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S06.E07: Heartless

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The best parts of this episode were the dog and everyone's reaction to the news that Rumple and the Evil Queen were a thing (and that Regina thought they'd always had chemistry).

But the story itself was kind of a mess. I really don't think they put any thought into developing the Evil Queen and exactly how she differed from Regina. She mostly acts like she's the pre-curse Evil Queen transported to the present, with her obsession with tormenting Snow. But she was split off of late season-five Regina, who had become friends with Snow. Does this mean season five Regina still wanted to kill Snow, and that was the evil part of her she hated not being able to express? The problem she was talking about that led to the split was that she hated Emma getting Hook back when Robin died, and she wanted to kill Hook. So, wouldn't the Evil Queen split off of Regina be more obsessed with tormenting Emma and Hook than the Charmings?

It's weird how much they inflate the importance of True Love, to the point that it's literal magic and super powerful, but they also weaken it by having it come along so easily. Everyone seems to get True Love, whether or not there's any relationship to it, but it's also rare and powerful.

They managed to have Snow flip from a hope speech to pessimism in one speech. That may be a record. For someone whose primary character trait is supposedly hope, she sure gives up quickly and easily.

The dog was adorable, but wouldn't David have left the sheepdog with the sheep? What if one got loose while he was gone?

Spoiler

And, since the dog appeared again in Storybrooke in the season finale, does this mean the dog's been in Storybrooke this whole time and David never bothered to look for him?

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13 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

Does this mean season five Regina still wanted to kill Snow, and that was the evil part of her she hated not being able to express? The problem she was talking about that led to the split was that she hated Emma getting Hook back when Robin died, and she wanted to kill Hook.

As the song says, that's what friends are for.  That was a huge part of what made Season 6 not work.  This is the seventh episode, and the Evil Queen/Regina split concept is very undefined.  In this episode, it's like she's just the Evil Queen from the Enchanted Forest, but when she talks to Henry, she's supposed to be his Mommy too.  

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They managed to have Snow flip from a hope speech to pessimism in one speech. That may be a record. For someone whose primary character trait is supposedly hope, she sure gives up quickly and easily.

 

The flaws in the show became super magnified so it was only natural that Snow's hope/pessimism switch happened within one speech.

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4 hours ago, Camera One said:

That was a huge part of what made Season 6 not work.  This is the seventh episode, and the Evil Queen/Regina split concept is very undefined.  In this episode, it's like she's just the Evil Queen from the Enchanted Forest, but when she talks to Henry, she's supposed to be his Mommy too.  

Not only was it undefined, but as they so often do, they took the least interesting route. It was basically Regina vs. the Charmings, as we'd seen in the flashbacks so often in the previous seasons. The only difference was that the Charmings were wearing modern clothes and in Storybrooke. What do you bet that the original idea came from that promo they did for the Frozen arc, in which Emma and Regina, in Evil Queen dress, watch Elsa walk through Storybrooke? They probably said, "The Evil Queen in Storybrooke! We've got to do that!" And that's about all the thought they put into it.

If they had to have the Evil Queen targeting Snow still, then they should have at least have explored how Snow felt about that and how it affected her relationship with Regina. Wouldn't Snow have wondered if that's what Regina really felt about her?

But I think it would have been far more interesting to pick up on that scene between Emma and Regina from the season five finale, in which Regina talks about how she's feeling at that moment about hating that Hook came back to life, and have the Evil Queen out to get Emma and Hook. Then it's got echoes of Regina vs. the Charmings, but it's not a direct repeat since they're very different people. Emma has magical powers of her own, and Hook's a lot more ruthless than Charming. They could have had a lot of fun with callbacks, showing scenarios that are similar to what we've seen before in flashbacks, but going in a totally different way because of Emma and Hook, and maybe because of the modern world.

It's weird that after all that drama at the end of the previous season, and even good Regina's hissy fit at Zelena about Robin's death, the Evil Queen never seems to mention Robin and has apparently forgotten entirely about him.

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34 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

It was basically Regina vs. the Charmings, as we'd seen in the flashbacks so often in the previous seasons. The only difference was that the Charmings were wearing modern clothes and in Storybrooke. What do you bet that the original idea came from that promo they did for the Frozen arc, in which Emma and Regina, in Evil Queen dress, watch Elsa walk through Storybrooke? They probably said, "The Evil Queen in Storybrooke! We've got to do that!" And that's about all the thought they put into it.

