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S02.E07: Child of the Moon

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Ruby’s fear about turning into a wolf during the first curse-free Storybrooke full moon is confirmed when one of the town’s residents is viciously murdered, and Ruby is the prime suspect; Decker – aka King George –threatens to expose David as a shepherd, not a prince, and not fit to run the town as sheriff; and Leroy stumbles upon some treasure in the Storybrooke mine that could help bring Mary Margaret and Emma back into our world. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Red Riding Hood finds a kindred spirit in Anita (Annabeth Gish), a charismatic and mysterious leader of a pack of humans who, like Red, turn out to be wolves.

 

Edited by KingOfHearts

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This episode is another interesting study in retrospect because in the grand scheme of things, it's odd. There isn't much to say about it without going into spoilers for future episodes. I like how it brought back King George and Gus, but it's easily the weakest link of 2A. All the other episodes feel like they matter, but this is one is incredibly filler. It's also very forgettable and for a long time I forgot it even existed.

Spoiler

King George gets his final stand as a baddie, but he didn't appear again until 6x12. Even then, he was mostly in flashbacks and only incarcerated in the present. He was a really cool antagonist because while he wasn't Regina, Rumple, or a famous character, he could still put a wrench into things or spark uneasy alliances with other villains. It made total sense that he'd be pissed that all his power was taken and that Charming is the hero in charge. (The man who stomped on his greedy endeavors and replaced his dead son.) There's a deleted scene where he's left to die in the mines, which seems a little dark. I'm kind of glad they left him in the asylum/quasi-prison instead.

Gus gets murdered. Then he's never brought up again.

Then there's Red's issues, which really make me eyeroll. This episode's moral lesson is that maybe your home isn't where your biological kin is, but where people care about you. It seemed like Red choose Storybrooke and friends like Snow. Then later we learned she still wanted to meet other werewolves (the people who tried to kill her best friend) and wasn't happy until she got a speedy girlfriend. So instead of building on what this episode sets up, the writers retconned it and shoved Red into a completely different storyline. You can just forget the relationship between her and Granny. Oh, and we never see another werewolf ever again.

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Very much a nitpick, but: shouldn't some of the people in SB regard George as their king? It seems like everyone in SB considers Snow and Charming their rulers (although oddly, despite having evidently ruled for at least a little while in the EF, they are still referred to as princess and prince rather than Queen and King), but if George was taken up in the curse, presumably, so were his subjects. Come to think of it, Cinderella and Thomas were also the rulers of a separate kingdom, and while, IIRC, Belle was a noblewoman and not a princess, she and her father, too, seem to come from somewhere other than Regina's corner of the EF. So, it is actually kind of weird that we've defaulted to Charming being the leader. 

Much less of a nitpick: the townspeople shouldn't have been so quick to go after Ruby. It is believable that some would panic after Gus died, especially given prior prejudices against werewolves, but these people also know Granny and Ruby as staples of their community, people for whom they presumably have some affection. So coming out with pitchforks en masse  seems to be a bit much. 

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29 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

Much less of a nitpick: the townspeople shouldn't have been so quick to go after Ruby. It is believable that some would panic after Gus died, especially given prior prejudices against werewolves, but these people also know Granny and Ruby as staples of their community, people for whom they presumably have some affection. So coming out with pitchforks en masse  seems to be a bit much. 

They totally should've the sung The Mob Song from Beauty and the Beast.

"Kill the beast! Kill the beast!"

Edited by KingOfHearts

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2 hours ago, companionenvy said:

Very much a nitpick, but: shouldn't some of the people in SB regard George as their king? It seems like everyone in SB considers Snow and Charming their rulers (although oddly, despite having evidently ruled for at least a little while in the EF, they are still referred to as princess and prince rather than Queen and King), but if George was taken up in the curse, presumably, so were his subjects.

