Once Upon a Time Season 4 Premiere Review: Not Cool, Bro

Once Upon a Time S04E01: "A Tale of Two Sisters"

Sweet Lord, Once Upon a Time is back for Season 4 and already busy doing what it does best: co-opting the goodwill of Disney movies it had nothing to do with and needlessly complicating an already incomprehensible timeline.


Also there was a ton of this: 


There's no doubt that the new actors did a great job impersonating children’s cartoons, but personally I found the Frozen™ fan fiction super tedious. Unlike other Disney classics that OUAT has approached in a unique, personal way, there was no original interpretation of how these characters fit into the OUAT-verse. Frozen™ is a hot property, so I’m guessing the writers’ room was noted to death on how they could use the characters, and maybe that’s what led to the writers plopping them on top of all the other storylines like a swirl of whipped cream plopped onto a messy stack of pancakes. “Here, enjoy this,” the show seems to say, “and never mind the fact the pancakes underneath are badly formed, half-cooked, and also a ball of hair landed in the batter when we were mixing them up. Whose hair? Can’t recall. Pretty sure it’s human. Just pull the strands out as you chew. Bon appétit!”

The weirdly separate nature of the Frozen™ characters kind of exacerbates how commercially driven their presence is. OUAT might as well feature actors wearing fuzzy Mickey and Minnie suits Electric Parading down Main Street while flight prices to Celebration, Florida flash across the bottom of the screen. 

Also, kind of a weird choice to take a Disney Princess story that's celebrated for NOT ending with a wedding and continue it with, uh, a wedding? 




But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the top.

A lady with a bunch of wet braids AND a wet tiara (“Glamour ’til the Grave” —the motto of the Round Table) was scrawling on some wet paper with a wet pen while her ship sank because her daughters Elsa and Anna needed to KNOW something, and we're all well aware that a message in a bottle can survive a shipwreck. They are like the black boxes of shipwrecks. Sadly we didn't see the bottle make its way back to Big El & AnAn, but the mom’s diary sure did: Elsa found her mom’s journal, read about three lines, and convinced herself that her parents abandoned their daughters because she, Elsa, is a monster! And that’s what parents do when they flee a monster: They leave their youngest child behind in the same house with the monster and go hop on a ship. Oh, Elsa. You and your determination to see yourself as a monster/wear a blue sequin evening gown all over the damn place.

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke we picked up right where we left off: with Regina storming out of Granny’s after realizing, thanks to Emma’s time-traveling, lame-ass finale episode, that Regina had been demoted from True Love to Side Chick. Emma, who does nothing but monitor Regina’s ever-shifting moods, chased after Regina, calling out her name and demanding to know how she could help, which is totally something that platonic girl buds do all the time. Sure, we could text “U ok?” but we prefer to run after each other dramatically, calling each other’s names like it’s our last dying wish. Typical straight lady communication.






Also, Jared Gilmore is like a full-grown man now?! Time, she flies. Anyway, Marian, having just been pulled through a time portal, was not caught up on how Regina is 99 percent angel these days and was flabbergasted that everyone was just a-chillin’ with the Enchanted Forest’s answer to Joseph Kony. 


After a fraught exchange with Hood’s wifey, Regina ran off and Emma tried to follow her wherever the night would take them, but Hook threw himself across 10 feet of cement to physically restrain her from doing so. He was on her like a flying squirrel. Dude has appointed himself Emma’s human leash.





Meanwhile Elsa had FROZEN a Chevy in the middle of the road. Quelle surprise!


Then Rumple had a long talk with Neal’s grave, which wisely did not include a date of birth or date of death.



Robert Carlyle is so great. I could have watched him make promises to that tombstone all night.

So then Robin popped by Regina’s house and explained that while his Facebook status may say “Married to Maid Marian,” in his heart it’s more like “It’s Complicated”/does she have a Kik? It was a weird, mixed-message conversation and it was totally inappropriate that he just popped by unannounced, but then again Robin is living out in the cold Maine woods 24-7. Maybe he just wanted to enjoy one last blast of central-air heating and slip in a last hot-water shave before settling down off the grid with Marian full time.

Regina decided there was no time like the present to go consult Gus Fring, and it was honestly good to see Giancarlo Esposito back. Yay! She wanted him to show her when exactly she arrested this Maid-what's-her-face in the first place, frankly she did not remember this chick at all, and she wanted to go back and kill her.



Luckily,  when Regina saw Marian’s arrest, Marian yelled out, “If you had a family that loved you, you wouldn’t be such a jerk!” and that's when Regina remembered, "Oh, right... I have a family that loves me. I have my boy and my estranged wife, and if I go into 'ripper mode' again I may lose all that forever."

Meanwhile, Belle had found the perfect house for her and Rumple to creepy-crawl for their honeymoon. It just plopped down after the last curse so it was fair game, according to Belle! She was merrily vague: “I don’t know who it belonged to, but it’s here now and no one’s claimed it! Well, someone peed in the corner of the living room and left a half-eaten can of Hormel chili in the sink, but I think they’ve moved on!” 




Truly the romantic honeymoon hideaway of all our most girlish fantasies. They B&E'd their way through the place and Rumple opted to start things off right in their squatter’s love nest by switching his Real Dagger with the Fake Dagger. So now Belle is in possession of the Real Dagger! 

Except why, then, do you even NEED a fake dagger, Rumple? You want to be able to switch them again at will? Oh Rumple, when will you learn? Probably not ever. This show is not exactly teeming with new ideas for it’s characters’ internal conflict. Basically either A) your parents abandon you, or B) you’re torn between living a normal life and crazysexycool magic, or C) you’re a girl-warrior in love with Aurora who has literally vanished from the Earth’s surface.

Anyway, it was definitely time for these two newlyweds to go on down to the abandoned mansion’s ballroom and reenact a special moment from Beauty and the Beast.


Hahaha, Linda Woolverton, I certainly hope you see a check in the mail for this fun little scene lifted from your Beauty and the Beast screenplay! P.S. did you know that Linda Woolverton was the first female screenwriter to earn sole writing credit on a billion-dollar movie, namely Maleficent? Maybe OUAT will borrow a couple scenes from her work on that screenplay as well when Kristin Bauer returns to OUAT in the second half of Season 4! Command-C, Command-V!! Such fun. 

Across town, Emma was blowing up Regina’s phone, begging her for just a moment face-to-face. “Maybe it’s you she doesn’t want to hear from,” Henry said, bitterly. Emma quietly started planning a search for a boom box so she could play “In Your Eyes” outside the Mayoral mansion, but Henry offered to act as an intermediary between his parents, as children of divorce often do. 




Snow remarked that it must be hard for Henry now that both of his moms are involved with other men and OBVIOUSLY nothing about the situation is highly suggestive that Emma and Regina are estranged spouses with one partner trying desperately to win the other one back. Nope this is just another classic straight-lady dynamic: You’re getting so obsessive about contacting your lady co-parent that your mutual kid has to tell you right to your face that she’s miffed at you because you started dating a dude. 

So Emma started frantically denying that she’s even going out with Hook , but speak of the pleather-clad devil, Hook appeared out of nowhere.


Yes, he’s been wearing the same outfit for two days in a row/three seasons now, and he was like, “Hey Emma let’s hold hands in public. Why can’t we hold hands in public? Did you get my texts? I sent you 42 texts last night explaining how I feel and they took me a really long time to type. You could at least have texted back 'hi.'”

