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Once Upon a Time S01E09 – “True North”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time S01E09 – “True North”

The Evil Queen with Hansel and Gretel

The Evil Queen with Hansel and Gretel

The fable-twist series is starting to get to the second rung of fairytales, the ones that are recognizable but haven’t received major treatment from the film industry. In “True North” we get a spin on the Hansel and Gretel tale where the Evil Queen sends the children into the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house in order to fetch something for her. In the real world, Emma finds a pair of homeless kids (H&G) and tries to find their missing father before they get sent into the foster home. While there is a lot of nice little touches in the episode which will lead to bigger things later on, mostly the audience is treated to long speeches from Emma about how being a foster kid sucks and about what it means to find you have kids. Overall a bland episode but it does lay the ground work for some hopeful fireworks later on. Solid, but preachy episode.

Score: 3 of 5 Stars

>Spoilers<

Only a few things I really want to point out in this episode, for one, the costuming continues to be great! From the Evil Queen to the Blind Witch, this alone makes the show worth watching.

The Blind Witch

The Blind Witch

Pretty much the rest of the episode is the typical H&G story and Emma trying to find the dad of the real world kids. She is able to use the compass their father gave them to get a name from Mr Gold… who just happened to know it though pretended he had it on record as a purchase. We continue to wonder what his game is.

During her investigation, Henry asks about his own father. Emma tells Henry a lie about who he was/is because apparently he was not a very good man. She makes the dad out to be a hero so this little lie will definitely come back to haunt her… because of course it will.

The children’s father is played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea, wonderful actor who was just on Supernatural on Friday so good to see him getting more work. He doesn’t know what to make of the news of having kids and decides he doesn’t know how to be a dad so they are on their own. This leads to many more speeches from Emma who is starting to turn into Sheridan from Babylon 5.  

In the fairy world, H&G kill the Blind Witch and retrieve a satchel for the Evil Queen who is, amazingly, grateful. She even offers H&G the equivalence of winning the lottery, but they aren’t stupid, she’s Evil, and turn down her offer. In typical Evil Manically Depressed Queen fashion she makes sure H&G and their dad are separated far apart and holds the grudge into the real world.

Oh, the satchel? Holds the infamous Red Apple that Snow White will be eating soon. Nice to see movement on that plot line.

The episode ends with a mysterious stranger showing up (at first I thought he was going to be Henry’s father so nice to see I was wrong). What does this mean for our Storybrooke dwellers? Odds are… nothing good.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Television

 

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Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

CW's Supernatural 
Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

Supernatural is one of those shows that can’t jump the shark because it made friends with the shark, served it a nice dinner, and occasionally takes it out for a night on the town. This is never more obvious than in episodes like “Time After Time”. Sam and Dean need a change of pace from their Leviathan hunting and Sheriff Jody Mills offers up a case for them. In the process of hunting a demon, Dean is thrown back in time and meets Elliot Ness played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea. This is a time travel episode and Supernatural looks straight at the camera and says “yeah, we know” and proceeds to have fun. The required cliché jokes are underplayed, Dean makes sure to lamp shade Back to the Future and Untouchables, and the dialogue is suitably witty. This is how you do a time travel episode in this day and age.

As a bonus, there is a nice subplot dealing with the recent turn of events in the Winchester’s lives and it’s not overly emo!

Score: 4 Ratings Star

>Spoilers<

The episode starts mid-investigation, Dean disappearing into the ether after chasing a new monster. After the commercial break we discover that Dean is obsessing over Richard Roman, this season’s bad guy. Officer Mills, who is a great character, great to see her back again, gives the boys a case in Canton, Ohio. Bodies are being mummified and the witness sees a guy sucking the life out of the victims with a red light.

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Elliot Ness (Nicholas Lea)

The red light turns out to be time travel juice and when Dean tackles the monster he’s sent back to Nov, 1944. Dean is arrested for waving his gun in public (which he does all the time in the future but only seems to get pinched in 1944?). He is then introduced to Elliot Ness played by the always wonderful Nicholas Lea. Lea underplays what could easily be an over the top character, especially as Dean starts to roll off stuff from the Untouchables movie.

That’s really the key to this episode, it’s underplayed. It’s all about a hunt, the time travel stuff is just window dressing. As Donald P. Bellisario pointed out in his audio commentary for NCIS episode “Yankee White”, if you are going to pay homage to a film so blatantly then you point it out, let the audience in on it. This way everyone can have a smile at the gag and it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Dean references Back to the Future on more than one occasion and we realize that this character’s only frame of reference in dealing with the current situation is movies, but it’s working for him so far.

Like a dream, Dean gets to fight along side Elliot Ness. Ness, who such a strong figure in law enforcement history, is probably the only one who can call Dean on his emo-shtick and really put him in place, something that has been in dire need for at least the last two seasons.

Supernatural - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester in 1940s era suit.

Dean also meets Ezra Moore, a tailor who reminds him a lot of Bobbie, so it’s possible groundwork was laid for future exploration. That or again they underplayed the time travel aspect by not specially pointing to the fact she is Bobbie’s ancestor. Either way, win, win.

Finally the monster is revealed to be Cronus (played by the highly charming Jason Dohring), a defunct god who has to suck the life out of ‘sacrifices’ in order to not be thrown through time. In a twist at the end they try to turn him in into a sympathetic character, he was only doing this to stay with the woman he loves and his life is pretty crappy anyway. However, it just fell flat and pointless, a last ditch effort which took a nose dive. Still, it wasn’t enough to detract from the rest of the episode.

The dialogue was amazingly crafted, the 40’s speech patterns and Dean’s wise cracks were spot on without being over done. The set design was passable (they kept the camera angles tight) but managed an awesome hunter’s kit for Ness’s car. And might I say that Dean looks mighty fine in a 40’s era suit, yum. 

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Cronus (Jason Dohring) is not happy.

As for Sam, he’s stuck in the present trying to figure out how to get his brother back and Mills offers her help. They find a spell to summon Cronus but they need him to be touching Dean so that he can catch a ride back. Through some dues ex machina and Back to the Future 3, Sam is able to discover a date and time the two will be together.

Cronus and Dean are pulled to the future along with a weapon provided by Ezra, and in a fight Sam plunges a stake into the god’s heart. Before he dies, Cronus tells the boys that he can see their future and it’s covered in black sludge, an ominous foretelling… but he could have been being a dick since he was dying.

Over all it’s not an arc-important episode but it sure is a fun one with plenty of laughs.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Television

 

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