Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Once upon a time Season 4: Review. [SPOILERS]

I am sorry this took me weeks and weeks to write, it was very hard for me to write about over the last few weeks because to be honest, I have too many feelings after this seasons finale, I just don't know what to do anymore. It was so perfect and brilliant, I am barely functioning as a human right now.

Some of you who know me personally, know my love for this show is almost deeper than my love for food, it's probably on the same level. I am indeed an Evil Regal, a Captain Swan Shipper & an Outlaw Queen lover. I will not apologise for this borderline obsession because it's a beautiful fandom to be a part of, the other fans are so lovely and it's just nice-we're our own complicated family, WHAT A GLORIOUS TIME TO BE ALIVE!
Oh Wait... it isn't so glorious, because we have to wait until September for Season 5. The waiting for Season 5 is currently looking to be on the same level as Cora, I mean, I'm not dealing too well with this level of Torture.
Fear not Oncers, I know your pain but here we are, Season 4 finale review and the long wait for September, we will get through this together.

Once Upon A Time is a TV show, written and created by the same people who brought us Lost and Tron: Legacy, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitis. The show is based in a fictional town in America called Storybrooke and is home to all the fictional princes, princesses, villains and plenty of other familiar names or faces that lived in the Enchanted Forest, who we all know and love.
The Queen (The E word needs to be dropped already, she's a bit more refined now!), also known as Regina Mills, placed a curse on the Enchanted Woods casting most of the characters into our world, "A place where no one gets their happy endings" all characters aside from Regina and August (Pinocchio) have no recollection of their previous life.
Since then we have come a very long way and developed probably one of the most complicated family trees, known to the history of man. Season 4, has only just made that even more complicated.

Season 4 has shown a journey for all characters in Once upon a time, the first half of season 4 being a Frozen special which was incredible, in my opinion.
The characters of Elsa and Anna, gave a phenomenal performance and shared a close likeness with the characters in the Disney modern favourite fairy tale. Georgina Haig did a fantastic job of depicting Elsa, from her fear of being unable to control her magic as she attempts to "conceal it, not feel it" and her loving search for her sister, Anna, she really brought Elsa to life right in front of our eyes and took the well loved Queen of Arendelle into our world as a beautiful live action character. The similarities between the Disney Anna (played by Kristen Bell) and Elizabeth Lail's version of Anna were practically twins! These two actresses really captured the characters well and Elizabeth Mitchell's depiction of the Snow Queen/Elsa and Anna's aunt/Emma's foster mum, Ingrid, was absolutely incredible. I went from disliking her to loving her towards the finale of the first half of the season, which I was not expecting. I felt it would end in a similar way, with my feelings for her being on a similar level of hatred that I felt, towards Rumpelstiltskin's (Robert Carlyle) dad, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). Instead, I was upset when Ingrid left the show and I would love to see her make a reappearance, which sadly I know won't happen. but I'm hoping the reappearance of Elsa and Anna will be something of the new future.
However, with all this focus on the Snow Queen and Frozen theme, plus the background of their connection with Emma Swan, I felt some of the characters such as Mary Margaret/Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David Nolan/Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) were semi side lined, almost pushed from main characters into just supporting roles, I am pleased that quickly changed in the second half of the season and they were back in the spotlight.

I felt a mixed bag for these characters anyways, so this side lining was not a massive down flaw for myself but for some fans, who were real lovers of the pair this could have been a problem. My feelings towards Mary Margaret and David Nolan, stem from their consistent "everything is going to be OK" "true love always wins" overly positive and overly heroic ideologies, which in our world aren't always true, making is highly annoying and even more annoying when they were always right. They have been that way throughout the seasons, I'm guessing due to guilt for barely being there for the upbringing of Emma, at the same time, because of how much they are trying to make up for it, you still find yourself loving Mary and David, or almost sympathising them for their efforts. Whilst we're on this subject, I would also like to cover my "what a pair of selfish ass holes!" reaction I had, when they stole Maleficent's child, Lily, to put all the potential darkness Emma could have had into her. I mean, I know they want what's best for their child but really? Going to that extreme I almost freaked out and so in this sense, well done writers! You made my mix bag of feelings towards these two even more complicated. The beauty however, about this depiction of Snow and Charming, is the fact they don't pretend to be perfect in fact, they're the most imperfect heroines I have ever come across, which to me shows their human nature and makes them more lovable. So as annoying as they are, the guilt they feel at some point because as usual they made a mistake, thinking they were doing good, shows me as an audience member everything I want to see in a heroine/hero, their perfect imperfections.

