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