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Early Observations about “Unforgiven”

They were raised to be Charmings not sincere. Is there a Hook up he’s not talking about? And the death rattle is way sadder this way.

Michael’s “Always… no, no… never… forget to check your references.”


I’m going with the 1992 Eastwood film, here. Based primarily on the themes of buried secrets, folks who cannot change, and hard choices. Even doing terrible things to ensure the future of one’s children. And anyway, the Metallica song is “The Unforgiven.”

Unforgiven 1


David: Maleficent!Maleficents

Maleficent: I was afraid you wouldn’t recognize me.

Finally! A lamp shade for the costume change. I do like it receding into the flashbacks to provide some reasonable continuity.

Maleficent looming over Queen Snow’s baby and the implicit threat hearkens back to both Sleeping Beauty and last year’s remake.

Not to mention the deeper touchstone of a secret betrayal revisited on the family of the betrayer. Where the Frozen arc maintained the story of the movie, this seems to pull more on the themes. Plus they’ve created a sympathetic twist for Maleficent incredibly efficiently.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (101 Dalmations)

Cruella: If that old bag still wolfed out I would make her into a coat for my collection.

Noted in both the animated classic and the Dodie Smith novel that inspired it, Cruella has a collection of animal skin coats. But the one she wears on the show outshines the rest.


ReginaShould have known fish sticks and pound puppy were here for more than a second chance.

A classic toy from the eighties. Similar to Cabbage Patch Kids they came with an adoption certificate kids could beg their parents to frame, thereby increasing the cost. They were revived by Funrise last year, but since the producers had to resolve the lack of knowledge about Frozen by saying Storybrooke was behind the viewing public by a couple years, the reference has to be to the Tonka line or the silly cartoons.

Once Upon a Time

Too numerous to count, which is sort of standard practice this season. The writers are exploiting parts of the timeline that aren’t entirely accounted for to weave the new arcs into the existing story. I reckon some folks balk at apparent inconsistencies, but it’s television.

Of particular note is 2×18 “Selfless, Brave and True”, wherein August Booth reverted back to the young flesh and blood Pinocchio with the help of Reul Ghorm’s magical meddling. Blue was awfully shady last episode, so bringing this in immediately afterward adds some gravity.

4x13 Regina Book 2


And what they’re really after in this interrogation is how and why August was able to alter Henry’s Once Upon a Time book in 1×13 “What Happened to Frederick” and whether that’s significant.

Erin’s Happy Shipper Moments


  • 2:38 a.m. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. But Maleficent is there instead, with the other Queens of Darkness, threatening Snow’s family. But it was just a nightmare! 2:38 a.m. again. Snow wakes to find Charming gone. Again. (Is this going to be a Groundhog Day loop?) Except this time it turns out David is sitting on the stairs being an insomniac and trying to drink his way through it (a sign of their secret villainous past).
  • Through the episode, the two act together to hide the secret of Maleficent’s prediction about Emma and Maleficent’s lost child. Though their motivations and actions are questionable–lying is the stuff of villainy–they do act in tandem, bringing them closer together, even as they screw everything up.

Captain Swan

  • Hook brings Emma her craved for grilled cheese. With it he passes her test by giving her a ring, actually, several onion rings.
  • Emma’s superpower is telling when people are lying to her. She uses it on Hook when he feigns forgetful ignorance of how he knows Ursula. But Hook isn’t budging. He leaves with a rather meaningful, “Enjoy your witch hunt.” The line suggests the questionable motives behind David’s gung-ho attitude towards Cruella and Ursula, and how Emma’s being pulled into it without knowing what’s actually going on.
  • Later that evening Hook comes back, perhaps with the intent of coming clean about his relationship with Ursula, but Emma has also had a change of heart. Not wanting her distrust of people to get the best of her or her relationship with Hook, she tells him that while it’s not okay to lie to her, he can have the time he needs to be ready to tell her. “You’re not that man anymore,” she tells him. “It’s not going to change anything between us.” “That’s quite a lot of faith you’re putting on me, Swan,” he responds, showing that doubt, once again, that he can live up to being the boyfriend of a hero. Hook tells her he has no intentions of letting her down. She says, “No matter what, I will always choose to see the best in you.” “And I with you.”
  • As Snow reveals the truth to Regina, there’s a slow-mo walking shot of Emma and Hook walking on the street being uber-cute and happy.captain swan walk

