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Shanna Marie

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  1. For me, the disconnect comes at the point where Cora rips out her own heart so she can get past her feelings for Rumple to marry Henry Sr. That doesn't make a lot of sense if you look at her options. On the one hand, there's Rumple. He lives in a castle and has unlimited wealth and power. He's fallen for her, and she seems to be into him. He's teaching her magic (though we have the usual thing on this series in which five minutes of magic lessons teach you all you need to know, and you can become so powerful your mentor fears you). On the other hand, there's Henry, the younger son of a king. She's so not into him that she has to rip her own heart out so she can go through with marrying him. The only difference between the two, really, is that she gets to be a part of the royal family by marrying Henry, and she has a chance of becoming queen if anything happens to Henry's brothers. If she's so ruthless that she'll rip her own heart out and give up any chance at love (while also having wealth and power and living in a castle) just to put herself in the line of succession, then it seems odd that she didn't take any advantage of having married a prince. She might even have had more power as Rumple's sidekick than she got as the wife of a younger son in a court where everyone knew she'd been a miller's daughter. Of course, the problem is that they only had her rip her heart out so they could set up the way she'd be killed (and a way to make Snow responsible for it). It had nothing to do with what was going on with her character in the past. It would have made more sense in the past to have stuck closer to the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale and just had Rumple helping her spin the straw into gold and teaching her magic, but without them falling for each other. If Zelena hadn't been a retcon, they could have used her as the loophole in the first-born child contract -- sorry, she's already been born. You're welcome to her if you can find her. Then if she isn't ripping out her heart so she can have a chance at being queen instead of having love (while having the same kind of wealth and power, either way), her story flows better to her gradually becoming more ruthless. But then they'd have had to find a better way to kill her in the present and to make Regina more of a woobie victim with a literally heartless mother, and then that touching final moment between them. Yeah, for the Charmings, we never saw Snow learning that "Prince James" was really a shepherd/farmer named David, and we never saw the people following them learn it. They just know it at some point. We never really saw how they defeated Regina and George and how/why they made the decision to just rule George's kingdom while letting Regina live in Snow's palace. For Regina, we didn't see the early time in her marriage -- did she ever make a go of it, only to find that Leo just wanted her as a stepmom for his daughter, or was she distant and cold the whole time? Did she ever try to be a beloved queen, only to learn that the people couldn't get over Eva, or was she a bitch from day one? We didn't see the slide from Lt. Jones quitting the navy spectacularly to wage a one-ship war against his king to him being a pirate who doesn't seem to be on any particular crusade -- the transition from clean-cut officer on a mission to full-on pirate in leather and with all the jewelry.
  2. She was herself long enough for the part when Emma and Snow were first brought there and Snow was still unconscious, and Emma "WALLS!" Swan, the person whose primary character trait is not trusting anyone, blabbed all their personal business to the strange woman she trusted instantly. That came just before the retcon in which Snow remembered watching Cora do magic from when she was a child. Snow only found out that Cora was evil after Regina finally told her that Cora killed Daniel after Snow told her about Regina and Daniel. Regina banished Cora to Wonderland before the wedding, and Cora wouldn't have been doing magic with the king and Snow around because she wouldn't have wanted to jeopardize the wedding (never mind that Leopold should have already known Cora was shady, given that he'd broken an engagement with her because she lied to him, was stealing from him, and was planning to pass off someone else's child as his). Maybe she was switching back and forth between being Cora and being Lancelot, like Lancelot was her sock puppet to persuade people to follow her leadership. Yeah, that was weird that they established that Cora could commit mass murder, but then later showed that she was within a few deaths of being a queen and never did anything. There was no food poisoning outbreak, terrible disaster while she was on vacation, or anything like that. But she was willing to rip out the hearts of dozens of people for no real reason -- possibly just to create sympathy for Hook's blacksmith guise so he could infiltrate Team Princess. Again, for no good reason. This is one of those things where I feel like the writers took on something bigger than they were ready to deal with. It's one thing to redeem a villain who's killed individuals. But when you're dealing with wholesale slaughter, that's not something you move past easily, and especially don't turn it into a "do we have to bring that up?" like it's that bad haircut she had in eighth grade. You might get to some redemption, but it would come with a lot of guilt and should come with consequences. If you're not willing to really deal with it, then don't go there. That one did make some sense. The ritual with the hat was supposed to separate him from the dagger, so that he could retain the power and immortality of the Dark One without the risk of being controlled by the dagger (maybe also not be able to be killed by it?) and he could leave Storybrooke and still maintain his power. After having been enslaved by Zelena, I could see why he would want to do that. What didn't make sense there was why Merlin would have made the hat in the first place. Was it something he was hoping to use to save Nimue, only it didn't work and he couldn't destroy it? Cora's plans were all over the map. I think it didn't help that they didn't explain her backstory until just before and then after she died. When we first met her (not counting the "we haven't cast this role yet" appearance of the Queen of Hearts), the family was depicted as gentry, basically the Bennets with fewer daughters (including the meek "I'm staying out of this" husband and the mother determined to get a good marriage for her daughter). They weren't referred to with any titles, which you'd have expected if Henry Sr. was a prince. They must have planned for Cora to be the miller's daughter from the Rumpelstiltskin tale, with that Mills name (though I remember that during season one, there was a lot of speculation that Regina was the miller's daughter -- that actually would have been an interesting mash-up, that the Evil Queen became a queen as the miller's daughter from that story, so she's beholden to Rumple, and that's how he cons her into casting the curse), but the miller's daughter in the story marries a king. Then they showed her committing mass murder, then they give us the flashback in which she marries a king's younger son. But we already know that she wasn't a queen, and though she was living in luxury she's not treated like she's a princess or duchess or any kind of titled nobility, so why did she bother throwing over Rumple for Henry? She could have been living in luxury in a castle with an all-powerful, wealthy sorcerer without a title. When she gets Hook to fake her assassination, she lures him with the idea that they'll get to a place where Rumple is mortal and Hook can kill him, but was she stringing him along, and it was her plan to kill Rumple and become Dark One? Would someone killing Rumple have become Dark One before he restored magic? They were counting on there being no magic. And if that was her plan all along, you'd think she would have eliminated Hook once he'd outlived his usefulness. Once he'd brought her to Storybrooke, he'd have been an impediment to her plan to kill Rumple herself. She was already going after the dagger while Hook was on his way to New York, so it wasn't just a plan she came up with when Rumple was dying. I'm also not sure what her plan for Regina was. Did she want revenge for banishing her to Wonderland and sending an assassin after her? Did she want to make Regina love her again? We know during 2A that she wants to get to Storybrooke, but we don't really know why, and her actions don't really fit any of her goals. She's a prime case of her plan being whatever the writers need her to do in each episode, but it never really adds up to any greater scheme. It's all episode-by-episode. You can tell they didn't approach it as what Cora wants to achieve, and what steps she'd take to achieve it, but rather what they want her to do in each episode.
