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S02.E06: Tallahassee

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Emma follows Capt. Hook up a beanstalk in hope of finding a magical compass; a fellow thief wants to make an honest woman out of Emma.

 

Note: please use spoiler tags when referring to major events that happen after this episode to allow new viewers to choose to be spoiled.

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Things I liked: Emma got an episode. By only focusing on basically 3 characters (only side helping of Snow, Aurora, and Mulan) after being split 20 different ways for the preceding episodes, the storyline was that much tighter, and the parallels in the flashback and the present were excellent.
 
My biggest issue with this episode was the CGI. I had a hard time taking anything that happened on the beanstalk adventure seriously because it came off so cartoonish. Oh, look, Hook is getting crushed, I think? It's hard to say as he's standing straight up and yet rocks are on top of him. And let's have actors have lots of dialogue with other characters that aren't really there. That's always a good idea.
 
Also, confession time as a CS shipper, I kinda anti-shipped CS this episode. Well, not CS themselves but that the writers seemed to be telling me to ship them instead of making me want to ship them. It's my big problem with how OQ is presented, actually, and that hasn't been fixed yet for me, whereas I got over my anti-cs-ness a couple episodes later.

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I definitely saw the beanstalk adventure as a chemistry test for Emma and Hook, and they passed with flying colors.

 

I still think the hand-bandaging scene is hot as hell.

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I loved all the little things in this episode that show Hook and Emma as kindred spirits. Like they both stop to smell something they are stealing and the little twirl and tap that Hook does with the coin and the very next scene Emma does with the key to the locker.

I do love the bandage scene, but my favorite scene is when Emma says "I can't take the chance that I'm wrong about you." It makes so much sense to the viewer given the flashback but the look on Hook's face is so "huh!" It's funny. He gives such a confused look right before he gets pissed off.

Given the way Emma's superpower fails her when she is emotional or attached to someone, not trusting her gut with Hook makes sense. She trusted Neal and look where it got her. Now Hook never would have betrayed her, he was already feeling something hence the little ear scratch after she grabbed him and the betrayal he felt at being left behind.

In hindsight it is so obvious they already had Hook planned as a love interest for Emma when they wrote this.

One of my favorite episodes, I still yell at Emma every time she locks Hook up at the end.

Edited by daxx
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Yeah, that bandage scene is kind of breathtaking. I love the way Hook is already on Team Emma when she pulls him out of the rubble after getting the compass. He's so enthusiastic in cheering for how "bloody brilliant" she was.

 

As for the flashback, I still don't see why setting Emma up to go to jail was supposed to help her fulfill her destiny, and I don't see why they apparently made absolutely zero effort in makeup/hair/wardrobe to make Neal look so much as a week younger in the flashback. Emma may not really have looked seventeen, but they made enough difference in the way she looked to indicate that she was at a different phase in her life. Neal just looks like a late-30s man scamming on a teenager.

Edited by Shanna Marie
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Maybe not trying to make MRJ look any younger was on purpose, to make the relationship seem less rootable, more not-right. And I agree, the Hook/Emma parallels were nicely done.

 

And, yeah, I never got why sending Emma to jail was supposed to help her fulfill her destiny, as opposed to, say, telling her the truth. As a plan, it doesn't make any sense at all, since it does nothing to prod her toward Storybrooke. How were they to know she'd have a son who she'd give up for adoption who would someday come looking for her? They didn't. They were counting on her giving up crime and ... then what? How would anything she does afterward send her toward Storybrooke, except for the kid they didn't know about?

 

Dumb-ass plan. Dumb-ass dumb asses.

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I think it was a chemistry test for both--they threw them both out there, and would see which one actually took off.

 

I don't think the show had a clue how much Tallahassee damaged Neal.

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I kinda anti-shipped CS this episode. Well, not CS themselves but that the writers seemed to be telling me to ship them instead of making me want to ship them.

Agreed. The writers were trying way too hard to manufacture insta-chemistry between Emma and Hook in this episode--and as someone who doesn't see much spark there, the over-contrived nature of it all turned me off the pairing.

 

Not that Emma/Neal had any more chemistry, mind.

 

I don't think the show had a clue how much Tallahassee damaged Neal.

Agreed. I think Adam and Eddie were so locked in on their "vision" or wtfever that they thought "well, he had to!" was a good enough rationale for what Neal did. imo it's incredibly telling that when Michael Raymond-James went to them to ask why, they couldn't really give him a good answer as to why. (Because there isn't one!)