I think they mainly missed writing for The Evil Queen.  They thought it was like candy.. you always want more.  The weird thing is they probably didn't see it as repetition.  They don't seem to know the difference between clever call-backs and doing a virtual carbon copy.  I suppose the "difference" was this time, either Snow or Charming is asleep at any one time?  

They already did how Snow and Charming met, and they thought it was a bright idea to just do it again.  Though I suppose I actually enjoyed the flashback more than the present-day plot.  

I don't get why they believe the audience would find it fun to watch the heroes go on a quest and then fail when they find out it was useless.  The whole quest for the sapling of true love was for naught.  

34 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

It's weird that after all that drama at the end of the previous season, and even good Regina's hissy fit at Zelena about Robin's death, the Evil Queen never seems to mention Robin and has apparently forgotten entirely about him.

I vaguely remember at some point this season, the Evil Queen told Regina that Robin made her weak?  Or maybe I just imagined it.

Edited by Camera One
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17 hours ago, Camera One said:

I vaguely remember at some point this season, the Evil Queen told Regina that Robin made her weak? 

I don't know. That would have required me not zoning out when the Evil Queen was onscreen. If so, then they really haven't thought through all the implications of the split. Is that how Regina herself felt deep down inside when she was with Robin? They seem to have totally forgotten that the Evil Queen isn't some separate entity. She is the part of Regina that Regina hated having to struggle against in order to fit into Storybrooke society. She's the part of Regina that apparently still hated the Charmings (so why did she hang around with them?), that may have thought of loving Robin as a weakness, that did think that loving others was weakness, that wanted to rip out Hook's throat because he came back to life when Robin died. Regina was battling that part of herself, but she hated having to battle it. They thought they were fixing that problem when she excised the part of herself that she was battling and thought she'd killed it, but now she's having to face it. That's some potentially juicy psychological stuff, but I don't think they ever delve into what Regina feels about confronting this part of herself that she didn't actually hate but that she hated having to control. Is she any happier having that out of herself? Does she no longer have those impulses? What does she think about having that part of herself personified? Does she envy that part of herself for getting to act without restrictions?

17 hours ago, Camera One said:

I don't get why they believe the audience would find it fun to watch the heroes go on a quest and then fail when they find out it was useless.  The whole quest for the sapling of true love was for naught.  

It's generally a writing rule that things get boring if the characters set out to achieve a goal and then achieve it exactly the way they planned. But the idea then is to have a "no, but ..." situation, where they don't get what they originally wanted, but they find some other way of getting it, or get something else that they need even more. But it's even more boring if you tell a story about trying to get something, learn that thing's origin and how meaningful it is to the characters, and then just before they get it, it's destroyed, so nothing at all comes of it.

Spoiler

They didn't even find something along the way that ends up being just what they need to defeat the Evil Queen or break the curse later.

They could have skipped everything in the episode between the Evil Queen's threat and the casting of the curse without changing anything.

Well, I guess there was Hook's encouraging "story time" to Emma, which seems to have cured her Savior shakes. So that follows the usual Emma story pattern: she struggles with her magic, not really being able to use it, then she gets some kind of pep talk that makes her believe in herself, so she can then do anything -- until the next time she gets a magical crisis of confidence.

Spoiler

Though I guess this is the last one, unless that continues offscreen.

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Something that occurred to me ...

We had yet another violation of the "heroes don't kill people" rule when David kills the bounty hunter to rescue Snow, and without a moment's pause to reflect or feel at all bad. And, when you think about it, that guy had the same job Emma used to have. He tracked down wanted fugitives to bring them to justice and got paid for it. True, she was bringing them to something actually resembling justice in the US while he was working for people like Regina, so the people he brought in probably wouldn't get real justice. But apparently it was okay to kill him. Would that have been the first person David killed, or did he kill one of Bo Peep's people? I'm assuming this is after the Bo Peep incident because he'd already apparently learned courage from Anna and had a haircut that then grew out before he had to replace James. But still, you'd think that a shepherd who wasn't in the habit of fighting would have reacted more strongly to killing a man.

They keep making it sillier and sillier that they didn't execute Regina. It's okay to kill random people in brief encounters, but executing a mass murderer who's shown she'll never stop trying to torment them after giving her a fair trial is wrong.