Speaking of the daughter of Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Emma's history 101 was a real interesting turn of events, I did not expect her to be friends with Maleficent's daughter, Lily (Agnes Bruckner), and for Lily to be carrying all of Emma's capable darkness. I was aware that Lily would have to be involved in their Enchanted forest life somewhere, but I like this connection and the idea of Maleficent having a very human side.

Emma's (Jennifer Morrison) development became interesting in this season, the first half we saw all the capable good and her fully accepting her role as the saviour, becoming incredibly powerful and gifted with her magic however, the end of the season we see her becoming the Dark One and seeing darkness, tint her heart already. The focus being on her potential for great good and great darkness, depicted in both halves was a very clever idea, well done Ed and Adam!
Emma having grown up in our world has always had a slight edge anyways, having to deal with the lack of happy endings here and everything else you know, it can take its tole. But arguably, is she really being dark when she was defending her friend? I suppose threatening to punch someone in the face for saying Lily is a bit weird, was a little bit extreme but her heart was in the right place.
I am very excited to see how Emma (Jennifer Morrison) accepts her new darker edge, but more so interested in seeing who "becomes the saviour" and figures out a way of breaking the darkness from her. Will it be Mary and David? Her love for Henry? Her love for Hook? Or how about this new character that's coming in, Merlin!? OR does this mean, that Rumple is now the Saviour? I have to admit when they said it, I did imagine the BBC Series Merlin coming back...anyone else?
We've seen Emma's borderline darkness capability, but her being the product of true love and taking all the darkness, I mean I'm hoping this means she'll get to wear leather and some amazing corsets like our Queen and Rumple were originally wearing in the Enchanted forest (a cross myself and hook, I am sure are willing to bare-not even lesbian but Jennifer looks amazing anyways, at all times let alone now!) Does anyone think she's going to have an evil plan? What do you think the darkness will do to the saviour? Does this mean she will become the total opposite and become the Saboteur?  I don't know if I can wait until September to find out and I don't personally know if I will be ready.

Speaking of Captain Swan, I've loved seeing Emma and Hooks relationship develop and grow throughout this season, it has been a very enjoyable watch as these are two of my favourite characters, I want them both to have a happy ending. Furthermore, I like how their love story hasn't taken up too much of the limelight and has a been subtle, the transformation in Hook from "villain" to a repented hero just so he can be with Emma has give us ladies a man to wish for and admire; The fact he's also Irish probably helps.
In comparison, Outlaw Queen's relationship has only got the more complicated thanks to the reappearance of my favourite love to hate character, Zelena (Rebecca Mader). Rebecca's depiction of this not evil, Wicked Witch, has been a favourite thing of mine to watch, because I have fallen in love with the character at the same time, I have grown to dislike her with every inch of my body.
So Zelena in the Enchanted forest, if you can remember she succeeded at turning back time, took the place of Marian (Christie Laing) by puffing her off into Heaven in a green puff of smoke, when Emma and Hook were in the Enchanted forest, and Emma decided to save her from Regina. So they brought Zelena back with them disguised as Marian, then sadly because Marian (Zelena) got struck by Ingrid and gained a frozen heart, which then meant that Marian, Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) (Regina's true love) and their son Roland (Raphael Alejandro) had to cross the town line and leave. So Zelena/Marian, Robin Hood and Roland ended up living in Baelfires/Neil's (Michael Raymond-James) old flat in New York, only for Zelena to become pregnant with Robin's child.
As we know from Season 3, Zelena is Regina's half sister, Robin is Regina's true love, Zelena being "green with envy" the master plan was to try to steal that from her. There was a reason why I never liked Marian and though a lot of oncers were for Marian and Hood, I knew there was something not right, so I'm going to take this time now to say I TOLD YOU SO! ;D

