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First of all, I want to start off by saying that I recently did a marathon rewatch of Season Two, and it was not nearly as bad as I’d remembered. There were not as many “bad” episodes as I thought, and many storylines seemed a lot more cohesive to me than I had first realized. Obviously, this is because I was able to sit down and watch all these episodes at once. The reason I mention this, though, is that Season Three is supposed to air relatively uninterrupted. Which could be an improvement itself.

That said, I think Season Two had a lot of problems outside of the fact that we often waited 2 or 3 weeks between episodes. Below are some ideas I’ve had about what could have improved the 2012-2013 season.* And, just so this post isn’t just chock full of whining, I’ve also looked at how some of these ideas could maybe be applied to the upcoming Season Three.**

(*I don’t necessarily think all of the following ideas should have been implemented – that would have been too chaotic. But I think a few of these, take your pick, might have improved the season.)

(**And a disclaimer, before comments like ‘If you hate the show, why do you watch it?’ start coming in: I don’t hate the show. I love, love, LOVE this show. Sincerely. And I have high hopes for Season Three. It’s because I love the show so much that last season was disappointing for me.)

1. “You would have been enough.” (Took the words right out of my mouth, Cora)
I think most of us would agree that Cora was one of the more successful components of Season Two. Aside from the fact that Barbara Hershey was flippin’ amazing, her arc as a villain, and the way it tied into Regina’s struggle for redemption, was one of the most cohesive, well-plotted storylines of the season. So it was really kind of a shame that it wrapped up in early March, with six episodes still to go. Especially since the vacuum she left, as a villain, was filled with the lackluster duo of Greg and Tamara. I think Cora’s arc could have been extended through the end of the season. That would have made for a more streamlined season arc and frankly, a better villain to watch. Heck, she probably could have even served as the propellant into Neverland somehow, pretty much ridding us of the need for Greg and Tamara completely.

My Wish For Season 3: Mostly, I just want Greg and Tamara gone, and quick. Like maybe within the first ten minutes or so :D Especially Greg. What more would you do with this character? More importantly, what more could you do with him that anyone would actually care about? I say mostly the same for Tamara, except: during my rewatch, I came up with a crazy pet theory that Tamara could be Tiana, of the Frog Princess. And maybe she’s anti-magic because she got turned into a frog, and it didn’t end as nicely as it did in the Disney version. If that were the case, I would be okay with keeping her around. I really liked Sonequa Martin-Green, the actress who plays her. But if she’s not going to become any more relevant either, then let’s bag her too.

2. Holding Off On Hook
Look, I’m a huge, huge fan of Colin O’Donoghue’s Hook. He was also one of the better additions to the show this season. Buuuut… he was introduced very early on, played around in the Enchanted Forest for a couple of episodes, and then just kind of floundered until the finale. Which kind of makes me question the necessity of introducing him so early in the season. Especially since the early promos for Season Two featured Hook heavily, implying there would be a big focus on him… and then there wasn’t. As much as I love him, I think I actually would have enjoyed him more if he’d been introduced later. I certainly would have been less confused as to his purpose in the show. And again: streamlining. That’s gonna kind of be a refrain of mine here.

My Wish For Season 3: Obviously, as we are heading off to Neverland, this is Hook’s season to shine. And I definitely want to see lots, lots, lots of him. Including good backstory in the flashbacks.

3. Where is Baelfire?
Just as I think Hook might have been better off with a later introduction in the show, I think bringing Neal/Baelfire into the group should have happened earlier. I was a little baffled, during my rewatch, when I watched Episode 6, “Tallahassee,” and then realized we didn’t see Neal again until Episode 14, “Manhattan.” I dunno, maybe I’m alone in this, because I think many fans aren’t as keen on Neal as I am. But I know I would have preferred to see more of him than, say, most of the entire story arc about getting Emma and Snow back to Storybrooke. I felt like, by the end of the season, the writers wanted him to have more weight than he really did (I mean, who bought his and Emma’s not-so-heartfelt declarations of love as he disappeared into the portal?). And he could have had more weight, if he’d been given more time throughout the season.

