ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 4, Episode 14 (Enter the Dragon)
In the present, Regina finds herself in the dangerous situation of being undercover as a villain. Much as former drug addicts do not make the best narcotics cops, this operation does not go over well. She is successful in her deception only in that she does not get killed. Only in the final scene does she realise that Rumplestiltskin is back…and she has to deal with a much bigger problem than she realised. Furthermore, her actions lead directly to Pinocchio being turned back into August. The ramifications of that will only be revealed in later episodes.
The other major plotline is that Hook tries to convince Belle to trust him to hide the Dark One’s dagger. Foolishly, Belle goes along with the plan. They are really making her character out to be silly and gullible – beyond book-smart and street-dumb to being just plain stupid. Is she so relieved to have Rumplestiltskin out of her life that she refuses to believe that he could ever come back? She was married to the man! She banished him, but I don’t remember the part where they got divorced. I do not understand why she would ever trust anyone with the dagger. Especially pirates acting suspiciously and using vocabulary much more reminiscent of Rumplestiltskin than Hook.
Finally, Emma is going crazy with the feeling that everyone is lying to her – which is entirely justified. This will likely come back to haunt our heroes, for when you feel that everyone is lying to you, you trust no one, and you begin to question everything and everyone – and most importantly, yourself.
Season 8, Episode 16 (Crabtree Mania)
Rather upbeat and overall positive, this episode saw Constable Crabtree take the reins of an investigation into the murder of a professional wrestler. At the same time, we got to see his relationship with Edna continue (I really like their pairing) and see him take on a paternal role for Simon. In this, the writers are significantly maturing the character of Crabtree in a way that is realistic and reflective of the character that they have created. At the end of the episode, he is offered a promotion and from his expression, it is unclear whether or not he will take it. Yes, the convention of television dramas would suggest that he would not want to leave Stationhouse No. 4, but we are only two episodes away from the season finale. Anything is possible! Besides which, in keeping with realism, anyone offered a promotion would undoubtedly be thrilled, excited, and sad to leave colleagues behind.
The world of early twentieth-century professional wrestling is not much different than the present. It was all about the show. Brackenreid and Crabtree bemoan the fact that so much of it is fake; however, like all sports, professionalism wrecks the integrity of the sportsmanship. Once someone is getting a paycheque, it becomes about the money and the show, particularly for individual sports. Sport (or art, for that matter) becomes entertainment. Audiences love the athletes who are charismatic and play to the crowd, whether or not they are the best. It becomes only another facet of the entertainment business – and a dangerous one at that! Athletes can easily fall into drug use (as shown in this episode with the wrestlers chugging back morphine like water) and their entire careers hedge on not getting injured. When they do get injured, the rest of their lives are permanently affected.
And yet, we are willing to pay to be entertained. Despite everything, it is all in good fun…or it should be.
Season 7, Episode 17 (Hong Kong Hustle)
For once, Castle is on the sidelines as Beckett suffers an emotional crisis. In her mid-thirties, she is at a crossroads in life where she is evaluating her career against others of her age and feeling as though she is coming up short. It is truly a credit to the character, the actress who portrays her, and the writers that we viewers can sympathize with her, despite her being beautiful, financially secure, married to a famous novelist, and a successful police officer.
Her feelings are only aggravated by the consultant on their current case, a Chinese policewoman who seems to have everything together…until it is revealed that she has sacrificed her time with her family for her work and that she has been rushing her work for more accolades. She failed her friend. She is highly unstable. Yes, she is a great cop and very successful on paper, but that is all. On paper.
This was still a highly entertaining episode, albeit somewhat predictable. Of course, the highly successful woman could not have both the career and the family. Of course, Beckett would come to realise that her own life is wonderful. What was fun was to watch the two women unconsciously compete with each other as they tried to solve the case. The show treated this competition respectfully. Castle respected his wife’s fears and insecurities; he did not dismiss them or joke about them. There was little room for jokes about ‘cat fights’ or such. Yet the show maintained its sense of comedy. Go figure!
It is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Nowadays, it is merely a matter of going onto a Facebook profile – rampant with photos of success (and the occasional heartbreak, usually so dramatic that it does not reflect on one’s life nearly as much as the success). We can easily compare careers, families, relationships, homes, holidays, cars, etc. We know how we fall on the line that we expected or have had expected of us. Not measuring up is a personal Hell, no matter how well our lives may seem on paper.