Monday, September 29, 2014

Once's Tale of Ice and Smoke

I had come to a certain way of thinking. Although I do think that Once Upon a Time's good moments make it worth sitting through the mediocre moments, I was beginning to think that the season openers and finales weren't the strongest episodes out of each season. So even though I was excited for Season 4 to start last night, I wasn't necessarily expecting much from "A Tale of Two Sisters."

For all my worry, this episode was well put together and bodes well for the rest of the season--even for the possibility of moving on past Season 4 into even more seasons. Let's talk about Frozen first. It does seem likely that this show was, well, ordered to include certain details from the movie (maybe not, but it does seem that way, doesn't it?). Sure, the fairy tales they do that already have Disney versions tend to echo those Disney movies--but not as much as the Frozen story line has already done in just one episode. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff all look and dress exactly as they do in the movie; at least, there is significantly less variation than there has been for other stories. The short scene with the trolls almost seems like it's just added in so that the audience can see the trolls. You know what may have been my favorite thing, though? That wedding dress. That design, that fabric--that's a lovely dress.

Of course, it isn't as if the show is providing an exact retelling of the movie. It seems that we are coming into the story after the plot of the movie, so while much of those events may still hold true, where we go from there is different. And it would seem that I was right to wonder where Elsa's world was--it's in the same world as Snow White's, just a short ship's voyage away. That's where we make the connection to the current set of characters. While I wondered if the connection would come through Robin Hood and Marian or Regina, I completely overlooked Rumplestiltskin. How could I do that when last season's finale showed that Elsa was trapped in the lower level of his castle? What if he killed Anna? I would make that my theory--except that then Anna wouldn't be a present-day character, and that seems unlikely. But where is Anna, and how did Elsa end up trapped? And does Elsa know where she is when she finds herself in Storybrooke?

Maybe I liked this episode because the Charmings were in it so little. Maybe I liked the hinting at a new role for Emma. Maybe I was fascinated by Regina's new quest to find the author of Henry's fairy tale book. Maybe it was just nice to see Regina acting evil again. She's so happy when she's evil that I found myself so happy to see her embracing her evil smile and purple lipstick again, turning herself into smoke at every turn. Or maybe it had just been a while since I'd watched Robert Carlyle. Interesting that his little act of deception at the end of last season appears to be coming to a close and he does genuinely seem to want to start over. And wasn't it so nice getting the Beauty and the Beast dance? But what is that box, and what does he intend to do with it?

Questions, questions; I have so many. The questions are one of the best parts about this show, and we're off to a good guessing game this year.

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