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A Thread for All Seasons: This Story Is Over, But Still Goes On.

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After finishing season 3 except for the finale movie (saving that for tonight), I've had a weird realization: Most of the plot problems of 3B onward can be tied to Zelena. She's a fun character, and I think Rebecca Mader does an amazing job infusing her with life, but all the plots around her are so horribly written. If you take her life in chronological order, her story really doesn't hang together.

First, her very existence requires a retcon. It really doesn't make sense that Leopold would have knowingly married the daughter of the woman he kicked out for trying to con him into marrying her when she was pregnant with someone else's child and for stealing from him to pay off a blackmailer. But it's not like Cora hid her identity, so he's too stupid to live if he didn't put two and two together. It's a bit creepy for him to marry the daughter of a woman he almost married, and would he really want Cora at all associated with his daughter? This was a case where any normal human being would have given Regina a medal and some nice jewels and beat a hasty retreat. Leo marrying Regina only works if he is totally unaware of who and what Cora is. Oh, and writers? Letting someone know that you've overheard someone else talking about deceiving you and stealing from you is NOT telling a secret, nor is it a betrayal, nor is it darkness. Not telling would have been darker. Plus, all that talk about being a prince but not being able to choose who you want to marry because of a betrothal that's part of a treaty? Two words: Red Wedding. Of course, on this show, the Freys would be the real victims and misunderstood and totally justified because they were betrayed.

Then, Zelena is brought up being told by her adoptive father that she's "wicked" because she has magic, apparently without any opposing voices other than her adoptive mother's -- in a land ruled by benevolent witches and/or a wizard who is seen as "wonderful" and a positive figure. Huh?

When Zelena learns about her half sister who's a queen who lives in a palace, Zelena gets to live in Rumple's palace, get trained by him, have nice clothes and jewels -- and gives it all up because he's also still devoting an hour or so a day to training Regina and plans to use Regina to cast the curse, in spite of him explaining that Zelena casting the curse would do him no good because she'd have to kill him. She actually achieves her goal at this point, but because they wanted the time travel spell, she has to be irrational and flip out (wouldn't it have worked better if Rumple had actually rejected her entirely instead of taking her in and giving her everything she wanted, other than the curse?). She gets taken in and given everything she wanted again by the Oz witches, who, in another burst of Idiot Plotting, give her unlimited power after she stops herself from stalking her sister one time. "Hey, you had 30 seconds of not being entirely unstable, let's give you something that makes you more powerful than we are. What could possibly go wrong?"

Sometime during this, she rides a bicycle with Hades and they could have had True Love, but she didn't trust him. Even though she didn't understand the curse enough to grasp why Rumple couldn't use her to cast it, so she certainly couldn't have understood what it would do (even Regina didn't know the full implications), Hades turns the Underworld into Storybrooke for her. She ends up in the Enchanted Forest at some time, but when? It's only about a week between Neal meeting Philip and Aurora after he goes through the portal and the curse reverse. No one was planning the curse reverse, but somehow Zelena is expecting everyone to return and has forced Philip and Aurora to tell her when they return (even though she also uses the monkeys for spies and has her magical iPad that allows her to have in-depth knowledge of the emotional impact of events that happen far away, but she's still relying on Philip and Aurora to alert her to a major event nearby?). She didn't plan on the second curse, but had apparently made no preparations before the curse. Not to mention, she twice torpedoed her own plans by telling them all what she was going to do so they could take action against her. And because she's Regina's sister, the resolution has to hinge on Regina, even though they spent so much time setting up Emma's role. So, basically, the entire arc is rendered pointless.

But then the Zelena problem continues to retroactively plague season 4 -- the whole Author mess stems from Regina feeling like she needs a happy ending because Zelena's impersonation of Marian takes Regina's boyfriend away. If they really planned all along that Marian was Zelena, then it's bad writing because it's totally out of character for Zelena to keep her mouth shut and not gloat, and her actions are totally out of line with her stated goals. The revenge she wants on Regina is taking away the life Regina has that she wants, and she wants to see Regina suffer. She wants to be the one who is chosen over Regina. So, letting Robin go to choose Regina, only to make him obligated to leave town with her, where she gets to live in poverty with a man she knows didn't choose her, and without getting to watch Regina suffer, is absolutely unlike anything Zelena would do. Plus, the revelation that it was Zelena instead of Marian undermines Regina's growth because she gets what she wanted before she has her epiphany.

There's more idiot plotting with Zelena when she so easily dupes the good guys in 5A. And then the Zelena tie to Hades in 5B really weakens that story -- a lame, unearned TLK with someone who is currently deceiving her and turning the whole Underworld story into some kind of romance/redemption story unrelated to all the other Underworld issues. And is someone as irrational as Zelena likely to be cured by getting back memories of one good day? Then we get to Zelena's role in the Evil Queen split plot. About the only really good Zelena stuff is her running over the Black Fairy with a car. It's not so much the fault of the character. She just seems to be a magnet for really bad writing and plotting.

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2 hours ago, oncebluethrone said:

I'm not sure what show you've been watching, but Emma has always been the main character. Every season has focused on her. Regina may have had a lot of focus, but she never took over as main character. I know a lot of people on here hate Regina, but she didn't take over the show. And Adam and Eddy care about Emma, she is their creation and their fairytale. And why would anything related to Emma and CS be annoying? 

 

1 hour ago, Rumsy4 said:

The writers have delved into more of Regina's flashbacks, feelings, and psyche than any other character in the Show. And she always gets the most sympathetic viewpoint and treatment. Lana had the most screen time than any other character in Season 7. Emma has been the main character in name only in Season 6. She was barely there in several episodes in 6B, because A&E were already too busy launching their reboot or requel or whatever they want to call S7. 

 

1 hour ago, rogvortex58 said:

Most of her story lines dominated the show. Split Queen for example overstayed it’s welcome in S6. And then there’s Operation Morongoose, trying to find the author to give her a happy ending.

She also has more centric episodes and flashbacks than Emma ever did.

Although I do think there was an attempt (a pathetic attempt) to keep Emma a main character in the A arcs usually (the death prophesy storyline in 6A, and the Dark Swan storyline in 5A), to me, Regina has always been given a more complete treatment as a character.

They allot time for Regina's love interests, but also with Henry, with her "friends" (Snow/Emma), with her sister and with her parents.  Regina has gotten more with Cora than Emma was ever given with Snow.  I think the fact that A&E has ignored the relationship between Emma and her mom since mid-3A and her dad since mid-3B highlights how little they cared about her as a complete character.  

Another comment that shoots off of our discussions in the Spoilers thread (but is not a spoiler) is the whole idea of Adult Henry having gone through so much trauma, so he's a different person now.  But kid Henry actually went through a lot of trauma.  The only difference is they never bothered to deal with it in any significant way.  Henry's father died quite suddenly (I know most people here don't consider Zelena the murderer, but I think from a son's perspective, that would be just semantics, and would have been just as painful and anger-inducing).  Henry's mother was prophesized to die for most of Season 6, and previously, she had disappeared/absorbed all the darkness.  Henry's grandparents were put under a Sleeping Curse yet again.  Two of Henry's stepdads died, one temporarily.  But none of this seemed to have any impact on Henry's psyche.  He was always just full of "hope" whenever it was convenient for him to do something stupid or give some lame speech.  Yet now that he's a "man", all the trauma suddenly matters?

