I absolutely love Once Upon a Time. Is it too soon to say that? I mean, I’m only finished Season 2, but I can already say that this has to be one of my favorite shows of all time. There has yet to be an episode that has left me disappointed. Oh, God, I hope I didn’t just jinx myself. Will Season 3 take a major down-turn in quality? Will Once Upon a Time go the route of Arrow? The way Season 2 ended, there’s no possible way the show can go downhill, can it? (spoilers ahead!)
At the end of Season 1, the curse on Storybrooke had been broken, allowing all of the citizens to regain their memories of their past lives in fairy tale land (apparently, it’s called the Enchanted Forest). Season 2 kicks off with everyone being pissed at Regina for the devastation she caused with her enchantment. They almost drag her out of her house to punish her, but a kind-hearted Emma and Henry put a stop to the angry mob. Regina is now a pariah around Storybrooke, and she’s not exactly happy with the way things turned out.
The main problem I had with the first season of Once Upon a Time was that the flashbacks were all over the place. It was difficult trying to remember what happened to who and when. In this season, it hardly gets any better. This time, things are even more complicated due to Emma and Mary Margaret being transported back to the Enchanted Forest. As it turns out, there was a section of the fairy tale land where Regina’s curse did not cause damage.
Here is the real kicker: the show constantly shifts between multiple perspectives in different time periods. We follow Emma and Mary Margaret in current Enchanted Forest, Regina’s mother Cora and Captain Hook in current Enchanted Forest and current Storybrooke, Mulan and Princess Aurora in current Enchanted Forest, Mulan and Belle in past Enchanted Forest, Cora and Regina in past Enchanted Forest, and so on and so forth. Towards the end of the season, we go even further into the realm of flashbacks as we venture to Storybrooke back when the curse first hit. It only gets more complicated from there.
I’m fine with the flashbacks; I actually like them a lot. But the show’s background is so deep and complex that I often find myself lost in the chronological order. There are only two particular instances where I knew exactly what time period we were in: the flashback involving Emma meeting her baby-daddy, and the flashback of Rumplestiltskin’s son Baelfire making his way to London. Fun fact: these two flashbacks actually have one major thing in common, but I’m not spoiling it…
Another minor problem I had with this season is the continued use of unimpressive special effects. Some of the things I’ve seen are just laughable. I’ve seen better graphics in films from the early 90s. I don’t care if I sound like a douche – for a show based on fantasy and the supernatural, you’d think they would put a little more money to special effects. In the later half of the season, we see a fully wooden Pinocchio walking and talking, and it’s just… ugh.
I love how the show started stretching beyond fairy tales to introduce new characters into the cast. This season, we encountered characters from Frankenstein and Peter Pan, both of which aren’t fairy tales. Henry actually points this out and mentions how there’s a possibility of “other worlds” beyond the Enchanted Forest. So I guess Once Upon a Time is just going to rope in anything that’s public domain, right? We’ve already seen Wonderland, so why not? The show has done an amazing job at building upon its own lore and mythology, and if this means that we’ll be seeing even more magical settings and characters, then bring it on! Let’s see a little Greek Mythology thrown into the mix while we’re at it.
Season 2 was yet another fantastic installment of Once Upon a Time. It ended on a tough cliffhanger that made me question whether I should start Season 3 right away, or if I should write this review first. Now that I’m finished this review, I think you know what I’m going to do next. On to Season 3!
Final Grade: A
+ As with the first season, everyone gives outstanding performances; Rumplestiltskin actually made me laugh out loud several times.
+ It’s so clever how the show keeps weaving more stories and tales into its mythology; I loved seeing Dr. Frankenstein’s introduction as well as the concept behind Jack the Giant-Killer.
+ Almost every character you meet is properly fleshed out and developed; it’s fascinating going further and further back into the lives of the protagonists.
– Once again, it’s a little difficult trying to keep up with the chronological order of the flashbacks.
– The special effects are still ridiculous.
– It’s confusing trying to figure out who is related to who; I’d look up the family trees online but I’m afraid of stumbling across spoilers.
– Since all of the protagonists are now off to Neverland, does that mean we won’t be seeing as much of Storybrooke in Season 3?
How did you feel about Season 2 of Once Upon a Time? Did you prefer the citizens of Storybrooke not knowing their true identities like in Season 1, or do you like them being aware of their pasts? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!