A foray into Emma’s past is long overdue, and in Sunday’s episode Tallahasee, we learned what turned her into the untrusting, distant, hard woman we met at the beginning of last season.
A large portion of the night’s events took place in FairytaleLand, where Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow White, Aurora, Mulan, and Hook face the prospect of the beanstalk and the giant lurking at the top. The giant (guest star Jorge Garcia) guards the compass they need to find their way back to Storybrooke, and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) only has enough magic to take one other lady along for the climb. While Mulan and Aurora both volunteer (one of those options is clearly better than the other, no?), Emma announces that she’s going, end of story. Before she leaves she makes Mulan (Jamie Chung) promise to chop down the beanstalk if she’s not back in ten hours.
On their journey, Hook keeps up a near constant patter of flirtation, which is amazing and quickly elevates him to my favorite new character since the Hatter first made an appearance. Emma, for her part, seems to be at once charmed and wary of him. Which is wise, I suppose, give that he is a pirate. Once at the top, they work together to lure the giant out into the open and down him with magic sleeping dust that Mulan handed over down below. Once inside the giant’s lair, they begin what amounts to an impossible search through piles of amassed treasure.
I am eventually going to get back to the title of this review, but let’s begin like this: we cannot work with three timelines in one episode. It’s too much. I failed to feel any emotional investment in any of the threads, even though Lana Parrilla is an outstanding, emotive actress and I wanted to break for her when she had to
kill Daniel, I couldn’t. I didn’t have time to get involved enough to feel her pain, to be reminded of how tragic their story had been.
Likewise, while the flashback Fairytale Land scene held my interest and the twists certainly surprised me (Dr. Whale? Anyone who guessed who he was based on that moniker, I applaud you. I had to Google it), in by the time the show was over I had trouble recalling the specifics of any of the stories. And again, this was a thread that should have left me heartbroken for Regina (Lana Parrilla), and it just…didn’t accomplish anything close to emotion.
The culprit, I believe, isn’t the story or the characters, or even the acting. There is simply too much story being crammed into 40+ minutes of television.
I’m not even going to bother recapping what happened in the concurrent Fairytale Land storyline. Here’s the down and dirty: Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) wander back to the island refuge, where they discover Killian Jones a.k.a. Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) in the rubble. He gives them some story about surviving that Emma sees through, then he admits Cora (Barbara Hershey) asked him to befriend the two of them and report back about portals to Storybrooke.
Read the rest at Poptimal