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

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A deleted scene was reblogged again on tumblr andI I was thinking how much damage was done by editing? They filmed an hour for each 42 minute episode. The deleted scene I’m referencing is from season 6, Hook just found out Emma’s been lying to him and he doesn’t get to say a single thing about it all episode.

This scene has him telling her how he feels about it and having some agency in their relationship. it wouldn’t fix the damage this season did to their relationship but it would balance the scales a bit. 
it would be interesting to at least see the scripts and what all was removed from the entire series.

I’m not saying it would fix the whole series but 18 minutes per episode could go a long way to explain why the actors all think it’s brilliant and we think there was so much crap.

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10 hours ago, Camera One said:

Villain omniscience was a major problem on this show.  I suppose it's a problem on many shows, but your example with Zelena outlined so many times it happened within a single arc.

Most of the plot holes I came up with had something to do with villain omniscience, and Zelena was a prime offender. She also managed to perfectly imitate Marian on a long-term basis and even during times when no one else was present. And, somehow, she managed to pick the wife of Regina's boyfriend for the person to ride back to the present in Storybrooke, in spite of Marian keeping her identity guarded. I don't think they explained whether that substitution was deliberate or a happy coincidence (but I guess she'd have known instantly when she assumed Marian's form, since she seemed to automatically know everything Marian knew).

Oddly, when a plot hole isn't from villain omniscience, it tends to be from character stupidity, when they don't seem to know something they should have known -- like Rumple not knowing Bae was in Neverland when he had the curse cast to bring him to the World Without Magic, even though Neal was later able to find Henry in Neverland in about 30 seconds, using an object in Rumple's castle. The easy explanation was that Rumple was avoiding his father in Neverland. That would have shown character growth that he went to Neverland to save his grandson when he hadn't been able to make himself do that for his son, but they didn't bring that up during the arc.

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7 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

She also managed to perfectly imitate Marian on a long-term basis and even during times when no one else was present.

Whats even wilder is that, as far as we know, Zelena had never even met Marian before she killed her, and yet was totally able to not only know every single aspect of her life enough to fool her own friends and family, but imitate her personality for months on end without anyone catching on, despite not even knowing her! They lived in different universes! 

The Marian stuff is another danging plot thread that, as the show wrapped up, its amazing how little it was brought up the second it stopped being a plot point. Her existence as a character was such a big thing in Robins backstory, and her being around caused so much drama and angst for Robin and Regina, that she death was hardly even commented on. It was just "oh well, I got move onto Regina, score!" Of course, its possible that Robin did have some feels about his twice dead wife, but he was never allowed to express them. When he dared to show some nervousness around the woman who raped him and killed his wife, Regina, who had decided that Zelena was good now, just told him to shut up and hand the baby to Zelena, who is now getting primary custody because Regina says so. I think a big reason so many plot threads were left dangling or were severely underused was that it made the pet villain characters look bad, so we cant ever really talk about them or it looks insane that the heroes are so easily palling around with these people. We cant ever bring Graham up, because it would make Regina look bad and/or make Emma and the Charmings look bad for instantly forgiving her for murdering someone who saved both Snow and Charming and got really close to Emma. We cant ever really talk about the details of Robyns father because we cant talk about the fact that she was conceived through rape by Zelena and that all makes her look really bad. We cant give closure to Milah being trapped in the river of souls because her being killed and then killed again by Rumple makes him look bad. They have their villains do these horrible things for the sake of shocks or cheap melodrama, but refuse to follow through because if we thought about it for three seconds, we would be horrified by these people and that they have gotten away with so much. So we have all of these plots that seem like they would be obvious to follow upon (like Robyn and Alice both being conceived through rape) but we never can. 

Except for Hook of course, we can drag his ass through the mud every day of the week and everyone can treat him like shit as much as they want!

Edited by tennisgurl
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I always wondered if Emma ever really looked at that pic from the book before she burned it in Season 1. If she did, how did she rationalize a drawing of a baby with a blanket with the name Emma on it that looks just like her baby blanket.

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Really, Regina's redemption has to count as a plot hole, by my definition, since it affects the plot (there would have been no 4B without it, and lots of other things would have gone differently), and it skips from A to about P. They treated it like her willingness to sacrifice herself to stop the failsafe resolved all the issues, but she didn't do that due to any change of heart. If Greg and Tamara hadn't hijacked her failsafe, she'd have happily let them all die. She was only sacrificing herself for Henry, so he wouldn't be left alone (I guess the two of them going over the town line wouldn't have saved her). She didn't realize/decide that murdering everyone in town to get Henry to herself was wrong. She also didn't have a change of heart about wanting Snow dead, not that was ever stated onscreen. Rumple and Hook struck a truce before heading to Neverland, but they acted like all was suddenly well with Regina. They never reacted to the fact that Regina had just tried to set something up to kill all of them. There was still some hostility in 3A, with them all acting like uneasy allies, but even that was a bit much, considering she'd just tried to murder them all and never said she'd changed her mind about that. They were relying entirely on her desire to save Henry, but based on what they'd seen of her, there was a good chance that once Henry was out of danger, she'd take the opportunity to ditch the rest of them and run off with Henry.

And then there's the Graham issue. Regardless of how the others would have reacted to learning the truth, I feel like it weakens the foundations of her relationships when she knew what she did and she never owned up to it. Henry was traumatized by his death in season one, and he was sure Regina did it, but then he became her biggest cheerleader without that being dealt with. Did all those people who voted her queen of the universe know about it?

And what about Leopold? Snow suspected that Regina was involved in her father's death, but that never came up again. Every time Cora's death came up, Regina got to call Snow a murderer, and at best she grudgingly admitted that it was complicated because Cora murdered Snow's mother, but Regina never admitted that she engineered Leopold's murder or apologized.

Even by fairy tale standards in which we accept that villains can be redeemed and become heroes without suffering the usual punishments that would fit their crimes, there's a lot that got glossed over and never addressed.