The Charmings were living in George's palace when the curse hit, so they seem to have taken over the kingdom, maybe as a combined kingdom with Snow's kingdom. Though I don't know why they still let Regina live in Snow's palace after they defeated her, and I never figured out why they were still "prince and princess." Snow technically became Queen when her father died. But we never found out exactly how they defeated George, what they did with him, and whether his kingdom accepted their new rulers and were glad to be rid of George or if there were any loyalists.

And that would have made a better topic for the flashbacks in this episode. It's like they put together two mostly unrelated halves. The present-day story was about David trying to assert his leadership while George sabotaged him by using Red's wolfishness, and it doesn't really fit with the flashback about Red learning more about her pack and choosing Snow as her real family. That story had very little to do with the issues in the present. It might have fit better with an episode focused around Ruby and Belle becoming friends or Ruby having to do something to help save Snow. For the David story, we needed to see him and George in the past, probably George's defeat, with him trying to undermine David by spreading the news that David was just a farmboy and was never a prince. Even that "I told you you should have killed me when you had a chance" line seemed to refer to a flashback incident. Red could have played a role in all that, so David's defense of her would have echoed in the present. It just seems weird to have a flashback about Red finding and rejecting her wolf family in an episode about David proving himself to be a leader.

And, yeah, it is weird that he's the default leader when we have multiple royals in town. We know Cinderella's prince's father is in town. I don't know what Maurice's title was, but he's a nobleman. There are others we'll learn about later. Why do they default to the Charmings? And why has no one taken over the mayor's office?

2 hours ago, companionenvy said:

Much less of a nitpick: the townspeople shouldn't have been so quick to go after Ruby. It is believable that some would panic after Gus died, especially given prior prejudices against werewolves, but these people also know Granny and Ruby as staples of their community, people for whom they presumably have some affection. So coming out with pitchforks en masse  seems to be a bit much.

At least they seemed to have brought in extras for the mob rather than the regular characters who were part of the war council in the Enchanted Forest and who would have already known about Red as the wolf. Maybe they were the George loyalists from the old kingdom. But it would have been nice to have a flashback to set that up.

Poor Gus-Gus. But why was he turned into a human by the curse? Are there other animals (other than Jiminy, who started as a human) out there turned into humans, or just him? If so, why just him?

And then there's the aftermath ...

Spoiler

The later storylines with Red are just silly. It makes no sense after she found her pack -- the ones who were actually related to her -- and rejected them, calling Snow her family, that she would desert her relative who is like her and the family she chose in order to go look for a group like the one she rejected. It was like they pulled names out of a hat to use for that storyline they shoehorned in, and she was the lucky one they picked, and then they had to handwave to explain it.

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3 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

For the David story, we needed to see him and George in the past, probably George's defeat, with him trying to undermine David by spreading the news that David was just a farmboy and was never a prince. Even that "I told you you should have killed me when you had a chance" line seemed to refer to a flashback incident. Red could have played a role in all that, so David's defense of her would have echoed in the present. It just seems weird to have a flashback about Red finding and rejecting her wolf family in an episode about David proving himself to be a leader.

That would have been a good story.  And this is the second time in Season 2 this happened to David.  "We Are Both" was about David stepping up to become a leader but the flashback was about Regina.

Spoiler

I don't know what they had against Josh Dallas, but he only had 3 solo flashbacks in all the seasons, with none in Season 2.  He would have to wait until "The Tower" for his next solo flashback (and that was about the missing year).  The third and final would be "White Out".   (Edit: Four including "What Happened to Frederick")

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

And this is the second time in Season 2 this happened to David.  "We Are Both" was about David stepping up to become a leader but the flashback was about Regina.

I suspect they think David is boring because he's a total good guy with no edge and nothing resembling darkness, so they don't want to write stories for him. But I really would have liked to see more about the farmboy stepping up to be a leader, going from playing prince to being one. That's a great character arc, and there's also some stuff in there to explore about the nature of royalty -- if the farmboy can step up and do the job, it makes you wonder what makes royalty royalty. Too bad they skipped it entirely.