Zelena in my eyes is the ideals of an wicked villain and probably one of the true Queens of Darkness if we're been perfectly honest. Her clever, sneaky, devious and determined, if only she put these skills into another practise she probably would have a happy ending. I've enjoyed watching her develop from the simple villain who just wanted to cast a curse, to this villain with a more complicated evil plan, I will admit at first I did not know how I would feel about the Wicked Witch of the west joining but the chance to go to Oz excited me. However, as the series has gone on I can't imagine being without this evil yet lovable character because you do feel sorry for her, as wicked as she is at the same time you envy her because you wish that Regina didn't end up with Cora as a mother. But hey! What can you do, this show gives you a mixed bag of feelings about everyone's stories I'm starting to get used to it...kind of.
Lets also bring into the fact that Rebecca Mader's manner and the way she portrays Zelena is simply magnificent. The way she says things, her body language and the facial expressions that she does with every single action are incredible and partly make you love-to-hate Zelena even more! Mader has done a fantastic job of bringing this Wicked Witch to life and she is always going to be a favourite actress of mine, because of these skills.
Speaking of Regina, as an Outlaw Queen fan, this plot upsets me a great deal and because it's so complicated it's taken a lot of the limelight. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that freaked out when we heard Zelena was pregnant with Robin's child and the thought of how they made it freaks me out even more. I'm hoping they did it in a lab and not actually the S-E-X word cause that's nasty! However, I will give the plot the benefit of the doubt because it's showing how good Robin is for Regina and is keeping her on the path of good.

Regina's character has really come a long way from the start, when you honestly could not stand her and how evil she was but now, we're seeing an entirely different side with just the right amount of Sass a Queen should have. All of the good in Regina mixed with that little bit of fire and attitude makes her a lovable character and my personal Favourite. Long Live Regina!
Our beloved Queen had the chance to destroy Zelena, instead she chose against it and has decided to merely keep her under wraps in the same room she kept Belle for a while. Furthermore, she's decided to work through this little hiccup with Robin and perhaps stepping up to the plate, to be the Aunt/Step mother of Robin & Zelena's child. In my eyes, this shows us Regina's capabilities as a Queen, leader, mayor and overall Good Heroine.
Lana Parrilla (Regina) is one the most beautiful and talented actresses, in my eyes and in Once upon a time she has expressed to me as a viewer, her amazing talents but also how much she enjoys her job. She is simply radiant and a stunning person as well to top it all of, she has a good heart as a feisty Queen and outside of her acting work.

I will be honest, something which I was semi pleased and semi disappointed because I don't feel they were in it longer enough, was some of the depictions of the Queens of Darkness.
In fact, I liked the way the writers turned two of my most feared villains as a kid, Ursula and Maleficent, into the two most human villains out of the Queens of Darkness.
I did like how they simply wanted the two things that were taken from the back, in order to get their happy endings I was however upset with how short lived Ursula (Merrin Dungey) was, and how short lived their darkness was. I would have liked to see more fire from Maleficent, only 2 more episodes more of their company maybe or the whole season. I'm hoping that Ursula would make a re-appearance. I will say however, Cruella (Victoria Smurfit) as a character I was not expecting her to the darkest one, as a child Ursula and Maleficent definitely scared me more so I liked this whole shift of my young-character -ideas, which the writers gave. In a battle as a child, I thought Cruella was one I could definitely beat easy and that she wasn't very fearful, however seeing her murderess intentions and her love to kill in this series has made me think otherwise. Although she still was one of my favourite characters for her sophistication and clever, witty pun lines "Is there a problem Sheriff Chiseled Chin?".