  3. I may have to rewatch that arc -- which isn't a problem, really, because it's one I actually enjoy watching -- because now I'm not entirely sure exactly how it went. I'm trying to put the story in order and figure out how to make it make sense. It starts with Regina sending Hook to kill Cora. Cora threatens/tempts him into abandoning Regina and joining her. She tells him about Regina's curse that will send everyone, including the Dark One, to a world without magic, where the Dark One will be a killable mortal. The catch is that anyone who gets caught in that curse will lose their identity and memory, so Hook wouldn't know he wanted to kill Rumple. Hook and Cora go back to the Enchanted Forest, and they fake Cora's death, making Regina think that Hook carried out his mission. Just before the curse hits, Cora creates a magical shield that protects her and Hook from the curse. They'll still be frozen in time, but they'll remain where they are and keep their memories. When the curse is broken, they can travel to that other world, where Cora will be able to confront her daughter and Hook will be able to kill Rumple. When time starts moving again and Cora's bubble comes down, the people who were caught in that bubble find themselves having to deal with the ogres who moved into the Enchanted Forest after all the people were taken away. And here we run into some problems with later retcons. In season 2, they made it look like the Coradome wasn't all that big and didn't contain many people. They seemed to have really been frozen, so they weren't really aware of the passage of time and weren't able to go anywhere or do anything. Time did seem to be moving outside the dome, and thus the ogres who had 28 years to establish themselves in the former Enchanted Forest. But then it seemed like the Coradome covered the rest of the world because time was frozen everywhere. Nobody except our world outside Storybrooke and the Wishverse (and possibly the Disenchanted Forest, since WHook was there during most of the curse years, and he wouldn't have aged ahead of Hook Prime, in spite of being from the Wishverse, if he'd been in a place that was frozen) seems to have moved forward during that time. All the Wonderland spinoff events spanned either end of the curse, and none of those people aged 28 years. And then we learned that the dome was big enough for Hook to have sea adventures. Which makes me wonder what would have happened if Cora hadn't made a dome. Would the entire population of that world have been brought to Storybrooke? It was already a bit much that several kingdoms landed in this small town, but would Regina have taken the whole world? If not, then why couldn't the Charmings have gone into hiding somewhere else in the world? Anyway, back to Cora ... She seems to have set herself up as the leader of the settlement where the people who were in the dome gathered after time started moving again. I guess she wasn't well known in that world, so they wouldn't have known she was a terrible villain. But Captain Hook might have had a reputation, and it would have hurt her benevolent leader reputation to have Captain Hook as her sidekick, so he had to pose as a wounded blacksmith. I guess she didn't have a firm plan for getting to the other world until Emma and Snow showed up because they went months without doing much of anything. They didn't try to get the compass to have it handy, didn't try to find a magic bean. But then Team Princess comes on the scene, and Cora gets enough information to go after the wardrobe. Then for some reason, she slaughters everyone in the settlement, and either she and Hook plot for him to pretend to be a victim so he can infiltrate Team Princess and get them to help him get the compass (and thus cluing them in about what they need to do to get to Storybrooke) or Hook gets freaked out about her slaughtering the settlement and comes up with the idea to join Team Princess and get to Storybrooke along with Emma and Snow. Neither of them make a lot of sense. The plan idea is dumb, but then why would Cora have allowed Hook to get away from her and team up with the enemy the way he did? Either way, the plan fails because Emma doublecrosses Hook and gets the compass, and Hook wins his way back into Cora's favor by getting Aurora's heart. There seems to me to be a lot of extraneous nonsense going on for people who have the firm goal of finding a way to get to Storybrooke. They waste a lot of time with scheming when they could have just gone straight there. And, as with so many villain schemes, they fail to prepare properly, waiting until the rest of their plot is in place before they bother to get all the things they need. If they'd already had the compass (taking care of that in the months between time moving again and Emma and Snow showing up and guiding Cora to the wardrobe), then as soon as they got the wardrobe ashes, they could have taken off without Team Princess having any idea what was up. It is possible that there's a middle ground, where he was in on the plan for him to infiltrate Team Princess, but the slaughter came as a shock to him, like it was a bit extreme as a way to set him up as a victim so Team Princess would trust him -- so maybe Cora's first act was to magically bury him under rubble, then she set about her slaughter. He seemed genuinely freaked out when they found him, so maybe he hadn't exactly been in on that part of the plot, even if he was part of the scheme to set him up to join them. He was still a witness to the slaughter, but maybe not endorsing it, and there wouldn't have been much he could do to stop it if he'd managed to get out from under the rubble.