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On 1/28/2020 at 7:18 PM, Shanna Marie said:

They never reacted to the fact that Regina had just tried to set something up to kill all of them. There was still some hostility in 3A, with them all acting like uneasy allies, but even that was a bit much, considering she'd just tried to murder them all and never said she'd changed her mind about that. 

The whole 3A premiere framed Snowing distrusting/arguing with Regina as being a bad thing.  Emma was supposed to be the glue that held together heroes vs. villains as if they were on equal levels.  

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On 1/30/2020 at 7:39 AM, Camera One said:

The whole 3A premiere framed Snowing distrusting/arguing with Regina as being a bad thing.  Emma was supposed to be the glue that held together heroes vs. villains as if they were on equal levels.  

That seems unfair; at that point they were working together towards a common goal where they'd have a better chance at success with a dark sorceress on their side. Emma trying to make sure everyone stayed on task was what she saw as necessary to make sure they got her son back home safe, not any kind of moral judgement in any wider context.

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2 hours ago, Speakeasy said:

That seems unfair; at that point they were working together towards a common goal where they'd have a better chance at success with a dark sorceress on their side. Emma trying to make sure everyone stayed on task was what she saw as necessary to make sure they got her son back home safe, not any kind of moral judgement in any wider context.

I'm not blaming Emma at all.  But the episode left me with that bigger message.  The whole narrative was constructed for that goal - that contrived storm that fed on conflict.  It meant they could conveniently ignore the details of what the various villains had done at the end of 2B, especially Regina.  Details that would never be properly addressed again.

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33 minutes ago, Camera One said:

But the episode left me with that bigger message.  The whole narrative was constructed for that goal - that contrived storm that fed on conflict.  It meant they could conveniently ignore the details of what the various villains had done at the end of 2B, especially Regina.  Details that would never be properly addressed again.

Yeah, Snow was saying things that were perfectly reasonable, and even mild, considering what Regina had done to her, but it was framed as her being under the influence of some evil force that was stirring up conflict, not as her honestly addressing her very valid concerns. Then there was some both-sidesism going on where Snow and Regina were considered equally wrong in feeding the conflict, so Emma had to mediate to stop them all from arguing.

Snow was only ever allowed to complain about all the horrible things Regina did to her when she was under the influence of some kind of evil spell that stirred up strife (like this and Shattered Sight). That made it look like it was wrong and bad of Snow to ever be angry at the person who arranged the murder of her father, tried to murder her, kicked her out of her own home, stole her crown, and tormented her and her people before casting a curse that separated Snow from all her loved ones for 28 years before framing her for murder and then scheming to murder her and her entire family. But showing any sign of being even mildly irked about all that was proof that Snow was under the influence of some dark force or had darkness in her.

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On 2/3/2020 at 9:19 AM, Shanna Marie said:

Yeah, Snow was saying things that were perfectly reasonable, and even mild, considering what Regina had done to her, but it was framed as her being under the influence of some evil force that was stirring up conflict, not as her honestly addressing her very valid concerns. Then there was some both-sidesism going on where Snow and Regina were considered equally wrong in feeding the conflict, so Emma had to mediate to stop them all from arguing.

Snow was only ever allowed to complain about all the horrible things Regina did to her when she was under the influence of some kind of evil spell that stirred up strife (like this and Shattered Sight). That made it look like it was wrong and bad of Snow to ever be angry at the person who arranged the murder of her father, tried to murder her, kicked her out of her own home, stole her crown, and tormented her and her people before casting a curse that separated Snow from all her loved ones for 28 years before framing her for murder and then scheming to murder her and her entire family. But showing any sign of being even mildly irked about all that was proof that Snow was under the influence of some dark force or had darkness in her.

Yes, God forbid Snow should be angry about any of that when she wasn't under any influence. 

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One more for the plot hole files:

This is one I only just realized during the recent rewatch when we were talking about what was going on in the Wishverse and how it diverged from the prime universe, and now I can't unsee it: Why didn't the Charmings in either universe find Belle before the curse?

It looks like Regina captured Belle before she lost the war (maybe even before the Charmings went to war?), and we know that in the prime timeline they captured Regina and held her long enough to put her on trial, and in the Wishverse they seem to have held her long enough to take her powers. But in the prime universe Belle was still Regina's prisoner when the curse was cast, and Rumple still thought she was dead. In the Wishverse, it looks like she starved to death when she was left locked up while Regina was taken away. But wouldn't you think the Charmings and their people would have searched all of Regina's strongholds after they won the war and captured her? They knew she was likely to have their people imprisoned. Wasn't Belle at Knifingham Palace, Snow's childhood home? Did she not go back to her home at least once while Regina was a prisoner? And no one noticed the woman locked up in a tower?

Or was Belle in some secret stronghold that no one knew about (but Hook managed to find)?

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20 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

But wouldn't you think the Charmings and their people would have searched all of Regina's strongholds after they won the war and captured her? They knew she was likely to have their people imprisoned. Wasn't Belle at Knifingham Palace, Snow's childhood home? Did she not go back to her home at least once while Regina was a prisoner? And no one noticed the woman locked up in a tower?

That would be an infringement of Regina's privacy rights.  Snow apparently just let Regina keep the palace.  I doubt they even raided it.  It's also possible Regina magicked a wing so people couldn't see it, or no one could access it unless they had the greatest defence of all - blood magic.

Was Regina already banished when she was waltzing around chatting with Belle in "Skin Deep" or sending children to the Blind Witch's house in "True North"?

Edited by Camera One

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3 hours ago, Camera One said:

Was Regina already banished when she was waltzing around chatting with Belle in "Skin Deep" or sending children to the Blind Witch's house in "True North"?

I don't think she was because:

In "Skin Deep", she mentioned a problem with a mermaid, which may put it in the timeline near impersonating Ursula, which was during the Bandit Snow era.

