Hell Week Begins: Once Upon a Time

For me, Hell Week, aka season finale week, began on Sunday with Once Upon a Time. I’ll admit, I had been dreading it. Since its return from the winter hiatus, the show has hinted at and bluntly stated that Emma Swan, the beloved Savior, had the potential for darkness. What?!? No, that just can’t be. Thankfully, that storyline seemed to be resolved through her roadside encounter with Lily. Or so we thought, but more on that later.

I was fangirling over this episode almost from the beginning. The flashback to 1966 seemed a little out of place, but I’ve learned with OUAT that you just have to hang in there. It will all become (mostly) clear. (J.J. Abrams prodigies, Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz definitely learned the art of flashbacks, flash forwards and even the flash sideways while working on LOST.) It was in the next scene, where Isaac meets with the Apprentice that I catapulted into full-blown fangirl mode. While testing Isaac to see if he would be the next Author, the Apprentice mentioned that the last Author had recently died. The Author died in 1966. Since the Author was first mentioned, I had wondered and hoped, but that exact moment and Google confirmed it for me. Walt Disney passed away December 15, 1966. Walt Disney had been an Author! This Disney girl and my mini-me Disney princess were both squealing, much to my husband’s chagrin.

So much happened in the finale and this would be an extremely long post if I delved into all of it. So, I’m just going to hit the highlights, as I saw them.

At Gold’s request, or really, insistence, Isaac, The Author, writes a new story where the heroes and villains swap roles. In his version, these new heroes and villains become the worst versions of their predecessors. Heroes who are syrupy sweet and too good. Villains who drip with evil and the worst of intentions. Rumplestilskin becomes a knight who saves Henry from an ogre attack. Snow White is now the Evil Queen and seems so much darker than Regina ever was, even at her worst.

Hook, who is not a captain, but a deckhand, sacrifices himself to save Emma and Henry, even though he does not remember loving her. As Emma watches Hook die, she realizes she loves him, but never told him. That moment is what pushes her to tell Regina to fight for her true love, Robin Hood.

As always, love and family are huge themes on this show. Regina proves this when, instead of stopping the wedding of Robin and Zelena, she chooses to save Henry’s life by stepping in front of Rumplestilskin’s blade. Just when it seemed everyone would be stuck in this alternate reality created by Isaac’s book, Heroes and Villains, a discovery was made. Isaac was no longer The Author, but Henry was the new Author. With the stroke of a pen, or rather a quill, he undid everything put into motion by Isaac and everyone returned to Storybrooke.

Emma is reunited with Hook and once again fails to tell him her feelings. (Grrr. At this point, my daughter and I were yelling at the TV.)

Everything seemed to be wrapped up prettily with a bow on top. That’s when I checked the time. Twenty-five minutes left in the show. Plenty of time for many, many things to go wrong.

Rumple is saved by the Apprentice, who pulls the darkness from his heart and puts it in the magical hat. Belle and Rumple reunite. Rumple is no longer the dark one. The Dark One’s dagger has no name on it. That’s important, remember it. But, it still seems like everyone will have a happy ending, right? I was so wrong.

The darkness can only be controlled when attached to a human body and was too much for the hat to handle. The darkness escapes and tries to attach itself to the Apprentice. Emma, ever the Savior, uses her magic to stop that from happening. However, it seems that just the brief encounter with the darkness is too much for the Apprentice. In what seems to be his dying words, he tells them the darkness can only be controlled by the Sorcerer – Merlin! Guess who’s coming to Storybrooke next season.

Looking for someone to attach itself to, the darkness finds Regina, who finally is getting her happy ending with Robin. How unfair is that? Regina, who has fought her own battle with darkness, who has come out the other side (for the most part) is about to be taken under again. I should have predicted what happened next, but I don’t think I got it until about two seconds before it happened. Emma, again, ever the Savior, takes Regina’s place, sacrificing herself to the darkness. Just before it takes her over, she FINALLY says those three little words to Hook. The darkness then takes her, metaphorically and physically, leaving behind the Dark One’s dagger bearing the name Emma Swan.

A few thoughts for next season:

I think it will be Hook who saves Emma from the darkness. Snow, Charming, and even Regina will try. But, it will be Hook’s love that actually does it.

Before Emma was taken over, Lily asked her to find her father. He had been in dragon form at the time he and Maleficient, well, you know. So, not even Maleficient knows who he is. Hmmm, her dragon father is mentioned in the same episode as Merlin, the dragon whisperer. This is not a coincidence. I believe that we’ll find out Merlin is Lily’s father before the end of next season, possibly before the winter hiatus.

This was definitely not the way that I wanted finale week to start. I’m now three finales in and two have been more than a little traumatic. Up next on the blog will be my take on The Originals, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow and The Vampire Diaries finales. Next week, we’ll have finales for The Flash and Supernatural. Then finally, this hell that we call season finales/sweeps will be over.

Any opinions or theories about the finale or next season, please share them in the comments.

Once a Fangirl

Not too many years ago, I think I would have been offended if someone had called me a fangirl. My image of a fangirl had always been of a thirteen year old girl screaming at the top of her lungs trying to get the attention of her favorite boy band member. Yeah, that’s not me. However, if you define a fangirl as someone who may be obsessed with a TV show, movie, book or character, you might be talking about me. I have been known to watch shows over and over, to actively seek out every little tidbit of trivia, to memorize dates, and episode order. I think it’s safe to call me a fangirl and now, it’s a label that I proudly claim.

Thankfully, I seemed to have passed that fangirl gene on to my daughter. She’s the baby and the only girl in the family and has been our princess from day one. So, it was only logical for us to introduce her to the Disney princesses at a very young age, probably before her first birthday. As she grew older, she became more and more obsessed. If it had a princess on it, she wanted it.