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This show claims to be all about romance, but it floors me how little time they devoted to the "romance" of Aladdin and Jasmine last season.  They had that angsty separation in the flashbacks (because of their duty?  It was just so weird), and then they acted like they were just friends (or more like business partners whereby Aladdin has to help Jasmine "save Agrabah") in Storybrooke once they reunited, and I am assuming they became a couple by the end?  One of their many missteps with their attempts to do Aladdin.  Of all the movies, you'd think that would have been a slam dunk.  I am still astounded how unlikeable they made Jasmine and Aladdin.

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A&E never wanted to do Aladdin in the first place. We saw a few genies here and there, and Jafar was in OUATIW, but they never made tackling it a priority. The premise for S6 was lackluster by design, so I'm guessing the network pushed them to add something marketable. Since they were close to the show's ending, they thought "what the heck" and pulled it out like a trump card. 

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23 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

A&E never wanted to do Aladdin in the first place. We saw a few genies here and there, and Jafar was in OUATIW, but they never made tackling it a priority. The premise for S6 was lackluster by design, so I'm guessing the network pushed them to add something marketable. Since they were close to the show's ending, they thought "what the heck" and pulled it out like a trump card. 

Beyond the first season it seemed like they never really wanted to do anything. That was always my main gripe.  Even when they did Neverland or Oz or the Underworld or Camelot they never really did anything to make use of any potential that hundreds of years of literature provided.  It didn't seem to interest them at all.  I'd be shocked if they did any research beyond bullet point the stuff they recalled from when they were kids.   It was always just more of the same but with different scenery.

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On September 29, 2017 at 1:39 PM, Shanna Marie said:

only to make him obligated to leave town with her, where she gets to live in poverty with a man she knows didn't choose her, and without getting to watch Regina suffer, is absolutely unlike anything Zelena would do. Plus, the revelation that it was Zelena instead of Marian undermines Regina's growth because she gets what she wanted before she has her epiphany.

Do we think Zelena did that on purpose, or that there really was a convenient remnant of the Snow Queen's spell on her heart?

11 minutes ago, ParadoxLost said:

I'd be shocked if they did any research beyond bullet point the stuff they recalled from when they were kids.   It was always just more of the same but with different scenery.

Well, I was impressed that Oz included the Great Book of Records from The Emerald City of Oz. And that the slippers were silver.

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14 minutes ago, Noneofyourbusiness said:

Do we think Zelena did that on purpose, or that there really was a convenient remnant of the Snow Queen's spell on her heart?

She must have done it on purpose because she was able to return to Storybrooke with no problems, and without them doing anything to cure her, after she got busted. And even if it wasn't something she planned, I can't imagine Zelena keeping a straight face while telling Regina that she could tell Regina and Robin were in love and she was basically letting him go to Regina.

28 minutes ago, ParadoxLost said:

Beyond the first season it seemed like they never really wanted to do anything. That was always my main gripe.  Even when they did Neverland or Oz or the Underworld or Camelot they never really did anything to make use of any potential that hundreds of years of literature provided.  It didn't seem to interest them at all.

It's such an ADD writing style -- they probably lost all their enthusiasm in the initial session to break the season. I bet if they were novelists, they'd be happier as "pantsers" who write by the seat of their pants instead of planning the plot because they'd lose all their enthusiasm for the story in the plotting process and no longer want to actually write the book. But you can't do that in a TV series. There has to be some kind of plan. So they'd come into the season all enthusiastic about their concept, lose a lot of enthusiasm in the first session, maybe be able to sustain some excitement for the first couple of episodes, and then they're bored and ready to move on to the next story concept, but they still have more than ten episodes to go in the arc.

I'm generally finding that almost everything in the show ends up being superficial, where they just bounce off the surface and move on to the next thing -- the relationships, the plots, the conflicts, the resolutions, the use of the source material, and it got worse as the series progressed. By season six, they were barely name checking a character from a story before moving on to the next one.

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Well, I was impressed that Oz included the Great Book of Records from The Emerald City of Oz. And that the slippers were silver.

I don't know about the Great Book of records, but I imagine the lawyers made them make the slippers silver.

Lawyers for new Oz productions worry about everything down to what color the Wicked Witch is.

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7 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

So they'd come into the season all enthusiastic about their concept, lose a lot of enthusiasm in the first session, maybe be able to sustain some excitement for the first couple of episodes, and then they're bored and ready to move on to the next story concept, but they still have more than ten episodes to go in the arc.

I agree.  This is also likely why its started to feel like the show would just tread water between premieres and midseason and season finales.

It got to the point where everyone would go on an adventure and 2/3 of the cast was just there to hold stuff for those that had speaking parts.

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Well, I was impressed that Oz included the Great Book of Records from The Emerald City of Oz.

Well, I'm sure they do read a few Wikipedia entries when they need to bring in a boring character like Glinda who need not be ever referred to again in subsequent episodes focused on Oz.

In the novel, the Great Book of Records recorded everything that happened as they happened.  Whereas "Once" used it to parrot yet another idiotic prophesy.  In Season 6, the fairies also had a "Book of Prophesy" which Tiger Lily idiotically handed over to Fiona.  

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3 hours ago, ParadoxLost said:

Beyond the first season it seemed like they never really wanted to do anything. That was always my main gripe.  Even when they did Neverland or Oz or the Underworld or Camelot they never really did anything to make use of any potential that hundreds of years of literature provided.  It didn't seem to interest them at all.  I'd be shocked if they did any research beyond bullet point the stuff they recalled from when they were kids.   It was always just more of the same but with different scenery.

This is exactly it. After season one they don't really want to do anything. Whether its forced down on them like Aladdin or they come up with their own it really makes little difference. They don't plot out a story for it or do any research. None of it makes any sense, they drop so many storylines and some time never even bother to finish the story like Camelot. They don't do anything with anything or anyone. Even their stuff for Rumple and Regina is boring because its the same thing over and over. Rumple does something bad usually behind Belle's back or she's asleep, if she finds out she leaves him, but always comes back. Regina whines about her happy ending. They don't really want to do anything more with them either. Its amazing how fast two writers who have all of fiction to work with don't want to do anything or get bored so quickly. 

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22 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

Its amazing how fast two writers who have all of fiction to work with don't want to do anything or get bored so quickly. 

That really highlights how lucky A&E are, yet they squander it.  There is no other show that has so much wealth of source material to work with.  I'd rather they have just had a full-on adventure show where the characters explore Oz, or Camelot, or Arabian nights, or Greek mythology, etc., than their forced and repetitive attempts at character arcs or their contrived plot twists.  For example, a straight-up team hero vs. villain tale where they work together with Philip and Aurora, and their parents, to defeat Maleficent, would have been so much more fun than the angsty retcon treatment of light and dark which made absolutely no sense.  

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6 minutes ago, Camera One said:

That really highlights how lucky A&E are, yet they squander it.  There is no other show that has so much wealth of source material to work with.  I'd rather they have just had a full-on adventure show where the characters explore Oz, or Camelot, or Arabian nights, or Greek mythology, etc., than their forced and repetitive attempts at character arcs or their contrived plot twists.  

So much material they could have done so many different things with all of it. Or with just the original characters they gave us. They could have had more reveals of different characters in Storybrooke. They could have made a really good adventure show exploring different worlds. Or show full of adventure with some magic and fun. They could have gone darker and spooky. They could have made their stories tug at the heartstrings. They could have kept the Curse going and having more people figure out who they were and pretending to still be under the Curse. Really showed us after the Curse with people picking up their lives, the fall out for what they did during the Curse and whether or not they wanted to go back to the Enchanted Forest or stay in Storybrook, or change their lives. They could have told dozens of stories or told us what really happened in those stories. Like how Red was really the wolf or David really wasn't Prince James. There's just so many different things they could have done.

