ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 4, Episode 19 (Lily)
To kick off the last three episodes of the season, Emma and Regina are off on a road trip to find Maleficient’s daughter, who also happens to be Emma’s friend from her teenage years, Lily.
For many reasons, Lily is not happy to see Emma. She wants revenge on Snow White and Prince Charming. She is dissatisfied with her life. We run the gauntlet of at first thinking that Lily is fine, then that she is a danger to Emma, and then finally we worry that she will be what causes Emma to turn to the dark side.
What bothers me about this episode, which was well-written and exciting, is that it is very late in the season. It took a long time to introduce Lily. Her character was not well fleshed out. The road trip sequence was rushed in order to have the characters back in Storybrooke for the final two episodes.
Seeing Lily as a broken yet proud woman who had to struggle her whole life with a curse inflicted by the Charmings was tough. We want to think that the Charmings are good people, but they caused Lily a lifetime of suffering in order to save their own daughter. Parents will go to great lengths to protect their children, but this does not excuse the Charmings from wrongdoing. Lily’s desire to get revenge on them is entirely natural and warranted. They do deserve a good tongue-lashing, at the very least.
The climax of the episode is when Regina talks down Emma from killing Lily outright. Emma has every reason to kill Lily (to protect herself and her family) and Lily has every reason to want to die, but do follow through with said actions would lead only to danger. Regina, ever the caring friend/step-grandmother, knows full well where such desire for revenge and safety can lead. She does not want to stand by and let Emma give in to that desire. Yes, the world would not miss Lily and Lily would not miss the world, but she does not deserve to die.
Finally, Regina confronts Robin Hood and Zelena. Unfortunately, Zelena has already ensured that she could one-up Regina – by getting pregnant, posing as Marian. How that plays out remains to be seen…
Season 7, Episode 21 (In Plane Sight)
For a change of dynamic, Castle and his daughter, Alexis, take centre stage in this episode. Their father-daughter trip to London becomes an Agatha-Christie-style whodunit mystery wherein an air marshal is murdered and it is up to Castle and Alexis (along with the flight crew) to figure out who among all of the suspects is the killer.
The fun thing about these types of mysteries is that there is a closed list of suspects, limited places to maneuver, and a short time in which to get the mystery solved. It was not a realistic mystery, or even a serious attempt to create one, but instead a chance for the audience to watch Castle and Alexis work together, along with some background help from Beckett.
Honestly, one would be drunk by the end of the hour if one took a shot for every time Castle and the flight crew were noisily and frantically discussing the murder within earshot of the other passengers, despite constantly saying that they needed to keep things quiet. People really are not that self-absorbed that they would not pick up on the nervous tones, the strange behaviour, and the keywords like ‘corpse’, ‘murder’, ‘weapon’, ‘terrorism’, and more. At least one passenger on their way to the lavatory would have overheard something suspicious!
While not at all realistic, the story was enjoyable. We can really see that after seven years, Castle has done pretty well as an investigator. A bit more practice as a private investigator might have indeed turned into a second career – although we are glad that he got reinstated with the police. Alexis has also matured and found a calling – while she is not in medicine, she might yet decide that she wants to pursue forensic pathology…or maybe she will just follow in her father’s footsteps. Either way, she actively helped to solve the mystery in a manner that did not seem too contrived. She has come a long way since being the cute little fifteen-year-old girl that she was in the first season.
All in all, this episode was a change of pace, a change of focus (from Castle & Beckett to Castle & Alexis), and a change of scenery. It will serve as a good standalone episode in the future.