  4. If I recall correctly, she did kill them all. It was a different kind of heart ripping than we later saw her and Hook do with Aurora or Rumple did with Hook in season 4 or Regina did with Graham, where they showed no physical sign of it and it was entirely bloodless, with the victim still alive and walking around, just with the person who had their heart controlling them. Team Princess got to the settlement and found a bunch of dead bodies with gaping holes in their chests, and then they found Hook in his "blacksmith" mode buried under some rubble and totally freaked out. Later, Cora did magic to raise the dead bodies to make them attack Team Princess. The bloodbath, in which she slaughtered everyone in the settlement, is one of those issues where we've debated Hook's culpability -- if it was part of the plan and he stood by to watch, then pretended to be a would-be victim who hid as part of the scheme to infiltrate Team Princess, it looks a lot worse for him. Or was it less calculated, he really was freaked out and hid while she killed everyone, and he really did want to join Team Princess as a way to get to Storybrooke without Cora because he'd realized Cora was too much even for him? But then when/how did he get the bracelet things for climbing the beanstalk? Had he already stolen them, or did she leave them behind when she left after the slaughter to do whatever, and he got them, then hid again and pretended to be buried under rubble when Team Princess approached? Didn't Mulan recognize "blacksmith" Hook from the settlement? Which meant he must have been living there under that guise for a while for him to have been there before she and Philip headed off to find Aurora. I guess Captain Hook was notorious enough that there was some advantage to hiding his identity and the fact that he was in league with Cora, though I'm not sure exactly why, since that would have been going on probably since time started moving, long before Cora had any idea there even was going to be a Team Princess. I can see hiding that Cora's henchman was Captain Hook, since she seemed to be pretending to be benevolent, but there was no real reason to hide that the "blacksmith" was her sidekick. He doesn't seem to have been hanging around the settlement while Emma and Snow were there, but maybe he was in the background and not someone they interacted with, and that might have given him the chance to observe them to help set up his later ruse with them. But then that makes it seem like he was in his blacksmith outfit at the settlement, then when he and Cora met to discuss their plans (at the end of "The Crocodile") he put on his pirate garb, then he changed back into his blacksmith outfit to go back to the settlement. Or was the blacksmith outfit just his black vest pirate outfit without the long coat? My impression of it was that it was a different doublet rather than just the vest that he usually wore under the coat.
  5. I may need to rewatch to be sure (that's one I don't mind rewatching), but my impression was that it was some kind of plan that Cora set up and was in on, and the reason Hook was tap dancing with Cora after Emma betrayed him was that he was flipping and would have stuck with Emma if she hadn't betrayed him. I thought Cora had set Hook up to join Team Princess and win their trust. The question is how much of it was the plan -- was he supposed to stick to the wounded blacksmith story, win their trust, and stick with that persona to do ... something? and he just gave up on that when they figured out he was lying? Was the plan always to con them into helping get the compass from the top of the beanstalk by him pretending to flip, and the problem was that he really did? Or did Hook actually steal the cuffs and hide from Cora when she went on her killing spree and was hoping to join Team Princess to find his way to Storybrooke by offering to help them get back? The latter is the only thing that makes sense, but I thought I was giving Hook too much credit in going with that. I seem to recall us having had a discussion here about whether Hook stood by Cora with the slaughter or whether he was genuinely freaked out and that was part of why he was willing to join Team Princess. Speaking of the killing spree -- why? She did later use the bodies as zombies, but again, she wouldn't have had any problem with Team Princess if she and Hook had gone to get the compass right after she got the wardrobe ashes, and they'd headed straight to Storybrooke. They wouldn't have needed the zombies. She wasted time and gave Team Princess a fighting chance by delaying to commit mass murder (and possibly set up an overly complicated plan). If she didn't want to climb the beanstalk herself, she could have ripped out the heart of one person from the haven and ordered them to go with Hook. If she was part of setting it up for Hook to get Team Princess to help, she overly complicated the story. Yeah, she slaughtered the haven, either sent Hook off on the "infiltrate Team Princess" mission or didn't bother to figure out what Hook was up to, and wandered off to do what? I think that may be part of why I have the impression that she was part of setting up the plan and Hook wasn't going entirely rogue. If he'd just stolen the cuffs and hid from her before flipping, you'd think she'd have gone after him, stopped him, and got the cuffs back instead of giving him the chance to make new allies. But then if it was her plan, it was a really dumb plan, based on what she already knew about Hook. I'm afraid it comes down to the writers not thinking about why the characters were doing things but just writing what they wanted them to do to make their plot work.
