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Season 2 of ‘Once Upon A Time’ Does Not Fall Short of Satisfying: A Review

BY YARLEEN HERNANDEZ, CLASS OF 2014 —

Courtesy of ABC

This show isn’t your average, cliché Snow White re-make. ‘Once Upon A Time’ turns the damsels in distress into strong, fearless leaders and warps the classic fairytales we all grew up with into one enchanted, intertwined, reality that takes place in Maine.

The fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine to be exact. ‘Once Upon A Time’ is back with a bang and already has viewers glued to their seats. Season one’s finale left fans longing to see their favorite characters awaken from the haunting curse that had Storybrooke trapped and amnesiac for 28 years.

Just to be fair to those who have not seen season one, this is my quick re-cap.(SPOILER ALERT!)  Snow White and Prince Charming (Mary Margaret Blanchard and David Nolan in Storybrooke) are in love and have just wed, but their bliss was hastily interrupted when The Evil Queen (Regina) threatens to curse them and ruin their happiness. After the Queen’s threat, Snow and the Prince have no other choice but to speak to Rumplestilskin, (Mr. Gold) the Dark One who is more powerful than The Evil Queen. He tells Snow and the Prince that their unborn child will be the only person able to break the Queen’s inevitable curse and in order to save the child, they must send her through an enchanted wardrobe.

The Evil Queen starts unleashing the curse into fairytale land, but Snow gives birth to Emma just in time for the Prince to place her in to the wardrobe. Flash forward to the present and we see Emma as a bounty hunter who gave up her son, Henry, for adoption when she was 18. He shows up at her apartment, unexpected, on her 28th birthday, revealing he is her son and that she had to break the curse in Storybrooke. The curse caused all of the Fairytale land characters to be transported to Storybrooke where time stood still and none of the characters remembered their past identities.

Long story short, Regina and Emma carry on a power struggle throughout the entire season, with Emma winning out almost every time. Emma doubts Henry’s belief  that she is the daughter of Snow White (Mary Margaret) and Prince Charming (David) destined to save the town until Henry eats a poisoned apple turnover made by Regina (made from the original poisoned apple that caused Snow White to fall into an endless sleep) to poison Emma. Henry dies but is then revived with Emma’s true love’s kiss which, in turn, breaks the town’s curse and here begins the second season.

Season 2, which premiered on September 30th on ABC, begins with an unusual leap into the ‘real world’, that is, the world outside of Storybrooke, Maine where the rest of us inhabit. An unknown man (who is later revealed to be Emma’s old boyfriend, Henry’s father and presumably Rumplestilskin’s lost son, Baelfire) is seen receiving a Storybrooke postcard from a dove with just one single word written on it: Broken. Since the premiere of season 2, we’ve already been introduced to new fairytale characters like Hook from Peter Pan, Mulan, Prince Philip and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, the giant from Jack and the Bean Stalk, Victor Frankenstein and Lancelot from King Arthur. Seeing all of these characters together is truly what sets this show apart from any other one on TV right now.

I have to admit that Prince Philip’s demise (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty’s prince), in the first episode, was not something I saw coming. I can’t say I’m particularly pleased with it, either. There wasn’t enough background story on Philip and their (Aurora and Philip’s) reunion was too brief considering the fact that Aurora had been asleep for 28 years. Although, I must admit that I enjoyed the unexpected relationship between Mulan and Philip. Another fairytale character that was killed too quickly was Lancelot. Lancelot would never go down that easily, but then again, Lancelot never had to deal with powerful, evil witches in King Arthur.

Lana Parilla’s talent is undeniable when portraying the Evil Queen. She brings just the right amount of evil to make the audience despise her and also the perfect amount of vulnerability when it comes to her love for Henry.  One aspect of this season that I love is ‘Once Upon A Time’s version of Hook. Not only is he as menacing as we remember in ‘Peter Pan’ but he can also give Johnny Depp a run for his money with his dashing good looks and black eyeliner. Some characters that we have yet to see but have already been confirmed are Jafar, Aladdin and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I’m quite excited to see how the creators re-invent Aladdin and how they bring The Little Mermaid to life.

The most interesting part of this season so far, is how Snow and Emma are transported to Fairytale land with the Mad Hatter’s hat when a Wraith (a soul-sucking creature) is after Regina and being the kind and good-hearted characters from our fairytales, they try to save Regina by sending the Wraith through the portal. Emma inadvertently falls in when her foot gets caught in the portal and then Snow jumps in after her. In fairytale land, Emma and Snow team up with Mulan and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) to find a way back to Storybrooke. Skeptical at first (especially after the Wraith kills Prince Philip) Mulan and Aurora accompany Emma and Snow to their castle. The girls come across Captain Hook whose backstory is intertwined to Rumplestilskin, before and after becoming the Dark One. He’s initially allied with Cora, but then claims to have allegiance to anyone who will help him gain entry to Storybrooke, which doesn’t seem to be true, especially since he’s already tried to fool them once when they first met.