Edited by stealinghome

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I think it was a chemistry test for both--they threw them both out there, and would see which one actually took off.

 

I don't think the show had a clue how much Tallahassee damaged Neal.

 

They mopped the floor with Neal during Tallahassee.  I mean seriously.  Between the stolen car, the string of petty crimes, listening to Pinocchio, the watches, the jail...Gosh Neal!  They turned him into such a schmuck who was dragging his younger girlfriend down with him.  Maybe the best thing that happened to Emma was cooling her jets in jail because she got to be away from him.

 

And August...a liar, a thief.  He took $20K from her and never looked back.  What a giant ass!

 

Tallahassee did no favors to either Neal or August.

 

I thought Hook came on a bit strong on the beanstalk, though I did like that they were fleshing out both characters. 

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Yeah, I never really believe anything Adam & Eddy say when they're like we planned this from the beginning, so I totally think this episode was meant to set up both Neal & Hook as potential romantic partners for Emma without understanding that they destroyed the idea of Neal/Emma to many viewers right here. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if they weren't more excited to have the mysterious "what's in the box?" thing going than actually considering how badly their Neal/August set an underage girl up to go to jail for no discernible reason plot line was going to come off. It didn't help that Neal looked like a scuzzy middle age drifter scamming on a homeless, lonely 17 year old.

 

What exactly was August's plan when he told Neal to ditch Emma and send her to jail? Do you know what the recidivism rate is? She's so much more likely to be a career criminal than scared straight. And then he just takes off with the money and doesn't think of her until his leg starts turning to wood years later. So um what? Maybe the plan was to keep her in jail so he could live his life without ever worrying about having to deal with how much he sucked. Nice to know how much he cared about his father in all this. It's interesting to go back and watch "The Stranger" after this because August just gets so angry at her for not wanting to believe and being so deep in denial. And now we know that Pinocchio made her that way and just how badly he screwed her over. Karma's a bitch, August. You deserve to be a wooden man forever.

 

I think JMo looked far younger and more fragile when in the jail with her pregnancy test than she ever did in her scenes with Neal. I'm surprised they didn't go with that look for her "younger" self. Maybe it was that she looked so soft and they needed her to have a harder edge as a teen runaway?

 

When Hook is climbing the beanstalk, Colin is using his hand to hang on through his shirt with the hook just sort of hanging off to the side. I think this may be one of those I've only got one hand moments where the writers fail to recognize that climbing something (and staying in one place while carrying on a conversation) is not something that's easy to do with a hook for a hand. Especially since Colin had little experience wearing the hook at this point.

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I actually didn't feel Emma/Hook was forced, but at the same time, I saw nothing romantic about them at all. I thought they worked well as adversaries, and that's it. When I first watched this episode, I did not trust him, and felt Emma was quite right not to trust him either.

 

Knowing in hindsight how much he was going to monopolize Emma's screentime in Season 3, I kind of wish he fell off the beanstalk and disappeared or a giant boulder accidentally landed on him. I've enjoyed Hook on many occasions in S3 but I still do not believe she needed a love interest yet.  There was so much more she needed to deal with first.

 

 

Honestly, I sometimes wonder if they weren't more excited to have the mysterious "what's in the box?" thing going

 

Knowing the lame outcome of what's in the box, I wonder if they even knew what was in the box. Actually, if they had planned ahead of time it was going to be a stupid typewriter AND they thought people would be surprised/impressed with that, they're even more delusional than I thought they were.

Edited by Camera One
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They mopped the floor with Neal during Tallahassee.  I mean seriously.  Between the stolen car, the string of petty crimes, listening to Pinocchio, the watches, the jail...Gosh Neal!  They turned him into such a schmuck who was dragging his younger girlfriend down with him.  Maybe the best thing that happened to Emma was cooling her jets in jail because she got to be away from him.

Well, yes, I agree--but look how many people Regina has gleefully killed onscreen, and that doesn't seem to be holding her story back.

 

Why not assume you can rehabilitate a conman/thief/etc in the audience's eyes, if you've feel you're doing a successful job of rehabilitating a mass murdering rapist with serious psych issues?

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When Hook is climbing the beanstalk, Colin is using his hand to hang on through his shirt with the hook just sort of hanging off to the side. I think this may be one of those I've only got one hand moments where the writers fail to recognize that climbing something (and staying in one place while carrying on a conversation) is not something that's easy to do with a hook for a hand. Especially since Colin had little experience wearing the hook at this point.