  6. The thing with Lancelot might have added to the twist. The audience expects him to be Cora in disguise again, but then it turns out it really is him, and then it turns out he's actually Captain Hook and he's working with Cora! But the problem remains that the whole scheme of getting Hook to infiltrate Team Princess makes no sense. The only reason for that plot is to introduce Hook to Emma and have them go on an adventure together, either to set up the future romance or as some kind of chemistry test. The risk/benefit ratio doesn't work at all. On the risk side, there's the danger that Hook will flip and join Team Princess the moment he's either threatened or gets a better offer (which is how he's working with Cora to begin with). Or there's the risk Team Princess will overpower or doublecross Hook and get the compass themselves. And by sending Hook to infiltrate Team Princess, it lets them know about the compass in the first place. The only benefit I can think of is that it keeps Cora from having to climb the beanstalk herself. If they'd skipped the whole scheme, then Cora and Hook could have climbed the beanstalk, got the compass, and headed to Storybrooke while Team Princess was still wandering lost in the woods, trying to think of what to do next. The only thing that might make sense is if it wasn't a plan, if Hook really was freaked out by Cora's killing spree and hid, and he was attempting to scam Team Princess on his own to find his own way to Storybrooke without Cora, then ended up deciding to team up with them, and when Emma betrayed him and Cora caught up with him, he spun it to Cora as a plan on her behalf.
  7. I saw a promo on PBS for a new show in the Sunday Masterpiece slot in which Robert Carlyle seems to have the main role. It looked to me like what if Mr. Gold was Prime Minister when Britain was hit by a big crisis. It's called Cobra, or something like that. I'm not a big fan of the Masterpiece Contemporary block, so I don't know anything about it beyond what was in the promo that was on before Great Performances last night.
  8. I would think it's a mixed bag for binge watching. The cliffhangers do encourage you to keep watching, but then how many times would you get burned by a cliffhanger with a disappointing resolution or that was just dropped? When there's a week or months between episodes, you might just remember being eager to see the next episode without remembering the details. When you watch the next episode right away, the continuity problems would be more obvious, and the bad conclusions to the cliffhangers would be more annoying. There are some good ones, like going from season 2 to season 3, where we leave off with them heading to Neverland, and then pick up on the journey to Neverland. Or 3 to 4, where we see Elsa arrive in Storybrooke, and then we get to see Elsa interacting with Storybrooke and reacting to it. But then there are things like going from 4A to 4B, where the blank storybooks don't really amount to anything, and there's never an explanation, in spite of devoting an arc to the Author, in which it's revealed that Merlin is the Sorcerer whose mansion the books are in, and then an arc involving Merlin. At the moment, I'm drawing a blank on any ordinary episode cliffhangers, other than the painful ones like going straight from the revelation that Hook is a Dark One to a one-off episode that has nothing to do with that story (though I guess if you're streaming or binge-watching, you can skip that episode and go straight to the one that follows up, but if you aren't aware of the situation, you might not know that episode isn't going to deal with that story, so you might watch, waiting for it to get to it). This is a slightly different topic, but I thought of it while mentally scrolling for cliffhangers ... it's funny how the writers were so afraid of spoilers that they didn't set things up, but when there were good times to withhold information, they didn't. The one that jumped out at me was the fact that when our characters met Hook, he was pretending to be someone else and they didn't know he was Captain Hook, but the audience had been introduced to him in an earlier episode and already knew he was working with Cora. It's a rare case of an "audience superior" situation, in which the audience knows more than the characters. But it might have been more interesting if that was the first time we'd seen him, and we saw his origin story flashback later. What if we'd met this maimed blacksmith who'd barely survived Cora's killing spree and then learned along with our characters that he was really Captain Hook? How would that have affected the way we saw Hook? I suspect they were going for surprise elsewhere, since what they went for was the big surprise that the young, handsome guy who was taunting Rumple was actually Captain Hook, once we saw him lose his hand. Not that it was a huge surprise, since they'd been promoting the fact that Hook would be the new villain, and I think they'd even announced the casting. There were pictures of Colin in the entertainment magazines. So we knew when we met the pirate that he would end up being Hook. I doubt it would have been any different if they'd introduced him posing as the blacksmith. We'd already have known that this guy was really Hook (well, those who followed the news; not every viewer would have known), but we wouldn't have known his story or that he worked with Cora.
