Okay, I'm about to hit you with some truth: last night's episode of Once Upon a Time, "Dreamy," was the worst this show had ever been. The only reason Saturday Night Live hasn't done a skit yet lampooning how ridiculous this show has become is because no one at Saturday Night Live is watching. I get that the story telling fit, and that it was an original spin on a fairy tale, but frankly I don't care. The opening was a seige of nightmarish information, including the revelations that there are no dwarf women and the permanently old dwarf men reproduce asexually by hatching out of eggs FULLY CLOTHED.
That is some nightmare stuff. If you peeled away the ren faire clothes, the idea these dwarves hatch to life on schedule and immediately start working in a mine digging up the diamonds that become fairy dust (which makes the world go round) for FOREVER once they’re born is claustrophobic. A fairytale Matrix, equal parts saddening and gross.
And the horrible romance! Grumpy and Nova the "clumsy fairy" were seriously bizarre characters, they both talked like six year olds and now I feel like I've condescended to six year olds, because even six year olds aren't this simplistic and idiotic. I don't like the implication pure-hearted people are necessarily dumb, and if that wasn't the implication, then what conclusions are we supposed to draw? Like they are staring at each other wide-eyed while telling each other that fireflies are pretty. Whatever happened to crackling banter and repartee and I don't know, charming characters that I like because they're likable and not because I feel sorry for them?
There was a conversation somewhere in there that involved a furnace and a sparkly pink backpack that sounded straight out of The Other Sister. And why did she make Dreamy climb up there and grab the fairy dust before it went into the furnace (can't believe what I'm typing)? She CAN FLY. FLY up there, dumbass. That's like someone throwing a ball at me and I let it hit my face because I forget I have arms. Anyway, the stupid couple in stupid costumes with no effing chemistry and terrible lines hatch a plan to elope in a boat (she got it somehow! stop asking so many questions!) and then Grumpy gets talked out of it the night of. He is walking to meet her with his bindle and in five minutes decides to give up his dreams! His name is Dreamy! And he was convinced by fairy lady who was a TOTAL STRANGER! The characters on this show can be talked out of relationships VERY quickly, and frankly, it makes the relationships extremely shallow.
Speaking of shallow, lightning fast relationships, how about old Belle turning up at the tavern in her one dress she owns and telling "Dreamy" about how great love is. Girl you got shaken up and thrown in a basement by a troll, please don't start in on the dwarves, please don't lead them into your abuse fantasy madness.
And the real world wasn't any better. Mary Margaret is suddenly the "Town Harlot"? Are you trying to tell me this town let David Nolan rot away in a coma, without anyone bothering to identify him or alert Kathryn for years on end, and yet suddenly everyone is super invested in their marriage and thinks Mary Margaret is a homewrecker? Like, she is being slut-shamed to the point where she has to hang out with nuns just to be able to look Granny in the face? And people are quitting her CHARITY COMMITTEE because they are so disgusted with something they may have heard a rumor about? This town is putrid.
Meanwhile Emma is strangling on her own hair. Watching her investigate the abandoned car in plastic gloves and all five pounds of her ringlets flying all over the crime scene, how many long blonde hairs do you think she'll submit as evidence? And she's just letting Sidney barge in on a possible crime scene and bring her phone records from an undisclosed source? He didn't even take down David's phone number, Emma, how the hell is he coming up with records? And then she asks David what happened and as soon as he's like "Dunno some stuff, not me." She's all "I believe you I know when people are lying its this thing I do." No, no you don't.
Just about every character in this show has lied to you and you're getting so easy to fool I kind of want Regina to just put you out of your misery already. Later in the episode she said the same thing to Sidney and he gave her this look like “Well I KNOW that’s not true because I’ve been playing you for weeks.” Do you understand how dumb Emma would seem if Jennifer Morrison wasn't playing her? We all know Jennifer M. is tough and smart and cool, in the hands of anyone else Emma would be just a damn doofus.
Admittedly, and this is the one positive thing I will say about this episode, crashing the town's lights so that everyone had to buy candles was clever. Well done! Glad the one character actually using his head as something other than a hair accessory is also the character I care least about. And now he is in love with a nun. Great, another couple I can look forward to nothing good happening for ever. And granny lights Mary Margaret's candle? I would have blown it right back out and told her to keep her distance.
I am just so worked up. They promised us a mystery storyline, they promised us a town scandal whodunit, and instead we got the least believable, most unnecessary romance so far. I don't care how it lined up or how clever or cutesy or twisty it was. I don't want to be rushed into liking a character so I like the episode anymore, I am actively tuning in to see the characters I already like and all the show does is make them more and more unlikable. Mary Margaret has turned into an insipid people pleaser and Emma is just as stupid as a bag of hair. At this point, Regina has it waaaay, waaay too easy, to the point where I almost think less of her character for even bothering with these people.
Okay, now that I've unclenched the fists I was typing with, I will always be impressed with this show just on the principle of what it is. Its original in a real and audacious way. My complaints have always been: ham-fisted, truly ham-fisted dialogue, and the way they spend entire episodes introducing characters in an attempt to avoid telling the larger story; this episode epitomized those complaints. I have reached the point (March) where I can’t I expect either of these elements will dramatically improve. I want to believe the show will do better than this, but airing this episode after last week’s misleading promo was essentially a bait and switch, and if they’re willing to do that to us, I don’t think they’re very concerned with offending their audience. Next week, please make Emma use a pony tail holder and act with some semblance of reason. Please make Mary Margaret stop dressing all in white and advocating celibacy. And please let something happen. Something. Anything.
…Were you creeped out by the troll eggs or was that ingenious?
…Were you excited to see Belle?
…Has Emma gotten progressively stupider with every passing episode?
…Have you ever had a crush on a nun?
…What was YOUR opinion of the episode?