Once Upon a Time: Tiny

“I’m better off alone. I’m not too good at fitting in.”

I like that Once Upon a Time isn’t all about the big stuff, all the time. I like that it takes time to flesh out its characters, and not bombard us with as much craziness as we can tolerate. I like that it specializes in those special moments in between. I even like the tacky CGI! What I don’t like is when the show fails to decipher between the necessary, and the unnecessary.

That’s what 'Tiny' suffered from most. I enjoyed Jorge Garcia’s reappearance here. I think he’s adorable as much as the next Lost fan, but come on! We’ve only seen him for, what, 10 minutes of screen-time before now? What makes the writers think we want to side step and see his life story so soon?

Think about how Aurora and Mulan came about. When we first met them, it was under different circumstances than your standard flashback. The curse had been broken, and the show’s greater narrative was up in the air. When Snow and Emma arrived in the Enchanted Forest, we saw them join the bigger part of our story. They never took over the lime light completely only falling into line behind the show’s hierarchy. Even Belle took almost half a season to get her own flashback, so what makes Tiny so deserving?

Probably because of name dropping and fan service. Which is fine to an extent, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of decent writing, something that this episode definitely had. The shout-out to Charming’s twin brother was welcome after he’d been ignored for almost a whole season. He even made Charming look reasonable by comparison, not an easy job! Rumple’s travel trauma was also welcome, something I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of next week. Will he hang on long enough to find Bae?

What wasn’t welcome was Regina’s backtrack to queen bitchdom. I like her tormented and brooding, fighting her own darkness. It seems like she’s fallen back into her old ways too easily, after a well drawn path to recovery. I even hoped she’d turned into Cora, and all her meddling here wasn’t actually her at all, but no such luck.

Part of me wanted to love this episode, (who can turn down the opportunity to see Cassidy Freeman in ye olde gear?!), but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t the very worst it could have been, but there was a lot the show missed out on, let’s hope things go back to regular size next week. Lay off the magic mushrooms writers...

3 out of 5 magic beans

Plus

The Giants were the most ridiculous group, weren’t they?

The biggest example of Disney placement: the Dwarves whistling.

It was nice of them to initiate Tiny into their group, especially after he totaled more than a few cars in town.

What’s new guy up to? Looks like the town will have a full scale infiltration on their hands if he doesn’t stay quiet.

Fairytale fashion: Ruby’s jacket doesn’t exactly scream small town attire, does it?

He Said, She Said

Hook: “You didn’t even ask me about my recovery.”
Snow: “How are you feeling, Hook?”
Hook: “Come closer and feel for yourself...”

Tiny: “I’m better off alone. I’m not too good at fitting in.”
Leroy: “You’re in the right place.”

Leroy: “Work is work, it’s what we do.”

Previously posted at PandaTV.

7 comments:

Mark Greig said...

Is it too early to call this episode season two's 'Dreamy'?

Panda said...

Well, I actually liked Dreamy, but I get where you're coming from!

Katherine said...

I didn't enjoy this one, but rewatched to see if it was me or it. I think you're right Panda about it being too soon for a Tiny backstory.

Did anyone else catch Ajira Air?

Julia said...

Nice Lost references, Ajira Air and Belle watching Exposé in the hospital ;-)

Josie Kafka said...

When I finished watching this episode, I said to myself, "Hey, that was pretty good!" (I've been down on Once recently.)

But after I thought about it, I realized exactly what you said in your review, Panda: this is an episode that is meant to appeal to fans (especially Lost fans). What did I love? Seeing Jorge Garcia again, the shout-outs that Julia mentioned--all that stuff.

When I was little, I hated birthday cake. (I later discovered there are many good cakes; I just don't like grocery-store bakery birthday cake.) But I did like frosting. (Yum.) So on my birthday I would eat a plate of frosting while everyone else enjoyed the cake.

I think this episode had great frosting. But the cake? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Im my opinion, this show is all about the producers throwing a bunch of wet spaghetti (random elements of fantasy literature) at a wall and hoping some of it will stick. So, of course, you'll get the occasional enjoyable episode or two. That doesn't change the character of the show as a whole, though. Sorry, but that's my opinion.

ChrisB said...

I'm beginning to fade on this show a bit, I'm afraid. Panda, your review is spot on about what was wrong this particular week.

Additionally, however, I have found that the show is beginning to take itself too seriously. What I really enjoyed last season was the almost tongue-in-cheek approach. This season, the characters are losing their appeal and I find myself rolling my eyes and groaning at some of the choices made.

I am interested to see where the story with Bae goes. Here's hoping that particular story lines brings everything back to a place where I care what happens to these people.