But Before Snow could even demand that they get engaged right then and there, Grumpy was YELLING because everyone needed to RUN RUN RUN no time to ask WHY because SNOW GOLLUM AHHH! 




What would OUAT be if it didn't have people running around without fully understanding why? It would be 20 minutes long, basically.

The episode's chaos was brought to you by Elsa, who had hidden herself in an ice house, because she believes strongly in sticking with a theme, and now she’s trying to kill everyone around her with her mind + snow gollums because she is a very 'shoot first, ask questions later' type of ice-magick practitioner. 




The Charmings decide to run to Robin Hood’s house (a.k.a., the woods next to the freeway) and warn Mr. and Mrs. Hood about the Snow Gollum, but actually that just led the Snow Gollum right on over there, and these Charmings are kind of dangerously thoughtless, aren’t they? They have been killing their friends and endangering their families for like, four seasons now.



Case in point: No one could do shit to stop this ice gollum, it knocked out everybody including Magical Emma (when did she get her magic back again?), and just as it was about to step on Maid Marian, guess who appeared out of nowhere?



That’s right. Regina saved everyone’s life, including Marian's, because let’s face it, as of the beginning of Season 3 it became her full-time job, and Marian was like, “Well maybe you AREN’T a monster,” all snotty like. And Regina was all, “Bitch I might be, welcome to Storybrooke, the land where I have to clean up after ‘heroic’ simpletons like yourself 24 hours a day. P.S. tell your husband he left his scarf and his dignity at my house when he left this morning. Laaaaaater.” Emma went RUNNING after Regina, face aglow like Emma was in a desert and Regina was a frosty glass of water with a cucumber slice in it, but Regina just *poofed* out of sight because the last thing she needed this day was to smell pirate on Emma’s breath. 





So now we had ANOTHER beat of Hook asking Emma to spend some time with him and Emma saying, "Well actually I need to go find Regina. Regina is not happy. I can’t be happy while Regina is unhappy," and Hook being like, “Holy Lord can we speak openly and directly about this situation?!?! What is your deal with Regina?!?! It can’t possibly be just Regina that’s the issue?!?!” Hahaha oh Hook go discover the magical land of Netflix and maybe stream Chasing Amy.

Having shaken Hook at last, Emma tracked down Regina at er house, where Regina was on the floor crying like her heart was broken, and Emma vowed that Regina will have a happy ending; as Savior, Emma will make SURE Regina gets her happy ending, and holy SHIT if Regina or Emma were a male character this would be all over mainstream entertainment news as like the most romantic scene in OUAT history if not ABC history. I mean, come on.


This split screen also echoed the first act of Frozen, where Anna tried to get Elsa to come build a snowman, so who knows, maybe OUAT isn’t just creating diabolically .GIF-able romantic moments between its two lady leads, maybe it's trying to re-tell the Frozen™ story with Regina and Emma, but most likely it's doing both. It’s not like OUAT can afford to lose viewers, and don’t tell me a that show basing its A-story arc on motherf-cking Fro$en™ isn’t cynical enough to double down on its known history of queer-baiting. 

What makes this bittersweet subtextual moment way more bitter than sweet is how the show keeps proclaiming via All Media: “We’re just simple Hollywood folk trying to write a modern fairy tale about two moms who share a son, who care about each other deeply, who worry about each other obsessively and who also make incredibly powerful magic every time they touch. And that somehow makes them gay? Y’all crazy for that one. Remember when we promised you a gay character last season? Oh well. Anyway, it’s Frozen™ time now! Let it go. Luv y’all/keep watching/don’t expect us to invalidate our apparently massive demographic of homophobic viewers in any way, shape, or form.”



Kids, once upon a time, OUAT presented itself as an edgy update of all our beloved fairy tales. It was bravely, ambitiously weird and tried to “go there” with a knocked-up Cinderella, a jailbird Emma, and scandals involving corrupt smalltown politics. Now it’s an hour-long commercial for Disneyland with the vanilla-est plot of them all, one that seems built on marketing algorithms. The ghost of an actually intriguing, relevant love story is conjured anytime LaParillz and JMo share a screen.


Speaking of super relevant storylines: Rumple has the damn hat from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Fantasia, 1940)? I really don’t need to watch a bunch of brooms stomping around cleaning stuff like crackheads at any point this season, thanks. Also we found out that Anna took off on a boat to the Enchanted Forest a Long Time Minus Five Years Ago, but Anna’s necklace is now in Mr. Gold’s shop? So Elsa is in Storybrooke? And 28+ years younger than Elsa? Or maybe Arendelle also was FROZEN™ in the curse? And there were freaking CGI rock trolls?! Look, I am a grown-ass woman. Please save the anthropomorphic rock trolls for Disney programming between 2 and 5 in the PM. 

Regina ended the episode with a monologue about her bright idea to hunt down the author of the Story Book and demand that the villains ALSO get their happy endings. Is OUAT planning to straight-up rip off Red Shirts and send Regina through some portal into the Land of Disney Studios in Burbank, California, 2014 so that she can literally march into the OUAT writers' room and demand to know why in hell they keep giving her these sad-sack storylines? Nah, it won’t be that cool. It would be like, a CGI animated Walt Disney like that CGI Audrey Hepburn who keeps trying to sell me Dove chocolate.

Whatever entity Regina ends up sitting across from with her requirement that villains get happy endings, I hope that entity points out that actually, all the villains in Storybrooke except for Regina have it pretty good: Rumplestiltskin got to marry his true love Belle. Robin Hood, a thief, has his Maid Marian back from the damn dead. Dr. Whale is the head of a thriving medical practice. Captain Hook ended up with the Savior, Emma. It’s really only the Wicked Witch, Cora, Maleficent, and Regina who are being held 100 percent accountable for their misdoings in this world. I wonder why that is.


QUESTIONS:

... How did you like the Season 4 premiere?


Comments (461)
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May 09, 2015
Why isn't anybody saying something about how seriously hilariously written this article is. Whoever the author is, you're funny.
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Jan 28, 2015
At first I was worried that they would actually do a rewrite of the story (like they always do) because it would have been way to soon. Nobody would be interested in watching a rewrite of a movie that premiered over a year ago. Fortunately they made some sort of a sequel. The first episode o season 4 was kinda like the first chapter in a book, boring, hard to keep reading until you get deeper in the book, you can't stop reading. I hope that's what it's gonna be like, because watching the first episode (season 4) was very hard, I almost had to force myself to keep watching (which is never a good sign) Ok and honestly, after all that they been through some person walks around shooting ice is suddenly a bad guy, I mean it's ridiculous (I've only watched the first episode 😬) Something you need to ask yourself is where do you think this is going? Sure they are starting to uncover her (Elsa's) background but you need to think, let's say in 20th episode of season 4 by then how much will they uncover? What if the writers can't cover everything? Oh and seriously? It's like Henry grew 3 feet while we were gone. And what about Regina and her true love Robin Hood? Sometimes I wonders how the story would change if Regina listened to Tinker Bell and went in to talk to the man with the lion tattoo earlier, there would be no problem, Regina could have Robin Hood without fighting his wife. Speaking of that, just a throwback to the last couple episode of season 3, Emma got her magic back YAY, but she lost it before because of Hook, then she save him and all that but the important part is that after that (when the witch dies) she kisses him again. Emma and hook may seem like the only ones that have 'Sparks' but I'll tell you soon their relationship we'll be just as complicated. And honestly, Hook has been wearing the same outfit for WAY to long, I mean seriously dude the unbuttoned shirt act is getting old and weird, it seems like he basically sleeps with that on. It seems like other than Emma and Hook, Rumple's relationship with belle is perfect, even though their relationship is based on lies not trust. And I was so disappointed when Neil died, I was rooting for him and Emma all along, how could she get over him so fast? Some brainstorms I'm thinking Neil's coming back some how (technically he is here because of snow and charming) or Rumple will have another baby with Belle. Maybe Hook will propose, Regina will get Robin Hood back and Elsa finds her soul mate?
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Dec 06, 2014
When are the new seasons going on Netflix????
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In other words, all the male villains currently have a happy ending.
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Oct 26, 2014
Regarding:

"actually, all the villains in Storybrookeexcept for Regina have it pretty good: Rumplestiltskin got to marry his true love Belle. Robin Hood, a thief, has his Maid Marian back from the damn dead. Dr. Whale is the head of a thriving medical practice. Captain Hook ended up with the Savior, Emma. It’s really only the Wicked Witch, Cora, Maleficent, and Regina who are being held 100 percent accountable for their misdoings in this world. I wonder why that is."