When she was sending children in to get the poisoned apple from the Blind Witch, it predated the events leading up to Snow getting cursed and marrying Charming.

Edited by KingOfHearts

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16 hours ago, Camera One said:

Was Regina already banished when she was waltzing around chatting with Belle in "Skin Deep" or sending children to the Blind Witch's house in "True North"?

I may be remembering incorrectly, but didn't Belle give romantic advice to Dreamy about Nova before he became Grumpy? That was during the time she was away from Rumple during Skin Deep, and wasn't that after he kicked her out when she almost broke his curse? Then she went on her adventure with Mulan, and Regina grabbed her and took her prisoner right after that.

If I'm remembering correctly, that would put the timeline as:
Belle is away from Rumple, runs into Dreamy, he gets his heart broken and becomes Grumpy, meanwhile Belle helps Mulan save Philip, then gets grabbed by Regina.

Grumpy and the other dwarfs meet Snow when she gets captured while she's trying to save David. They escape together.

Regina sends children to Blind Witch's house to get the apple. Once she has it, she cons Snow into eating it, Snow goes under sleeping curse. Charming revives her with TLK, they decide to go to war against Regina and win back their kingdom.

The Charmings win the war, capture Regina, and put her on trial before letting her go back to her castle. She crashes their wedding with threats of her curse.

Hook, back from Neverland, finds out about Belle, Rumple's ex, and finds her in Regina's prison, hoping to get her cooperation, but gets enraged when Belle sides with Rumple. Regina catches him and makes him go to Wonderland to kill Cora. He flips and teams up with Cora, and they come back just before the curse is cast.

So, Belle is Regina's prisoner from around the time Snow meets the dwarfs. I suppose the Charmings, who have no clue of Belle's existence, have less reason than Hook to find out about her, but we can add this to the list of reasons they're terrible rulers if they made no effort to search and clear Regina's dungeons while they had her captive, given that they'd both been her prisoner and they knew that many of their friends had been imprisoned at various times, so there were likely more innocent people locked up by her. Maybe doing something to lock up and/or destroy all of Regina's magical supplies would have been a good idea before they let her go. That might have set her back some. At least when the Wish Charmings apparently let Regina go, they'd managed to strip her of all her powers first. The Prime Charmings were content with a spell that wouldn't let her kill them.

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My memories are starting to come back now after these reminders.  I guess there's no need to have a TLK with my evil stepmother.

In addition to Snowing not finding Belle, it was also unlikely that Rumple wouldn't go searching himself.  He knew Regina was messed with Belle's head so you'd think he would have popped into her palace to have a quick look around, or at least question Belle's father.

Blue banishing The Black Fairy to a place where she could still kidnap children to use as slaves was quite appalling.  We knew Blue was pretty powerless, but was she doing anything about Fiona's heinous actions?  Wasn't Fiona doing this for centuries?

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

In addition to Snowing not finding Belle, it was also unlikely that Rumple wouldn't go searching himself.  He knew Regina was messed with Belle's head so you'd think he would have popped into her palace to have a quick look around, or at least question Belle's father.

Yeah, I found that hard to believe. It seems to have been at least a year between Regina telling Rumple that Belle's father killed her and Rumple allowing the Charmings to put him in their dungeon as he prepared for the curse, and he waited until Storybrooke to do anything about it? He just took Regina's word for it without verifying? He didn't instantly pop over to Maurice's castle and torture him as soon as he got the news?

9 minutes ago, Camera One said:

Blue banishing The Black Fairy to a place where she could still kidnap children to use as slaves was quite appalling.  We knew Blue was pretty powerless, but was she doing anything about Fiona's heinous actions?  Wasn't Fiona doing this for centuries?

That never made a lot of sense. She was trapped, but she could leave long enough to go kidnap a baby, and then she could bring the baby back with her. How is that "trapped"? It might have worked better if we'd seen what happened if she tried to stay away too long, like her dark realm was sucking her back in. But if you're going to do that, then why not make it so she can't leave? They were able to remove Tink's wings and powers. Why couldn't they remove Fiona's powers, especially since she wasn't born a fairy? They couldn't have made her human again so she'd be less of a threat? Of course, the making herself a fairy thing was also stupid. Like, how? And if it was possible, why didn't more people do that?

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5 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

That never made a lot of sense. She was trapped, but she could leave long enough to go kidnap a baby, and then she could bring the baby back with her. How is that "trapped"? It might have worked better if we'd seen what happened if she tried to stay away too long, like her dark realm was sucking her back in. But if you're going to do that, then why not make it so she can't leave? They were able to remove Tink's wings and powers. Why couldn't they remove Fiona's powers, especially since she wasn't born a fairy? They couldn't have made her human again so she'd be less of a threat? Of course, the making herself a fairy thing was also stupid. Like, how? And if it was possible, why didn't more people do that?

Yes to all of the above.

Heck, why didn't Blue just throw a magic bean and send Fiona and her spawn to the Land Without Magic?  This was back before there was a bean "shortage", right?  

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I am doing my really slow rewatch - and just some general season 2 observations, that have probably been made 1000 times by now.

The first part of the season is actually pretty decent. they use more of the cast, Regina is not eating the show, and some of the action scene involve more than having two people in the street shooting light at each other while the town's now population of just the main cast watch.

I am not sure, when they spent so much time trying to slowly work on Regina's redemption and it was clear they were going to redeem her eventually, why they made the choice of her looking so gleeful when Joanna was thrown out the window.  Really the only time she seemed bothered about what Cora was doing was when she was wondering if Cora just wanted power and really did not care about her.  

Cora was such a great villain - why not have her be the big bad through the season finale -- and let her really cause some chaos (really - Owen and Tamara?).  Shows often hang onto villains way too long, but Cora could have easily been a two season big bad, and having Regina come to terms with how evil her mother really was and team with her former enemies to stop her could have actually been a decent redemption arc and given Lana some meaty material besides being sad that people did not like her lasagna.   Lana did do some nice acting the first couple of seasons.  Later there was less subtle subtext and more scenery chewing or sarcastic quips.

