Wed
May 23 2012 5:00pm

Once Upon a Time vs. Grimm, Part 17: The Final Battle

It’s been an exciting season filled with magic, mystery, animal creatures, vengeance, love, and death...but we’ve finally arrived at the end of the first season for two extremely successful fairy tale shows that will both be returning for second seasons later this year! In a way, they’re BOTH winners.

Of course, there can only be one winner in my little battle. Mostly because, you know, I scored with numbers, so there’s math.

Onward, ye Oncers and Grimmlins, and find out which show takes the top prize in the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows!

 

Once Upon a Time, Ep. 22: “A Land Without Magic”

Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) is lying in a coma after eating that magic apple turnover, and this makes Emma (Jennifer Morrison) so desperate and fearful that she is ready to believe that the curse, and everything else Henry told her, is real. She sets about confronting Regina (Lana Parilla) who, in a rare moment of humanity born out of her love for Henry, reluctantly agrees to help Emma approach Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) for his help in recovering the last bit of magic available to save Henry. Mr. Gold explains where the last bit of True Love is, and we see that, in the fairy tale world, after Prince James (Josh Dallas) escaped from the Evil Queen (thanks to The Huntsman! Yay, Jamie Dornan!) and was trapped in the Infinite Forest for his trouble, he makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin in order to get out. Rumpelstiltskin asks him to hide the bottle of True Love, which is encased in a golden egg, in a beast, and The Prince, after a bit of a battle, gets the egg inside the body of Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten) in dragon form!

In Storybrooke, Emma is told where the dragon is, and armed with her father’s sword, goes into the depths of Storybrooke to do battle. She vanquishes the dragon and gets the egg, but when the time comes to emerge, the elevator she took down to the dragon gets stuck. She makes the mistake of trusting Mr. Gold to help her up, only to have him steal the egg from her and leave her to fend for herself. She climbs up the elevator shaft to find Regina tied up, frees her, and they both are about to go after Mr. Gold when they get a phone call from the hospital. Henry is dead.

Except that when they get there — surprise, surprise — Emma kisses him with the kiss of true love, waking him up (from death?), and breaking the curse. Everyone in Storybrooke now remembers who they are, including Belle (Emilie DeRavin), whom Jefferson (Sebastian Stan) freed from the hospital and sent to Mr. Gold to make him want to take revenge on Regina. So, Mr. Gold and Belle are together, and he has his bottle of True Love. What’s he doing with it? Bringing it to the well that brings you back whatever you’ve lost and dropping it in, that’s what. Rumpelstiltskin has brought magic back, and he and Regina both feel it and are way too happy about it....

Script (1.25): Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz didn’t give us a bad script, but a perfunctory one. Everything that needed to happen did happen, and interesting things (like the inevitable Rumpelstiltskin/Regina showdown, Emma’s continued fight for Henry, Snow and James’ fight for their kingdom) were set up for season two.

The problem is that none of this was done particularly artfully, save for the juxtaposing of Prince James and Emma in their respective battles with the dragon, which was thematically lovely. Everything that needed to happen, like Emma kissing Henry with the Kiss of True Love, happened predictably in a by-the-numbers way. And when things were unpredictable, like Emma suddenly believing in the curse despite being so reluctant for so long in the most inorganic moment I’ve seen in a while, they didn’t make much sense. The way that moment was handled, it looked as if she touched Henry’s book and it sent visions of the truth shooting into her, which was hugely unsatisfying. I’ve seen various explanations online that say that she believed in that moment either because “she was ready,” or because “Henry’s condition primed her to believe, the way that people will suddenly turn to God when loved ones are ill even if they’ve never believed before.” I would’ve believed either of those had they been indicated in the script at all, but they weren’t. Emma just went from not believing to touching the book and believing. Had there been moments of her deliberating in previous episodes, or even in this one, that moment might have been earned, but it was not. She’s been so adamant about not believing for so long that I just couldn’t buy this sudden turnaround, and it tainted the rest of the episode, because I couldn’t be as invested in her quest.