  9. I wonder what someone who watched some random episode without having seen the pilot and without having heard anything about the show would think was going on. There's a part taking place in what looks like modern America, and then there's a part in a sort of quasi-Medieval meets 18th century fantasy world with the same actors playing fairy tale characters, who mostly have different names and are in totally different roles, with some of them having totally different personalities. Would you think these are actually flashbacks or dream sequences, or some kind of parallel storylines with the same actors playing different characters? In the present, there's Mary Margaret with short hair, being a meek schoolteacher who's super close to Saint Regina, the person everyone in town drops everything to help, and then there are random scenes of the same actresses, with Mary Margaret now being called Snow White and being some kind of warrior woman with a sword and a bow, and Regina dressing like some kind of goth drag queen and tormenting her and everyone else. It would be very confusing. But aside from that issue, the centric nature of so many episodes might make them stand alone to some extent, since a lot of times, the flashbacks have nothing to do with the present plot. They just fit a theme or explain some bit of backstory that only matters to that one episode, and in the present there's not a lot of flow between episodes. There's no emotional fallout from the previous episode, so you don't have to worry about that. Whatever plot there is in what they're doing to counter the villain is generally self-contained, the tactic of the day. It's pretty procedural-like -- villain seems to be doing something, heroes try something to stop villain, it may succeed in stopping that particular tactic, but fails at stopping villain entirely, or it turns out that it was all a setup by the villain to get the heroes to do something that furthers the villain's scheme.
  10. This is one show where I don't see how you can skip the pilot and still have it make any sense, since the setup is so convoluted, and I don't think it's concisely explained elsewhere in the series. I guess they occasionally refer back to the curse, but to get the rest of the series, you have to understand how the fairytale characters are living in modern America with different identities even though they used to live in a fairytale world and were living out the fairytale stories (but in a different way), how Emma is the daughter of two characters who are the same age she is and who she doesn't really know, and who Henry is and how he's the son of both Emma and Regina, even though they've just met. I was going to say that the present-day part of the story is so serialized that it would be hard to follow out of order, but when I thought about it, I realized that it's really the worst of both worlds. It's so serialized that it's not the sort of thing you can just jump in on anywhere in the series and understand it, but the episodes don't really flow one to the other. The present-day story is usually a self-contained chunk of the larger story that seldom has any kind of impact on the rest of the story, other than maybe revealing something. The centric model means that generally nothing carries over to the next episode. One episode will focus on a character, something major will happen to that character, and the next episode will be about a different character, so we don't see any fallout from the events of the previous episode. At the same time, I'm not sure you could understand what's going on in each episode without having seen some of the previous ones. And then there's the issue that very little that really matters happens in the middle of an arc. You could watch the first episode of an arc and then the last two without missing much. You can skip entire arcs and still be able to follow the next season because nothing really has long-term effects. I think "Good Form" might actually work as a standalone. You don't need to have a lot of knowledge of series lore to understand what's going on. The flashbacks have nothing to do with any ongoing story arcs, and just understanding the concept of Captain Hook and Peter Pan will tell you most of what you need to know. I guess you'd need to know about David being poisoned, but how that happened doesn't matter much. The Captain Swan stuff would be deeper if you'd seen season 2, but there's enough here to get the gist of him being into her and them having a bit of sexual tension bickering going on that leads to the kiss. It's a fairly standard-issue TV relationship situation. So, if you're at all familiar with the Peter Pan lore and have watched TV before, you could probably follow this episode and possibly even enjoy it, though you might be a bit confused about how Emma's father is her age and how she and Regina are both Henry's mothers.
