Finally got done catching up all the way to the most recently aired episode and it's a little too much to marathon in about 2-3 sittings in less than 2 days, so my post is probably going to be scrambled brains all over!
Season 1, especially the bunch of last episodes built up the climax very, very well. To repeat myself from all my rare posts on this thread, what I ABSO-freaking-LUTELY love about this show is how all the characters and all the stories we know so well are woven into a whole new plot with all the old stories, still vying for the title-sake "happy endings"! I love how OUAT is a fairy tale, which brings together so many fairytales into one single place.
Its like something I read in a famous book recently. So the story involved some prime characters who were tailors, and they ended up saving a lot of scrap cloth from the many, many kinds of original cloth material they were provided with for making their garments. This lady they work with starts using the left over scraps and starts making a patch-work quilt. At one point of the story, when the quilt is quite done, except one corner, and they've been a team for about a year, they realize how every patch in the quilt is now a story to them. A memory of the dresses they made out of its original roll of cloth, and the incidents that occurred among the team while that lot of dresses was being readied. The quilt is like a profession fitting memoir of the time they have spent together as a team, the fights the truces the chats the memories. The quilt is one big amalgamation story involving all the incidental and instance-based but contextually somehow inter-related sub stories. Inter-related, because all the stories involve them the same set of characters, while also involving a whole range of different characters who come and go from their lives in that one year, each of them having their own share of personal stories to narrate which somehow weave into the big picture and become a part of mainstream story involving the core characters.
OUAT wokrs like that. Technically all stories do - but OUAT manifests it in quite a literal manner. Picking up all the characters, each with a story of their own, and then putting it all together into a patchwork plot. And I love the anticipation of watching how all these ages old characters with their altogether familiar stories tie up and fit into this brand new web of a big fairy tale told in a very thoughtful non linear fashion.
Rumple continues to reign as my fave character of course. I have to confess that Belle has her occasional enough moments being the not so interesting typical fairy tale girl, but the shades of Gold we get to see on account of her equation with him redeem her, and provide intriguing nuances to Rumple. It is little surprise to see Gold is not changed/not ready to change to accommodate Belle any more than before and it is no surprise how his past, instead of teaching him "acceptance" instead leads him, initially at least, to simply exercise more discretion. What is interesting is how David's words about honesty of heart and not literally in words finally makes the fundamental impression and the Belle/Rumple scene in the library after her rescue is so well written. It's everything you come to conclude about Rumple/Gold as a viewer, but the way he delivers his own character before Belle in that scene is... wonderful!
Regina's character conflict, her innermost paradoxes are obviously more provoked and pronounced now that the truth is all out in the open. I love the kind of tally graph you can draw between Rumple and Regina. There is an innate cowardice in both of them which makes them rely on magic so inevitably, like a crutch in Gold's words - and yet, Regina is the more self confronting of evil characters. Which, in my opinion, lends her the first set of layers that are as compelling as Rumple's have been until now. I'm especially, always, drawn by her equation with Henry. While Belle alters little in Gold, primarily playing passing deflections to his usual composure, Henry brings out more consequential changes in Regina. I suspect Bae, when he finally steps in, might accomplish that with Gold.
Hook - for all the due warning I received - is an okay character for me. There's no engaging layer to him, but so far I'm doing fine with his involvement in the story itself. I'm sure if I stalked Tumblr better and more, I'll probably find the classic share of Emma/Hook shippers and then get more prejudiced against him But just by himself here, he's fine. I also have some hope for his interaction with Gold, once they make it to StoryBrooke. While on his end, it's a simple cliche case of vengeance, I think Gold's character could add quite a flavor to it. Given how this is the man his wife eloped with once, and given the presence of Belle in Gold's life at this point, who knows Bae might come along, before the encounter itself.
Snow has been punk this season, and am I glad! As I've always imagined, both Snow and Charming do much better of their own without each other. Snow and Emma together make a much better pair to root for, and although I can only imagine how much more fun a pair of Henry and (more punk) David could have been, I guess this is the best we can get of this character. At least he doesn't make me perpetually yawn anymore! Mulan - until we see how her story gets woven in - feels like quite a standby. I can't tell what her potential for the future is either, since she's only been in and out for now.
The dream with Henry and Sleeping Beauty for some reason feels like a dramatic hoax - you know? Like one of the sub stories which hype up only to be quite average.
Finally the Mad Hatter I think he's the second most eccentrically dramatic character of the series, after Rumple His story could have felt more filler-ish, but for the histrionics he throws in He's not as keenly written, as he is enacted, and all his flair is worth the money! In one simple sentence, I have to agree with what Regina says to him in greeting the first time they meet in season 1, at his hut. I would say you're looking quite well, but poverty doesn't suit you The classy, eccentric Mad Hatter over the family doting tea-party retiree Jefferson anytime
And since the Mad Hatter is being talked about, I really enjoyed the episode that involved Frankenstein, Hatter, Rumple and Regina. The way they show impetus leading Regina onto the dark side is done well. And the way they compare it with the present and get Regina to give up Henry is also a great nuance to her character. While Frankenstein's story - or the little shown of it - is whatever-ish, I was impressed by the fact that Whale the doctor turned out to be Frankenstein to begin with!
Cora is the most unimpressive villain of the series. For now. I wish the focus of the season stays on bringing the current and old worlds together, however the merger has to happen, rather than defeating Cora.
Emma's background story story involving August's role is a great set up for complications ahead. I'm a little confused though - August isn't gone, or is he? He did blink, and then Henry's father received the "broken" postcard; but why don't we see him in the season yet? I liked that character plenty! I can imagine some upcoming sequences going around Emma-August-Henry-his father, once they'r returned to SB. I wonder if Cora's reunion with Regina can make her any more interesting than last season.
Lastly, I still adore Grumpy. Can't find any half decent stuff on him on whatever of Tumblr I stalked - does anyone know a good place to look? He's not a content rich character, not so much anyway, but he's still fun in his own space Maybe avis of his infamous "town harlot and town drunkard" dialogue?
Edited by without-fathom - 21 November 2012 at 1:14am