Once Upon a Time: Child of the Moon

“I am a monster.”

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m constantly on edge about this season’s pattern of picking up and dropping arcs week in week out. As a viewer it can be seriously frustrating to tune in expecting to see your favorite characters back on screen, only for a show to drop them in favor of a completely different story line. Still, I never really stay mad at this show for long; it somehow manages to make every week worthwhile by keeping its major arcs moving without ever really needing to give them undue attention. It can be garish to not see certain faces at first, but if what we’re seeing in front of us is exciting enough, why should we even care?

After all, Red’s time in the spotlight was just that. Every week the show seems to layer our preconceived notions about these characters with more interesting convictions and ideas. Here, it was Red’s desire to hide one half of herself. When she ran into her mother she was a lost young girl, her wolf half completely repressed and confined. Anita wanted her to embrace that part of herself that she had hidden, and be who she wanted her to be. It may be animalistic, and at times scary, but it’s half of who she is. Why should she hide it?

Granny may have loved her, but she did everything in her power to keep that side of Red from coming out. She even brought that control with her to Storybrooke; we saw that when she locked her granddaughter away for fear of what she might do. She wanted Red to be human. The possibility that her wolf side may actually be overcome was never even considered. It was only Snow who wanted Red to be the one thing she never was; herself.

After all, Snow was the only person who never showed fear of Red’s wolf side, staying by her side even when her own safety was being threatened. I think that’s why Red stuck by her instead of Anita. She knew deep down that what this pack was doing wasn’t right, so she chose to save her friend. It may have cost her a place in her mother’s life, but she found out exactly who her family was, and gained a lot of clarity. That clear thinking might not have been on show when she decided her best course of action was to run right into that path of an angry mob, but now that she knows that she has no more reason to be afraid, she can be exactly who she wants to be.

Charming faced similar challenges against his sense of self. What are you to do when a man you loathe kills innocent people and destroys your one hope of getting your family home? I know Charming’s actions have been a little questionable lately, but when your wife and daughter go missing, you’d be crazy not leave any stone unturned. He stayed the opportunity to cross the line from mourning father and husband towards vengeful monster even when he lost all hope. He’s still a good guy; he’s just a little crankier than usual...

His mood might change if he knew how close Snow and Emma were to getting back, though. It’s a thought that’s really carrying the show right now, the idea that we might finally see their family back together. All of the mysterious insights about Henry and Aurora’s shared dreams, and Cora and Hook’s plots to find a way to Storybrooke seem to fuel that story even when it’s not the main focus of the episode. It may be a little while off, but at least I’m enjoying the journey towards this story’s eventual turning point.

4 out of 5 full moons

Plus

Henry can control his actions within his dreams now. This could be just what they need to communicate between worlds.

Jefferson’s hat is destroyed. How will he feel about that when he finds out?

I really like the friendship between Snow and Red, I’d like to see more of them together. Same goes for Red and Belle. More female bonding please.

He Said, She Said

Red: “Know anybody who might want 38 frozen lasagnas?”
Charming: “I’m sorry, what?!”
Granny: “I know; nobody would believe it if you told them my lasagna was frozen.”

Red: “My mother wanted me to choose between being a wolf and being a human, Granny did too. You are the only person who ever thought it was okay for me to be both.”
Snow: “’Cause that’s who you are.”

Previously posted at PandaTV.

29 comments:

Patrick said...

An enjoyable episode, and not just because Meghan Ory is quite possibly the most beautiful woman on television right now(especially since she's not overdoing the make-up as "Ruby" anymore). Meghan did a nice job with the subtle differences between flashback Red and present-day Ruby. She has a more child-like quality as Red. The Red/Snow friendship is always fun, but this time we got to see quite a bit of Ruby/Charming, which was also quite good. I was a tiny bit worried at the very end that they were going to start a Snow/Charming/Ruby love triangle, thankfully they didn't go there.

I liked that this episode presented more than one viable scenario for who the killer of poor GusGus(go watch Disney's "Cinderella" if you don't get that reference) was. I doubted it would actually turn out to be Ruby, but they certainly dangled that possibility. There was King George of course, what with him promising to wreak all kinds of havoc upon Charming. But for a while there I thought it could've been one of those other "Children Of The Moon" who'd come over in the curse. So far King George isn't all that great a villain in present-day, but if they give him more to work with then Alan Dale is certainly capable of bringing the menace.

