Although Davis remains a staple in the episode, it was Falahee and Ricamora that stole the show. When fans last left Connor and Oliver, Oliver had deleted Connor’s acceptance letter to Stanford. When the premiere picks up, Oliver still hasn’t told Connor and instead discloses the information to Annalise. The secret doesn’t take long to circle back to Connor. Annalise tells him after she decides to offer Oliver a job. This all leads to an emotional scene between Falahee and Ricamora as Connor and Oliver break up. Falahee and Ricamora have grown together during the three seasons of How to Get Away with Murder. This episode is gut wrenching as Falahee tears up and Ricamora delivers a crushing break up speech. This makes me interested how Connor and Oliver’s dynamic will change now with Oliver working for Annalise. I’m interested to see how they grow as colleagues now that the relationship has ended.
That being said, let me try and be the least hateful possible while writing this but I make no promises.
It just pisses me off beyond belief to see what Once Upon a Time has become. For six years I watch this show, week in and week out, laughing and crying and getting upset and worrying together with these characters. It has been quite the journey and, for pretty much three years now, I’m witnessing something I used to love so much, self destructing.
I don’t recognise ANY of the characters anymore. The consistency is completely lost and I honestly have no idea where these writers are trying to go. I am a Swan Queen shipper but ships are now beside any point. Because I don’t know if I’m able to ship anything at all, provided that I can’t see my favourite characters on screen anymore. They’re gone. All of them.
Let’s start talking about the episode with Emma. We all know that Emma Swan is not the same for quite some time now. She ain’t no saviour, she ain’t Harry’s mum, she ain’t Snow’s daughter or Regina’s partner in crime. She is the shadow of her boyfriend. Once Upon a Time’s writers got an exceptional character - a strong, independent woman, a person that was lost in many ways but was complete in so many others, and utterly destroyed her. For quite some time now, we see Emma making decisions and taking actions that go against everything we ever learned about her character. Especially since season 5. And this, obviously reflects on the acting delivered by Jennifer Morrison. We all know that JMo can deliver, but while I was watching the premiere, I couldn’t help but think that it seems like she is being forced to do that. She’s not there with her heart and soul and, because of that, she makes me feel nothing. I feel no empathy, no worry, no apprehension, nothing. During the 45 minutes of episode one, Emma Swan made me feel nothing.
Wait, that’s a lie. It made me feel awkwardly cringey during the make out scene in the beginning of the episode.
I’m sorry, dear heteronormative readers, but JMo has better chemistry with an orange than she has with Colin. It just doesn’t convince me. Obviously, the fact that her relationship with Hook being so extremely abusive and problematic influences the awkwardness quite a bit, but overall, there’s nothing there. It’s like Lily Sparks said, “watching them making out is like being forced to see a brother and a sister locking jaws”. Just no.
In this episode, after a bucketful of foreshadowing and exposition provided by Jaffar and Aladin, we get to Emma’s house to see her awkwardly making out with the pirate, who at some point says he likes her red leather jacket. I wonder if A&E read a few too many SQ fics to know that Regina pretending not to like the jacket is a thing.
Anyway, so they are interrupted by a dirigible crashing in Storybrook and Mr Hyde showing up saying Rumple gave him the town (what?) and blah blah tl;dr.
Which brings us to the second character point I want to make. Regina. Please don’t get me wrong; the idea of having two Lanas on my screen every week is beyond delightful, but there are two things about this Regina/Evil Queen split that get me quite worried.
The first one is the exact fact that, Regina’s duality, the inner battle she fights to keep the Evil Queen contained, is one of the things, if not the main thing, that made her character so layered and compelling. Because it showed me and taught me that no one is all good or all bad, and we all fight our inner battles. The sass that no one can convince me that didn’t come from the EQ, the loving mother to Henry that was all Regina and all the little creases of her personality is what made me fall in love with her. Knowing that this particular bit of her personality was literally taken away from her in order to create a literal and physical Evil Queen maybe will take away some of the fun. We had one big monologue of Regina, holding hands with Snow, talking about hope and all that shit and honestly? I don’t know this new Regina all too well yet but I’m not sure I’ll like her. She’s not interesting so far. Which brings me to the second thing that worries me: What sort of message are you trying to send me? That If I don’t like my past I can just kill it? That’s not how it works, is it? You can’t erase your past, you can’t discard it. Your past makes you who you are and it’s there for you to learn form it and move on. I sincerely hope that this is where this season is heading. That Regina will realise that she can’t just kill and end the Evil Queen, but accept that she is part of herself and there’s no Regina without the EQ. Please, don’t teach the young audience that you can just ignore and get rid of your past because you can’t. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. So far, having the literal split of the character is pleasing to my eyes, but not to my mind.