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For example, a straight-up team hero vs. villain tale where they work together with Philip and Aurora, and their parents, to defeat Maleficent, would have been so much more fun than the angsty retcon treatment of light and dark which made absolutely no sense.  

There is so much they could have done with Maleficent not only did we already have Philip and Aurora and Stefan to round out that story, Maleficent also had plenty of reasons to be angry with Regina for trapping her, Rumple for hiding the potion bottle inside her, Charming for shoving that potion bottle in her, and Emma for throwing a sword at her to get the potion. She even had a reason to be upset with Hook. They didn't need the eggnapping because they already had so much to work with. I can't believe they wasted it all.

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I was thinking about last season's planned-all-along ending to the 6 years, as A&E claims.  One would think if that were true, in the planning stages, they would start with how each character would end up, and then work towards it.  Was there anything that explained why David would want to become a full-time farmer?  That Belle would turn a blind eye on all this evil stuff Rumple did yesterday?  That Snow would be Mary Margaret for the rest of her life and give up her Crown?  That Hook or even Emma wants to go into law enforcement full-time?  That Regina would even want the Dwarves to bow down to her when she hasn't spoken to them all season, or that the Dwarves would suddenly show such reverence to her?

What were the character realizations in Season 6?  Snowing got into yet another Sleeping Curse and they learned from that... right, nothing.  Belle got duped by Rumple and she learned... nothing.  Emma found out she was going to die, and realized... for the millionth time, she is not allowed to go through anything alone.  Regina found out that if you take The Evil Queen out of you, you act exactly the same.  

That's why I still get so angry when A&E declare that they provided closure to the first 6 years.  To me, they didn't.  The "happy endings" felt empty and completely lacking in substance.  I've never been satisfied with shows that end with a final episode with a 3 minute montage where everyone is smiling and all the couples are together, yet we never actually saw them happy up until then since the angst and the drama was resolved in the last 5 minutes and then it was over.

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19 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

She must have done it on purpose because she was able to return to Storybrooke with no problems, and without them doing anything to cure her, after she got busted.

The reason they gave for her having to stay outside in "Heroes and Villains" wasn't the ice spell on her heart but the barrier spell on the town line, though. They somehow forgot until "Lily" that they could use the Snow Queen's scroll to get around it.

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30 minutes ago, CCTC said:

Morrison and Dallas did manage to have a great father-daughter chemistry without crossing the line.  Its funny, because I think in the later seasons she had a better parent-child chemistry with him that she did with Goodwin.  It is kind of odd when you watch season 1 and see Goodwin and Morrison interact have a stronger friendship that later gets dropped in later seasons, even though they are now aware they are mother-daughter.

Part of this is literally having no solo time together.  After the second episode of 3A, Goodwin and Morrison never had a scene alone together that lasted more than a minute ever again.  I suspect Goodwin did realize that, since she mentions that "Lost Girl" scene as one of her most memorable in the series.  Meanwhile, Dallas started having some solo scenes with Emma when they were working on cases in 3B and 4A, but after that, it was very rare as well.

I suspect that this will not be the case with Regina and Henry going forward, since A&E continued to ensure they had scenes together in the last few seasons. 

It is the clearest reflection of what familial relationships and friendships they considered to be important and interesting and worth spending time on.

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35 minutes ago, Noneofyourbusiness said:

The reason they gave for her having to stay outside in "Heroes and Villains" wasn't the ice spell on her heart but the barrier spell on the town line, though.

No, she had to stay outside because of the ice spell. But Robin couldn't come back after he left with "Marian" because of the barrier spell. "Marian" couldn't be where magic worked because of the "spell," but once Robin and Roland left with her so she wouldn't be alone, that meant he was permanently separated from Regina and couldn't travel back and forth, until they remembered the scroll. And then they discovered it wasn't really Marian and there was no spell, so they could bring Zelena back into Storybrooke without her icing over.

I've just started season 4, and I haven't rewatched all the way through from this point. I've watched highlights, but I'm forcing myself to get through the whole episode this time around (plus, I'm using this as background noise for doing physical therapy exercises, so I generally don't have the remote handy for skipping scenes). 4A is a weird arc because they did a good job with the Frozen stuff, but the whole Robin/Marian/Regina thing is a hot mess. There's no way to look at the season 4 premiere and believe that Marian is really Zelena. She nearly let the snow monster kill her and didn't know that Regina was coming to the rescue. I can't imagine Zelena lying there helpless when the other people with her were unconscious and when she didn't know anyone else was coming. She'd have zapped him for certain. And she wouldn't have praised Regina when no one else was there to see. Meanwhile, Robin looks like a total jerk for not caring at all that his girlfriend was the one who took his wife from him because she's "changed." And this was when all the nonsense with the book started, with Regina saying the book was what gave the heroes happy endings and the villains bad endings. It never seemed like the book did anything but record events, and nothing we later learn about the books and the Author indicates that the book ever caused anything. Isaac's messing around wasn't actually in the book and was something he wasn't supposed to do. Regina blaming the book for her not being able to benefit from her own past evil (being able to date the husband of a woman she executed) is like blaming your history textbook for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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I was watching some clips from Season 1 on Youtube, especially ones with Emma and Snow, and I still find them moving.  I think that's why I still consider "Once Upon a Time" one of my favorite shows of all time even though it makes no sense since I found almost none of last season enjoyable, and the frustration extends much further back than that.  During Season 1, there was always the sense that characters might clue in soon, and one expects the satisfaction that would bring.  When Snow saw Emma's blanket for the first time, or when Graham pointed out to Mary Margaret how fuzzy their memories are.  But the reality is they didn't gradually remember anything.  I also rewatched that scene with Cinderella and the girls' night on Valentine's Day.  Cinderella was expressing how she was always alone at home and what was the point of being with someone if they were never there, and I thought - that's when I thought maybe stuff like that would be explored... normal struggles that people could relate to.  If they were never actually interested in doing that, why would they start now?  It was frustrating as hell to rewatch scenes like David giving Mary Margaret the wrong Valentine's Day card.  I hated that adultery/one-night stand with other people stuff.  Yet the scenes are so well acted that you really feel their pain.  There was also that first conversation Emma and Mary Margaret had about walls, back before it became a joke.  It didn't feel like the sprouting of platitudes that it became in later seasons.  

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6 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

No, she had to stay outside because of the ice spell.

They never said that. First Regina told Robin they could take Marian to the town line to cure her. Then Robin said let's do that. Then Regina informed him that there was a barrier and Marian wouldn't be able to return, and told him he and Roland would have to go with Marian so she wouldn't be alone out there. So it's still ambiguous whether the spell was real or if it was supposed to dissolve permanently when "Marian" crossed the border, because it was never brought up.

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55 minutes ago, Camera One said:

 It was frustrating as hell to rewatch scenes like David giving Mary Margaret the wrong Valentine's Day card.  I hated that adultery/one-night stand with other people stuff.  Yet the scenes are so well acted that you really feel their pain.  There was also that first conversation Emma and Mary Margaret had about walls, back before it became a joke.  It didn't feel like the sprouting of platitudes that it became in later seasons.  

Back when it had emotional depth and things didn't move at the speed of plot.

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Just bringing this here:

THR interview:

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Horowitz: Six years into a show you're encumbered, for better or for worse, by everything that has come before — from wardrobe choices to story choices. Finding this way to rejigger the show has freed everyone from wardrobe to the actors to the writers to do the same show but do it a little differently.

