After a much-needed “Treat Yo Self” day yesterday (featuring shopping, Starbucks, and a TON of inauguration coverage), I apologize for being a bit behind in my recapping duties. In order to catch up, I’m going to combine my thoughts about this week’s Once Upon a Time and Castle episodes. And remember, you can always catch my thoughts as they’re formulating on our shiny new NGN Twitter.
ONCE UPON A TIME 2.12
Title In the Name of the Brother
Two-Sentence Summary Dr. Frankenstein’s past comes back to haunt him as the residents of Storybrooke struggle with whether or not to kill the stranger whose car crash brought him into their world. Rumplestiltskin and Regina each face struggles of their own as they deal with fallout from Cora and Hook’s appearance in Storybrooke.
Favorite Line “Keep smiling buddy. You’re chained down. He’s on his feet, immortal, has magic, and you hurt his girl. If I were to pick dead guy of the year, I’d pick you.” (Emma, to Hook)
Five Fast Observations
1.) The cinematography in the flashback portions of this episode was incredible. I loved the choice to film Victor’s world in black and white because it works on multiple levels: It’s a nice homage to the original Frankenstein films, and it also reflects the fact that this seems to be a colder world, a world without the vibrancy that magic gives to Fairytale Land. That was reflected in the brilliant decision to keep Rumplestiltskin in color even in Victor’s world.
2.) I love the idea of Red and Victor forging a close friendship, if not a romance somewhere down the line. Before this episode, I had never really thought of how similar they are, but now I really like that these two “monsters” have each other to lean on. For as much as Snow loves Red, she could never fully understand her guilt and her dark side. Victor can understand that, and he also gives her an outlet for the side of her that wants to take care of someone, to be someone’s support system. Red is such a beautifully complex character, and this episode showed me that Victor is also incredibly complex. They both want to make a fresh start, and I’m definitely behind the idea of them making a fresh start together (and not just because their chemistry was already so rich in this episode).
3.) Speaking of chemistry, it doesn’t get any more fun than what’s going on between Hook and Emma right now. I love that Hook is so blatantly attracted to her, because we know that a huge reason for the attraction is the fact that Emma bested him and got under his skin with her cunning and strength. Colin O’Donoghue is so fantastic in this role; he’s so charming but so broken, and I love that he plays both facets of this character in such a real way. And I love that he brings out so many facets to Jennifer Morrison’s Emma, too. The scene between them in the hospital was flirtatious, contentious, and surprisingly warm. I love that Emma feels compelled to protect Hook even while fighting against his advances, and I’m excited to see what becomes of their relationship as the season progresses.
4.) I’m really happy that finding Bae is how Rumplestiltskin wants his debt repaid by Emma. I was fearing it would be something much worse. I’m looking forward to seeing these two characters interact through this storyline because Morrison and Robert Carlyle have always had a fantastically antagonistic kind of chemistry. Also, how amazing was it to see Charming spring to his daughter’s side as soon as Rumplestiltskin showed up asking for his favor? I loved seeing him go into “protective dad mode” because Josh Dallas plays that paternal side to the character so well, and we haven’t gotten to see much of it yet. The image of Emma being surrounded by her father and her son as she faced Rumplestiltskin made me emotional because she finally has the protective, loving family she’s been living without for her entire life.
5.) Once Upon a Time is a show filled with heartbreaking moments, but I think Belle throwing the chipped cup against the wall may have been the most heartbreaking moment yet. To know everything Rumplestiltskin went through in “Skin Deep” to get that cup back—to know everything that it means to him—made that scene almost unbearable to watch. I’m a sucker for symbols, so to see such a beautiful symbol of him and their relationship (imperfect but still worth saving, damaged but not lost) destroyed right before his eyes was so painful. And Carlyle was once again devastating in that moment, especially as he walked away from the cup without using his magic to put it back together (because why fix something that isn’t worth anything anymore?).
Title Death Gone Crazy
Two-Sentence Summary The death of the creator of “College Girls Gone Crazy” opens up a plethora of interesting storylines about fathers and daughters—from the murder victim himself to Castle and his relationship with Alexis. The latter relationship is under some strain following Castle’s discovery of Alexis’s video blog.
Favorite Line “I never thought I’d say this after graduating the sixth grade…But our bra research is in.” (Ryan)
Five Fast Observations
1.) I was pleasantly surprised by this case. I thought it would be all about “College Girls Gone Wild,” thus opening a door for the writers to remind us of Castle’s playboy image in a way I was prepared to dislike. However, I loved that this was actually an episode about the things fathers do for their daughters. The twist with the victim being an expectant father was one I honestly didn’t see coming, and I really liked it. The different facets of this episode combined in a much more cohesive way than last week’s. There was a unity to the storytelling while still allowing multiple stories to be told in a compelling way. That’s the kind of Castle episode I know and love.
2.) My favorite thing about this episode was that I ended up caring about everyone related to the case. Both the victim and the suspects were all somewhat sympathetic. The best Castle cases make me care about the case on more than just an intellectual level; they make me feel. And this case did exactly that.
3.) I think we can all agree that something bad is going to happen to Alexis soon, right? There’s no way this episode wasn’t foreshadowing—between Castle worrying about her revealing her whereabouts on the Internet and the whole “fathers protecting their daughters” running theme. I’m actually kind of excited to see if this foreshadowing turns into anything because I think an “Alexis in danger” plot is something that Nathan Fillion would act the hell out of. He’s always been amazing at playing a devoted dad, and this episode was a great reminder of that.
4.) I really enjoyed all of the little callbacks to past episodes in this one. The victim being an initial suspect in last season’s “Head Case.” Castle eating whipped cream from the can while talking to Alexis. Beckett being distracted by half-naked men. And Beckett’s soft look of love whenever she’s reminded of just how devoted a dad Castle is.
5.) How did Esposito get more action than Castle and Beckett in this episode? In all seriousness, though, I’m amazed (and not in a good way) with the lack of romantic interaction between Castle and Beckett lately. These are the same people, in the same relationship, as the people from earlier this season, right? Because if I was just watching the episodes since the winter hiatus ended, I would barely have any hints that these two are anything more than friends who might want to be together someday. This episode really felt like it could have been from some early point in Season 3 with the lack of any sort of intimacy between them—no looks, no banter, no little touches or smiles to indicate anything. I’m not looking for them to kiss in every episode, but there should be a distinct change in their looks and body language now that they’re in a relationship. That was evident earlier this season, but I’m left wondering where it went now.