ONCE UPON A TIME There Was a Snake on a Plane

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Episode 213 “Tiny”

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[photos: Jack Rowand/ABC.com]

Hmm. Somehow I missed a recap on “In the Name of the Brother”, but I’m not sure how. I watched it. Not sure how I missed that. Hm.

Onward!

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This episode was hit and miss. Mainly miss, because the acting was just… well… off. And yes, there were Lost Easter eggs. Yip yip yahoo.

I’m just going to spitball it here this time, mostly because I don’t want to go blow-by-blow on this episode again. It was a lot of filler to get us to one plot point that could have happened without all the filler. Of course, doing it that way you get no Jorge Garcia, and he’s usually fun to watch.

Usually.

Garcia’s giant Anton is just awkward. The lines don’t fit. The writers can’t seem to decide if giants use Star Wars Formal Olde English, or hip modern speak. And the green screen effects inside the giant hall … well, I’ve seen better. A bit. Like when the Youguai is moving through town a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes, the virtual sets feel unfinished. Somebody call Bruce Branit.

Once_Tiny_JackAnd his interactions with humans isn’t much better. Cassidy Freeman and Josh Dallas have some decent chemistry as Swaggering Prince James and Jacqueline (aka “Jack”), but are we really supposed to believe that tiny humans with poison arrows are enough to conquer giants on their home turf? (And there were more humans in the sound track: crowd noises, battle and combat, a mention of “humans” — not just these two puny humans.) Remember, Jack defeated the giant when the giant fell to the earth. Splat. None of that here. Anton, the last surviving giant, now has to live with the consequences of his decision to visit the human realm. All the beans have now been destroyed — well, except for this one cutting of a beanstalk in the jar.

And let’s talk about Jack, shall we? Cassidy Freeman is always a pleasure to watch, but it feels like her dialogue is a bit forced, too. Out of place in her mouth. And where it was a nice twist to have Hook’s crocodile turn out to be Rumpelstiltskin (as well as Belle’s Beast), to gender-flip Jack just seems like a gimmick.

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Although, it was nice to see Josh Dallas playing Arrogant James again. He really put some swagger into it this time, and you can tell from the first frame that it’s not David. The way they play Anton for the fool, it’s like watching a car wreck happen. You know what’s coming, but you have to see how we get there. And Anton’s gullible nature is clearly in play here. But Garcia is almost too old to play that kind of naive innocence anymore. We’ve seen him do too many things. I was hoping to see Anton the Giant be a little more fierce, a little more cunning; instead we get Nice Guy taken advantage of. Sometimes a mean giant should remain a mean giant. You shouldn’t always try to play against the trope.

Some fun byplay between Snow and Charming, too. A little flirty-flirty, even in the midst of a giant stomping through Storybrooke. (And the next town over is how far away? No one notices the giant? OK, good. Moving on…)

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Snow and Charming track down the ship by dragging Hook out of the hospital(?) and threatening him in a vague sort of way. On the ship, they find Anton in a cage, and that’s where the whole episode kicks off, with the mistaken identity and the killing rage and … wait. Did the rampaging giant just run away from the boat and no one tried to stop him? Huh? And why isn’t Hook locked up in a cell? Why is he free to roam the town after they find the ship? With the curse lifted, there’s no reason for Fairy Tale Land characters to consider Muggle law in force. They can do it the way the did it over there. Lock him up because he’s a proven threat. At the very least, he’s a nuisance, and locking him up would make him a nice piece of bait with which to flush out Cora.

This episode is really inconsistent.

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And Logan International Airport is a four-ish-hour drive to New York City. I looked it up. It’s not a bad drive. I made Dallas to Kansas City in nine. Come on. The only reason they’re getting on a plane is so we can get our Lost Easter eggs in. And make some spot-on commentary about the TSA. “How terribly uncivilized.”

Pinocchio is still missing. I somehow expect we’ll find him in New York City with Henry’s father.

Now, an interesting question has popped up on other discussions, regarding Gold’s need for a talisman. Remember, the curse affected everyone’s memory — except those of Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. He confirmed that about midway through the first season. So what is it about leaving town that would affect him? His memories weren’t overwriting his memory of Fairy Tale Land, so how exactly does the boundary line memory wipe work?

For Belle, sure, the memory wipe is going to be solid. And we see that as Ruby tries to connect with her in the hospital. And folks, you also have to remember that the only version of this character we’ve seen has been Belle. The Storybrooke person was locked away in a rubber room for twenty-eight years. We really have no idea what memories were planted in Belle’s head. For all we know, she’s a loon about to go on a murdering rampage, eating goats and driving cars backwards into buildings. We don’t know Storybrooke Belle. At all. So to complain that she’s a pain in the butt… well..

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The last scene – Gold just about to have kittens as the plane starts to taxi — priceless. Completely pointless (4-hour drive), but a fun bit. Plus, the added question of whether or not he’s lost his power…

Next week: the angels take Manhattan. Uhm, wait…

>>>>>

[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “The Outsider”]  (with apologies for skipping “Brother”)

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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