Caution: This post contains spoilers.
I’m aware that I’m repeating myself when I say that Once Upon a Time is picking up the pace. Two weeks ago brought a great showdown between Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and his father, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). It left Rumple trapped inside Pandora’s box and a seemingly victorious Pan, who finally got Henry’s (Jared Gilmore) heart and immortality.
This week, Regina (Lana Parrilla) was the focus of the story. Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle play off each other well in any scene that they share, which was apparent last night. Regina gloats to Rumple about casting the curse, but Rumple foretells that she’ll be coming to him for a favor in the future to fill the hole in her heart. Sure enough, she goes to Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop to ask him to help her get a child.
Regina goes to Boston and picks up Henry, but bonding with baby is by no means a walk in the park. In addition, she’s mortified to discover that Henry’s mother is the savior who can break the curse. She takes Henry back to the adoption agency but she is unable to abandon him; in effect, we find that she rescues him early on from the clutches of Pan.
In Neverland, Regina gets to take the lead in saving Henry, accompanying Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) to the Thinking Tree. It’s another trap, as the Thinking Tree ensnares anyone with regret. Fortunately for the gang, Regina doesn’t feel any regret for the terrible things in her life, because Henry came into her life. She takes Henry’s heart and Pandora’s box back from Pan, allowing everyone to go home. It’s good to see Regina in charge and in her element once again.
Everyone, including the Lost Boys, is back on the Jolly Roger for the journey home. Neal (Michael Raymond-James) releases Rumple from Pandora’s Box, leading to a heart-to-heart moment between the two. Unfortunately, Pan comes for Henry, but not before Rumple can step in and open Pandora’s Box. The big shocker at the end of the episode is that Pan switched bodies with Henry; Henry is actually the one in Pandora’s Box, while Pan is in Henry’s body.
That’s right, folks! The hashtag #SaveHenry is still in play here. This episode was very thrilling and interesting, serving as a reminder as to why Once Upon a Time is a high quality program. It’s also a strong counterpoint to the consistent tedium of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which does not have the same caliber of casting as OUAT. Jafar and the Red Queen just don’t carry their scenes with the flair, tension, and playfulness exhibited by Rumple and the Evil Queen.
What sort of trouble will Peter Pan unleash in Storybrooke? Will Henry be freed and will he get his body back? Be sure to check out Once Upon a Time next Sunday to find out!
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday evenings at 8|9c on ABC.
Once Upon a Time brought a big shocker as the action picked up again in “Think Lovely Thoughts” last night. Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) have an epic showdown. We also learn more about Rumple’s past with the story of his father, Malcolm (Stephen Lord). Malcolm is a cheat at card games on the streets and he has a bad reputation everywhere. He leaves Rumple with a couple of creepy spinsters, who complete each others sentences. Malcolm gives Rumple the little straw doll as he promises to return later.
The spinsters tell Rumple he has to make a fresh start for himself, that his father is not trying to get a new job; his father only wanted to get rid of him and continue to frequent the taverns. They give him a magic bean, which mirrors the time when Baelfire gets a bean from the Blue Fairy. Rumple ventures back to the village and finds his father just as they said; still determined to be with his father, Rumple offers the bean and invites him to come with him for a fresh start. Malcolm picks Neverland, a place he visited in his dreams as a child. They jump through the portal and reach their destination.
Undoubtedly, you may have wondered, “Where is Peter Pan?” Young Rumple is at first happy to be in Neverland, when he imagines a piece of cake and gets one in his hand. Malcolm wants to go further and fly, but as much as he believes, he cannot fly. He climbs a tree to fetch pixie dust but encounters the ominous shadow (voiced by Marilyn Manson) that is all too familiar to us. Unfortunately for Rumple, Malcolm makes a deal with the shadow, which snatches Rumple and takes him back to FTL. As Rumple cries out for his dad, Malcolm is enveloped with the green light of the pixie dust and changes into … Peter Pan! Yes, Peter Pan is Rumple’s father, which was one hot theory. This family tree just got even more complicated.
In the present day, Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Adult Rumple meet back up with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and the others. No one trusts Rumple once Neal (Michael Raymond-James) reveals the prophecy. Neal insists that Rumple refrain from using magic during Operation Cobra Rescue Henry. In addition, Rumple must hand over Pandora’s Box. Emma talks to Rumple about making an antidote for Prince Charming and again, Neal interrupts and says Rumple will help because “it’s the right thing to do”. Rumple complies with his son’s demands and takes Hook’s sword, insisting he won’t step into Pan’s camp with “just his good looks”. They storm the camp and Neal gets reunited with Wendy, who tries to lie about Pan’s plans at first.