There were several moments like this in the episode that felt less inevitable and more the product of writers forcing certain things to happen in order to move the story forward. Jefferson, who is the biggest waste of a character in the whole show (and who starred in one of the bigger wastes of an episode this season), existing solely to free Belle. Emma suddenly getting a case of The Stupids and trusting Mr. Gold by giving him the egg before he helped her up from the elevator shaft in one of the most out-of-character moments they’ve ever given her. Seriously, she’s never made any bones about not trusting Mr. Gold even when she’s chosen to work with him. Suddenly, when her son’s life is on the line, she’s going to give up the one thing she thinks is going to make him better? I was screaming at the TV, “Just zip it up tight in your jacket and climb up!”

Oh, and why is it that, if both Mr. Gold and Regina actually want Emma to succeed in defeating the dragon, they never actually told her she’d be facing a dragon? You’d think they’d want their only hope prepared. Instead, they were like “Um, here’s a sword. You’re gonna have to kill a mysterious something. We know what that something is, and possibly what its weaknesses are, but we’re not going to tell you.” Uh-huh.

And then, there’s the issue of True Love itself. I understand why Emma’s kiss would wake Henry. What I didn’t understand is why that would break the curse on Storybrooke. The whole device of True Love being a magic that can be bottled at all served to distract from its actual power. Emma has been in True Love with Henry all along, with or without a bottle in an egg. That magic has existed in Storybrooke since Emma got there. So, she could’ve kissed Henry at any time and broken the curse? Did he have to be dead or in a coma in order for it to work? Or are we supposed to assume that her love wasn’t strong enough then? What does a drop of True Love potion matter in the face of actual, living and breathing True Love? And what about Mary Margaret and David? Their love was so strong that it defied even the Dark Curse over them both. You mean to tell me that none of their many kisses could break the curse? They didn’t have powerful enough True Love despite its seeping through their magical amnesia? And are no other characters in True Love with each other? Why have we not seeing air-ripples of love all the dang time? Red kissing Peter? Rumpelstiltskin kissing Belle? Nothing? Were Snow and James just “the most” in love?

Yes, I know this is a fantasy, but even fantasy stories have their own logic, and the logic in this story wasn’t very sound. As much fun as I have watching Once Upon a Time, its biggest problem in season one is that everything was built around this Dark Curse. So, in order to be free to tell other stories, the Curse had to be defeated in season one, which means character reactions were rushed, and story elements were imposed where they shouldn’t have been in order to make that happen. While this episode kept me just interested enough in the show to want to see what they do with season two, it was boring and predictable in and of itself, and left me with a flat feeling of, “OK...now what?”

Performances (2): Despite the weaknesses in the story, the performances remained top-notch with Lana Parilla and Robert Carlyle continuing to play off each other beautifully, as well as give us two antagonists who can be villains while remaining entirely human and believable. Jennifer Morrison was heartbreaking as Emma, as she spent the entire episode with Henry on her mind. And I just love Emilie De Ravin as Belle so much that even the smallest glimpse of her as that character makes me happy.

Once again, the weak link is Sebastian Stan as Jefferson, though I know now that it’s more the character as written I don’t like. Still, Stan does nothing to lift the character off of the page.

Production (2): HOLY CRAP, THAT DRAGON. That entire action sequence was awesome, both in the animation of the dragon and the exciting way in which it was shot. All the episode’s other effects — August going fully wooden, the green magical mist, the wave of True Love — were also extremely well done. And there was no tell-tale greenscreen work this time, which is always a plus.

Representation (2): While we only saw Sidney Glass’ initials on a door, and barely any dwarf action, full marks have to be given, because right up to the end of the first season, the story of Once Upon a Time remained balanced between its male and female characters. This was captured beautifully in the dragon battle sequence where we see Emma pick up where her father left off and their battles with Maleficent are cut together. It’s a brilliant thing to watch a father’s legacy inherited by his daughter, and to watch that daughter then pass things on to a son. Rumpelstiltskin and Regina serve to balance each other out, and I know that watching them duke it out is going to be a highlight next season. Whereas female characters are generally called upon to sacrifice themselves for a greater good (as they often are in real life), on OUaT it’s the male characters who do this most often, and none were more poignant than Henry. It’s a beautiful moment when he wakes up and realizes that his sacrifice was worth it. And as far as complex, nuanced characters, Regina continues to fascinate as we see her both as a hardened, evil woman and the loving, motherly woman she’s capable of being.

Audience Engagement (1.5): I watched this with a friend, and we were both equally disappointed. I was also on Twitter during the West Coast broadcast, and reactions seemed evenly split between “OMG, THAT WAS AMAZING!” and “Wait...that was it?” An uneven reaction to an uneven episode. Once Upon a Time is still an intriguing show overall, but the first season finale left much to be desired.