In a recent episode, we learn that Henry and Aurora are able to see and communicate with each other through a recurring shared nightmare of a burning red room. After waking up with a burn mark on his hand, Regina calls upon Rumplestilskin who gives Henry an enchanted necklace that can help him control the nightmare (which is a world in between life and death that is a side-effect caused by the sleeping spell that he and Aurora were both given in the first season, hence the shared dream). This will obviously be the way that Henry and David communicate with Emma and Snow.

The creators of the hit show ‘Lost’ are also the people behind ‘Once Upon a Time’, and they have brought back some familiar actors including Alan Dale, Emilie de Ravin and Jorge Garcia who all playing central characters on ‘Once Upon A Time’ (King George/Albert Spencer, Belle and the Giant from Jack and the Bean Stalk, respectively) . ‘Once Upon a Time’ also has Lost’s unexpected twists and turns that are already taking place in this new season. My prediction is that ‘Once Upon A Time’ will be as successful as ‘Lost’. The rudimentary plots of both shows are different but without a doubt, ‘Once Upon A Time’ will surpass its current competitors.

Plot twists to keep in mind for the next few episodes:

• Neal, Emma’s old boyfriend and baby daddy, is back and from flashbacks, it is revealed that he did not abandon them as it was thought in season one.

• Kind George/Albert Spencer is back and he is out to get the Prince by any means necessary, even murder.

• Hook is not going to be happy with Emma for leaving him in the Giant’s lair. He might team up with Cora again to get revenge.

• Henry and Aurora’s nightmare will be a central aspect of the next episode and will reveal their connection.

Interestingly enough, the characters appear to be heating things up on AND off the set of ‘Once Upon A Time’ with Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) dating Josh Dallas who plays her prince charming. And that’s not all. Jennifer Morrison (Emma) and Sebastian Stan (Mad Hatter) also began a relationship earlier this year. This might be evidence of the intensity these actors bring to the show. Watching these characters that we’ve grown to love during our childhoods playing regular people who are flawed and struggling to make the right choices, gives the audience a chance to feel like they know them. Like they are real. For those of you that haven’t watched season one and are still wondering if the show is even worth it at all, it is. You owe it to your inner child to see these characters come to life like they never have before.

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About yarleenhernandez

12 comments on “Season 2 of ‘Once Upon A Time’ Does Not Fall Short of Satisfying: A Review

  1. yarleenhernandez
    November 20, 2012

    Reblogged this on yarleen.hernandez and commented:
    Once Upon A Time Season 2 Review

  2. drush76
    November 23, 2012

    I have to admit that Prince Philip’s demise (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty’s prince), in the first episode, was not something I saw coming. I can’t say I’m particularly pleased with it, either.

    His death is not certain.

    Neal did abandon Emma. Perhaps not in the way many had expected. But he did allow August to talk him into allowing Emma to take the fall for his theft of the watches.

    • yarleenhernandez
      November 25, 2012

      His death might not have been shown but the Wraith sucked his soul. Unless there’s some way that Snow and Emma free the souls, I don’t think he’ll be coming back. Unfortunately.

      Yes, Neal left Emma because of what August told him about her destiny. That was very self-less of him to let her go so she could do what she’s meant to. He never stopped thinking about her and that’s shown in the first episode of this season when he receives the postcard. I think he let her take the fault for the watches so she could really let him go. So she could believe that he betrayed her and so he would never go after him.

      • yarleenhernandez
        November 25, 2012

        Hmmm I might be wrong with the whole Prince Philip thing, if Cora was actually telling Aurora the truth. I really hope she was! I want to see more of Prince Philip!

  3. brotherkarl
    November 24, 2012

    Hi Yerleen

    OUAT has become my favorite show !! Love it !! But its reminding me of “Lost” and “Hero’s” when it just kept on adding and taking away favorite characters, adding on whole new cities with yet more characters and villians (which I think was was both of those shows downfalls) I lost interest in them both way before they got to their end.
    Too many stories to keep up with. The same thing is happening on “OUAT”. There is enough characters on it now with backgrounds that can 3 or 4 seasons. I really hope they slow it down and develop the story’s a little more .

    Like Cinderella for instance. A great story to develop there. Evil Step sisters, Evil step mothers, who they were married to. We’ve got a fairy god mother who Rumple sapped and we don’t know what happened to her. He asked for Cinderella’s chiild in exchange for going to the ball. The child was born. Here and her prince are now in Storyroke with their child. Rumple doesn’t have it. He was on mission to get the fairy god mothers wand. Why was it SO important to him to get it when he already had magic and then the story was dropped.

