When Once Upon a Time announced that tonight’s episode was going to be a two-parter, my heart skipped a beat. Would the Snow Queen Ingrid finally smash the Troll mirror, thus turning everywhere in Storybrooke against each other for one epic, grisly showdown? Knowing the series as I do now, I should have hampered my enthusiasm and realized that the only answer to my question was: No.
There are good moments in the cycle of a series to create what I’m pretty sure the big networks still call ‘event television.’ They name it that for a reason — because something happens. You know, an actual event. Tonight, for two hours, we watched the very opposite of “something happening.” There were no events. There was plenty of fat that needed trimming, plenty of carefully honed characters broken down into broad stereotypes, and worse still — decisions that could have been made in lieu of the ones that were made stood painfully, painfully obvious to everyone watching at home.
I honestly cannot begin to fathom why on earth Regina was given the storyline she was saddled with this week. Don’t get me wrong, I do indeed believe she is entitled to some nookie, and I have a passing interest in the author of the book and their identity. Additionally, it was hilarious to see her boob hanging out of her top. That said, having her spend the better part of the two-hour stretch cavorting with Robin (who at this point is basically a giant jerk for ditching his literally frozen wife, can we agree on this?) when Emma was in desperate need of guidance from someone who understood how to use magic for good was agonizing to watch.
Henry literally said, “I wish I was like you — someone who had magic and could help.” And what does Regina do? Not help Emma. Granted, she slaps some common parenting sense into David and Mary Margaret, but my god anyone passing by who heard how their plan was to let their darling damaged daughter kill a part of herself would have probably chimed in to let them know that this was most likely a horrible idea.
I harbor a sneaking suspicion that if Regina’s role this week had been cut or streamlined, there would have been room for something important – you know, like a deep dive into why the hell Gold has become completely flat! He is a character dwelling in a two dimensional world, and it is appalling. Look, just because Robert Carlyle can pull off calling anyone ‘dearie’ that doesn’t mean he should have to shoulder the entire weight of this season’s conflict. What does Gold even have to gain at this point? The answer is nothing. What does he have to lose by continuing down his flatly evil path? At this point…everything! He’s actually got a family, and he’s respected (and just the right amount of feared) by everyone in Storybrooke. It needs to be enough, and if it’s not, give us a better reason for his machinations, show!