Welcome back to Brady Brouhaha, a weekly rundown of new Brady Bunch episodes with a strong emphasis on Marcia’s haircut. Oh, wait a minute. I meant to say Storybrooke Sound-Off. I knew something was off. Let’s dive into Once Upon a Time‘s return to the airwaves with the second episode of season 4B and the thirteenth episode of the overall season, Unforgiven. It’s a step up from last week’s lukewarm midseason opener and, hopefully, a glimpse of what the remainder of the season will hold: more emphasis on depth and internal character development.
- In the Enchanted Forest, nine months before the original curse is cast, the Queens of Darkness (why not) approach Snow and Charming for help to stop Regina’s curse. Regina stole the curse from the trio. The Queens themselves just attained the curse by way of an unseen escapade (which we’ll hopefully see later). Timeline fuzziness, brain hurting.
- In the present day, Snow and Charming hope Ursula and Cruella (who we will now refer to as Fish Sticks and Pound Puppy) won’t share their secret (a hope that they express out loud approximately 47 times). Their secret involves Maleficent, whom Ursula and Cruella hope to resurrect.
- Also in the present, Regina and Henry search for clues about Henry’s storybook with help from Pinocchio (LOL).
With nearly four years under its belt, Once Upon a Time has come to rely on its pilot’s infamous curse to provide plot just as much as it relies on any other fairytale. The curse has become its own multifaceted story; a benchmark in the program’s ever-expanding timeline to help us figure out when exactly the show’s many flashbacks take place. If asked to tell the entire story, in order, I’m not sure many folks would be able to do so. But, in any case, the curse serves as a helpful beacon to guide us on our way. This is certainly true for this week’s episode.
“Unforgiven” charts the course for what we’ll see on Once Upon a Time from now through May: a lot more of Snow and Charming (finally), expansion of the series’ own mythology (rather than a focus on classic literature or current pop culture), and a common theme of redemption. The series shoos away (if only slightly) the fanfiction-esque nature of last week’s episode in favor of a stronger focus on internal depth rather than outrageous crossovers. I mean, I guess when you say out loud that Snow White chose to have a savior baby instead of preventing a curse and protecting Maleficent’s unborn child, the situation still seems a bit outrageous. But, it does not come across that way, as the episode picks apart what the decision means and how Snow feels about it. Snow, Charming, Regina, and Hook all wrestle with the concept of forgiveness and recovery from mistakes, an issue that will propel this part of the story and a reason we will all watch this show. This episode, in particular, is aided by exemplary cinematography. This includes some snazzy camera movement when Maleficent comes back to life, clever editing in the final montage sequence between Snow and Regina, and mediocre CGI (as opposed to the Snapchat-level CGI that was last week’s tragedy).
With such a diverse character group, it’s easy, but exciting, to predict what could be around the corner. It’s likely we’ll see entire episodes devoted to Maleficent’s origins (including Aurora), Ursula’s origins (including Ariel), Cruella’s origins (hopefully explaining her presence in the Enchanted Forest), Ursula’s connection with Hook, and, if Belle and Will Scarlet keep on keeping on, maybe even some Wonderland action. I imagine we might also see how Regina took the curse from the Queens of Darkness. Looking at this potential lineup, there are a pretty high amount of returns from faces we haven’t seen in a while, as well as a return to the show’s original premise of expanding original fairytales rather than continuing them (at least where Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, and The Little Mermaid are concerned).
- The What-the-Heck Moment: Pinocchio, amiright?
- The Magic Moment: Regina apologizing to Gepetto. [Tear.]
- The Whoa Moment: Snow White’s monologue to Regina in the final scene, accentuated by montage footage of most of the main cast, was an effective, artsy way to sum up all of the “whoas” from the episode (especially the reveal about the Snow and Charming’s secret with Maleficent’s child). The dialogue here really gets the job done.
- Are Snow and Charming in the wrong in keeping secrets from Emma?
- Who do you hope we see this season who hasn’t gotten much screen time?
- How long until Emma’s quest for grilled cheese gets its own story arc?
- At this rate, how likely is it that Galavant makes an appearance?
- What do you think of Belle’s sudden relationship with Will Scarlet? What else would you like to see from the Knave of Hearts?
Sound off below!
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes