In case you couldn’t tell from previous episodes, the term “fairy tale” is a very loose term in the Once Upon a Time series. We have seen legends, myths and tall tales all incorporated into the genre and this week, it was no different.
Meet Genie. You may remember him from such films as Kazaam and Aladdin. He follows some basic magical rules, wears a turban and yearns to be free. If the song is accurate, you have never had a friend like Genie.
In true Once Upon a Time fashion, we are flash-backing to uncover the past identity and relationships of Genie. Last week we had major characters to develop…oops, did I say develop, I meant “develop” with a sarcastic and condescending undertone. Genie is not so major; he has been in a few episodes, he even ran for sheriff once. On that note, I have no idea what his real name is.
In the before time, in the long long ago, he fell in love with the Evil Queen. Since the Queen is Evil, she double-crosses and then triple-crosses and next thing you know, Genie is pretty much a slave. I would tell you more, but since the story is so well written and the episode organized so flawlessly, I do not want to ruin it for you. See, this is more of that undertone I was referencing earlier.
In the now time, Genie is a former friend of the Mayor/Evil Queen and is out for some revenge. He sleuths like Nancy Drew with the help of Ms. Swan (the sheriff). Together, they gang up on the Mayor. It is so funny how in this reality a Mayor actually has power — she makes parks, destroys other parks, buys land, runs council meetings and still has time to create intricate plots to destroy her nemesis. We get a slight glimpse of the future, and a few of our questions are answered. Not the best episode, but the clothing really kicked things up a notch.
Random mis-matched magical genres aside, this episode brings to light some very crucial truths about plotting crimes on a TV show.
- Adultery is romantic. While not technically a crime, it is morally reprehensible, and on TV, it is always beautiful. Long strolls on the beach, romantic candle-lit picnics, tawdry text messages. There is the longing and the sexing, and it makes adultery seem super sexy. None of that whole “ruining the life of someone I love” bull.
- The easiest way to kill someone is to cut the brake lines. Show of hands — who knows how to find the brake lines? Yeah, exactly. Yet, in every day-time soap to every prime-time drama, dismantling the brake lines is the go-to method of death. This means that not only does the villain know about advanced car maintenance, but also the victim, who reaches under the car and exclaims, “Oh no! The brake line has been cut.”
- It is easy to murder for love. There is no measurable amount of love that is necessary for murder. Did they just meet? Were they married for years? Doesn’t matter. As soon as that woman says, “if only you killed (insert any offending party’s name here) then we could be together forever,” the man hops to it. I cannot wait to have my own filthy lover who will do despicable things for me…and to me ZING!
- The second easiest way to kill someone is a poison. And it is never just straight-up Drain-O, it is always some elusive and exotic poison…or poisonous animal. The one that would have to be shipped in from China or brewed from ancient Egyptian mummy bandages or some other nonsense. In fact, every time, the exoticism of the poison is what leads people directly to the poisoner. You know, “Hey that Brazilian arrived in town just days before the Czar was stabbed to death with parrot feathers.” You know, that kind of nonsense.
- People are not born bad, something happens to make them bad. Especially in this show, we have seen it. Rumpelstiltskin was totally a normal Shepard before his son was threatened by the Troll Wars, so then why should the other major antagonist not have a super cool origin story? Surely the Evil Queen was not always so…and I am not just making a reference to the fact that at one point she may have just been Princess Evil. We need to know that bad people are made. I associate it with dog breeds — not all pit bulls are fighters and not all chihuahuas are Mexican.
So, if you are planning an inconsistently-enjoyable and slightly formulaic jaunt into prime-time, then follow the above rules for your mean characters, and you should have a hit TV show. And don’t worry, the fact your suck-ass show is successful will always say more about America than it does about you.