TOTAL SCORE FOR Once Upon a Time: 8.75 (out of 10)

 

Grimm, Ep. 22: “The Woman In Black”

Nick (David Giuntoli) has to worry about both Hank (Russell Hornsby) and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). Hank, because he’s still shaken up after having seen two Wesen change in the last episode, one of whom was Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). Juliette, because she was badly scratched by a cat with big, black eyes and a gold tongue brought into her animal hospital by none other than scorned hexenbiest, Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee). Nick attempts to tell Juliette about his being a Grimm in order to get her to take her cat scratch seriously, but she thinks Nick is insane and passes out from the cat bite just before Monroe can “wolf out” in front of her. She ends up in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Nick and Hank are investigating a string of murders — and a botched attempt on Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz), which was foiled by Sargent Wu (Reggie Lee) — being committed by Akira Kimura (Brian Tee), one of the men responsible for the death of Nick’s parents. Kimura is attacking people he suspects might have the Coins of Zakynthos one by one in order to locate them, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. All the while, Nick and Co. are being followed around by a Woman in Black (Mary Elizabeth Masterantonio) who seems to know her way around a fight (as well as acrobatic leaps onto police cars). As Monroe and Rosalee (Bree Turner) work on testing Adalind’s cat to see what spell Adalind used on its claws, Nick traces Kimura to his own home and fights him. The Woman in Black appears, and Nick starts to fight her, too. But then she kills Kimura, turns to Nick and says, “Nick. Nicky. It’s me.” And Nick says, “Mom?”

That’s right. Nick’s mom is still alive.


Script (1.5): Grimm creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf have given us a solid, exciting episode of Grimm that also served to set up some pretty big storylines for next season. The case of the episode moved along at a healthy clip, and both Hank’s deteriorating mental health and the introduction of a new plan from Adalind were handled very well. And the reveal of Nick’s mother was perfect. Overall, this was a satisfying season finale.

However, that doesn’t mean there were no hiccups. The moment when Nick finally tells Juliette about being a Grimm was handled surprisingly poorly. I know that it was important for Juliette not to believe him, certainly not right away, but did Nick have to suddenly forget how to speak English? Rather than starting with the fact of the hair she couldn’t explain, as well as the fact that she brought up the point that perhaps stuff like Bigfoot was real, he just starts naming things around his trailer like a babbling idiot. Meanwhile, Juliette was way too skeptical from the get-go. She wants the truth, and yet everything she says and does leads us to believe that she’s dead set on not believing him no matter what he says. That entire section between Nick and Juliette didn’t play the way I think it was supposed to. Either that, or it did, and the way it was supposed to play was just wrong.

The other thing? There were bits of laughable dialogue all over the script. Like all of the dialogue for the New York City cop, for instance. “‘Cause ex-NYC cops generally get what they want.” Really? Because last I checked, ex-cop meant that people stopped doing you favors. Especially if you’re the kind of ex-cop who’s helping a killer find his marks for the money. He was the most stereotypical, 30s-style “NYC cop” I’ve ever seen. It was ridiculous. (For NYC cops done well, see ABC’s Castle.) Also, Nick’s “How ‘bout I give you this?” in his fight scene with Kimura literally made me LOL. It might not have been such a laughable line had it not been followed by weak karate chops to Kimura’s shoulders. Still.

However, the episode was solid overall, and the reveal of Nick’s mother at the end was exactly the jolt the episode needed to take it from competent standalone episode to worthwhile season finale.

Performances (2): While the script required things between them to be a bit unbelievable, David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch completely sold their performances. In Giuntoli, we saw Nick’s relief at finally being able to tell Juliette everything, and I almost bought that the seeming difficulty Nick had in finding his words had to do with all of his feelings rushing to the surface and his not being able to process them. (Almost. I still believe that Nick is a competent enough character that he could’ve expressed himself not  like a crazy person without affecting Juliette’s disbelief.) Meanwhile, Tulloch was heartbreaking, conveying a deep fear and a genuine, unabashed love for Nick. Her eyes did more in that scene than they have in the whole season, and they’ve already done a lot.

