Once Upon A Time season 2 episode 3 review: Lady Of The Lake

Review Kylie Peters 16 Oct 2012 - 07:36

Once Upon A Time is still getting over its sophomore jitters in episode three of the second season. Here's Kylie's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.3 Lady Of The Lake

It’s ladies’ night in the Enchanted Forest as Once Upon a Time leaves Storybrooke to follow Emma and Snow on their search for the magic wardrobe that they hope will take them back to Maine. Meanwhile in the Enchanted Forest Past, King George curses Snow so that she becomes sterile, and Snow, Charming, and Lancelot seek water from Lake Nostos to cure Charming’s mother of a poisoned arrow. 

Lady of the Lake has a few standout moments in what is otherwise a mediocre episode. It’s odd that this week’s Enchanted Forest-based offering should be so much less engaging than last week’s Storybrooke-based episode after a first season defined by its fairy tale flashbacks. This season’s fairy tale plotlines just don’t have the same heart as the Storybrooke one does. OUaT shines when it focuses on individual characters’ stories and struggles, so perhaps it’s being bogged down by the introduction of a new world and characters.      

It would help if those new characters were worth a closer look, but frankly, they aren’t. Mulan remains stodgy and boring, but even that is better than the woefully inconsistent Aurora. Are you a prissy damsel or a vengeful fighter? Make up your mind, girl! (And quit complaining about being cold when you’re the one who decided to wear that stupid dress-and-shawl thing!) New arrival Lancelot is bland and disappointing. Luckily, he turns out to actually be Cora in a magical disguise. 

On the positive side, the flashbacks feature some touching moments between Charming’s mother and Snow. I liked Charming’s mum last season and am glad to learn that he got to see her again after becoming prince. Her excitement over Snow is cute, and the scene where she witnesses their wedding on her death bed (er, death cart) is bittersweet. Yet again, an OUaT parent makes a great sacrifice for the good of her child. 

That theme carries over into a fabulous scene in the Enchanted Forest Present plotline, when Snow shows Emma her ruined nursery and a glimpse of the life she wanted for her child. Emma finally sees how painful it was for Snow to give her up, and after so much time struggling with abandonment issues, they have a satisfying reconciliation. 

Other than those, the episode’s best moments come from its brief forays back into Storybrooke. Henry has an adorable sparring match with Charming and an adorable conversation with Jefferson and spends all the rest of his screen time also being adorable. That being said, he’s a stinker for asking Regina to lunch and then stealing her keys when she goes out; she was so excited when she thought he wanted to spend time with her. (This sympathetic moment for an otherwise inactive Regina seems to be another sign that Cora is about to supplant Regina as OUaT’s Big Bad.) And of course, Jefferson’s long-awaited reunion with his daughter Grace is super sweet. 

Next week is the much-hyped arrival of Captain Hook, who wears more eyeliner than a Vogue model and is more despicable and evil than Rumplestiltskin, according to the preview (which is weird because I didn’t think Rumple was necessarily evil before the commercial told me he is). 

Despite the show’s recent losing streak with new characters, Hook seems promising and it’s hard to go wrong with pirates. 

This week’s episode reminded me of the season premiere in that it lacked a real connection with any of its characters beyond a few notable scenes. Those scenes, though, promised that the series’ old magic is not lost.  Every show has its off-weeks, and I suspect that OUaT will work through its sophomore jitters given a little time.

Read Kylie's review of last week's episode, We Are Both, here.

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