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Once Upon a Time: Quite a Common Fairy

“Snow White – that’s her name? Even I think that’s a bit precious and mine’s Tinkerbell.”

I’m getting the need for the history of the new Neverland recruits, and I like that they have ties to the familiar Storybrooke crew, but I’m starting to notice that something is seriously lacking this season.

I wasn’t sure what that thing was at first. I liked the premiere. But last week, aside from boasting some nice development for Emma, was a little lackluster. This week I really put my finger on it; it lacks urgency. Even though everything is all about getting Henry back, that panic isn’t translating over into an exciting story on screen.

Some people are complaining that the stories we’re being shown have been told before. While I don’t disagree, I think there’s so many great character beats in those in-between times that we’re starting to see. This week we learned about Regina’s past with Tinkerbell and while we didn’t learn a lot about her that we didn’t already know, Regina’s state in those flashbacks is a stage of her transformation into the Evil Queen that was never really explored.

Her trust was shattered, and she had lost all motivation to love again. We saw her presented with the chance to find her true love and she chickened out. Not surprising, but now we’ve something for Regina to work towards again. I wasn’t surprised with who the mystery man with the tattoo was (I even guessed the circumstances of his reveal as well), but I like the idea of Regina having another shot at happiness that doesn’t revolve around Henry.

I was totally taken aback by Mulan’s true love. It was a good twist, though, and took the Aurora/Philip/Mulan triangle in a completely different direction than I initially thought it would go. It’s also nice to see that a family friendly show like this isn’t afraid to bring something unconventional to the table. I hope we get the chance to see Mulan in action again soon, because she just got a whole lot more interesting.

Tinkerbell’s story wasn’t as enthralling, and essentially retold Nova’s story from ‘Dreamy’. She’s clearly a must-have for any Neverland trip, but her presence didn’t really bring anything new. That aside, I do think the broken fairy we met is an interesting play on the well-known everyone is familiar with.

All that development aside, there’s no big draw about season three. The Neverland trip hasn’t been interesting since we first got here, and outside of the character plays the show is struggling to justify a reason for staying here for so long. I really hope we get out of this funk soon, because I’m starting to worry that Once is falling down a hole it won’t be able to climb its way out of if this goes on for much longer.

2.5 out of 5 fairy wings


Robin and Regina don’t exactly scream perfect match, but I’m excited to see how they’ll interact when the time comes.

I liked what Tinkerbell said about Regina not meeting her true love being selfish.

He Said, She Said

Tinkerbell: “Snow White – that’s her name? Even I think that’s a bit precious and mine’s Tinkerbell.”

Regina: “You said I can let go of the anger that was weighing me down and suddenly it felt like without it I would just... float away.”

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. You nailed the problem with the season (among others...): lack of urgency. Is David going to die? No. Is Henry going to die? No. In keeping to fairy tale tropes (good always wins, true love is perfect), OUAT takes a lot of the suspense out of things.

    I miss Storybrooke and all our secondary characters. The focus of this season feels a little claustrophobic to me.

  2. And Ruby. We desperately need Red.

    I'm not so sure about that twist with Mulan. She initially became a warrior in a heroic effort to protect both her father and her country. Making her a lesbian gives her somewhat trivial reason to pose as a man, undermining this heroism. I'm not sure I like it.

    On the other hand, I do think Aurora has better chemistry with Mulan than with Philipp (why is he alive?), but it seems that they aren't going to explore that.

  3. I totally agree with migmit. As soon as Mulan said she needed to go talk to someone I knew what was coming and I thought "UGH! Of course the tomboyish skilled fighter who dressed up like a man in her tale is a lesbian." Is it supposed to imply that her sacrifice wasn't as great as we thought? I haven't been more annoyed since the Ashley Boyd/Cinderella episode.
    Kudos to the actress, though. I felt her pain when she learned Aurora was pregnant.
    I think I disagree with you guys about the season though. There is a definite lack of urgency and I mostly get the sense that Pan and his crew need a good grounding, but I have faith that we are about to get a lot more about the treacherous Neverland that we previously heard about. Surely Hook wasn't so terrified of returning to a jungle, right???
    Great review Panda.

  4. I like the idea of Robin and Regina. I think it will be a fun thing to explore, especially outside of Henry. All we've seen is her love for her son. it would be nice to see her some kind of relationship with someone else.

  5. So far this season just isn't cutting it for me..for all the reasons you all said. Robin and Regina might spice things up a little somewhere down the line..
    For now I'll ship Aurora/Mulan even though they probably won't go there..
    The stuff with the Lost Boys should be more shuddery than it is..I'm not scared for Henry at all..that's kinda wrong.


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