It’s a testament to Reggie Lee’s skill that, despite the stories not giving him much to do that he remains as compelling as he is. There is very little of Sgt. Wu on the page, yet the character feels lived-in and real, and that’s all to do with Lee. And Russell Hornsby completely sold his crazy, making my heart race as his increasing paranoia was palpable through the screen. Also, it was nice to see Sasha Roiz’s Renard drop the mysterious, omnipotent royalness for a while, instead just giving us a more simple, yet entirely human, “Oh, crap. I just got my ass handed to me. Now, I must express my pain through casual wear.”

Lastly, I love Mary Elizabeth Masterantonio as Kelly Burkhardt. She didn’t say much, but the way she said, “Nick. Nicky.” conveyed so much history. I immediately imagined her using his childhood nickname with that same tone of voice on the playground when he was ten. Also, she was just so cool. Nick totally wins for having the coolest mom ever.

Production (1.75): Kimura’s monkey-morphing effect was one of the best Wesen transformations they’ve done yet. Seamless, without completely losing the actor’s features. The eye effects on both Majique the cat and Juliette were great and appropriately creepy. Also, having Renard in casual clothes after his attack was a surprisingly effective character choice. I didn’t realize how much I associated Renard with his suits until I saw him in a pullover and khakis, and it was a decision that made sense; that, at his most vulnerable he doesn’t have the wherewithal to pull his “look” together and be his usual pristine and proper self. Bloody corpses, face and hand injuries — great, great, great. So why the point deduction? Majique’s attack on Juliette. It looked so fake it actually pulled me out of the scene. I’m sure it’s really difficult to work with animals, but...surely there was a better way to do that? Maybe?

Representation (2): Two Asians! Oh, MAN! Seriously, though, I was actually happy about the inclusion of another Asian actor and what that means for the future globalization of the show. It’s heartening to think that the show won’t be limiting itself to the stories of the “Old Country” in Europe, but to other old countries. Countries that are much older, in fact.

Love Hank. Poor, poor Hank.

And the thing that thrilled me the most was the fact that Kelly Burkhardt is alive, and will potentially be a new guiding force in Nick’s life! One of the things that upset me in the episodes just after Grimm’s pilot was that, with Aunt Marie’s death, we lost the opportunity to see a young male hero guided toward reaching his full potential by an older woman, something we hardly ever see in fiction. With the return of Nick’s mother, my hope is that we will get to see that dynamic explored.

Audience Engagement (2): I watched the Grimm finale with friends, and we all enjoyed the episode immensely, both as a standalone and as a satisfying season finale. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we spent much of the episode shouting things at the television, because we were so invested. We were also live-tweeting, and everyone in the #grimmlive hashtag, while just as skeptical as we were about Nick’s handling of telling Juliette the truth, all seemed to have just as much fun with the episode as we did.

TOTAL SCORE FOR Grimm: 9.25 (out of 10)

 

THE FINAL STATS

 

Once Upon a Time

Grimm

EPISODE

SCORE

SCORE

PILOT

8

8.5

EPISODE 2

9

6.5

EPISODE 3

9.5

9.5

EPISODE 4

7.5

8.5

EPISODE 5

10

10

EPISODE 6

9.5

9.5

EPISODE 7

9.5

9.5

EPISODE 8

9.5

9.5

EPISODE 9

8.5

10

EPISODE 10

10

9.5

EPISODE 11

9.5

10

EPISODE 12

9

9.5

EPISODE 13

6.5

9.5

EPISODE 14

10

10

EPISODE 15

10

9

EPISODE 16

10

10

EPISODE 17

8.5

10

EPISODE 18

9

9

EPISODE 19

9.25

9.25

EPISODE 20

9.25

6.5

EPISODE 21

10

9.5

SEASON ONE FINALE

8.75

9.25

 

TOTAL:

 

200.75

 

202.50

WINNER OF THE BATTLE OF THE NETWORK FAIRY TALE SHOWS:

Grimm

 

There you have it Oncers and Grimmsters! Grimm has taken the title of Best New Network Fairy Tale Show! I’ll be going into why I think that is in my Post Battle Wrap-Up, which I hope will post tomorrow. However, the biggest reason why I wanted to cover both shows like this is to celebrate the fact that there are two quality genre shows that debuted on television this year; shows that deserve our attention and our scrutiny because of the talent involved, and the quality of the stories. Yes, this was a “competition,” but the goal of that was to bring attention to both new shows, rather than spotlighting one over the other. Hopefully, I got some die-hard Oncers to give Grimm a try, or vice versa. You have the entire summer to catch up on season one’s episodes before Grimm returns in August after the Summer Olympics on NBC, and Once Upon a Time returns to ABC in the fall.