 

I saw a quote where he said they hadn't gotten him a sturdy hook at that point, so climbing was definitely a challenge.

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Well, yes, I agree--but look how many people Regina has gleefully killed onscreen, and that doesn't seem to be holding her story back.

 

Why not assume you can rehabilitate a conman/thief/etc in the audience's eyes, if you've feel you're doing a successful job of rehabilitating a mass murdering rapist with serious psych issues?

 

You're preaching to the choir.  They pretty much refused to explore anything regarding Neal,

his time in Neverland and what happened to him when he landed wherever it was he landed when he escaped Neverland that turned him into Neal.

 

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest and back in Storybrooke....

 

This is why I'll never have an issue with Hook and I'm sure I'd be pretty fine with Neal (minus the whole jail thing) if they had explored his back story and fleshed out the character.  I always find it baffling that they built the whole show around

Baelfire. For him to just be a mere whimper on the show and then freakin' die! Never mind the whole baby Snowflake part and how they tried to make him a hero without having told us anything of significance about him as an adult.

Edited by stacey
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It seems to me that the best way for Neal to have distanced himself from Emma and forced her to move on would have been for him to set himself up and get himself sent to jail. The close call might have scared her straight, but he would have been the one to suffer and get a record (assuming he didn't already have one).

 

I definitely didn't trust Hook at that point and was kind of glad Emma didn't trust him because at that time it would have come across as rather naive of her, especially since she has cultural awareness from her world of what Captain Hook was. He's a bit different than in the story and very different from the movie versions, but he's a villain. It would have been entirely out of character for her to have totally trusted him, and I think they threw in just enough moments of connection, plus that rather hot bandage-tying scene, to give her a reason to feel a little bad about leaving him, even if she was pretty sure she was doing the right thing. The thing that impresses me about Colin's portrayal in that part of the season was how Hook could turn on a dime. He'd already done it several times and was always utterly convincing in whatever role Hook was playing at any given moment, so while he did seem sincere

(and I think we've seen since then that he was)

, it would have been foolish for her to believe him and I think I would have been throwing things at the TV and calling her Too Stupid To Live if she'd done so.

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While I agree with the general consensus that the whole sending-Emma-to-jail without providing a clear and compelling reason was a HUGE mistake, I otherwise liked how they showed Neal in the episode - particularly given that the first time we saw him he was clearly not a homeless dude living in a stolen car

and later when we learned that he had bounced around before landing in this part of the time-stream. Someone who came from the forest primeval, then jumped to Edwardian England, then the eternal twilight of Neverland, can't just land in the deep end of the pool of 21st Century America and become Michael Phelps.

.  

Since we were assuming

very, very, very, VERY wrongly, as it turned out that there was a story that would unfold over a long period of time, I think it was also a good choice to show grown-up Bae as something Gold might not expect...while we never really have found out what Rumple might have envisioned Bae to be when he eventually found him, one would imagine this wasn't exactly it.

Edited by stacey

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Pretty sure that any references to 

Neal = Bae

should be spoiler tagged everyone. We don't know that information until later.

 

The Aurora/Snow exchange at the bottom of the beanstalk is really quite sad for me in retrospect. When Snow offers to watch over Aurora while she sleeps and then kind of sadly says, "Who else do I have to look after?" It's just a bittersweet reminder that the baby she held for those few seconds before sending her away is lost to her forever.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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I do love the bandage scene, but my favorite scene is when Emma says "I can't take the chance that I'm wrong about you." It makes so much sense to the viewer given the flashback but the look on Hook's face is so "huh!" It's funny. He gives such a confused look right before he gets pissed off.

 

Yeah, the 'you trust me, so you're chaining me up to die??????' face was priceless.

 

Pretty sure that any references to 

Neal = Bae

should be spoiler tagged everyone. We don't know that information until later.

 

I would agree but

I think we had all known he would be Bae by that point. Or Peter Pan, (or both) and look at how close we were there.

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The CGI in this episode isn't just bad -- a lot of the set and props are, too. The beanstalk looks like the set of a high school play. The "treasure" looks like it's from a costume shop. 

