Friday, August 31, 2012

Once Upon A Time

I haven't posted one of these in a while. I figure I better get busy because the Fall season is upon us and I haven't done much recapping of what was good about last season. I hardly think one post qualifies! I am going to start limiting these posts to my TV blog, so if you like this sort of thing, you should start following that blog. If I think of it I will make a notation that I have posted on my regular blog and link it in. However, I wouldn't place any bets on my remembering to actually accomplish this feat.

As I mentioned the last time I posted like this, picking one scene out of a season is extremely difficult. With this show, I could not do it. I thought I had it, but then I changed my mind. The show is JJ Abram's Once Upon A Time. The premise of that show is that the Evil Queen placed a curse on all of the storybook characters taking away their Happy Ever Afters. Instead, they no longer know who they are and live in our world in a town called Storybrook, Maine. They cannot leave the town. The only one who knows the truth of the matter is the Evil Queen (Regina) who is the Mayor of the town and Rumpelstiltskin (Mr. Gold). Regina's adopted son suspects the truth when he reads a book of Fairytales provided by his teacher (Snow White) and becomes determined to save the town.

JJ Abrams is also known for Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Alcatraz. I know that he has numerous movie projects to his credit. The only one immediately coming to mind is the newest Star Trek movie (the prequel). Whenever I see his name attached to something I am willing to give it a whirl. His imagination is fearless. I like that about him.

Anyway, Once Upon A Time embraced many of the style points that made Lost so much fun. It, too, rockets back and forth between past and present to tell the story. Even though the characters don't remember who they are, it doesn't change your choices so much. People don't change at the CORE. In other words, you are who you are. So, as they face challenges in this "foreign" world, the story often juxtaposes to their past when they faced a similar challenge. All of these characters are onions. I love that. Mostly because you don't really expect it in a fairy tale. In the fairy tale good is good and bad is bad. Black is black and white is white. There really was no grey. In Once Upon A Time you discover that the story has a lot more shading than you originally thought.

And people aren't just born evil. It was a JOURNEY. And it is walking that mile in their shoes that is always the most interesting part. So, you start out hating the Evil Queen because she is just so darn hateful and evil. And then at the end you find out how she got that way and it is like being turned on your head. Evil isn't born; it's made. And while you wish she had made different choices and could embrace things like forgiveness, those things, too, are taught. What happens when you are raised by evil?

So, I am going to show you two clips. The first one is a combo clip. I would have liked to show you a clip from episode 18 that really showed what happened to Regina to turn her evil, but Disney has pulled it off of youtube. This clip has pieces of it in there, along with other stuff, so it should give you a pretty good picture of what happened.

That episode changed everything we thought about Regina. She was a girl in love with a boy. She had a controlling mother who abused magic for her own ends. A little girl, Snow White, found out about this love that Regina had for the stable boy and encouraged Regina to marry him. Regina decided to leave home with her love, but told Snow that she must not tell anyone, especially her mother. However, Snow was grieving for her own mother, so when Regina's mother began to question Snow about Regina, Snow was an easy target. She easily gave up Regina's secrets, believing all that false concern Regina's mother expressed. And then Regina's mother found Regina and her love and killed him. She then forced Regina into a marriage with the king. When Regina found out what Snow had done, her heart hardened and she blamed her, her father, the whole world for her misery. They would all pay for Daniel's death. They would all be just as miserable as she was. The opposite of love isn't apathy. It is hate. And her hate just ate her alive.

Now, was it unrealistic to expect a little girl to keep a big secret like that? Of course. Did Snow reveal that secret to hurt Regina? Of course not. She thought that Regina's mother loved her in the same way that her own mother had loved her. She didn't know how wrong she was. She didn't know what kind of person Regina's mother was. She didn't understand these people at all. She was a child. However, Regina's pain over the loss of her love never allowed her to see Snow that way.

And that is what makes this scene the best of the season...

Ironically, they are both doing the things they are doing out of love. Regina is doing what she is doing out of a twisted love for Daniel. Snow is doing what she is doing out of a pure love for the man she has come to call Charming. Regina thinks that bringing a non-death to Snow White will bring her peace. It won't. She doesn't yet get that because what she really wants is Daniel back and nothing will give her that. However, Snow will have her peace because she is giving the man she loves safety, even it is at her own expense. They are living on the opposite sides of the emotional spectrum. Ironically, watching this scene I feel more sorry for Regina than I do Snow White. She has a long way to go before she will know any peace in her life.

