THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP
Check out HTG’s 2017 Season!
Opening Tomorrow: “The Importance of Being Earnest”
For more information, visit Heritage Theatre’s website!
CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “Once Upon a Time” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall/winter/spring Sundays (through the end of Season 6) at 8:00 PM.
What: “Once Upon a Time,” a fantasy drama wherein storybook and fairy tale characters are not only real but are living in this world, away from their enchanted kingdoms and worlds beyond reality, and how they all interrelate (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/once_upon_a_time/summary.html).
When: The Season 6 finale aired in two parts on Sunday, May 14, 2017, on ABC at 8:00 PM.
Where: The show is (currently) set in fictional Storybrooke, Maine, as well as in “The Enchanted Forest,” the fairy tale kingdom from where most of the main characters originate. The action takes place primarily in present day, though there are flashbacks to the characters’ past lives, before they were whisked away to Storybrooke via curse wrought by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parilla) and before they were made run-of-the-mill real world residents with serious bouts of amnesia.
Why: Two primary reasons: one, Chief Couch Potato Kylie loves fantasy and fairy tales, and the Disney network green-lit a live action serial television program about fairy tale characters that they would probably own the rights to, if the characters weren’t already public domain. Two, the creators are Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, two of the head writers of Lost. Whatever else may be said about the latter program, I don’t think anyone could argue that Lost wasn’t well written. All of our panel of enthusiastic Once fans finds love for this program via one or both of those reasons themselves.
How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)
To catch up on prior Once podcast episodes, click on the links embedded below:
Season 4A – Frozen
Season 4B – Queens of Darkness
Season 5A – Dark Swan
Season 5B – The Underworld
This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the sixth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! In our next episode, our Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler to devil out the pesky details of the second half of the twelfth season of that long-running cult favorite. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) Is baby Neal magical like his sister? (This question will remain until answered!)
Answer: At this time, baby Neal’s “specialness,” if it exists, is still unknown.
2) How did Will Scarlett (Michael Socha), aka the Knave from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, end up in Storybrooke and without Anastasia (Emma Rigby), the former Red Queen? And how did he and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) decide to hook up? (This question will remain until answered!)
Answer: Will Scarlett is gone. Where he went is anyone’s guess. Why he was even brought to the flagship show with so little explanation for his coming and going is the bigger mystery.
3) Where did Maleficient (Kristen Bauer von Straten) go? Will we see more of her? Will she reconnect with her daughter Lily in a more meaningful way? (This question will remain until answered!)
Answer: Like Will Scarlett, Maleficient and Lily have both disappeared without a trace or explanation.
4) Will the Once writers/producers provide a better, more detailed explanation for why Will Scarlett was on the flagship series? Will they provide a more significant flashback to explain why he and Anastasia are not together anymore? Would Emma Rigby be available to reprise her role of Anastasia? (This question will remain until answered!)
Answer: Will Scarlett is gone. Where or where has Will Scarlett gone?
5) Are we watching a Henry/Author rewrite in progress? This is Eddie’s meta-Matrix theory.
(NEW) ANSWER: If the events of this last half season are any indication, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) has no power to rewrite the book. As the Author, he is beholden to record the events surrounding the Savior of the storybook at hand. To wit, when he shirks his responsibilities for a time, he starts going into trances and recording strange symbols foretelling the end of the story. Also, Fiona the Black Fairy burns the original “Once Upon a Time” storybook in an effort to stop Emma and to save her son, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle). Thus, Henry is forced to hand-draw a new storybook to save the day (more below), so Henry, as the Author, must believe the story at hand and then write about it, or Destiny will do it for him – or put him in the position of having to write about it whether he wants to or not.
Bottom line: we’re deleting this question (finally).
6) Will Maleficient, Lily, August, Will Scarlett, or any of these disappearing characters reappear? Will their disappearances, at least, be explained? (This question will remain until answered!)
ANSWER: Not so far, and it seems irresponsible of the writers. Maybe they will surprise us in the end. Where oh where have they all gone?!
7) Emma and Regina encountered Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) in the Wish Realm. Can he be brought back to life from that realm? Or, does magic function there (and in the Regular Realm) like the genie’s rules in Aladdin, i.e. no one dead can be brought back to life because, you know, it’s unnatural and grisly? If we get an answer to this question, we may get our answer about Baelfire and Cora.