 

12 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

It's hard to be too encumbered by stuff you never bother to develop, and it is possible to change. Most people do, especially as they go through extreme events. Yeah, they are kind of stuck by what they show in the past (and even there, they love them some retcons), but they had plenty of opportunity to change in the present. The characters are no longer their cursed selves and could have explored what they really wanted to do. They could have questioned those personas and adapted their wardrobes. Hook could have worn something other than black leather as his character changed. He was brought back from the dead, which gave them all kinds of opportunities to do things differently -- he could have been resurrected with his hand restored and could have treated it like a fresh start, changing the way he dressed and what he did with his life. As Regina changed, she could have decided it was wrong to stay in a position she essentially stole, so she could have stepped down or run for mayor in a real, fair election. She could have gone casual instead of wearing the pantsuits.

Exactly.  They present this as if they had no choice in the matter.  They COULD have changed the entire fabric of the show in 3B, after the "Going Home" finale.  They COULD have ended Rumple's run as Dark One permanently or have Belle dump him for good.  They COULD have sent Snowing, Emma, along with everyone else to a big city with a new Curse at the beginning of Season 6.  But they CHOSE not to, every single time.  

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The interesting thing about the THR article is it has the ring of truth to it.  At least in terms of what they delude themselves into believing is the truth.  I don't think its something they pulled out as damage control or promotion.

There are a lot of signs of group think going on in there.  It sounds a lot like what I'd think they probably tell themselves about their vision for the show or why the weaker part of their shows aren't really their fault.  Frankly, I think the reboot is just another variation of when they decided to change to the two arc per season format.

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6 minutes ago, ParadoxLost said:

At least in terms of what they delude themselves into believing is the truth.  I don't think its something they pulled out as damage control or promotion.

I agree they believe in what they say.  They are repeating their usual mantras... that the show can go dark but it's never bleak, that they would HATE to repeat stuff and be boring, that they've always been such risk-takers as storytellers, that they put such a neat little bow on the original show in the Season 6 finale.  

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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

They present this as if they had no choice in the matter.  They COULD have changed the entire fabric of the show in 3B, after the "Going Home" finale.  They COULD have ended Rumple's run as Dark One permanently or have Belle dump him for good.  They COULD have sent Snowing, Emma, along with everyone else to a big city with a new Curse at the beginning of Season 6.  But they CHOSE not to, every single time.  

Opportunities they've had for changing things:

  1. After curse 1, the "we are both" thing changes the fabric of society in Storybrooke. There's a scramble to fill the leadership position. The only thing everyone agrees on is that they don't want Regina in charge, since she cursed them. But there are other kings/queens and princes/princesses in town. There's Abigail/Kathryn, so does that mean Midas has also been in Storybrooke? There's Cinderella's prince's family and Prince Eric. Did none of the other royalty in town think about trying to take charge. (And now I've realized that Kathryn running against Regina for mayor is the thing I've always needed and didn't get.) And then there are all the professions given by the curse vs. their real vocations, curse families/relationships vs. real ones. The town should have completely changed.
  2. The Missing Year -- did the experiences in Storybrooke make people re-evaluate their Enchanted Forest lives? Does Regina really like dressing like the Evil Queen, or does she prefer things more simple? Why didn't she change clothes? We know she can change clothes with a puff of purple smoke, so it's not like she's stuck. Does Snow like having Mary Margaret's short hair? If so, why didn't she cut it in the Enchanted Forest? If not, why doesn't she grow it longer when she's in Storybrooke, now that she's no longer under a curse? Are there any cultural things from Storybrooke that people might have implemented in the Enchanted Forest? How would all of this have affected things upon the return to Storybrooke?
  3. Curse 2 -- it didn't have to take them back to Storybrooke. Even going back to Storybrooke, things changed. There was the Sorcerer's mansion, for one thing, which wasn't in curse 1 (and they never explained that). There were new people, like the Merry Men, who didn't get curse memory downloads. How did this affect the culture of the town? What about the people who weren't caught up in this curse but who had been in the old one, did that leave any gaps? And there are still more royals in town, with Philip and Aurora, so what does this mean for the town's leadership? New people brought by the new curse could have meant a whole new group of stories and a slightly different town.
  4. Curse 3 and Camelot -- mixing the Camelot people into the town could have made it more or less a different place. There were new people with their own culture and leadership structure mixing in with the Storybrooke people.
  5. The Untold Stories -- yet another group of entirely new people from a variety of cultures, none of them with a modern America memory download, probably with a few royals and other kinds of leaders who might have challenged Regina for leadership.
  6. And then all the character changes that should have had a big ripple effect on the relationships and possibly even the town. If Regina had really changed, why didn't she really change? If she was a good person, would she want to stay in a role even she admits that she took unjustly by force? She could have changed living situations, wardrobe, personality as she tried to reform. If Rumple truly had a good heart, then he should have been able to change for good instead of relapsing every five minutes. How did he not come back from the dead a changed man? How was his relationship with Belle never really changed by all he did? Given how headlong Hook tends to dive into changes in his life, why didn't that extend to his post-pirate wardrobe? Did he have to keep wearing all black? Shouldn't he have changed in some way after dying and being resurrected? They could also have mixed up the character relationships, let Belle talk to someone other than Rumple and later Hook, remembered that Snow had friendships with a lot of these people back home, let David interact with just about anyone.

So when they say they needed to reboot the series so they could change things, they're basically saying they were too lazy to deal with what they had already set up. And they certainly didn't tie a bow on anything or resolve it. They never really explored or dealt with Emma's relationship with her parents. The reconciliation between Regina and Snow was superficial and never addressed what happened between them. They never really explained what a Savior was and how that worked. After all the remarks about how crazy Thanksgiving would be with that big, messed-up family, the closest they came to showing it was the last minute or so, and we didn't even get to hear the conversations. We never really saw how Zelena was going to fit into the town, how Belle and Rumple's relationship would really work (this time), how Rumple would deal with the fact that Hook was essentially Belle's closest friend. Instead of feeling tied up, it feels more like they just stopped. The book ran out of pages, so they left the story where it was.

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48 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

Opportunities they've had for changing things:

The Missing Year --

This is the one was the biggest missed opportunity because this one they set up and this one had the audience really excited about what the show would be with everyone returned to EF, Emma/Henry missing memories, Hook somehow finding Emma to save everyone, and whether they would return to Storybrooke and if it would change things and how  Then they just whiffed it.  It went from huge excitement for a soft reboot to major dejection.

55 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:
  1. After curse 1, the "we are both" thing changes the fabric of society in Storybrooke. There's a scramble to fill the leadership position. The only thing everyone agrees on is that they don't want Regina in charge, since she cursed them. But there are other kings/queens and princes/princesses in town. There's Abigail/Kathryn, so does that mean Midas has also been in Storybrooke? There's Cinderella's prince's family and Prince Eric. Did none of the other royalty in town think about trying to take charge. (And now I've realized that Kathryn running against Regina for mayor is the thing I've always needed and didn't get.) And then there are all the professions given by the curse vs. their real vocations, curse families/relationships vs. real ones. The town should have completely changed.

Failure to do all of this was a side effect of the main problem.  They never really thought about how they were going to reintegrate the cursed and fairy tale personalities after the curse. 