Regarding "villains" who have gotten happy endings:

Rumple has a happy ending for now... but since the story is ongoing, it's not really a happy ending, is it?

Robin Hood was never a villain... he was always the hero of his story. Prince John was the villain.

Dr. Whale... was he a villain?

Captain Hook was the villain of the original movie... the same movie in which Peter Pan was the hero... he was never a villain in OUAT. Just a scruffy nerfherder. :)

For the unhappy endings:

You forgot Pan. :) He got an unhappy ending.

The Wicked Witch, I'll grant you. :)

Cora was a villain straight through to the end. She was never redeemed.

Maleficent, IIRC, had an unhappy ending that was engineered by Regina, didn't she?

And that just leaves Regina.
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Oct 26, 2014
Also, the only reason Rumple has a happy ending, even for now, I think, is that he's been rewritten as the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
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Oct 26, 2014
I found myself pleasantly surprised by this episode. See, I really loved Frozen, and was worried that OUAT would treat it the same way it's treated all of the other Disney properties - with a OUAT retelling of the story. Because OUAT gave us retellings of Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, etc., I... just kind of assumed that it would give us a retelling of Frozen.

But no, it's giving us a sequel, which fits into the OUAT universe (and I do think it fits in, btw. I think the main problem is that people are determined to dislike the Frozen tie-in because it's too recent and too obvious a marketing ploy... and this is coloring the perceptions of everything related to the story. But looking at it with fresh eyes... do you really think that the Frozen tie-in is more "cartoonish" than the idea that Rumplestiltskin = The Beast? Or that Mulan is Prince Philip's bodyguard?)

Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, I think going with a sequel, rather than a retelling, was a smart move on the part of the writers. It is too soon... way too soon... for a retelling of a story that all of us saw in the theaters less than a year ago.

As a sequel, it's quite good. Ana and Elsa are very in-character.

As a tie-in to OUAT, it's... also quite good. There are a lot of parallels between Elsa and Regina, to the point where I think Regina might eventually become Elsa's mentor, in a way. So she can learn to get the instinctual "create a violent snowman without even knowing it when I feel scared," thing, under control. And it might do Regina some good to see herself mirrored in Elsa, both the good and the bad.

Plot-wise, the snowman tied in nicely with the B-plot, Regina's various knee-jerk reactionary actions to Marion being back.
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Oct 24, 2014
I'm sorry but hook in the unbuttoned leather coat is just too much. I can't believe his heart in that cheesy get up. Go back to the disco floor and find a ball to stand under. Can't believe he was once a military man. He needs a gold chain.
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Oct 24, 2014
It's stupid. Why is Anna giving David fencing lessons? CGI troll is stupid. Kristoff doesn't even look like much of a man. I'll take the cartoon one. The Beauty and the Beast dance scene was cheesy too. Disney is not the only version there is of fairy tales.
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Oct 21, 2014

I was just really pissed this episode that instead of placing more focus on Regina's arc, they wasted so much of the episode on Elsa and Anna. The whole emotional turmoil and Emma's promise for a happy ending? Priceless.

The Frozen was plain on boring and totally killed the actually-riveting storyline progressing between Emma/Regina/happy endings.
I mean for goodness sake, all she did was run around the town leaving snail-ice trails only to end up in Gold's for a necklace? Ugh. And seriously, leave the dumb Frozen flashbacks behind. And I completely agree with you about how they've just taken the story wholesale. Much of the interest in the show came from how they spun traditional tales and characters into something much more complex, with heroes often having flawed characteristics and villain's showing heart. That's what won me here in the first place.

Last point: Villain's happy ending. I'm guessing she didn't get the news about the secret Gold wedding happening (it's really hilarious that these two are having a blast of a honeymoon while the rest of the town is being iced by a snowman. Seriously where the hell are they?!?) Thing about Cora is that she was evil through to the end, so I'm guessing she wasn't on the happy-endings list. But Regina has redeemed herself time and again! And yet it's Rumple, the man who is still lying to his wife, so gets the cheers. Unbelievable. I'm surprised Regina has held on to her good side for so long. The only way they can fix this is to legit crown her the queen, not standing for anything else here
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Oct 09, 2014
Almost immediately into the premiere, the episode wasn't sitting right with me (and it didn't get better in the 2nd episode).

They're trying too hard. They're trying to push Frozen's square peg into OUAT's round hole, and it's just not working. Like, it literally feels like they're trying to put animated characters into a live action show. The Frozen group doesn't feel like real people, and it's because they're writing them to emulate the movie too much.

