Once Upon a Time continues to settle into its new format as it continues to toggle between ever more characters, worlds and time periods. Thankfully they’ve shortlisted the people in this particular episode, which means a week without Emma (Jennifer Morrison!)
Let’s bitch it out…It’s another Rumple (Robert Carlyle) centric episode, although this one doesn’t satisfy quite as much as the ones in the past did. Possibly because ‘The Crocodile’ is the most obvious episode of the show’s second season run and because it’s tied to his suddenly uninteresting love affair with Belle (Emilie De Ravin).
Unlike the other hours of Once‘s second season, there’s nothing unexpected in ‘The Crocodile.’ The origins of Captain Hook, aka Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue dolled up just like Adam Lambert ) are anticipated from the moment he appears on screen. This includes everything from Milah’s (Rachel Shelley) non-death to her actual death and the integration of the magical bean that whisks the boat away to a place of immortality: Never Land. Oh yawn. Once is always at its worst when it simply delivers the expected fairytales as opposed to inverting them. Is it supposed to be fascinating that Rumple is the one responsible for creating Hook when the pirate has already called him a “crocodile” (in what has to be one of the silliest insults the show has ever delivered, embedded in even worse green screen work).
Back in Storybrooke, the dreariness continues as Rumple searches for his absent love, who’s basically figured out what everyone else in town already knows: the guy’s a power hungry dbag. So she drinks sweet tea, contemplates a hamburger and becomes a really inappropriately dressed librarian (or appropriate if this land was called “Playboy-dia”). All of this after the show sneaks in a reference to Game of Thrones and once again threatens to use the magical memory erasing invisible townline plot theme introduced in the second episode. This might carry more weight if De Ravin didn’t appear to be sleep walking through her scenes. When you begin to wonder if she’s raided Mary Margaret’s wardrobe, or why Ruby (Meghan Ory) still goes by her Storybrooke name rather than her FairyTale name, it’s clear that the show isn’t doing a solid job of entertaining (or balancing consistencies).
In the end, the episode isn’t wholly bad – it’s just not very interesting. Aside from the introduction of Hook as Cora’s (Barbara Hershey) ally in an unnecessarily long coda, it feels mostly redundant. Even Carlyle, whose speechifying can usually ward off the inherent silliness of the character he’s saddled with, can’t quite overcome the cheeky dialogue, shotgun make-up and tired “I never loved you” ex-wife storyline.
I never thought I’d say it, but I miss Emma…
- The majority of the costumes feel off. Chief offender has to be Ruby’s Madonna/Blossom hat. Perhaps she should challenge Josh Dallas’ Charming for the role of interim Sheriff? But the apple apparently doesn’t fall far from the tree as it appears that Emma left her dad one of her patented leather jackets to wear during his tenure. I’d hate to see the town’s ultimate authority figure go without a hide of cow to establish his power
- Not only is the green screen terrible, but it appears the tech advisers simply studied footage of the old Pirates of the Carribbean boat ride at Disneyland/world. Can’t believe how formulaic and uninspired that wharf backdrop looked
- Why does the magic bean look like a pill, or a broken piece of plastic from one of the hangers at Wal-Mart? And how does Hook automatically know it will deliver the pirates to Never Land? Oh…because that’s where Hook has to go according to the Disney playbook. Riiiight
- Are we meant to believe Hook simply jams the hook into his severed stump? Cause that’s grotty. I know this is family show, but after having his hand chopped off you’d figure there would at least be a drop of blood?
- Finally, your drinking game word for the episode: “coward.” It’s a 10 drink minimum. Apparently one thing missing in both Storybrooke and FairyTale land is a thesaurus
- Ruby (offering to sniff out Belle): “I guess it’s cause of the wolf thing.” Amusing or corny? You be the judge
- Rumple (to Belle): “Magic has become a crutch that I can’t live without.” A) Change this guy’s name to Captain Obvious but this is the “No duh” understatement of the year
- Hook (as Cora holds up the vial): “Sparkly dust. Wonderful.”
And that’s episode four. Here’s hoping that next week is a little more solid. What did you think of Hook’s introduction? Are you digging the bad boy villain vibe? Psyched that he’s now working with Cora? Interested in watching more digging going on in the Storybrooke mines? Wondering whose closet Ruby and Belle will raid next week? Hit the comments below with your thoughts
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm EST on ABC