Rant. Rant. Rant.
As much as I complain about consistency in this show the one area where A&E have truly stuck to their guns is insisting that a lifetime of struggle is the only way a female can be strong or that her main function is as a catalyst for the poor behavior of a man, sweeping crimes against the female characters under the rug, and retconning heroism for the undeserving.
The Wish Realm really served as a microcosm of all of these issues, all of them reflecting other more spread out examples in two hours of some of the most disgusting television I’ve ever seen.
First we have Emma, whose main lesson in this AU was apparently that her life experience of being repeatedly abandoned, left to her own devices, a life time of pain and hurt was the only thing that made her truly her. Without her Saviorness she was a vapid “singing princess” who sacrificed her entire kingdom to save the lives of her parents and it was only through the intense pain of their deaths that she “woke up” and found the strong woman within.
This is in contrast to Deckhand!Hook who via extremely similar circumstances was robbed of his major character traits, the bravery and determination that made him him, and was able to overcome that entirely on his own, without any terrible pain or sacrifice on his part, protecting a strange woman he was drawn to and her child was enough. But Emma had to actually witness the brutal murder of those she loved before she could undergo a similar transformation.
That’s just so…gross, to me? Firstly because there is nothing inherently wrong with being a “singing princess” yet there was nothing to indicate that she would have been strong and resilient regardless, only her experiences made her that way. So people who don’t know struggle can’t be strong? Girl’s who are more or less the real life version of the “singing princess” can’t rise to the occasion on their own merit when the situation calls for it? A man can be motivated by love to change and find his inner courage but a woman must always be motivated by pain? Sorry, I call foul.
Then there’s Belle, poor Pile of Bones!Belle who actually served more of a narrative function in the whole two hours than Killian did. Her entire purpose in that Wish Realm was to act as a reason for why Rumple would refuse to help Regina. Another in an unending line of women pointlessly killed to give a man motivation.
They could have kept her alive, could have made HER speak for herself, a wizened, tortured, hardened older version of Belle who asked Rumple not to help because of HER suffering, perhaps allowing Belle to finally have a spine and drop some truth bombs about Regina’s unrepentant treatment of her, but no way A&E would allow Rumple to be ordered around by a woman and unmanned in such a way and we certainly can’t talk about Regina’s crimes unless she’s having a crisis of confidence.
One the MOST consistent things about this show is the blatant disregard for crimes against female characters. Excepting Killian apologizing to Belle, and indicating he was trying to make it up to her, I can’t think of another time a man was held accountable for his actions against a female.
It’s not new, this has been going on for awhile. Arthur? Got a new kingdom, finally fulfilled his destiny for rifling through a few books and being a liability, but we never even HEARD from Guinevere again after her ENSLAVEMENT. She said goodbye and peaced out. Who knows what her mental condition is and she certainly never got to confront her husband for ENSLAVING HER.
Milah? Chucked into the River of Souls for daring to stand in Rumple’s way. Next episode Belle is saving his life and clutching at him. Everything cool here ya’ll. Never mentioned again. Will never BE mentioned again most like. Do the characters even know he did that? I can’t remember BECAUSE NO ONE CARED IF HE DID.
Neal and August send a pregnant Emma to jail?
Heroes! The biggest heroes there ever was.
August steals the money that might have prevented her from apparently continuing a life of crime, and he was just doing it for her own good!
Neal impregnated an underage girl and then has the audacity to be angry at her for not telling him, when it was HIM who made the decision to leave her. Well of course, that’s his right as a father!
Dude gets killed because of his own stupidity, but he’s celebrated and praised as a hero, a baby is even named for him! He contributed to what might be one of the darker periods of Emma’s life, the reason for her trust issues, but he’s just such a NORMAL guy you know? He gets a big ole portrait in the WishRealm and a heroes veneration because A&E just love their ordinary joe who is not at all a self insert and they are in no way threatened by the handsome, dashing, feminist pirate captain. No way. “Please ignore us making him look like a complete fool and doing what we can to marr his handsomeness (unsuccessfully), it has nothing to do with our own insecurities, we promise, we just thought it would be funny!”
And August, he might have been the brains behind the “Send Emma to Jail When Really Leaving Her Behind Would Be Enough” plan and he steals the money Neal left her, but hey he told her a story once and he believed in her a couple times so it’s cool, let’s never mention it again! Best friends forever!
SHE ACTUALLY THANKED HIM. That happened. The woman who was betrayed and sent to jail, who had to live with her pregnancy behind bars, who had to give up her baby because she had no way to support him because August STOLE HER MONEY, actually told that motherfucker Thank You.
That happened. But these struggles made her so STRONG you guys.
And let’s talk about Rumple who all of sudden is Team Hero again, trying to help his son. Not once does Belle turn to him and say “You know, if you hadn’t chased my pregnant ass around with scissors threatening to like, de-soul our baby, none of this would have happened?? He would have been fine? Maybe going on baby play dates with the other rapidly aged baby Robyn instead of rocking a terrible haircut and trying to kill the Savior.”
Nope, Rumple gets a clean slate. All is forgiven! A reconciliation is imminent, they are working together for their son. Babies forgive all manner of abuse apparently. Let’s stay together for the children. Hand holding and the desperate bond of parenthood apparently trump endangering the child’s life in the first place.
It’s just SO FUCKING GROSS.