Tuesday, April 15, 2014

30 Days of OUAT - Day 1: Favorite Episode

Day One - Favorite Episode

After Season 3's "Quiet Minds" episode I've gone back and watched Season 2. It was a much "happier" time in Storybrooke where Henry meets his father and begins a seemingly good relationship. Much better than Henry having lost his memory and his dad (ala Quiet Minds). I'm still not over it. It was probably one of the best acted and written episodes of the series, but I'm still not happy about it from a character standpoint (and while I say it was the best, that really doesn't mean it was "perfect" in how it was done... it should've arced into a second episode. It was a tad rushed).

One of the things I love about Once is how they manage to tell very real stories about fathers. So often in fairytales the parents are used as very little backstory and it's the teens or children that are the heroes who are all alone (due to death or abandoment). Once dives into that in many of the stories, be it David (Prince Charming) and Emma, Rumpelstiltskin and Baelfire (Neal), Regina (Evil Queen) and Henry (her father not her adopted son), or Neal (Baelfire) and Henry.

One of my favorite "tragic" father child stories is that of Jefferson (Mad Hatter) and his daughter Grace (Paige). We find out about their story in season 1, but their "happy ending" happens in Season 2 Episode 3's "Lady of the Lake". It's been my favorite episode since my first viewing (until recently, it's now tied with another which I will list a little later). Jefferson is such an underrated character, and while I'm happy for the actor to have found "bigger and better" things in his career I wish they'd pop him into a flashback or *something*. The Mad Hatter is such an interesting character!

Since my rewatching of Season 2, I recently rediscovered the gem of Episode 14 of Season 2 titled "Manhatten". It's where Mr. Gold and Emma realize that Henry's father is also the long lost Baelfire. The reason for the curse. Before season 3 I was like many who just didn't care much for Neal. He was a great dad, but he left Emma to take his punishment for being a thief and yadda yadda yadda. Hindsight being what it is - and knowing more now than what we did then - the rewatching made Neal's character far more likeable. Also - as time has gone on, I've come to really appreciate what the actor (Michael Raymond-James) brings to the character. I will miss this storyline and hope that there's some way to bring the character back for a final round of closure (Henry needs this) or even to just complete the storyline. The fangirl inside me wants them to use one of their loopholes (there are several that I can find) to bring him back next season or even the season after, but I doubt that will actually happen. Which makes me even sadder.

Anyway in "Manhatten" we get a lot of what Oncers call "feels" between the reuniting of Baelfire with Rumple to Henry walking in and revealing he's Neal's son... especially now that we know the full story of "Baelfire/Neal" it's such an important and sad part of the story. But it was well laid out and well acted. It truly showcases that natural acting style of MRJ, and all of the actors have a good chemistry between them. Makes me wish they'd waited another season before they killed him off (I mean if they *had* to kill him off).

I honestly was not a Neal Fan until Season 3, now I'm totally smitten. Darn you Adam and Eddie! Bring him back! (I know, I know... it's "too late"...)

There are a lot of honorable mentions. For me what makes me love an episode in this show is when an actor (or more than one) really shows what they're made of. Colin O'Donohue (Capt. Hook) did that this week in "Jolly Roger" (though most of the episode was hokey).

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