Cora really should not have gone into the light in the Hades episode.  She really might have been the most unearned redemption of the series, which is saying a lot.  From what we saw of her character before she removed her heart, I don't think that made much of a difference.  I don't buy she would have been some loving mother - she still would have been plotting and using Regina for power.

I found it interesting that earlier in the season Regina and Gold had a harder time using magic in the Story Brooke.   That seemed completely forgotten by the time Regina and Cora were running around town like two mean girls.  That is too bad, it they had kept it so the bad guys had access to magic but could not simply snap their fingers to use it, it might have leveled the playing fields and made it so that you did not have to simply ignore the magical villains could simply throw all of their enemies out a 5 story window and win their battle without breaking a sweat.

I wonder what the real story was with the actor who played Neal and if he left early.  That really seemed like a character that was meant to be around for a number of years and that they were setting up a long, drawn out triangle.  I suspect they met him around for more than a season and a half, but I am speculating.  

I am not really adding nothing that has not said here before, but am guessing this show will leave Netflix for Disney + sometime relatively soon and this will be my final observation.

 

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23 hours ago, Camera One said:

Heck, why didn't Blue just throw a magic bean and send Fiona and her spawn to the Land Without Magic?  This was back before there was a bean "shortage", right?  

Ah, season six, the season of retcons and randomness, throwing out random plot elements without thinking about how they fit into the story they'd already told.

7 hours ago, CCTC said:

I wonder what the real story was with the actor who played Neal and if he left early.  That really seemed like a character that was meant to be around for a number of years and that they were setting up a long, drawn out triangle. 

I've come up with many a conspiracy theory about that. Neal seems like he would have been pivotal, given his relationships with so many of the characters. They seemed to be setting up a triangle. Then they abruptly killed him off, but then kept bringing him back in cameos and retroactively turned him into some kind of great hero and saint, so it doesn't look like there was any bad blood between them or that he was fired for any reason. They kept so many characters around long past their expiration dates when they clearly didn't know what to do with them, so it's weird that they apparently decided to get rid of just this one character. I've wondered if it was a network dictate that they felt bad about, like someone at the network level didn't like the character or didn't want a triangle, and the writers responded by making Neal into a sainted hero once he was gone.

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I think Neal was a more interesting character to explore (and had way more character connections) than Robin Hood, and yet Robin stayed on the show for 2.5 seasons while Neal was essentially a main character for only 1 season (half of 2B and then 3A).  Heck, he had more connections with other characters than Zelena, who was featured for 4 seasons.

Neal actually made fewer cameos than it seems.  He appeared in one scene in the 3B finale, and in one scene in the the 5B premiere.  That was fewer cameos than Peter Pan, Cruella, August, etc.

I think the reason why they made him a sainted character was very simple.  It was to ensure the fans who missed the character got a bone.  Done, and onto the next thing.

But clearly, they had little interest in actually using him.  Look at how the character was treated in 2B after "Manhattan".  You'd think there would be tons of story to mine, with Rumple, Henry, Emma, Snowing, Hook, and even Regina (threat of another biological parent).  He was also a flawed "broken" character with a possible redemption arc.  Yet they chose not to.  I think that says it all.

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17 hours ago, Camera One said:

I think Neal was a more interesting character to explore (and had way more character connections) than Robin Hood, and yet Robin stayed on the show for 2.5 seasons while Neal was essentially a main character for only 1 season (half of 2B and then 3A).  Heck, he had more connections with other characters than Zelena, who was featured for 4 seasons.

That's what's so strange. Neal was more or less the pivotal character in the show, since he was Rumple's motivation for manipulating Regina into casting the curse. He was Henry's father, Rumple's son, Emma's ex, and Hook's stepson/friend, which meant he had some kind of relationship to every one of the main characters, and some kind of conflict with most of them. He was flawed and gray, he'd gone through a massive transformation that was never explored, he was trying to avoid his own past but had to confront it if he wanted a relationship with his son, and he had issues with magic that added to his conflict, given that his father, Emma, and his son's adoptive mother all had magic. On top of that, he was played by a friend of the showrunners and was their casting choice.

But they killed him off and made Robin and Zelena regulars. Robin only had any connection to Regina, because of pixie dust, and later to Zelena, because she'd murdered and impersonated his wife, raped him, and therefore was the mother of his daughter. He only had conflict with Zelena. Well, I guess he theoretically sort of had a connection to Rumple because of that one time Rumple tortured him and then let him go and gave him what he needed to save his wife, so he forever owed him a great debt. Not that they interacted all that much. He was treated as a more or less "complete" character who didn't have any need for growth, didn't have anything he needed to work on. Even as a regular, he was barely on screen, and they didn't seem to have any idea what to do with him (to be fair, there wasn't much to work with, but then why make him a regular while killing off the character who did have potential?).

With Zelena, she had a connection to Regina and Rumple and conflict with pretty much everyone just because she was obnoxious to everyone and had caused them all harm. She did grow, but it was their usual routine of one big thing solving everything until she flip-flopped again. She only occasionally got something to do once she was made a regular. It seemed they kept her around mostly because they liked the character and actress, but they didn't actually have any real plan for her and didn't know what to do with her except let her make the occasional sassy remark.

Not that I was a huge Neal fan. I think he was terribly miscast. But I felt like there should have been a lot more to his story, and it was weird that they set up so many potential storylines for him, only to abruptly kill him off, and then they added other characters who had less potential and who didn't have a lot to do.

