Monday, May 8, 2017

OUAT: The Musical Episode

*HI HO HI HO it's off to SPOILERLAND we go!*

I realized today that not only is this show in its sixth season, but I have also been blogging about it for six years. There is no other show which I have written about so prolifically for so long.

Photo: ABC
That said, I am kind of sad that this episode was not the series finale. Going from the darkness of the beginning, to a musical episode with a wedding would have been the perfect narrative peak.

(Looking for my opinion on the wedding dress? Check it out on my sewing blog!)

Now, it wasn't the best musical episode ever (Buffy set the standard so high, I don't know that anyone else will ever meet it). It also wasn't the worst, although I'm not sure if it quite hit the 'average' mark either.

Snow and Charming's beginning ballad was great. It was sweet and funny and WOW can they sing! Definitely looking forward to rewatching that one!

Regina's song was a mix - the visuals were great and Lana's acting was chewing the scenery like usual - but her voice seemed to be one of the weakest of the episodes and they tried to cover it up with a heavy musical track. Alas!

Hook's song was very odd -- it's memorable far more for the humor with Snow and Charming than the song itself. They were going for a pirate chanty mixed with "Gaston", but without a deep male voice to carry it through, it didn't work well. Hook's voice wasn't bad -- just not deep enough to really make the song work. However he did great in his part of the encore, which fit his abilities much better tonally!

Zelena absolutely had the strongest song, both in lyrics and overall abilities. I wish it had been a little less pop and cheery and a little more menacing and fantastical/timeless in melody. At first it felt really out of place to cut over to Zelena, but then the song grew on me and they showed the point of it.

Emma's ballad was the least complex in musical terms, which worked for about 75% of it. Definitely gave me feels at the beginning, although I wish she'd been given a little more to work with.

I definitely think that they made the right choice in saving the musical format for the wedding episode. I also understand why they wanted to set the majority of the songs back in the Enchanted Forest--they could ham up everything as much as they wanted back there and have it work. I wish, however, that Hook would have been able to sing something more poignant in Storybrooke as I think that would have fit his abilities better, but this didn't seem possible within the perimeters of the wish.

It's a bit unfortunate that this episode comes so soon after the Flash/Supergirl episode. It's a bit ironic, considering that normally I prefer specially written songs and that episode was only 50/50, but it was so well done that I definitely preferred it to OUAT's completely original offerings.

Musical episodes are difficult. They are a ton of work, and depend on having a strong cast to carry them out, and a strong songwriter who can work the right songs into the story. "Once More with Feeling" worked despite having some weak members of the cast because the songs were all written by the ridiculously talented Joss Whedon. Even when the singing wasn't the strongest, there was so much enthusiasm and each song in that set was perfectly written for the overall story. No other TV show I've seen has been able to create such a perfect mix. (I hear the Xena episode was quite good as well, although I've never seen it).

Anyhow, I give OUAT's crew a big round of applause for daring to take on such a feat. Although not transcending, it is nonetheless as good as the rest of the show, and quite fun.

Now on to the final episodes...will they be the final final episodes? We still don't know. Emma would only be back for one episode in season 7, and the Charmings would be guest players. A radical restructuring has been promised for any additional season, and let's face it, the show desperately needs it. Should it be given another chance? Well, I love fairy tales. And it's been clear for awhile that the show has been reusing far too much of...everything. I say, if you're not going to let it end, then it's reassuring to know that you realize it needs something new. Whether the newness is good or bad...well, only time will tell.

I would certainly watch at least one episode of another season to investigate the changes...

Want more OUAT? Check out all my writings on the show here.

1 comment:

Casey said...

Buffy definitely set the bar. Once did a pretty good job trying to reach it. (I haven't really seen any other musical episodes, so that's it for comparisons). I was really impressed with the actors' singing voices. Even though Lana's wasn't great, they still made it work for her character, and it was one of the songs that stuck in my head afterward. Jennifer/Emma's was probably the weakest and the most disappointing, if you don't count Jared/Henry's one little line at the end. And if that had been the series finale, or even the season finale, it would've been a great ending.