  11. I think this is getting to "A-Bomb Spoiler" territory for Grimm, per the site rules, so I'm going to use spoiler protection here. I think they could have done more one-offs without it necessarily going as far as the never-seen couple type episode -- though I actually would have loved to have seen that kind of thing in Storybrooke, the episode that's mostly about Granny, Archie, the nuns/fairies and the dwarfs having to deal with something while the main characters are in the background dealing with something else. Or even focus on a Storybrooke resident we don't know and let us see the town and the main characters through their eyes. What do they think of everything? Just the OUAT equivalent of the X-Files monster of the week episode could have worked. Let Emma the sheriff have to deal with trying to nab Goldilocks on breaking and entering while we're waiting to be able to wrap up the arc story. Maybe the Charmings are doing research in the library with Belle while Emma does her job, and maybe Emma finds something that might help while investigating the other case. That would have been better than entire episodes of "oh no, what will we do? We have to have hope!" without actually doing anything. It's funny, with The X-Files, I used to look forward to the mytharc episodes because I enjoyed the development of that storyline, but I eventually realized that it was going nowhere and they had no idea what they were doing. The mostly standalone MOTW episodes were far more entertaining.
  12. I would say that GIF doesn't do a great job of selling the series to someone who knows nothing about it. The imagery is dark and depressing, and the people pictured look unpleasant. I'd have been a hard nope if that was the first thing I saw. Then again, I suppose it is accurate.
  13. There were a lot of comparisons between Grimm and OUAT when they first launched. They started at around the same time and were both about fairy tales. Tor.com even did a weekly score sheet between the shows to pick each week's winner. People eventually quit comparing them because they were very different, though they both went off the rails in the long run and both had that problem of falling in love with their villains and making them heroes without any real redemption. I think Grimm actually ended up being way grosser in the way they went about that. They were much more similar in the first season, since Emma was solving "cases" and figuring things out the way Nick was on Grimm. It might have helped if Once had done more like Grimm did, with cases of the week within an arc framework. That way, there was something going on rather than spinning wheels until they got to the arc finale. We'd get some clues about the arc and/or the Big Bad each week, but there was still a case, which kept Nick busy. He was doing more than sitting around going "We've got to stop them! But how?" or coming up with grand schemes that failed until the finale. Funny that this should come up when I was just thinking in terms of Grimm for the other topic above, how other shows dealt with the "heroes don't kill people" issue. On Grimm, that ethical question was woven into the premise of the series. Historically, the Grimms just killed the creatures. It was a running gag on the show that when they looked up how a past Grimm had dealt with a particular kind of creature, the last line in just about every journal entry was "and then I cut its head off." But Nick, our hero, hadn't grown up being trained (indoctrinated) by the Grimms, and he was a cop (a good one), so he wasn't keen on the idea of just killing the creatures, and he couldn't get away with just killing them, since most of them reverted to human form at death. If he killed one of them, he'd better either be able to fully justify it as self-defense or defending someone else without bringing up the creature element, or he'd better do a really good job of getting rid of the body and the evidence (he didn't know in the early days that his boss was in on the secret and pulling strings to cover for him). As a result, he got a lot more creative about dealing with creature-related situations, and he dealt with them fairly, which led to him gaining the respect and friendship of a lot of them. He was still feared because of the history of the Grimms and the whole "cut off its head" thing, but word eventually got around that he was fair. He never outright said anything like "heroes don't kill" (for one thing, he'd have laughed at the idea he was a hero), but I think in the early seasons they did a good job of seriously considering when killing is justified. He killed when he had to, and it affected him, but he tried to avoid it, if at all possible. That was a much more reasonable and moral approach than they took on OUAT, where they made pronouncements like "heroes don't kill people," but didn't address how else to deal with situations where harm was imminent and sometimes randomly had heroes killing people without a second thought or pang of guilt. Sadly, when Grimm went off the rails, Nick became more of a standard action hero who was more prone to killing without thinking and faced few consequences.