My Wish For Season 3: Again, might be alone in this, but I want to see more Bae, too. Also, if the writers disappoint and don’t go with Mulora, I could settle for a Neal/Aurora pairing. Think about it: she’s a stuck-up princess and he’s a roguish thief. It’s classic. I’d certainly prefer it to any more Neal/Emma nonsense. And then Phillip and Mulan can go off and be badasses together. (I think. Is Phillip a badass? Discuss.)

4. Will the real Snow White please stand up?
Speaking of badasses, what happened to Snow this season? She started off strong, kicking butt in her little cardigan, and with her pixie haircut, threatening to cut a bitch here, there, and everywhere. (I’m pretty sure she threatened both Mulan and Aurora at some point). It was so, so refreshing to see that nearly all traces of the insipid Mary Margaret had disappeared. And then… I don’t know. I know she had the whole arc about feeling guilty for killing Cora, and that arc could have been awesome, but IMO, it just was not handled well. I didn’t buy her lying in bed for days. I didn’t buy her begging Regina to kill her. And it was even more than that. By the end of the season, she just seemed to have lost all common sense.

My Wish For Season 3: Well, for the writers to figure out who they want Snow to be, obviously. And here’s hoping they come down on the badass side, because she’s so much more enjoyable – and so much more the Snow we saw in Season One – that way. My other wish for Snow? Honestly, I’d like to see a little less of her. Her contention with Regina has featured majorly in the past two seasons, and I think that story is running out of steam. I wouldn’t mind her taking a back seat for a bit. I’m a huge Charming fan, and he had almost no storyline of his own in Season Two, because he was just there to prop up Snow, for the most part. I’d like to see it the other way around now.

5. “Let’s take back the kingdom.” – Snow to Charming, Season 1 Finale
When Seasons One’s main flashback storyline concluded with this line from Snow to Charming, I assumed this would be the main flashback storyline in Season Two. I’d thought, in Season Two, we would see Snow and Charming taking back the kingdom from King George… bringing him in as a major player and villain in Season Two. And I still think this could have been a great way to go. They sort of played with it: Episode 3, “Lady of the Lake,” showed us some of the war against King George and featured him as a villain in the flashbacks. And Episode 7, “Child of the Moon,” featured George as a villain in Storybrooke. And then… he just kind of disappeared. Seriously, I have no idea what happened to the guy after he threw Jefferson’s hat in the fire. Which is a shame, really. Like I said, Cora was pretty great as the big bad, but we could have taken some of the focus off Regina and Snow’s continued feud, and instead spent time on the less-explored enmity between George and Charming.

My Wish for Season 3: I recently heard that we could see more of Snow and Charming’s war against King George next season (although I cannot recall where I heard this, so take it with a grain of salt). Personally, I think it would have been better served in Season Two, unless George somehow follows our heroes to Neverland—because I think that story would work well against present conflict between George and Charming, as I said. But hey, who knows, maybe it will work next season as well. I’ve been wondering what might be going on in Storybrooke – and honestly, I’d just as soon see less of Storybrooke next season – but maybe George could resurface as a big bad there now.

6. “I just need a little time, that’s all.” – Emma, on bonding with her fairy tale parents
I guess she really did need just a “little” time, because we didn’t really see all that much of Emma dealing with her new parents. And I was really looking forward to that. I was especially looking forward to seeing Emma and Charming bond, because I think the two of them had about three conversations in Season One, and they were mostly all about Mary Margaret. However, we saw pretty much zero bonding between them in Season Two. Between Emma and her mom, we got a few scenes in the early part of their time in the Enchanted Forest, but that was really it. I wanted Emma to have issues with them. I wanted to see the three of them really struggling to come together as a family, emotionally.