So, what do you think of the final outcome? I look forward to your comments below!

And congratulations to everyone involved with Grimm! Thank you for an amazing season! I feel like there should be a prize of some sort... I’m sure I’ll think of something!


Teresa Jusino is proud of her spoken-word poem about the ladies of Grimm. She was selected as one of the Top 11 Geek Girls of 2011 at the Geek To Me blog at Chicago Redeye, and her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. Her fiction has appeared in the sci-fi literary magazine, Crossed Genres; she is the editor of Beginning of Line, the Caprica fan fiction site; and her essay “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” is included in Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them, which is on sale now wherever books are sold! She is Geek Girl Traveler when she travels. 2012 will see Teresa’s work in two upcoming non-fiction anthologies, and her “Moffat’s Women” panel will be featured at Geek Girl Con in August!  Get Twitterpated with Teresa, “like” her on Facebook, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

23 comments
John Skotnik
1. ShooneSprings
The Grimm finale actually made me yell at the TV for more, whereas the Once finale was more of a "okay, good setup for next season".
RedheadedJen
2. RedheadedJen
For me, Grimm was by far the better show. All I could say after the ending scene of Grimm was wow!
Corkryn Williams
3. MadCow21
That was the first time Emma had kissed Henry after she began believing in the curse. It was well established by the show that 1) only Emma can break the curse, and 2) her belief in said curse was somehow essential to her ability to break it. Given those facts, I had no such problems reconciling that particular plot point.
RedheadedJen
4. Bittersweet Fountain
I too felt the ending of Once Upon a Time was a little bit meh. We spend the entire season talking about the bigness and badness of this curse and Emma spends the entire season refusing to believe the curse is even possible, and then it's all suddenly solved in like ten minutes. My reaction was merely, "What? Really? Well that was anti-climatic."

And I came into this season with a huge love for epic shows (which would be Once Upon a time) and a huge hatred of cop shows. Yet Grimm IMHO was by far the better show. It took a while but it completely won me over and season finale was completely in scale with the rest of the season and a perfect climax.
RedheadedJen
5. Phae
Thanks for the great reviews and comparisons, Teresa. I'm a solid fan of both shows, and have enjoyed reading these. More next season!
Zayne Forehand
6. ShiningArmor
The reason Snow and Charming could never break the curse is because the product of True Love (Emma) was the loophole that Rumple built into the curse in the first place.

I really enjoyed the OUaT finale. I felt like Emma's awakening was earned because we'd spent so much time getting her to a point where she could finally accept it.

I must have missed the post where you disliked the Mad Hatter episode so much but that was one of my favorites of the year. A great trippy excursion into Wonderland and I thought Sebastian Stan did a great job making him a sympathetic character.

I've only watched the first two episodes of Grimm last week and I plan on trying to get through the whole season but it's not grabbing right now with the same sense of wonder I felt while watching Once.

I've really enjoyed your comparison posts and your high opinion of Grimm is what made me more inclined to give it a try. I hope you continue this next season.
RedheadedJen
7. RobinM
Great Job Tersa,
I hope you continue to "Battle" during season 2 . I can't wait for both shows to start up again. The finale I liked best was Grimm it had more action and kept the story moving along but I thought the return of the coins were a strange choice of topic. It gave us a reason to see the last bad guy and Nick's wickedly cool mom show up but what about the secret key Nick is carring around?
Thomas Simeroth
8. a smart guy
Grimm may have won the battle, but they have not won the war (of the Fairy Tale Shows) I would love to see the next seasons episodes labeled the War of the Fairy Tale Shows. Maybe it's just me, but I think that makes more sense.
Teresa Jusino
9. TeresaJusino
MadCow21 @3 - Having had a couple of days to think about it, I get the "logistics" of how the curse worked a little better, I think. :) I mean, I got that Emma was pretty much a bottle of True Love herself being that she's the product of her parents, and that she needed to believe in the curse in order to be spurred to action. But they never said that in order for the curse to be broken, she had to believe. I was always under the impression that they needed her to believe so that she'd DO something about it. But, let's say she kissed Henry before beliveing, which I don't think she ever did - we've seen her hug him, but not kiss him - would the curse not have been broken, just because she didn't believe? I think one of the big points of the show is that faith in other people is just as important as faith in magic. When Henry eats the turnover, he says "You might not believe in the curse, but I believe in you." I don't think that Emma's belief in the curse was ever as important as her belief in Henry or her new friends... And her sudden willingness to believe in the curse remains unsatisfying to me.

