‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 2 Premiere Review

Published 3 years ago by

OUATseason2premiere1 Once Upon A Time Season 2 Premiere Review

The Dementors have come to Storybrooke. Well, okay, technically they are un-dead, soul-sucking wraiths with black, tattered robes and gleaming red eyes with a fancy-sounding Chinese name; though, if I were JK Rowling, I’d be calling my lawyer. The wraiths, however, are just one of the new fairy tale characters to be introduced in the season 2 premiere of Once Upon A Time.

Chief among the newcomers are Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Aurora, portrayed by The Tutors actress Sarah Bolger, and better known to little girls everywhere as Sleeping Beauty. Theirs is the story that runs concurrent with what’s playing out in modern world, which makes sense, as Sleeping Beauty is the most quintessential of the “true love’s kiss” tales.

Accompanying them is Prince Philip (Julian Morris), one of the few Disney princes to be granted a first name back in Walt’s day. It’s he who slays the wraith when it bursts into the fairy tale world and he who is subsequently marked for death. This is unfortunate, since not much energy is put into fleshing his character out more – but this is also Once Upon A Time, written by the creators of Lost, so he may live on in flashbacks as the season progresses.

The Mulan/Aurora pairing is slightly drab and two-dimensional until the final moments of the episode. The soulless, lifeless, Philip is laying on his bier, mourned by the two women who love him when Mulan decides Aurora deserves the medallion containing Philip’s soul, along with a few other tidbits she and the late prince neglected to pass along.

While Aurora believes she has been asleep for a less than a year, in fact it has been twenty-eight years. Mulan explains the curse Regina (Lana Parrilla) cast has affected all the land save their small corner of it. No one is sure why this is, but they are aware that they’ve spent the last twenty-eight years in stasis and have only recently been freed. The land that did survive, however, is rife with danger and Mulan urges Aurora to come with her to their last remaining safe haven.

Before Aurora can decide what to do there is a rustling amid the wreckage left by the wraith upon its initial entrance. Mulan declares with ire that the two unconscious figures she uncovers – Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) – are the reason the wraith has come into their world in the first place; the reason their prince is dead. However, in order to be the judge of that, one has to go back to Storybrooke.

OUATseason2premiere3 Once Upon A Time Season 2 Premiere Review

Per the precedent set during the first season, every Once Upon A Time episode has a “fairy tale” plot and one set in the modern world. This season’s opener begins in world so modern it feels like a different show. That is, of course, until the phone drops, the music stops, and a carrier pigeon delivers a postcard from Storybrooke bearing one word, “Broken.”

Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Ed Kitsis have been extremely tight-lipped over the summer about the identity of the postcard’s recipient. Michael Raymond-James has been equally mum about the character he’s playing, reminiscent to the shroud of secrecy surrounding Eion Bailey’s, August Booth last season. Booth at first was suspected of being the long-lost son of Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) but turned out to be Pinocchio; could this be Gold’s son instead? Or is he some other, as yet unmentioned character?

Unfortunately, these are questions for another episode. The season premiere is interested instead on what has happened since the curse was broken in the season one finale, and by and large the answer is that the townspeople have regained their memories of the fairy tale world. This makes for an opening rife with hugs and kisses and wide smiles as one reunion after another takes place throughout the town.

The biggest reunion, of course, is between Emma and her parents. The juxtaposition, however, of the idealistic Mary Margaret and her cynical daughter makes for several awkward moments that are never quite resolved. On the other hand they do provide several gems of dialogue including Emma’s zinger about which curse is the worst, and Mary Margaret shoving aside the off-handed comment she’d made about her one night stand with Dr. Whale (David Anders).

OUATseason2premiere2 Once Upon A Time Season 2 Premiere Review

Before the schmaltz factor can get too high, the newly reunited family is thrust into the fray yet again; having to sort out what to do with Regina now that everyone remembers who she is and what she done, as well as how to procure answers about the mysterious purple mist from Mr. Gold. Gold, as expected, is one step ahead of everyone else and is hellbent on revenge having learned that Regina imprisoned his beloved Belle (Emilie de Ravin) for the past twenty-eight years.

It is here that the fairy tale land plot and the modern collide, for it is Gold who summons the wraith and Regina who ultimately sends it back into the fairy tale land where it eventually kills poor Philip. Emma ends up being sucked in along with the wraith in an effort to protect Regina and Mary Margaret dives in as well, unable to stand losing her daughter a second time.

This sets up an interesting arc for the coming season. Emma will now encounter the land she should have grown up in, which will hopefully bring out the stronger, less naive version of her mother. Meanwhile, David and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) have a new quest and new territory to explore as grandfather and grandson. Regina, no doubt, will not give up Henry without a fight, and will continue discovering how to use magic in this new world. Finally, one should never rule out the true puppet-master in Storybrooke, Mr. Gold. No matter how bent on restoring him Belle is there are certain monsters that cannot be tamed. All in all, a fairly decent start to a new season.


Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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  1. Its Disneys Mulan and the Dementor is a old disney character. If anything its the other way round but Once upon a Time and Harry potters are Warner Brothers so no problem. The Black Cauldron I think.

    • Most of the Characters, Snow White, Dwarves, Prince Charming, The Witch, and most others are the Brothers Grimm, so therefore not actually anyones property.

      • @Jeff W
        Disney own the rights to their depiction. Plus as they did most of the stories first on film most retellings infringe Disneys work.

    • @Rabbits

      Once Upon a Time is owned by ABC, not WB. And Disney owns ABC. So while most of the characters are originally from the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales, ALOT of stuff is from the Disney variations. I dont think the Wraith is meant to be like a dementor. they just look a little alike. but a dementor sucks the happiness and sometimes the soul out of nearly everyone they come across. the wraith only goes after those that have been marked.

      On another note: I am so happy with the new season so far. Seeing Gold and Belle finally kiss, the scene where Regina finds out Henry asked for Emma to help her, David asking who Whale really is (which we all want to know by now), the one-night stand comment. A few things I noted that could be used for later stories: Emma grabbing Regina restores her magic, Whale is the one leading the mob against Regina, and I wanna see Captain Hook!

      • @tspearman19. Learn to read ->’If anything its the other way round BUT Once upon a Time’. in reference to the article ‘if I were JK Rowling, I’d be calling my lawyer.’

        Never said Once upon a Time was WB. I then went on to say ‘and’ Harry Potters is WB. No problem being that ‘if anything its the other way round.’

        • @Rabbits. I don’t think tspearman19 meant any offense.
          “If anything its the other way round but Once upon a Time and Harry potters are Warner Brothers so no problem.” The lack of a comma after Once Upon a Time kind of leaves it to the reader for which half of the sentence that is supposed to go with.

          Anyways, I found this to be a great start for the new season. I really had doubts whether there would be more to tell once the curse was broken, but the premiere is getting me excited for upcoming episodes.

        • @Rabbits Harry Potter is not owned by WB. It is owned by JK. They have the movie rights, but that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they wanting with the series. Maybe you should understand how legal rights work before you start attacking people for correcting you.

  2. Bring on Captain Hook!!! I wanna see ‘Peter Pan’ flashbacks!!! Ohhh, now I wanna see the ticking crocodile lol!!!

  3. So,I am not the only guy that watches this. Whew!

    It’s a show with bad premises and even worse dialogue. But I can’t stop watching! It’s the plot of the show that ends up pulling me in. But a part of me wants to shut it off and never watch it again from all the horrible, horrible details of the show (ie – sheriff reporting to a mayor, a sheriff’s department of one, a psychologist that shares client information, a woman who gives her son up for adoption and yet gets bu++hurt at her parents who had a legitimate reason for doing so, etc…)

    The premise of the show is nothing short of amazing. But the writing is reprehensible. This could capture a much larger audience if they brought in writers who could bring some kind of legitimacy and continuity.

    Ok, that’s my rant. Off to a meeting!

    • I think the writing is what it is, Adult Fairy Tales for pre teens.

    • O-K, I’ll be honest. Regina.

      • ^ True!

    • All do respect, STOP TALKING!!! please

  4. i”ve been watching this and grimm since the first episodes and have liked them both, and thought the new season started off well. i hope they have and endgame in sight for this show and not make a lost-mess of it.4 or 5 seasons i think would be plenty.
    you would think someone would know who dr whale is…and since most of the townie names were little winks to their fairytale name, could dr whale be the whale that ghepetto & pinocio ran into? seems a bit too obvious, i don’t know what else his name could be a reference to.

  5. Dr. Whale is Peter Pan, I just can’t stop thinking about it. Let’s hope I’m wrong, I like to be surprised.

  6. I would say this was an average season premier because it cleared up the cliffhanger, and set a direction for the season. However, I thought that the whole reunion thing was a bit boring because the viewers already knew the relationships. I was talking to a coworker at DISH, and he said he stopped watching the show because it was too random. I think that this season will feel more continuous because random things are expected to happen in the land of fairy tales. I missed the Premiere last night because of my soccer game, but I was able to catch it off of a recording that my Hopper automatically made for Primetime Anytime. I love how I don’t have to set a million timers or worry about storage space and I can keep up with all of my favorite shows. I am really interested to see where this season goes because I think it will make or break the series.

  7. Does anyone find it weird that Mulan speaks PERFECT fluent English?

    • No stranger than people speaking English on every planet SG1 went to.

  8. I found it mildly irritating that they introduced Mulan as a character. Afterall, Mulan didn’t live in a “fairy tale” realm. It is one of the few Disney stories that was meant to have taken place in the real world – China. So why would she be living in a fairy tale kingdom? All of the other characters I can think of from the other “world” were part of a magic kingdom in their respective stories, except Mulan. I thought that was kinda weird.

  9. This is SO annoying! JK Rowling did not event the “soul-sucking” idea! Wraiths have been in fairy tales for hundreds of years. Wraiths inspired dementors! Other than this frustrating tidbit, I’d say this is an okay review.