Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY YARLEEN HERNANDEZ, CLASS OF 2014 —
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.