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35 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

We had yet another violation of the "heroes don't kill people" rule when David kills the bounty hunter to rescue Snow, and without a moment's pause to reflect or feel at all bad. But still, you'd think that a shepherd who wasn't in the habit of fighting would have reacted more strongly to killing a man.

It's another example of how these Writers did not brainstorm or think about natural human reactions or think about the characters as people.

It sounds like of all the heroes, actually ONLY David is allowed to kill without impunity or shame.  Female heroes aren't allowed to do it, even in self-defense.

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And, when you think about it, that guy had the same job Emma used to have. He tracked down wanted fugitives to bring them to justice and got paid for it.

It's things like this which make you wonder if A&E are indeed geniuses.

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On 7/19/2019 at 9:39 PM, Shanna Marie said:

I really don't think they put any thought into developing the Evil Queen and exactly how she differed from Regina.

It would've been a nice subversion of expectations if the Evil Queen was not the same villain from S1. As it's been said, she'd be more likely to be pissed at Emma or Hook. Or if anything, simply just mad at Regina for literally trying to murder part of herself. Maybe it wasn't the "Evil Queen" that wanted to murder randoms for no reason, but it was Regina herself letting her emotions get the best of her. Maybe the "Evil Queen" was simply her confidence or hell-or-high-water determination. There were so many others ways the writers could've gone with this storyline.

(or... *gasp* there is no difference, and the Evil Queen is just a carbon copy of Regina.)

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Why didn't The Evil Queen enact this Curse at the beginning of the season, if her true target were Snow and Charming?  6A felt like an aimless mess.  At least with new villains we don't know what their true agenda is so they can be all mysterious for a few episodes, but this is seven episodes into the season.  

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14 hours ago, Camera One said:

Why didn't The Evil Queen enact this Curse at the beginning of the season, if her true target were Snow and Charming?  6A felt like an aimless mess.  At least with new villains we don't know what their true agenda is so they can be all mysterious for a few episodes, but this is seven episodes into the season.  

At least when the past seasons sucked, it looked like A&E were trying to get somewhere, even if it were just a bold and audacious finale. In S6, it seemed they had no idea what they wanted to do and were just throwing random crap at the wall. 4B, as disjointed as it was, was ultimately about Rumple giving the villains happy endings. 6A is about nothing. There's no underlying theme.

I guess Hyde talked about untold stories, but that idea was dropped after the fourth episode.

Spoiler

Maybe they could've done a "be careful what you wish for" theme to better suit the Wish Realm that would come for the mid-season finale? With Aladdin and Jasmine there, we could've brought in a genie and ran a little more with the "it's a wonderful life" idea.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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16 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

At least when the past seasons sucked, it looked like A&E were trying to get somewhere, even if it were just a bold and audacious finale. In S6, it seemed they had no idea what they wanted to do and were just throwing random crap at the wall. 4B, as disjointed as it was, was ultimately about Rumple giving the villains happy endings. 6A is about nothing. There's no underlying theme.

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I guess Hyde talked about untold stories, but that idea was dropped after the fourth episode.

This was the first time since Season 1 they were trying to plan a full-season arc, and by this point, it was clear the attempt was an epic fail.  I don't think they could figure out what "untold stories" even meant so it was dropped 4 episodes in.  Then, they "ran" with The Evil Queen and then ran out of ideas because they couldn't do a mystery with her intentions because the character was played out five seasons ago.

If they had done the usual half-season format, at this point, they could have approached a climax of getting rid of The Evil Queen and having Emma's death prophesy be "fulfilled" by this point, and then move onto their next shiny toy. 

Spoiler

But now, they had to wait another 8-12 episodes to do that.  So we got more and more pointless and damaging meanders and retcons for the rest of the season.

The A&E execs were seriously dumb as a box of hair to say they wanted a full season arc.

 
Edited by Camera One
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4 minutes ago, Camera One said:

This was the first time since Season 1 they were trying to plan a full-season arc, and by this point, it was clear the attempt was an epic fail.  I don't think they could figure out what "untold stories" even meant.  If they had done the usual half-season format, they could have approached a climax of getting rid of The Evil Queen and having Emma's death prophesy be "fulfilled".