By the time she was ten or eleven, I tried to introduce her to my first fangirl obsession – superheroes. She absolutely refused to give my favorites a try. She was starting to move on to more video game fandoms – Pokemon and Harvest Moon. Even though she repeatedly shot me down, I still tried to get her to watch just one movie with me, convinced that she would love X-Men or Superman or The Avengers. She steadfastly refused.

At least she did until this past winter. Over Christmas break, I found the perfect gateway to get her interested. I am a huge fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It took a little arm twisting, but I got her to watch season one. After a few episodes, she was completely hooked. She quickly buzzed through season one and caught up on season two. When the show came back from hiatus in March, she was parked on the couch with me and my husband, ready to see what would happen next with Coulson’s team. From S.H.I.E.L.D., it was a short hop, skip and jump for her to start watching the Marvel movies leading up to Avengers Age of Ultron.

Last night, we saw Age of Ultron. She had been doing a daily countdown for a week or two. She was so excited to see it with the rest of the family, instead of playing catch up. The movie did not disappoint. We all loved it. For me, the best part might have been the ride home. The four of us were talking about the movie, sharing theories about this aspect or that or what could happen in the next movie. Why was that my favorite part? Because instead of sitting back and letting the conversation flow around her while she was lost in her own thoughts, my princess was right there with us, part of it all.

That’s one of the things I love about being a fan or a fangirl. It’s the shared interest that can bring us together, whether within a family or a fandom, which are often like families. Some of the people I ‘talk’ to the most are online friends who I connected with because of that shared interest. I think that alone is reason enough to put away the negative fangirl connotation.

By the way, my daughter, who is fourteen now, is still a Disney princess fangirl. She has just let it evolve. She is now one of Once Upon a Time’s biggest fans. She writes her own fanfiction for the show, although she shares it with no one. It’s just one more reason I’m glad she’s a fangirl. She’s the real writer in the family and this is a way to let her stretch her writer’s wings. That is never a bad thing.

My Heart Can’t Take It

I firmly believe that the 2014-15 television season just might be the death of me. Barreling toward the season finales with the added pressure of sweeps, the drama and angst on almost every show I watch seems to be at an all-time high this year. I have watched while holding my breath, hands clenched together, nervously bouncing my knee, hoping that things turn out the ‘right’ way by the end of the hour. Too many times it hasn’t. I’m not sure that my heart or nerves can take much more this season.

Let’s take a look at the shows I watch (just a warning – it’s a lot), starting with Sunday night and moving forward through the week –

Once Upon a Time – The villains led by Mr. Gold (Rumplestilskin) are trying to turn Emma evil. Emma, the savior, the person who broke the curse over Storybrooke, might be evil? Now that we know Zelena (the Wicked Witch) is involved, I think we can assume that things in Storybrooke are going to get worse before they get better,

The Originals – Klaus has been daggered by Elijah. Evil Aunt Dahlia wants baby Hope turned over to her. And newly reunited sister Freya just might be helping her. Dahlia also seems to be starting a war between the vampires and the werewolves. I’m not sure New Orleans is prepared for that.

The Flash – Barry Allen, The Flash, has learned that his mentor, Harrison Wells, is not who he claims to be. Instead, he is the Reverse Flash (AKA Eobard Thawne) and is from the future. When we last saw Barry, Cisco and Catilin they had discovered the hidden lair of Eobard Thawne within Star Labs. That won’t make the Reverse Flash happy. I forgot to mention, the Reverse Flash killed Barry’s mom many years ago. That certainly puts a damper on a friendship, doesn’t it?

Agents of SHIELD – Phil Coulson turned himself over to, as we like to call them, Fake SHIELD. He is working with Grant Ward, who can’t be trusted, again. Just as Coulson thought he was getting Skye back, she was snatched again. Fake SHIELD needs to be taken down, I’m just not sure how that will happen.

Arrow – This was hard to watch this week. In order to save Thea, Oliver turned himself over to the League of Assassins and will be the next Ra’s al Ghul. As I watched Oliver and Felicity together, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the one and only time that would happen. It wouldn’t be the first time Oliver has pushed Felicity away ‘for her own good.’ What will be the fate of the Arrow?

Supernatural – This is one of the two shows that I absolutely have to watch live. After nearly a season of Sam trying to find a way to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean, he is getting desperate. Being willing to work with Rowena can certainly be called desperate. The Winchester boys are known for the raging codependency. I think we can count on Sam doing something to sacrifice himself in some way in order to save Dean. We saw that this week when he was willing to bleed himself dry in order to retrieve the codex from the Werther box.

The Vampire Diaries – Also known as the other show that I must watch live. We have known for three and a half weeks that Nina Dobrev (Elena) is leaving the show at the end of the season. That is devastating for season seven, but first we have to get through the rest of season six. Will Damon and Elena take the cure? Won’t they? My guess is that she will, he won’t. The writers also seem to be setting up the big bads for next season – Mama Salvatore and her traveling companions, the Heretics. I think that in the fallout of Elena taking the cure and the Heretics arriving in Mystic Falls, Elena will die or be forced (or compelled) to leave Mystic Falls.

Wow! That is a lot of drama and I didn’t even touch on the shows I’m behind on, Bones, The Blacklist and Person of Interest. Every year it seems to be a game of one-upmanship in the sweeps sweepstakes. I wonder what happens when they’ve killed off/written off all of the main characters. How will they keep our interest then?

Here is the flipside. I am still watching every single one of these shows. Obviously, the powers that be haven’t pushed me, as a viewer, too far. Yet. I do have my own personal list of viewer deal breakers. As long as they stay away from those, I’m in for the long haul, however bumpy the ride might be.