Bittersweet Fountain @4 - I agree. That's exactly how I felt about Emma's turnaround.

What's funny is that I came to feel about Once Upon a Time the way you came to feel about Grimm. I didn't think I'd like Once, at first. I thought it would be too floofy and "princessy", if that makes sense. :) It proved to be anything but, and I'm so glad I was wrong.

Phae @5 - Thanks! Glad you've enjoyed! Not sure what I'm doing yet next season, but I hope you'll stick around to find out! :)

ShiningArmor @6 - Yeah, I wasn't crazy about "Hat Trick." The episode or the actor playing Jefferson. Ah, well. I can't love everything. :)

As for Grimm, I was in your boat at first, too. I LOVED the pilot but hated the second episode. You'll notice above that I gave Ep 2 of Grimm a really low score. :) But then 3 was better, and Episode 4 was the episode that really clinched it for me and made Grimm a show I wanted to keep up with. So...I'd recommend getting to at least Ep 4 or 5, and if you don't like it after that, it's probably not your cup of tea. :) But I'm flattered that my opinion of it makes you want to give it a whirl!

RobinM @7 - I was wondering about the key, too! But we already know that it's a sort of map (or part of one), and I feel like Season 2 will involve his mom telling him what it's a map of, what it opens, and perhaps a trip. I feel like they've been expanding the scope of the show, bringing in German, and now Japanese players. I think Grimm's going worldwide! At least, I hope so. I was glad they revisited the coins, as they seem too important to everyone to just be left for missing. It would only be a matter of time before someone came looking for them. And remember, they're in Nick's trailer! EEK!

asmartguy @8 - HA! Well, yes. If this continues, IT WILL BE WAR! Complete with catapults and crossbows!

Again, I don't know what I'm doing next season, but stay tuned! :) And thanks for reading, everyone!
RedheadedJen
10. AllBrown
Teresa, While I agree with you that the finale of Grimm was a stronger show, I liked the end of Once Upon A Time much better than you did. Didn't think it was a bad episode, just a serviceable one. It hit all the plot points it needed to, but like you say, sometimes it felt a bit contrived.
Grimm, on the other hand, was a great story, well told, that wrapped up enough threads to be satisfying, while leaving enough unresolved to have us anticipating the next season. The one false note, as you pointed out, was how manic Nick was when he tried to explain things to Juliette--a bit out of character in my mind.
I loved the way you presented this as a contest, as it gave you a chance to contrast and compare the two shows, which gave me a better appreciation of not only what worked and didn't, but WHY it worked or failed. I gained a much deeper understanding of what was going on. Anyone who likes one show or another could easily also get an entertaining review of the one show that they were watching.
So keep this fun "show versus show" motif for your reviews of the next season.
Thanks for a fun season of reviews!
RedheadedJen
11. Dr. Thanatos
Fun reviews even though I have never been able to get into Grimm

I didn't find the finale of OUAT as bad or contrived as you did, Teresa; I think that some internal logic was followed

Emma had to be "primed" to break the curse; in order to use True Love's Kiss (all rights reserved) she had to be a Heroic Figure. To qualify, she had to perform a Heroic Deed, to wit Slay the Dragon. To Slay the Dragon (rather than look at it dumfounded and say "WTF???" right before getting et up) she had to believe in the reality of the Story world. In order to really believe in the reality of the Story world, she had to have it confirmed by someone other than Henry, i.e. Queenie fessing up. And Queenie wouldn't fess up until their mutual object of adoration, Henry, was in danger.

My point is that I am not concerned about her process; I can accept that. I did, however, think that this episode was a bit rushed. If this particular story segment had been fleshed out over 2-3 episodes, giving room for more explanation of why things were playing out this way, it might have worked better. Note to Network Suits: give enough time for series' to develop characters, plots, etc. Perhaps taking time away from critically important dance competitions, celebrity navel-gazing shows, or other high-priority material...
RedheadedJen
12. jbo
The author of this blog has shown strong feminist traits in her writings all season, but this takes the cake: "Whereas female characters are generally called upon to sacrifice themselves for a greater good (as they often are in real life)"

Come on. Stop focusing on male versus female. You are clearly very hung up on it. Few others notice or care.
RedheadedJen
13. srizzo00
Other instances of Emma's growing belief in the curse and in the origin of Storybrooke's inhabitants came at the end of "Hat Trick" when Paige said hello to Henry outside the school, prompting Emma to ask for the book, apparently so that she could look up the conclusion to the Mad Hatter's story, as well as in "Red-Handed," when she takes up Henry's request to use Ruby's skills as Red Riding Hood to aid in the search for Kathryn.
Teresa Jusino
14. TeresaJusino
Dr. Thanatos @11 - I definitely see the logic you're following, and it makes a lot of sense, I just don't think it was logic put forth by the show. :) I think that's logic based on years of reading fairy tales and filling in the blanks of what didn't actually exist on the page in this episode. Had the episode been as clear as your explanation in your comment, I might have enjoyed it even more.

jbo @12 - Are you new to this shindig? It seems like it, so let me clarify - I've been showing "strong feminist traits all season" because one of the categories in which I've been grading each episode for the entire season is "Representation." That's representation of gender and of racial and other minorities (LGBT, characters w/disabilities, etc). The reason why I chose that as one of my categories is that I feel that representation on network television could use lots of improvement, and I wanted to examine that specifically in terms of these two shows. You'll notice that, on Grimm, I spent a lot of time talking about Sargent Wu and the fact that it bothers me that he still doesn't have a first name, and that his character is generally not as fleshed out as the others. I've talked about the dwarves on Once Upon a Time. I've mentioned that there are no gay characters yet on either show. If I talk about gender issues more than anything else, it's because 1) Once Upon a Time is a very female-heavy show, and I think they do so much right when it comes to gender representation. The line you quoted was actually me praising OUaT for not falling into the traps a lot of other shows fall into - like Grimm at the beginning, where all Juliette did was comfort Nick without having any motivations of her own (so glad THAT'S changed!), and 2) Women are a numerical majority of the population, but you'd never know it from the way they've historically been portrayed on TV. That's a problem that needs fixing, and I wanted to examine that through these two shows.

But as far as it being a hang-up? Since when is an interest a "hang-up?" It's something I'm interested in exploring, and so I focus on it. And I've been doing it from the beginning in a category all its own. That was advertised right from the get-go. And people have engaged with me about it, so clearly your statement about how "few others notice or care" is wrong. And clearly you care so much that the mere mention of these issues makes you comment for the sole purpose of telling me I shouldn't care about it. Not even to tell me I'm incorrect in my point, but that the very fact that I have a point to make about these issues is wrong. I would welcome actual discussion about it! Did you actually have a point about the content of what I said? Or did you just want to tell me to shut up about it?

If the latter, please go troll elsewhere. (and PS - I'm amused by the fact that you say that I've been "showing strong feminist traits all season" as if that's an insult. As if that makes me less of a competent reviewer, and as if your saying that is supposed to shame me or make me feel bad or something. It doesn't, by the way.)

srizzooo @13 - I partially agree with you, except for the fact that whenever she did anything like what you mentioned, there was always the caveat that she was doing it "for Henry." Not because she actually believed, but because she was "playing along." There were definitely moments throughout the season where she came closer to believing, and when August tries to tell her the truth, she said she didn't believe, but it felt like it was because she didn't want to. Still, that's a huge hurdle to cross, and I just felt that the moment of her allowing herself to believe happened too quickly in the season finale to...well...be believed. And that's either the script's fault, or a fault in the direction. Not sure which, the longer I think about it...
Lucas Vollmer
15. aspeo
Teresa I enjoyed reading your recaps of these two shows over their first two seasons. I really liked OUaT, but never could get into Grimm. I hope you intend to do this comparison next season also.

I really enjoyed the finale of OUaT, and it left me feeling pretty excited for more. I felt it was pretty obvious that the curse wouldn't be broken until Emma really believed that the stories were real. I don't think it was so much of a matter that Emma didn't believe and then suddenly started believing. It seems like she wouldn't let herself believe until Henry made her see what she had been trying so hard not to see.

