Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time
Episode 7: Child of the Moon
By: Carlos Uribe

Once Upon a Time is a show about fairy tale characters who got sent to our reality, which has magic now.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Fairy Tale Story:

This is a fairytale story that concentrates on Ruby. She is on the run with Snow White from the Evil Queen. The story seperates her from Snow in order to introduce her to another werewolf named Quinn. Quinn realizes that she's a werewolf who is using her red cloak to stop the transformation. When morning comes, he introduces himself to Ruby by pretending that he's going to burn her cloak. He has one primary function and that is to introduce her to the world of werewolves. He takes her to an undergound lair that is really a sunken castle. Ruby is shocked to discover an entire community of werewolves but we really only need to concenrate on one. That character is Ruby's mother. It turns out that she's alive. Granny had stolen Ruby when she was a baby in an attempt to get Ruby to be a human being. Ruby's mom now offers her an alternative to accept her wolf side. She teaches her daughter how to control the transformation so that she is in charge of her wolf form. Once Ruby learns this, Quinn and mom have served their purpose. Snow comes into the lair because she tracked Ruby there and the soldiers following her quickly find it. Quinn is killed in the battle and Snow is blamed. The mother decides to test her daughter's loyalty by trying to get Ruby to kill her. When this fails, the mother tries to take matters into her own hands only to be killed by Ruby. Ruby doesn't mind killing the mother she just reconnectd with because she's really families with Snow. Snow being the only character who is willing to accept Ruby for her human and wolf side.

There's a lot going on here but the show simply rushes it. This is because the show doesn't allow the characters to properly process the emotions. Ruby sees her mother, trains under her, kills her, and buries her. That's all the time that's really delegated to her reunion with her mom. She doesn't get to know her and the bond between the two is very fragile. When Ruby killed her love interest, it worked a lot better because the relationship was already there and the show was able to show it. This time the relationship is only beginning. The show rushes through the plot but it leaves little actual time with the characters and in the process it removes any impact Ruby's mother's death is supposed to have. Why am I supposed to care about Ruby's mom when the character's only personality is that she's accepted being a wolf more than being a human. It feels like the show was hoping to manipulate the audience's emotions without pulling in any work. There is no reason to have included Ruby's mother in the episode and if Quinn had solely been the one to train her then it could have developed that relationship to be stronger before she killed him.

Storybrooke Story:

The Storybrooke story unsurprisingly revovles around Ruby. She's worried that she's going to turn into a wolf because this is apparently the first full moon since the curse was lifted. She has no idea if she'll be able to control the transformation and she can't find her red cape to stop it. She does transform. She's able to somehow escape her freezer. She turns up in the woods with no recollection of how she got there. She's devestated when she learns that minor character Billy (who is Cinderalla's mouse) is found dead. She believes that it's the wolf who did it and demands to be locked up. She's put in a jail cell at first until David realizes she'd be safer in the library from the angry townspeople. Ruby decides that instead of sticking to the library, she'll transform into a wolf to give them a monster to get them to kill her. All she really does is cower until David gets there and puts the cape on her. It's a nice way for the show to tie in Ruby's lack of self-confidence with having problems controlling her wolf side. It isn't until David is able to convince her that she didn't kill Billy that she's able to control her wolfside completely.

If she didn't kill Billy, then who did? It's Spencer who is King George from fairy tale world. He's hoping to undermine David by painting Ruby as a killer that he's protecting. David will seem like he's more interested in his own interest than protecting the town and Spencer becomes a hero. This fails because Spencer leaves behind a bloody axe and the red cloak in the trunk of his car. David is able to find it and convince the townspeople that he's the right leader for them. Spencer's revenge is to destroy the hat that would allow them to retrieve Mary Margaret and Emma. The entire plot was very busy and it simply felt kind of rushed. It's not as bad as the fairy tale flashback but a lot of time was spent on plot developments that detracted from the main plot. Those were important plot developments but they could have easily fit into the next episode.


Once Upon a Time delivers an episode that is without a doubt too busy going from plot point to plot point to have any real emotional impact on the viewer. The episode treats Ruby's mother and Quinn as mere plot devices without bothering to turn both into actual characters. The main Storybrooke plot feels very busy and rushed due to all the minor plot developments that could have been held for a week. Child of the Moon could have been an excellent episode that explored what happens when you bring a werewolf into Storybrooke but it was a wasted episode as it never really came together on a coherent whole.

Other Notes:

Henry learns to control his side of the dream that he's sharing with Sleeping Beauty.

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