Pan takes Henry (Jared Gilmore) to Skull Rock, where there is an hour glass showing the time limit on his youth and power. Once the glass runs out, Pan will die. Pan wants to take Henry’s heart into his own body to become immortal, an act which will kill Henry. Everyone gets to Skull Rock, but only Rumple can pass through Pan’s protection barrier (which keeps out anyone who does not have a shadow). Neal realizes Rumple told the truth about getting rid of the dagger and he (and Regina) give back Pandora’s Box.
Rumple kept looking resigned and weary during the episode, particularly when Neal was giving him a hard time. It was also striking to see that expression as the group was rowing toward Skull Rock. His encounter with Pan, his father, at the end of the episode is pretty riveting with the big reveal. In spite of the mistakes and evil Rumple has carried out, you know he loves his son and wants to do the right thing, whereas Pan/Malcolm is completely selfish, ruthless, and childish. It certainly opens the possibility in ones mind that Rumple could redeem himself.
Unfortunately, Pan switches the box out for a fake one, causing a look of shock on Rumple’s face (a look which many Oncers may have also displayed at that moment). Pan uses the device and traps Rumple inside. There’s the prophecy, that Henry would be Rumple’s “undoing”. Pan returns to Henry, lying that the price for saving Neverland is that Henry must stay there forever. Henry pulls out his own heart just as the others arrive. Sadly, he does not listen to their pleas to stop and he shoves the heart into Pan before collapsing.
The next episode will air on December 1st. After all the build-up of the Neverland storyline, hopefully the showdown with Pan will continue to pack a lot of punch. With the powerful Dark One out of commission (only for the moment, one prays!), who will step up and take down Pan? How will they save Henry? I suppose in addition to #SaveCharming and #SaveHenry, fans will want to launch a #SaveRumple campaign as well.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8|9c on ABC Network.
Reddington’s (James Spader) next master criminal on “The Blacklist” is a creepy serial killer who is aptly named “The Stewmaker.” It’s worth emphasizing just how creepy and disturbing the Stewmaker/Stanley Cornish (Tom Noonan) is. A veritable master of disguises, this contracted killer drugs his victims and uses the “perfect” recipe of chemicals to kill. His routine also involves taking a photo and preserving a tooth in a jar as a trophy of his conquest. In his own words, he’s transferring energy and “converting” people back to nature.
To backtrack a little, Agent Keen (Megan Boone) is providing a key witness in a bust against Hector Lorca (Clifton Collins Jr.); the witnesses set to testify against the drug lord always disappear, which drops his cases and keeps him a free man. Reddington tells Keen that “something will happen,” because Lorca has reached out to him for a new identity and passage to another country. The witness is indeed kidnapped after one of the jurors is poisoned. Reddington remains unmoved by Keen’s pleas for help as he’s only interested in the big game, until the crime scene clues point to the Stewmaker.
Unfortunately, Lorca’s transfer to a high security prison is interrupted, leaving Agent Keen in the hands of the Stewmaker. It also forces Agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) and Reddington to work together (for a few minutes) to save Agent Keen. Ressler finds Stanley’s wife and son while Reddington hones in on the dog’s tracking device in the hills of Maryland. Agent Keen is injected by a drug that will induce temporary paralysis but keep her conscious. Luckily for her, Reddington arrives in time to save the day before Keen is subjected to the boiling chemicals.
As in the second episode, Reddington is not above killing his targets. He voices Keen’s thought that maybe the serial killer can change and rehabilitate. However, he promptly disposes of the Stewmaker in the very chemical bath originally intended for Agent Keen. Even though Reddington had the “decency” to position Keen so that she cannot see his actions, the experience still comes off as harrowing for her and for us. “You’re a monster,” she tells him later. “How can you live with that?” Reddington responds, “By saving your life.” Here is yet another instance of Red’s devotion to Keen, a connection the series will undoubtedly continue to tease out for viewers. He gives her Stanley’s binder of victims, but not before he removes the photo of a woman. Who was the woman in the photograph?
Out of the four episodes thus far, three of the targets have died, thereby escaping apprehension by the FBI. Two have died at the very hands of Reddington, which is very telling about his sense of justice. It also begs the question why he bothers involving the FBI, whose initial tactics entail an attempt at making an arrest. What is Reddington’s ultimate goal with his Blacklist?
“The Blacklist” airs Monday evenings at 10|9c on NBC.
Tickets are finally available for purchase if you are looking to attend this year’s Virginia Film Festival. The big event, in its 26th year, is held in Charlottesville, Va, which is also home to the University of Virginia. Film fest attendees will have a wide selection of movies to view, including a number of local productions. There’s even a screening of “Peter Pan,” the classic Disney film, which is sure to delight families.
A lot of buzz was generated already with an earlier announcement about a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” The film will be followed by a discussion with Tippi Hedren. Hitchcock’s film is not alone in facing a 50th anniversary. It is also 50 years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which will be covered in a screening of “The Kennedy Half Century.” It’s no surprise that Professor Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, will lead the post documentary panel. Be prepared for some valuable insights from Julian Bond, James Carville, Ari Fleischer, Kathleen Kennedy Turner, Ron Reagan Jr., and Bob Schieffer.
If you just found out about the Festival, the good news is that ticket sales opened up today. For more information and the full program of events, please visit http://www.virginiafilmfestival.org.
This week on “The Blacklist,” Reddington (James Spader) and Agent Keen (Megan Boone) handle deciphering encrypted messages for Wujing, a dangerous Chinese mastermind. After two episodes of plot twists and fast-paced action, last night seems like a bit of a letdown. We’re only thrown a couple of crumbs in the way of mysterious developments. Firstly, a group of men install some cameras in Keen’s apartment to put her under surveillance. The apparent ringleader is a man with an apple. The second tidbit comes when Keen asks Red why he chose her; he admits it has to do with her father.
Everything else follows a rather predictable and humdrum path. The FBI and CIA have a link to the Chinese systems through Keen, allowing them to see Wujing’s next target at the same time. There is a race by both sides to reach Henry Cho, an architect and private citizen, who passed off building plans for the CIA. Wujing drops off Keen and Red before he is arrested by the FBI. Plots revolving around spies and government secrets like these seem a bit overdone nowadays, particularly in the aftermath of WikiLeaks and Snowden headlines. Hopefully, we will see Reddington return to offering spectacular and unusual targets on his Blacklist.
To be fair, there were memorable moments. Spader always shines as Reddington and he switches from smugness to serious at the drop of a hat within a scene. We also see the extent of Red’s devotion to Keen when he kills the scapegoat Wujing mistakes as the security breach. Red explains he will do anything to keep Agent Keen alive. That brings us back to one of the central questions, whether the Blacklist is Red’s only objective.
“The Blacklist” airs Monday evenings on NBC at 10|9c.
Caution: This review contains spoilers.
‘Lost Girl’ brings back the Fairy Tale Land (FTL) flashbacks, centered on Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) uncertainty about taking the kingdom back from the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) is confident she is up to the task, but he has to overcome Snow’s stubbornness as well as the distrust of the Seven Dwarfs. Charming pays another visit to Rumple (Robert Carlyle), getting information about the famed Excalibur.
In Neverland, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and the others are still trekking through the jungle to find Henry. While everyone is asleep, Emma is the only one awoken by the sound of crying, which leads to her encounter with Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). Pan wants to play a game, giving her a map that will lead her to Henry. However, to make the map work, Emma needs to stop “denying” who she is. Don’t we already know that Emma is the Savior? What other answer is there?
No one, except Regina, wants to use magic. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) warns everyone that breaking Pan’s rules is never a good course of action. An impatient Regina finally wields a locator spell, which leads to a fight with Pan and the Lost Boys. Emma stops herself from hurting one of the boys because his desperate and lonely look reminds her of her childhood, as we learn through her conversation with Snow. She admits that she was an orphan, which causes the map to activate and reveal the location of Pan’s lair.
Pan is turning out to be a creepy villain in this new season. He even shows up in Henry’s clothes during the episode. He has a penchant for games but he insists on having you play by his rules. “Cheaters never win,” he chastises Emma. Pan reveals only a little more of his sinister plans: he says Emma will be an orphan again and Henry won’t want to leave Neverland once everything is said and done. It’s still not entirely clear what benefits Pan reaps by having Henry. Does Henry increase Pan’s power in some way?