Also, having Regina tell her truthfully that everything was real helps quite a bit. And if there is one way to make sure she was telling the truth, it's from her real worry for Henry's safety. However bad she has been in this first season, she has always shown love and care for her adopted son.

I really liked the peoples reactions after the curse is lifted and they remember who they are. I think the reintroduction of magic and the recovery of memories should make for some very good stories in the next season.
RedheadedJen
16. Dr. Thanatos
On reflection, I think that there's a reason we're capitalizing True Love's Kiss.

Lots of people kiss, both in Fairy Tale World and Storybrooke. We can presume that a small percentage of them share true love, not just factual lust. So what is it about the kiss that wakes Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White, or Dead Henry? It's not just the love, it's the circumstances, it's the people. Almost always heroic types, almost always in circumstances of "I think they are dead, here's one last kiss," or "I just had to heroically hack my way throughsome righteous shrubbery to get in here, so I'm going to give her one heck of a kiss."

That's why I think that Emma had to go through a process to produce The Kiss. Otherwise every time Mary and David went at it it would be Bye Bye Curse.

Takes a special kiss, between special people, under special circumstances, to beat the special curse
RedheadedJen
17. Sophie Gale
This has been an interesting contest! --Even though the thought of watching OUaT makes me want to go to the kitchen and wash dishes. I wish it had been a three-way with Awake (which has been cancelled). I'm still trying to wrap my head around last night's finale. Coolest line of the show: Michael's trying to play "what if" with his dream worlds, and the woman psychiatrist just shakes her head and says gently, "It's turtles all the way down."

(What on earth??? My Captcha has one word and a very blurry picture of something that might be a chess pawn! GAWD, we have run out of Captchas!!!!)
RedheadedJen
18. Dave R
Most of the stuff that went wrong with Once Upon a Time, in my book, falls into the category of 'subplots created to make season 2 plausible'. With OUaT, ABC did something very unusual for a major American network and bought a fundamentally one-season show. Unfortunately, success meant they wanted to go for season 2. But Emma breaking the curse, however it was done, should have been the last episode of the show, with 'And they all lived hapily ever after' scrolling up the screen.
RedheadedJen
19. Rabbit
These are both great shows and I’m more a fan of Grimm, and I’m starting to enjoy Once Upon a Time. They're both great fantasy shows I enjoy during PrimeTime, and now I have the ability to watch all my PrimeTime shows commercial free. All the networks can still advertise all their commercials. Dish's only making it easier by eliminating the need to manually fast forward commercials. Since my Hopper records all my favorite shows during PrimeTime, I just have to press play and watch my episodes once I confirm whether I want to skip commercials or not. One of my coworkers at Dish showed me how Auto Hop worked, and how this will allow me to enjoy more of my programming. This takes the hassle of hitting the fast forward and rewind buttons to get to the next scene.
RedheadedJen
20. Stefan Jones
I actually thought Nick's klutzy explanation to Juliette was well done. Coming out and explaining the (mostly) private weirdness in his life to the grounded and intelligent Juliette is simply damn difficult.

A treat for GRIMM fans:

Ed Asner (?!?) and Oregon's Governor Kitzhaber hang out with the cast and crew of Grimm as filming of the second season begins: http://bit.ly/KR4n9a
RedheadedJen
21. katerina
Yesterday was the first episode of Grimm Season 2. Can't wait for you to write about it! I'm also wondering how you'll do it this season since Once Upon a Time doesn't start until the last week of September.
Melissa Shumake
22. cherie_2137
are we getting this for season two? or at least individual reviews?? i would love for it to keep going!
Chris Meadows
23. Robotech_Master
For what it's worth, I tended to think that the whole Emma-coming-to-believe thing with her hand touching the book was just shorthand for her mental thought process as she intuitively put together all the weird things she'd experienced since getting there.

I'm willing to cut them some slack because really, because after taking so long to get Emma to believe, they were working against a lot of built-up momentum. It's hard to redirect that so quickly. No matter how it happened, for Emma to change her mind this quickly was going to look contrived. And they couldn't really work her around to it any more gradually than they already did, because believing in the curse is kind of a binary proposition—either you believe in it all the way or you don't.

Anyway, it's easy for us to say, "Oh, she should have believed it with all these other people telling her it was true." But we're sitting outside the magic box, and have the flashback scenes to go on. If someone came up to you and said fairy tales were real, in this world, what would you think?

I'd like to see what you think of season 2, too.

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