Season 3, Episode 7 (Dark Hollow)
If Ariel was one part delightful whimsy and one part dark family drama, Dark Hollow falls squarely into the latter category. The only whimsical character is Ariel, who is still bound and determine to find Prince Eric and willing to cooperate however necessary in order to do so. She and Belle go to work and their scenes are a refreshing change of pace from Neverland. Storybrooke itself is a refreshing change of pace, but it is still overwhelmingly melancholy. We see it primarily from Belle’s perspective, and Belle is heartbroken. Thankfully, the writers integrated the plot so that the scenes in Storybrooke did not feel like a diversion, but merely another bend in the road to saving Henry.
Henry, meanwhile, is driven further into Peter Pan’s web of manipulation. Peter knows Henry’s habits and his desire to be a hero. All he has to do is exploit them. Knowing that he is perhaps losing control of the situation, particularly with regards to distracting Rumplestiltskin, Peter puts his plan into effect. With enough incentive, Henry will do whatever Peter wants. Both Peter and Henry are boys of strong faith. Peter’s plan will likely be successful without intervention.
Interestingly, for being the characters most able to intervene with Peter’s plans, Rumplestiltskin and Regina spent the entire episode waiting. Granted, they were waiting for Belle and Ariel to do something, but it was odd to consider what they talked about while standing on the beach. No one seemed to interrupt them. They had time to reflect on their bizarre relationship. Regina, who never knew her mentor as anything but the Dark One, is startled that he is genuinely capable of love. Regina has lacked much love in her life and spent a lot of time sabotaging others.
What I do want to know is why Regina did not ask Rumplestiltskin why he never loved her. As far as we know, she does not realise that Cora chose a loveless, political marriage to Regina’s father over Rumplestiltskin, who had already been cruelly abandoned once by a woman whom he thought loved him. She is a constant reminder of Cora’s rejection of him – but has anyone ever told Regina that?
Season 6, Episode 8 (A Murder is Forever)
The case itself? Not memorable — I barely remembered that the episode involved diamonds.
The characters’ storylines? Beautifully executed. Ryan and Esposito had their own subplot in the investigation, including being in a shootout. Castle and Beckett discussed their living situation and their wedding plans. This episode demonstrates how much they have grown as characters and in their relationship, and yet how they are both still the same individuals that could barely stand each other in the first season.
Moving in together has become the norm for couples in North America, whether before or after becoming engaged. Waiting to move in together until after getting married is generally viewed as old-fashioned. Nonetheless, there is merit to doing so — particularly in deciding to move into a new home together. If waiting to share a household until after marriage is old-fashioned, surely having a significant other move into your home and expecting to retain control over it is also extremely out of date. Gone are the days when a wife would be carried off to her husband’s house with barely a suitcase or with a trunk full of bedsheets and table linens.
Likewise, what does it say of how you value your spouse if you insist on keeping your home “yours” and yet you expect them to move in with you? I am all for boundaries and separate households, but if you are planning to get married (as Castle and Beckett now are), plans for a future combined household are just as important as where the wedding will be held. Have Castle and Beckett even talked about that? Is she just going to move all of her things into his loft? Are they going to buy new furnishings? Look for a new place?
Beckett makes a small request of Castle to move a piece of art. That is hardly a big deal, but obviously deeply wounded Castle. From his reaction, you would think that she had asked him to throw it out. All she did was want it moved from the bedroom. If the bedroom is going to be “their” space, then her request was entirely reasonable. Still, the subplot carried through the episode and eventually worked itself out in true Castle fashion. The lightbulb went off in our title character’s head. Relationships are about compromise.
Season 5, Episode 6 (Missing)
Unlike Once Upon a Time, Republic of Doyle does not need an inflated ensemble cast. It is a mystery dramedy. Unfortunately, the writers got bored with our six main characters and had to add a bunch more to shake things up.
First off, we have Sloan — an annoying teenage girl who is worse than Tinny was in the first couple of seasons. She is smart, overconfident, and manipulative. She has an unusual fixation with Jake that might be biological, but might not be. The Doyles have taken her in as family, but do they really need her trouble now? Is she just going to take advantage of them?
Secondly, we have Callum — Leslie’s estranged husband who was legally dead for eight years while undercover for the military. He came out of nowhere just when the relationship between Jake and Leslie was getting interesting. Did the writers honestly think that Jake and Leslie’s relationship was getting boring? They constantly butted heads, had drastically different ideas about the future, and had amazing on-screen chemistry. Furthermore, there was never a hint that Leslie was married before. Considering her age in the show, eight years earlier would have made her quite a young widow. One would think that she would have mentioned being a widow at some point over five seasons, as being a widow in one’s twenties or early thirties is no longer a common occurrence. If the writers had intended this character arc for her, why did they not plan it?
However, when it comes to how they are handling the relationship between Des and Tinny, so far I am impressed. Des has been hurt by Tinny so many times that he is afraid that she is going to break it off with him again. Tinny is finally ready to explore this relationship after hitting so many dead ends with boyfriends in the past. Hopefully, we don’t find out several seasons from now that one of them has a long-lost spouse!