OUAT has made it's mark by making new spins on classic characters and it's been a fairly successful formula up until now. I understand that Frozen is new, and popular, and fresh in everyone's mind, but either make it fit the universe or just don't use it. Simple as that. The way it is now, everything feels off-balance.
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Oct 07, 2014
I missed these reviews over the summer! You made my day once more! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Oct 07, 2014
I think emma got her powers back when wicked witch died LOL I'll never get emma and regina being couple LOL though I can't picture hook and emmma together either, no chismistry
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Oct 06, 2014
Okay I haven't read all 429 comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating this. But are we going to talk about the fact that Belle was rescued from the hospital basement and has not sent ANYONE to get out the others? Like, the curse has been lifted long enough for Henry to grow 3 feet and sound like James Earl Jones but innocent people are still in solitary confinement? She had the whole Neverland timeline to spring those poor people! I figured we were supposed to assume they'd been released off-screen, but to know that our "redeemed" Evil Queen still knows they're down there is ridiculous.
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Oct 06, 2014
I WAS REWATCHING TODAY BEFORE THE NEW EPISODE AND THINKING THE SAME THING OMG
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Oct 05, 2014
As usual, the recap is so much better than the show. Ugh, when I saw Elsa in the finale, I cringed. And now I see I was totally justified. I mean, come on, there wasn't a plot to that movie. Take the song if you want, but blah to the rest. It feels like a struggle to watch this show, I really have to force it. And that is not good.
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Oct 08, 2014
I was disappointed, because I thought they were going to do their own take on the snow queen tale, and just FLAVOUR it with the disney adaptation, you know, like they did with all the others! Instead we get a straight frozen OUAT Crossover???? No. No no no no no. This isn't right, this can't be true! They could have had Elsa as a cold hearted villain who turned to magic as a way of freedom from her strict parents who expected things from her, then later she accidentally killed her sister and was so heart broken that not only did she rip out her heart thanks to Rumple (Because nearly every tale either includes Rumple or a snow white character and it wouldn't be OUAT without a ripped out heart) and freezes it. Oh well. I'm sure we'll get in touch with the original tale when the original snow queen arrives. Wonder what her tragic backstory that led her to her path is.
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Oct 09, 2014
Yeah, the snow queen would be awesome, I like that story way better. I wish they'd use stuff from Fairy Tale Theater with Shelly Duvall. Remember that? Those were great! Ooohh, or some Greek mythology. I know it's kinda out there, but they put in Dr. Frankenstein, so why not? Anyways, I'm bored by the show, I only know what's going on because of these reviews.
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Oct 05, 2014
Good Lord, after reading that review all i can say is - found another delusional SQer. I mean ship them if you want but you can't deny CS. They are here to stay, Emma want Hook not the evil queen.
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Oct 08, 2014
I'm sure you know they're not being serious
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Oct 05, 2014
I watched the movie Frozen before this season started so I could get what's going on.
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Oct 25, 2014
So did I.
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Oct 04, 2014
I loved it. They've been giving us our beloved disney films a re-write in this show, light heartedly for a few years now, and now they are doing the same with the latest movie - I don't see that as a sell out, its just new material it can use.
I really enjoyed watching the whole thing Belle doing the dance with Rumple was adorable. I also enjoyed the cgi effects of the ice gollum and the troll. Weird, I know, but I thought it was all really cute.
And Lily - it is lovely to see your humour back in this review, I had a great laugh at the screen caps :D
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Oct 04, 2014
To whom ever wrote this review... you must be a retard! First off sounds like u didn't even watch last season finale because if you had you wouldn't be asking when Emma got her magic back and how the only reason Elsa is in storybrooke is because they brought ger back from rumbles becausse he stored her along with other things that he didn't understand or was to powerful. And if u have been watching OUAT at all you would know that how they roll they always do something close to disney fairy tales but put there own twist on it so it's not ripping off anything but you however riped off vampire diaries when u said regina doesnt need to go back to be a ripper come on go post your negativy on there message board!
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Oct 06, 2014
Lily is amazing and damn funny.
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Oct 04, 2014
Also everyone needs to be patient it is just the first episode the story hasn't unfolded yet! Obviously Elsa sis must have been going to see rumple for help then you figure out the rest. Sell out to disney are you all retarded this show is more like a tribute to Disney!
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Oct 04, 2014
Cut out the 'retard' talk. What are you 12? The reviewer didn't like this episode. It's called an opinion.
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Oct 04, 2014
I must be the only person on the planet who didn't really care for Frozen. I'm not a fan of this story line. I'd rather they just point the camera at Hook for 44 minutes and let him smile.
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Oct 05, 2014
lol! but agree about Hook hehe
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Oct 03, 2014
hope CGI Olaf makes an appearance soon!!
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Oct 02, 2014
I did not like it. I agree it feels like a sellout to Disney, and I do not like Frozen. Once Upon a time was my favorite TV show for the last 3 years, until now. I liked all the old fairy tale characters that they brought to life. Now, I may not even watch this season.
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Oct 04, 2014
they never actually brought to life the old fairy tale characters as they were written by Brothers Grimm. They did bring back the Disney versions so that's nothing new. But I know what you mean ... they're going to some new depths with bringing Frozen into this. Why do they do it? There are quite a few more stories to be told from the Grimms stories. But I guess they only take their characters from movies where they can be sure everyone knows who they're talking about.
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Oct 02, 2014
Please dont hate me - but I choose to watch OUAT with my mind open. I really enjoyed the episode. We have to remember (as adults), that the target demographic for this show is families with kids aged 12-18. It adds action/swashbuckling for the dads/kids, strong women leads and romance for the mums and magic/intrigue for the kids.
I enjoy every aspect of the show, because it is intelligently written - there have been some really great dialogue - especially for Regina - and whilst yes it can be a bit cheesy - it is a story about hope.
Your final quote " I hope that entity points out that actually, all the villains in Storybrookeexcept for Regina have it pretty good: Rumplestiltskin got to marry his true love Belle. Robin Hood, a thief, has his Maid Marian back from the damn dead. Dr. Whale is the head of a thriving medical practice. Captain Hook ended up with the Savior, Emma. It’s really only the Wicked Witch, Cora, Maleficent, and Regina who are being held 100 percent accountable for their misdoings in this world." IS PERFECT though. totally 100% agree.
Not really sure where they are going with the Frozen thing, but the Beauty and the Beast moment, was lovely and long overdue.
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Oct 02, 2014
One question why the hell does Emma constantly run around with her gun drawn? She looks stupid and also it comes off as threatening to the person who is just alone and scared in a new land.

The only thing that worked about CGI rock troll was that John Rhys-Davies was the voice, but let's face it he's kind of Rock Troll-esque they probably could have established the same effect (or better) with makeup.

Finally after reading your review I came to the theory that every episode Maid Marian is going to be placed in mortal peril and rescued at the last second. It's going to be a mashup of Futurama's "Bender's Big Score" where Time Travel duplicates are always killed off in order to preserve the time stream and the premise of the "Final Destination" films. Let's face it she shouldn't be there it is an affront to nature that she is now alive, its the whole reason why Regina lost her happy ending, and it will have ramifications on the timeline until she is no longer a disruption to it. Ripples in the time stream have a way of correcting themselves...

Death comes for Marion
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Oct 03, 2014
Your theory is too logical for this show
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Oct 05, 2014
Probably, but only time will tell
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Oct 02, 2014
RC and LP are continuing to be the absolute BEST things about this show. That's....pretty much all I'll say about this episode and leave it at that.
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Oct 01, 2014
Words cannot express how happy I am that you and your recaps are back, putting into words every damn thing I wish I could say, but, you know, better. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Oct 01, 2014
I loved the second half of last season. It had purpose and wasn't too tedious, it was well thought out, interesting villain and timeline, and fun to watch! I was happy the writers finally got it together again and realized what makes this show great.

And then this happened.

Maybe it's just because I really dislike Frozen. Maybe it will surprise me like the Wicked Witch (I thought would be stupid but then loved). But so far, this was gimmicky, not well acted or executed (Elsa. Elsa's dress. All things Frozen.), and repetitive of old seasons. (We finally had progress developing last season finale, why jump off that train?)

The Sorcerers Apprentice story line could actually be really cool if done the right way, and it should have been the only new story line for the season.

And that ice gollum? New level of stupid. Harsh, I know.
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Oct 01, 2014
Really don't know why FROZEN has to be part of the storyline... It seems Dull and boring... Oh my sister is missing and I just escaped the Bottle that imprisoned me....hmmmm. So lets forget the fact I was imprisoned in a bottle and who did that and just skip to parts here and there to find out some other plot lie Oh my parents were trying to remove my magic and were going to The enchanted forest probably to make a deal with Rumple.

And of course you know that her sister is probably in the prison Psych Ward and has been there for years. Under a memory loss spell by either Regina or Rumple or maybe a new villain?

You would figure that Emma would of watched frozen and knew exactly who they were dealing with! LOL. Smart idea would have everyone start watching old Disney movies and be like Hmmmm hey thats not how it happened. And oh wait it has to be this villain cause of there strange powers ect.

