Once Upon a Time: True North

“I smell dinner!”

I’m not sure this episode did all that it could have done, especially with such amazing tools at its disposal, not the least of which was a coveted Buffy alum appearance. While I appreciate the loyalty to the source material, a little re-interpretation wouldn’t have gone amiss here.

Though the Fairytale story this week wasn’t the cleverest interpretation, especially hot on the heels of something as out of the box as ‘Desperate Souls,’ married with the real world case it managed to get to somewhere pretty powerful in a short amount of time. Emma’s constant reminder of what she lost was obviously the major catalyst in getting Michael to understand just what he had given up. It was pretty standard, but it all came from a sound place. Emma’s decision to hide Henry’s father’s identity doesn’t really feel wrong. He’s a young impressionable boy who could be unnecessarily hurt by learning something like that.

Emma Caulfield was a delight, but just like Amber Benson in Ringer, she suffered an all too short appearance that, despite a solid performance, wasn’t the right forum for showcasing her talents she so easily put on show all those years ago. The direction and imagery in 'True North' was given a surprising amount of scope and depth, though, especially with a reduced TV budget. That whole sequence in the gingerbread house was so creepy and colorful at the same time.

One of the biggest parts of this series, at least for me, has always been the idea that Mary Margaret and Emma are mother and daughter. The ease with which they’ve found one another has been one of the nicest of the unspoken fairy tale connections. Their short acknowledgement was filled with a lot of unexpressed confusion and restraint. More of this please, writers!

So, yeah, it was all a little disappointing in the end, but after eight weeks of straight quality, I guess a few minor slip-ups are allowed, so long as they don’t become habit.

Plus

Snow has been hanging out with dwarves since Regina last saw her.

He Said, She Said

Loved this little conversation about finding Emma’s parents:

Emma: “I think I need to let go.”
Mary: “No, you don’t.”
Emma: “Really? If they wanted to know me, they wouldn’t make it so hard to look.”
Mary: “Maybe... but maybe there’s other reasons, maybe there’s an explanation.”
Emma: “If there is, it’s something crazy.”

3 out of 5 gingerbread houses.

Previously posted at PandaTV.

3 comments:

Alice said...

I seem to be the only person that doesn't think Emma made the right call lying to Henry about his dad. Maybe I'm just coloured by personal experience. My dad was an abusive ass, and even at five years old I could see it - he terrified me. So when my mum ran away from him, she took me with her and explained why she was running away, and I understood completely. Even at five. If she had lied about why she left him, I would have known.

I genuinely think it's wrong to make your kid believe their mother or father was a saint when they were actually a jerk - or worse, a monster - in reality. They aren't going to thank you if they learn the truth (I'd bet money that Henry will at some point barring cancellation), and I'd personally rather know what my dad was really like than worship him as a hero when he was actually someone awful. Sure, the truth would hurt Henry in the short term, but that's no excuse to coddle him and let him believe in a fantasy and a lie.

I really enjoyed this episode, but I could tell Emma was lying from a mile off the second she said 'firefighter', because it was so screamingly obviously made up. I also thought it was interesting the Queen wanted to adopt Hansel and Gretel - and then eventually does adopt Henry. She really does want children, and wants them to love her. Then again, we're talking about someone who cut out the heart of her own father - whom she loved most in the world - just to have a shot at revenge.

So ... Hansel and Gretel likely made the right call. Maybe if they stayed with her, she might have grown to love them more than her father, and would have had to cut one of their hearts out to make the curse work. Yikes.

Panda said...

I actually don't think I explained myself all too well.

I do stand by my word that Emma made a good call, here. I would never even try to say that I understand what you went through, Alice, or what other people in similar positions went through, since I never had any experiences like that in my life, but if I were in a mother's position, I would try my damndest to protect my child from unnecessary heart break.

Obviously, I'd tell them the truth when they're old enough to learn it. But at 10 years old, I don't think that sort of emotional acceptance is there yet.

But you saw first hand what your father was like. Henry had never met him, and there was every chance he might never see him in his life (If this was reality, anyway, in television land we all know he's going to pop up at some point!). So, I think if he had grown up with him, experienced that first hand, I might feel that bit differently.

I hope I explained myself well enough, Alice. And sorry if any of that caused any offence!

Gracie said...

To jump in with more awkward truths -- I honestly believe there is no right answer. I didn't have a choice -- I found out horrible things about my father when I was eleven, because my grandmother (very much a wicked witch type) told me against my mother's wishes to get back at my mother. Would I have found out what my father did eventually? Almost certainly. But I might have handled it better if I were older, and I wish I hadn't known until I was an adult. As it was, as a young teen, I ended up hurting myself pretty badly and put myself in the hospital because of what I'd learned about my father. I could have died. So in this instance, I think my mother was right not to tell me. But it's always a judgment call, isn't it? It depends on the situation.