Whooooo what a train wreck, although I’m less annoyed now that I’ve had some time to cool off. This was a thematically interesting but not well written episode. It had a great deal in common with the S5 finale, now that I think about it, which was another one of A&E’s: unnecessary Neal, awkward side-lining of other characters so Emma can Go Places With Regina, clumsy dialog, reuse of show mythology, and a strong sense that the details have not been thought through at all.
That said, only one character got destroyed on Sunday, and it wasn’t Emma Swan.
I understand that after all of this time, A&E want to personally guide the SS Regina into the iceberg. Her two happy endings have just run smack into one another as a result of her wishes. Being caught in between them is, I would hazard, exactly what she deserves. I do wish (ha) they would back off and let someone else handle the detail work, though. In their anxiety to showcase her horrible glory, they ride roughshod over other characters, and the particulars of the writing are clunky. Having built this elaborate symbolic structure, they then feel a need to hit the audience over the head with it.
We know, guys, we know.
But to get back to those themes. We have yet another adventure in dualism here, another mirror world where down is up:
The Other Shoe - Characters flip roles, the hero doing something regrettable and the villain having a surprisingly sympathetic story.
Strange Case - Characters try to physically dissociate themselves from unwanted qualities, resulting in an apparent opposition that conceals unity of purpose.
I’ll Be Your Mirror - A literal world of mirrors, the virtues of being yourself vs playing a role, identity vs seeming.
Wish You Were Here - The apparent opposition is revealed for a facade; Regina’s two halves reach moral if not yet physical identity. The real world is exchanged for a “wish world” in which an essential change to Emma’s identity ripples through the EF and makes it a perfect place for… Regina, while her victory in Storybrooke starts to fall apart underneath her.
Because today, it really is all about her. Buckle up! I hit 3k words again this week.