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Oct 01, 2014
I really think the writers of this show just need to take a break for a while, rewatch their episodes, and take the time to evaluate what they should do next. OUAT was amazing for the first season and a half. What made it great was how all of these stories that we've known for so long were portrayed in a new light and how they intersected with each other at different points. I continued watching each episode then because I was curious to see what angle the writers would take with each character. It seemed genius and made me wonder why I'd never thought of some of these adapted stories. But now I come back each week, just hoping that they'll get better. Because, as the Frozen storyline proved in this episode, they are no longer taking interesting angles with their characters, new or old. They are either retelling a story that we have all heard or they are fussing with boring love interests that were rushed into the story for convenience. I wish they would slow down from adding new characters in every week as plot devices and actually work on some character development. It may not be as "action-packed" as throwing a new face into the mix every five minutes, but it will provide those meaningful connections and genius stories that long-time fans have been craving since season 2. The writers are wasting such potential for an intriguing series on a Disney-coated, commercialized disappointment.
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Oct 01, 2014
So, I kept getting distracted by Charming's hair and how freaking horrible it looked. But from what I was able to concentrate on, I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm still in the 0.001% of the world that hasn't seen Frozen so I don't feel much of a pull towards that story and it does feel like a way to just cash in (whether it's what the writers wanted or not).

Otherwise, it didn't really feel like a super strong premiere. I just felt like not much happened. So I'm just kind of on the fence...
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Oct 01, 2014
Yeah, I never even heard of "frozen" until now - I assume it's some wacko climate change mockumentary? But I'm pretty sure Nolan on Revenge in Charming's hairdresser these days...
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Oct 01, 2014
Hey, all. I’ll conclude with an ode to this forum, but will be a little roundabout getting there:

First, I actually enjoyed this episode. I found it light, fun, and compared to some of the truly awful episodes (think Dwarf Eggs, for instance), any flaws in the writing weren’t (to me) so glaring as to get in my way of enjoying the show. I also found the acting more even – rather than Carlyle and Parrilla needing to do all the heavy lifting, I found the performances much more balanced.


Second, an earlier commenter had said (not at all unkindly) that, in addition to still being incredibly funny and accurate, Lily is also beginning to sound a little bitter. I, also, sensed some increased bitterness in this review. But hey, I can relate. Here’s my version of bitter: I simply cannot believe that, in the 21st century, in an affluent first world nation that does allow freedom of speech within reason, in a profession that tends to honor open discussion and open lifestyles, that these writers and actors have allowed THREE years to go by while behaving – through either active statements or the ‘silence of the lambs’ – like Swan Queen shippers, of all shapes and sizes, were simply making things up out of thin air. It is inconceivable to me that it would take more than three years for one cast member to finally be sent out to say – however carefully – that there are understandable reasons why some fans may see gay subtext between Emma and Regina. Now, nobody is that benighted and developmentally delayed in show business these days! I honestly find these 3 years of dismissive messaging so unnecessary, so unkind and so inhumane as to probably have karmic consequences – there is simply no justification for it.


(So that’s my personal version of bitter.)


Now, having said that, Lily and this discussion forum are the ‘breath of fresh air’ that, for me, keeps this show's universe worthwhile. This forum is filled with well spoken people who can just relax and have a good time discussing a fantasy show, without having to tie themselves into knots pretending that gay subtext never exists. I recently re-visited the Tumblr tag ‘swan queen’, and I again found an extraordinarily group of voices, mostly young, mostly intelligent, often funny, sometimes anguished. And I also found that posting after posting quoted Lily Sparks…sometimes even quoting reviews from several seasons back.


Passion often comes with a bit of a ‘tude. So Lily, if sounding a little bitter towards one mediocre television show is the price that you pay to encourage great discussion within this forum, as well as have your comments Tumbled and Tweeted and Googled constantly between kids who respect the hell out of you, than I am guessin’ that you are probably cool with that price :-)

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Oct 01, 2014
I identify with your version of bitter. I enjoy these recaps immensely and hope and trust that she will indeed continue to 'pay the price'. She does not create or make up the sub-text. She treats is the same way she treats every other aspect of the show; if it's there she discusses it, and that I respect and appreciate most of all.

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Oct 01, 2014
Hey I love the reviews, I've been reading them for forever now but I must admit the lesbian fantasy is getting a little played out. Based on the characters histories both are straight and people do not suddenly just turn gay.
Furthermore this is not a show for grown women or men it's clearly aimed at families in on a Sunday night and always has been. The new frozen story pretty much proves it. Speaking as a grown ass man I love the show it's live action Disney what's not to love, if live action Disney isn't what you wanted why are you watching it. One more point this show did not make the stories dark and edgy. They've always been that way. There is a ton of subtext to be read into every disney film if that's how you wish to watch them. But again I love the reviews they usually make me laugh so so much :)
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Oct 01, 2014
Surely hope you´re not equating ´family show´ with ´can´t do lesbian storytelling´. I for one know that my niece who has to mothers and belongs to a very happy family, would be very disappointed. Not to mention the fact that her type of family isn´t represented on tv, anywhere... Also, 'lesbian fantasy' might be played out to you, because you have that luxury. Lesbians I know crave for representation, I hope you realize the breadcrumbs they get are very important to them, so you know, maybe you could think about that. Idk. But if you meant to say that we should take the silliness for granted, because family show, how do you square that with the increase of said silliness over the seasons? I mean I don't honesty believe the first season was all that kid-oriented, do you? To me it seems more like a lack of imagination. Just my 2 cts though..
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Oct 01, 2014
Second everything in this review, gotta add:

1. Wish they would find more for Snow and Charming to do, instead of heaping on new characters. They are basically baggage now and haven't been very interesting since season 1. They just kind of comment on everything.

2. They should have done SOMETHING different with Frozen, because their dialogue isn't nearly as funny or charming as the Frozen writers' was, and the fact that they're trying puts that in the spotlight.

But the Elsa and Anna actresses were great, and nearly made up for that, and Georgina Haig (Elsa) commentating on Twitter was adorable.
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Oct 01, 2014
Couple things for all those complaining about the lean on this blog toward a lesbian relationship on this show. One, there is a HUGE gender bias in TV and movies. There are 2.24 male characters for every 1 female character on TV, so, I guess, yay for OUAT for STARTING the series with 3 strong female leads. Adding Hook, Robin, and Wil Scarlet (whenever he shows up) as regulars and making them (at least Hook and Robin) love interests, zeros that little advantage for pushing boundaries on this series out for this show. Two, TV is full of white, male protagonists. I just covered the gender thing, let's shift our focus on the minorities here. OUAT has had what? Mulan, they made Lancelot a black man, and Sidney. I'm racking my brain for any other persons of color on this show and can't think of any, please correct me if I'm missing someone. So they're sticking to the "safe zone" as far as race is concerned. No, Rebecca Mader sporting green makeup last season doesn't count. Finally, there are plenty of happy, loving, gay and lesbian families (read: raising their own children) out there who deserve to be represented on a mainstream TV show, and have their own fairy tale. I personally know one such family who are like their own little fairy tale.