My Wish for Season 3: With Emma and her parents stuck on a boat with Rumple, Hook, and Regina, the time is ripe for some real character journeys and interactions. In particular, I want to see the Emma/Charming bonding I didn’t get to see in Season Two. Like, maybe a lot of it. I want to see Charming actually have a character arc. I could stand more of his and Rumple’s twisted friendship too, which featured more often in Season Two than I first realized: Charming giving Rumple relationship advice? Charming as Rumple’s wingman? Pure gold, pardon the pun. It’s even better now that they’re both Henry’s grandfathers.

7. Sleeping Beauty’s tale
The first couple of episodes with Aurora hinted at all sorts of interesting twists and new details on the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, which I had totally forgotten about. Again, at the start of the season, I had expected to get more of her backstory, as well as Phillip’s. I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this, but instead of rehashing the Charmings’ conflict with Regina so much, Season Two might have focused more on Aurora and Phillip’s story (if, you know, they hadn’t been totally dropped after midseason).

My Wish For Season 3: Since it looks like we’re returning to the Enchanted Forest with Phillip, Aurora, Mulan, and Neal, maybe we can get that backstory after all. I’m actually kind of hoping we can focus on the Enchanted Forest more next season. Neverland, Storybrooke, and the EF seems like a lot (especially with flashbacks thrown in), but I would just as soon see more of the Forest and less of Storybrooke. There seems to be all sorts of problems in the Enchanted Forest right now, so that could be the focus of the present-day storyline there, with flashbacks for Aurora, Phillip, and Mulan too.

8. On Flashbacks In General
There were times in Season Two when I wished we would just stop with the flashbacks entirely, because they often weren’t bringing anything new to the table. The flashbacks in “The Doctor,” “Child of the Moon,” “The Cricket Game,” “Tiny,” “Lacey,” and “The Evil Queen,” all did very little to actually add to the plot or characters. There was a lot going on in Season Two, and sometimes, it seemed like the writers were doing flashbacks just for the sake of doing flashbacks. They sometimes ate up a lot of time that could have been used advancing story that actually matters now, or building on characters in the present time.

My Wish For Season 3: I don’t really take the stance of cutting out flashbacks anymore, mostly because we’ve got a lot of new fodder for them: Hook, Bae, Phillip and Aurora, Mulan, and the new additions of Tinkerbell and Ariel. That said, let’s use that new fodder. And if a flashback isn’t going to tell us something new, then don’t do one. We don’t really need a flashback story in every episode, not when we’ve got three different dimensions to deal with, now.

What would you have done differently in Season Two? And what suggestions do you have for Season Three?
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Sep 30, 2013
More Mulan! Love her!
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Sep 29, 2013
I am so disappointed the new OUAT wonderland is not Cora wonderland
and this season won't do crossover with the spin off show
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Sep 29, 2013
I think it is Cora's Wonderland - she just won't be in it, probably. I believe the writers said that they would not put the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts on the show unless they could use Jefferson or Cora, respectively... which to me means it is her Wonderland.
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Sep 29, 2013
There are two wonderlands because they were two books
the one where alice followed the rabbit to the hole is Cora's Wonderland where she is the queen of heart
the one they are going to do is the second wonderland which is behind a mirror with a red queen which means new actress
really really disappointing
I was so psyched for the spin off until I heard their real plans

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Sep 29, 2013
yes I want a kick ass Snow back again. Yes more on Hook. I also like the chemistry between Hook & Emma where will that go, if at all? Get rid of Tamara & Greg ASAP! Not relevant & just annoying! Please let Belle dress better and I don't know what it is but just better.
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Sep 18, 2013
While I agree with most of your argument, the flashbacks in Season 2 told their own story. I don't recall a flashback where we didn't learn something new. Most did seem to revolve around the EQ but that's to be expected since she is the catalyst of the entire show and I think the showrunners wanted to begin laying out her backstory.

