Season 3, Episode 20 (Kansas)
If I were to pick one word to define this week’s episode, it would be ARGH!!! (All-caps intentional) Not as in pirates, although our dear Captain Hook played a significant secondary role, but as in a scream of frustration as the characters on the show make painfully, obviously stupid decisions while the audience can see the simple solution to the problem. This was not a case of our having the benefit of hindsight or greater knowledge of the story, but rather a case of everyone acting human and in the moment. In other words, this episode, for all its fantasy, was a little too real.
First of all, Prince Charming tries to calm down his wife as she gives birth by reassuring her that he is there to protect her. He knows that he is rather useless and so does she, but he still has to placate her. It is the role of the father to reassure the mother and go along with what she says, no matter what is actually happening beyond the woman giving birth. Even Prince Charming is useless, although he is useless in a charming fashion. Let that be a lesson to all.
Secondly, Emma is wholeheartedly still treating Zelena like a quick problem to be solved and then she will be able to leave Storybrooke behind forever. She does not think strategically. Zelena, on the other hand, has perfected her strategy: go after Emma’s loved ones and force her to play by Zelena’s rules. Not surprisingly, Emma chooses saving Hook from immediate danger – even if it means losing her magic – over leaving him to save her as-yet-unknown little brother. Unfortunately, as those watching could plainly see, Zelena had both the Dark One dagger and her own glowing green pendant to work with. Zelena was positively gleeful and smug about brandishing the dagger around because she knew that Emma would never go after it. Honestly, why not?
This was painfully realistic – humans tend to want to protect those that they can see in immediate danger versus those who are out of sight. Furthermore, Emma seemed nonchalant about losing her magic because she likely felt a relief. She is no longer the saviour and no longer of use to her family, so she can go home. She is running away from responsibility as well as family and love – perhaps because she thinks she is inadequate. Emma was being less of a hero and more of a human.
On the other hand, Regina continued to reluctantly step up to the hero plate and rightfully went after the dagger and the pendant. While it was fast, her redemption was a long time coming. She also is still her dark self – as she told Zelena, she would not hesitate to rip out her heart and crush it if the latter woman ever went after her family again. She is not, after all, one of the Charmings. She is also human.
Finally, Rumplestiltskin makes a seriously bad decision once he is freed from Zelena’s clutches. It is heartbreaking to watch how seriously he is still scarred from both being abandoned by his father and losing his son. He is desperate to hang onto Belle and yet he continues to do things that break her heart. He still holds on to grudges. Moreover, he is no longer acting cowardly. Sometimes, it is better when people are cowardly, as they do not act on their impulses or desires. Rumplestiltskin is now even more of a force to be reckoned with. While Regina is being redeemed, Rumplestiltskin is slipping back into villainy.
Next week’s big finale involves time travel – I just hope our favourite characters don’t get happy endings and then have them erased. It’s one thing to have your memory wiped, and quite another to have the actual events never happen.
Also, this cannot entirely be an accident: in the promotional photos, Snow White is wearing polka-dots and holding her newborn prince proudly. Intentional nod to a certain real baby prince, perhaps?
Season 6, Episode 22 (Veritas)
It had been much too long since we had an update on Beckett’s mother’s case. It was bound to rear its ugly head at least one more time. Has Senator Bracken been put away for good? Can Beckett relax now and focus on being Mrs. Castle? Has Captain Montgomery, who put in a welcome flashback/dream sequence appearance, been justified?
I would like to think so, but I don’t know if the writers can let this story go entirely. Thankfully, this is the penultimate episode and we get a lighter season finale – but this episode would have sufficed if not for the build-up of the wedding. We had Ryan and Esposito getting their moments to shine, we had Gates finally being brought into the fold (at least for this case), we had Montgomery’s reappearance, and we had Castle and Beckett working the case together as a rogue team. It had an older feel to it, as though it belonged in an earlier season.
Beckett has always been a firm believer in the power of the truth. She even found herself staring down death and still maintained that the truth would be revealed. Senator Bracken had her marked as a silly martyr of a lost cause. However, Beckett was not about to be a martyr – at least, she was not going to go quietly. Did I find the episode believable? Sadly, quite a bit of it was. Often, the truth is hiding in plain sight, and we choose to pursue it even if it will destroy us, or else we try to bury it in order to survive. Indeed, fighting for the truth can seem result in martyrdom – often seen as foolhardy nowadays when survival is held as a virtue.
This was the end of Beckett’s long struggle to bring her mother’s murderer to justice, to finish her mother’s work, and to bring down Bracken. This case has defined Beckett so far. With it closed, she can move on entirely into her new life with Castle.
Apparently, however, next week’s finale is going to throw an obstacle in the way of the impending nuptials….hopefully, we can have a good laugh!