Lilly is absolutely correct when she said that this show started out with an aim to push the envelope, but it has slowly backtracked on each and every push that they made in season 1. The real America world is severely underrepresented on mainstream television, and while I won't lay all the responsibility on one specific show or the other, I do agree whole heartedly that if a show CAN do better as far as representing a minority group, OUAT is for sure one show that with one minor tweak, that wouldn't even be a stretch as far as plot or story line goes, could make a world of difference and be a big step in the right direction in mainstream media in general.
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Oct 01, 2014
There is also Maid Marian who I believe is of Latina descent.
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Oct 01, 2014
Yes. I believe you are right. Thank you.
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Oct 01, 2014
As far as minorities go, there was also Rapunzel and Tamara. But really, all of the minorities on this show have been used as simple plot devices so far. And that's ridiculous, because some of these characters (like Mulan and Rapunzel) have great potential for an interesting storyline that's not just focused on getting Emma or the Charmings from one point to another...
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Oct 01, 2014
But what hasn't been used as plot devices on this show? LOL Thank you for pointing Rapunzel and Tamara out. Rapunzel I don't think even got 15 minutes of screen total screen time. I forgot she was even in the show.
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Oct 01, 2014
You are totally right, but I will point out that Lana Parrilla is Latina, even if Regina is never identified as Latina.
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Oct 01, 2014
You are absolutely correct. Thank you for pointing that out. I'm embarrassed for missing that.
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Sep 30, 2014
I really wouldn't be complaining too much about the fact that female villains are being held accountable more so than the male villains (though you did leave out King George and Pan/Malcolm---and Jafar if you watch OUATiW). Regina has done some down right awful things with childish motive for all of it----and yet you want her with Emma and raising a young boy???? I'm sorry but you don't have any room to complain when you champion a relationship between someone who is good and deserves better (Emma) and someone who has the mentality of a spoiled tantrum throwing child and is vile to her core (Regina). There's some double standards at work here indeed....
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Oct 02, 2014
It is true that Regina needs to confront her past actions, why I would say that she even deserves that right for herself because she is one of the few villains that has made an actual effort to honestly redeem herself (Rumple doesn't count because redemption for him is always on his terms and Hook's method of redemption is just to start dating in a new social group, I don't really count Robin Hood as a villain since by those standards Emma would be one too but even he hasn't shown an iota of remorse for any past actions) .

And I wish that they would stop shoving Graham's death under the carpet, come on OUAT we aren't forgetting it and if you had the courage to have one of your main characters kill off another then you should be able to have her come to account for it as well.

But even though I agree that Regina's redemption hasn't had the best handling, I still think it's hypocritical to suggest that she could/should never have a relationship with a 'good guy' like Emma because of her villainous sideline. I mean Belle is with Rumple and he has orchestrated everyone's downfall as well as continues to kill, yet very few advise that Belle should seek counseling to get away. Hook as stated many times is not particularly heroic and is a borderline predator at best, yet try to tell a Hooker (I still can't believe that's their fan name) or even the mainstream media this and suddenly we're all man haters.

The point is that we can't argue that a hero character can't be involved romantically or otherwise with a villain character since within the OUAT universe almost everyone is morally ambiguous on varying levels and generally accept that about each other. Even Snow White and Charming have committed unsavory acts (not just in their love life either- kidding!), and if a relationship is written well and makes sense for both the characters at the time then why not? As for the whole 'but Emma/Regina aren't gay in the show' thing, well they aren't straight either. They have never had either character come out and officially state their sexuality in the show and until they do any identification is valid. They could be bisexual leaning more toward men, or closeted lesbians, or even end up as gay-male identified FTMs. Literally anything is possible.

As for the idea that female villains receive punishment where male villains don't, I'm not sure I agree with that. Male villains do get punishments, though there could be an argument made that on average female villains are treated harsher and receive more dire punishment than their male counterparts.

There would need to be a serious study made but I can think of; Maleficent (killed), Blind Witch (killed), Cora (killed), Regina (redeemed but distrusted), Zelena (killed), Tamara (killed), King George (did he ever get punished for killing that guy?), Charming's Evil Twin (killed), Rumple (dead son but on honeymoon), Hook (dead lover but now dating the savior), Sydney (trapped in eternal mirror/servitude but to his hot crush), Owen (killed), Peter Pan (killed). Out of 6 female villains here 1 is still alive and relatively well off, out of 7 male villains 4 are still alive and relatively well off. There does seem to be a slight disparity of punishment here but like I said it requires a more in-depth study.
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Oct 02, 2014
I'm glad you brought up that whole thing with Regina/Graham. Before she even killed the poor guy, she had him under her control and basically raped him for 28 years (or more). If Regina had been a male character and Graham a female character----there would be no redemption. The character wouldn't have even made it to Season 2 or got a new love interest. 'Redemption' wouldn't even be an option. No one would ever let said hypothetical male character live it down and ratings would probably plummet as people would declare that OUAT doesn't take rape seriously. What Regina did to Graham was disgusting and it shouldn't be swept under the rug and forgotten. :(
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Sep 30, 2014
100% agree with everything in here.

I watched Frozen on Saturday for the 1st time since January. Watching it under the pretense of it being on OUAT, I saw Elsa/Anna parallels with Regina/Emma. In that regard, I don't think the show is going too far out on a limb with that retelling, and OF COURSE they're going to ride that to keep viewers. Also, yes, so far the Frozen arc seems pretty superficial, and I'm starting to get the feels that it's going to be used as a Regina/Emma (just friends) relationship vehicle.

Yes, regardless if it's the writers trying to, if the editor is telling his/her own story, or if the actresses themselves are putting a little extra into their scenes together, there is blatantly more on screen chemistry between Regina and Emma than Regina and Robin or Emma and Hook. When Emma kissed Hook and told him to "be patient" I wasn't really feeling it between them. I know they say that the love between Emma and Hook is "genuine," but yeah I'm not getting "genuine" there. There was "genuine" when Emma vowed as the Savior to bring Regina her happy ending, however. In fact, they probably could have ended that entire saga by just having Regina open that door, her happy ending was on the other side.

Maybe Robin, Marion, their son, and his merry men could move into Rumple and Belle's honeymoon house when they're done with it? It's apparently not being used anyway….
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Sep 30, 2014
Can't wait to see how they're going to integrate Star Wars with OUAT!
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Sep 30, 2014
You guys! Stop making hilarious reviews of bad shows! It makes me keep watching the bad shows. Seriously, this review is pure LOLs. I have to disagree on one point though, I actually like the rock trolls. Hehe.

Who is this show's costume designer? Elsa's gown is so unflattering, Rumple's "Beast" costume looks like it's about 4 sizes too big, Belle's gown looks like a cheap Halloween costume version, and Anna's wedding dress looked moldy and grey.
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Oct 01, 2014
I am actually enjoying Lily's recaps of this show even more since i stopped watching. None of the agitation and disappointment, all of the laughs.

I've heard from multiple sources that the costumes were...well, disappointing.
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Oct 01, 2014
It's like they spent all their time on Regina's FTL outfits and had to throw something together last minute.
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Sep 30, 2014
I liked Elsa's dress from the S3 finale, much better than the new version.
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Sep 30, 2014

"I sent you 42 texts last night explaining how I feel and they took me a really long time to type." That cracked me u p !

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Sep 30, 2014
Ugh I was really enjoying your review until you threw in your fanfic obsession to see Regina and Emma together. They are perfect enemies who became frenemies for the sake of Emma's son, who Regina adopted... and that's it! Emma was in love with Neal for a long time and she and Regina can still barely stand to talk to each other because they are polar opposites-- Emma the prototypical hero and Regina the perfect villain. There has never been an inkling of romance between them and you are so starved to see that you are warping the story in your own mind. Not professional for a review. Really made your review go off the rails.
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Oct 01, 2014
I respectfully disagree. I think having the guts to comment on and discuss sub-text is one of most professional things a person can do. I respect Lily a great deal for exactly this reason. She does not write what would get her the least amount of criticism, she says it like she sees it. And I happen to see what she sees.

