Monday, March 5, 2012

Once Upon A... Hm (Review of Ep 14 Dreamy)

If you haven't seen Once Upon A Time Ep 14 "Dreamy" - here there be spoilers!

I just watched yesterday's episode of Once Upon A Time and I'm torn between two emotions: disbelief and embarrassment.

I may seem like I'm being a little harsh in this review but after the last two episodes, which set up some very low expectations for this one, Episode 14 ground those six feet under. It may be the worst episode yet and does fairy tales, women and the idea of being true to yourself a great disservice. This is exactly what I wish people DIDN'T think of fairy tales - or of themselves.

When the show first started and we were presented with fairies in the clouds (both dressed like jellyfish with awkward legs) my first thought - honest to god - was: "Oh, they're going to do a parody - this should be fun..."

I couldn't have been more wrong. This was supposed to be serious stuff. I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to the writers and creators brains during the writing of this episode. Was it a product of 4am-over-caffeinated-itis? But it got worse with dwarf egg hatchings and possibly the most pathetically helpless, clueless female character written in recent TV history (and that includes Belle and her Stockholm syndrome*! - who, by the way is drowning her misery in a tavern and tells Grumpy he's in love and should go for it. Why? Because I'm proof love is so great??). I almost fell off my chair when Dreamy/Grumpy chased her bag of fairy dust by scaling the mining scaffolds and equipment as she flapped her hands and wings - WINGS! - helplessly and looked on. It continued on this terrible trail  - complete with Disney heigh-ho's - for the entire span of the Fairy Tale Land plot. I was embarrassed for the actors who were trying to make what they could of this awful story and terrible lines and could only redeem it by reminding myself that their efforts were rewarded by a pay check which should help feed their families and loved ones for a good couple of months.
 Back in the "real" world we have nuns having to pay rent (do nuns pay rent?), to Mr. Gold of course - who hates them (what?) - by selling candles (where did they buy all the wax and string supplies? Puff the Magic Dragon? Methinks perhaps they could have used those initial funds a little better)... Doesn't seem like a sustainable plan for anything but apparently it's "in Mary-Margaret we trust" and Grumpy now too. (I'm guessing next month they'll be having a helium sale.) And the town drunk falls in love with ditzy/flirty (totally flirty!) klutz nun who, once he solves the problem, asks her out on a date. In a boat. She says yes. Of course. (Hang on - what??)

Actually the boat is the thing I liked best about the entire episode. Completely underused too.

In the meantime I'm very, very glad I won't have to call Sheriff Swan should I have an emergency or anything happen to one of my loved ones. Her "I can tell you're lying" superpower? Not so super. There's nothing professional, commanding or reassuring about the way she handles (ie doesn't handle) business. Somebody needs to give her a box of evidence bags and some gloves so she at least looks like she knows what she's doing. She's making it easy for Regina to win.

Speaking of Regina, since Once returned this year the character has actually had my sympathy. Being stuck in a town with these people is a kind of hell all of its own. But maybe that's the point. That the curse-ER is the most cursed of all.

This episode left me shaking my head and very glad I was alone when I watched it so I wouldn't have to explain why I wasn't fast forwarding. The production side of me just saw $ k-ching-ing past at great speed and great waste. The opening cloud scenes are sadly an apt description of the whole - generated fluff.

I'm just now looking around for images to use for the post and interestingly there really aren't any graphics being created from the episode like you usually see week after week on fan blogs. Under comments in various places I'm seeing very mixed responses, from "can't wait till next week" to those who announced they've just given up on the series after seeing this episode. Among reviews I found this one HERE which pointed out many of the same concerns, along with a few of the writers' own. The graphics for their post are sadly amusing.

BUT, there was one good thing: the trailer for next week's episode promises much better things with more of Red/Ruby's backstory. (Note: this is the episode Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow/Mary Margaret was so excited about filming after reading Ms. Espenson's script, alluding to a genius twist on things.) We'll find out who Big Bad is and see how the Snow/Red relationship worked in Fairy Tale. I hope they address Snow taking the forgetting potion too since there's going to be a whole thing with David/Charming as well apparently (you can see interesting photos from the upcoming episode HERE.) Most of all I really want to see how they make Red Riding Hood fresh for Once fans who are enjoying seeing into the lives of fairy tale characters.

So we end on an "up" note, with hope for both the series and for how fairy tales are being reinterpreted, here's the trailer for next week:

*Don't get me started on the Belle/Beast episode. I feel like society took a giant step backward with everything that said. You cannot fill in the "gaps" with the Disney movie - which also has some serious issues as far as I'm concerned. it has to be taken at face value - and that makes it seriously disturbing. I never want any girl - or woman - I know to model themselves after either Belle!

Image sources: screen capture, HERE and HERE.


  1. Oh, Gypsy. We are kindred fairy friends. My husband runs for the hills when I turn on Once although he asks to watch Grimm when we are looking through the list.

    And, yes, the pink clouds were very, very embarrassing...

  2. And the episode somehow went downhill from there...

    I didn't finish my last comments before publishing.

    I'm tired!

  3. I haven't seen this episode you are referencing, but after the last two episodes I have decided to stop watching Once Upon a Time. It's gotten ridiculous and yes embarrassing to watch.

    You had me cracking up about Emma's lackluster 'superpower' and Regina being the one who is the most cursed of all for having to deal with all of these silly people. Thanks!

  4. I still haven't watched it. Maybe I will now.

  5. @Heidi I don't think I "uncringed" until I saw the trailer for the following week... (I know understand why you're so tired - wow! Let me know if you think I can help at all.)
    @Kelley You're welcome - the post is actually my edited version... heh.
    @Kate W. Dare I say enjoy? ;)

  6. This episode might have been the nail in the coffin for my watching of Once. It was embarrassing to explain to one of my best friends that I liked this show despite it's cheesy writing and, well, it's all over drenched in cheese-ness. The stories, to an extent, overcame that super-cheese factor, but after the last few episodes... not so much.

  7. I was rolling my eyes throughout this episode and couldn't quite understand why I wasn't shutting the TV off. This had to be the most cheesiest thing I have ever seen on television. HUGE disappointment. Thanks for the hilarious review! I couldn't agree more.

  8. Love this show soooo much cant wait to get it cant wait to see the new season! love its so much! best show to come on tv since adventure time!