ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 11 (The Outsider)
The bookcart is a very dangerous weapon. When fully loaded with books, it can take down a vicious and well-armed pirate bent on vengeance.
Thankfully, the story in this week’s episode shifted from the Charming clan and “who killed Jiminy Cricket?” to the fan-favourite beta-couple, Belle and Rumplestiltskin. Of all the Disney princesses, Belle has been my favourite. As a kid, I loved books and was a bit of an oddball. However, of all the princesses, she had the most pluck and the strongest storyline. She was smart and had no magic. She mostly had a large heart and an open mind.
Belle in Once Upon a Time is this same plucky princess, albeit with a different backstory and a much more serious Beast to contend with. She has a thirst for adventure and knowledge, and she has a loving heart. Even as she fights with monsters and deals with nearly every antagonist on the show in one episode, she only wants to help. The ending is truly heartbreaking, but I look forward to getting my favourite princess back. Forget Snow White and Cinderella – they can have their Prince Charmings.
REPUBLIC OF DOYLE
Season 4, Episode 2 (Blood Work)
All right, so this was a great episode – tight story, easy-to-follow characters. I like being able to play detective and try to figure out who did it. As a second episode, Blood Work managed to open up a few storylines and character arcs that did not make it into the premiere. Tinny’s arc with her coming to terms with the revelation of who her father is looks like it has promise. Her character has grown a lot over the course of the show, and now she is finally eighteen and much less annoying than before. As for Leslie going under cover, this definitely looks like a good storyline. She might get some more character development (last season, she really spent most of it being grumpy and angry at Jake) and perhaps this will change how Jake sees her for the better.
Otherwise, not much to report. A convict escapes and kidnaps Des along for the ride, so the Doyle clan has to rescue Des and prove the convict’s professed innocence. Tinny wants to help, but her family pushes her away to protect her. Jake is also trying to track down Leslie, only to discover her in a very unsavoury bar where he is hunting a drug dealer. Hilarity ensues.
Season 6, Episode 2 (Winston’s Lost Night)
There’s nothing like a rousing rendition of Rule Britannia to make one’s Monday brighter! Even if you’re not British, it is really such a defiant and flippant song that singing it seems to render everything else light and meaningless. In this episode, we are treated to a flashback of two dandily-dressed British toffs in an Irish pub singing this song. They are outnumbered twenty to one, but they sing it anyway. They mean every word too. But at the core of the song is one of pride and defiance – I mean really, they are claiming to rule the oceans!
Murdoch Mysteries always includes appearances by historical figures. This is called to attention cheekily when Winston Churchill not only figures prominently in the episode, but also reads Inspector Brackenreid’s autograph book and realises how many famous people have signed it. (He earlier expressed reluctance to do so.) Winston Churchill is virtually unrecognizable, seeing as he still has hair and is fairly fit, but the actor portraying him conveys the character in his voice and mannerisms.
The premise is that Winston wakes up in a room with the dead body of his friend, having no memory of how he got there or what happened due to being rather hung over (and possibly drugged, as the detectives suggest). The episode takes us on a tour of Empire with the unsavoury bits left in, and gives us a mystery that we can try to solve ourselves, coming together in an aha! moment that I thought was quite clever. This show, by virtue of it being historical, is allowed to be as politically incorrect with its terminology as it wants without using a few choice taboo words. This adds a nice layer of authenticity to the story and characters.
Det. Murdoch is also torn between his love for Dr. Ogden (who is now getting divorced rather than an annulment) and his faith. Unfortunately for my liking, this is not resolved very well. It seems that Murdoch simply is willing to give up the Church for his love. We don’t see any internal struggle. However, good for him! It would have been downright rude of him to turn Dr. Ogden down after she has ended her marriage for him. Might as well get hanged for a sheep as for a lamb!
On the other hand, if Det. Murdoch renounces his Catholicism, might he get a job promotion? That could be an interesting twist. I will have to keep watching to find out.
Season 5, Episode 11 (Under the Influence)
I really don’t have much to say about this one. It was bittersweet and yet hilarious. It focused on how young people need positive role models to succeed. Det. Esposito got more backstory and screentime. I thought it was high time he had some more character development. It was refreshing not to have a lot of Castle and Beckett interaction – while they are the stars, it is nice to give them a break once in awhile.
Meanwhile, this was another story with a solvable mystery. It was easy to follow and quite fun, except for the obvious fact that it started with a murder, like every week. That is one of the reasons I enjoy this show, as well as the ones above. I like my mysteries solvable. Plot twists are great, but I still want to be able to see where the detectives were coming from. I also like my murder mysteries to be lighthearted enough that I enjoy myself for an hour, not turn the television off feeling depressed because the world is such a dark place. That is what the news is for.