The Pan teasers are great, but even more intriguing are the developments with Rumple elsewhere. First, he conjures a large fire and cuts off his own shadow. Thankfully, cutting off your own shadow does not produce the same result as having your shadow ripped out by someone else. Just think back to Greg Mendell’s (apparent?) death in the premiere episode. Rumple gives his dagger to his shadow as he orders, “Hide it where no one can find it – not even me.” Will Shadow Rumple be handling other important tasks for the Dark One? Will Shadow Rumple fight Peter Pan’s shadow? How exactly does shadow combat work in the first place?
We see the return of the mysterious doll that reduced Rumple to tears last week. Shuffling in the nearby trees interrupts his reverie and he puts the doll down to investigate. A cloaked figure steals the doll and heads off but Rumple gives chase. He catches the thief, who is … Belle?! It is Belle (Emilie de Ravin), dressed in her blue dress from FTL. Rumple is suspicious that Peter Pan conjured this vision of Belle to trick him, but it turns out Rumple did the conjuring himself.
Rumple admits he is still a coward and he’s afraid he’ll make the selfish choice of abandoning Henry. He explains that the doll was a gift from his father, given to him right before he was abandoned. Belle helps Rumple to toss the doll off a cliff and let go of this part of his past. Unfortunately, the doll returns later, no matter what Rumple tries in order to dispose of it. Bringing a vision of Belle (FTL Belle particularly) was a genius and engaging method for portraying Rumple’s inner struggle. It also shows that he has such a high regard for Belle, whom Robert Carlyle recently characterized as Rumple’s “emotional centre.” Belle can also stand in here for Rumple’s conscience: his desire to do the right thing no matter how much he says he has to be the Dark One. It plays out really well when she questions his choice of attire and she insists he was never completely dark as the Dark One. Based on the surprises so far with Rumple, one would hope that his “undoing” (from the Seer’s prophecy) will come about in an unexpected way, too.
‘Once Upon a Time’ airs Sunday evenings at 8|7c on ABC. And don’t forget to check out ‘Once Upon a Time in Wonderland’ as well; it premieres this Thursday on ABC at 8|7c. It’s a double dose of fairy tales every week!
Caution: This review contains spoilers.
Last night’s episode brought Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team to Peru with the 0-8-4 code: to investigate a puzzling artifact and determine whether it’s a threat. What was the last 0-8-4? Thor’s hammer. Yet another reminder for viewers to check out “Thor: The Dark World” on November 8th.
While the agents have been assembled into a team, they have yet to hone in on their teamwork skills. Coulson thinks Skye (Chloe Bennet) will be useful for her hacking skills, but she spent most of the episode feeling out of place. Indeed, her loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. is still very much up in the air, given how passionate she was about the Rising Tide in the premiere. Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) is still morose about having a team when he’s used to flying solo. We also find that Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) hates her nickname, “The Calvalry,” and she always ends up in combat situations despite her preference “to drive the bus.” Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) both lack fighting skills and the ability to simplify their scientific terminology for the benefit of everyone else. However, Coulson has a lot of faith in the crew and says, “They only need time.”
The team visits an Incan archaeological site, where they examine a small silver device in a cave. According Fitz and Simmons, the device predates the temple by a millennium. However, they are interrupted by Peruvian forces led by Comandante Camila Reyes (Leonor Varela), who turns out to be a former acquaintance (and flame) of Coulson. A band of rebels breaks up the party, forcing the team to take the unstable device back to the plane. Reyes and her team join the Agents on board as well.
Once on board, we find out the device is a Tesseract fuel cell, which should immediately call to mind HYDRA’s plan for world domination (Captain America). It’s a joy to find all of references from the Marvel Universe. Anyway, the device can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. That’s when Comandante Reyes and her men spring into action and commandeer the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane.
Unfortunately, the hijacking does not come as a surprise because Reyes is so obviously trying to revisit the past with Coulson. One would think a veteran like him would see through it right away. However, the incident provides an opportunity for the rest of the team to pull together. They blow a hole through the plane, which leaves Coulson hanging on for dear life for a bit.
Undoubtedly, the best part of the episode is the cameo by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is not pleased with the extent of the damage. He is particularly baleful when he says the plane “had a bar … a really nice one.” It seems Fury has a special place in his heart for the plane, much like Coulson’s attachment to his car, Lola. “Agents” should continue bringing in the major film characters because fans will continue to find it exciting. Overall, the episode was not as strong as the premiere, even when you consider Fury’s appearance. Both mind-blowing action and originality are important to keep viewers coming back for more; that’s what has given the Marvel movies so much appeal for audiences.
New episodes of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” air Tuesday evenings on ABC at 8|7c.