Once Upon A Time: Where every story starts

Guest post by Oli

mulan once upon a time(Season 2, Ep.1) So what’s Once Upon A Time? It’s a Channel 5 import from the US and on Sunday it was the first episode of the second season. It’s very popular in the US and is practically guaranteed a third season, so there are no worries that it’s going to be cancelled just as you get into it. So strap yourself in – there are 22 episodes to enjoy!

If you missed the first season, here’s the premise (and it’s a lot better than it sounds).  A group of fairytale characters have had a curse placed upon them and can’t remember their previous (fairytale) lives and now live on earth, like regular human beings, in Storybrooke. Emma is the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White and was told by her son Henry that she can break the curse. The season finale last year showed the curse being broken by Emma and Mr Gold unleashing magic onto Storybrooke – and now the fallout is about to begin…  

However there are lots of things wrong with Once Upon A Time. The special effects in the ‘fairytale world’ are often naff, the dialogue is frequently clichéd and  not remotely like how anybody speaks in the real world and there’s always a heavy-handed moral dimension to the show. However, at its best (the end of the first season was excellent) there were often dramatic and exciting twists and turns along with engaging and interesting characters.

The first episode was rather disorientating to start with. Remembering all the characters was a bit of a struggle. They also introduced a load of new characters to muddy the waters, including Mulan, who looks very promising.

A particularly strong scene was when a mob of town-folk went to kill Regina (fair enough) but Emma, Snow and Henry (being a bit wet) didn’t think they should. Regina’s powers weren’t working when she went to hurt the crowd. Later on she couldn’t work the Mad Hatter’s hat, a nice link to the previous season, until Emma touched her. The most intriguing aspect was Dr Whale, as no one could quite work out which fairytale character he was.

brokenWe were also treated to a Mr Gold (the excellent Robert Carlyle) vs. Regina confrontation. Mr Gold has found his old love Belle (Emilie de Ravin from Lost) and is now being romantic as well as evil. I’m not sure how well it suits him, but we’ll have to see how it plays out. Later Mr Gold decided to set a soul-sucker (a rip off of the dementors from Harry Potter) onto Regina. These soul suckers also killed Prince Phillip in a touching scene towards the end in ‘fairytale land’.

Despite a confusing start, the ending of the episode was brilliant and full of Once’s signature twists and turns. Emma fell into the portal from the Mad Hatter’s hat and promptly Mary Margaret leapt in (the things a mother does for her daughter, although Emma didn’t seem best pleased). David’s attempts to leap into the portal also failed and he just suffered a nasty looking fall. The final twist was that the fairytale scenes weren’t a flash-back as usual but in the present day. Emma and Mary Margaret had landed in the one part of the fairytale world which had survived the curse. Unfortunately Mulan (perhaps justly) blames Emma and Mary Margaret for the death of Prince Phillip….

Posted by Oli

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