Thanks to a much-needed mental health (aka shopping) day off yesterday and a never-ending battle with allergies, I’m a little bit behind in my recapping/reviewing duties this week. As such, I’m going to combine my reviews for this week’s Once Upon a Time and Castle episodes into one neat little recap package, summing up five observations I had about each episode in addition to my usual two-sentence summary and favorite lines.
Enough of my rambling; let’s get on with the shows!
ONCE UPON A TIME 2.07
Title Child of the Moon
Two-Sentence Summary As Ruby faces the first full moon since the curse was broken, she becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation and the target of an angry mod, led by King George, who is determined to get revenge on Charming in whatever way he can. In flashbacks to the Fairytale Land that was, Red finds her mother and learns to control the wolf, while the princesses inhabiting present-day Fairytale Land experience a shock when Aurora reveals that Henry spoke to her in their shared nightmare.
Favorite Line “I’m sort of an expert when it comes to rehabilitation.” (Belle)
Five Fast Observations
1.) Red/Ruby is definitely one of my favorite Once Upon a Time characters. Hers is a story about learning to love yourself for everything you are, both the good and the bad. This is such an important and empowering kind of love to represent on this show. The real monsters of Once are the ones who use their power to knowingly cause harm to others. Red is fascinating because she could so easily have become such a character, but she instead learns that just because she has the power to become a monster doesn’t mean she already is one. In fact, she’s probably one of the most inherently warm and selfless characters on the show.
2.) I like that this episode focused on the beauty and depth that can be found in platonic love. It’s so rare to see a completely platonic relationship between an attractive man and woman on television, and that is exactly what we saw in this episode between Charming and Red. You can tell how deeply they care about one another and have faith in one another, but never once did I feel like there was anything but respect and friendship between them. It’s also rare to see female friendships depicted as deep, positive relationships in the media, but this episode showcased two incredibly positive examples of female friendship: between Red and Belle and between Red and Snow. Once Upon a Time does a great job of showing that romantic love isn’t the only kind of love to exist and have power, and “Child of the Moon” showed that both platonic love and self-love can be incredibly powerful.
3.) “I didn’t save you. You saved yourself,” might be one of the most important and influential lines these writers have ever written. With so many girls, families, and young women watching this show, it’s a big deal to have a Charming tell this to Red. This show is not one for subtlety, and in this case it’s a very good thing. There’s no doubt that Red is the one in charge of her own journey, but she also doesn’t have to take that journey alone.
4.) While the main cast all gave incredibly strong performances this week, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the acting by the guest actors in the flashbacks. The line delivery was incredibly stilted in the werewolf hideout. This cast excels at taking dialogue that could be cheesy and making it resonant, but this week’s guest actors gave surprisingly flat performances.
5.) I found myself incredibly moved by the running theme of light and darkness as displayed in each character. Besides the main storyline of Red struggling to balance the good and destructive forces within herself, Regina and Rumplestiltskin were both able to show moments of total humanity with Henry, and Charming’s dark side was heartbreakingly shown by Josh Dallas when George tossed the hat into the fire. Love is able to bring out both our best and our worst selves, and the line between them is often dangerously fine. It’s a credit to the actors that they are able to tread that line so convincingly.
Title Swan Song
Two-Sentence Summary The murder of an up-and-coming rock star brings a documentary crew into the 12th precinct, revealing those that are camera-shy and those that are performers at heart while also revealing a little more than Castle and Beckett would like about their relationship. In uncovering the story behind the music, the team encounters groupies, stalkers, volatile bandmates, and one very dangerous cult leader.
Favorite Lines (While watching a video of a hookup between a band member and a groupie)
Gates: I hope you’re not going on the timestamp of this video. That could be fake, you know.
Beckett: That’s not the only thing in this video being faked.
Five Fast Observations
1.) This was a great episode for the entire ensemble. I loved getting to see each actor really flex their comedic muscles in a unique way. I have to give special credit to Jon Huertas and Penny Johnson Jerald for their standout performances. I never thought I could laugh so hard at Esposito or Gates.
2.) The small moments of each character interacting with the cameras really made this episode for me. Their eyes, their body positions, their facial expressions, and their line delivery really sold such a high-concept episode. You could tell while watching that the cast must have had a blast filming this episode; it showed in the excellent comedic performances each one of them turned in.
3.) I liked being reminded of the introvert that Beckett really is underneath the sassy, bright exterior we now get to see thanks to her relationship with Castle. In Seasons 1 and 2, it was clear that she was one to shy away from unnecessary attention rather than revel in it, and it was nice to see that character trait brought back. Kate Beckett is a private person, and that little bit of character continuity was nice to see and created some hilarious reaction shots from Stana Katic.
4.) I understood the need to show Castle intimately touching Beckett’s face from a plot perspective (and I’m never one to object to Castle/Beckett physical contact), but it seemed out-of-character for them to be so openly affectionate in the precinct. I feel like the cameras should have caught them like that outside or in the car.
5.) My favorite thing about Castle in this episode was how much he wanted to show off Beckett for the great detective she is. It’s apparently not enough that he’s written four books about her; he wants everyone to know—in whatever medium he can get involved in—how amazing Beckett is at her job. I have always loved that Castle is most attracted to Beckett for her strength and intelligence on the job and in her life, and he has been since the beginning. He doesn’t want the cameras to show how pretty she is or how sexy she can be; he wants them to show how she excels at her job. His proud smile when she was interrogating the suspect was one little detail that showed more about their relationship than any page of dialogue or traditionally romantic scene could say.