It’s a Regina (Lana Parrilla)-centric episode, which ordinarily would mean good things, but the writers apparently decided to turn their villain into a complete idiot for fun.
Let’s bitch it out…
Regina is about to go nuclear in the wake of her mother’s death and the knowledge that the townspeople of Storybrooke are about to ditch the real world and run back to FairyTale Land. Naturally she’s got some kind of plan B, which – also naturally – involves the complete destruction of everything and everyone in Storybrooke except for her and Henry (Jared Gilmore). The fact that she does a dry-run confessional with Henry and he calls her the kid version of a crazy bitch offers insight on the viability of plan: if your completely idiotic son straight-up tells you that you’re cray-cray, you know you’re in trouble.
My sympathy goes out to Lana Parrilla for having to act out this garbage. The introductory parts of both the Storybrooke and FairyTale Land stories start out extremely rocky as the writers imbue Regina with a severe case of stupidity (perhaps she was spelled?) Why would Regina tell Henry her plan when any sane person would realize that killing an entire town is crazypants? Similarly, in FairyTale Land, why would you immediately forget that you’re wearing a disguise and continue to act like the Queen in public? Yes, yes, we can suspend our disbelief and just go with it, but we shouldn’t have to…at least not to this extent.
It’s moments like this that make me want to strangle the writers of this show. Why do they insist on dumbing down the material to such an extent? When I spend time wondering if a chimp could write better scripts, that’s a clear sign that something has gone amiss. It’s lazy writing, pure and simple.
On the positive side, though, it sure does make the good ideas easier to spot. While thus far the execution of the Ben (Ethan Embry) / Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) plot has been flawed, the idea of interlopers infiltrating Storybrooke and kidnapping fairytale charactesr is pretty compelling stuff. So long as Ben never mentions anything about metal suppressing magical bones ever again, there’s still hope for an interesting two part finale.
- Wow…Tamara is too dumb to remember a half dozen names and their Disney counterparts? Is it honestly so difficult to figure out which character Regina is? Wardrobe has been raiding Anna Wintour’s “Depression” closet for two seasons, so it’s not exactly rocket science
- Good thing Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is such a crackerjack investigator that she can discover Tamara’s piece of paper. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if Emma actually had to, I don’t know, use her brain to detect something?
- On the plus side, thank goodness the “don’t tell Henry” B-plot is immediately shelved once he overhears Emma’s suspicions about Tamara. Give me “Operation Cobra”…errr…”Operation Praying Mantis” anyday (Side Note: does this mean Emma will bite off his head once this is all over?)
- Emma’s demonstration of an apathetic “hit the door” warning sign is probably the funniest thing she’s ever done on the show. Yes, that’s all it takes to please me when it comes to her now
- If the Storybrooke storyline is primarily a bust, at least the FairyTale bit has some decent stuff. Is it completely obvious? Yes. Is it effective? Yes. If the writers would resist the urge to have these characters say and do stupid things, there are clearly decent performances and moments to be found. Exhibit A: Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Undercover Regina’s discussion as they walk through the woods. Of course then the writers eff it all up by having Snow and Regina come across an entire village of dead bodies just as Snow says that Regina’s forgiveable. How freaking convenient
- Oh yeah, back in Storybrooke Regina burnt the magic bean farm. Complete shocker, amirite?
- Finally: boo – a reappearance of Maleficient without Kristin Bauer? I’d rather the character was simply kept dead (as I assumed she was back in the S1 finale). I’m not exactly sure what that thing is meant to be (a composite of unused CGI characters lumped together?), but it definitely takes the Crap CGI award for this week
- Henry (when Regina tells him she’s going to kill everyone): “Why would you even tell me this?!” Wait, is Henry making sense and asking questions the audience is wondering? What is this, The Twilight Zone???
- Hook (to Regina): “Do you ever wonder if this endless quest for revenge is the reason that most people don’t like us?” Wait, has Hook been doing audience polling or something? What is this, The Twilight Zone???
- Hook (when he survive’s Regina death trap, with a big grin): “Startling, isn’t it? Some people even say striking”
Alright, so with only the two part finale remaining, what are your thoughts? Was there anything surprising in this episode? Are you interested to see what Ben and Tamara have planned? Was Regina acting dumber than usual? And does Operation Praying Mantis deserve to fail for the name alone? Comment away below
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm EST on ABC