 

And yet. I am very fond of this episode. The flashbacks are well juxtaposed against the present day, and we learn a lot about Emma. I agree the chemistry with Hook is a bit hit and miss (though I think the bandage scene -- all of it, right up to the "maybe I was, once"-- nailed it), but it did do a good job of establishing their connection.

 

Also, the bit at the end reminded me of how nice the bonding between Henry and Charming was during this period. Aww.

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Also, confession time as a CS shipper, I kinda anti-shipped CS this episode. Well, not CS themselves but that the writers seemed to be telling me to ship them instead of making me want to ship them.

This was pretty much my exact reaction, too. It's weird because going into this episode the first time around, I was a fan of Hook and Emma individually as independent characters, but rolled my eyes hard at the writers' attempt to put the two characters together through this obvious chemistry test. I hate it when writers beat you over the head with lines like "have you ever even been in love" or Emma conveniently hugging Hook to prevent him from tripping on the wire, instead of just grabbing his arm and yanking him away (and not somehow ending up in a hugging position) like a normal person. And ironically, I actually found that Michael and Jennifer had more natural chemistry together than Colin and Jennifer this episode, even on re-watch.

(Although now I can't imagine Emma paired with anyone but Hook at this point because of the great chemistry Jen and Colin developed after Hook was gone for a good string of episodes at the end of Season 2. Go figure.)

I don't know if it's because Colin was still trying to find his footing with how to play Hook or if it was a conscious decision that Emma and Hook shouldn't necessarily be clicking completely at first, but I just wasn't feeling the Emma/Hook pairing during this episode. (Someone's now going to revoke my official CS shipper card, aren't they?)

 

And because it can't be said enough: yes, the CGI can seriously be terrible on this show. I honestly think I would have preferred to see a pile of styrofoam prop rocks fall on Hook instead of the horribly designed CGI boulders they used that somehow didn't obey the laws of physics.

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And because it can't be said enough: yes, the CGI can seriously be terrible on this show. I honestly think I would have preferred to see a pile of styrofoam prop rocks fall on Hook instead of the horribly designed CGI boulders they used that somehow didn't obey the laws of physics.

 

Let's just say that Hook was born under a lucky star and call it a day.  I wish they had done something different with the CGI.  Also, the booming noise when Anton is running and that idiotic cage.

 

Still like this episode a lot though.

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I rewatched last night, and I'd never noticed that Colin was clearly using his hand through his sleeve, but now I can't not see it. And, yes, the CGI really is awful. I don't think they even bothered pelting Colin with Styrofoam rocks. They just seemed to superimpose CGI rocks falling, which made that look even faker.

 

I'm not sure that the episode was a chemistry test between the two couples, though, because they seemed to be bringing Neal down while bringing Hook up in the way they juxtaposed the two sides to the story. In the flashback, we see Emma offering to go collect the watches, putting herself on the line for Neal, right against the scene where Hook is the one playing bait for the giant, putting himself on the line. It was like they were contrasting the the way the two guys were dealing with Emma -- the one letting her take the risk vs. the one taking the risk. I just can't imagine how you could come away from this episode wanting Emma to get back to Neal when he called the cops on her. As I said before, he could have gone to jail for her, which would still likely have scared her straight. Or he could have left her the money and car and then vanished. Or, hey, he could have been at least somewhat honest and helped her work toward the goal of breaking the curse. (I know, crazy talk.)

 

I'm also not sure that the seemingly forced shippy moments with Hook were meant to be shippy or if they were meant to be a little offputting. Like, the one where Emma grabs him to keep him away from the tripwire. He was so obnoxious about the way he reacted to that that it seemed to counteract the previous bandage-tying scene. Even his "I can read you like a book" routine was annoying, even if he was right (and I'm suspecting that we'll learn he was saying as much about himself as about her). I would love to know how much of the bandage-tying scene was in the script, directed, or an acting choice because on paper, it doesn't seem like anything special. What made it hot was the way he never broke eye contact with her while tying the bandage with his teeth. The situation was actually pretty intimate, since anything done with the mouth rather than the hands moves it toward greater physical intimacy. It was also one of the few times his disability has actually mattered, where it shows that there are things he can't do properly with just one hand. We don't often see him even showing that he's having to compensate, so in a way he was exposing a vulnerability to her. Add that to the fact that he kept his voice rather soft through the whole scene and the intense, unbroken eye contact, and it feels like a real Moment.

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I'm still not convinced Neal was the one who called the cops..and if it was, it may have been his way to get her to forget about him hence leaving the bail money and car to her. 

