Dee Discusses: Once Upon a Time Season 2 Blu-ray

Posted: September 20, 2013 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Once Upon a Time, Television
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This is cross-posted from!

I have to admit, I was skeptical when I first started watching Once Upon a Time. For a reason that was completely unfair, because I wanted to see the comic book Fables made into a TV program, and I felt like this show might have stolen its thunder. That was incorrect, but fandom is rarely rational at first. I did give it a shot, and I’m glad I did. The twists and turns they have on famous fairy tales are fantastic, the ensemble cast is great, and the story is genuinely interesting and unique. I got started a little late in the first season, but I watched every episode of season two live and immediately jumped on Tumblr afterward to chatter about it. It also needs to be said that the show Once Upon a Time is supposed to be set in rural Maine, and that happens to be where I live too. Coincidence, or am I secretly a fairy tale Princess? I’ll let you decide.

Once Upon a Time is about fairy tale characters who were cursed to live in current day Maine and robbed of their happy endings. This came about because The Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) couldn’t stand to have her enemy Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) be happy with Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). She used a curse, secretly created by Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), to shuttle the entire fairy tale world “The Enchanted Forest” over to a town made by her design. They lived there, never changing, for twenty-eight years. Stuck in lives that weren’t theirs and forced to live in a constant loop, unaware of what they lost. Regina kept her memories so she could lord it over them, but eventually she got bored and wanted someone to entertain her. Or someone to love. Rumplestiltsin got her a baby, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), and she raised him happily for ten years. However Henry got his hands on a book about the fairy tales, and he recognized the people around them as the heroes … and her as the villain. He went to find his birth mother Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) because he believed her to be the savior. He was correct. Emma was the grown up daughter of Snow and Charming; when the curse  came down, Rumplestiltskin told them their only hope was to send Emma to this world. In twenty-eight years she would come to town and break the spell. And that is exactly what happened in the first season. We met the main characters and learned more about them through flashbacks, and in the end Emma broke the spell by giving true love’s kiss to Henry, fearing him dead.


Season two started out immediately after that. They might have to get concerned eventually about the fact Jared is going to get older faster than the show’s time line will allow. Anyway, the curse was broken and everyone wanted to find a way home. They also wanted Regina’s head on a stick. Could anyone blame them? The Charmings decided to protect her instead, and at first she could not use magic. Rumplestiltskin brought magic back to their world, but it took some time for hers to kick in. It happened when they were trying to send a wraith to another dimension, thanks to Rumpelstiltskin sending it after Regina. Emma and Snow fell through the portal with it, cut off from the others. The first half of the season Snow and Emma were in the Enchanted Forest. They saw what happened once everyone was taken away, and the people who were left behind. Including Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger) and Mulan (Jamie Chung). They band together in an awesome lady gang to try and find a way back home. Meanwhile Charming and Henry are on the other side, keeping the town Storybrooke together and convincing people not to leave. If they walk across the town line, they lose all their memories of who they truly are.

Rumplestiltskin is reunited with his true love Belle (Emilie de Ravin), but she is not impressed with his love of power and magic. He does reveal to her his true intentions. All of it was to find his son Baelfire. He was too scared to go  into a world without magic so he abandoned his son  to it, and everything in the show so far and long before that, it was a plan for him to get into our world. The Charmings are reunited halfway through the season thanks to Aurora and Henry having a sleeping sickness and seeing each other in this terrible curse world. Together they plan to get them through the well back into Storybrooke, but there’s a problem. Cora (Barbara Hershey) is with them, and she is Regina’s mother, an even darker and more powerful witch. She has Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) as a henchman, and he has his score to settle with Rumplestiltskin too. I don’t want to give the rest of the season away, but Baelfire resurfaces, a new enemy appears, and a famous fairy tale hero might … actually be  a villain? It definitely made us go ‘noooo when is season 3 again?’

