and two kisses isn't as bad as they could have gone with the affair storyline, and it didn't last that long either. (Keeping in mind most shows we talk about here work better on DVD than during TV breaks).

Why do I have the suspicion I will one day be buying a book for Once Upon A Time-Season 1 by Nikki Stafford?

Austin Gorton said...

This was probably the first episode where I enjoyed the Storybrooke stuff more than FTL. The fairy tale was pretty basic fairy tale stuff, but we actually got some interesting character development in Storybrooke. I also loved the twist that Charming was kind of a douchenozzle in Storybrooke.

which, expectedly, had ended up in a ditch just short of the town sign

I was a little surprised by that, just because I thought she was actually going to get to leave as a result of Emma's presence weakening the curse, but I guess just the fact that Katherine felt compelled to leave and acted on it was enough to show Regina's control slipping.

But honestly, GRANNY telling her she should be ashamed of herself? Harsh… and so sad…

Yeah, the town's reaction to Mary Margaret was a bit OTT for me. I get that in small towns people gossip and care way too much about other people's lives, but Storybrooke doesn't seem to be that small (I mean, there's gotta be at least a few thousand people there, right?). Would someone really care enough to frickin spray paint "tramp" on her car? Seems a bit much.

Also, someone should tell Granny and the busybodies of Storybrooke that it takes two to tango; I hope David's car got tagged too.

Stacy said...

I think the mayor is the one that spray painted the car. When Regina opened her desk drawer, you could see a red spray paint can roll around.

Dusk said...

Teebore: Regina wrote TRAMP. When she pulls out the letter to burn it, it was underneath a can with a labeled Spray Paint.

Austin Gorton said...

@Stacy, Dusk: Well, that explains that. I totally missed the spray paint in her desk.

That at least explains the graffiti; I still think the rest of the town was overreacting and/or unfairly singling out Mary Margaret, but I suppose maybe we just didn't see the harassment David was getting.

Dusk said...

I suppose you could put some of it on the fact Mary is a teacher, and this whole thing did play out in front of a bunch of kids as well.

Sagacious Penguin said...

I love the show, but I really wonder how they're going to sustain this for multiple seasons. We have so much forward momentum with the current storylines and they have such clear goals: Mary and David getting together, characters remembering who they were, Emma exposing Regina while bonding with Henry -- all good stuff, but it feels like any of these would grow weary if drawn out past the end of Season 1.

It seems like some MAJOR game-changer is going to have to occur at the end of the season so that the show doesn't lose momentum. Something that means the show can go on even after those three major storylines have culminated. The show needs a "hatch" if you will. Maybe it's August the writer...

Where do you see the show going after Season 1? I can't imagine we'll still be getting will they / won't they stories with David and Mary... that would become irksome... It feels like the formula of Emma uncovering a character each week is going to have to change something fierce... Anyone else feel this way?

Rad said...

I agree with Sagacious, I started feeling this way right after Rumple revealed himself to Regina "Where do we go from here". A co-worker mentioned that the writers have so many characters that they can introduce and take the story in so many different directions that getting back to Fairy Tale land might come second to just surviving the episode. I mean, imaging a group of people crashing on an island, how many seasons can you get out of them just trying to get back home? (his line, not mine)

He also used the Ben/Widmore analogy. There was a time when we thought Ben was the Big Bad Wolf of the island...until Widmore was introduced, then we got the whole Jacob/MIB thing going and down the rabbit hole we went...we don't know who the man behind the curtain would be in Regina's case but we're just getting to know her. So he calmed my fears of the show losing steam and he got some bonus points for the LOST benchmarks.

Fred said...

@Teebore: I hope David's car got tagged too. It probably didn't, as we saw the spray can of paint in the Mayor's drawer, so she was the one who tagged MM's car. Regina's attack isn't on David, as she want's Katherine and David together. Ah, I see @Dusk just wrote that, too.

@Sagacious Penguin: It seems like some MAJOR game-changer is going to have to occur at the end of the season so that the show doesn't lose momentum. Something that means the show can go on even after those three major storylines have culminated. The show needs a "hatch" if you will. Maybe it's August the writer... You're right, and I think the hatch will come with Katherine, perhaps she really stumbled out of Storybrooke and is not just dazed and wandering in the woods. Somehow, I think the game changer will be how to escape the village, which would really send Regina on a tear.

Rad said...

As for the well scene, anyone else think the book was originally August's and drinking the water brought the book back to him? Also, once Henry opened the book, after August tampered with it, we cut to the scene with David and Red in the woods, did August alter that scene? It would be a little coincidental to have that be the first page we see as soon as Henry gets his book back.

One last thing, did anyone else giggle when August told Emma "That's why its called a Leap of Faith" NICE

Rad said...

Teebore Yeah, the town's reaction to Mary Margaret was a bit OTT for me.

I don't feel like it was, only because it was so out of character for Mary Margaret to have an affair with a married man, also Katherine outed her in front of the school which could be pretty devastating for a teacher.

I think the writers were also trying to show us the gravity of David's somewhat selfish decision to lie and how it affected everyone. Mary Margaret, our once pure and fair schoolteacher has lost her innocence (Emma even mentions her plunging necklines) and has now been tainted with a metaphorical scarlet letter by the townspeople. Her life may never be the same, it will be difficult to regain her standing within the town and who knows what the school will do after the scandal on school grounds.

David may have lost out on the love of his life and Katherine has been betrayed and may now be in some alternate universe. Not a very charming move by our young prince.

kluu said...

I had a weird thought that August W. Booth might be Henry somehow grown up and traveling back in time.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I don't care for David or Charming. He's a bit of a jerk and a wet blanket. Mary Margaret could do so much better. :)

Suzanne said...

Could the town's antiquated reaction have something to do with them being fairy tale characters from much older times stuck in Storybrooke? Much of their behavior throughout the season has seemed a bit off for modern times to me. I am betting it relates to the spell.

I still like the show and especially enjoy coming here to read about it, but I am growing weary of the David and Mary Margaret story. Hopefully this is intended by the writers as some of you have indicated since they seem to act in much different ways then their fairy tale land counterparts.