Following from the below average season premiere, it's safe to say that I was not looking for to another one of the many Hook-centric episodes Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have plagued on fans. As mentioned, it's time for Emma herself to officially pass the torch of protagonist to her not as interesting son, Henry. Grab a bottle of rum while taking a read of this review because I certainly need some after what I watched this time around.

Pitter-patter of cygnet feet

After Henry is caught by Lady Tremaine for setting Cinderella free, he calls his mothers, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina, and stepfather Hook for help via deus ex machina message in a bottle.

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Except that Emma hasn't arrived for a unpredictably predictable reason. After Hook encounters his drunkenly elderly Wish Realm self, it leads to a good old switcheroo. It's finally then that Emma appears to help Henry as a de-aged Wish! Hook arrives to take the real Hook's place until he learns gasp, shock, and horror, she's pregnant. This leads Wish!Hook to a forced change of heart and to reveal a cliched "I have a daughter who I lost who may or may not be a certain frying pan wielding princess with long hair" sob story for cheap sympathy. So after that confusing jumble, Emma and Hook return to Storybrooke to live happily ever after with their unborn baby while leaving Henry in more danger with a drunken version and Regina who had nothing better to do in a town full of saccharine happy endings.

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Can't say that I blame her.

"People earn second chances"

After Henry gets Jacinda a job as a catering assistant at Lucy's big ballet recital, partners in crime Detectives Weaver and Rogers are assigned by Victoria to force Henry out of Hyperion Heights. Clearly the writers forgot she's not mayor and therefore has no authority over them. Planning to frame him during the recital, Rogers is at a crossroads of doing the right thing and keeping his loyalty to Weaver. Of course, he goes the long route, except that Weaver, the smart man he is, used the framing as a test of morality for Rogers. And with Weaver havng had enough of this stupidity, he says what we're all thinking to Victoria about how ridiculous the whole scenario was. And because the writers have no sense of pacing or timing, we finish with Henry, Rogers and Roni teaming up to defeat Victoria despite barely gaining development, let alone a comraderie

What a cop-out

Captain Hook/Killian Jones has always been a divisive figure. The writers have pushed him in the marketing and screen time departments to obnoxious levels while the fandom sees him either as an infuriatingly overhyped personification of abuse or a tortured soul craving love.

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From killing off Neal/Baelfire so he can win Emma's affections hook, line and sinker to the infamous Zeus ex machina in the penultimate season five episode, it's no denying that Horowitz and Kitsis have scrapped their show's rules and characterisation to make him appear superior. And going into this reboot, I'm not surprised that Horowitz and Kitsis haven't learnt their lesson. Rather than Hook himself being cursed and helping Henry, it's the one-off joke Wish Realm version from the season six midseason premiere everybody probably forgot about. To call this unfair while Regina and Rumple have to suffer is an understatement.

Despite the episode's marketing focusing on it being Emma's last episode, Morrison's return was sadly wasted. Barely passing five minutes of screen time in appalling hair extensions (it's been four years. Give her a haircut.), it's become apparent that the once empowered heroine has now been reduced to wife and mother. The same can also be said about her relationship with Regina because after so long of their development from enemies to friends, they barely have any closure besides a knowing smile. It just made me want to give SwanQueen shippers a hug.

You've been framed

The Hyperion Heights scenes fared no better, which felt more akin to a cheap LifeTime crime drama instead of cohesive fantasy drama. Yet again, I was not invested in Henry and Jacinda's relationship smothered in rom-com cliches and rehashed Snow White/Charming moments. The Rogers and Weaver scenes were admittedly more interesting despite Weaver's dodgy Cockney accent distracting me every time he opened his mouth. With a slither of his smart impish self, it felt reassuring to know that redemption arc in season six had stuck for Rumplestiltskin, no matter which version of himself it was.

The team-up to bring Victoria down has come way too soon into the narrative. Because Horowitz and Kitsis are trying to make season seven it's own product while still being a part of the "#Once Upon A Time" universe, kickstarting this plot while still barely establishing Hyperion Heights and the characters was a huge misstep. Forgive me for repeating myself with that, but I'm only saying it again because I believe it's critical for the writers to plan ahead instead of making things up as they go along like they have done over the last couple of seasons.

This episode made the premiere look like the pilot, and that's saying a lot given the low standards this season already has. Tune in next week for "The Garden of Forking Paths," which already looks an uninteresting mess because the Hyperion scenes clearly rip off the season one episode "That Still Small Voice" and I don't really care about Tiana and Cinderella becoming BFFs when Snow and Red were sadly neglected by the writers.

#Netflix #Television