Also, for some reason I just do not like Bae/Neal. I'm not sure if it is the character or the actor. He's scruffy and gross and I certainly cannot see present-day Emma being with him or falling back in love with him. I hope that's not the way the show is headed.
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Sep 19, 2013
I blame Pinocchio: August and Emma earned their dynamic in flashbacks & present day while Neal and Emma simply rushed theirs.

It probably didn't help much the latter was supposed to be romantic (or that the former never had a label on it).
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Sep 10, 2013
I think I am going to lock onto your major theme of this show's issues in Season 2, the fact that it kind of had terrible pacing throughout the season and they sort of threw everything against the wall and seemed to concentrate initially on the eye level stuff on the wall and then were like...oh crap, what about that up there and got distracted. I know I cite this a lot, but it was kind of Teen Wolf 3A's problem too.

I actually almost wish that they had divided the episodes up into like threes and had three episode arcs about a particular storyline. We might not have gotten as much of Cora as we wanted, but she might have been the focus of three episodes and then the secondary character in Hook's. Or they were the focus of the second three set episodes and then the second to last one (heck, wouldn't the story be vaguely interesting if Hook say owed something to the nefarious Peter Pan and was coming to find say just Bae and Emma and found Henry instead and he managed to kidnap both Henry and Emma in some way that we know he started to doubt doing this and heck that we suspect that Bae might have equally bad intentions after being in Peter's camp for some period of time)
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Sep 10, 2013
It was definitely Teen Wolf 3A's problem - that's funny, actually, I was just saying that to my brother the other day :) It wasn't a terrible season, but there was way too much going on, and they didn't weave it together very cohesively, IMO.

Your 3-episode idea makes a lot of sense too; I think that could have worked/would work pretty well. That kind of was what they did with Cora around the time of "The Miller's Daughter," which is why those 3 episodes there were so good. They were almost like a mini-movie.
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Sep 10, 2013
I sometimes feel like some of these fantasy shows (especially the network ones) need to dig a little deeper into the fantasy novels world. I mean, I just totally read a very long book in which every other chapter it seemed switched narrators and we stayed first person in each. And then we would have a random chapter here and there from another character. It totally helps with broader world view stories because you get different perspectives even if the story is moving forward the whole time.
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Sep 10, 2013
Great article... I agree in everything... less hook, more bae, Charming vs George... but I specially I agree with the Sleeping Beauty’s tale. The only reason I want to see a flashback of aurora is because i want to see kristin Bauer as Malificent (we've seen her but not much) she is so great!!!!!!
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Sep 10, 2013
They killed her off way too soon IMO.
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Sep 10, 2013
Yeah, Maleficent was fantastic. I definitely want to see her again. Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I would love to see Aurora's backstory.
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Sep 10, 2013
Maybe it's time to bring in the flash forwards, just like in Lost. Maybe a future storybook in ruins after the magic/reality war?

I also have a hard time developing a genuine interest in the fairytale connection when it handles completely different worlds. I can get the Hans Christian Anderson stories, but Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland (who is she btw?) and Frankenstein (for cring out loud), just doesn't make any sense when you put them together. Next season we may expect Pokemon or Batman.

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Sep 10, 2013
Yeah, the Frankenstein world was a bit much for me. I just hope they never go there again, although I do like Dr. Whale, we can keep him around. I don't mind Wonderland or Peter Pan because those stories get lumped in with fairy tales a lot. That said, I hope they don't branch out too much more. More importantly, I don't think they need to branch out too much more. They have plenty of material with Neverland, the Enchanted Forest, and Storybrooke, and they should work with what they have.
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Sep 10, 2013
Remember, this is owned by Disney.

Be prepared to see Wolverine running around holding a light saber and wearing Jack Sparrow's hat.