One quick question for folks here: Is there an accepted convention for using a character's Fairy Tale name versus their Storybrooke name? I never know which one to use, and I don't think even the characters use one or the other in any consistent way. :)

CrazyCris said...

Great review of a fabulous episode! Even if it frustratingly was missing a bit more of Emma and Snow.

I too thought it might have been one of the other wolves instead of Ruby. I never thought of mad King George! :o(

Speaking of which... did none of the other wolves cross over?

As for Storybrook vs Fairy Tale names... I tend to use the one that fits the place they're in. Except for certain characters (I just prefer Snow to Mary Margaret and David to Charming, the first is too long the second is ridiculous!). :p

Gus wasn't killed in Cinderella!

Loved Belle's line at being an "expert in rehabilitation"! :o)

Hmmm... we don't know where Jefferson's hat came from. He was trying to make a new one and have Emma "charge" it. If he made the original perhaps he could make another now that magic's back and they've found some fairy dust? Anything to bring him back on our screens please! ;o)

Cool that they've found a way to communicate between worlds! That is if Aurora was smart enough to tell Henry who she was and more importantly who she was with... Sleeping Beauty has always been my favourite of the Disney fairy tales since childhood, but OUOT is really stretching my patience with their interpretation of the character! Was the only point of having her the fact that she also suffered a Sleeping Curse and so could communicate with Henry? Lame! If Snow could turn from rose-growing princess into kick-ass leader then so can Briar Rose!!! So there! Just please don't put her in a pink dress. As Merryweather said: Blue! ;o)

sunbunny said...

Patrick - Totally agree on Meghan Ory; I adore her. I too was worried about a possible Red/Charming romance, but I think it was just our highly conditioned minds telling us that when two attractive people are alone together on TV, smoochies are soon to commence.

Is anyone else missing Regina? There's been so much going on this season, I feel like we've barely spent any time with her. I like seeing her accepting the change in her relationship with Henry but still working to build on it.

Patrick said...

Sunbunny - for me it wasn't just that it was two pretty people on screen together. It was the way she was looking at him when she was saying he wouldn't be searching alone. I was really scared she was going to suddenly kiss him, making things all awkward. :) I'd love to see Ruby be more involved in the main stories, helping David & Henry and whatnot. Red & Snow seemed like best friends, it only makes sense. Plus, Meghan does a great job when they give her more to do, and she's just so darn charming!(pardon the pun)

With Regina not being the primary antagonist anymore, it's only natural that her screentime gets reduced. At least she got a big episode recently, with the whole Frankenstein thing. Not quite sure what to make of her character arc this year though. I get that she's trying to repair her relationship with Henry, but I'm really surprised she isn't still facing a lot of open hostility from the town, after everything she's done. Can she really be redeemed after everything? I guess maybe Cora's arrival will trigger a bout of Vader Syndrome("There’s no ally so impressive, encouraging, and well loved as an ally who was an enemy that made you shake in your boots a couple of minutes ago.” something from the Dresden Files books).

OMG CrazyCris, how freaking dumb & useless is Aurora so far! I get that her prince just died & all, but what a whiny little brat! Hopefully being the conduit with Henry will at least give her something interesting to do. BTW, does she know that Emma's the one who killed Malificent? That'd be an interesting conversation.

Panda said...

I don't know why people are mentioning Regina's diminished screen-time, she's had two centric episodes so far, and we're only 7 weeks in!

Do you just mean in episodes where she's not the main focus?

sunbunny said...

Panda, I realized like two minutes after I posted that Regina really has been in the show a lot this season. I guess it's her face-offs with Emma and Snow I'm missing.

Rebeca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebeca said...

Regina is my favorite character (along with Rumple) so I would love to see them more often, but I understand it can´t always be about them.

I personally dislike that unless the episode revolves around a specific character, said character barely shows up (if it shows up at all). It´s the effect of having so many different stories at the same time I know

Mark Greig said...

After watching this episode, I have to agree with a lot of fans that Ruby and Belle make a much better Beauty and the Beast than Belle and Rumple. It helps that Emilie de Ravin seems more relaxed acting with Meghan Ory than she does with Robert Carlyle.

Josie Kafka said...

I went to a shippy place with Belle and Ruby. Was I the only one?

ChrisB said...

Although this show does seem to be juggling a fair number of stories this year, I liked the departure this week. I've been a fan of Red's from the beginning and I really liked her story.

The search for family is at the heart of this show, and this episode was all about that, even if the family is not blood. I like the female friendships here and agree with Panda that we should see more.

Mark Greig said...