Different interpretations and views are one of the great things about social media and communicative platforms like this one, but that Lily is "so starved to see it that [she is] warping the story in [her] own mind" we will have to agree to disagree on.
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Sep 30, 2014
Um… You're new here, huh? Also, in S3 Regina and Emma got pretty chummy between saving Henry from Pan, Regina giving Emma happy memories on the mid season finale, and Regina spending time with Emma (alone just the 2 of them) to teach Emma how to use her magic.
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Oct 01, 2014
So you're saying in no way shape or form they couldn't be trying to portray them as, oh, just maybe, more sisterly figures? Maybe they're trying to draw the Anna and Elsa parallel. Chummy doesn't really fit them from even late in the last season.

I feel like more than anything Regina needs FAMILY. That can be in many forms. Considering everything that has happened they will never be together like you want them to, but they could become sister figures eventually. Everyone knows sisters fight.
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Oct 01, 2014
No. I'm simply saying if you've been following Lilly's reviews, the whole "SwanQueen" angle shouldn't be a surprise at S4. As far as the interactions between Emma and Regina in S3 I spoke of, I was just laying out what had happened on the show. Hit up Netflix and rematch, I'm not implying anything there. They seemed friendly, to me, before Emma came back with Marion. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Oct 01, 2014
Oh, and I agree, they were more friendly. But Regina was getting more friendly with everyone. Even Snow. She was finally finding her place in the family.
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Oct 01, 2014
Oh no, it's not a surprise. It's just old news. Fine she supports it, but it shouldn't make up 90% of the review. It becomes redundant and tiresome. There used to be some humor, now it's just propaganda.
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Sep 30, 2014
"Emma quietly started planning a search for a boom box so she could play “In Your Eyes” outside the Mayoral mansion"

Excuse me, but are we talking here about Peter Gabriel song? Because I freaking love this song!
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Sep 30, 2014
Why is it you feel you need to make every point of this show some huge homophobic issue? Seriously?? Its a TV show, not a campaign. Stop injecting your "woe are the gays" shit cause literally public figures get wrecked if they don't fully support gay marriage. So literally let it go. Pun was not intended. you did have some funny comments of the show though, even though I love it simply cause I love everything Disney. But seriously stick to reviewing the show, leave your LGBT stuff out of it.
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Oct 01, 2014
'But seriously stick to reviewing the show, leave your LGBT stuff out of it' Really? You mean like all the other 2000 reviews of this show? Would you really be so concerned with her reviews if a lot of it revolved around Emma/Hook, you know, 'hetero stuff'? Would you complain in the exact same way then? Comments like this are EXACTLY why I am grateful she puts the 'LGBT stuff' in (what does that even mean - like, you know, GAY (relation)ship-STUFF like I don't know looks the same but you know different STUFF - like books and cd's, or you know, equality. Just STUFF. Really?) And who says anything about homophobic issues? All I read was 'wasted opportunity', and 'still see this obvious chemistry'. Why is that so 'huge'? Seems quite normal to me.
P.S. Assuming you're American: in 31 States same-sex marriage is still illegal. So much for public figures getting wrecked. If everyone truly was on the LGBT side, people wouldn't have to advocate on their behalf, and you truly wouldn't have to deal with these 'campaigns' anymore. Because then the issue would be over. The fact that you're bothered by it means it's far from over. Also, tv (and, incidentally, reviews) has been able to change a lot of minds on lots of issues over the years, therefore it can be powerful. So why not use it to adress issues?
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Apr 17, 2015
so oh wait, hetero stuff is discussed so we wah wah gays want our limelight. wow whiny much. she puts the LGBT crap for reviews same way someone decides to ship their pairing for no reason. they are straight women, not gay, all the subtext is in ur imagination. yes i can see TV doing a lot, like advocating incest, first salem, bates hotel and now Once upon a time, don't tell me u don't notice henry clinging to his mothers, he so wants to be part of their threeway. i can't wait when we get the incest marriage issue and u are about mothers marrying sons cause its pro LGBT.
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Apr 20, 2015
I am all for a healthy discussion. But you lost me at the incest threeway angle. There is just so much vile seeping through, I don't even know where to begin with this comment. If you at one point want to argue reasonably, come back with a civil response and we'll do just that. Until that time, maybe take a breath and a walk in the park on a sunny day. Hope that helps. smh
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Apr 20, 2015
Again Regina and Emma are straight. 100 percent.
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Apr 20, 2015
why? shouldn't people interested in incest have their day and representation too or is their love not good enough for you. I merely said how exciting it is that u LGBT are all about equal opportunity representation and are encouraging incest like is shown on Bates Hotel, Salem and soon, once upon a time. Maybe u want to update your reading comprehension, I am sure you will need it for all the incest threeway stories of Emma/Regina/Henry. so cute. amirite?
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Oct 01, 2014
Wow. If the LGBT stuff bothers you so much, read a different recap. There are real issues of representation being addressed in these reviews, making them both smart and funny. Maybe you're the one that needs to let it go and while you're at it, LITERALLY look up the correct usage of literally.
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Apr 17, 2015
No, it is not. nothing smart of funny about making straight women gay for no reason when they are attracted to men. He used LITERALLY right. don't lecture when u don't understand what smart and funny writing is.
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Sep 11, 2018
Hi there. I was just wondering if you’ve come out yet? Such anger and hostility generally stems from the things we hate within ourselves. So I’ll ask again, have you come out of your closet yet? Because judging from your comments, you’re so far in there you’re finding Christmas presents.
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Sep 30, 2014
I only just discovered your reviews a few weeks ago but religiously read every one. I am literally crying with laughter. Thank you, thank you!!
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Sep 30, 2014
Random thoughts:

- So basically Regina has been an actual bad person all this time, keeping the genie locked up in her cellar or wherever for no good reason? You'd think the writers would at least realize she's their best character and stop taking plot dumps all over her, but clearly that's asking too much.

- Not only is it not a show for grown-ups, it's also not a show that will ever make a strong pro-homosexual statement, and not a show that cares to provide a deep and consistent back story. Better that you think of it as a live-action version of those 80's cartoons designed to sell toys, because really that's all it's ever been, or ever will be. In terms of what little plot they will have, they're clearly going to push the "Regina and Emma are like sisters" thing to parallel Frozen this season, and I imagine that's going to make your head explode.

- The actresses who play Anna and Emma don't look even remotely related. "Anna" also came off like a local dinner theater act, with her obvious put-on affectations of cute bumbling.

- Going by actor ages, Henry is closer to Belle's age than Belle is to Gold's. I'm just going to leave that here for you to think about.

- Marian's a bitch, and that's a problem. If they want us to sympathize with Regina's POV, that's fine, but then they're going to have to do a lot more than make "the other woman" kinda catty, especially if they expect us to get on board with a plan that involves time-traveling murder. But if they don't want us to sympathize with Regina, then having Marian be unlikeable works against them. As usual, I think they aren't really thinking about it.

- None of the lines or moments meant to be clever hit their mark in this episode. Instead it just got awkward watching otherwise-fine actors (and Anna) phoning it in for a paycheck. Lana Parilla's still a professional, but it sure looks like everyone else is losing heart (pun intended, maybe?) I bet even Giancarlo Esposito, fresh from the festering poopchute that was Revolution, won't be happy to be back for long. Meghan Ory's show got canceled too, but hopefully she's smart enough to find something else to do with her time.