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Even if he didn't call the cops, he was still complicit in the plan, meaning he knowingly sent his 17-year-old girlfriend to jail. Even if his intention was to get her to forget about him, I think there were better and less damaging ways to handle it than sending her to prison and then essentially dropping her like a hot potato.

Edited by Dani-Ellie
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Yea..I've thought the better way was to have him go to jail. 

Even with the way it happened, I still think Emma/Neal could've worked if they explored the issues (as mentioned). It wasn't a forgone conclusion to me that the jail thing was a deal breaker.

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Yea..I've thought the better way was to have him go to jail.

 

 

While I'm firmly in the "they could have done this 15,000% better than they did" camp, I think it was one of those rare occasions when they were genuinely written into a corner. They had established in S1 than Emma had gone to jail and that Henry's father had betrayed her. It was a pretty potent part of her S1 emotional resume. So, while it made more sense that Neal be the one to fall on his sword and go to jail to vanish from Emma's life, or just plain old vanish from Emma's life without anyone going to jail, they really couldn't change that part of the history. 

 

At a minimum, I would have preferred they both go to jail - 'cause it isn't like they'd be in the same place for the same time - and the have Neal vanish after they were released,

But then you have the complication of Henry. It would make even less sense for Neal to abandon Henry than it made for him to abandon Emma, and it would be hard to explain why/how Emma would keep her jailhouse pregnancy from him and give up the baby with him never knowing it existed, especially since it was already part of Emma's backstory that she had at least had enough hope in their relationship that she'd gone to Tallahassee looking for him after her release.

.   

 

.I also sit mostly in the "what Adam says on Twitter shouldn't count" camp, but FWIW (and I agree it's ultimately not worth all that much).he did say back in S2 that it wasn't Neal that called the cops on Emma. I think he also said that would be explored later. Good thing we didn't hold our breaths.   

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Even with the way it happened, I still think Emma/Neal could've worked if they explored the issues (as mentioned). It wasn't a forgone conclusion to me that the jail thing was a deal breaker.

It would have required a lot of groveling.

And being honest with Henry from the start about what happened and not throwing Emma under the bus so that he could enjoy dad bonding with Henry while Henry was mad at Emma. And not having a fiancee after he knew the curse was broken and he could have reunited with Emma. And not playing "oh, you're just jealous" games when Emma suspected his fiancee was up to no good (and she was right).

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I completely agree that they were backed into a corner. The pieces of Emma's past all fell into place and as we were watching, I totally knew that this was going to be how Emma ended up having Henry in jail. But as with most things on this show,

the followup wasn't there. They'd rather just pretend it was all water under the bridge than actually deal with it. They had all of "Manhattan" for Neal to explain his reasoning and when he did, it was still so vague that it came across as story motivation rather than character motivation. Adam and Eddy needed Neal to abandon Emma in jail, so he did. There was no attention to Neal's motivation for agreeing to August's plan.

 

As for Neal not being the one to actually make the call, I'm not sure that's any better. Neal and August planned this, regardless of who actually tipped off the police. Neal had to have at least given up Emma's location, because August didn't know where they were meeting. Who made the call was irrelevant to me. They both suck, and they both could have maybe spent more than five minutes thinking of a way to put Emma back on the proper path without destroying her in the process. If "Neal didn't make the call!" was the writers' only defense of Neal's actions, here, that should tell them something.

Edited by Dani-Ellie
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think it was one of those rare occasions when they were genuinely written into a corner. They had established in S1 than Emma had gone to jail and that Henry's father had betrayed her.

 

Yes, for sure.  It is easy to see how they came up with this storyline.  There were already a bunch of outcomes that they must end up with.  Plus the writers wanted to continue with certain themes that they loved, such as choice and 

successive generations making the same mistake.

 

For me, I could possibly buy Neal agreeing with August's plan to get Emma in jail (

since Neal could possibly have been in shock that Rumple managed to make it to this world when he made the decision).  The writers also made it seem like what was in the box, would suddenly and satisfactorily explain Neal's actions (but it didn't).  The problem was how weakly they explained why Neal never went to find Emma, and not showing him more desperate to get back to Emma.  The way the jail thing was set up, they made it possible for Neal to go find Emma, but he never did.  Even having an episode where he came close to finding Emma only to be stopped would have been necessary, if they seriously wanted to pursue a reconciliation between Emma and Neal.

