ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 20 (The Evil Queen)
How did the Evil Queen really become the Evil Queen? This is the episode where Queen Regina realises that she can’t get anyone to love her by force or fear, so she decides to simple be who everyone thinks she is. The Queen has only wanted to be loved, but she genuinely believes that she can force people to love her – even Henry, for whom she would give up everything if it meant she could have him for herself. She really doesn’t understand how evil her plotting is anymore. Being evil has simply become the way she is used to being seen. It is heartbreaking and creepy to watch. It’s too bad Hook is such a selfish git, because they both really ought to just sail off into the sunset together.
For a character study episode, they definitely packed in a lot of action. Snow White has a fight with palace guards, while in Storybrooke, Hook has a run-in with a very much undead Maleficient. Greg and Tamara are also on a mission to capture Regina (who may merely be the first person on their hit list, so Emma is right to be concerned about them), with Hook as a bit of a free-agent in the mix. Emma and Henry are back as a team solving a mystery, which is great because that is how their relationship is best. Emma is much more of a cool aunt to Henry than a mother.
Next week is the beginning of the two-part season finale, starting with Neal having daddy issues with Rumplestiltskin and Regina being tortured by Greg and Tamara, while in the past young Baelfire has a run-in with Neverland. Definitely exciting!
Season 5, Episode 21 (Still)
So this is the review of the episode that I didn’t get to see due to some skewy scheduling. However, from other reviews, I think it will be enjoyable when I do get around to seeing it. (Likely next week.)
Speaking of priorities, this episode is primarily clips from previous episodes, chronicling the relationship between Castle and Beckett from the first season onward. These flashbacks are strung together by the narrative of Castle keeping Becket calm while she is standing on a pressure bomb – quite literally on the brink of death. Chronologically, this episode takes place before last week’s, and perhaps that is why Beckett was so frustrated with Castle seemingly taking her for granted. After all, she had nearly died the previous week, and she had finally told him that she loved him! Then again, on this show (like many crime shows), “nearly dying” is a standard routine.
Perhaps the lack of much of a present-day narrative would be off-putting, but in a world of entertainment where action and special effects sell tickets, having an episode where the main characters don’t really go anywhere is refreshing. Stage plays have mesmerized audiences for centuries not because they had amazing special effects – although they did, for the time – but because they had interesting characters and put them in awkward situations. Yes, these episodes do not sell the tickets that action-packed spectacles do, but they keep loyal audiences. After all, viewers keep watching Castle every week to see the leads solve mysteries and become a couple. Flashback episodes remind us what it was like before. But now, where are they going?