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23 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

But they killed him off and made Robin and Zelena regulars. Robin only had any connection to Regina, because of pixie dust, and later to Zelena, because she'd murdered and impersonated his wife, raped him, and therefore was the mother of his daughter. He only had conflict with Zelena. Well, I guess he theoretically sort of had a connection to Rumple because of that one time Rumple tortured him and then let him go and gave him what he needed to save his wife, so he forever owed him a great debt. Not that they interacted all that much. He was treated as a more or less "complete" character who didn't have any need for growth, didn't have anything he needed to work on. Even as a regular, he was barely on screen, and they didn't seem to have any idea what to do with him (to be fair, there wasn't much to work with, but then why make him a regular while killing off the character who did have potential?).

We can sort of understand why Robin Hood stayed because A&E's need to have multiple characters telling Regina how much she had changed, because that made it so.

Personally, I found Robin Hood lacking in charisma and chemistry with his love interest (even though I loved the actor in the sitcom "Off Centre", where he was very funny and charismatic).

But even if he had been better cast and actually had chemistry with Regina, the character was very uninteresting.  He had nowhere to go in development.  As you said, he was "complete"... he was a good guy with bad luck.  He had zero connection with Emma, Snowing or Henry... I don't even remember any meaningful conversation he had with any of them.  And of course, his reactions to events and villains were impossible to believe, such as his lack of anger at Rumple and owing a debt to him for not killing him (as you referenced above), or his preoccupation with Regina despite what happened to Marian.  The scenario with Zelena was just so messed up that nothing about that was organic.  

Edited by Camera One
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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

Personally, I found Robin Hood lacking in charisma and chemistry with his love interest

His wish universe character was a lot more like how Robin should have been.  He seemed more of a rogue and seemed to be someone who would spar with Regina more than flatter her like some love sick school boy.  If that is how real Robin had been written, he would have been a more interesting character and more interesting love interest for Regina.   I am not sure why they were writing Robin Hood more like he was a straight-laced Prince Charming type (not a slam on Dallas) than a fun loving rebel.

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It seems to me that the reasons she gave for them killing Neal off were good reasons to keep him around because those would have been interesting things to explore. Having an ex who would always be around because they had a son together, but knowing he'd betrayed her too many times, would have made for an interesting dynamic -- though the whole "I love you" thing before he fell through the portal when he'd been engaged to someone else 30 seconds earlier is kind of weird in light of that betrayal issue, since he didn't betray her again after that. If they wanted to redeem him for his mistakes by letting him die a sacrificial death, they chose a weird way of going about it when they had him bumble into Zelena's trap in spite of being warned, and then he died to revive the Dark One, with no plan beyond that. It's hard for me to count him separating himself from Rumple, knowing he'd die, so he could warn them about Zelena as a "sacrifice" because it's not like he was actually living during that time. He was trapped in someone else's body.

But I got the impression she was being really diplomatic there. Her tone when she initially answered about being surprised they killed Neal sounded genuine, then she had to stop and think and carefully word the rest she said, and she probably put a lot more thought into rationalizing it in this interview than the writers did in actually doing it. I noticed that she kept saying "I think," so apparently the writers didn't explain their thinking behind that decision, leaving the cast to do their own analysis.

The problem with Robin was that he wasn't actually a character. The actor did the best he could with the role, and any personality Robin had was purely due to him injecting as much life as he could, but there wasn't much to work with. He had no actual character traits, no goals, no conflicts. He was pure fridge fodder, existing only to have bad things happen to him so that Regina could suffer and angst and then have character growth.

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It's also the Writers' fault for writing characters into a corner.  They made decisions which made characters either completely unrelatable or nonredeemable, and a lot of the time, the Writers seemed to have no idea that they had crossed a line and they just asserted that they didn't and completely ignore their own writing.

They chose a specific situation by which Emma was abandoned by Neal, and they didn't have to go that route if they wanted to more easily reconcile with Emma (which suggests they never intended to do so).  They chose to have Regina massacre a village.  They chose to have Rumple betray Belle a hundred times.  They chose to have Robin have sex in the crypt with iced Marian.  All of these situations wrote the characters into a corner, and the Writers never acknowledged that and instead still insisted that everyone forgive Regina despite the massacre, or swoon at Rumbelle despite all the betrayal, or root for Robin and Regina despite the ick factor.  These Writers had the self awareness of a box of hair, using their own "clever" wittisms since that was all they had, once in a while.

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My guess is that they killed off Neal because they realized that he'd be expected to spend time with Henry and didn't want to take away from Regina's time with Henry.

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1 hour ago, scarynikki12 said:

 

My guess is that they killed off Neal because they realized that he'd be expected to spend time with Henry and didn't want to take away from Regina's time with Henry

 

This is the correct answer.

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11 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

It seems to me that the reasons she gave for them killing Neal off were good reasons to keep him around because those would have been interesting things to explore.

That is what I thought when I listened to the interview (and agree her early reaction seemed to be she was surprised and what she said afterwards was a bit of a back-track cover).  They had a ton of character-driven drama they could have explored.  Although, then there might not have time to explore Meridia's story or find much needed closure for Regina's horse.

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They may also have killed off Neal because that character was a leash on Rumple.  If Neal had stayed, would they have been able to have Rumple go after the Sorcerer's hat in Season 4?  Would he have betrayed everyone in the Underworld?  Would he have taken the Dark One's powers all for himself?  

You'd think Belle herself would have been a leash on Rumple, and they would have written her out too, but they didn't, and in the process, sort of destroyed her character.  

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5 hours ago, CCTC said:

That is what I thought when I listened to the interview (and agree her early reaction seemed to be she was surprised and what she said afterwards was a bit of a back-track cover). 

I think that even though she was being asked about it from a writing perspective and was being asked to explain the writers, she was answering from Emma's perspective, which makes sense, given that her job is seeing that world through Emma's eyes. And for Emma, having Neal around would have really sucked, for all the reasons she gave. Here she is, still grappling with the identity she's recently discovered and getting to know the parents she's never met and developing a relationship with the son she gave up for adoption, and her ex who has a history of being untrustworthy and who's from a part of her life she's not proud of, moves to town. Now he wants a role in his son's life, something that complicates things, given that she's already struggling to co-parent with the emotionally needy psycho who adopted the kid. Even worse, her ex turns out to be the long-lost son of the creep who's been pulling the strings, someone she knows murdered her ex's mother, and now he's dating a woman younger than his son. She wouldn't want her kid having anything to do with this guy, but now he's "grandpa." Her ex is violently opposed to magic, which is awkward because she's just discovered that she has magical powers and is starting to learn to use them. And she's just started to develop feelings for a new guy, who turns out to be the guy her ex's mother ran away with and a buddy of her ex who's somewhere between a father and a big brother to him.

