Published on January 16th, 2012 | by Benjamin Matern0
ONCE UPON A TIME – THE SHEPHERD (S01E06)
By Benjamin Matern
I assume this episode was about the importance of free agency, but I really don’t know – it’s not as though all characters throughout the entire episode constantly referred to the importance of freedom of choice, no, we’re not that subtle in Storybrooke – or are we?
Let’s save our breath and not discuss in length what effect choices have in our lives and how they indeed form the foundation of a healthy life, how difficult life can get if we have don’t seem to have a choice or how we deliberately make wrong choices even though we know that the consequences will be painful, as Mary Margaret so aptly lamented at the bittersweet ending of the episode. Let’s, instead, talk about some choices the writers made for this 40-minute discourse into Prince Charming’s life. An excellent choice: Henry appears only in one scene. It’s sad how horrible his few dialogue still is. A poor choice: Fairytale and adultery just don’t go together. I know fairytales beyond brutality and with endings so unhappy you want to kill yourself, but there are very few where adultery is permitted at all – and if so, the consequences for the sinners are pure hell.
Now in our case the writers obviously want the audience to yearn for David and Mary Margaret to get together. They’re Charming and Snow White – they’re meant to be together. In the fairytale world his wife is rather dull, in real life she seems to be pretty caring which doesn’t make it easier for us to hate her, in fact I don’t. I’m leaning towards hating David because – not matter how much he’s in love with Mary Margaret – it is absolutely unacceptable how much he emotionally abused and tortured her in this episode. He stalks her, constantly telling her about these feelings (which are, after all, reciprocated), but moral superstar Mary Margaret stays strong. Only after she learns that he left his wife (bad enough, but at least more decent than cheating on her) she takes heart – and get’s her heart crushed in the end. Maybe she should have considered it a bad omen that David wears redder lipstick than Regina.
Which brings us to the next poor choice: What was up with the costumes and CGI, people? Charming’s wig? His mother’s Cruella de Vil hair? Abigail’s unbelievably ugly blue dress? The worst green effects since Buffy lost her twin sister in a boat in the “Ringer” pilot? However (speaking of twins), the twin story was a bit tacky, but at least unexpected and it laid some solid groundwork for an otherwise tame episode. But would someone please explain to me why King Midas, who can turn anything to gold by touch, did not kill the dragon himself? That couldn’t have been too hard.
As we established: We know that some choices will turn out badly and still make these decisions. I feel a little that way about not giving up on this show.