Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trending Topics - Once Upon A Time season finale thoughts - [a case of the summer]

So this continues my "season finale thoughts" series, however it's under the "Trending Topics" banner.  Follow that?  Okay, let's move on.

Now, even though the season finale of Once Upon A Time aired three or four months ago, I'm still going to respect those that may not have seen it yet by doing a page break, with spoilers obviously within.  Also, catch a trailer for the upcoming second season at the end of my column!  So....

Continue reading "Trending Topics - Once Upon A Time season finale thoughts - [a case of the summer]"....

To tell you the truth, the first season finale was nothing like what I expected.  If you recall from my prior Once Upon A Time post, I predicted that the season would end with nobody (or maybe one or two characters) breaking the curse and discovering their true past.  Shows what I know, as the season actually concluded with the curse being broken entirely, and EVERYBODY realizing their true identity.

I'm torn on this.  On the one hand, the show (like Lost) could never survive without the mystery and suspense evolving.  This means certain storylines -- even extremely significant ones -- need to be resolved before the end of the series.  And there is no doubt in my mind that the writers have something really incredible planned for next season.  So by no means do I think this is any sort of nail in the coffin.  And, to a certain extent, I applaud the show runners for taking a risk and not resting on their laurels (and for not frustrating their audience by extending the mystery far longer than necessary).

However, much like my criticism of them killing off the Sheriff, they put an end to something while there was still plenty of fuel left to add to the fire.  The moment that the spell was broken and a sense of realization and peace blew past each character as they remembered their past was actually really powerful and even beautiful.  All I kept wondering, though, was how much MORE powerful it would have been if it had happened a year later.  Many people were just beginning to get invested in the mystery and the characters, and it seems like our emotions could have been toyed with a bit longer before giving us (and the characters) our happy ending.  The impact was great -- but it could have been greater.

The other decision I felt conflicted about was the introduction of magic to the "real world."  One of my favorite parts of the show is the vast contrast between the two worlds.  In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming is a proud, brave, confident hero.  In Storybrooke, he's constantly questioning himself and making poor decisions.  In the Enchanted Forest, Rumpelstiltskin is a wild, loony imp who can't stop smiling and giggling.  In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold dresses conservatively and tends to speak in a quiet, collected tone of voice.  My fear is that between the characters having their memories retained and the presence of magic, we're not going to see that fun dichotomy (however, this is apparently being dealt with, as some flashbacks next season will show us the characters' lives BEFORE Emma arrived).

Now, don't get me wrong.  I LOVED the finale.  The moment when Emma grabbed Henry's book and suddenly all of those memories of her birth and escape from the Enchanted Forest flew into her head were awesome.  They reminded me of when Jack touched his father's coffin in the Sideways universe during the series finale of Lost.  It was one of those really awesome TV moments.  And I especially loved the fact that it almost exclusively focused on Emma and David.  As far as her parents go, the entire first season has been about bringing Emma and Mary Margaret together.  The Emma/David scenes have been pretty sparse.

The scenes with Mr. Gold, Regina, and Emma were also a lot of fun.  I loved how Mr. Gold immediately recognized that Emma knew her past, and so nonchalantly acknowledged it and moved on (to the sword that he already had prepared).  As a side note, one of my favorite scenes in the entire first season was when Mr. Gold admitted to Regina that he's Rumpelstiltskin, finally confirming what we all suspected -- that he remembers his fairy tale past.  Awesome scene!

Anyway, the ongoing war between Mr. Gold and Regina is particularly enjoyable because you genuinely do not know which side you are supposed to root for (I'm Team Rumpel, of course).  Both have shown a tender side, and both have committed terrible, terrible acts.  They're both clearly looking out for their best interests, but whose best interests are the lesser of two evils?  Their power struggle is quite enticing.

Oh, and we did see the return of the Huntsman (and I repeat:  Why did they reveal his identity and kill him of in the very same episode???) which was fun.  Hopefully we see him in more flashbacks (particularly the Storybrooke ones).

And while it did come a season too early, the moment when all the characters realized who they were and Snow White and Prince Charming were reunited really did make me smile.  Rumpelstiltskin's reunion with Belle was also oddly touching, in a tragic way (because you know he'll ultimately push her away due to his desire for revenge).  And hey, there's still a lot we don't know -- like how Henry knows so much.

I'm personally really excited for next season.  And speaking of which, here's a trailer for what's to come:

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