But back to the episode.
At some point we are sent to this crazy bad CG forest and green screen castle to have a reenactment of the Beauty and the Beast ball scene with Belle and Rumple and maybe, just maybe, in the writers room of OUAT, the bunch of people who create this show were like “I wonder what me, a writer, can possibly possibly do to solve a problem that is not repeating an exact same scene I’ve already done before?”. I can just wonder. Anyway, we find out that Morpheus, who’s taking care of Belle’s dreamland is actually Belle and Rumple’s unborn child and, I don’t know what kind of crack these people smoked but that shit don’t make any sense. It just doesn’t make sense. A fucking fetus cannot hear or comprehend anything. That goes beyond storytelling my friend, that’s just bullshit. So, long story short, the unborn child kisses Belle on the forehead and she wakes up and walks out into a magic mirror back to Storybrook leaving Rumple behind cos she’s not taking any of his shit anymore. And that’s that. Rumbelle shippers, I’m so sorry that it’s come to this. I really am.
Back in Storybrook, Emma’s hand is all shaky as we knew it would be thanks to the exposition provided in the beginning of the episode.
The gang is trying to imprison Hyde and they have a weird device to electrocute him (?) and Emma has to activate it. So he charges onto Regina and while he is chocking poor Regina to death, Emma is all shaky and having a vision that we are yet to discover what is about. It took Regina a while to snap Emma out of her trance so she could finally release the lightning bolts that will stop Hyde. Horray, victory! But she does lie to Regina, who’s not stupid, and says there’s nothing wrong with her.
We then have Emma and Hyde interacting and I straight off saw that she already has more chemistry with Hyde than she has with Hook. So Hyde sends her to the forest to follow a red bird that will give her the answers she seeks. Like you do.
Hook is there in the forest even though Emma said she wants to be alone. Then he steals Regina’s line “you can like to everyone but you can’t lie to me” (which brings me again to the question: what can a writer do instead of recreating the same scene again) and walks off like the piss baby that he is. I mean, how dare Emma want to be alone? How fucking dare she. So Emma follows the fucking horrible cg bird and finds this oracle who pretty much tells her she’s gonna die. I mean, we know that’s not gonna happen. What’s the point in making the plot of the whole season about something everybody knows is not going to happen. Even if OUAT is cancelled and there’s no season 7, we all know Emma is not going to die. So what is the point? Please, someone tell me.
So Emma goes back to Granny’s to meet Hook and they reenact another SQ scene, the drinking buddies scene and once more I’m caught with wonder. Maybe the show should change names and become Once Upon a No-Homo. Because PLEASE. And yet, Emma doesn’t share with Hook her grim fate.
But then, after a full episode of Regina being pissed off about a feather Zelena lost, we have the final monologue and we have Regina talking about people who trust in her and believe in her like no one ever did and they show us images of Emma in slow motion while the True Love theme is playing. What the fuck? Why do they do this? What are they trying to achieve?
Finally, we end up seeing that it’s very likely that Zelena will be #TeamEQ. What a surprise.
So overall, the premiere was weak and lacked grip. But that’s not a surprise since Once Upon a Time forgot what grip is a long time ago. I really don’t know what these people are thinking and I don’t understand how can they possibly think they are telling a good story.They’re not. But I’ll keep on watching because this show is so ingrained in my life I can’t just let go. With all the heteronormativeness and whiteness and abelism-ness and rape-culturism. Once Upon a Time is my problematic fave and I will endure it until the end.