All kidding aside... I think they went a little overboard with the cross-overs already. But the biggest sin they committed was getting rid of Ruby. The truly "fairest of them all" and the coolest-personality-character on the show outside of Mr Gold.
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Nov 23, 2014
Yes. what happened with Ruby? only 1 appearence in 1 cap , season 3 o 4 ? i don't know. She is cool, and sexy ;). And the character is so important.
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Sep 10, 2013
I agree they should dial back on the cross-overs, although I'm very excited about the Neverland story. They have enough material to work with - more than enough, in fact - that they don't need to do more. In fact, having to let Ruby go was one result of this - they had intended to do more with their character, but then introduced a bunch of new characters and new storylines, and didn't have time for her.
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Sep 10, 2013
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Sep 10, 2013
Is it just me but I'd really like to see the very hot Hook and Emma maybe start something I think it could work as a love hate relationship with lots of fire
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Sep 10, 2013
Oh, I'm totally all for a Hook/Emma relationship. I've been wanting that since they first met lol. *fingers crossed*
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Sep 11, 2013
Hopefully it happens 1 more month we need a hot new romance with lots of banter and heat :)
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Sep 11, 2013
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Sep 10, 2013
It would've been if it weren't because, ever since the character was introduced, Emma has either been with a guy or getting over a guy; the Sheriff (a.k.a. the Huntsman), Pinocchio, the Mad Hatter, Baelfire, Hook...at some point it renders impossible to get invested in any of these, which defies the purpose of any love story.
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Sep 10, 2013
Yeh, that girl does get around. And heck, didn't this whole Storybrooke thing only start a few months ago?

I guess guess that's what she gets being the "embodiment of true love"
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Sep 10, 2013
A good love story is like a good fire, it needs room to breathe or it would never warm the fireplace.
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Sep 10, 2013
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Sep 09, 2013
haha. I remember commentiing at some point during this past season that it would be so much better when I could just sit and marathon a few episodes in a row since it got so serialized.

I definitely agree with a few of your points.

The villain situation definitely needs cleared up going into season 3. In season 1 we had a clear villain. While I appreciated Regina's struggle to somewhat redeem herself and how that all tied into Cora's reappearance, it did leave a bit lacking when they killed her off. I do worry how we'll handle this is season 3. Peter Pan is obviously the initial villain that we need to worry about, but will it just last for half the season or will it follow through until the end? I guess it depends on what happens in Storybrooke while the others are off in Neverland.

We can't necessarily blame the show guys for the Hook promotion. At the end of the day, that falls on the ABC promotional people. It's definitely not the first time a show has been hurt by network over-pimping and it won't be the last.

I wish we had seen Neal more in between "Tallahassee" and "Manhattan." The flashbacks we got weren't enough to fully invest me into the idea of them as each others true loves (although it makes sense as to why PP would want Henry - a child of true love whose mom is a child of true love suggests some power, if we go w/ the show's mythology so far). But I do like the character, so I do want to see more of him and hopefully build more on what they've started so far.

I want to see more bonding as well. One of my favorite moments from season 2 was from the premiere when they are all reunited with their memories. But it seems like the only time we see anything resembling bonding is when they are forced into a situation that requires it. Them all stuck on a boat together has GOT to lead to some more. Especially since we finally got Emma referencing them as mom and dad.


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Sep 10, 2013
Thanks for the point about the Hook promotion; that is true. It certainly isn't the first time a network has messed with a show via their promotions *coughfireflycough*

Yes, sometimes I wish I could just hold off on watching new episodes and watch them all at once, once the season's over - or at least do a few at a time, because shows are often just more enjoyable that way. But since I'm always counting down the hours until a new episode come Sunday, I don't think I ever could! ;)
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Sep 10, 2013
There's a few shows I can do that with, but if it's one of my favorites, there is no waiting. There's a few I'm even willing to watch live and put up with commercials so that's saying something haha.
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Sep 09, 2013
Amazing post. You have clearly thought about this, and made an effort to write a comprehensive text too. This deserves an up-vote.
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Staff
Sep 09, 2013
Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
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