As a writer of fiction I am not ashamed to admit that fairy tales played a huge part in me wanting to be a writer. There was always the action, the cool villain, and often a good love story. The Grimm Brothers and Disney did a great job of shaping that side of my tastes. But what about the true events that inspired such tales? Roberta and I reveal some interesting things about them in this latest episode of #thinksipwrite
While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait. Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par? Below is my spoiler filled review. As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season. There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch. It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season. Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season. It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again. I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain. Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best. They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind. Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant? At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves. Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works. Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play. My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd. I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used. Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering. Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart. I’m happy with where they both started and ended. Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down. Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.
King Arthur was frustrating for me. It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face. This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power. Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get. The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger. That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season. And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part? I didn’t care about the race change. What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.
Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One. We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.
Violet came as a surprise. Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting. I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it. It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.
Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too. What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara. Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting. Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative. Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.
Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect! In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season. She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.
Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale. (long sigh). Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career. I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset. Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show. In fact I welcome it. But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion. Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that. She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all. To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby. So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead? Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike. If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid. Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot. All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.
Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots. I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences. Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to. We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books? There should be no limits. I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all. Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season. I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town. Who are they? They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else? The suspense is killing me. Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined. Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.
In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important. Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places. That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store. Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.
31 Days of Halloween continue with day #3. Here, I talk about the miscellaneous folk lore, fairy tales, mythology, and urban legends that proved to be wonderful material to expand my world of werewolves in my third novel.
1) Classic Fairy tales are entertaining for any boy or girl growing up. Being as they are some of the first stories we ever know as children, they tend to stick with us for a long time. There have been a million takes on them, but what if they really happened, just more reality based? For instance: maybe the 3 little pigs weren’t pigs. Maybe they were chauvenistic men who were womanizing slobs. That’s the approach I took on the classics: The 3 Little Pigs, Peter And The Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, & Beauty And The Beast.
2) Following that line of thinking, by the time I was in 6th grade (which at this point is almost legendary as well) I was fascinated with Greek Mythology. I remember watching Lou Ferrigno as Hercules and enjoying those horribly good cheesy movies and stories. I’m a firm believer that every myth is somewhat based in fact. Something made those stories and beliefs stir. In BAB, I made sure one of the stories follows a very human group of people who were intuitive for their day. These people (Herakles, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, & Cerberus) may have been so ahead of their time that people perceived them as gods.
3) Gypsies always freaked me out. I have this stereotypical vision of a withery old lady casting curses on someone. Since they are often tied in to werewolf lore, it made sense. But I also wanted it to be in a time that made more sense, so the Civil War era seemed a likely place to plot one of the story arcs.
4) Sasquatch aka Bigfoot, is one of those urban tales that could be believed even by the most skeptic of people. Why then have we never found definitive proof? Is it because the trail goes suddenly cold? Or could the creature actually be something else entirely? I decided with this to create an entirely new take on werewolves by reversing the thought process of the standard idea.
5) Native American Indians are known for many things. Spirit Animals are one of them. I knew I wanted to do a story in this setting, but wanted to respect the source material as well. Like I did with the fairy tale idea, I delved into endless hours of reading Native American tall tales. What did those people in the pre-United States days believe in? What stories were well known throughout their tribes? So, I found a few that really caught my eye, and amalgamated them into something unique.
6) The moon has obviously been the center of many werewolf stories, but for BAB I decided to focus a bit more on the phases of the celestial object, and the power of the moon as believed in ancient times, and even a bit in conspiracy theories today.
7) The story of the Garden of Eden is as well known today as it was thousands of years ago. Something with that much staying power must be of a higher power. Using Eden as a plot device and setting felt right. I mean after all, what ever did happen to the Garden after humanity was cast out? BAB takes that under its wings.
8) Like the second bullet point, I did the same with Norse mythology. Loki, Fenrir, Odin and more have a real human story that inspired the Nors to believe them as gods.
9) Although this was actually a real battle in the American Revolutionary War, there is little known about it. In itself, it is a very unique happening. The battle to which I refer is called the “Moonlight Battle,” and in BAB werewolves are involved in explaining that.