    And now this week they are bringing in zombies ???? Incidently, Yerleen what do you think about them bringing in Zoombies. They have brought in werewolves.

    I;d like to know your take on all of that.

    • yarleenhernandez
      November 25, 2012

      Hello! Thanks for the comment!

      I do agree that they add many characters to the mix but I love it! My favorite part of the show is that they bring together all these characters from the fairytales and intertwine their destinies. I also agree with you when you say that they don’t develop on the background of a character, especially one as important as Cinderella. It just seems like they ended her story and now she has her happily ever after in Storybrooke too. But we haven’t even seen her after the curse broke. Wasn’t she upset like everyone else? That’s one aspect of the show that I think the writers missed. With the zombies, I think it’s a bit weird. I am a huge zombie fan (The Walking Dead is my 2nd favorite show after OUAT!). The episode that was just aired showed Cora reviving the dead men while controlling their hearts. I didn’t think this could be done, I knew that stealing hearts could control people but not turn them into zombies. Maybe it’s because they were already dead. I just hope they develop that subplot well.

      Tonight’s episode was really good though!!! It had me glued to my seat! What’d you think!?

      • brotherkarl
        November 26, 2012

        Hey Yarleen

        Loved Last night !!

        I guess the challenge that I have I think may be …is not so much the “many characters” the show has as it is having so many characters with big stories that are started and then either just dropped or not picked for a long time.

        Like last night for instance. Two interesting things happened and I;m not sure how many people caught it. Cinderellas story was once again a huge part of last nights story even though her and her husband haven’t been in the picture for a while. It had to do with the deal she made with Rumple back there regarding their child and the quill they used to sign the deal which Snow White and Emma now are going back to his jail cell to find. It was a major event and I remember very little about about a quill that is now SO significant. It seems like it was forever a go and it was just dropped yet it was Cinderella back then whi gave Rumple the quill that actually helped capture him so that he could be imprisoned. Rumple told her however he would get her child from her if it was the last thing he did. Now that whole story is back and its major yet it was glossed over last night. I love the show but for me its just hard to keep up with all these little details which all of a sudden become main parts of the story. I love the show though. I just hope that they don’t go the route that Hero’s and Lost did. Both really popular shows but the season before they went off they had a ton of characters and stories added and then the next season their ratings dropped and they were off (Heros was suppsed to have a grand finale but they had a few weeks off and then never came back)

        Heres something I want to ask you guys (and Drush I hope you jump in on this too). So …we knew Cora could take hearts out and we knew Regina could do it because they both have magic …but Hook? He doesn’t have magic. How was he able to take Sleeping Beauty’s heart out and present it to Cora? He doesn’t have magic. And WHEN did he take it out? He released her. I duno. And here’s my other question … Emma always knows when someone is lying … thats her thing. How is it that she didn’t know Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) was lying?

        One thing for sure … as much as I hate that next week is already a finale … it looks like it is going to be really good. I don’t know how I can survive a whole month of OUAT withdrawals. OMG !!

  4. yarleenhernandez
    November 27, 2012

    Yeah I missed that part about the quill. I’m not worried that OUAT will go in the same direction as Heroes or Lost since I feel that the fundamental plot of the show is still so appealing.
    Lost had an excellent run and Heroes did too but not as good as Lost’s. In regards to Heroes, I agree that there was just too much going on for the fans to keep up. With Lost, I feel that the ending was just long overdue.
    I will agree that I don’t like to see important fairytale characters introduced and have their story developed and then have them disappear.
    Hook! That’s an excellent point! My prediction is that if he did take out her heart somehow, he did it while she was unconscious. That still doesn’t explain how he was able to do it without magic.
    Cora was controlling Aurora’s words so it is strange that Emma didn’t suspect her. Perhaps it was something the writers missed? Or maybe Emma doesn’t want to say anything yet.
    And I totally agree with you!! I have no idea how I’m going to survive either. Both OUAT and The Walking Dead have their finales next Sunday.
    I’m seriously excited for the season 3 premiere of Spartacus, though! Idk if you watch it but it’s an amazing show and it’s the last season!

    • yarleenhernandez
      November 27, 2012

      I can’t wait to see what happens with David! Poor guy is trapepd in the burning room.

  5. yarleenhernandez
    December 9, 2012

    What’d you guys think of the season finale?? I thought it was exceptional!!!

    Everything got solved before the end and I can’t wait to see Hook and Cora coming to Storybrooke!

    • brotherKarl
      December 9, 2012

      It was awesome !!! Never seen a finale like that in my life and today I looked at 6 recorded reruns. Love this show !!!

      • yarleenhernandez
        December 15, 2012

        Yesss! Can’t wait for its return in January.

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