  14. It was the writing that had Rumple proposing with a fake dagger, putting Belle to sleep so he could conduct evil scheming behind her back, plotting to let everyone in town die, scheming to get his power back, etc. If anything, the acting humanized him because he always sounded utterly sincere when he was vowing to be better. And Belle was never treated like an idiot for believing in his good heart, even when he was dying because he'd been so evil that his heart turned to charcoal. I think the real problem was that they didn't have any kind of thesis for what they were saying about Emma being a Dark One. The thinking stopped right at "wouldn't it be shocking if Emma was turned into the Dark One?" It might have been interesting to explore what happened when a good person who wasn't tempted by power became the Dark One -- did it work like a possession or could they resist it? Was evil inevitable? Or they could have explored what happened when someone who already had power became a Dark One, so the power wasn't tempting. Or what happened when someone didn't choose to become a Dark One or did it for unselfish reasons. Then they could have compared it to what we saw with Rumple. With Emma, they were so inconsistent, and inconsistent with the mythology they'd already established. Like, there was no reason she had to change her wardrobe. She might have got the sparkly skin like Rumple, but she didn't have to suddenly change clothes when she went darker (and why would saving someone's life make her go darker?). It got even sillier with Hook, where he went from one all-black outfit to another when he remembered that he was a Dark One. I wonder how much they even planned of all this. Did they already know that Hook had become a Dark One and Emma was desperately trying to save him when they wrote that first episode cliffhanger of Dark Emma coming into the diner and blaming all of them for not saving her? Emma's Storybrooke behavior in the first half of that arc made no sense in light of what we later learned was going on. Emma's struggles in the Camelot flashbacks made some sense as she fought what was in her and held on to her humanity. The stuff after she went full Dark One and started wearing black didn't work at all. That's where it's clear that even if the writers knew what was going on, they didn't bother to let the actress know, so she was making up a characterization that ended up not fitting what was actually happening, though you can hardly blame her if they stuck her in that outfit and makeup. As I've said before, if we're going with what actually is happening and what Emma's true agenda was, she'd have made herself look normal (as we saw she was able to do when she had the date with Hook) and would have pretended that they saved her. Then she wouldn't have had to worry about them digging into what she was up to because they were worried about her. She might have needed to find an excuse to keep Hook out of her house so he wouldn't be drawn by what was in the basement, but he wouldn't have had a reason to poke around if he didn't think she was in danger or up to anything. Swanning (hee, couldn't resist that one) around town in black with dramatic hair and makeup was just asking for everyone to try to intervene. Come to think of it, did she drag the sword with the stone in it into the basement of the house she bought, or did the sword and stone just happen to be brought by the curse to the basement of the house Hook and Henry picked out for Emma? If she put it there, then it would have been smarter for her to have had a secret lair that Hook wouldn't have known about rather than putting it in her basement. Or put it in the basement of that house but not let on yet that she'd bought it and instead spend time at her parents' place or on the Jolly Roger (that way, Hook might not have noticed that he wasn't sleeping).
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