Once Upon a Time Season 2 Review
The second season of Once Upon a Time is definitely a good season and although it is naturally inferior than its predecessor because it is so uneven, it is still a lot of fun and I liked most of its subplots and its conclusion.
The major problem of season two has to be its uneven tone. Yes, it has so many subplots and so many changes in the world that it feels as if you are watching three or even more seasons than just one. Thankfully, most are really good, but that uneven quality still remains. The first couple of episodes are really problematic not only because the story and the characters have changed and you need a bit of an adapting to it, but also because it all seems so rushed and even abrupt. But once Emma and Snow get to a different land, the season definitely becomes a lot better. I loved most of those episodes as the introduction of Cora as a major villain and Regina as a changed woman seemed natural and refreshing. And I liked the new land and all of its characters and plot points.
But the second arc is weaker because it once again starts in a troublesome way, this time slow and uneventful. Cora’s arrival in Storybrooke is interesting, but later episodes tend to focus on stupid filler and the backstories of uninteresting characters resulting in the weakest part of this season. But the conclusion is superb with a couple of fantastic episodes that once again changed everything with one major death. Now the third arc is problematic. Yes, the introduction of Greg and Tamara as the newcomers in Storybrooke and new villains did change a lot of things and did introduce a new conflict, but some parts are too convenient here and also overly vague. But I liked the conclusion here once again and although it is nowhere near the quality of the finale of season one, I still found it satisfying and it made me excited for season three. And yes, now that I look at it, the three-arc structure is interesting here as it can be differentiated, but I still think that it is uneven.
Now, I will talk about each character. Snow White/Mary Margaret I found to be even more intriguing this time around, especially in the later half. What they did with her is very interesting because exploring her dark side and making her question her actions led to some excellent character development and some great conflict. Emma is again too serious and at times problematic, but I liked her adjusting to magic as it led to many hilarious moments with her funny facial expressions of disbelief. And her exploration of her own powers was interesting, albeit rushed. Regina is great and although at times she made some rash decisions, I still found her shift to the good side intriguing and she probably got the most development in this season along with Rumpel.
Yes, he is simply great. Whereas he was very mysterious in the first season, here we get a reveal of most of his life and that is great. His conflict with Hook is excellent, but his relationship with his son is even better and I have to say that I found Belle’s romance with him really charming and the introduction of her alteration Lacey was a lot of fun. Charming I found really annoying as he was too naive and too good-hearted and also too much of a leader. Belle is great and endlessly charming and endearing, but Henry is expectedly annoying. Ruby is once again underdeveloped, but Hook is phenomenal. I really liked his character and although he eventually did not prove to be much of a villain as he mostly lost every fight he had, I still found his character intriguing and a lot of fun. The way he flirted with everyone was hilarious and his relationship with Baelfire was so heartwarming and both receive good treatment there.
Grumpy continues to be annoying along with every other dwarf, but Neal is so good and I really rooted for him and Emma to end up together as they are so good together on screen. And yes, Cora is easily my favorite character on this show, right after Rumpel and Regina. She is the finest villain the show has as she is so menacing and so powerful with a cold attitude and cunning nature. I liked her relationship with Regina, but I still feel that she was underused as she is a lot of fun. Blue Fairy I didn’t particularly like and Dr. Hopper was once again forgettable, but I overall liked Greg and Tamara as both proved to be formidable opponents near the end with Tamara in particular getting some excellent action sequences. Their goal and loyalty is too vague, but I hope that gets resolved in the next season.
Anton the giant is an awful character and his backstory results in the worst episode of this season. And what they did with Frankenstein is quite mediocre and not a good use of the character as those episodes were boring and forgettable. I really liked Mulan and Aurora. Aurora is a bit too unlikable at first, but Mulan is a badass female character and both share such a great chemistry together. What they did with August is really unfortunate and super frustrating and Robin Hood is ridiculously underused, but I liked the Dragon character and that Asian storyline was quite interesting. And I really enjoyed what they did with Peter Pan as that darker shift is admittedly intriguing and I hope that Neverland gets explored well as it has a lot of potential.
The acting is excellent. Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla continue showing their talent, but Emilie de Ravin is terrific as Belle and I really came to love her performance and her character. Colin O’Donoghue is absolutely phenomenal as Hook as his accent and charisma make this character shine. And of course Robert Carlyle is fantastic as Rumpel and he really sells the more dramatic and emotional moments. Barbara Hershey is delightful in her role and I absolutely adored Bailee Madison’s work as young Snow White as she is such a talented child actress and that casting was just perfect.
This season has some problems including once again some soapy developments and uneven tone, but I liked how it is even more ambitious than before and the scope is much larger this time around with a lot of worlds solidly explored and leaving a lot of potential for future seasons. The pacing is all over the place, but the character development is really good and the emotional intensity is present in many episodes. The action and effects are again weak, but I liked what they did with some famous stories and how they changed them. In the end, although flawed, this season is entertaining and I really liked it and I am definitely looking forward to the next one.
Worst Episodes: Broken, Child of the Moon, Tiny, Welcome to Storybrooke and Lacey.
Best Episodes: The Crocodile, Into the Deep, Queen of Hearts, The Queen Is Dead, Second Star to the Right and Straight On ’till Morning.
My Rating – 4.1