Today's OUAT recap will be brief - I'm under the weather, but the episode was so good, I can't let it go by without a mention. Definitely worth sticking with the show, because I feel like it is getting back to earlier levels of good!
So, first off, let's acknowledge that it was worth waiting six seasons to finally get Aladdin and Jasmine done well. I thought this week's episode was a great twist on the story, with lovely homages to the Disney version without being a beat for beat remake. They worked Jasmine into a more central role effortlessly and cast the two actors perfectly.
I will admit, I was about 75% convinced that Aladdin was actually dead. But not so convinced that I was surprised when he showed up. It would have been weird to cut off his story so abruptly.
Loved loved loved getting to see more range from Raphael Sbarge as Archie. And the babysitting humor - priceless.
Unfortunately the evil queen is feeling weak this season - too cartoonish? She lacks the depth that Lana Parilla has brought to the character for the past five seasons, even when real/whole/unsplit Regina was 'fully evil'. I have to believe this one-dimensional portrayal is intentional to show that it is 'only' the evil side of Regina, but this explanation doesn't make complete sense. Why go through the trouble to bring back the 'Evil Regina' that fans loved if only to do a lame shadow of what we loved?
There's a lot of promise to the season at this point, but I am a little sad to see pivotal main cast characters like the Charmings, Hook and Henry get written off to little more than observational 'rush around in the background' roles. Earlier seasons did a better job of balancing character beats, and that is an aspect that continues to slip more and more as the show progresses.
However, OUAT has proven that, while at times cliche, it is a show full of surprises. So I'm curiously anticipating whatever comes next...