ANSWER: Funny thing about that Wish Realm. As panelist Micah predicted, when the Evil Queen (EQ) inadvertently wished the Wish Realm into existence, she created a permanent realm, which people can reach via Magic Bean Portal, Hat Portal, or Powerful Magic Smoke, such as of what Regina, the EQ, and Zelena (Rebecca Mader) are capable. In that realm, wished into existence, versions of our beloved characters were also wished into existence, apart from Emma, who was merely transported there from Storybrooke. Thus, those versions were “given life” through this wish. So, Robin was “brought back to life” while still in the Wish Realm; however, the Wish Robin is not the same as the Robin we formerly knew who passed away. He’s a bit more of a rogue. Instead of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, he robs from the rich to give to himself. He also seems to be ageless, since other Wish Realm versions of characters like Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), and Hook (Colin O’Donaghue) all appear with gray hair and wrinkles.
If Baelfire and Cora were wished into a Wish Realm existence as a result of the EQ’s wishing, we don’t know. The possibility exists…if the show revisits this realm for any reason in future season(s).
8) Who is the Black Fairy really? Why have we never seen her before? Didn’t Rumpel have an adoptive mother who died, leaving him to be raised by his ne’er-do-well, absentee father, who turned into Peter Pan? Or, was that person the Black Fairy? Or, did she become the Black Fairy?
ANSWER: The Black Fairy, Fiona, is Rumpel’s bio mom, formerly married to the ne’er-do-well who would seek eternal youth and transform into Peter Pan. She became the Black Fairy when she learned (SPOILER! TWIST!) that her baby, Rumpelstiltskin as named by his begrudging father, is destined to be a Savior – not dark, as the status of Dark One seems to imply. Fiona, knowing that Saviors are meant to fight great battles and are at high risk of death as a result, decides to do everything in her motherly power to help Rumpel evade this destiny. First, she cons Rumpel’s/her fairy godmother, Red Fairy Tiger Lily, into exposing her to texts of fairy magic, which Fiona consumes voraciously, and into letting her transform into a fairy via use of a fairy magic wand and spell. Second, Fiona’s singular purpose causes her to want to protect Rumpel by whatever means necessary, and so, she rashly uses the Shears of Destiny to separate her son from his Savior fate, thereby steering him toward a dark path and marking herself as a prophesied evil from whence a dark force is born, defeating the savior in her son and turning him into the coward we came to know in earlier seasons. According to the show, shortly after Fiona Fairy turned black with her evil intentions, the Blue Fairy banished her to a prison realm, which was why the audience never met her before. While Chief CP Kylie vaguely remembers a meeting or some memory of a mother figure in Rumpel’s life, the panel insists that we’ve never met an alternative mother to the young, scarred Rumpel. The Black Fairy is the only mother we know, and we all agree that Rumpel has some messed up, Skywalker-like beginnings (if he was Anakin, that is).
9) The panelists still want to know where these characters went: Merida, Mulan, Aurora, Philip, and other members of the non-Wished Enchanted Forest?
ANSWER: Unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown…but for Ariel, who apparently hangs out in Agrabah for a bit.
10) What is Gideon’s endgame? Revenge on his father, Rumpel? Ultimate power like his dear old dad? Where does Gideon’s resentment against Rumpel come from if the Black Fairy raised him in another realm? Why does he ultimately attempt to kill Emma?
ANSWER: Gideon, a powerful magical being, is controlled as a young adult by his grandmother, the Black Fairy, who removes his heart. She aims to use him to defeat Savior Emma, so that Rumpel’s life, as the Dark One, would be spared and to help her break free from the prison realm. Gideon intends to defeat Emma for more altruistic aims: to prevent Grandma Fiona from torturing other children that she kidnapped and brought into the prison realm as part of her Black Fairy purpose. Gideon’s resentment against Rumpel can best be explained away by Fiona’s obsession with her son, which led to harm against Gideon, who was also mistreated by his grandma, what with the heart removal and all. Gideon does not want to kill Emma but sees it as a necessary means to an end, even if he ultimately holds no real choice or agency in the matter.
11) What did the Black Fairy do to Gideon while raising him in a parallel dimension with speedier time, and what is her agenda related to her son, Rumpel? Why are they returning to this realm now, other than convenient writing?
ANSWER: Fiona Black Fairy just wants to have a happy life with Rumpel, despite the fact that she undermines this long-nursed desire with her obsessive need to prevent him from realizing his Savior destiny. Otherwise, she uses Gideon against other prisoners and children she kidnapped who are trapped in the prison realm, including Gideon’s friends and other innocents, and breaks Gideon down psychologically with her manipulative wiles. Gideon manages to open a small crack of a portal from the prison realm with his magic to escape but, in so doing, paves the way for Fiona to do the same, which is what she wanted all along. She wants to seek revenge against the Blue Fairy and make a “happy” home with her son and grandson.
