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“Second Star To The Right”: Once Upon A Time Review

By on May 6, 2013

Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon A Time. Image © ABC

While Once Upon A Time’s “Second Star To The Right” is better than last week’s episode, it’s still rather messy. There are some positive aspects to it, and this is mostly due to the strong acting. The nuances of the relationships, romantic and otherwise, are where the story finds its strength. Meanwhile, the actual plot continues to wander all over the place.

Regina proves to be impressively fierce as she holds up under torture. Greg and Tamara – mostly the former – electrocute her in a quest for answers. Greg demands to know what happened to his father. When Regina finally tells him that his father is dead, she does so with a malicious smile on her face. This is quite brave considering she is strapped to a chair being electrocuted. Fortunately for her, Charming bursts in the door just in time to save her from imminent death.

This brings us to another key point addressed in the episode – the desire to save Regina. Even though Regina is constantly up to no good, everyone continues to hem and haw over whether or not they should look out for her. It is almost funny when Snow and Charming say that despite their differences, Regina is still their family. If your “family” is actively trying to kill you, I think you can safely dismiss the whole we-are-related-by-blood notion. The only thing more recycled than the roller coaster of Regina’s potential redemption is the “magic always comes with a price” line used so very frequently throughout the show.

One of the unexpected highlights comes courtesy of Lacey (formerly known as Belle) and Rumple. The two of them take extreme delight in their new, devilish affair. When Lacey discovers that Rumple really can perform magic, she is captivated. Emilie de Ravin is doing a lovely job portraying Lacey, and though that character may not be as virtuous as Belle, she is pretty entertaining. Rumple would be wise to watch his back, though, as it seems like Lacey is the kind of girl that looks out solely for number one.

Emma and Neal dance around their feelings for each other until the situation becomes so dire that they are obligated to come clean. In order to escape, Tamara throws a magic bean at the two of them, creating something like a magical wormhole. Neal catches Emma before she can fall through it, but having already sustained a gunshot, he is unable to save himself. In an emotional scene, Neal hangs onto Emma as they confess their mutual love. For Emma and Henry’s sake, Neal selflessly releases Emma’s hand and is sucked into the hole.

Michael Raymond-James as Neal Cassady. Image © ABC

Michael Raymond-James as Neal Cassady. Image © ABC

In the flashbacks, the essentially orphaned Baelfire is welcomed into a new family when he tries to steal their bread. Of course, trouble still follows the poor boy. Before long he ends up dealing with an evil version of Peter Pan. In this version, Neverland is not at all a fun place for children to go. In order to save one of his new siblings, Baelfire offers himself to the prowling “dark shadow”. He ends up being dropped in the sea and picked up by none other than Captain Hook. “Welcome aboard the Jolly Roger, m’boy.”

Greg and Tamara are somewhat confusing characters. Considering Greg’s very difficult and sad history, it seems like we should at least feel sympathy for him. Should we find Tamara’s talk of “cleansing” the world of magic somewhat noble? Since their methods of achieving supposedly good things are quite evil, it makes it impossible to root for them. Also, any woman who is that cheerful at six in the morning should not be trusted. Did she even have a cup of something hot before chirping about her upcoming marathon? It’s all just very dodgy.

It looks like the potential season three would revolve around this “home office” of people who want to see magic gone for good. That is an intriguing storyline, and frankly it seems bizarre that we are only hearing about it now.

Any predictions for the last episode of the season? Do you think that Neal is really dead, as Emma (in her nearly catatonic state) believed? Tune in for the finale of Once Upon A Time Sunday, May 12 on ABC.

One Comment

  1. Principesa

    May 6, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Jennifer Morrison´s acting was so awful that i kept laughing during the episode. The show is just getting worse and worse.

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