One of the most enjoyable aspects of the pilot episode of Once Upon a Time was the intertwining of backstory told in the fairytale world and exploring the current happenings of the real world through Emma. I was afraid this dynamic was going to lose its effectiveness being as the pilot so expertly laid out the premise for the show and that there would be very little reason to continue to transport us to the fantasy land. Thankfully I was wrong in my assumption and this would happen.
The second episode of the new series delves into the backstory of the Evil Queen while also laying more groundwork with Emma and Henry in the real world. The fantasy side of the story reveals the nature of the curse that the Evil Queen puts on everyone resulting in them ending up in Storybrook and forgetting who they are. Disney fans were given a wonderful treat as the Evil Queen confronts and ultimately has a battle with the witch Malificent.
In the real world Emma is still trying to come to grips with the tale that Henry has spun for her. While the show still suffers from the fact that the audience knows everything Henry states is true, this episode does a good job exploring Henry’s psyche and how Emma plans on tiptoeing around what could be a crazy person.
Henry’s adoptive mother, who is also the Mayor of Storybrook as well as the Evil Queen, plots against Emma at every turn and the rivalry that is forming between the two is quite well done. Most of this can be attributed to the characters respective actresses, Lana Parrilla (Evil Queen) and Jennifer Morrison (Emma) play off of each other beautifully and the tug of war between the two characters for Henry’s well-being is amazingly fun.
Once Upon a Time is doing a solid job of telling an engaging story. It is wonderfully over the top but this type of story needs to be. I am still quite skeptical on how far the premise can take the series but for right now I am more than happy to just enjoy the ride.
4* out of 5