If you're Emma, that sounds horrible, but it's hard to imagine writers seeing that and not cackling with glee while rubbing their hands together in anticipation, and meanwhile the audience is jumping up to make a huge bowl of popcorn.

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I agree that from Emma's perspective, Neal dying made life more simple.  Jennifer Morrison hit the note on the head when she said it meant Emma could now move on, and that's pretty much what the character did subsequently. 

Though from an actress's perspective, all those complications you mentioned sound more interesting to play than doubting Hook's sincerity for the ten billionth time, trying to become Regina's BFF or dealing with the shaky hands of doom.  

I think the actors who played Rumple and Neal both seemed a bit disappointed they didn't get to play off one another more.

But just because two actors are on the show doesn't mean they WILL be allowed to truly interact in a deep way.  Look at Snow and Emma.  Even Ginnifer Goodwin said one of her favorite scenes from the show was her heart-to-heart scene with Emma in Season 3 Episode 2 (which ironically she would never have had if the fates didn't intervene).  They never did have another one-on-one scene that lasted more than a full minute ever again.

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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

Though from an actress's perspective, all those complications you mentioned sound more interesting to play than doubting Hook's sincerity for the ten billionth time, trying to become Regina's BFF or dealing with the shaky hands of doom.  

It looked like this interview was done either just before or early in season 4, so she didn't yet know what doom lay ahead for her. She hadn't had the prophecy of being doomed to meaningless repetition, retconning, and silly plot lines. Little did she knew that what lay ahead of her was such fun stuff as the eggnapping, being a defanged Dark One, shaky hands, being an idiot princess, and lying down and dying for about twenty seconds as her climactic moment on the show.

Oh, one more thing to add to the list of why it would suck for Emma (but be fun for the audience) having her ex back in town: Her parents have a fairytale idea of True Love that makes first loves something magical, so instead of seeing the guy who knocked her up and abandoned her as a jerk, they see young lovers torn apart and brought back together again by fate, and trying to convince them that, really, the pirate is actually better for her than her first love and father of her son is going to take work. But then that would have required Emma to have scenes with her parents.

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Yes, she didn't know all of that awaited her.  Although it's always sad to see actors depart a show before it ends, it is sort of easy to understand why she left after Season 6.  I don't think she got to play a single new emotion in all of Season 6.  

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As much as I've been advocating keeping Neal around for all the story potential, I also have a hard time picturing him as part of the ensemble on an ongoing basis. He just doesn't really fit the vibe of the show. Maybe that had something to do with him being written out. I think that's where the poor casting choice came in. They hired a friend, but he just didn't fit. He might have worked playing an outsider who had nothing to do with fairy tales, but for the son of Rumpelstiltskin and grandson of Peter Pan who spent about a century in Neverland, he didn't quite work.

I guess what I really wanted was for them to have dealt with Neal's stuff before he went away. They needed to really deal with his relationship with Rumple and not just skip so quickly to "I love you Papa" without ever discussing what happened to his mother. And there's all the stuff with Emma. I hated how they retconned his ditching of her into "you had no choice," turning it into some kind of heroic self-sacrificial act. Let Hook's decision to step back and give Neal a shot at reuniting his family actually play out for more than five minutes and show definitively that Emma was done with Neal and they were never getting back together again (I'd have thought the "I hoped you were dead" scene would have done that, but they went all triangle-y after that). Have Emma actually choose Hook rather than just ending up with him by default because Neal was dead. Then deal with how that affected the relationship between Hook and Neal.

But then Neal probably would have had to leave, and I'd have preferred him to leave than to die and become a sainted hero. Say he sticks around during 4A, then realizes he just can't deal with the magical world and he wants to go back to the life he had before, maybe also being disgusted about his father going all evil again, so when the ice wall comes down, he bails, not realizing that once he leaves, he won't be able to find Storybrooke again. Maybe he can make the occasional cameo, and there can be suggestions that he and Henry are talking on the phone or e-mailing, and then all of Henry's "my dad taught me" stuff would make more sense.

I guess if Neal goes back to his New York apartment, that means the Robin and Zarian story won't work, but I'm willing to sacrifice it. That was dumb, anyway. You've got a family from a pre-industrial society, without the memory download, and you dump them in New York? They'd have been better off finding a cabin somewhere near Storybrooke or even putting up a tent just across the border. Robin would know how to live off the land.

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27 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

I think that's where the poor casting choice came in. They hired a friend, but he just didn't fit.

Was he their friend?  I know he was offered the role without an audition, but in most interviews, the actor described how he went into the office to hear their pitch as if it were a regular job.

I figured A&E saw the actor as some scruffy guy in some show, and thought he would be great as Henry's father.  

I too thought he was miscast for two major reasons - I agree he felt too "real world" to fit into the fairytale realm. The bigger problem for me was he was completely different from the younger Baelfire and it was difficult to reconcile the two characters.  The Writers didn't even try to.

He did grow on me though because I thought he had good chemistry with a few of the actors... Robert Carlyle, Jennifer Morrison and Jared Gilmore.  I liked his scenes with all three of them.  He also worked well with Colin too.  

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18 hours ago, Camera One said:

Was he their friend?  I know he was offered the role without an audition, but in most interviews, the actor described how he went into the office to hear their pitch as if it were a regular job.

