Monday, October 8, 2012

Once Upon A Time "We Are Both" Review

Regina is the second most important female villain on ABC Sunday nights. Horowitz and Kitsis aim for a different kind of villain in Regina. In the way Rumple's been written as a complicated and layered Dark One, Regina's going to be more than the bitch goddess of Storybrooke. Her fairyback was designed to show the more human side of the character, to explore the roots of her bitch goddess-ness. We already knew Barbara Hershey acted terribly towards her. Regina used to look at her mother and think, "I'm not going to be her." "We Are Both" explores how Regina became her mother.

"We Are Both," the title, comes from a speech Charming delivers about everyone remaining in town, to resist forgetting, because the good memories and the bad are important to the whole of one's identity. Regina never learned the lesson Charming preached in the back of a pick-up truck. The townspeople feel good to know their fairy tale lives and their Storybrooke lives matter equally. They'll live, work, and be better for it because of the totality of their experiences. Regina perceived Charming's message differently. She held in her power and mental make-up, sans magic, to carve out an identity all her own; however, she felt she needed to run away from her mother rather than contemplate her mother's mistakes, stick around, and devote her energy to consciously making good choices.

Regina's tragic flaw is her inability to overcome her mother, in memory and action. Yes, Regina became her mother. The fairybacks showed how Regina embraced magic, as well as that sneer of hers. Rumple granted the woman a favor. Actually, it was the possibility of a favor: Magic's essentially a drug in Storybrooke when used the wrongly. Regina's as reluctant to use magic as a young boy or girl in 8th grade or 9th grade. Rumple's the out-of-it drug dealer who borrows your Fenix TX self-titled cd and never returns it. Rumple shows off the magic mirror of destruction with typical Rumple flourish. Regina turns away as if Rumple appeared pants less. The thought that she doesn't want to become her mother dominates every act, line, gesture and expression. of her's. The question about her use of magic isn't about 'why' or 'how' but 'when.'

Regina uses the magic mirror to send her mother to theoretical oblivion after she tells her daughter what to do, how to exploit her marriage for power and dominance all over The Enchanted Forst. From the instant the mirror shatters to the scene with Rumple, the beats are telegraphed. Regina will be horrified by her own actions until she admits her lust for magic and agrees to let Rumple teach her the ropes in exchange for a future favor. Rumple adamantly compared himself with her in regards to the magic addiction. I missed the bulk of the exchange because ABC's sound editing is so dreadful.

Regina's honest attempt to transform and change in Storybrooke makes the fairyback worthwhile. It's a drag to see Regina regain her magic and treat everyone terribly, including Henry. I dislike Evil Bitch Goddess in the fairybacks; a full season of her being such was not welcomed. Somewhere off-screen, Regina reconsiders her choice to hold Henry against his will. She possibly figures out she's actively in charge of her happiness and choices. Whatever this arc will be, whether redemptive or tragic, Lana Parrilla will be able to flex her acting muscles. Anyway, Barbara Hershey will be back in the present around, eh, February or March to undo the improvement Regina made as mayor, mother, and overall person.

Other Thoughts:

-Charming's becoming a hero once more. The townspeople are as crazed and confused as the Island folk in early season 2 of LOST. Charming delivers a good speech. Before his speech, he attempted to use the hat to find his wife and daughter. Jefferson was brought back via car crash or something (what the hell was that?) to deliver absolutely no helpful information about the hat. Jefferson then ran away because he's a horrible character. Charming learns from Regina the truth about The Enchanted Forest. Of course, the woman's unaware of how to return to the place they left. Charming and Henry will be a tag-team in the search for Emma and Snow.

-Any character who leaves Storybrooke forgets who their fairy tale identity. Poor Sneezy thinks he's a pharmacist. I gotta say, the actor who portrays Sneezy delivered the most honest acting this show has seen since, well, never. Sneezy deserves an Emmy.

-Robert Carlyle's campy and batshit crazy Rumplestiltskin was back. I honestly thought the show runners chose to tone down Carlyle's grating Rumple performance. Oh no. Espenson loves campy Rumple way too much.

-I don't want to compare OUAT to LOST too much. I really don't. Sometimes, though, the similarities punch me in the face. OUAT is in season 2 LOST territory right now. Sure, there's no hatch; however, fairy-tale land is essentially Tailie land. Mulan and Aurora drag Emma and Snow around in ropes. They're village is similar to Tailies, as is their story. Mulan mentions 'we're survivors' to Emma, 'not refugees.' The Tailies were survivors. Snow escapes exactly like Jin at the end of "Adrift." Mulan orders the captives be put into a pit.
For a second I thought they were going to be put in a pit with Michelle Rodriguez.

-Jane Espenson wrote the episode. Dean White directed it.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.