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I guess I look at OUAT slightly differently, and maybe that’s why I have less issue with her portrayal in 3b. personally I was glad it wasn’t Emma who saved the day; it was the woman who essentially got them in this “mess” in the beginnng – Regina.
Regina didn’t get them in the mess, that was Cora and the puppet master of the Dark Curse Rumple, and even Glinda and The Wizard (Walsh) had more of a hand in making Zelena Zelena than Regina had. Zelena did the same stupid thing with Regina that Regina did with Snow, blame her for something that was beyond her control (there are other things Regina can be blamed for but sure not for anything that happened to Zelena before she encountered her this season).
Nevertheless, I was okay with Regina being the one saving the day, town, They promoted 3B as WickedvsEvil, so it amused me when many viewers assumed, following in that the characters, it would be Emma wielding the white magic Glinda was talking about. Now I could see a way the writers could have made that happen while still making Regina the one behind the successful defeating move against Zelena – as Emma’s good mentor, but they shied away from that in the end. I don’t sense conspiracy against SwanQueen here like others do, but have the impression that the writers (subconsciously) might have begun limiting themselves in their writing possibilities to avoid giving even more subtext and avoid feeding more hope for something they have at this point no intention to let happen on screen. I am at a point I would like to cuddle them and assure them, it’s okay, just let it go, fear not. Regina and Emma could develop a great sisterhood, it so doesn’t has to be a romance, and a good sisterhood can come really close to romance in how it looks to other people. Can’t repeat it often enough, I was fine with either versions of Xena and Gabriele relationship, romance or sisterhood, because we had a huge lack of both on screen back then, golly, we still have too little of that. Why do they think shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Rizolli&Ilses, Lost Girl, even think Orphan Black, movies like Brave and Frozen are such a success particular in a certain demography? No, it’s not lesbian/bisexual women alone, far from. And Emma needs a friend, she needs a mentor. Right, Regina tried umpteenth times to kill her family and tried to kill her, so what? If they would give Regina a real “redemption” arc and not the cheap circus clown version they are doing so far, it could be one of the epic stories of OUaT.
They are doing a lot right with Emma, the characer’s psychological profile still is rather realistic and interesting, but they do so much wrong with her journey, her story. It’s not that they do let her change and grow even, I am mostly okay with where Emma is now emotionally, it is how they get her there.
It’s neither about making this Emma’s show, OUaT always has been more of an ensemble show from the pilot on, so there is not one single main character everything revolves around (not even Regina as some by now think). It’s not about who gets more screentime nor who is the hero of the day or of season’s final. Funny enough Emma was the hero of the season’s final even, again.
When the show started it started has stories about empowerment, and mostly about female empowerment, hope, love, belief in one’s self and trusting others as key ingredients. Sorry guys, but the men were supporting characters, exception Rumple. Nothing wrong with being supporting character, and they had even some depth (Mad Hater! Graham, Charming, Grumpy where not cardboard characters), guys are not that used to take a back seat in fantasy realms, but in Once they did at first. There was Emma, Snow, Cinderella, Gretel, Nova, Red, Granny, Belle a bit, even Regina in a twisted way. I don’t care if that was the showrunners intention or more accidentally, it was what made part of the charm of season 1. And it was often not men empowering the women, it was in Storybrooke mostly Emma, and Emma grew with that experience, while in the EF flashbacks Snow had some hand in things or the women manage quite well on their own, not to mention her great, wonderful friendship between Red and Snow.
And then the show turned into a boys action figure adventure toy shop story. Hey, I loved playing with action figures, trains and matchbox cars as kid while I never understood why playing with dolls and Barbie should be any fun , I was a tomboy, I get it. But I am a woman now and one who wants to hear and tell stories of female empowerment – with matchbox cars and action figures who could even look like Barbie if they have to.
By now Emma is more old style doll Barbie though, independent career Barbie maybe, but still a doll and needing her Ken to be complete. And that annoys me.
Single female heroes alone don’t make the change, it’s about women empowering each other as much. Disney Animation and movies seem to get that a bit better recently, better than OUaT. Come on, Ridley Scott and Sarah Connor graced our screens as lone female (Western style) heroes 20 years ago, Princess Leia had her twin brother at least, but it’s time for some more female power.
The problem and what frustrates me about Emma’s character development is, that they developed Emma’s relations with men, Hook, Neal, her father, but barely to not at all her relations with women. Red could have been a great friend, so I don’t understand, why they had no use for her from 2B on. But if not Red then there were Cinderella or in 3 maybe Tinkerbell (IMO not Belle though, as it is, Belle lives in her own soap bubble, another frustrating waste of a female character), even Mulan or Aurora could have been possibilities if they wanted to. There was a little with Regina, but as said above, they (unconsciously) limit that development. And Emma and Snow is a total fail by now, no matter the schmalz in the season 3 final, even Neal had more development with Emma than Snow. And now that Snow has a baby, I don’t see this change in season 4.
I think Emma’s walls have been comimg down steadily so the going to NY thing seemed more of a dEfense mechanism than truth
It was a defense mechanism, but that doesn’t mean she was not serious about it. New York was Emma’s Land of Oz, a colorful candy fantasy world promising to be better than anything she had so far. Storybrooke was dry, greyish dark and painful Kansas in her mind. Then Emma was taken by a time “twister” back into the past of her parents, where she first messed things up – kinda like Dorothy in the movie, making friends and foes with it, Emma then had to walk her yellow brick road, pick up some important lessons on the way and repaire the damage she did, encounters the Wizard, aka Rumple, who makes promises to bring her back, but turns out he is a fraud and can’t do it, but in the end Emma manages it on her own, brings herself and Hook and with them Marian back to the presence. And picked up some new danger on the way, but that is for season 4 to tell.
The final was great to watch, most of it, and loved how Emma was allowed to be more colorful herself, aka express more visible emotions (she does show them otherwise too, but obviously too subtle for some in the audience to notice). One thing though this final didn’t manage to explain to me: why Emma should have felt that much different about Storybrooke being her home, Snowing, her parents actually being her family and not just some blood related fairy tale heroes. Seeing them met is not enough to explain that change to me. The Problem was never IMO that Emma had no loving, caring feelings for them, but that she didn’t trust them, didn’t feel like she could entrust them with her life, rely on them, let go around them. The trip in time gave me no reason, why Emma now should have more trust in the present time. Snow and Charming did nothing. They have now reduced the problem to a problem of how Emma was approaching things, made it her fault alone that she had no sense for what home means. As much as I agree that it is always important, how a person approaches things and it can help to change that, we’re talking relationship here, and that always takes two to tango. I saw nothing happening on the side of Snow, and little on the side of Charming.
A&E have geeky story ideas, they even have an idea where character development should go, but they don’t get these elements together. The plot is not character driven, nor are the characters plot driven, there is little connection between these story telling elements.
@Phee: I agree with much what you said, except some things in the mothers-son, Emma-Regina-Henry triangle, but have to come back to that later.