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Once Upon a Time: What Happened to Frederick

“We can pick up the pieces. We can start over from a real place.”

While a lot of episodes have seen Once Upon a Time dragging its feet a little bit, probably due to the decision to span out the story into something much grander and decadent than your average fairytale, episodes that focus specifically on the central characters always hold a lot of power, mostly because the effects of such episodes can be felt several weeks down the line. Josie discussed in her 'Skin Deep' review the show’s issue of major development of characters not being felt in the following installments, but now that the series has gotten past the “finding its feet” stage, there’s a lot more room for people to change and grow as their lives begin to adjust and the curse begins to unravel.

I know this is going to sound a little backwards, but despite instantly being drawn in by Snow’s charm and surprising wit, I’ve always found Mary Margaret to be slightly infuriating. I think a lot of that distaste rested on my inability to see where her struggle with David’s actions had come from. Seeing Storybrooke’s reaction to their secret trysts really brought her inner fears to the table and made me understand her reservations in a way I hadn’t before.

While some of her hesitation was out of concern over hurting people like Kathryn, it seemed like a part of her didn’t want to compromise what she and David had. If they couldn’t have it in the right way, they shouldn’t have it at all. Such an action is another testament to this show’s ability to take these classic characters and add new depth and esteem to them.

‘...Frederick’ also saw the intelligent interpretations of happy endings and fairytales reach a creative pinnacle of sorts. This new world that the characters have been thrust into has all been a way for Regina to undo their happy endings, but in a way, it’s also allowed each character to discover these hidden traits and desires that they never would have found otherwise. Happily Ever After is all well and good, but not when it comes at the cost of personal sacrifice and heartache for others.

Take Abigail, for instance. After appearing as nothing more than an impediment to Mary Margaret and David’s happiness, this week she transformed into a woman worth taking the time to explore, who knew that personal satisfaction isn’t just in finding her true love; it’s also in setting out to discover your own passions and dreams. Just like James did by facing the siren to give Abigail her true love, Kathryn did the same by giving David up so he and Mary Margaret could be together. Both characters showed true bravery and courage, something that I’ve been waiting to see for a while.

Other simmering storylines boiled over this week with August (his real name?) taking Emma for that long awaited drink, but it wasn’t a drink in the traditional sense. Among other things, this scene made me question just what his true motives are for visiting. He clearly knows who these people are, and where they really belong, but is he going to be a help, or a hindrance?

The season certainly seems to be picking up steam, but I’d have hoped more characters would have learned about their true identities by now. Let’s not let that take any value from this week’s episode though, which was one of the show’s best.

Plus

I’m still itching to see Red/Ruby’s story revealed. She seems like a lot of fun.

This was the first week I was equally invested in both the present day stories and the flashbacks. I’m actually dying to see how Snow and Charming’s story plays out, even though we all know how it ends. A bigger picture is starting to form, too, which is making all of these extra pieces of information more rewarding.

Henry is probably one of only a handful of child actors that doesn’t make me want to throw plates at little puppies. He’s just so adorable and likeable.

I’m glad Operation Cobra is back on, too. Is she ready for her secret code name yet?

Where do you suppose Kathryn is gone? Trapped alongside Belle in that creepy underground facility, maybe?

He Said, She Said

Mary Margaret: “I know it’s hard, but we have to tell her the truth, about everything, about us.”

Mary Margaret: “If we can’t be honest with other people, how can we be honest with each other?”

Mary Margaret: “Nothing with you means something, ‘cause if it were nothing we wouldn’t be talking about it.”
Wow, say that three times fast.

Emma: “When I met you, you were a top button kind of girl.”
I think this was my favourite line, ever, on this show. Jennifer Morrison nailed the delivery as well. Screw it, that whole scene was great. I watched it three times.

Emma: “...I’m Sheriff, and you’re a love sick school teacher. Covering your tracks is not exactly your strong suit.”

Mary Margaret: “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Emma: “I’m not your mother.”
So many different ways to talk about this, such a short amount of time.

Kathryn: “I’ve always had this irrational fear of leaving Storybrooke, like something’s just, holding me back. Is that crazy?”

David: “...I can’t control what other people do.”
Mary Margaret: “No, but you can control what you do, and you lied. And now everyone is calling me a tramp!”
I’m sorry, but I can’t fathom how anyone would want to write something like that on her car, I mean look at her. She looks like sweetness personified!

Abigail: “Some people will stop at nothing to destroy the happiness of others.”

4 out of 4 naughty sirens.

Previously posted at PandaTV.

16 comments:

  1. Regina painted "Tramp" on her car. There was a shot of the spray paint in her drawer.

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  2. Great review, Panda (and thanks for the shout-out).