You're not the only one, Josie. So many people have started shipping Red Beauty that it is starting to rival Swan Queen as the big OUAT ship.

Josie Kafka said...

You always know the weirdest things about the Internet, Mark. :-)

Mark Greig said...

Isn't everything about the internet weird, Josie? It's why we like it. Reality is too dull. The internet is strange and fun and occasionally scary but at the same time exciting. How beauteous cyberspace is! O brave new world, that has such people in't.

Josie Kafka said...

Yeah, well, I have seen the best blogs of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.

So there. [sticks out tongue] [is adorable]

celticmarc said...

Mark, Josie,

One of the BEST things about the Web 2.0 is THIS site ! YES ! Sorry, had to re-re-re-re say it !

Mark again,

Reality is what you make out of it......

celticmarc said...

Josie,

is "your" "starving hysterical naked" involves a table and some plastic wrap ?

Mark Greig said...

Tis better to have loved and blogged, than never to have blogged at all, Josie.

Josie Kafka said...

Ah, Mark, but that does not answer the question that plagues us all: To blog or not to blog?

Celticmarc, not right now! I'm storing Dexter until I get more free time so I can do a marathon.

Mark Greig said...

That is the question, whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Twitter, or to take arms against a sea of Tumblr.

Nadim said...

I wanted to LOVE this because I adored Red before but felt it was so forced and unsatisfying. I really can't explain it but the hour felt very rushed and badly executed to me (and I'm LOVING the season which makes it all the sadder)

Panda said...

Definitely disagree Nadim. I thought it was really well written, and flowed quite well.

sunbunny said...

Nadim, I liked the episode overall but some parts did seem rather forced. Particularly Red's speech to Snow about how she was the only one who would let her be who she is and not all wolf or all human. That had already been established in a lovely, subtle way and having Red state the obvious was a little annoying.

Was I the only one who was expecting Red's mother to turn out to be a fake?

Panda said...

I feel like I should really defend this one!

Isn't stating the obvious kind of this show's thing? And just because the obvious was made clearer, doesn't make the episodes events themselves contrived, don't you think?

I did expect her to be a fake, too, sunbunny! Surprising that she was the real deal, actually.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm with Nadim on this one. I found it painfully obvious and poorly executed. And I really like Red, so I wanted to enjoy this more. Her youthful naivete was just a little too oblivious for my tastes.

I get that this show is always cheesy, overly obvious, and full of contrivances, but this outing went above and beyond. And the acting felt far too forced as a result. Sometimes the actors are really good at finding the essential humanity in the cliched characters and dialogue (Ginnifer Goodwin is especially skilled), but, for me, this week they fell short. Particularly in the flashback.

Anonymous said...

I saw Red/Belle sparks too..Then Red chained up Belle and left her in the library..hmm..last week Emma did it to Hook. I wonder what it all means..Something kinky no doubt.
Anyway..this episode worked for me..Snow's acceptance of Ruby's whole self was a joy to behold.
Anna

Juanita's Journal said...

"After all, Snow was the only person who never showed fear of Red’s wolf side, staying by her side even when her own safety was being threatened. I think that’s why Red stuck by her instead of Anita. She knew deep down that what this pack was doing wasn’t right, so she chose to save her friend. It may have cost her a place in her mother’s life, but she found out exactly who her family was, and gained a lot of clarity. That clear thinking might not have been on show when she decided her best course of action was to run right into that path of an angry mob, but now that she knows that she has no more reason to be afraid, she can be exactly who she wants to be."


I do not believe that "clear thinking" had anything to do with Red's decision. She had known Snow White longer than her own mother. And she chose familiarity . . . so much so that she ignored Anita's comment about how monstrous human beings can be.

Granny has a lot to answer for, considering that her actions led her granddaughter to kill her daughter.

Maaian said...

I agree 100% Josie. Definitely some love undercurrent there between Red and Belle.

In other news, this was so over the top cheesy... not a good episode

Anonymous said...

The Disney references confuse (sometimes annoy) me. I remember seeing Bambi and Dumbo (barely) but I missed all the Disney Princess movies. I know the stories from reading them in fairy tale collections (and some rewrites, like those of Angela Carter, which are dark and fabulous. oh! and the old Fractured Fairy Tale shorts; those were fun). Maleficent? Aurora? Chip? Those are Disney creations. And Mulan, I have no clue what her story is supposed to be. Plus Aurora & Mulan in this show are boring (though with Philip gone, I'm almost shipping them, just to make them interesting...)