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I agree that the "Neal sending Emma to jail" thing wasn't a dealbreaker until

'The Queen Is Dead.' I thought they dealt with the Neal/Emma stuff okay in 'Manhattan,' if you assume that they would revisit the issues (ie it was okay for a first conversation but needed follow-up). But when 'The Queen Is Dead' aired and Neal didn't come clean to Henry and let him be a brat to Emma, yeah, no, that started the slide into the black hole of suck. Then the slide just continued when Neal acted totally unapologetic to Emma 99% of the time and was a jerk about Tamara to boot.

 

I agree that the writers were a little backed into a corner with the Neal-sending-Emma-to-jail thing, but I would have been 500% more impressed with Neal if he'd given Emma up but then turned around and turned himself in separately because he felt so guilty, or if he had done some other sort of penance. Giving Emma the car and money doesn't count to me--he still went on living life as usual.

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Neal was awfully quick to trust August. Yeah, August claimed to know all about Emma and had that mysterious information in the box, but just the fact that he knew that information didn't make him a reliable source. You'd think Neal would have been a bit more jaded. Some guy shows up out of the blue, talks about needing to protect Emma's destiny, and Neal just goes along with it.

 

One way that they might have been able to salvage Neal in spite of what they'd already set up about Emma having a baby in prison and feeling betrayed by the baby's father might have been to have August double-cross both of them -- let Emma go to jail and think Neal set her up and let Neal think Emma took the watch money and split. That gets Neal out of her life and scares her straight but leaves room for them to later compare notes and find out they were both played so that there's not the same level of betrayal. But I really don't think they were that interested in leaving that much room for Neal because even in this episode he was already being compared unfavorably to Hook, who was still a bad guy at that point. You know a character is being set up to fail when the double-crossing pirate is treating the heroine better.

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I completely agree that they were backed into a corner. The pieces of Emma's past all fell into place and as we were watching, I totally knew that this was going to be how Emma ended up having Henry in jail.

 

Perhaps I'm giving the writer's too much credit, but I think they always knew that Bae was going to be Henry's father (it's totally the kind of connection the Lost writer's would love and it binds the main characters together - it relates Rumple, Regina, Snow, Emma and Charming). So, I have to believe that when they created the back-story for Emma, they planned her giving birth to Henry in jail after being abandoned by his father with Bae always being the guy doing that.

 

I don't think they wrote themselves in a corner. I just think they didn't realize how badly some viewers would perceive his actions (much like they didn't see the problem with Regina raping Graham).

 

I honestly believe that the reason he abandoned Emma is that he didn't want to get involved with his father again. As soon as he knew that she was destined to unleash Rumple in our world, he was willing to swallow whatever story (even if it was lame) to distance himself from her.  That's why August's job was so easy.

 

I still think they may have been able to redeem him from that

had he not ended up being so smug, taking advantage of the discord between Emma/Henry (when those lies Emma told actually made Bae/Neal look better), gloating about his relationship with Tamara (who gloats when they are the one they sent somebody to jail for their crimes? The kind of people viewers dont like) and not been so completely dismissive of Emma. But that happened.

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Perhaps I'm giving the writer's too much credit, but I think they always knew that Bae was going to be Henry's father

For once we're not giving them too much credit. Jennifer Morrison in an interview a while back said she knew from the very beginning of the series who Henry's father was and all about Emma's history with him. The showrunners told her the backstory because she felt it was necessary for her to be able to better portray Emma and get into the character's headspace. So Emma's and Nealfire's past wasn't just something the writers pulled out of their butts five minutes before "Tallahassee" was filmed. 

 

I don't think they wrote themselves in a corner. I just think they didn't realize how badly some viewers would perceive his actions (much like they didn't see the problem with Regina raping Graham)

 

 

ITA. I think the writers just didn't fully comprehend what a douchebag they had turned Bae into and that there would be such a strong backlash against the notion of Emma getting back together with Douchefire. (Though seeing as they shrug off Regina's mass murders and the rape of Graham, I'm no longer surprised that they didn't think Nealfire was a colossal douchebag and was as much to blame as August in what they did to Emma).

 

Personally (and this is totally my own theory based on nothing concrete), I think even Jennifer Morrison, when looking at things as Emma, had a hard time going along with the idea that Emma would even consider taking the douchebag back. It's practically impossible to conceive that a character like Emma, who trusts no one and lets no one get close to her, would ever even consider taking back the guy who stabbed her in the back and totally gutted her. I always remember Jennifer's comment from Paleyfest when she asked Josh Dallas when was he going to punch Neal in the face for sending her to prison. Ha! I will forever love JMo for that comment alone.