12) Is the Black Fairy related to the Never Land shadow at all?
ANSWER: As far as we know, no. She is married to the man who would be the boy Peter Pan, but we still don’t know how Pan and the Shadow in OUAT are related or came to be connected as they were, beyond the fact that the Shadow turned Rumpel’s dad into the immortal young scamp.
13) Gideon changed the EQ to a snake and caged EQ-as-snake. Does this endanger Regina? Will she and her other half ever reunite? Will Jafar return to make this happen? He’s kind of an expert in snakes himself. If not Jafar, then how will it happen?
ANSWER: Since the EQ is no slouch, she easily un-snake-ified herself and eventually reunites with Regina meeting-wise only. In fact, the EQ exists as a separate entity until she makes the ultimate sacrifice (listen to the podcast for details). Jafar returns, though his return is not related to the Regina/EQ story line.
14) How will Emma and Regina return from the Wish Realm? Will they return?
ANSWER: Emma finds the adult version of Pinocchio, as he is known in the Wish Realm, and commissions him to carve an equivalent of the magical Wardrobe Portal that his father Geppetto created for Snow and Charming to help Emma escape from the Enchanted Forest and Regina’s original evil curse. For a time, the magical tools used for such carving become useless, but good old Pinocchio, Emma’s friend in any realm, carves a workable door back into our world, through which Emma, Regina, and Wish Realm Robin return.
15) Do we care about Charming’s darker impulses, which make him fear turning into his twin brother, James, who was vanquished in the Underworld when his soul fell into the River of Souls?
ANSWER: The show did not seem to care about such impulses in this half season, so we ask: why should we?
16) Will Gideon be the “Big Bad” of the next half of the season?
ANSWER: Insofar as he is the extension of Fiona the Black Fairy, owing to the fact that she holds his heart, and is the party destined to fight the Savior in the Final Battle, the answer is yes. Arguably, however, the “Big Bad” is truly Fiona.
17) Is the Wish Realm now a real “nuts and bolts” realm, wished into existence with the genie’s powers? Is it permanent? How long will the show spend in this new realm?
ANSWER: Yes. The Wish Realm exists as one of many realms accessible by portal, permanent and available for visitation by the Portal Network of Magic Beans and Hats and possibly Wardrobes. The show, as panelist Amie predicted, spends all of “five minutes” there: one full episode (the episode returning from hiatus) and a few minutes of another in which the EQ reunites with Wish Robin, who returns to the Wish Realm after trying to make a go of it with Regina Prime. Regina Prime realizes that they are not the same couple as Regina Prime and original Robin. This Robin seems better suited for the EQ, so both the doppelgangers realize when the EQ transports to the Wish Realm to make a fresh start after Regina balances both of their hearts with elements of good and evil, effectively equalizing their true natures while in separate bodies.
18) Will Henry find some of his own adventures again? Will he remember that he’s the Author? Will his Author responsibilities help right these new wrongs? Why is the show so reluctant to develop this part of the story? Why does Henry sometimes feel like extra baggage?
ANSWER: Henry is forced to remember his Author-ly duties when trances take hold, and he starts writing pages of the storybook in symbols and ciphers he cannot translate and without memory of having done so. The Author, as former Author Isaac explains in a brief return to the show, is required to record the events surrounding the Savior of the Storybook; as the final battle draws near, this fated imperative will occur whether the Author chooses or not, hence trances. This revelation becomes material in the two-part season finale, when Henry’s status as Author in possession of the Heart of the Truest Believer becomes critical, as he must save his mother from the Black Fairy’s cursing influence, and may become even more material at the start of Season 7, when the story shifts to an adult Henry. So, all of these problems may be solved and holes may be filled in future season(s)…or not. Listen to the podcast for details, and, otherwise, stay tuned to OUAT for further developments, eh?
19) Will Emma ever learn to rely on her friends and family (and lover) in times of strife and tell them what’s bothering her or threatening her life? It’s been six years. We think your family has given you enough reason to trust them! Hook too, for that matter!