The show has big strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes one qualifies as both. For example, the cast. They’re all great and the casting is spot on. However, they have too many characters. There’s so many plots going on that major storylines have to be pushed to the side, and who knows when they’ll be resolved. For example in this box set there’s a great bonus feature, and in it there’s at least one answer we would love to see in the actual show, but there was so much they had to do it couldn’t be. I think the show has so many ideas that they go above and beyond what might be reasonable. The character stories are good, but sometimes it slows down the plot and makes you go … why? This was a problem for LOST too. There were certain flashback episodes that were interesting, but not necessary to the current plot, so it felt like wasted time. Is there too much of a good thing? Yes there can be. Also they have trouble deciding what they want to do with Regina. If they want to redeem her character, they can’t have her changing her mind every other week, it’s frustrating. We want full story arcs and development that lasts, not see-saws as soon as the plot needs her to be evil again.  It also doesn’t have great CGI, although that has to do with the other costs on the show probably.


Now those are criticisms. Let me end this part by saying what I love. The costumes and settings are incredible, and that along with the cast might be why they don’t have a huge budget for CGI. It’s forgivable for sure. They make beautiful characters, and they do enough of a twist on every single story to keep you interested and invested. Nothing is exactly what you expect, and that is a breath of fresh air each time. The music is also great, and there’s a great deal of care that goes into the look and feel of the show. They jumped between Storybrooke, New York City, 19th century London, the Enchanted Forest, and a few other places. Each one was unique and different. That is impressive and ambitious, and they pull it off. There is a feature on this Blu-ray set that talks about the strong women in it, and I agree one hundred percent. As a female geek myself, it is delightful to see these numerous female characters who are all distinct and unique, and embrace both feminine and masculine traits. They are three dimensional and fully realized (on the whole). These are no damsels in distress, but neither are the men. Everyone is balanced, equal, and worth learning more about. Even if there are times I’m watching and think they’re getting scattered or too contrived, I find myself tied by the heart strings. I love these characters. And what does Once Upon a Time teach you? That love always prevails.

The Blu-ray has each episode in vivid beauty, and believe me when I say this is the kind of show that utilizes every color and sound you can imagine. It looks amazing on the screen, like this is the way it was meant to be presented. Bonus features include the “Girl Power” feature I mentioned above, where they talk about the major female characters of the season, although I was sorry to see Ruby/Red was not included on that. There was a funny feature called Good “Morning Storybrooke” where they pretended to be a morning TV show in town.  Community fans will be glad to see Yvette Nicole Brown as one of the anchors, that was great. Emilie de Ravin appears as Belle, Amy Acker as Nova, and a few more surprises. They had a feature “Sincerely, Hook” about Captain Hook, who may be playing a much bigger role next season, a classic blooper reel, deleted scenes, and audio commentaries. There is one special feature only on the Blu-ray which is ” A Fractured Family Tree,” about the complicated family relationships on the show. It was hilarious watching the actors trying to figure out how everyone is related to one another. It is narrated by Sarah Hyland of Modern Family. There is also an audio commentary for ‘The Miller’s Daughter.’

If you were looking for  some light family entertainment, or you just really love fairy tales and stories, this show is definitely worth a try. It might not be perfect, but it’s ambitious and enthusiastic and the only thing it’s really missing is musical numbers. Come on, it’s Disney. We need some singing!

  1. GW says:

    I do love this show, though i too felt there were too many plots, too many characters…


    • Dee says:

      WAY too many of both. Each time they introduce a new one I’m like oh god I do want to see my favorite fairytale characters, but TOO MANY TO KEEP STRAIGHT. Hold your horses people. It’s only season three.


  2. Data laughing says:

    They may have left Ruby out of the special feature since she’s leaving this upcoming season (or not coming back at all? Whatever, you get the point). Either way it’s too bad. I have season 1 on bluray, but I think I’ll wait a bit and see if the price drops before I buy season 2.


    • Dee says:

      I think that makes sense. She’s already doing her new show. I’ll miss her a lot. 😦 I’m not sure if they’ll write her out entirely or just hope she can guest star here and there.


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