Monday, October 3, 2016

The Bitter Truth about OUAT's "Bitter Draught"

Spoilers below, so skip reading if you haven't seen this week's episode of "Once Upon a Time" (6.2).

(click 'read more' to continue reading')
Folks, I hoped never to face this day. But I am really getting to the point where OUAT has lost my interest. If the next two episodes do not improve drastically, I think I may be at the point where I would give up watching the show. Certainly at this point I am only continuing because of my long history with it. Dedication, not intrigue or curiosity keeps me on. Last season was problematic in many ways, and I was uncertain about this one from the get go. But I did not imagine the first two episodes would be so lacking in originality. I feel as though I have seen every scene on the screen before.

Am I worried about Regina 'turning evil'...again? Um... meh? The show has had everyone flip flop so many times that I have become immune to any shock value. Regina ought to stay good, because (imho) it will be a betrayal to the viewers if she turns evil yet again. And if she stays good... well that's what I expect. This is a character arc that has been done so many times, I have no desire to see it play out once more.

I was completely unimpressed by their handling of the Count of Monte Cristo. They've consistently changed the stories we know to suit their storytelling needs, which is acceptable when such a chance is interesting and enriches the story. The Count is such a complex character, that giving him just one episode and consequently simplifying his arc makes him feel... generic. Honestly, just about any character could have played his function within the storyline, and done so in a far more interesting way! I may have been mad that they made Peter Pan evil, but at least he was interesting!

OUAT lures us in, over and over, with promises of "look at these shiny new characters we are adding!" But the growing complaint of the fans is that we love the characters that have already been introduced, and want to see them better fleshed out. Why bother to bring in even more characters to also not do justice by? Neither fans of Monte Cristo nor OUAT will be satisfied by this episode. Indeed, the episode does not feel at all as though it were written by someone who actually cared about Monte Cristo. It is like a board of executives went "hey, that's a famous copyright free property! We can make money with it without making a big budget movie!" and then it was handed off to a writer who had only ever seen a film adaptation and missed the point entirely.

Scathing reviews are not my style. I greatly prefer to focus on the positive of a show/book/movie. If I don't like it, generally I don't write about it. The difference this time is that I have been blogging about OUAT for five years now. Not only in episode reviews, but also in extensive costume analysis and recreation. The citizens of Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest have consistently been part of the tapestry of my weekly routine far more than almost any other media during this time. For me to stop writing about it without any explanation would be tragic on a lot of levels.

It's very sad and frustrating. "Once Upon a Time" has never been the best of shows, or the most consistent of them, but it has been quite a fun one for a very long time. To have it now truly become 'boring,' when I know it is capable of being far more captivating, is pretty depressing.

I don't know that I will actually stop watching. I've invested so much into these characters, and I don't have another show to watch on Monday mornings, so I might as well keep up with it for now. But...I just don't know.

UPDATE: A change of heart after the release of 6.3 "The Other Shoe." Read my thoughts!

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