    I agree with you about Mary Margaret. Despite loving her hair, every time I watch the show I'm reminded of what Gus said in his review of the pilot: "Snow White is, of course, a kindergarten teacher, since this is the only profession Hollywood can think of for pure and thoroughly good women."

    Even her clothes, which are so very close to being really pretty and cheeky, wind up being rather childlike. Her goodness too often seems like an inability to properly assess the world, which is weird, since she's so riot grrrl in the flashbacks.

    I really hope that "August" isn't just a writer. I hope he's the writer. As in, the god of fairy-tale land who can manipulate events and erase annoying characters with a few dabs of white-out.

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  3. Anonomous: I missed that, I'll edit it at some point, thanks.

    But the same still applies. The reaction of the entire town was a little overblown, Mary clearly isn't the huge homewrecker they were making her out to be.

    Josie: Thanks!

    That's an interesting theory about August, and one that sounds like it could be very true. Maybe he can steer the characters in the right direction by re-writing their history? I'm actually hoping that the storytelling method is re-jigged for next season, like Lost did post season 3. It could keep things fresh, and August's involvement could be the catalyst for that change.

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  4. Great review, Panda. Glad to know I'm not alone regarding Snow White/Mary Margaret.

    I'm a little worried that poor Kathryn is now sharing a cell with Belle in Regina's secret underground sex dungeon. I wouldn't be too surprised if Maleficent is down there too.

    On a slightly unrelated note, if no one ever leaves town, just where the hell was that guy going when he stumbled upon Kathryn's car? I know it's a minor detail but it is bugging me.

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  5. Mark: that guy was Frederick. Destiny called?

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  6. I really like your review, Panda. I'm glad the shows are in good hands. I specially liked the Plus/He said, she said headers. Creative and simple.

    The most interesting thing about the episode was Abigail, indeed. If you think that she did everything in order to manipulate Charming into offering to save Frederick, it takes new proportions. She's Alan Dale's daughter, after all.

    And Mary Margaret is a kind of person that tires me very fast in real life. It's as though working with children makes them somehow childlike. Urgh!

    I'm looking forward to Ruby's backstory too. Though watching an hour of her could ruin my blood pressure, if you know what I mean.

    Josie, thanks for the shout out, too.

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  7. Gus, Abigail was King Midas's daughter, not King Widmore's.

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  8. Glad to have you continuing the reviews for this show, Panda.

    I wasn't super keen on this episode overall. Definitely not the best of the season for me, but not the worst. I think my biggest disappointment is the devolution of David into a total jerk, just to string out the inevitable. It is a problem with the basic structure of the story. They try to get us to root for Mary Margaret and David, but they can't actually have them get together for awhile because the whole point of the curse is there are no "happily ever afters." It just makes for an incredibly frustrating viewing experience.

    That said, this was a very strong episode for Abigail/Kathryn, and I, too, am now concerned that she's in an adjoining cell to Belle. Of course, having two of them down there may give us a chance to spend more time with them and get to know them better.

    I agree with August = the writer. For awhile there, I was thinking he might also be an adult version of Henry (which made for some skeezy moments this week), but the eyes aren't right, so I've abandoned that theory. They certainly made it seem like he just changed something in the story. I wonder what it was.

    Mark: Love, love, love the new avatar! Benton Fraser is so dreamy.

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  9. I see what you did there. [Insert girly squeal.] Perfect.

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  10. Great review. I hope we find out what happened to Kathryn soon, now that I like her. Regina is soo evil with her letter-burning and spraypainting of cars. I love this show.
    Anna

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  11. Mark, you're absolutely right. What was I thinking?

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  12. I was sort of infuriated with David for not telling Kathryn the truth, but then I really did buy into him saying that he just didn't want to hurt her. The high point of this episode was that Abigail/Kathryn had a story and a love of her own, and that she truly wishes the best for David and Mary Margaret. It made me like her, right before she disappeared. Hopefully, not forever.

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  13. Billie, I think that's why I loved this episode so much. It really tackled all the corners of the love triangle quite well, and made me feel for each of them, Kathryn in particular.

    I was particularly annoyed with David at first too, but you can see where he was coming from.

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  14. I am just finishing this episode tonight and trying to catch up with the DVR recordings I have. I love your reviews! These have been my "study guides" after each episode so far. Thank you!!

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  15. I liked this one as well for all the reasons mentioned above in both the review (good one, Panda!) and comments. Two things made me smile.

    The first was the idea that going to law school is going to save a marriage. In my graduating class from law school (and most of us were in our 30's when we started), one (that's 1!) couple who were together when we started were still together the day we graduated. This is not unusual -- law school is hell on personal relationships.

    The other thing that amused me beyond the telling of it was James' expression when Abigail told him she didn't want to marry him either. Loved the look of complete shock -- who wouldn't want to marry Prince Charming? LOL

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