S1 gets too much credit for its 22-episode format I think. Even though the writing quality was so much better back then, it still dragged midway through. It had the benefit of being a new show with time to explore the characters, but by this point, the writers had exhausted everything they wanted to do with them. So that's why we get the "centrics" that don't hold any character development and lots of pointless filler. S1 wasn't good because it was long.

The half-season format introduced in S3, while slightly controversial, really helped the show find its groove again and got A&E to stick to an actual structure for a while.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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3 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

S1 gets too much credit for its 22-episode format I think. Even though the writing quality was so much better back then, it still dragged midway through. It had the benefit of being a new show with time to explore the characters, but by this point, the writers had exhausted everything they wanted to do with them. So that's why we get the "centrics" that don't hold any character development and lots of pointless filler. S1 wasn't good because it was long.

It was much easier to do a full-season arc in Season 1, because, as you said, the characters were new and all the characters could benefit from development.  

I agree that even back then, it was clear they couldn't deal with it.  They did not know how to pace Emma's belief, and just had her see-sawing.  

Their ability (or inability) to plan more than a few episodes ahead is truly out of this world.

At this point, the plot was not developing the characters in any way.  How were Snow and Charming's characters being developed by being in yet another sleeping Curse?  How was anyone being developed by The Evil Queen in town and challenging them?  None of the plotlines shed any new light on the protagonists.  

Edited by Camera One
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On 7/24/2019 at 2:44 PM, KingOfHearts said:

It would've been a nice subversion of expectations if the Evil Queen was not the same villain from S1. As it's been said, she'd be more likely to be pissed at Emma or Hook.

Not only did the writers forget that the Evil Queen would be going after Emma and Hook because Regina's desire to rip out Hook's throat because he lived and Robin didn't, they seem to have forgotten that the Evil Queen was a part of Regina when she was dating Robin and was part of Regina when she mourned his death and had her jumping straight to being all over Rumple. After Daniel died, it seems to have taken years before she went into "have him brought into my bedchamber" mode. She wouldn't even approach a guaranteed soulmate. They make Regina look pretty fickle when part of her goes after Rumple so soon after Robin's death.

Spoiler

That bit is even weirder later when it seems to be that the mysterious page in the book was actually about the Evil Queen and Wish Robin, not Regina and Robin Prime, so you kind of have to wonder if it was the Evil Queen part of Regina that was soulmates with Robin and that explains why Regina was so meh about Wish Robin. But if that's the case, Evil Queen moved on pretty quickly.

3 hours ago, KingOfHearts said:

S1 gets too much credit for its 22-episode format I think. Even though the writing quality was so much better back then, it still dragged midway through.

I think I'd prefer the saggy middle full of one-off character stories to prematurely wrapping up the plot arc without developing it all and then flailing because they don't know what else to do. It would have been like in season one if Emma had broken the curse early in the season and then they'd thrown in some random other villain she suddenly had to face, without dealing with the fallout of the curse, and then they also seemed to have forgotten that there ever was a curse.

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The highlight of this episode is everyone's disturbed reactions to Regina saying that she and Rumple had "chemistry". Hook especially looked so grossed out, its a BIG mood. And Charmings cute dog in the past. 

Remember when this season had a kind of cool premise with the Untold Stories and the different characters from stories that never got their tales finished from all over genres and times? That seemed like a cool idea for all of five seconds, right? But then they realized it didn't have enough REGINA so we get this. 

This Evil Queen isn't even scary, she is just ridiculous. Her rant at the start of the episode about Snows pony was hilariously petty and reaching for reasons to hate on Snow, even by Regina  standards. Like, yes Evil Queen, the horse was tamed so she could ride it...kind of how it works when you ride horses...I would think you would know that. Also, I love how she specifies that it was a "little horse" and not a pony. Was the horse Little Sebastian?!

Emma's shakes are still stupid and embarrassing, what else is new? You know, this COULD have worked if they had built up Emma's PTSD and her fear of losing her loved ones and just suffering from burn out after years of fight after fight and losing so much, but instead we get this stupid prophesy and that makes her hands turn all jello for no reason with no build up. 

So Snow and Charming met in the past without realizing it and somehow inspired each other while also planting a true love tree. What are the odds?? 

Real helpful magic there Blue. Cant just wave your hands and get rid of this asshole? Oh thats right, good magic cant do shit until the random climax!

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