Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Wow. Just wow. This is going to be short, because that was the dumbest episode of Once Upon a Time ever. It's possible that I'm just in a bad mood because Julio Jones underperformed in my fantasy league, but didn't everything about this episode just fall flat?
On the one hand, we find out why Red might hate herself – something I had never really wondered about up to this point. She seemed like a sexy, confident werewolf lady and the writers are trying to take that away from her. I say no! Give me my strong female character, idiot box! She's already stopped wearing shorts so short a down-there hairnet is required, just let her be well-adjusted for another season.
My pleas are sadly unheard. In the fairy tale world, after Red kills her beloved Peter, she is separated from Snow and meets another werewolf named Quinn. Which is a girls name. Is anyone else starting to track the upward trend of guyliner on this show? It's like they noticed Hook was a sexy man and thought “Must be the guyliner. Guyliner for all the new characters!” Sexiness is not about makeup, wardrobe department. It's about having an inner light and really great cheekbones. You can't just make that stuff up.
He leads Red to a wolf den, where she meets her mother. Quinn is entirely gratuitous – she could have just met her mother in the woods. Her mother, incidentally, looks like a pirate hooker. And not an expensive one. Her mother was supposedly dead, but apparently Granny lied about that. At this point I was yelling at the television “Don't you think she might have had a good reason?” Her mother might have had a name, and I vaguely remember it being a good one, but her only purpose is to prance around like a regal she-wolf and act in the most unconvincing way imaginable. Red's mother teaches her how to control her transformations – instead of blacking out, she can control what she's doing when she's shifted. I get that this is supposed to be symbolic of Red embracing her wants and needs, but Red was already pretty empowered when we knew her. Throwing her back into the early days without a recent context just didn't work for me -this whole episode just felt so left field, or at least this part of it.
Once Red gets nice and cozy with her new pack, which takes all of a day, Snow finds their secret den. The Queen's men follow Snow and the pack slaughters them, but not before Quinn is killed off. Red's mother turns on Snow for leading the soldiers to them and decides that it's just to kill her too. Gee, wonder why Granny wasn't crazy about her. In a very rushed way Snow is tied to a column and Red's mother transforms. Everything happened so quickly it was difficult to get worked up about it, just like when Red kills her mother. I just didn't care – the episode didn't give me the space to care. Red declares that she's not a killer, and she should have gone on to say she is a protector, but that would have been good writing and thus out of place with this flat and boring episode. There were werewolves! Seriously, how do you make werewolves boring without being a fat Mormon housewife?
In Storybrooke, St. Cockblock (King George) steps out from wherever he has been hiding to screw with David. He rallies the town against David, who protects Red when it appears that she murdered Gus, one of Cinderella's mice (now a man), while shifted into wolf form. I was kind of sad that I'll never get to know Gus, the once fat mouse who wanted to date the big bad wolf. I think he would have been kind of awesome. STOP KILLING OFF HOT MEN, ONCE UPON A TIME. First Graham, then Lancelot and Phillip, and now this. Just leaving me David is not satisfying at all.
As St. Cockblock leads the mob, David and Granny investigate who really killed Gus. Because, you know, this is the United States and we have forensic sciences. Or Granny's sense of smell. It's like basically the same thing. They discover that George is the one who murdered Gus (surprise!), and he has been hiding Red's magic cloak that keeps her from transforming (more surprises!). This was not shocking at all – you could have guessed this was going to happen ten minutes into the show. David calms the mob and reminds Red that she isn't a killer, she shifts back into human form when he throws the magic cloak on her and all is right with the world. Except that the whole thing was a distraction for George to get the magic hat and destroy it – now David will never see his family! Because women have no agency – there's no way they're trying to get back on their own!
The writers are building to something cool next episode, because Henry and Aurora's sleeping potion side effects made an appearance this week. Regina is worried about Henry's dreams, so she calls my man R-stilts. He gives Henry a necklace “for free” that will allow him to control the dream. In the last few minutes he does so – calling out to Aurora while they're both trapped in purgatory (I'm guessing that's what it is). She wakes up and tells Snow and Emma what she saw and CUE THE DRAMATIC MUSIC THIS COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING. Gag. Vomit. I'm done. Call me when the clever writers come back.
In two weeks: Dreams are the key to freedom! And lots of strange jewelry and drugs!