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25 May 2015 @ 10:05 am
Once upon a Time, Season 3  
* is waving at [personal profile] selenak *

Over the past two weeks I finally had the opportunity to watch OuaT season 3. Overall much more impressive, gripping and enjoyable than the second half of season 2 I would say; mostly because the emotional core conflicts touched upon by the season's two main antagonists Pan and Zelena strike me as being far more sense-making and poignant than anything the show has come up with post Cora.

 

So, lots of love, and quite a few observations. I wouldn't know where to start breaking down my ideas into digestible chunks, simply due to the sheer amount of characters, plotlines and backstories.

Please feel free to chat me up on anything you like. :-) This entry was originally posted at http://bimo.dreamwidth.org/67548.html. Comment there or here, as you like. I'd be glad to reply to your comments over on DW.
 
 
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Selena: Cora by Uponyourshoreselenak on May 25th, 2015 12:53 pm (UTC)
I loved season 3. But stop watching here; the last episode makes for an excellent finale (minus the very last tag scene, of course, and I think you'll live without knowing how Elsa from Frozen fares in Storybrooke). Everyone has come full circle and yet made great character progress, and it would have been a perfect way to end the show. Alas it's downhill from there. So stop now!
Bimo: DRD_bewarebimo on May 25th, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
Good to know. Lots of thanks for the warning.

I had already suspected the final episodes of season 3 might be a good point to quit, simply because there is this wonderful feeling of "Guys, you all got a (more or less) well deserved second chance in life, but hey, please don't waste it!".

Ending a show that has spent a great deal of its first three seasons exploring themes of family, redemption and hope on such a strong note of exactly these very themes would have made a lot of sense to me.

I also think that going back to the very beginning of the Charmings' personal love story in best Back to the Future style was a rather sweet touch. The only aspect I'm not entirely happy with is Emma and Hook bringing Marian to Storybrooke.

Selena: Triad by Etherealnetworkselenak on May 25th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
re: Marian - this lead to an almost good development, then they threw in a soap opera twist to produce more angst, and then the most ridiculous retcon in the universe. It was one of the things that made me quit, and not even the most important one (which had to do with Snow and David and another idiotic retcon). And then there was the whole "Author" storyline which - anyway.

All the family-hope-redemption themes in the s3 finale were beautifully summed up, the Back to the Future plot was, well, charming, Regina saving Henry with true love's kiss was another great "show coming full circle" moment (with the s1 finale in this case), and then she went on proving how much she changed by wanting to give Zelena a second chance as well, very much aware that she'd been guilty of the same things Zelena was. And before that, they even brought Cora back via flashback and ghostly form to give me the Regina and Snow reconciliation of my dreams. As for the first half of s3, Pan was a wonderfully creepy villain and kudos to the writers for bringing back all the darkness of the Barrie premise (and then some) which Disney had previously sanitized out of it.

The problem with having a hit show is that you keep making it even if the story has found its natural ending because of all the profit, alas. But we'll always have Storybrooke (and the Enchanted Forest). :)
Bimo: Coopbimo on May 26th, 2015 11:21 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, the good old TV show curse of being too commercially successful for one's own good. Probably a universal constant... ;-)

As for OuaT's take on Pan: Creepy as hell, and within the show's own microcosm also extremely logic. Having had only a few vague childhood memories of the 1950s film version (mainly Wendy, Hook, Smee and the crocodile, for whatever reason), I'm currently reading Barrie for the first time. You are absolutely right about the OuaT writers exploring and bringing the novel's darker aspects back into focus. Neglect, self-centredness, violence, exploitation and abuse. Based on my Disney-fied childhood experience I would never have guessed Barrie would prove to be *this* twisted.
Selena: Snow White by Chlorisselenak on May 26th, 2015 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh, Barrie is a psychiatrist's dream. First he has the requisite deeply traumatic childhood (when his next oldest brother David tried, he had to sometimes impersonate him to comfort his mother and get her attention, wearing his clothes, whistling like him etc.), then he has a sexless miserable marriage, and then he adopts the Llewelyn-Davies boys, who inspired Peter Pan, and who end up, with one exception, as either dead by war or suicides. I've seen one of his plays, Dear Brutus, on stage, and it has that mixture of Edwardian fairy tale with incredible darkness underneath, too.

Incidentally, Barrie never liked the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, he said "It doesn't show the devil in Peter".

I never saw the original Peter Pan play on stage, but I did read the novel (which Barrie wrote after the play) before I saw any of the movies, and the meeting between Peter and adult Wendy stays with me to this day - both the shock moment when Wendy gets up to her full adult height and Peter realises she's not a child anymore (when you read that as a child, you get that awful sense of separation - for the rest of the book, I don't think you identify with Peter as a child reader, but in that moment, you do), and the moment in their conversation when she mentions Hook and he doesn't even remember who that has been because "I always forget them after I kill them" (which captures the callousness and you realise that remaining a child forever, never growing up, also means never allowing any deeper emotion, never learning anything, never remaining attached to anyone, because that WOULD be growing up).

Barrie was also good with the phrases which became quotes. "To die would be an awfully big adventure." "Oh, the cleverness of me!" "All children grow up; all children, save one." Btw, it wasn't until OuaT did Peter Pan that I realised Storybrooke until the curse was broken reversed this for Henry. Because in Storybrooke, no children ever grew up. No children, save one. No wonder Henry was so angry with Regina for trying to make him believe he was imagining things in s1.