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This episode was so weirdly structured that I suspect network interference as the cause. By the time this episode would have been filming, the first couple of episodes would have aired. They had seen the ratings and knew that there was a pretty negative reaction to the events of the season premiere. The show dropped 1.5 million viewers between week 1 and week 2 and many were very upset to see the Charmings split up again and the lack of follow up for the events of the previous season. My guess is that David was given a bigger role in the present to speed up the plot to return Emma/Snow to Storybrooke and that this was very quickly written and thus sloppily shoved into Red's episode.

Meghan Ory was made a regular in S2 and said at the time that she had been told of a larger role for her character that would really pick up in the second half. I suspect that this episode was originally meant to lead into that, but it was pushed aside to facilitate the changes the network felt were necessary to keep the viewers happy.

That said, if the writers were so bored by David, they could have written a story that paralleled his twin brother's leadership style in the past with David's struggles in the present. Josh Dallas is more than up to the task of being more villainous and the writers could have had fun writing for a darker twin. And on a shallow note, the twin's wardrobe was much more in the line of Hook than David and provided better eye candy.

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13 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

I suspect they think David is boring because he's a total good guy with no edge and nothing resembling darkness, so they don't want to write stories for him. But I really would have liked to see more about the farmboy stepping up to be a leader, going from playing prince to being one. That's a great character arc, and there's also some stuff in there to explore about the nature of royalty -- if the farmboy can step up and do the job, it makes you wonder what makes royalty royalty. Too bad they skipped it entirely.

I rarely got the feeling on the show that David was a farmboy trying to be a prince. He never struggled between a humble upbringing and acting like royalty. His worldview should be completely different from his role's typical perspective, but we don't see that beyond him being pissed at King George for going into an arranged marriage. Most of the time he acts like the courageous prince he represents. 

Spoiler

His struggles later to adopt courage were spotty at best. He didn't seem to have that problem unless it was his centric.

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Snow really does always does tend to get blamed for deaths she had nothing to do with, huh? Its like thats her actual curse, just being really freaking unlucky. 

This isnt an awful episode by any means, and I love seeing more of Ruby/Red, but it definitely seems like filler. Mainly because, like with many episodes in retrospect, 

Spoiler

This ends up meaning pretty much nothing. We dont see any werewolves again (did none of them end up in Storeybrooke? No more wolf attacks?), we dont hear about Snow giving them more rights as queen, they dont cause trouble, and its not really dealt with again, beyond Ruby showing up again after being gone for ages to "look for her pack" and to have a really half assed romance with some asshole she had known for about an hour. In fact, this is kind of Ruby's last huzzah as a character, which is sad on so many levels. 

I did like seeing King George again, as a non magic antagonist, and, as evil as he is, he raises a decent point. George is a king, so why is David running the show? Is it just because HE was king? If so, why him and not George, who technically has more experience? He had a lot of potential, and I like how he was used here. I do wonder who all the members of the angry mob were. George loyalists from back in the EF? Just garden variety idiots who turn on people they've known for years? And where do people in modern Maine even find touches and pitchforks so quickly?! Really, how many kings and queens and such are there here? How big is the EF? 

We also see more of the bond between both Snow and Red, and David and Red, which I both really like seeing. Its also sweet seeing the continuation of Red and Bells friendship, and the continuation of the two of them having super cute outfits in both worlds! Poor Gus Gus/Billy though. He also raises a lot of questions that are never really brought up (I know, on this show!?!) about animals who are turned into humans by the curse. Archie was a cricket, but he was a human first, so its not really the same, but what is it like to be an animal turned human? Are they ok with being human, or do they want to do back to being animals? If they want to stay human, do they want to stay in Storeybrooke? 

The wolf stuff and murder mystery are all fine, and decently engaging. Its just not super memorable, and suffers from the aforementioned issues that many of these episodes do. Interesting in a vacuum, but end up raising more questions than they answer. 

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1 hour ago, Writing Wrongs said:

They never did explain why Red's mom's grave had the same symbol on it as Gold's potion bottle.

This whole episode was Rumple's elaborate scheme to assassinate Anita and take her alpha werewolf body parts for a potion.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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