Edited by FabulousTater
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Personally (and this is totally my own theory based on nothing concrete), I think even Jennifer Morrison, when looking at things as Emma, had a hard time going along with the idea that Emma would even consider taking the douchebag back.

Oh, it's not just you. I don't remember what they were now, but JMo said a couple of relatively pointed things in S2 and early S3 that made me sit up and think "ooh, she also thinks the writing for Emma/Nealfire is really f'ed up."

 

The thing is, I don't think that Morrison was anti-Emma and Neal getting back together, per se--but I do think she was anti-them getting back together without dealing with their baggage and what Neal did to Emma. I suspect that she wouldn't have been nearly as pointed about it all if the show hadn't given Neal the Great Regina Whitewash (and made the story so flimsy to boot).

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Yeah, I distinctly remember some interview Jen gave

post-Manhattan when she was like "Yeah, I don't think Emma is interested in getting back with Neal at all. She's not looking at it that way." and then a couple of episodes later, surprise! Emma has been hopelessly in love with Neal all along. Those are maybe the things Adam and Eddy should tell the actress so she can, you know, act them. No wonder lots of people went 'WTF' at the "I love you" in the finale.

Edited by Serena

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The thing is, I don't think that Morrison was anti-Emma and Neal getting back together, per se--but I do think she was anti-them getting back together without dealing with their baggage and what Neal did to Emma. I suspect that she wouldn't have been nearly as pointed about it all if the show hadn't given Neal the Great Regina Whitewash (and made the story so flimsy to boot).

 

I definitely agree with that.  I would assume that actors like a challenge, and there was so much messiness with the whole Emma/Neal debacle that it would have been quite a lot of interesting work to actually deal with it, in addition to her other issues of trust, opening up, confidence, etc.  And since actors don't write the show and don't even know what next year will be like before it happens, they might think there was a possibility there that the writers would deal with it.  

Edited by Camera One
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Yeah, I distinctly remember some interview Jen gave ....

 

Replying in Happily Ever After.

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The thing is, I don't think that Morrison was anti-Emma and Neal getting back together, per se--but I do think she was anti-them getting back together without dealing with their baggage and what Neal did to Emma. I suspect that she wouldn't have been nearly as pointed about it all if the show hadn't given Neal the Great Regina Whitewash (and made the story so flimsy to boot).

 

Replying in the Relationships thread.

Edited by Dani-Ellie
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I re-watched this today. For all the faults in the episode, the thing that bugs me the most is when the cop asks Emma if she knows her rights. WTF? That's not how that works, is it? Doesn't he still have to Mirandize her or it could get thrown out of court?

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Technically, yes, but the courts have been slowly chipping away at Miranda v. Arizona for decades now, to the point that the practice is practically given lip service and nothing more.

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A suspect must be Mirandized before interrogation or anything they say will not be admissible in court.  It doesn't necessarily have to happen at the time of arrest, and all that happens if a suspect isn't Mirandized is that anything they say to police can't be used in court.  The idea of an entire case being thrown out and a suspect walking away free and clear because they weren't Mirandized happens a lot in movies and TV but it's pretty much pure fiction (I mean I guess technically that could happen, but only if there was literally no other admissible evidence).  They had Emma both on tape retrieving the watches and had her in possession of one of the stolen watches when she was arrested.  Those facts would not be affected by Emma being not being Mirandized at the time of her arrest, and a more formal reading of her rights likely would have happened before an official interrogation on the record at the police station. 

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If I have to quibble with this episode, it's the dumbass origin story for the Yellow Bug.  So August wouldn't let Neal see Emma, since that would give her false hope that Neal cares.  But yet August sends the car keys to the Yellow Bug?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose?    

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The car keys with the swan key chain he stole for her.  Well she got a car and a baby out of that relationship.  She might've gotten $20K too had August not been such a thief.

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They had Emma both on tape retrieving the watches and had her in possession of one of the stolen watches when she was arrested.