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The lists above of all of the opportunities this show had to shake things up and change things and completely missed on the execution is the reason why I have zero interest in the reboot/requel/whatever they're calling it for Season 7. 3B was the first sign that their creative juices had stopped flowing (or they were just lazy) because they had tremendous set up to really create a new dynamic with relationships, locations and internal character struggles/changes and within one episode, everything was back the way it had always been. Major let down. Fool me once and all that.

Everything I hear about S7 is that it's new and exciting with different characters and villains and a new town. But then it's also Henry/Baby Mama are the new Snowing! A new curse with new cursed personalities/memories! It's a lot like S1! So while the writers are celebrating how they aren't being dragged down by the story that they created, they continue to tout how it's exactly like the story they created. 

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1 hour ago, Shanna Marie said:

Opportunities they've had for changing things:

  1. After curse 1, the "we are both" thing changes the fabric of society in Storybrooke. There's a scramble to fill the leadership position. The only thing everyone agrees on is that they don't want Regina in charge, since she cursed them. But there are other kings/queens and princes/princesses in town. There's Abigail/Kathryn, so does that mean Midas has also been in Storybrooke? There's Cinderella's prince's family and Prince Eric. Did none of the other royalty in town think about trying to take charge. (And now I've realized that Kathryn running against Regina for mayor is the thing I've always needed and didn't get.) And then there are all the professions given by the curse vs. their real vocations, curse families/relationships vs. real ones. The town should have completely changed.

There was so much they could have done. Because of where they were from and the Curse they were under their should have been changes once it broke. It can't remain the same. Think of how much fun it could have been if each of king/queen or princes/princess were running for Mayor. Snow and/or Charming are one pair running together. Cinderella and Prince Thomas are also running or his father who was still alive in season two. Princess Kathryn also another candidate it could have been so much fun with posters, debates and other things. Also serious challenges to say Snow and Charming running since they failed to deal with the Evil Queen back at home. Or maybe no one trusts Cinderella since she did make a deal with Rumple. Maybe the peasants decided they've had enough of kings and queens since they weren't and back their own candidate.  Or maybe Kathryn wins. 

There also should have been a huge fallout from the Curse breaking. Everyone wanting Regina dead. But also what they did under the Curse that they never would have done before. Thomas's father almost gave away his own grandchild. David cheating on Kathryn. How happy were Grace's adoptive parents were going to be to have to give her back? True they weren't her real parents but they raised her for 28 years.  So much of the fallout couldn't be fixed or shouldn't be fix that easily. 

 

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The Missing Year -- did the experiences in Storybrooke make people re-evaluate their Enchanted Forest lives? Does Regina really like dressing like the Evil Queen, or does she prefer things more simple? Why didn't she change clothes? We know she can change clothes with a puff of purple smoke, so it's not like she's stuck. Does Snow like having Mary Margaret's short hair? If so, why didn't she cut it in the Enchanted Forest? If not, why doesn't she grow it longer when she's in Storybrooke, now that she's no longer under a curse? Are there any cultural things from Storybrooke that people might have implemented in the Enchanted Forest? How would all of this have affected things upon the return to Storybrooke?

This yes! Aside from the fallout from the Curse, this had the most potential. All of these questions would have been amazing to explore and answer. How does it feel to be back?If Regina's changed how hard is for her to back home trying to be a better person? How does Snow feel to be back? She probably dreamed of returning with her family together. But that didn't happen.  Who do they want to be their Enchanted Forest self, their Cursed self, a mixture of both or neither? There would almost have to be changes in the Enchanted Forest too. You can't have that many people having lived in modern day Maine and nothing changes when they come back. I remember Emma remarking to Granny how hard it was to catch their food in Enchanted Forest. Maybe Granny's the one trying to figure out how to create the modern kitchen or grocery store. Maybe Grumpy's leading the Dwarfs to try and figure out how to get electricity. Or someone else. Maybe Belle's writing books based on stories she heard in the Land without Magic (the Godfather Saga is coming to the Enchanted Forest!).  Again there's so much they could have done.

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Curse 2 -- it didn't have to take them back to Storybrooke. Even going back to Storybrooke, things changed. There was the Sorcerer's mansion, for one thing, which wasn't in curse 1 (and they never explained that). There were new people, like the Merry Men, who didn't get curse memory downloads. How did this affect the culture of the town? What about the people who weren't caught up in this curse but who had been in the old one, did that leave any gaps? And there are still more royals in town, with Philip and Aurora, so what does this mean for the town's leadership? New people brought by the new curse could have meant a whole new group of stories and a slightly different town.

Curse 3 and Camelot -- mixing the Camelot people into the town could have made it more or less a different place. There were new people with their own culture and leadership structure mixing in with the Storybrooke people.

The Untold Stories -- yet another group of entirely new people from a variety of cultures, none of them with a modern America memory download, probably with a few royals and other kinds of leaders who might have challenged Regina for leadership.

 

It really shouldn't have taken Emma's suggestion to search the town to...search the town in Curse 2. David said they woke up a couple days ago. I understand being confused on the first but by the second morning they should have started searching the town. Its confusing yes but these people already went through one Curse, and are used to magic. They should have been marking down where people were when they turned into the winged creatures or figured it out immediately if it was all at the town lines. Curse 3 and Untold Stories they really should have this figured out. New people arriving in town, a new curse. This should be like a well oiled machine now. Get down all of their names find out who's new and who's not, they should have information already put together for people new to Storybrook information on the town and the world their now in. Meetings for new people. Any new kids all in one class so they can adjust to a new school, new world and classes different from home while not having the kids who have already been to Storybrook High have to repeat the same subjects because now their are new people. It could have been good or maybe just funny if when Camelot people end in Storybrook to see Snow ready with pamplets about adjusting to Storybrook and discussing school, Mommy and Me and other groups offered in town, Belle taking down names, Granny offering rooms at her place to stay until they get settled or gift cards to Grannys, Emma and Charming explaining the laws of Storybrook maybe be handed plastic bags with cellphone, clothes, Want Ads, and other Welcome to Storybrooke supplies they need to while here. They could have repeated it when Untold Stories group arrived. It makes no sense for the Main group to not come up with a way to be organize and welcome new people to town when it happens all the time. 

 

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And then all the character changes that should have had a big ripple effect on the relationships and possibly even the town. If Regina had really changed, why didn't she really change? If she was a good person, would she want to stay in a role even she admits that she took unjustly by force? She could have changed living situations, wardrobe, personality as she tried to reform. If Rumple truly had a good heart, then he should have been able to change for good instead of relapsing every five minutes. How did he not come back from the dead a changed man? How was his relationship with Belle never really changed by all he did? Given how headlong Hook tends to dive into changes in his life, why didn't that extend to his post-pirate wardrobe? Did he have to keep wearing all black? Shouldn't he have changed in some way after dying and being resurrected? They could also have mixed up the character relationships, let Belle talk to someone other than Rumple and later Hook, remembered that Snow had friendships with a lot of these people back home, let David interact with just about anyone.