ANSWER: I think, in the end, she does. In fact, she is nothing but honest with Hook and is much chagrined when he is not the same with her. Plus, when Hook disappoints her with his large lies of omission, she immediately tells her dad. So, all in all, major improvements in Emma’s trust issues are evident this half season. To this, we can only shout: “S’about time!”
20) Will Emma really die? And if not, how does she escape Gideon? Or, is that really what she is seeing in her vision?
ANSWER: Emma is prepared for the ultimate sacrifice and does not, in fact, escape Gideon. She allows herself to be stabbed by Gideon with the Sword of Savior Death, as exposing her light magic is expected to defeat Gideon, which is what she sees in her vision without knowing why or the next events in the sequence. Indeed, at the same time (SPOILER), Rumpel finds Gideon’s heart, secreted away by his mom Fiona, who Rumpel sends to a mortal end just prior to this discovery. Rather than assume control of it, use it to defeat Emma, or otherwise harm his son, he does the right thing: he clears it of its darkness in defiance of his Dark nature. Because the most good being and the most evil being in this story choose to do right at the same moment, everyone gets a reset. Emma is brought back to life, Gideon returns to the baby he was before he was kidnapped by his willful grandmother, and everyone gets a second chance at a happy beginning, including Rumpel and Belle, who are free to raise Gideon as their own.
21) Where is August nowadays? The panel universally votes for his return.
ANSWER: We see a Wish Realm version of him and a This Realm version of him; in fact, he finds another lost page of the storybook revealing that Hook, “once upon a time,” murdered David’s father in a routine pirate raid, rather than King George as previously thought. August provides this page to Hook, presumably with the hope that Hook will come clean with David and Emma. He does, but it takes awhile.
22) Since the Wish Realm’s version of Snow and Charming have died, will Emma ascend to being Queen of the Wish Realm Enchanted Forest? Will she be a good queen or an evil queen, and how will she handle her queenly duties?
ANSWER: Unknown, since Emma did not stick around in the Wish Realm long enough to practice being queenly.
23) Will Snow and Charming escape the new sort-of-twisty-but-not-really sleeping curse affecting their shared heart?
ANSWER: They do! With the help of Emma, Regina, and the entire town of Storybrooke, as well as a song in Emma’s heart (musical episode homage!), everyone makes the sacrifice to take on part of the sleeping curse, diffusing its power enough so that both Snow and Charming can wake up. Everyone enjoys a cat nap, and then our favorite twue wuv couple is awake to fight, together and for their daughter, another day.
24) Will Hook sharpen his hook? He feels largely toothless but is just as yummy to look at as ever, according to 4/5 of the panel.
ANSWER: Er, um, yes? He gets feisty when Gideon whisks Hook out of Storybrooke and prevents his return, even as Hook needs to prove his love (and honesty) to Emma, so they can, like, get married or whatever. A trip to Neverland, a visit with Tiger Lily, and Shadow Magic get him home, but he has to be pirate-y a few times in this process (and in a few realms) before his return.
25) Why do we care about Zelena? Seriously. We need to know. Even the rare panelist that likes her.
ANSWER: Well, Zelena does cause some trouble, and it’s kind of irritating. Basically, she decides to confront the Black Fairy and Gideon by herself in an effort to show everyone that she is the wickedest, most powerful witch ever. This effort backfires for a minute; however, she also sacrifices her magic to undo the damage she causes. Plus, we get a comical moment when Regina spends time teaching Zelena to drive, knowledge that she uses for good measure to run over Fiona, momentarily slowing the Black Fairy in her tracks, so to speak. So…this is why we care. Momentarily.
26) Will the show get better, once and for all? Or, is it time for the executive producers and writers to consider the possibility that Once should depart, make for its sideways version of the Island, and get “lost?”
ANSWER: The show improves markedly in this half season, and it seems the producers were ready for the possible news of cancellation by crafting a season finale that feels much like a series finale. The network, however, renewed the show, and now we are heading into a “soft reboot,” where only three regular cast members are returning full time, and the story is shifting from Maine to Seattle, Washington, and from Emma to Henry as the focal point of savior-hood. What does all this mean? Despite the “sideways” feel of it all, it means we have more new questions this time around and no small amount of wariness as this new season approaches.
1) The producers and show-runners have been releasing various teaser details to foreshadow the “soft reboot” fueling Season 7. For example, five new actresses were cast to fill mysterious roles, though one of the actresses cast will play Henry’s lover/potential wife and Henry’s daughter Lucy’s mother (we saw Lucy in the sixth season finale), identified to be another version of Cinderella, somehow dissimilar from the Cinderella played by Jessy Schram in earlier seasons. We also know that one of the new actresses will play Cinderella’s stepmother. Who are the remaining actresses playing?
