ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 17 (Welcome to Storybrooke)
“What good is a happy ending if you have no one to share it with?”
When Regina cast the curse to bring the fairy-tale characters to Storybrooke, she expected to get her happy ending and “win for once.” Instead, she was stuck in a time-loop where nothing changed, everyone did whatever she wanted, and she was not really happy. While she ended up with twenty-eight years to perfect her cooking and gardening skills, it was clear that Storybrooke was just as much of a Hell to her as it was to anyone else. Watching her happiness quickly fade to misery was heartbreaking. It would be another eighteen years before she even adopted Henry.
Bottom line? Being Mayor, having a perfect house and garden, having a handsome man completely under your control to share your bed, and having everyone fear you is not a happy ending. It is nothing but a shadow.
“Keep telling yourself you did the right thing. Eventually you will come to believe it.”
Ah, Rumplestiltskin – spoken like a true historian. All you have to do to convince yourself of anything is to repeat it enough times. Can one do evil for good? Is it “good” if it is only for the greater good, or can it still be good if it is a personal good thing? How selfish does one’s intention have to be before the act is simply evil? Is an act evil merely because it is selfish?
Snow White is suffering from demons (or shell-shock to the more scientifically-inclined) after causing the death of Cora and manipulating Regina. She does not believe what she did was right or justified. She also can’t go back, but instead she must reconcile herself to the fact that she has committed evil and move on from it.
But perhaps, for the first time in her life, she is in a place where she needs to be forgiven, rather than be the forgiving one. She realises why Regina has had cause to hate her. She was always the heroine. Bad things happened to her, but she still had love and joy. She was not lonely and friendless. Did she really earn that? She probably thought so. Now she did not sure.
Season 6, Episode 10 (Twisted Sisters)
Love and prejudice – two themes especially fun when deconstructing the past. But in Twisted Sisters, the writers layered multiple prejudices on each other like a stack of pancakes. A simple tale of love and betrayal? Not at all. A forbidden love affair? Check. A secret marriage? Check. Cross-religion and cross-ethnic relationships? Check. Women in non-traditional occupations? Check. Class warfare? Check.
The main plot involved a series of women being apparently murdered for pursuing higher education and professional careers. They all come from different backgrounds, but Murdoch (thanks to Dr. Ogden) discovers that they all belonged to the same sorority. Girl-on-girl bullying, perhaps? Or a killer using the sorority to choose his victims?
In a much more amusing subplot, Dr. Grace revisits her past as an upper-class upstart (before she ended her engagement and decided to become a doctor) and croquet champion. Her rival is better at sneering insults down her nose than playing croquet, although Dr. Grace has a sharp wit when she is on the defensive. Not only is Dr. Grace a professional earning her own salary, but she brings Constable Crabtree to watch her play. Several times in this episode, it is quite clear that the police are on par with carpenters and plumbers when it comes to the societal hierarchy. (Unlike a plumber, however, a detective asks questions, no doubt to the frustration of the upper-middle class.) No matter how respectable Crabtree is, he is hardly welcome at an athletic club. Luckily, unlike the main plot, this story ends happily. Crabtree and Dr. Grace have their relationship tested and pass. Dr. Grace gets her small victory over her snooty competitor, even if it is the competitor who will get to limp to the Olympics.
Season 5, Episode 17 (Scared to Death)
This week’s homage to horror movies did not disappoint. It was funny, mysterious, and suspenseful. The writers played with all of the clichés that they could. Even someone who does not watch horror films (yours truly) felt a part of the joke. Why they chose to air this episode in March instead of closer to Hallowe’en still boggles the mind, though.
What I did find interesting is the classic dichotomy between supernatural and scientific. Whimsical-minded Castle and practical-minded Beckett argue constantly over the cause of the murders. Castle is convinced evil demons are involved; Beckett is convinced that the killer is most definitely a living human. Their arguing is partly flirty banter, but also partly quite glaringly insane. Vehemently arguing either perspective does little to solve the murder. The episode wraps up nicely in an hour, but we are still left with the question of why the answer can’t be both.
Why couldn’t a living killer enlist evil spirits? Why couldn’t the “spirits” be symbolic, or be scientifically-caused? Why must the supernatural be casually dismissed? If a killer is even using magic symbols, these symbols should be investigated.
Of course, Castle is not a supernatural show. We don’t expect it to be. It is a cop show, but the characters don’t know that. Is there a reason that the supernatural needs to be attacked? While the arguments illustrate the differences between Castle and Beckett, the point seemed a bit done to death by the end of the episode. Beckett’s protests of “no magic” almost seemed as though she was protesting too much. Clearly, her grounded practicality is a façade. Castle brings out her true self. Besides, who wouldn’t feel safe when your partner is so prepared that he brings along a bottle of holy water to catch a killer?