 

This too! This is right on target. You can't have people change but not have that person change at all. If Regina changed she should completely change from where she lives, dresses and her relationships with basically everyone in town. Rumple can't completely embrace being evil and keep Belle with him. Belle has to leave for good or she has to become evil. These characters all of them have gone through a lot. That should have been dealt with. Snow, who's had her entire life destroyed, her father murdered, her child sent away from her and split a part from her husband. That has to affect her, whether she ends up happy or sad or both, she has to deal with what happened to her. Deal with the fact she failed to keep her people safe, that all of those Cursed, were cursed because Regina wanted Snow to suffer. That has to effect Snow. Having the Curse end and seeing how messed up her grown up daughter and how bad her childhood was has to effect Snow. Snow was originally going to with Emma and be there. You can't have Snow learned Cora murdered her mother and not have anything come from it. Henry was gaslight and miserable for 10 years that doesn't just go away. He has to be effect from that, from knowing if Regina hadn't cursed everyone he probably would have grown up in a loving home. Henry has to be effected by learning who his father is and who is grandfather is. He can't go through being kidnapped by Pan, been dead or out after giving Pan his heart and back to normal without being affected by it. These characters have to go through whatever happens to them. They can't be the exact same six years later despite going through so much. It also want makes and could have made Once a really good show. All of these characters had so much backstory and current story to work with they could have gone on for years.   

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Something struck me last night while watching 4A: They had two arcs in a row in which a critical element of the villain backstory was that she'd been mistreated and misunderstood for having magical powers, and yet they never actually got into how magic works in their universe. We have absolutely no context for understanding or appreciating this element of these backstories, since we don't know where magic comes from, how it works, or where it fits into their society.

Based on what we've seen of the Enchanted Forest world, it looks like there are magical beings like fairies. The fairies seem to require fairy/pixie dust and a wand to really do magic, though. And then apparently a human can somehow become a fairy by doing a spell (though how a human without magic can do a spell that powerful is a mystery). Then there's Grail magic, which covers the Dark Ones, as well as Merlin and possibly the Apprentice. There's Savior magic, but we don't know where that comes from. Initially, it was said to be the product of True Love, but then we had a ton of True Love babies who weren't magic, and there was no sign of any of the other Saviors being True Love babies. And then there are magical objects that allow magic for some people, like the Author's pen, which requires special ink and which doesn't seem to have the same power for anyone other than the designated Author. Finally, there seems to be magic that runs in families, but we only saw that in the Mills family and Elsa's family. We don't know where that magic comes from or if there are maybe other families out there with magical traits. Cora and Regina had to be taught and got a kind of boost from that book, but Zelena was naturally doing magic from birth. What's the difference? You'd think Cora had enough anger that she might have accidentally done magic before Rumple found her, given the amount of power she ended up having. Are there other people with magical potential out there who haven't discovered it because they haven't been trained? Were there any magic users before Cora came along? How did that family get the magic potential? Are they maybe descended from a Savior?

Then there's the way society sees magic. Most of the magic users we've seen in the Enchanted Forest world have been villains. They had to cast the curse to get to Emma in order to have a powerful light magic user. In 2A, Regina had to go cold-turkey on magic and it was seen as a failure when she resorted to magic to save Henry, but since then she's flung fireballs left and right while still being considered a hero. The Charmings were initially leery of the fact that Emma had magic, but later no one cares. So, do ordinary people see magic as evil, is magic a big deal, and how rare is it? Cinderella didn't believe in magic at first, in spite of living in the Enchanted Forest. Does that mean magic is something they tell stories about that most people don't encounter?

As I mentioned before, it seems odd that Zelena was looked down upon and called wicked for having magic in a land ruled by good witches, but given what we've seen in the Enchanted Forest, where all human magic users (other than the occasional Savior) have been evil and caused real trouble, the attitude toward Ingrid isn't entirely unexpected or irrational.

Meanwhile, there's more Too Stupid to Live plotting going on in 4A. There's round 2 of the "I'll frame you for something awful so that you'll love me" tactic (fortunately, Elsa was smarter than Regina and didn't fall for it), but why would Ingrid choose Marian as a victim -- an outsider no one in town knows or cares about? If she wanted to stir people up, she could have whammied Granny or one of the dwarfs. And why did they need to talk to Will to figure out who might have cursed Marian? Did no one think of asking Robin where they'd been or what they'd done before she was affected? Wouldn't "we got ice cream" be kind of a clue for someone who was frozen, especially when the proprietor made a big deal out of making a special treat on the house for Marian?

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It makes no sense to me why the writers would wait until S7 to do the Hyperion Heights concept. They would have blown the roof off if they had done something like it in 3B after the huge reset. If they had tackled it sooner, maybe even in S6, we would have had Emma still. I don't mean using alternate versions of the characters or grown up Henry. Just having the curse be in a different setting with new personalities. If this had been the second curse, there would be lots of hype and intrigue. But instead, it's curse #5. It should function as a bookend, not a requel.

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5 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

It makes no sense to me why the writers would wait until S7 to do the Hyperion Heights concept. They would have blown the roof off if they had done something like it in 3B after the huge reset. If they had tackled it sooner, maybe even in S6, we would have had Emma still. I don't mean using alternate versions of the characters or grown up Henry. Just having the curse be in a different setting with new personalities. If this had been the second curse, there would be lots of hype and intrigue. But instead, it's curse #5. It should function as a bookend, not a requel.

It would have been the perfect way to breathe some life into the show in Season 6.  The problem is A&E wanted to keep the trainwreck going with the requel.  If we saw Granny, the Dwarves, Snowing, separated by Victoria (better yet, the Season 6 Lady Tremaine), we might actually care.

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The first Hyperion Heights episode just made me feel nostalgic for the first episode, instead of making me think of this as a whole new adventure that is tied to the original story. It really had such a fairy tale feel to it, in both the Maine world and in the EF, and the actors were really great at feelings like fairy tale characters, but also being able to play "normal" people in Storybrooke. Storybrooke had such a magical feelings to it, even though nothing overtly magical was happening. The boarded up library, the frozen clock (that moved just a tad when Emma stuck around) the wolf that Emma almost hit, Snow and the bird, Regina and her apples, it all felt so mythical, even though it was just a little town in Maine in modern America. I was already rooting for Emma to reconnect with her lost family,and felt sad about Charming being stuck in a comma and was already invested in him and Snow finding each other. It was filled with shout outs to classic fairy tales in both realms, but was also clearly doing its own thing. Storybrook and the EF seemed like unique places I wanted to explore.

This episode? I didn't really care about Henry and Cinderella, neither world seemed particularly unique and magical, and it didn't do a very good job of adding either heart or magic to the story the way the pilot did. The actors dont really seem like magical characters, they seem just like normal modern people, sometimes playing dress up. Plus, little towns, especially on the east coast, have a certain lore in American story traditions. They are already filled with old traditions, myths, and stories, that a town filled with fairytale creatures seemed to fit. This is just...Seattle. And it doesn't even have anything making it that especially Seattle, its just some city, like every other city shows are all set in. The blooming flower seemed to be like the clock moving, but without anything backing it up or any emotional stakes. *sigh* I dont think we were supposed to be watching this, thinking "why am I watching this when I could be watching season 1 again?"

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I'm surprised that random flower that grows whenever there is "great evil" didn't sprout.  Actually I'm not surprised since we're supposed to have forgotten about that.

Too bad Henry forgot to look for that Sapling of True Love at the crash site.

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You want heart, show? I give you Snow White sobbing uncontrollably after having to give up her newborn baby knowing she won't see her again until she's an adult. Or David holding said baby and sword fighting while desperately rushing to get her to safety. The sweet kiss on the forehead before closing the door and his happiness that she is safe even while he's lying on the floor dying. That established what love/family meant and made the audience want to root for the family to be reunited and for good to win.

You know what doesn't work to get me to root for a character? Cinderella punching out a guy who's trying to help her and running off to commit murder. Or generally being a bitch for no reason other than because somehow being an unreasonable bitch makes you a badass. There isn't heart in that. The emotion is all missing. It's just plot, plot, plot and without the feeling behind it, it's hard to care. This is a big reason the show has suffered in recent seasons and it's clear that the writers still don't understand that. They had a chance with a reboot to bring back the heart to the show and failed miserably in the premiere.

