WEEK 8 – Wolves, Swans, and Heavenly Visions
ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 7 (Child of the Moon)
Yay, werewolves! As I have indicated in previous posts, I much prefer werewolves to vampires. There is something to be said for their relatable wildness. They are part human (usually alive, unlike vampires) and part animal – the perfect fantasy for people who wish to be able to be free of their inhibitions.
Still, unless you want your werewolves to be completely monstrous, werewolves have codes of behaviour of their own.
This episode focuses on Ruby (Red Riding Hood), who has played a vital part in much of the main storyline so far but has had little in the way of character development. Yes, the main plot didn’t go far. If this were a novel, this would be a segment that an editor would suggest cutting and it wouldn’t get into the movie version. However, this is an American TV show with 22 episodes per season – 22 hours is plenty of time to delve into backstories. (The main plot would get awfully boring otherwise.) I like character development, so I was all for an episode devoted to Ruby.
SPOILER ALERT (for Season 1, so not obscured)
Basically, the story is about how Ruby initially learned to control her wolf self and achieve a sense of balance, and how after 28 years, she is afraid that she will not be able to control herself anymore. This would be a bit dull (although the werewolf lair was interesting and I wish I could have learned more about the werewolf society) but for the intervention of two more characters: David/Prince Charming and Mr. Spencer/King George. David and Mr. Spencer have a longstanding rivalry and Mr. Spencer wants to make David’s life miserable once more. He decides to use Ruby’s lycanthropy as a way to discredit David and get the people of Storybrooke to stop following him. What starts as character development becomes a conspiracy and quasi-murder mystery. Not surprisingly, Ruby overcomes her fears, but things don’t end so well for David.
All in all, it was a good hour of storytelling.
Season 5, Episode 7 (Swan Song)
This episode was shot documentary-style, which was one of the only interesting things about it. Otherwise, it was a fun episode to watch, but not particularly memorable.
I figure that it must be awkward for actors who train not to look at or interact with the camera to remember to do so when required. It feels a bit like a joke – the cameras are there the whole time, but this week, we actually acknowledge them. Unfortunately, this fell a little flat because the angles still felt very much like those that the cameras normally have, not like a true documentary. Oh well – still a nice change. For one week.
I like my scripted shows, but every once in awhile, I do like having the camera become a character in its own right. The crew must have had some fun with this episode – and by “fun,” I can also mean “living nightmare.” So often in scripted shows or films, the camera is not supposed to be there in a show to the point that some scenes can seem really funny if one remembers that there is a cameraman actually in it. Still, I could have done without this episode. It was different, much like someone getting a wild hairstyle once for a lark.
Because of the format, this episode was lacking in many ways. Obviously, Castle and Beckett’s romance was hidden from view because they are still keeping their romantic relationship a secret from the public. Having the cameras being acknowledged took some of the drama out of scenes. I enjoyed the character background info and viewpoints on other characters, but that also distracted from the story.
Not that the story is particularly memorable either – a rock star killed, lots of suspects, several red herrings, the bad guy is caught, and there is a sweet, sentimental ending with singing.
Season 5, Episode 9 (Staircase to Heaven)
This was definitely my favourite episode of the season, and possibly one of my favourite episodes of the entire series so far. It is the only episode written by the actual author of the book series.
The plot takes place over the course of one stormy night: Murdoch is called to a murder scene at a country mansion on an island where Dr. Grace is among the suspects, while Inspector Brackenreid and Constable Crabtree detain an important witness at the station and must defend him from a criminal who is an expert at disguise. Both plots take numerous twists and turns before resolving nicely. It is refreshing to see Brackenreid and Crabtree discussing things among themselves, including their opinions of Murdoch, who is actually rather difficult to deal with! Murdoch and Dr. Grace have a lot in common as well, which may be part of why Crabtree is attracted to her. I was also relieved to have no Dr. Ogden to be seen. In the original novels, Dr. Ogden is not a love interest for Murdoch and Murdoch’s actual love interest is a lot more interesting.
I don’t want to spoil too much of this episode, but sufficient to say that its subject matter raises eyebrows. The group of people in the mansion (including Dr. Grace) are conducting experiments to determine what happens after death. Det. Murdoch ends up with a near-death experience. For the highly religious Murdoch, he attributes his visions to the Divine. Unfortunately, we as the audience don’t get to see all that he sees. What he seems to think that Heaven is seems ambiguous, but that is what we must be meant to see. Maureen Jennings certainly wants us to make up our own minds. After all, we would all probably envision Heaven differently.
