So what on earth is going on with Once Upon a Time? I feel like the second season of the show was all over the place, culminating in a complete clustermess leading into the season finale. Did the finale resolve all issues? No, not really. Did it tie things together in a way that made sense? Well, kinda...
So at the start of Season Two, the curse has been lifted and everyone is more or less back to their fairy tale selves - but they're still trapped in Storybrooke, because anyone who tries to leave loses their memories and completely reverts back to their curse identity. Here's the thing that kinda bothered me from the first episode: even though everyone now remembers their pre-curse self, they continue to go by their curse names. Rumpelstiltskin is usually called "Mr. Gold" by the townspeople; Charming still answers to "David" and the Blue Fairy is still the Mother Superior With the exception of the Evil Queen, Belle, and occasionally Snow White, everyone continues to use the old names. It's a little weird, especially since everyone's always talking about going home...
For a while, Emma and Snow are stranded in fairy tale land, which is nothing like the Enchanted Forest of the past. They meet Aurora and Mulan. Hooray for girl power - except that neither character really grew on me. Mulan has the personality and emotion of a tree stump while Sleeping Beauty never does anything useful. On the plus side, we get to meet Captain Hook, the hottest pirate in all the lands. Wow. I think Hook single-handedly (ha) saves the day with his moody eyeliner and epic revenge glare.
Just to make things weird, the writers toss in a random episode showing that Dr. Whalen has accidentally wandered into the magic realm from Frankenstein-land. Seriously, that was a pointless detour. I mean, I guess it proved that there are more worlds out there - by the end of the series we've confirmed the Enchanted Forest (fairy tale land), Wonderland, Frankenstein's land and Neverland. Surely there are more - I'm still waiting on someone to stumble upon "Arabian Nights" land - just to make this a total Fables ripoff.
Regina may be a terrible person, but she became increasingly sympathetic as the season went on and we saw just how much she'd been manipulated by her mother. She wants to be loved, and wants to be good - but Regina's mother killed her beloved, married her to a man for power, and every time Regina tries to behave herself, she gets rejected. I mean, what's the point of not using magic against your enemies when your kid still won't give you the time of day?
By the way, Henry's still a brat. He did manage to deliver the most memorable line in the show, after finding out that his father wasn't dead like Emma told him.
Henry, after Emma asks how he likes NYC pizza: "It's delicious, cheesy, and doesn't lie."
Cora was a great villain. I enjoyed how utterly ruthless she could be. I was really shocked (and disappointed) when she was killed off mid-season. I really thought she was going to be around for a while, coming and going over the years to torment Regina and prevent her from ever being a proper mother. But no. Although this is fairy tale land - who knows if death is even permanent. Cora might come popping back up like a Marvel superhero.
I was ranting to my husband earlier about how much it drives me nuts that every single character is connected to every other character in about a hundred different ways. OF COURSE Neal's father is Rumpelstiltskin and his son is Henry. OF COURSE his fiancee is a secret member of an anti-magic brigade. OF COURSE Tamara's real lover is the son of a man killed by Regina thirty years ago when they accidentally stumbled across Storybrooke. OF COURSE Pinocchio met Tamara several years ago and royally pissed her off. OF COURSE Hook is the pirate that seduced Rumpelstiltskin's wife AND later fished Baelfire out of the ocean off the shores of Neverland. OF COURSE the random giant Emma befriended in the Enchanted Forest ends up in Storybrooke. I don't care if there's magic, there are waaaaaaaaaaay too many convenient coincidences in this stupid series!
But yes, I'll keep watching the stupid show.
I'll probably even watch the planned spinoff set in Wonderland.
Because at the end of the day, I just can't get enough of fairy tales, even when they're getting unnecessarily complex and stupid.