Scarlet Beauty

  • These two are shown together in Gold’s (now Belle’s unofficial) shop. They smile at each other then KISS! scarlet beauty kiss


  • gold reactionAnd Rumple sees this kiss from across the street! He is shocked. Takes a staggered step back into the shadows, suggesting his recession into further villainhood.
  • Earlier, when Ursula and Cruella come into the shop to steal the MacGuffin, Belle responds with sincere care and curiosity about how Rumple is doing. “You’ve seen him?” When the ladies give her a line about how terrible and miserable he was, they ask if part of her didn’t want to see him suffering? “I would never revel in his suffering,” Belle proclaims.
  • Ursula and Cruella also lie to Rumple when they tell him that Belle didn’t mention him and that clearly she had moved on. Well, I guess she has, considering the kiss.

Swan Queen

  • There’s one wonderful moment for this ship in the ep. When Emma finally shows up to assist in jogging Pinocchio’s memory, Regina exclaims, “Where the hell have you been?” Then her face shows total relief that Emma is there.

Snow Queen

  • Snow meets Regina in the rain in the dark. Despite having failed to keep Regina’s secret in the past, now Snow wants to share her secret with Regina. It’s a nice moment of growth between them. Snow certainly needs Regina’s help, but there is a leap of faith there that Regina is trustworthy.

Sea DeVil

  • The two bond over their joy at seeing Maleficent back alive and in action against the Charmings.

Cruella DaVid

  • Welcome, new ship! cruella DaVidRight now, this ship largely consists of some tasty comments by Cruella concerning David’s good-looks. But shippers have worked with less.
  • In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Cruella quips after Charming proves a bit obtuse, “If only your wits matched your looks.”
  • When David pulls Cruella over to search her car, she rolls down her window with a “What can I do for you, Sheriff Chisel Chin?”

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Frozen Friday: Possibly Malevolent and Wesel Words

It’s been another big week for Once Upon a Time news.  Entertainment Weekly broke the casting of Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) as a “possibly malevolent” character with ties to Frozen sisters Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Elsa (Georgina Haig).  There’s no official word on who she’ll be playing, but as a nascent fan with almost no knowledge of the show, my first guess is Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen.  Or someone very much like her.

The character would be a reasonable addition to the Frozen milieu without meaningfully impacting any plans for a sequel.  Similar powers could confuse Elsa’s role and intentions, giving Anna and Kristoff something to worry about.  And she could easily provide an emotional and metaphorical foil for a controlled Elsa, a contrasting image of what she could have become.

Adam Horowitz tweeted the title of the first episode of the upcoming season; laying on some heavy symbolism and locking Frozen fans in.

once emfq

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

I might be reading too much into it.  Sometimes writers just like to make puns.  On the other hand they’ve noted that misunderstanding and perception goes to the heart of the show and offered the weaselly “possibly malevolent,” to describe the mystery casting.

In honor of the ambiguous yet tantalizing tease, it’s only appropriate that the final bit involves Alan Tudyk, the Duke of Weselton himself, who spoke with The AV Club about developing the secondary antagonist of Frozen.

 The great thing about voice-acting is it isn’t animated yet. And so once you find the role and you’re within the scene, if you come up with an idea, you can go with it very easily. It’s all in your head. They’ve set the scene, but you’re imagining it. A good example is in Frozen. I had these two big henchmen with me, but they didn’t tell me until halfway through. There’s a scene where I say, “Go find the princess. If you find her, you know what to do.” And they’re like, “Yeah, you have these two big henchmen.” I’m like “Oh, I do?” “Yeah, they’re always with you.” “Well, they don’t say anything.” They go “Oh, no. They’re just quiet, stoic.”

Tudyk is incredibly funny, and he took to his silent partners with gusto.  He apparently had to dial it back a little, though:

…they’re like, “Your character can’t be too funny because we have to believe him to be the villain.” He’s the villain for a portion of the movie until the real villain reveals himself. And so if he’s too funny then it’s just confusing.