WEEK 9 – New Inventions and New Snags
Season 5, Episode 8 (After Hours)
And…Castle and Beckett’s relationship hits a snag. They come from different backgrounds. Their parents don’t hit it off. They have some different interests and hobbies. Beckett still harbours insecurities about being the girlfriend of a wealthy, famous writer.
Meanwhile, a priest is shot in cold blood and the mob is involved. Castle and Beckett end up robbed of their wallets, phones, and IDs, and running around a rough part of town in the wee hours. (The whole episode takes place over the course of one night, from suppertime until near dawn.) Gates, Ryan, and Esposito have to solve the crime while trying to find their missing colleagues. Hijinks ensue.
While this episode was exciting, it was primarily a character episode. We learn more about Castle and Beckett and their relationship. They have a multi-part argument over the course of the night that is interrupted by being chased, looking for help, and attempting to solve the crime. It was serious and funny at the same time – thus par for the course on the show. Just the way I like it, but certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.
Season 5, Episode 10 (Invention Convention)
This episode explores Murdoch’s creative side. He loves tinkering with objects to further his crime-solving abilities. He is a fan of new technologies and is optimistic about the future. The late Victorian era was still a lot more optimistic than the present, although the dark side of technological improvement was definitely becoming more prominent. Murdoch is definitely on the optimistic side, as well as being a pragmatic man. He never thinks much of the things that he invents. All he is doing, he is doing for the greater good, but only insofar as it helps catch criminals. Unlike Crabtree, he does not want to make money off of his inventions.
A man is murdered after being awarded a prize at an inventors’ convention, and all of the inventors present are the most likely suspects. Alexander Graham Bell makes an appearance. Did he commit the murder? (Murdoch hopes not.) Which one of them did it, if any? Or all? And will Crabtree manage to sell a prototype of one of Murdoch’s inventions?
WEEK 10 – Hearts and Dolls
ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 8 (Into the Deep)
I am going to defer my main response to this episode until next week’s episode has aired, since they seem to continue the same plot and then leaving us with a cliffhanger to enjoy over our Christmas holidays.
However, in brief, what I liked about this episode was that there was only one storyline with no flashbacks. Everyone was working toward a common goal. There was plenty of suspense and lots of chances for characters to interact with each other. Cora and Hook keep getting more nefarious with each appearance. I especially liked the scenes with Henry and Regina, since we didn’t see much of their interactions in the first season. Despite not being a candidate for Mother of the Year by a longshot, Regina was not actually a bad mother to Henry. She was the one who raised him to ten years old, after all, and she did a good job of it because the only problem Henry seemed to have was that he was the only child who aged in Storybrooke. Now that the curse is broken, she can genuinely love him in the way that she has tried to since she adopted him. There is no doubt that Henry loves her, especially now that he knows that he is not crazy.
The only thing that I did not like about this episode was that they brought out the hearts again. I am already getting tired of the hearts, even though they were used differently in this episode than they have been used before. I understand the theme of “whoever possesses your heart possesses you,” but it becomes trite when used so literally and so often. Besides, it seems that having someone possess your heart is not voluntary, but often taken by force or trickery, so one cannot choose who possesses one’s heart. I suppose that theme could be applied to real life, but that is a discussion for another day.
Unfortunately, next week’s episode is called The Queen of Hearts, so I probably will have to sit through more of the heart-pulling and tweaking. Hopefully they come up with some newer magic for the latter part of the season.
Season 5, Episode 11 (Murdoch in Toyland)
In 1899, the dolls were considered lovely, but our modern eyes see them as creepy. Murdoch is being targeted by a criminal who disguises his voice, uses taunting and misdirection, and has an escalating plan of revenge against our favourite Toronto Constabulary detective. Alexander Graham Bell’s help is re-enlisted. The story starts with a child being abducted and being replaced by a doll that has a recorded message asking for Murdoch. It gets creepier and darker until Dr. Ogden is missing and hidden in such a place as Murdoch only has minutes to find her before she suffocates.
This episode is not for the faint of heart, but it otherwise is a great story. There are lots of clues for the viewer to find, particularly on a second viewing. For being such a dark episode, there are some wry and lighthearted moments. For example, automated sprinklers were even more annoying when they were a new and rare thing.