Oh, and the young actor they found for Peter Pan was excellent, too. Though I have to chide the casting people for the fact that adult Rumple-Father's accent matched neither Robert Carlyle's NOR Peter Pan's....

Edited at 2015-05-26 11:55 am (UTC)
Bimo: Terra_incognitabimo on May 27th, 2015 09:42 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing so much intriguing information on Barrie! The man and his works must have been psychiatrist's dream indeed. I'm afraid the only thing I can offer in exchange at the moment (due to my own lack of knowledge)is a tiny bit of Barrie-related trivia Cavendish and I encountered last year, during our tour of the Outer Hebrides. When we were on Harris we discovered that we were staying at exactly the same lovely small historic hotel where Barrie had stayed roughly one hundred years before us and where he had even etched his initials into the dining room window. While the window has been replaced by now, the original glass panel is still on display today.

http://www.harrishotel.com/history.asp

Because in Storybrooke, no children ever grew up. No children, save one. No wonder Henry was so angry with Regina for trying to make him believe he was imagining things in s1.

Absolutely. Btw, I think one of the aspects that OuaT has been exceptionally good at is showing the slow but gradual change that happens with regard to the relationship between Regina and Henry. Especially during the early episodes she seems to evoke little but fear and mistrust in him (well, for rather understandable reasons). However, those feelings start to evolve into something different and more complex as soon as Regina starts to reconnect with the better angels of her nature.

As for casting: In my opinion both kids, Jared Gilmore and the boy who played Pan (Robbie Kay?) are excellent in their roles, just as most other regulars/recurring actors. The one actor I personally never really warmed up to, though, for whatever reason, was the guy who played adult Neal. Oh, and I must admit that Colin O' Donoghue's Hook really won me over, my initial reaction to him being little more than "Hello eye candy for the female and maybe not quite so straight male viewers!" ;-)
Selena: Regina and Snow by Endofnightsselenak on May 27th, 2015 11:25 am (UTC)
Poor Jared Gilmore got a lot of grief in OuaT fandom, for what reason I don't know. (No, he's not the best child actor ever, but I never had to suspend my disbelief re: whatever Henry was feeling - including the change you note in how he relates to Regina.)

I hear you re: adult Neal. I loved young Baelfire, but the adult actor never did it for me, which was why I wasn't sad at all when they killed him off. (Well, on the bereaved characters' behalf, but not becaues I would miss him.) Re: Hook, ironically enough the episode where I came around to him was a Baelfire one, the last but one from s2 where we found out about the Hook-Bae connection.

Thank you for the Harris Hotel link! I really must get to the Hebrides.

ETA: I don't know whether you read it two years ago, but in this post I talk about the play Peter and Alice, and thus also about James Barrie and the Lewelelyn Davies boys.

Edited at 2015-05-28 05:35 am (UTC)
Bimo: Terra_incognitabimo on June 4th, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for sharing this link! I think I might have missed it the first time around, but now read with great interest, especially what you wrote about Peter and Alice. The play indeed sounds very haunting.

As for OuaT:

Being harsh to a child actor, how mean! Of course some kids will always be more talented than others, but in my opinion already the fact that these children perform and play their characters on a regular basis in what is really not a child-friendly industry, deserves a great deal of respect.

Neal: The funny thing is that I (subconsciously) expected him to be killed off even *before* the reconciliation scenes that he got with both Emma and Hook. I thought especially the Hook one at the hospital was a rather nice touch, acknowledging the long and complex history these two characters have with each other instead of simply going for the "two guys fighting about the same woman" angle.
Young Baelfire was great.

Regarding Hook: I guess I must have started to like the character towards the end of S2 as well. Ironically, when rewatching a bunch of S2 and S3 episodes, I felt that a lot of what goes on in the "The Crocodile" flashbacks (Hook's introductory episode after all) is making much better sense when keeping the later more nuanced Hook characterisation in mind. Meaning, mostly Milah not only leaving Rumple for a fancy pirate but also staying with the guy until the day she gets killed.

By the way, you wouldn't know where to start looking for a reasonably decent native speaking beta, would you? Unable to resist the temptation I wrote a little OuaT/ Castle crossover, unfortunately without knowing a soul in the respective fandoms or the fandoms' infrastructure. And the LJ communities I've checked out so far seemed rather unappealing to me...
Selena: Cora and Rumpel by Hewontgoselenak on June 4th, 2015 02:09 pm (UTC)
thought especially the Hook one at the hospital was a rather nice touch, acknowledging the long and complex history these two characters have with each other instead of simply going for the "two guys fighting about the same woman" angle.

Yes, I had been waiting for a scene what was about their pre-Emma relationship the entire season, and was glad when it finally came.

re: Milah, I think that was one (of several) reasons why Rumple killed her. She hadn't just followed a fancy, she had evidently found happiness with Hook. Who in turn seems to be the long term attachment type in general - to his brother, Milah, Baelfire and Emma.

Beta: why not try [Unknown LJ tag]? She knows the canon - well, the OuaT canon, I don't know whether she's familiar with Castle and has been nice enough to beta stories for me, too, so I know she's willing. (And speaking of fanfiction, now of course I have to pimp my three efforts in the fandom. One about Cora, one about Rumple, and one about Snow and Regina. All written during the s2 to s3 hiatus, so you know the relevant canon.