Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NEW!: Once Upon a Time 1:12 - Skin Deep

Overall: 8.5

The "Rumpelstiltskin-centered = good" pattern continues.

Plot Synopsis:

Check out ABC's recap here.

The Skinny:

I gushed over Robert Carlyle the last time we had a Rumpelstiltskin episode, so I won't repeat myself here. What I will remark upon is the interesting direction in which Jane Espenson seems to be taking her favorite character. (And can there be any doubt that Rumpelstiltskin is Espenson's favorite? She's written both of his major episodes.) Here, the rivalry between the Queen and Rumpelstiltskin is made even more explicit -- and I think said rivalry makes sense, as their motivations for becoming villains in the fairy tale world were profoundly different. While Rumpelstiltskin got mixed up with black magic out of fear for his son's life, the Queen chose to embrace evil because she didn't feel sufficiently loved. While Rumpelstiltskin was other-centered, the Queen was fundamentally self-centered. Once Rumpelstiltskin comes to the realization that he can be redeemed, I can envision him fighting on the side of good. I can't see the Queen taking a similar path; she's too in love with her own power and too divorced from her own humanity. Have we ever seen Regina completely lose control of her own emotions the way we see Rumpelstiltskin lose control with Belle's father? No -- not that I can recall. And that right there illustrates the difference between the two characters. Rumpelstiltskin still has his soul; the Queen's, meanwhile, has been utterly emptied.

Writing: 8.0

This script is not quite as impressive as the one written for Desperate Souls, but it's still a solid character piece.

Acting: 9.0

Robert Carlyle! Enough said.

Message: 8.5

Here, happily, the emphasis is on love's redeeming power rather than on Hollywood sentimentality. How can I not approve?

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