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I'm still rewatching season 4, and the show was definitely already on its way downhill. It had lost the "heart" already, I think. No one was allowed to have emotional reactions to anything, and if the characters don't get to respond, then the heart is gone. There are still moments, but the plot requires people not to react, and you can see the strings being pulled to force plot events to happen. Like all the hand nonsense with Hook. Even with all his self-loathing, would he have really fallen for the "you had that hand when you were a selfish pirate and it will turn you evil again" routine? Wouldn't he have recalled that he was a good man when he had the hand? Even more so now that we know that he already turned his life around once before, and did it when he had the hand, so the excuse that even if he was at his worst with the hook, he turned himself around while having the hook doesn't apply. And it was all just to set up a bit of blackmail that ended up going absolutely nowhere other than for Hook to know what Rumple might be up to when he was going to "help" Emma with her powers.

They completely whiffed what could have been a real opportunity for emotion and growth with Regina. She could have gone through a real emotional upheaval, learning some real empathy in experiencing what she did to other people, really seeing the harm she'd caused to someone she cared about. But instead they skipped that entirely and had Regina feeling sorry for herself with everyone else coddling her.

They did some nice culture clash stuff with Elsa, but it still bugs me how all these fairytale people know about "dating." That's such a modern concept and term. How would there even have been "dates" in that kind of world? But Elsa talks about Kristoff dating Anna, Hook knows how to plan a date. Though I did catch where Hook mentioned having seen how Walsh planned an evening with Emma, so I guess that's what he was doing, but it seems out of character for Hook to imitate someone else's idea of an evening out instead of doing something more unique to his personality and background.

There were still strong, emotional moments, like Emma watching Hook go through her box of treasures or Snow seeing the video of teen Emma. The potential was still there. They just seem to entirely miss every opportunity to have anything resembling "heart." They don't seem to notice it when they do have one of these moments, so they don't capitalize on it or build on it. It just goes by as they rush on to the next thing.

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I just sat down and rewatched the pilot fully for the first time in years, and I still found it extremely well done.  It still grabbed me and engaged me, despite a few moments where I had to banish thoughts like Cleo.

It also made me see more clearly why this requel premiere failed.  

I had forgotten that the flashback stories in the original pilot included a lot of character scenes with a lot of deep emotions.  They spent enough time to make Snow and Charming feel like real people (focused on how they were dealing with the impending Curse/separation/danger to and then loss of a child), plus it was a delight to see characters like Gepetto, Granny, the Dwarves, Jiminy, the Blue Fairy, Rumple, etc, so the mash-up potential was front and center.  Whereas in the requel premiere, we saw very little of Cinderella or Henry's inner-most emotions.  It was all very plot oriented, like the usual flashback for an episode.  From the ruse to steal his motorcycle, to the action scene at the palace, we didn't get to know their motivations and what we little we saw wasn't likeable.  There were few characters in the flashbacks not from Cinderella.

The present-day plot in "Pilot" was solely built around the character of Emma, who we followed for the entire episode.  She had to face something huge - meeting her son and then saying goodbye to him, and the impact on her was significant.  The events of this episode moved her to let someone in - a big character breakthrough.  Likewise, Henry's desperation to have Emma stay was very intense.  Regina had some very cold and "evil" lines, but we also saw genuine worry for Henry when he first came home.  Meanwhile, in the requel premiere, there were several different disparate threads, with some Adult Henry, some Jacinda, we go to Victoria's office, see Weaver interrogating a suspect, etc.  Adult Henry knows Lucy isn't his daughter, so there was no big impact, to the point where it's questionable why he would be suddenly inspired to write.  Lucy didn't seem hugely affected by her failed attempt to connect with her father.  Jacinda seemed more affected by finding a coin on the floor than anything that actually happened to her in the episode.  The person who comes to a big realization in the present-day was Roni, who did nothing more than pour drinks and have a conversation with a customer.

I had forgotten how important Emma's superpower.  That was something they needed to keep consistent.

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4 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

There were still strong, emotional moments, like Emma watching Hook go through her box of treasures or Snow seeing the video of teen Emma. The potential was still there. They just seem to entirely miss every opportunity to have anything resembling "heart." They don't seem to notice it when they do have one of these moments, so they don't capitalize on it or build on it. It just goes by as they rush on to the next thing.

I loved those scenes and Snow taking a picture of Emma and excited about her date. Snow and Charming waiting up for Emma. It was so cute. We needed more of these scenes. There was so much they should have done with the Charming family.

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12 hours ago, Camera One said:

I had forgotten how important Emma's superpower.  That was something they needed to keep consistent.

Basic rule of writing that they violated. Don't introduce something like that early on as one of the top things to know about a character if it's then not going to be at all important to the rest of the plot. The only superpower that was more forgotten about than Emma's was Rumple's ability to see the future.

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They also never explained the Wolf, which would have been so easy.  The Wolf wanted to stop Emma from leaving because it wanted Graham to remember his past.  

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7 hours ago, Camera One said:

They also never explained the Wolf, which would have been so easy.  The Wolf wanted to stop Emma from leaving because it wanted Graham to remember his past.  

Then the Wolf turns up again in 4x19 when she goes to meet Lily at the diner, because reasons.

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In the spoiler thread, we were talking about how the whole custody situation with Victoria taking Lucy away from Jacinda was illegal.  It brought up the ramifications of Hyperion Heights being in Seattle versus Storybrooke.  The Writers can't do the same shoddy job they did with "real world" issues, since presumably, the people in Hyperion Heights are subject to the laws and practices of the United States.  Technically, the police precinct would be subject to oversight.  Detectives or officials could be moved here, so Weaver shouldn't be able to do whatever he wants.  Likewise, Victoria would need to follow the laws of property acquisition.   Actual documentation would need to be submitted to the city.  I'm curious whether this is where the writing is going to fall apart.  On paper, this is interesting to explore, since the villains would need to work within the system to achieve their goals.  But if the Writers are just going to treat this like Storybrooke, then the whole "big city" premise will be a sham.

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You mean because things like the Office of Police Accountability exist in Seattle? People can question the efficacy of things like this, but this isn't low level corruption where someone is taking a few bribes or even roughing up a suspect; we've seen Weaver torturing someone in town. I'm sure it's not a one time thing either. Certain behaviors might be ignored, but out and out torture is going to get attention.  And if the OPA seems to be ignoring the issue, the local media would be all over that kind of thing. "Coming up at ten, corruption & torture in a Seattle neighborhood. Why is the city ignoring these heinous acts?" It's an investigative journalist's dream. Welcome to the real world. 

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8 hours ago, Camera One said:

In the spoiler thread, we were talking about how the whole custody situation with Victoria taking Lucy away from Jacinda was illegal.  It brought up the ramifications of Hyperion Heights being in Seattle versus Storybrooke.  The Writers can't do the same shoddy job they did with "real world" issues, since presumably, the people in Hyperion Heights are subject to the laws and practices of the United States.  Technically, the police precinct would be subject to oversight.  Detectives or officials could be moved here, so Weaver shouldn't be able to do whatever he wants.  Likewise, Victoria would need to follow the laws of property acquisition.   Actual documentation would need to be submitted to the city.  I'm curious whether this is where the writing is going to fall apart.  On paper, this is interesting to explore, since the villains would need to work within the system to achieve their goals.  But if the Writers are just going to treat this like Storybrooke, then the whole "big city" premise will be a sham.

The story may take place in Seattle but it is a fictionalized version of the city. Real world laws may or may not apply here. I don't see a problem with that. Real life is pretty boring and doesn't work when one tries to depict it as engaging drama in 42-minute segments. Real life is what documentaries are for, and even then they are highly edited to transform the raw footage into something that will hold the attention of viewers.

Lots of shows bend or break the real world rules in order to tell their stories. Grimm was set in Portland but the police precincts seemed to operate as independent entities with little or no oversight. Grey's Anatomy is set in Seattle but is a decidedly different Seattle than what we have seen to date on this show.

Almost all shows also depart from the rules, conventions and best practices for whatever profession they are showing. Medical shows have surgeons consulting on ear infections or doing heart surgery one day and a hip replacement the next. Legal dramas show litigators handling both felony cases of violent crime and dry corporate contract law cases, and their cases are resolved in a couple of days instead of dragging on for months as in the real world. Computer programmers are all veritable geniuses who can knock out complex, error-free code in 20 minutes that in reality might take weeks to code, debug and test.

Shows set in the real world are anything but real, so I have no expectation at all that a show about fairy tale characters would be scrupulously realistic. In fact, I would be disappointed if it were. Part of the charm of this show for me is the campy, cheesy over the top suspension of disbelief.

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Part of the charm of this show for me is the campy, cheesy over the top suspension of disbelief.

I think the reason the realism is such an issue is that it's part of the show's storytelling fabric. There was meant to be a stark contrast between fairy tale world and the real world. It's why the curse is even a thing and why the setting is now modern day Seattle. It's not some comic book world or fictionalized city. The title cards read, "Our World". Sure, there are little things you can get away with because of tropes, cliches, and how the brain processes suspension of disbelief. But when major plot points seem to be conjured out of thin air, we go, "hey, wait a second..." Even if Victoria lived in a lawless society, how would she take Lucy away? What would be her matter of force?  Why does Victoria have so much power when everyone else has free will? It doesn't have to be totally grounded in the rules of our world, but it has to make sense in its own universe.

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18 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

I think the reason the realism is such an issue is that it's part of the show's storytelling fabric. There was meant to be a stark contrast between fairy tale world and the real world. It's why the curse is even a thing and why the setting is now modern day Seattle. It's not some comic book world or fictionalized city. The title cards read, "Our World". Sure, there are little things you can get away with because of tropes, cliches, and how the brain processes suspension of disbelief. But when major plot points seem to be conjured out of thin air, we go, "hey, wait a second..." Even if Victoria lived in a lawless society, how would she take Lucy away? What would be her matter of force?  Why does Victoria have so much power when everyone else has free will? It doesn't have to be totally grounded in the rules of our world, but it has to make sense in its own universe.

It is still a fictionalized world. Are people really taking the title card literally? Did the recent scandal that forced the mayor of Seattle to resign happen in the show? Are people in the show concerned about the impending demolition of the viaduct? I don't think so. Every contemporary drama or sitcom set in "the real world" is not the same world we live in. That is not some egregious flaw of this show. Grey's Anatomy might as well be about fairy tale characters for all the far-fetched shenanigans going on at fictional Seattle Grace hospital.

We don't know yet if everyone besides Victoria has free will or if there is some barrier in place that prevents fairy tale characters from leaving the neighborhood but lets other people come and go, or if the curse makes the other people blind to all the fairy tale shenanigans happening right under their noses, or if the fairy tale characters will be glad they've escaped that dreary little town in Maine and now live in an interesting city with more opportunities.

The main feature of highly serialized shows is that we don't everything at the beginning of the season. The story and all its details are reveled over 10 or 20 episodes. That would make for some really boring TV if we got a synopsis in episode 1 of everything we will see for the whole season, with all questions answered in advance. I wouldn't bother watching that show.

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The story may take place in Seattle but it is a fictionalized version of the city. Real world laws may or may not apply here. 

Lots of shows bend or break the real world rules in order to tell their stories. 

The premise of this new season is advertised as these characters being in our world as we know it today.  There's a difference between minor changes or exaggerations in protocol in other shows, to what we are seeing here, which are characters who are acting like no one would ever act in "our world".

If a car is reported stolen, the police station will take down the details and enter into a computer.  They would not go with you to "pound the pavement" looking for it.  Police officers in a big city do not go running off to find wayward stepdaughters and their spawn just because a big land developer asked.  These responses might be believable in a town frozen in the 1980s but the Writers claim this is 2017 Seattle, so that's a failure in establishing the setting in a believable manner.

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As viewers, we can interpret anything however we want, but the writers have presented this new season as being more real. They have spent the pre-season celebrating how this new story is rooted in realism and how excited they are to be in a real city. Normal, non-fairy tale, non-cursed people are coexisting with the others. This has been repeated multiple times by the showrunners. It is how they've been selling the season. They've discussed how they want real problems like paying the rent and whatnot to be part of the fabric of the new season. This isn't magical Storybrooke. It's Seattle. And they've highlighted themselves how it's today's real world Seattle. As such, all rules, laws and basic reality apply. Even if they wanted to fudge things like the cops, other things would not be hidden when an entire community is affected. Beyond local print & TV media, you've got Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media platforms would ensure that things are exposed by community activists and that stuff will go viral.  Any viewer who wants to handwave things because of magic that's fine, but others are going to look at what's been presented and be totally taken out of the story due to its complete lack of reality. 

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The screwy society in which Regina had so much power worked in Storybrooke because it was in a kind of bubble. The people inside the town were aware of the existence of an outside world, but they were prevented from leaving town, and the town didn't exist to the outside world (as we saw when Owen ran out of town). It was only pseudo real-world because everyone in town was from the fairytale world and affected by the curse, and Regina could control everything, including the illusion of connection to the outside world. No one could do anything about Regina's hold over the town. They couldn't appeal to the ACLU when there were injustices, couldn't appeal court cases to the Supreme Court, couldn't sue Regina if she took kids away from them. There was an illusion of following US law, but US law didn't apply, and no one in the outside world was at all aware that any of this was going on. The police didn't need any kind of law enforcement license or certification from the state of Maine, so they didn't need background checks or references. The curse sustained what was going on in town, but it was just the curse self-perpetuating. It didn't require additional magic working on the outside world.

It's hard to see how this can work in Hyperion Heights. Did a whole new neighborhood suddenly get plopped down in Seattle, or did a whole bunch of people suddenly appear in the neighborhood, with everyone remembering them always having been there? How can Hook and Rumple be police officers in a real-world police department? They may be working out of that precinct, but they're Seattle cops. Neither "Weaver" nor "Rogers" can have any kind of background to be licensed peace officers, since they don't have a legal identity. Is the entire Seattle police department under the curse that makes them believe these officers have a history and that makes them fall sway to Victoria? What happened to the people who were living in places where the cursed people now live, or were there that many vacancies? Who was running the bar, or did the curse create it? If the curse can create all these businesses and homes and make the police department believe in officers who never existed, then why couldn't it create fake graves in a cemetery? How powerful is this curse that it can make the laws of the city, the state, and the nation not apply to Victoria, that it can make the media not want to expose her power, that it can keep word of her trying to steal the child of an oppressed woman from going viral?

I really don't think the writers put much development or thought into this iteration of the curse, beyond "it's in a city now!" I don't think they considered that being in the middle of a real city would complicate matters and force them to truly be more realistic in how things work, and I doubt there's an explanation behind how it all works.

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