ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 2, Episode 21 (Second Star to the Right)
This episode is billed as the first part of the season finale and does not disappoint, seeing as it sets up two parallel stories and finally brings everyone’s secrets out into the open. We find out what happened to Baelfire once he disappeared from his father’s life, including how he met Captain Hook (not counting the time he saw him with his mother in a tavern); Greg and Tamara’s villainy is discovered; Emma and Neal resolve their issues; and the plot to destroy Storybrooke comes to light.
First of all, Baelfire aged a year and some going through the portal – a side effect of working with younger actors and being consistent. This worked well, however, and the character is fourteen anyhow. Perhaps the shock of inter-dimensional travel caused his voice to change. His first lines were a bit jarring. When he met Wendy Darling, I kept expecting him to kiss her, and I find it a bit unbelievable that the Darlings would let a fourteen-year-old boy sleep in the same room as their daughter of a similar age, even with the younger brothers sharing the room.
Nonetheless, Once Upon a Time’s version of Peter Pan is already intriguing. Peter Pan is “the Shadow,” who lures away young boys (he is so fed up with Wendy that he lets her go home if he can have one of her brothers instead) and does not let them go home again. Faced with such a menace, Baelfire tries to save the Darlings and ends up sacrificing himself. He then ends up being saved by Captain Hook – one of two plots that will hopefully play out next week.
Captain Hook does not care for Greg’s plan to torture Regina. He simply wants to get rid of Rumplestiltskin, and he doesn’t even seem to really want to do that anymore, but is only going through the motions because he has nothing else that he wants to do. From the trailer for next week, he seems to be helping Greg and Tamara again, but how far that will go remains to be seen. He is out for himself, after all. Those two would not be wise to rely on him.
While they come through in the end, Charming and Snow are out of their element in Storybrooke. They come across as over-idealistic and simple (in a good way), but they would not be themselves if they were not. Then again, they still have to deal with their daughter being their equal and having more street-smarts.
Emma and Neal resolve their lingering feelings for each other as Tamara reveals her true colours – which ends tragically, but there is still next week, and hopefully next season. These two are perfect for each other and every classical fairy tale would have them reunited with Henry in a happy family.
Regina is tortured to the brink of death, but is surprisingly (to her) saved by Snow White. When Snow White asks her “Did you think we would leave you to die?”, I was half-expecting Regina to answer “Yes.” The look on her face said it anyhow. However, it is mixed with disappointment that they didn’t heroically also recover the destructive diamond from Tamara. Regina is used to always being in control. It looks like she might finally take some responsibility for her actions.
Next week’s main plot seems to be Greg and Tamara’s attack on Storybrooke – which looks to be an exciting conclusion to the season. And then, alas, is a long summer wait.
Season 5, Episode 23 (The Human Factor)
The main disadvantage to not watching a movie or show in the comfort of your own home is that after it is over, you have to go out again. You have to drive or walk, usually in darkness, having just watched something that makes you ever so slightly question reality. True story is that one time I was driving home and ran into a patch of zombies from a very low-budget film. Weird to say the least.
But on to Castle – this week’s episode started with a car bomb, and stepping into one’s car after having watched an episode about exploding cars was unnerving.
Castle and Beckett are still seemingly going through the motions of a healthy relationship. They are happy, if teasing each other, but not in any way that screams “trouble!” Still, Beckett is faced with a decision about her career that she ends up not sharing with her lover and partner as of the end of the episode – although the context was realistic. It was a big decision that likely needed some time to process in her mind. Furthermore, if she and Castle are not moving forward in their relationship, does he need to factor into her career decisions? Seeing as his job is writing, it stands to reason that he could move elsewhere for her if needed. It will be interesting to see how this plot plays out in the finale next week.
As for the main plot, the NYPD is stymied in their investigation into a suspected car-bombing when high government organisations step in to cover up the case. Most detectives would put the file in a drawer and move on to other files, but not Beckett. Of course, it would be a boring episode otherwise.
The title relates to robotic weaponry, and how removing the human factor renders us less safe. On the other hand, a machine only does what it is told and has no emotions. As evidenced on Once Upon a Time, a person with heart is just as dangerous as a person who is heartless; moreover, a human is just as dangerous as a machine, if not moreso. This episode weighs both sides of the debate: you can outwit facial recognition software, but you are also doomed if a drone bomber believes that your wedding caravan contains high-level terrorists. Likewise, you are saved if the pilot of the drone bomber notices that your car is covered in flowers, but you are doomed if your actions hurt another person to the point where they want to kill you.
No matter how you look at it, the less confrontational the situation, the worse it is. If you want to take someone out, don’t get a flying robot to do it. Look them in the eyes. That is the real human factor.