This week, Once Upon a Time delved into the Black Fairy’s origin story with episode 6.19, aptly titled “The Black Fairy”. There was the Savior tie-in, of course, which at least partially explained why Rumpel is so predisposed to cowardice, though Once is very good at not letting its characters use their pasts as an excuse for bad behavior.
It effectively explained her motivation for taking on the Black Fairy alone, added power to her sacrifice at the end of the hour, and incorporated both the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in a fun, unexpected way. Because of that resentment, Zelena often brings out Regina’s worst impulses, like how cruel she can be when she’s frustrated or when the people she loves are in danger (leading her to say things like “go back to Oz”).
This week, Once Upon a Time delivered another strong episode (6.17, “Awake”) in a run that I’m largely enjoying. The flashbacks were a big part of the reason why, as we saw a new time in the show’s history: Storybrooke, ten years into the Dark Curse. For a moment I thought it was a pilot or season one moment that had happened offscreen, but then I remembered the circumstances of David waking up and realized it must be something Snow and Charming ended up forgetting.
This week, Once Upon a Time bounced back nicely from their last episode, offering an emotional, entertaining hour (episode 6.14, “Page 23”) that saw Lana Parrilla play—I kid you not—three different versions of Regina. If our Regina and Robin couldn’t get their happy ending, I’m very glad some version of their characters did.
After a couple of great episodes in a row, Once Upon a Time was due for a dud, and unfortunately, it came this week in “Ill-Boding Patterns,” episode 6.13. There was also a nice juxtaposition in Gideon stealing his father’s dagger and Baelfire receiving it freely. It adds another heartbreaking layer to Rumple and Baelfire’s relationship, sure—the best thing Rumple did for him as a father was the thing Bae forgot—but it’s a layer that felt pretty unearned.
Once Upon a Time delivered another strong episode last night (“Murder Most Foul,” episode 6.12) that delved into the murder of Charming’s father, Robert, as well as the Charming/Hook bromance. Charming and Hook have long had one of my favorite relationships on the show, so I enjoyed this hour a lot, especially because it felt very contained. Regina, Robin, and Snow had the only side plot, and it was brief enough not to take away from Charming’s journey.
The first half of Once Upon a Time’s sixth season had a “back to basics” vibe that I appreciated. It was thematically rich, steeped in the show’s brand of hopeful optimism, and largely favored small character moments over expansive plot.
Plus, despite not feeling very finale-y in general, the ending did serve up a couple of intriguing questions for viewers to ponder over hiatus: One, how will this version of Robin Hood affect Regina? It made sense that Regina was the one to go after Emma in the wish realm both on a friendship level and given her intensely personal connection to the Queen who sent Emma there. It also helped that Emma couldn’t help but raise a hero, despite not being one herself in the wish realm.
Mary Berry will carry on the good name of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ when she stars as a judge on the US spin-off. My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Nia Vardalos and husband Ian Gomez will host the series, which kicks off on ABC in the US on Thursday (01.12.16). Mary quit the programme “out of loyalty” to the BBC following the news and so did co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins as they had no intention to “go with the dough”.
David Beckham appeared as a celebrity guest on the latest episode of Beyond Magic, but it was former Spice Girl Victoria who delivered the best line of the night, despite being in a separate room from the illusionist.
Anyone who’s read my reviews before knows that I’m a big fan of episodes focused on Emma and Regina’s friendship and relationship as co-parents, and this one delivered on both fronts. It also had a nice focus, with the bulk of the hour centered on Henry and his moms (all three of them, actually). One of the other B stories, Aladdin stealing the wand for Belle, felt a tad unnecessary—Zelena or Belle could have swiped it somehow—but I understand why they went with Aladdin instead.
This episode was a mixed bag for me; I absolutely loved Hook and Henry’s storyline but had some issues with the rest of it.
A look at how Supergirl, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow fared this week. The Superman mini arc worked very well for me, largely because it never felt like Kara was guest starring on her own show (my biggest fear going into it) and also because Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark Kent was the perfect blend of clumsy and suave. My only real qualm with this episode was that it’s our last with Cat Grant for a while.
In my review of Conviction’s pilot, I conceded that the show had flaws but also potential. For one, Hayes is becoming a more nuanced character than she was in the first episode, a byproduct of spending more time with her. Now, though, they’ve pulled back on that extreme a bit, making me believe Hayes’s compassion, especially in scenes with victims or their families.
This was a pretty solid episode in a season I’m largely enjoying so far. Plus, it has me extra excited for future episodes, just so I can see how the ending realization affects Regina and the Evil Queen. Jekyll and Hyde’s flashback scenes were pretty dark for this show (they reminded me of Cruella’s in a lot of ways) and felt kind of Sherlock-esque with the time period and mystery elements.
In a promising fall season with shows like Pitch, This Is Us, and The Good Place, all of which had strong pilots and even stronger second episodes, it’s easy to forget that not all shows begin so perfectly. In fact, even critically acclaimed shows like Parks and Recreation have had rocky first episodes and sometimes entire first seasons.
The first ten minutes or so were excellently paced, giving us the Count of Monte Cristo’s motivation, establishing his connection to the Evil Queen, and setting up the episode’s main conflict, though, impressively, without feeling rushed. Hook and Emma’s conversation at Granny’s was lovely, a great example of how to further a relationship in an episode where it’s not the focus.
Once has a pretty consistent season premiere format: introduce several storylines and new characters, tease the themes of the season, and throw in a couple of surprises to guarantee viewers come back next week.
Galavant, ABC’s comedy musical extravaganza, had its second season premiere last night, and it reminded me just how much fun the show is. 1. The catchy musical numbers. Galavant’s songs are written by famed Disney composer Alan Menken, and they’re catchy, hilarious, and just the right amount of irreverent. Last season featured Weird Al Yankovic and Ricky Gervais, and last night’s first episode had John Stamos and Kylie Minogue.