Wow. I did not think the ABC's new fairy-tale show Once Upon A Time could out-cheese its pilot — and I was so, so, so, so wrong. This weekend's episode brought in Pam from True Blood to out-crazy them all, with a tiny unicorn and a witch fight!
In all actuality, not a lot happened in last night's Once Upon A Time, but one thing was established, that the women on this program are completely nuts. Resoundingly nuts. Just totally bat shit insane. Which is okay — that makes for fun, not serious television... but at least "fun" is something. Let's move forward.
Emma wakes up in Storybrooke Maine, (ha, ha, it never gets old) and within moments the Evil Queen mayor is pounding on her door with a basket full of apples. Emma stretches out her face and tells the Mayor she's staying so she can make sure that Henry, her adopted son, is happy. Which is wildly presumptuous for someone who gave up their child in a closed adoption. But Henry told her his life sucked... and now you're halfway caught up.
Speaking of the Evil Queen, it's only in the "real world" where I have the most sympathy for the Evil Queen. This woman raised this child from diapers, and he despises her. Despises her to the point that he thinks she's an Evil Queen who ruins everyone's life in the town that he's been trapped in for 10 years. If she wasn't actually an Evil Queen, this whole thing would be really sad.
This is exacerbated by the fact that the child psychologist Jiminy Cricket (HA!) warns Emma not to call her adopted son Henry crazy for thinking such things, since it's his only way of communicating with the world. Hopefully they'll play with that angle a bit more, because when the Mayor bent down and demanded the last few pages from Henry's storybook (which he had cleverly ripped out), and said "I care because you think I'm some evil queen," was slightly sad.
But that was just a brief moment of sincerity in a show that prides itself in nacho cheese-flavored lunacy. The rest of the episode bounced between the two realities, showing the fight between Emma and Mayor and what the Evil Queen had to do to enact the Dark Curse.
Which brings us to the best part of the episode: a magic fight between the Evil Queen and Maleficent, played by True Blood's Kristin Bauer. Now, you all know I'm a HUGE fan of Pam, and all things involving Pam cleavage and snippy comments about sex and vampires, etc. But I do not know how to feel about her cameo in Once Upon A Time. First off, the CG on this show is so ridiculously obvious, it's hard to put any sort of weight on what's really happening in the scene. At any moment the whole thing feels like it could crumble into the green screen "Hi I'm in Delaware" bid from Wayne's World.
Then there's what they dressed Maleficent in. This. Is. Not. Canon. I think we ALL know what Maleficent looks like: green skin, horned head piece, crow and so on. If they can use the name and the Sleeping Beauty storyline, why couldn't they use the costume that we ALL know and love? Instead they made her look even more ridiculous, with oddly constructed cleavage and a tiny brown unicorn. And about that unicorn: I KNOW. Who has a BROWN unicorn? UNICORNS ARE WHITE, PEOPLE (or at least a color from the rainbow). I don't want to sound nitpicky but if you're going to cast Maleficent and then give her a unicorn you'd think the creators would attempt to get some of the things right here. And no, I don't think the Evil Queen should be running around in her Disney attire (although that would be awesome) but I would argue that her current costume is at least reminiscent of the Disney get-up. I do not know who this blonde perm, tiny-furry-pony fan is.
I feel like this behind-the-scenes image sums up my assortment of mixed emotions about this scene.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I am over-the-moon happy that I got to watch two ridiculously dressed women (who both kick ass) chew the CG scenery of some forbidden fortress, tear the CG drapes down, and then throw CG knives at one another. It was ludicrous, and something I never thought I would see on a television show made for adults. But it was also highly entertaining. Maleficent revealed that the Evil Queen's real motivations are for some sort of revenge over a dead lover (presumably that Snow White murdered). So that's interesting. Plus Maleficent loses the Dark Curse in an attempt to protect her tiny unicorn, which is something that happened on real TV.
Moving on, so Evil Queen gets the curse and tries to get it to work, but it doesn't because she didn't properly sacrifice the heart of the "thing she loves most." Long story short, she kills her father, and rips out his heart. Whoa. What a horrible monster. So we're not supposed to feel for this person at all then? We're sure it was hard for her to murder her father, but you know, she still MURDERED HER FATHER. Yikes. But then it's later revealed that she named her adopted son Henry, so she probably isn't a horrible... nope, she's still an unspeakably awful creature.
Meanwhile in the real world the Mayor tricks Emma into "stealing" Henrys file from Jiminy Cricket (HA). She goes to jail, again. Snow White bails her out and Emma is all "FUCK YO TREE" to the Mayor. And takes a saw to her precious apples. Thank you for these moments, Once.
At the end of the day, both Emma and the Mayor have established that they're not giving an inch to each other. Emma has to lie to Henry to prove that she doesn't think he's crazy, and that was nice. Snow White has a nice moment with her daughter Emma, and Rumpelstiltskin (yay!) shows up to inform us all that he's the one who procured Henry for the Mayor. Which leads us all to believe that the Mayor knows exactly who Henry and Emma are.
We also learned that The Magic Mirror is now the town reporter (publisher?) of the newspaper with the same name. And that is adorable.
Just more crazy kindling for the CG fire it seems. Look, this show isn't "good" by any means — but damnit all, I'm hooked. Now show me how Snow White murdered the Evil Queen's lover. Was it with her bluebird army? It was with her bluebird army, wasn't it?