10) Yeti and the Abominable Snowman are distant cousins in a way to the story of Sasquatch. In the spinoff comic, we follow the diary of Admiral Richard Byrd, who in real life was an explorer in pursuit of the creature.
11) Taking the urban legends of Jack the Ripper and adding a few elements from literature, a new tale is incorporated into werewolf lore.
That’s all for this installment. Tomorrow will bring us more 31 Days of halloween with a new article. Stay tuned. BONES AT BREAKFAST and its graphic novel comic spinoff, IN CASE OF WEREWOLF, are available for purchase in multiple formats on the right side of this page.
There is a LOT to cover here, but I’ll make it as brief as possible. First off, if you AREN’T watching Once Upon a Time, then you need to stop reading and start at season 1. I guarantee you will get so wrapped up in the characters and stories that you will not stop until you are caught up. There will be spoilers in here so skip to the end paragraph if you want my rating of both shows. Yes, I threw Once in Wonderland in here because to me it is part of season 3 albeit on its own.
I’ll start with part 1 of season 3 Once Upon a Time. The main villain here is Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The reveal of who Peter truly is in relation to Rumplestiltskin really shows why Rumple is the way he is. Wendy’s story arc is good here, and Peter as a villain works surprisingly really well. He was the villain you loved to hate.
We also see a turn for the better with Rumple and Regina here, that leads to them being more heroic than ever. In fact, it is safe to say they are now heroes for season 3, and likeable ones at that. Neil (aka Baelfire) however becomes the ultimate hero by sacrificing himself to save everyone.
What took me by surprise is that at the mid season break, it finished up that storyline, so instead of one long season arc, we actually got 2 shorter arcs, but I think this was a good thing to keep the show fresh. The episode with Ariel and Eric was satisfying, and seeing that the Evil Queen Regina took on the form of Ursula the sea Witch was fun as well.
Now we get on to Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. It really is ashame that this didn’t get renewed for a second season. I think the time slot was a bad choice. This should have aired at the mid season break slot of Once Upon A Time, but instead was on a different night where not many people tuned in. It DID however give us a good look at Wonderland and those characters, and they wrapped the whole storyline up. Basically, they didn’t leave us hanging to wonder what happened, and they left it open to include the remaining characters in the main show at some point.
Anyway, so we have Alice being taken back to Wonderland to save her lost love, who is a genie. Now keep in mind that this genie, AND the Sultan, are NOT the genie and Sultan from Aladdin, BUT, Jafar is the main villain. Speaking of which, Jafar is one of the best villains on this or the main show to date. His portrayal and agenda echoed what is known of the character, and he is not limited by simple morals. There is a soft side to him, however, which keeps the human part of him real.
Anastasia/The Red Queen was an annoyance at first, but the last few episodes had me liking her. The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, The Bandersnatch, The Knave of Hearts (Will Scarlet), and Alice herself all had great purposes in the series and I enjoyed every moment they had on screen. We even had a little back story with Robin hood and his merry men, which was a break from the norm of the show. The character of Elizabeth “Lizard” was odd at first, but a welcome sight…. until she died, which choked me up a little (I’ll be honest… I never like seeing a pretty woman die).
Cora appearing as the Queen of Hearts was expected, and she lived up to the menacing person she portrayed in the main series. Of course this was all in flashback here, but it was needed for back story. The Well of Wonders and the genies had a nice little plot thrown in there, but we could have probably skipped over that whole angle (though the demon of the well was creepy as hell).
At first I was disappointed by the Jaberwocky, but five minutes after her first appearance on screen, I grew to really like her as a creepy, fear inducing villain, and I hope she comes back at some point.
My only problem with characters here are the Tweedles. I didn’t like how they looked, and I felt they were used inappropriately for the most part. Their roles could have been better planned. As far as overall plot, Jafar trying (and succeeding) in rewriting the laws of magic seems to directly affect the events in the main series. In other words, despite the connection being little to both shows, they seem to acknowledge the events of one another to some extent. One last thing to mention is that there were definite ties to Storybrooke and the real world. I doubt we will ever see Alice again or the Genie, but Wonderland will be back in some form in the main show, I’m sure of it.