2) How does adult Henry end up in the Enchanted Forest (or something like it…and what is it if not the Enchanted Forest) and then back in our realm, beset by amnesia, like his grandparents and Storybrooke friends were when the series started?
3) How will the show explain away the new Cinderella, given that this character was previously introduced, played by a different actress and well acquainted to the Snow White character?
4) Will Emma die, given that Jennifer Morrison is slated to appear in only one episode next season?
5) A teaser trailer shows Captain Hook wearing a police uniform, Regina standing in a bar, and Rumpel in unknown climes. How do they get where they are going? What is the back story for this time jump?
6) Is Henry the new Savior? Lucy says in the final seconds of the Season 6 finale that he has to save his family – to whom is she specifically referring?
7) Will this new season and new version of the show truly be different from what we have been watching? Or, will there be a rehashing of story lines and/or a recycling of plot points, only applied to new generations and/or new characters?
8) Will we see any of the departing characters (besides Emma) with any sort of regularity or frequency, or is everyone leaving and gone? How will they explain the departures and absences of so many of the main characters?
9) Will we see an older Neal, who, as Emma’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
10) Will we see an older Gideon, who, as Baelfire’s brother, would be Henry’s uncle and Lucy’s great-uncle? If so, when, where, and how?
11) Will Rumpel still be the Dark One?
12) Will we see any of the long missing characters, or get any explanations for their whereabouts, in the new season (the ones listed in questions 1-5 above)?
13) Did the propitious moment of Emma’s resurrection also mean that the Evil Queen, as a separate entity, came into being again?
14) Will Emma and Hook have or be able to have other children? Are they even interested in new children?
15) Who will be the villain(s) of Season 7?
16) Where did the rest of Storybrooke go? Is the town still there? Are Dr. Hopper and Granny and the Seven Dwarfs still around?
The podcast panelists reach some consensus, despite some variety of opinions, about the current progress of Once Upon a Time. All panelists regard the second half of season six as a marked improvement over the previous half season (and possibly the two full seasons before that), with some panelists enjoying it more and others enjoying it less. The panel universally agrees, however and with no hesitation, that #potential (#drink) contentment with the finale as a series finale episode would have been achieved if the show had officially stopped at the end of this season. As it is, the network saw fit to renew the show, and now we as panelists are presented with an interesting commitment quandary when it comes to staying loyal to Once.
While some panelists continue to foster hope and to devote faith to Once’s seemingly endless reservoir of #potential (#drink), the seventh season renewal and the impending so-called “soft reboot” is giving everyone, even the most faithful and most optimistic of us, some significant pause. The wariest panelists (your Chief CP included) feel that the producers, network, and parent company are spending a lot of time attempting to woo people back to the fold, when so many expressed skepticism if not outright outrage upon the departure of seven, i.e. more than half, of the regular cast, including Jennifer Morrison, who has played the show’s central figure, Emma Swan, the entire time. While reboots and spin-offs have existed in prior TV programs and incarnations of same, no show or network or producing team has attempted a “soft reboot” of this type so close to the original story and set of seasons that launched the premise; the Chief CP thinks the marketing team is avoiding the term “spin-off,” when that is essentially what we are about to watch. Many of the panelists, though curious and/or intrigued about what may come and committed to watching it for the sake of the CPU! Podcast, are also undermined by lack of trust for this producing team and their ability to capitalize upon #potential (#drink). Though Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and the Once writing team have offered and toyed with new ideas, they plant seeds without fertilizing them organically. In fact, this panel directs several levels of suspicion toward the writing team’s ability to create something that will strike a balance between being totally new and different while retaining some of the spirit of the original story and the core/foundation of the characters we have grown to love and have remained loyal to for six seasons of varying quality in execution and in overall storytelling success. In other words, we’ll be watching, but there is a strong sense that, either through the act of shark jumping or through network experimentation without support – particularly in light of a move to a Friday night time slot never before thrust upon this program – days are numbered for the remaining longevity of the once-upon-a-time CPU! favorite, Once Upon a Time.
Once Upon a Time has been renewed for a seventh season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 8:00 PM. The Once Upon a Time podcast panel will next reconvene following the seventh mid-season finale of OUAT, which will likely air in or around December 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you abreast of happenings and special events in addition to all OUAT podcast coverage. Until next time!