I don't know how it went down. I just knew that they cast him themselves rather than going through the usual casting wizards. It never would have occurred to me that they would have seen him and thought he was perfect casting for an older version of adult Bae, Henry's father, and Rumple's son, so I just figured it was friend nepotism. If they chose him because they thought he was perfect for the role, that's a special kind of incompetence.

18 hours ago, Camera One said:

He did grow on me though because I thought he had good chemistry with a few of the actors... Robert Carlyle, Jennifer Morrison and Jared Gilmore.  I liked his scenes with all three of them.  He also worked well with Colin too.  

He did have good chemistry with some of the cast and he might have grown on me more if he'd been around longer (and hadn't been turned into a saint later). Maybe he'd have worked better in a different role where he was supposed to be the "real world" person rather than someone from the fairy tale world and where he wasn't supposed to be related to or the adult version of anyone else in the cast. And he looked way too old to pull off playing a late teens/early 20s character in flashbacks, so it was really creepy when he was with teen Emma. He might have made an interesting Greg, the guy burned by magic in the past who's come to town to get validation about his beliefs that there was a town there and that there was magic in it. I think those rough edges and real/modern world vibe would have worked well for that kind of role (of course, it would have to have been written better).

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I think MRJ would've been great as a muggle ex for Emma. Making him Baelfire was a mistake. If Neal had been some random guy Emma had a fling with years ago, it would've been more interesting. The problem was that A&E could not write for the real world or real world characters. Especially after S2, everything in Storybrooke could've been set in EF and the plot wouldnt change much. A&E would've gotten so bored with a muggle dad for Henry because even despite Neal being Baelfire, they managed to write him off the show. Unless you have jazz hands or you're their self-insert, A&E find you as boring as hell and will not write much for you.

I think the writers just hated writing for Neal.

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I think the big problem with Neal is the early flashbacks when he ends up leaving her in jail.  She is supposed to be 17 or 18 and he looks like he is about 35 and I think that helped color how people viewed Neal when he showed up in real time.   They should have used younger actors for those scenes, or if they wanted to use Morrison hired an actor who could look younger in those scenes.

Watching the season 2 finale, it really seemed like they wanted to more with Emma and Neal at that time and were setting up more than what happened in season 3 between them.  I am thinking they changed their plans over the summer.

Speaking of season 2 finale -- could they have gotten any less impressive villains than Owen and Tamara?  I noticed how they did not try to make Owen sympathetic at all, because that would further highlight that Regina did in fact separate him from and kill his father...  I have not seen their final appearances in season 3 yet, but as it is now, not a lot of explanation of why Tamara is so anti-magic that she is homicidal.  I am guessing they were originally planning on using them more in season 3 when they created them and there were some changes over the summer.

  

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18 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

I don't know how it went down. I just knew that they cast him themselves rather than going through the usual casting wizards.

My memory is that they loved Michael Raymond-James in Terriers. Which, I ALSO loved him in Terriers, but not every actor is right for every role. He could've worked as Neal - MRJ's former character was also a scruffy ne'er-do-well with a heart - but then they made him Baelfire, and it fell apart. Some actors just aren't built for period pieces or fantasy, and it's hard to explain why. It is impossible to believe that man existed anywhere but modern-day America. Not a fairy-tale forest, or Neverland, or Victorian London.

And this isn't really a casting issue, but Nealfire was a douche, and they never really dealt with it. Henry should have gotten mad at him at some point for abandoning Emma, Charming should've been able to punch him in the face just once, and no one should have named their kid after him. That still annoys me so much. (It seemed to me that Emma refrained from calling her little brother by name whenever possible. I wonder if that was a choice by Jennifer Morrison? It seems unlikely to have come from the writers.)

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On 2/12/2020 at 11:57 AM, Melgaypet said:

And this isn't really a casting issue, but Nealfire was a douche, and they never really dealt with it.

That's the main reason I hate that they killed him off so soon. That meant instead of them dealing with all his issues, it all got swept under a rug and he was turned into a great hero who had a kid named after him and was seen as a saint.

Not only was it outrageous that the Charmings named their kid after Neal when they barely knew him and had spent almost no time with him, but it's dumb to have more than one character with the same name on a TV show. It gets confusing, which may be one reason Emma seldom used the name. If she talked about "Neal," it would take a moment to figure out which one she was talking about. Ditto with Robin.

On 2/12/2020 at 10:00 AM, CCTC said:

I think the big problem with Neal is the early flashbacks when he ends up leaving her in jail.  She is supposed to be 17 or 18 and he looks like he is about 35 and I think that helped color how people viewed Neal when he showed up in real time.   They should have used younger actors for those scenes, or if they wanted to use Morrison hired an actor who could look younger in those scenes.

I think the problem there was that they were building up to the big revelation that Neal was Baelfire, so that when they tracked down Baelfire, we saw the guy we knew was Neal. That meant they pretty much had to use the same actor. If they'd used a younger actor, we wouldn't have instantly known the significance of the guy we were seeing. And if they'd used the young Bae actor with a younger Emma actor for the flashback, that would have moved the "Henry's father is Baelfire!" revelation to a different point in the story. The problem was that I don't think MRJ was an actor who could be easily de-aged. Not that they tried. With the other characters we saw in flashback in a much earlier phase, they made significant changes. Young Regina had softer makeup, more girlish hair, wore pastels instead of Evil Queen's black wardrobe, and acted more wide-eyed, with a higher-pitched voice. Young Hook had the ponytail, bangs, and no guyliner, which made him look a lot younger, a totally different wardrobe, and very different body language. Young Emma had different hair and makeup, the glasses, and a younger wardrobe. None of them would have been cast as a full-time teenager on a freeform teen drama, but for this show, they pulled off an impression of these characters being at a different phase in life. But they didn't do any of that with Neal. They didn't change his hair, not even to hide the gray, and he wore the exact same clothes and acted the same as he did in the present. They didn't seem to even pretend he might be younger. So it looked like an old 35-year-old macking on a teenager.