Until you dig out all of the junk there is no room for any good stuff in your life.

image found here

Friday, July 20, 2012

Storming the Castle.

Even before the Hookers and Hangers challenge/contest, I have been thinking a lot about what makes good story. For me, good story is good story. The format doesn't really matter so much. It can be a book, TV show, movie. They are all designed to tell a story. I like TV shows because the intent is that the story goes on... at least, until it doesn't. But, it goes on for a while. And if it is written well, you get to peel back the characters, just a bit at a time, to fully know them. Life is this journey, and they are always in a process of discovering who they are, as the new things that happen to them change them. And we also find out, just a bit at a time, how they got to be the way they were. Or still are. For anyone interested strictly in character development, it is fascinating.

The other thing that I like to watch is the choices that the writers make. Sometimes there is *something* hanging out there from the previous season that MUST be addressed this season in a television series, BUT the ways that they can do it.... Well, they are too many count. Just like in life. Some will go well. Some medium well. Some badly. Some even worse.

So, I have been putting some of my mental resources into thinking about what I considered to be the best scene of the season for My Shows. That is really hard, by the way. Sometimes you have a scene for each set of characters blah blah blah. Narrowing it down to what is approximately the best three minutes of the whole season... aagghhh.

You are going to watch this three minutes and think to yourself.... hmmmm. Especially if you don't watch the show. But, watch it anyway. Focus yourself on Castle primarily. Beckett secondarily. And then I am going to break down how this applies to EVERYONE. That is what makes it the best.

You have to click here to watch.

The hanger at the end of last Season was the Trauma that Kate referred to: she was shot and nearly died. When she was shot, and losing consciousness, Castle finally told her that he loved her. He had come *thisclose* to telling her many times, but didn't.

So, when the season starts the question on everyone's mind is, "Where will they go from here?"

Turns out, they didn't really need to go anywhere. Beckett claimed that she had no memory of anything surrounding the shooting. It was the Trauma.

We find out later that isn't the case. She confesses to her shrink, or a friend, or both, that she always remembered everything, but it was just too much to deal with at the time. She was dealing with PTSD from the shooting (true) at the beginning of the season. And the feelings for Castle were just too much THEN. However, by the time Castle overheard this confession (not the one he was expecting, btw) Beckett was nearly ready to discuss her feelings for him. Let's say she was gathering her courage. Or gearing up. The conversation itself might have still been a few weeks out.

Now, the writers could have allowed Castle to find out Beckett remembered any number of ways. They CHOSE this one.

Maybe you didn't see blood on the floor. Or a proverbial arrow shot through the heart.... what you did see was the look on his face. He looked like someone gut punched him. Someone did. The person he cared about most had been lying to him for about eight months. Bam. Right to the gut.

At this point, everyone does what everyone does. Castle immediately moved into self protection mode. Beckett decided that she'd missed her chance; Castle no longer cared. And it could have gone on like that, but that circumstances forced some confrontations.

The beauty of this scene is that I don't know a better way that Beckett could have done it. She needed to take care of her PTSD before she took care of her love life. When you are losing it psychologically, that is not the time to be worried whether or not the boy likes you or not. She is a detective on the NYPD and melting down could cost her life. So, battling those inner demons and coming out on top had to be the priority. Had she told Castle that she heard what he said, it would have been unfair to say that I need to put you on hold for eight months... but I sure do like you a lot... I might even love you.... I just don't know. Probably because she wasn't admitting that she had PTSD in the first place to anyone but herself. Bah. You admit that and they take your gun. So, she worked it out while she worked. Stubborn lady.

However, don't we all do these things? Take your own issue and sub it for PTSD. Put on hold things or people that matter. Continue to do something that you feel you need to do because it is who you are even if it now scares you to death. Or hurts you in some way. And that is Life.

What makes Castle who he is.... well, that one is harder. He is the guy who after he has his man tantrum knows this woman. And he understands everything I just wrote. And it is why no matter how crazy she makes him, it's still the best crazy ever. Plus, he's a writer. Writers tend to see inside things in a way that the average person misses.

And, for the record, the last episode of the season was AMAZING. The whole darn thing.

image found at