- One bright-ish note: Regina's speech about villains getting their due made me hopeful we might to see Wreck-It Ralph, whose whole movie was about villains not really being "bad" (though how that film's world concept could possibly mesh with OUAT, I don't know). Then again, they'd probably just end up wrecking one of my favorite modern Disney characters, so maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up.

- The CGI still looks like they did it in 1993. And I'm thinking less Jurassic Park, and more that terrible video for the song "Blue".
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Sep 30, 2014
Yes, i had those thoughts exactly, that watching OUAT is like watching a cartoon for children with its depth of plot, unchanging character costumes, lack of real charter development , and its contradicting plot line.
However, a lot of 80s cartoons had more depth than you are giving them credit for especially in comparison to the majority of children's cartoons these days. And the people actually resembled humans in the anatomical proportions then.

Yes, I do hope Marian changes. I understand her outrage at the newness of the situation and the fact her husband and child are hanging out with the woman who killed hundreds at a whim.

While I do not support the Belle/Gold ship, at least she is a woman and not a 17yr old girl like Neal went after.

And yes I do also feel that a lot of the actors are not acting as fully as they use to.
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Sep 30, 2014
Just one nitpicking thing (thought this was hilarious on the whole) they actually chased marshmallow not the other way round. They heard he'd gone to the forest, somehow magically outrun him - it's not like you can just drive straight through woodlands- and then went to check if Robin had seen him. Can we also talk about the highly convenient amount of time everyone bar Marian was knocked out in order to create the fake jeopardy That Regina was bout to straight up murder the stand that took her boyf?
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Sep 30, 2014
I loved it! Don't care if everybody is dissapointed. I loved every second of it.
I think we should give it some time so the story can develop itself...i mean Anna went of to find the truth and probably ended up in storybrooke orso...and rumpel found the letter that was in the sea and locked up Elsa...orso....guessing here...still there could be a good story.
Back to Elsa and Anna...Anna really is the cheerful one, like the movie and always positive...and i loved the looks Elsa gave when she tought everything was her fault...The flashbacks were nice.
The trolls and the icemonster was very cooly done in my opinion.
Poor regina, i felt really sad for her. She did so her best to grow and become this good person...somehow i still think she is, but she don't want to loose Robin...and easiest way is to use dark magic to achieve that...she is so used to think like that, that even if she is trying to be good...being bad is what she is...and to be honest....i love Regina when she is pissed off...!!!
The only thing i missed, because they continued where they left off, is the connection between Emma and Hook.
Just loved it all and can't wait till next week!


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Staff
Sep 30, 2014
Okay, cool, glad you're enjoying it.
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Sep 30, 2014
I didn't watch the episode but I would never miss recaps. Great, as always.

I read some of the comments and I don't care what anyone says ... don't stop mentioning SwanQueen. Don't "Let It Go" ... so to speak.

Like I said last year, I don't personally see it but I like that you do, I like that you see things different and that makes me see things different.

I can't physically watch OUAT as long as this storyline on. I just can't.
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Sep 30, 2014
I was extremely disappointed. They worked so hard season 3 getting Regina to be good, even making her so pure at heart to be able to use light magic, and then all of a sudden she's back to being the Evil manipulative queen??? Also, when the hell did Emma get her magic back??? In the third season, she saved Hook from the Wicked Witch by mouth to mouth and she lost her magic because his lips were enchanted to remove the magic from the first person he kissed. That's why there was mass confusion as to "Whose going to defeat Zelena now?" That's why Regina had to use light magic. Then, in the 4th season she Emma was just like 'Oh, yeah.... I forgot I had magic. Let me shoot this snowman." How could the writers goof up such an important moment in the third season? And since its picks right back up where we left off and keeps going as if nothing ever happened, I doubt they'll explain how she got magic back again considering there is literally no time for Emma to have gotten her powers back. I loved OUAT because of the back stories of all the Disney characters I've loved since I was a child, its a real adult version of the stories displayed for children, and now, I think the writers are selling out since Frozen was such a popular movie. Not that there is anything wring with frozen, but I think they could've made it go with the theme of the OUAT background better. I feel like they just threw it all together.
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Sep 30, 2014
Regina not being 100% good nor 100% bad is what is going to keep this show a float. Conflict is good, inner conflict is better. It pains me to see Regina take a step back, but as someone who had to take court ordered anger management at one point in their life, I can relate to Regina's inner struggle with her anger and wanting to be the person Henry knows she can be. Regina is the most interesting part of the entire show, make her a complete good guy makes her uninteresting. Emma has become progressively uninteresting because they've lost a lot of her inner turmoil.
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Sep 30, 2014
Emma got her magic back when Zelena died, and used it in last season's finale to get back to Storybrooke. No writers goof up.
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Sep 30, 2014
I was looking forward to this review as much as I was the show itself and you did not disappoint. You are ridiculously entertaining and funny. Thank you for your witty insights and observations. I agree 100% with your assessment.
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Sep 30, 2014
Since I love every fairy tale Disney movies, I was really like the episode. But after read your review, OMG, you are so right! They just make a FROZEN sequel. Well, it was like the first episode though. How the ending is not the ending. You know what I mean. Well, I still excited what will they bring. I hope we can see deeper Anna and Elsa.

P.S. : why they bring Anna and Elsa as Frozen franchise and tell Rapunzel story far from Tangled? :(
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Sep 30, 2014
Because Frozen is the current money making machine for Disney. I live in Orlando, Disney MGM Studios has an entire Frozen world, or whatever, right now complete with live shows, Olaf shaped ice cream treats (it's funny, the top of Olaf's head pops open and it looks like you're eating his brains), an ice skating rink, and all the theme park fanfare. Tangled was never a box office smash, and it certainly didn't get it's own little area in a Disney theme park.
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Sep 30, 2014
"Tale as old as 1991".... This review made my day! I could not stop laughing, I had tears coming out! I loved the use of the TM symbols every time you wrote "frozen", even if it had nothing to do with the film... and the Disneyland parade, you captured all my thoguhts on this and then some! :-D

That said, I'm gonna paste here what I wrote on the Once FB page. Just wondering if anyone else feels the same!

I’m so saddened and angered by this new direction Once has taken. The whole charm of Once was that these were adaptations, reimaginings of classic folk/fairy tales and that it was an adult, fantasy series. The characters had nothing to do with the old Disney movies, even though there were hints, allusions, to them (Grumpy, Blue etc.). And characters that were never in any film, like Red as the wolf with her cape being a magical item – how awesome was that? When season three brought Ariel and Eric in, it was even almost too much then. But now, with the season four premiere (and yes, first impressions make quite an impact), we can see this is nothing but Disney fodder for demographics and ratings. Don’t get me wrong, I love old Disney films (Sleeping Beauty is just an artistic masterpiece), but having actors in Frozen cosplay is like a slap in the face to both the longtime fans and the original premise of the show. Many commenters are saying “Perfect casting, she looks just like her! Where’s Olaf?” and it makes it seem like it’s just becoming a live-action version of a sequel to the animated film. To me, that’s not what the show was supposed to be…just bringing in replicas from the Disney canon. Also, the dance with Rumple and Belle was cheese at its worst – a real eye rolling moment. The Fantasia hat…? What’s next, the dancing hippos, Hercules, Tarzan and Vanellope von Schweetz? Bringing replicas of the Disney canon here is turning this once great fantasy series for adults into a “when are we going to see Lilo and Stich” series for the kids (yes I read a comment on FB that someone will now get to watch the show with her kids). Maybe Storybrooke now needs to be changed to Disneybrooke.
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