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[personal profile] oyceter
I wasn't quite sure if I was going to watch this. The production values and all the press ABC is putting behind it is great, but I've been watching much less TV lately. Plus, I've read a LOT of fairy-tale-inspired things, from straight retellings to mashups, so I have fairly high expectations in this area.

That said, so far I am very pleased that this is a show that easily passes the Bechdel Test, features a woman as the promised savior, and so far has been giving all the women more and more agency instead of less and less.

Spoilers are not honeycrisp apples

The pilot is very exposition-y, and "Snow White" has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. I was further annoyed by how the narrative was pitting Emma against Regina, birth morther versus adopted mother, and as usual per fairy tales, the non-blood-related parent gets the short end of the stick. (I know many fairytales began with it being the actual mother, but I think the evil stepmother stereotype is very well ingrained by now.)

Also, cute plot device Henry is annoying.

I think the actress playing Regina overdoes it, which makes the already unsympathetic Regina more difficult to like. It has been getting better over the last few episodes or so, and it helps that the narrative is also slowly fleshing out Regina's motives and backstory. But any time Regina makes threats on screen, I kind of just roll my eyes instead of fearing her.

And as a completely minor detail, why in the world did the writers say her apples were honeycrisps? They were so obviously not honeycrisps! I mean, if they had used fujis or even pink ladies or some other green-yellow-pink apple, it would have been more plausible, but not something that looks very much like red delicious!

To my surprise, I have been very much liking Snow White and Mary Margaret after an initially negative impression. I particularly enjoyed the bandit twist for Snow White and how it works with wanted posters everywhere. I do want to rewatch the pilot at some point, though; the Snow White we see later on seems a bit different from the worried and pregnant Snow White in the pilot. I also love how the show has been doing alternate rescues, with Snow White saving the prince and the later set-up of David in a coma waking up to Mary Margaret's CPR. I was impressed by James' backstory (is that his name, or the name of the prince?), particularly by how much it mirrors the traditional heroine's journey in a fairy tale. He wants to hold out for true love instead of marrying for money, he's trapped in an arranged marriage by his love for his mother and country, and generally he feels pent in and caged with no real way out, until he meets Snow White.

And this is where I think the show excels: up until episode 5, we barely had any scenes with two significant male characters talking to each other, and even then, it's Henry providing emotional support for Jiminy while Regina and Emma work to rescue them from the cave-in. The most active male characters so far are Henry, an expository device who provides something for the main characters to battle over; David/James, whose primary storyline involves a romantic triangle and being deprived of agency a lot; the sheriff, whom we've seen very little of and is Regina's boy toy; and Rumpelstiltskin, who is the male character with the most agency and is, of course, the villain. I do have issues with how Rumpelstiltskin is somewhat of an anti-Semitic stereotype, though I cannot for the life of me place his accent.

I'm still holding out re: the show's position on adopted family versus biological family. I thought the first few episodes were extremely headdesky about stepmothers versus biological mothers, but I've been enjoying how the show has been fleshing out Emma's backstory and its take on single motherhood. I'd also kind of love a "yes, I gave you up for adoption because I would be a terrible mother, but it doesn't mean you or I am a horrible person." Currently we have Emma-Henry, James-his mom, Ashley-her daughter, Evil Queen-father, and Mary Margaret-Emma as positive blood-related parent-child dyads; James-the king, Regina-Henry, and Emma-foster parents(?) as negative non-blood-related parent-child dyads; Jiminy-the Crickets as a negative blood-related parent-child dyad; and no positive non-blood-related parent-child dyads. Unless one counts Jiminy-Gepetto? And presumably we will get to Pinochhio eventually...

I usually dislike love triangles like whoa, but I am very much appreciating how the Kathryn-David-Mary Margaret triangle is playing out. I especially like how the show has emphasized choice and decisions, as opposed to being overcome by emotion or whatnot. And I really like how the text has not absolved David from responsibility: Emma makes the point that if David chooses to leave Kathryn, that's his choice, and Mary Margaret tells him he shouldn't have led her on like that. I have to say, even though I really like Snow White and James, I am kind of rooting for David and Katherine, just because I have a thing for second chances and married couples falling back in love. That, and I want Abigail fleshed out a bit more.

The bad: I'm disturbed by how we already have two Magical Negroes, one of whom has already been killed by Rumpelstiltskin.

All in all, the show has gotten much more interesting in only six episodes, so now it gets a Season Pass on Tivo instead of being relegated to "watch online when I remember."
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Oyceter

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