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1) What was your favorite episode of S6A? Runner up?
My favorite episode was 6×7 “Heartless.” It was a delightful reminder of how powerful Snowing’s love story really is. It felt like a nice character study instead of plot plot plot.
Runner up: 6×4 “Strange Case.” Any time the show tries to have a conversation with society, cultures and values, I tend to be a fan. I may not like what the show says (the treatment of Mary still bothers me) but at least it’s more than plot plot plot. Also, Jekyll and Hyde were really well acted.
2) What was your least favorite episode of S6A? Runner up?
My least favorite was 6×5 “Street Rats.” What a total waste of an hour! Aladdin’s story was dull, rote, and added nothing to the universe or the story at large. I also find Aladdin to be really grating. Jafar is wasted which is frustrating since they went to the trouble of recasting Naveen.
Runner up: 6×9 “Changelings.” I am 100% over Rumbelle drama and the sick feeling I have watching them.
3) We had a lot of new characters crop up this year. Who was your favorite and who was your least favorite?
Probably Hyde. He had a real presence on screen and I loved his chemistry with the EQ. I also though the twist in the story was a good one.
My least favorite is definitely Aladdin. Between his accent and his total lack of screen presence, every time he showed up I felt my eyes close in boredom.
4) What storyline fascinated you the most? And which one frustrated you the most?
I don’t know if it fascinated me, but I did like that the show is trying–clumsily and slowly–to explore Saviorhood. I don’t know that they’re doing a great job because it’s not actually going anywhere (perhaps yet) but it’s important to the universe so I appreciate that.
Rumbelle frustrates me to no end. I cannot with them. I went from being devoted to this ship to loathing it.
5) What do you hope to see more of in S6B?
I’m just gonna say answers. That’s all I want. Some meaningful, well thought out, non cheap, non exploitative, non-fast and easy answers.
6) Final grade and thoughts on S6A?
I guess it’s safe to say that I wasn’t really a fan of this first half. It’s not that it was bad in the same way S5A was bad–which rubbed against me morally, ethically, and as a feminist. It was bad because it didn’t matter; there were so man stories going on at once but none of them got any sort of real attention or focus because apparently everything is happening next year. That is one way to write, but I don’t believe it’s a good way.
We got no further explanations for the Land of Untold Stories (keys! doors! people go there a lot apparently!) because once Jekyll and Hyde died, that story and those ideas/people exited stage left to the metaphorical Forgotten Character Island. Jekyll and Hyde themselves, while well acted, never felt like a real threat because they were kept either off screen or locked up, making snarky comments at anyone who visited.
The Evil Queen was supposed to be the real threat this first half and it’s true she managed to create some small measure of chaos (like with Snowing) but for someone who was was conceived as “totally evil” she was left mostly to make witty comments, kiss Rumple, and lament with Zelena. The fact that the Evil Queen was out getting manicures like it was an ordinary day and she had nothing better to do is downright bizarre. Regina, in the first season, did more dastardly and “Evil Queen” things to Emma than the actual Evil Queen did to anyone this year! The Evil Queen’s storyline also continued the maddening insistence that all evil/fallen women must somehow be sexually aggressive. More time was spent on her making out and flirting with Rumple than any long game she was playing against her real enemies; and this was not out of affection or genuine interest or even because sex is great and fun, but because in the minds of the writers, if a woman is evil then she must also be predatory in a sexual nature. It’s a gross trope and it needs to go away already.
The other major storyline this year was Aladdin and the idea of Saviorhood but like the Land of Untold Stories and Jekyll and Hyde, it went basically nowhere. In this case, it’s likely because it’s going to come up next year, but that doesn’t mean that some decent amount of time shouldn’t be spent at least exploring those ideas. Do you know why Aladdin is a Savior? I don’t. Do you care about his story, Jasmine’s story or anything to do with them? I don’t. Instead of laying groundwork into one of the biggest mythological constructs in the Onceiverse–the idea of Saviorhood–Aladdin simply appeared when needed, helped Emma see the light, and then became a genie.
Along the way we got still more stories that were teased before dropped like a hot potato for next year–like Charming’s father, the Black Fairy, and even Gideon. This isn’t to say that there weren’t good moments or ideas here. Lana Parilla got to act her socks off playing both the Evil Queen and Regina; Snowing’s centric episode was a delightful reminder of how powerful their love story is. Little things like costume, some of the CGI and witty one-liners remain a staple of the good parts of this show, but that’s part of the problem: only the little things remain.