Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BOOM! OUAT's Jennifer Morrison Speaks - and fans hopefully listen

Jennifer Morrison - aka Emma Swan in ABC's hit TV Show Once Upon A Time - saw some heated discussion thrown her way earlier today for comments she made about a character on the show. It was in answer to a question about Neal Cassidy (Emma's first true love, played my Michael Raymond-James, who was killed off the show in the second half of the season), and it had Nealfire/Swanfire fans upset.

Fans have been upset for months now with the death of the character - arguing that it happened only to open the door and allow Captain Hook to "win the girl". The creators, writers, and actors have all been "confronted" by fans on twitter demanding answers, demanding Neal be brought back. Certain actors have been vilified for the characters they play, or for what they have or have not said in response to the character death.

The "other side" of the fan wars have been no better, antagonizing and creating rumors. It's gotten ugly. It's gotten bitter. It's definitely made ME wish I hadn't gotten so into the social media version of the fandom (all I wanted to do was follow the actors! what was I thinking?!). As someone who likes both Neal and Hook it's been hard to keep my sanity much less hold my "virtual tongue" on the matter.

Morrison got a lot of heat today with her comments in Monte Carlo saying that Neal and Emma would've had a hard time being the ultimate true love - but that it probably would've happened had he lived. But that Emma would've had a huge hill to climb with the betrayals. It's the multiple of betrayal that had most people at least questioning her statement as most (including me) could only think of one - when he left her at August's request and let her go to jail (nevermind that, that last part was August, not Neal). I was amazed by the hate that was spewed at the actress almost immediately.

Having not been paying attention to her Monte Carlo trip (I normally don't follow the cast around while they go off and do the interview circuit... and I'm really not interested now while I'm still bummed MRJ will not be joining them this year *tear*) I really had no idea what was going on when I logged onto twitter this afternoon. But once I got caught up I had to just roll my eyes. We're taking all of this far too seriously, folks. It's a TV show.

Yes, Neal is a fantastic character. Michael Raymond-James gave such heart and warmth to him that I can't help but really connect with the character (it took time, but OMG... I'm obsessed). But this is not a true life or death situation. This is not the end of the world. MRJ has survived - he's got himself a project that he's excited about (declaring on twitter that "#This1feelsspecial"). And while yes I GET THAT IT IS SAD and FRUSTRATING and something that makes us ANGRY (I have felt all of these emotions more than once since Quiet Minds airred), it is NOT THE TRAVESTY WE'VE MADE IT OUT TO BE.

Was it bad writing - I've contested that it was not the best writing. That it was too soon - too close to the last time Neal "died". However, the way it was written was well done. Neal has been very well respected in the episodes after Quiet Minds as well. This was not to placate the fans - not entirely. It was to give MRJ and Neal the send off he deserved. I hope that this is not the end for him - flashbacks, for me, would be enough if nothing else. Yes, there is a lot of Neal's story that should have been shared. Does it make sense to leave it open ended - this fangirl says no. But others have said that it is. Who am I, as a biased fan, to judge that?

Morrison took to her facebook page to set the record straight, and I'm glad she did. SHE DID NOT OWE ME OR ANYONE an explanation. And while I agree that she probably shouldn't have acknowledged the poor behavior of a few fans, I am glad for my own peace of mind that she did. I have wanted to know how the actors felt about losing MRJ (we've seen some of the "non regular/primary" actors voice their love), and I wanted to know what she meant by the multiple betrayals.

Her explanation is one that I totally understand and get. I typically don't see the "broken" scene where Neal grimaces and then we don't see him again until it's revealed as who he is to the story (first as Emma's lover/the reason she went to jail/Henry's father... and then in a later episode as Baelfire) as a betrayal. But it's obvious that Emma/JMo does. And she knows better than I do. In fact Emma lets him know that it hurt - and that's when he apologizes to her. Saying he wanted to love her, but he was afraid that she'd never forgive him.

Emma will ALWAYS love Neal, always has. But she has to move on for the sake of his memory - she PROMISED him that she would. That it's going too fast is irrelevant - this show moves too fast between emotions and always has. I get that it's icky that she's falling for the guy who at one time was "having relations" with Neal's mother, and I agree. I'm not a CaptainSwan shipper (nor am I a SwanFire shipper, though if I HAD to choose I'd lean more to SwanFire), but I have thought since season 2 that he'd end up being a love interest. In fact in Season 2 I was pulling for Hook, not Neal, to win her heart. It wasn't until we saw Neal fight for Henry and Emma that I started to better like his character.

Ultimately I have to agree with the last part of JMo's statement:
"All that being said, I wish Neal was still alive. I love working with Micheal Raymond James, and I believe that he is such a special part of ONCE UPON A TIME. It was a huge loss for me personally and for Emma when his character died." -- Jennifer Morrison
It sums it up so well... and I've always thought that she was affected by it personally. Her scene with Rumple in the finale where she is crying "I loved him, I wanted to save him. He died a hero, you can't take that away from him," I felt was just too raw and real for her to be acting (I am not a fan of her acting style in general. She normally leaves me cold. But not in that scene).

So, thank you, Jen for giving clarification even though you didn't need to. Hopefully as MRJ begins work on Sons of Liberty he will keep us updated on the progress, and production of OUAT will resume and people will calm down and remember - that even though these are wonderful stories... they are just that, stories (sorry, Jefferson). The people playing these parts are not out to get each other, that they are human just as we the fans are. Let's give them some respect, and the benefit of the doubt... and let's all try to get along.


  1. I actually read all of this... I am stalking your blog tonight. Hope you dont mind :P

    1. I can't judge people for stalking anyone/thing (even if they're stalking me) cuz I do it, too! LOL