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2 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

The problem was that I don't think MRJ was an actor who could be easily de-aged. Not that they tried. With the other characters we saw in flashback in a much earlier phase, they made significant changes. 

It's stuff like this that makes you wonder... what were A&E thinking?  Why didn't they at least try to make him look younger?

I wouldn't be surprised if this casting was motivated by "I'll bet no one will guess that Neal's actually Baelfire!" 

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27 minutes ago, Camera One said:

It's stuff like this that makes you wonder... what were A&E thinking?  Why didn't they at least try to make him look younger?

Just a spritz with that "cover your gray" temporary hair color would have made a big difference. A guy with graying hair hanging out with a teenager looks like a pedophile. Then maybe shave the scruff, possibly some airbrush makeup to cover the furrows in his forehead and the crows feet. Maybe comb his hair over his forehead more, like floppy bangs instead of brushed back. That might have looked more youthful. I'm not sure what they could have done differently about his clothes to signal that this was about 12 years earlier, since he was possibly actually still wearing the same clothes. Maybe make him dress more maturely in the present? He was in a suit the first time we saw him, before we knew who he was, but other than that one cameo, it was a different circumstance than those other flashbacks, where we already knew the other characters in the present, then the flashback showed how they were different then. We got to know him first in the flashback, so there wasn't the opportunity to show us how different he looks. That made the casting even trickier because they couldn't rely on the difference factor. They needed someone they really could make look like he was in his early 20s.

He's your guy if you're casting for a damaged veteran struggling to fit back into civilian life. He's not your guy if you're casting the grandson of Peter Pan and need him to be able to look early-mid 20s or mid-30s, depending on how he's styled.

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The interesting thing is that August was probably cast to make us believe that he was Baelfire.  That was a twist when it was revealed that he was actually Pinocchio.  

I eventually found August so unlikeable that I'm not sure if he would have made a better Neal.  

The fact that Emma considered August one of her BFFs shows that A&E thought what had occurred wasn't all that big of a deal.

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3 minutes ago, Camera One said:

The interesting thing is that August was probably cast to make us believe that he was Baelfire.  That was a twist when it was revealed that he was actually Pinocchio.  

I eventually found August so unlikeable that I'm not sure if he would have made a better Neal.  

The fact that Emma considered August one of her BFFs shows that A&E thought what had occurred wasn't all that big of a deal.

Well, that is A&E who had Emma begging Regina to be her friend in despite of everything Regina did and that Emma was the one who screwed over Lily when they showed us Lily screwed Emma over. If A&E were any good at actual characterization, writing or anything else Emma's story about her WALLs would have been about how everyone she ever met screwed her over. August, Lily, Ingrid and Neal so of course she'd have WALLS and a hard time learning to trust people. 

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2 minutes ago, andromeda331 said:

Well, that is A&E who had Emma begging Regina to be her friend in despite of everything Regina did and that Emma was the one who screwed over Lily when they showed us Lily screwed Emma over. 

It really is hilarious.  The Lily flashbacks were meant to justify Emma needing to keep Regina as a friend.  This show is so messed up... a major character is made to feel bad that she dropped a toxic influence in her life in the past, so is motivated to include a different toxic influence in her life in the present.  

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7 hours ago, Camera One said:

It really is hilarious.  The Lily flashbacks were meant to justify Emma needing to keep Regina as a friend.  This show is so messed up... a major character is made to feel bad that she dropped a toxic influence in her life in the past, so is motivated to include a different toxic influence in her life in the present.  

That's really the craziest thing about this show. A&E want you to feel sympathetic toward a character like say Regina, Rumple, or Lily but show you the opposite. They will show you every reason to think the opposite. They will give you ever reason not to be sympathetic to that character. They are incapable of writing characters they want people to be sympathetic actually being sympathetic. How bad are you at writing and characters making if you keep making the opposite happen?

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I mean, I did feel bad for Lily, because she was obviously a troubled kid. That doesn't mean Emma had anything to feel guilty about.

Which is precisely the problem, isn't it? Everyone's bad/evil/downright genocidal behavior gets a pass, unless you're a Charming or partnered with one, in which case even sane and normal reactions like "yes I am angry at this person who murdered my loved ones" are punished and pathologized.

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23 hours ago, companionenvy said:

I mean, I did feel bad for Lily, because she was obviously a troubled kid. That doesn't mean Emma had anything to feel guilty about.

Which is precisely the problem, isn't it? Everyone's bad/evil/downright genocidal behavior gets a pass, unless you're a Charming or partnered with one, in which case even sane and normal reactions like "yes I am angry at this person who murdered my loved ones" are punished and pathologized.

Lily certainly could have a used a good therapist since she had a family but ran from it. But the problem is how they set it up. When we first meet Lily and Emma meets she claims to be a run away just like Emma only later it turns out she has a family so she was adopted and she had a dad who cared enough to go out searching for her after she took off. Why was she so unhappy? Or was she just a spoiled brat? She seemed like she only ran off because she thought it would be fun. Or is it once again A&E doing a bad job showing us someone we're suppose to feeling bad about. Probably that one. Lily had a family that took her in and she ran off. Emma had been on the run most of her childhood. She had a family that sent her back at age three. She's never had anyone. She finally makes her first real friend and its Lily who's lying to her and ran away from the one thing Emma wanted. A family. The next time we see Lily, Emma found a family that took her in. She was happy. And Lily ruins it for her. Again we're suppose see Emma was the horrible friend and not Lily who destroyed her life. If Lily's messed up they don't really show us. Why is she messed up? Is it because she's always know she's been adopted? Feels like she doesn't belong? Something? If Emma's the bad friend the show us her being bad. It would even make sense given Emma's had no one her entire life so she wouldn't know how to be a friend. But nope Lily's the rotten one.

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It's amazing how the master storytellers created an arc where Emma learned that poor Lily was saddled with her Darkness and then followed it up with an arc where Emma took on the Dark One's Darkness.  

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