If you had a delightful strawberry shortcake, with cool whipped cream and soft yellow cake and sweet, fat strawberries at the beach, and then some fool idiot trying to get a volleyball game going kicked up a spray of stand that pelted your dessert with tiny pieces of sand and grit: Would you eat it?
What if I told you it was the LAST STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE in the world? I, personally, would enjoy every last bite, as much as I could, and spit the sand out toward the volleyball players just to teach them some M-F’n manners.
That’s my relationship to OUAT, which I am often accused of not liking. I don’t like it when OUAT parks itself for an episode and goes absolutely nowhere but wallows in tedious backstory (which it absolutely did last night), but in what world am I ever again going to get a weekly drama about fairy-tale characters living in a cozy Maine town? And there were so many elements I loved about "Tiny" that while I grew very angry at the whole giants storyline, even the Loving Lewbowski Giant, I just thoroughly enjoyed OUAT being back in my living room, sort of the way an avid Renaissance Faire-goer’s heart warms to the first breath of spring or an “Of Montreal” song played on a mandolin.
So today I just want to celebrate what was right and good and wonderful about this episode and try and veer away from the sandy parts—like the fact it went absolutely nowhere, gave us backstory on TWO dead characters, and had more plot holes than Turkish Star Wars.
And while I’m not sure I was feeling the boys-only socialist farm co-op run by giants, my favorite thing about the episode was Dark Swan Prince Charming in the fairy-tale flashback, a.k.a. Charming’s evil twin James. He made the tedious flashback worth it with his leather pants, black poet’s blouse, and the brazen balls to bed a wench right in front of his dad! Is there no way to bring this alter-ego Charming back to Storybrooke to like woo Snow or something? That would be amazing, but like every vaguely sexy guy on this show, he was killed off long ago.
(Hook is inches from doom. Inches. That Hot Topic wardrobe is the only thing keeping him in the game, as it tamps down his heat.) As for Jaclyn the Giant Slayer, sure, why not? It cracked me up that she offered the size-changing mushroom after explaining she had “slain a Jabberwock.” This was one of those moments where the writers found a logic thread and made the most of it: Jabberwockys are a Wonderland trope, as are size-changing mushrooms, and Cora was the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland so it makes sense that she would have virtually unlimited access to 'shrooms, which explains why Regina was peddling them. (Best line of the episode, Regina casually appearing with a chunk of mushroom all, “Look, I hear you're in town because you want to kill someone.” She has zero f-cks to give about anybody’s backstory or issues and just wants the plot to move forward. JAH BLESS I am on the exact same page.)
A nice #SnowQueen moment (yes, okay, I am up on all the lesbian ship tags on OUAT, they make this show interesting no matter how lazy the writers get): Regina looking AGHAST when she found out Emma had headed out of town without so much as saying goodbye.
I am a big fan of Emma, Gold, and Henry taking their field trip: I like the three of them thrown together, and it's nice to see Gold operating in a space where he’s neither a whispery enemy nor a bemused lover explaining diner food. Although his tweaking fit in the airport bathroom was alarming: Anybody have theories on why he hammered that ass gasket dispenser? What dark impulses was he barely reining in? Or was he merely testing to see whether he could use magic outside Storybrooke (and if that’s the case, isn’t there a way to test your magic without splitting your knuckles)?
The other cool thing about Emma and Henry shuttling off to wherever (Florida?) was Snow and Charming getting the apartment to themselves for a bit and sexily strapping on their weaponry in front of each other. I loved that they grabbed a gun and a bow and arrows before hitting the streets. Snow was straight-up wearing a bow and quiver and brimless ho-hat. It’s that weird mashup of medieval references and modern Starbucks nicety that gets me about this show.
But back to what we're all here for, the shipping: #Bed fans got a really nice moment this week when Ruby showed up to the hospital in a faux fur and a picnic basket full of what her GF likes best: books and hamburgers. (We didn’t see the hamburgers but trust me they were in there.) Belle didn’t remember Ruby, more’s the pity, and she had a freakout so epic that Nurse Ratchet had no choice but to run over and sedate her (as in, she stood up and raised her voice! Cast a net over her and fire up the electroshock therapy pads!). But don't cry for Belle: She's in a perfect position to upgrade from Gold to dating mothah-futtin Ethan Embry, who is handsomely chilling in the same injured persons/psych ward. (You mix up mentally and physically injured patients in hospitals, duh. Makes things interesting for everyone!)
Seriously I love Embry and I’m looking forward to him becoming a lynchpin in this series. I look at him and see a darling boy at Empire Records dancing with an en pointe ballerina wearing headphones. I look at him and see Renee Zellweger shaking a bunch of speed out of Liv Tyler’s mini-backpack and screaming “Diet pills?! DIET PILLS?!?!” He truly never got the full acclaim he deserves but maybe OUAT will change all that by making him the REAL savior of Storybrooke: the guy who brings the feds to this latent war zone and saves these weirdos from their own self-destruction.
I mean, the latest genius plan of these so-called good guys is to grow giant beanstalks all the way to Heaven, right? Do they have any idea how many flight patterns that will disrupt? Sucks to be you, mail carriers in Vermont and New Hampshire! You can’t tell me some foreign power’s satellite didn’t pick up on the giant running amok down Storybrooke’s one main street last night.
I loved the detail that Tiny caught on the electric lines. It pleased me so much it even made me forgive the horribly feathered edge/green-screen effect going on. Small touches like that are what make me so glad this crazy mess is back in my living room.
But more importantly, what did you think?
1. Are you shipping #SnowQueen or #Bed?
2. Ethan Embry's best movie is ___?
3. Tiny's backstory: Could it have been summed up in two lines? (Hint: YES)
4. Evil Charming: hot?
5. Why did Rumple freak out in the airport, was he tweaking?
6. Was this episode a strong return or very little action after a long wait?