Now, Lets talk about the one and only, The was-but-no-longer-is Dark one, Rumpelstiltskin.
Robert Carlyle we all know and love, because he is one of the best actors of all time-you can't say he isn't and if you do say he isn't, you're wrong dearie.
As usual Rumple takes us on an epic roller-coaster with being good and bad all at the same time, to the point where I cry when he's gone at the same time I'm happy.
We see in the first half an epic attempt from Rumple, to stay good and to put his love for Belle (Emilie De Ravin) first however this desire, is also the very thing which caused him to go into Darkness in the first place. His desire to break free from the dagger caused our beloved Dark One to lose the very thing he was trying not to lose, after doing a lot of stupid things. Now arguably, we could say he was doing it out of love for Belle as he was obviously trying to free himself from darkness technically because as we now know, the Dark one contains all of the Darkness which Merlin was trying to protect everyone from.
At the same time, we know full well that Rumple may have also been doing this to obtain freedom and more power, the Dark one with no ties to the blade. Now at the start of the season we see the two take a beautiful honeymoon to the sorcerers mansion, funnily enough, the beautiful scene with Belle and her "beast" dancing in the hall was something which set all Rumpbelle supporters hearts alight. However this was short lived as he captured the sorcerer's apprentice and all the fairies into the hat, whilst blackmailing Hook with his heart. So in the first half what we have in the finale is a scene in the Clock tower (where everything positive always happens! *sarcasm*) with Rumple and the sorcerers hat, awaiting for all the stars on the hat plus the ones in the sky to be aligned, so he can free himself from the dagger. In his hand, we see him with Hook's heart about to crush it when the Saviour bursts in to attempt to rescue, only for her to be frozen by Rumple. About to crush Hook's heart in front of Emma, until a very pissed off wife, Belle busts in with the legit dagger, commanding Rumple not to.
It is clear at this point that Belle is sick of Rumple's shit and at the same time heartbroken, I happen to love this bit and I did scream at the TV because as much as I was for Rumple and Belle, I love Belle's character and I think Emilie has done an amazing job at bringing her to life, literally so close to the character in the classic Disney tale that it is hard not to love Belle. But I adore her character so much so that it hurt me to see her continuously get hurt by Rumple so seeing her taking the heroic step and brave step of banishing him from Storybrooke was both hard and lovely to watch. Almost instantly Rumple has come up with a plan, the same plan as "operation mongoose", find the author and get the happy endings. (I'll talk about the Author after this one).
I have to say, Rumple has taken a few steps to being a good guy and a few bad steps so he's still evil but I can't imagine the OUAT show without him. Robert Carlyle as always has done an amazing job at bringing a character to life and making the audiences feel such an array of emotions, we could argue that Rumple, Snow White and Charming are on similar pages in the sense of they have all done things which are imperfect, Rumple has done more than others but lets talk about the fact he's been carrying pretty much all of the darkness and how that has probably impacted 99% of his decisions.
Does the fact he's been overtaken by Darkness of "The Dark One" mean, that he has had no control in his decisions? Does that mean now he's free from Darkness we're going to see the real Rumple? Is he going to want to take the darkness back from Emma to regain his power? Is he going to be all good? Is he going to become the saviour? I'm very keen to see what happens to Rumples character now he isn't going to have that darkness. What about Rumple and Belle now too? Throughout the second half of this season, Belle swiftly moved on or appeared to be dating Will Scarlet (Michael Socha) however, towards the end where Rumple almost dies, she seems to still be in love with Rumple. Are they going to get back together now Rumple has the potential to love again? Where does that leave Will?
Can we also take a second to acknowledge how weird it was seeing Rumple as a knight... I still can't wrap my head around that one it felt too uncomfortable and somewhat interesting. Although we all knew too well, that the fictitious world which Rumple and the Author created could not last, it was not the truth and only the truth should be written. What I did enjoy about the fictitious world however, is how undecided they were about Regina, because although she was good and had the chance to be with Robin she still didn't get her happy ending. Perhaps because in spite of the author being a fan, he liked her having hope and then watching it get crushed. (Meany!) In any event, it's clear we're going to see a potentially different Rumple, maybe the real Rumple, I just hope we enjoy it because Rumple in this show takes us through a journey of fuck you, love you which I kind of like, I hope that stays.

Lets talk about the author whilst we're here, What an ass hole [no offence Patrick Fischler]
at the same time, I could not help but feel sorry for this guy. He was almost like that little kid who just had a dream of being an author but every time he tried, he did something terribly wrong. A part of him like Rumple, became attached to this pen and idea of being all powerful, he had the ultimate power of controlling all of these characters lives. Isaac was both a coward, a villain actually he was like a mini Rumpelstiltskin if we're being perfectly honest so as much as I wanted to be like Fuck you I still wanted him to have some sort of happy ending; in spite of all the pain he put everyone through. I'm not entirely sure where we are left with him when it comes to season 5 but I was not attached to his character enough to wish for him to come back, I am not entirely sure why but although I did sympathise, it wasn't enough for me to want him to stay.
Henry as an author and the truest believer however, I think is probably the best twist in this series. I always thought all a long that Henry would make a brilliant author for this story, that he would also be the hero. The role really suites him seeing as really, he was a part of the breaking of the original curse since he truly believed and pushed Emma into believing too.

The Finale of Once Upon a Time has shown me how talented, gifted and wonderful the entire cast and crew of this show really are. From the writing and the amazing plot twists, to the many dynamic roles every actress has had to play throughout this series. We've seen Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) act as Bandit, Queen, Evil Queen, Mother, Mayor, Princess and Daughter, we've seen Regina play Bandit, Evil Queen, The Queen, Sassy, Revenge seeker, Mother, Daughter and Lover, we've seen Emma change from pessimist and non-believer to true believer, daughter, good, mother, lover, saviour and now soon the Dark one plus so much more!
We've been through a lot as a fandom with this cast and crew, that trying to explain it to others can be a challenge but it's been the most funnest of journeys, every emotional turning has been an absolute pleasure and I am eager to see season 5.


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