Returning to the main series, let’s talk about part 2 of Season 3. Here is where I was highly interested, perhaps more than I’ve been in the whole series. Why? I’ve personally read all 15 of the original L Frank Baum Oz novels, so bringing that in here was more than a welcome sight for me. Before I get into the main plot of this half, I’ll touch on the characters. Aurora, Phillip and Mulan were underused as usual. I almost don’t even want to see them in the show anymore unless some kind of good use for them is found. Rapunzel’s addition felt rushed, and I HATE when they change the race or sex of a character. (IE I don’t want to see a Black Indiana Jones or a white Blade). It annoys me, and especially with Tangled being so fresh in my mind of Disney movies, I had an image of Rapunzel in my head. Other than that, I don’t have an issue.
The new take on Lumiere (the candleabra) was interesting and refreshing. Blackbeard and Glinda, though minor roles, served their purposes and worked well in the story. Dorothy Gale coming to Oz was both hit and miss for me. I liked what they did with her, and how the fairy tale was twisted, but again, this felt rushed. I only hope we see more of her and Oz characters because in the long run, there is a lot of Oz that could still be used (even from the original characters we all know and love, that have yet to appear).
Now on to Zelena (The Wicked Witch of The West). She truly was wicked. I like the explanation of her green appearance (envy) and why she was so wicked. She had similar goals as Jafar in Wonderland, but for different reasons. The use of the flying monkeys and even the great wizard of Oz himself helped her to achieve her goals, but she still met her demise at the hands of Rumplestiltskin.
Of course, then we had the whole Captain Hook and Emma going back in time, but they sorted out the past and returned to a wonderful future. Charming and Snow White named their newborn son Neil. Emma embraced her magic and purpose and decided that her and Henry were going to stay in Storybrooke. Rumplestiltskin and Belle married. Regina and Robin Hood were happy together.
It was all a peaceful ending that made me worry. I worried because I thought “This is it.” Everyone has a happy ending. There is no need for another season. I’m so glad I was proven wrong, but now I have to wait until the Fall for more episodes. Like Once Upon a Time normally does, we are left with massive cliffhangers. In the last two minutes of the show’s season, we learn this. Rumplestiltskin still has his own dagger, even though his wife believes that she is the one that has it. This is sure to cause a problem in the future. Regina, finally void of her Evil Queen status is suddenly screwed by Snow White’s family again, because the one person that Emma saved in the past was supposed to die. That person was the Maiden Marion, who was married to Robin Hood and mother of his child. This then takes Robin Hood away from Regina, and her vengeful “Evil Queen” may or may not emerge to exact vengeance upon Emma for ruining her happiness.
Somehow I think they will avoid this mostly. Why? Henry still believes and loves his step mother, Regina, as a good person now. His love for her will stop her from being as vicious as she used to be. Also Tinkerbelle predicted that Regina is destined to find happiness with the man with the wrist tattoo. Now of course, this could have been redacted because of the whole time travel alteration, but I think that somehow they will work on getting Robin and Regina back on track. After all, he can’t just ignore the feelings he has for her.
Let’s see. What else? Other than a fun Back to the Future reference, and a cameo by a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, there was perhaps the biggest reveal of all. Regina tells Emma that “You better hope you didn’t bring anything else from the past back with you.” We find out that one of Rumplestiltskin’s artifacts came through the portal. From it escapes a woman in a flowing blue dress and pale skin. We don’t know what her face looks like, but if anyone has seen Frozen, then you know it is the Snow Queen herself, Elsa, as she freezes and shatters the artifact from which she emerged.
Other than the Frozen story coming to season 4, it has also been confirmed that the Knave of Hearts will be making his way onto the main show, and that Disney’s Brave and Princess and the Frog (retelling of the Frog Prince) will all be included in some manner.
This show keeps getting better, and I’ve learned to expect nothing except greatness and frustration on waiting for the next episode. I give season 3 of Once Upon a time 9 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland gets 6 out of 10 coffins. The reason I rate Wonderland lower is because of the obviously limited budget for the effects, and it really didn’t get compelling enough for me until the last 7 episodes. What did you think of these shows and what do you speculate for the future of the series?