A minor point, but they didn't have Emma on tape retrieving the watches. If they had any video footage it was of Emma getting a duffle bag out of a locker. The police had no evidence that the watches were in that bag. Just an anonymous call. But anonymous call isn't proof. The burden of proof is on the prosecution and hence by no means a slam-dunk. Really, the only damaging evidence was that Nealfire gave Emma one of the stolen watches to wear and then told the police (or told August so he could tell the police -- either way Douchefire was complicit) she had stolen goods on her. 

Edited by FabulousTater
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Well she got a car and a baby out of that relationship.

Well, hot damn. I bet every girl wishes their douchebag boyfriends would've left them with their stolen car and pregnant. "Here sweetheart, some reminders of how fucking awesome I am. I give you my prison term, my stolen car, and some sperm to remember me by. I hope you liked the watch and have fun in prison!"

Edited by FabulousTater
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A minor point, but they didn't have Emma on tape retrieving the watches. If they had any video footage it was of Emma getting a duffle bag out of a locker. The police had no evidence that the watches were in that bag. Just an anonymous call. But anonymous call isn't proof. The burden of proof is on the prosecution and hence by no means a slam-dunk. Really, the only damaging evidence was that Nealfire gave Emma one of the stolen watches to wear and then told the police (or told August so he could tell the police -- either way Douchefire was complicit) she had stolen goods on her. 

 

True enough. I'm certainly no expert on the law, I just know Miranda rights is one of those things that gets misrepresented all the time in media and a lot of people misunderstand what the cops do and do not actually have to do. 

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Yet again, we have an episode that worked well in a vacuum (and even in its own arc) but leaves a dirty taste in my mouth after seeing the series as a whole.

Spoiler

The flashback fit what we learned from Emma's backstory in S1. It explains a lot about her character, why she has trust issues, and how she got pregnant with Henry. For the most part, the perspective on Neal is fairly objective and doesn't attempt to paint him in a positive or negative light, despite his highly questionable actions. It's all the whitewashing crap that comes later that really ruins this episode for me, which is sad because this is the only good Emma flashback the writers ever wrote. 

The present day beanstalk stuff still holds up really well.

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Love everything about the beanstalk adventure. Given a) that Emma and Hook have just met and b) that he's a notorious villain on a revenge quest allied with someone who just massacred a town, it may be a little much for Hook to expect any level of trust from Emma, or to treat her failure to trust him as a referendum on her "walls," but in general the whole thing works well enough that I'll go with it. I especially like - both in the context a present-day story in which Emma is the hero and Hook is a villain and as a contrast to the past -- that Emma is the one who does the betraying while it is pretty clear that Hook wouldn't have sold her out. Because they do make a good team:)

Hook's line about being "the worst human there is" is pretty revealing; the way he says it, it could be taken as bravado, but it is also suggestive of more serious self-hatred.

More troubling is the flashback. The problem I have here is that I do find Neal pretty likeable, his choice of career notwithstanding, and I'm fairly sure that the show wants us to regard his decision sympathetically, as something he is doing despite his own desires because he thinks it is best for Emma. And I actually do believe that, if August hadn't intervened, and Emma had by some chance been picked up by the police anyway, Neal would have confessed for her sake. 

Unfortunately, August's argument for why this is necessary doesn't make a lick of sense. How does Emma going to prison for 11 months at age 17 put her on a path to break the curse at age 28? Why couldn't she, you know, be with Neal and also break the curse? It isn't like there was some roadmap for what had to happen in order for the curse to break - in the original plan, Emma was supposed to go through with her parents. So, what we wind up with is Neal, ridiculously, never questioning the thin premise on which he is supposed to abandon a woman he supposedly loves, and deciding that making this decision unilaterally for her is somehow preferable to telling her the truth and going from there. Which, for all anyone knew, would have made her more likely to be able to break the curse than going in completely blind, which was never supposed to have happened in the first place.

Spoiler

And finding out that he's Baelfire really doesn't help matters. It explains why he believed a word August was saying, but that's it. 

Watching it again, I still don't really buy, except as a fanwank, that Neal is willing to go with it because he's so unwilling to confront his father again. The show, and the actor, play it pretty straight as Neal being agonized over this but making the choice he makes because he's persuaded it is the right thing for Emma. 

I don't think there was even a discernable reaction when Emma mentioned Neverland, which strikes me as a missed opportunity. 

 

Finally, because I can't say it enough: I hate August. Ducking your responsibilities is one thing. Stealing 20 grand intended for an incarcerated teenager whose life has sucked in part because you failed her makes you an irredeemable shit. 

Edited by companionenvy
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