Saturday, April 4, 2015

ABC's "Once Upon A Time" Just Made One Of Its Smartest Moves Ever Revealing "The Author"

So... refresher for those who haven't managed to keep up with OUAT and a primer for the next episode for those who have:

Note: apologies for the lateness with this but I've only just caught up! 

Henry (Regina/Evil Queen's kid and Emma-the-Savior's biological kid) was given a book of fairy tales by his teacher (Snow White/Mary Margaret) to give him hope. This set off the whole "fairy tales are real" thing for Henry and the book has been key to many story lines over the series, whether directly or by clues and foreshadowing that fans search frame by frame for.

The big drive for this season part B? Regina/Evil Queen is working her way back to humanity and doing her best to shed the "E-word" off of her name, but she's been told the only way someone who has been evil can have a happy ending is for THE AUTHOR to rewrite it. (Oh yeah - and Evil Girl Gang - Maleficent, Cruella, Ursula - came to town to complicate things but whatevs. Apart from Maleficent's arc it's just a B-side distraction right now.)

So they've (all) been hunting for The Author.

Last Sunday's episode "Best Laid Plans" had better than average amount of good stuff - lots of magical 101 stuff that wasn't so ridiculously... ridiculous. Just your average unicorn, dragon, magic egg, eggnapping aka baby-snatching (with a heart-wrenching performance by Kristin Bauer who plays Maleficent) and a magical book...  and some good magic-and-consequences writing that felt more 'true fairy tale' for the show than usual. (Yay!)

(Oh wait - magical egg - "Best Laid Plans" - it's the pre-Easter episode - I see what you did there writers.)

Long story short: last Sunday they found him - or, more importantly, they found out whom The Author is: it's... a job title (not a specific person) for the one creating the stories with the magic quill - in the magic book - at that time.*
Click on image to go to many more logo-free screen caps
Pinocchio/August: “There have been many authors throughout time. It’s a job, not a person, and the one trapped in here was just the last tasked with the great responsibility. To record… to witness, the greatest stories of all time and record them for posterity. The job has gone back eons: From the man who watched shadows dance across cave walls and developed an entire philosophy, to playwrights who tell tales of poetry, to a man named Walt. Many have had this sacred job. Great women and men who took on the responsibility with the gravity that it deserved.”
So maybe the statement isn't quite as clear as those of us who care about these things would like but it's a HUGE shift from the Disney-centric universe we've seen to date. It implies the stories were real, as in had a historical basis, but then that's the premise of the show, so with that in mind, it's fine.

Really glad to see women being referenced along with the men. And I'm OK with them mentioning Walt because it's true. (And he created the parent company that runs the show, so it's a nice "thank you" in a way.)

Whether or not it heralds a change with regard to the ideas driving the stories from here on out, and more fairy tale history is mined as a result (unlikely but I can always hope), I thought this one scene - and key building block in the OUAT universe - was noteworthy enough by itself to mark it here.

The best thing I see in this is that all those passionate fans (and there remain many) who haven't the slightest clue that fairy tales have a life beyond (and well before) Disney, are going to absorb this, and the idea will make its way back into the public consciousness.

So: cheers to writers Kalinda Vazquez, Jane Espenson and the rest of the OUAT team! You've done your storytelling heritage proud.

Prediction: Eventually Henry will become an Author. Heck - at this point it's like he's been in training for it!
Fairy tale bonus of the day:

*So maybe there's been some mischief-writing that needs remedying but do they need the specific writer who wrote that in the first place to fix it? Or will any Author, past of future, do? Dum-dum-daaah!


  1. Yep, that's what I think too. My guess is that Henry will write Regina's happy ending.

  2. I am so hanging out for Season 4 in Australia. C'mon Channel 7, get your act together. I refuse to be a pirate, unless it gets me closer to Hook in the flesh! (as a writer, I love meta-fiction and the intro of 'The Author' is a bit of that)