It was an afternoon of magic, mayhem, and mysteries as the cast of Once Upon a Time graced the PaleyFest panel on Sunday. The enchanting cast and creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis took the stage to dish bewitching details about what’s still to come in Season 2 of the ABC drama. From time-traveling storylines, to new realms and former flames, Hollywood.com was there to gather all the highlights. Read on for scoop on Henry’s fate, Rumbelle’s awkward love-triangle, Sheriff Graham’s return and much more!
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Journey to Neverland: Kitsis confirmed that later this season fans will be transported to a completely new and different realm that we’ve never seen before. Although he wouldn’t reveal where, fans instantly figured out the puzzle when Horowitz reveald the titles for the Season 2 finale. “The final two episodes of season two they kind of work as a two parter. Part one is “Second Star to the Right” and part two is entitled, “And Straight on Til Morning.” Grab some fairy dust and put on your jammies because we’re headed to Neverland! And let’s just say that Hook is not the only character who’s lived in this forever young land — Bae’s been there too.
Henry vs. The Dark One: As we learned in the final few seconds of “Manhattan,” the seer revealed to Rumplestilskin that one day a young boy will be his undoing, to which The Dark One sneered, “Well then I’ll just have to kill him.” Kitsis explains that Rumple will eventually have to face this fate-filled decision. “We saw when Rumple was last given a choice between love and power he let his own son go, so the question is has he learned anything and what chance does his grandson have?” After Lana Parilla pretended to punch Robert Carlyle in the face for threatening her TV son, Horowitz presented an interesting point, “An is undoing a bad thing?” Perhaps there’s hope that both Rumple and Henry can co-exist without any bloodshed.
Return to The Enchanted Forest: In many of the most recent episodes, Charming has expressed his strong desire to return to their fairytale-filled land. Kitsis confirms that this vision of home is something that our swashbuckling Prince is willing to fight for. “As much as David likes electricity, he misses his sword, and he misses his horse, and he misses his castle, he wants to kill some ogres and he wants to rebuild his land this is something that I think a lot of people could go on board for so we’ll see if that happens.” Kitsis says.
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Captain Swan Scoop: While many fans are dying for this electrifying duo to finally lock lips, there are two people who would be less than pleased with the pairing: The parents. “I’ll let you take this one daddy,” Ginnifer Goodwin says to her on-screen (and off-screen!) beau Josh Dallas. The actor channels his protective father side saying his character would “definitely’ have a problem with a Captain Hook/Emma Swan hookup. Dallas says, “They want to protect her and they love her. They want to make sure that she has a shot at her happy ending,” Goodwin chimed in adding, “I think it would be tricky for her being with someone who shared her baby’s daddy’s mothers bed.” Ooh snap!
Welcome Back Sherriff Graham! Fans across the interwebs have been aflutter ever since it was revealed that dearly departed Sherriff Graham (Jamie Dornan) would be returning to set. The fan-favorite will be returning in episode 17 entitled, “Welcome to Storybrooke.” Horowitz reveals “[This] is an episode that we’re very excited about and we’re going to see the early days of Storybrooke.” Kitsis continues, “It’s the first week of the curse… We are going to get more insight into what it was like that very first week in 1983 what was life like for the evil queen to live in and to figure out this modern clothing.” Parilla was quick to assure fans that Regina will not be rocking a perm in this episode, however we will get to see more about her desires to look into adoption.
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Tootles Belle, Hello Lacey: For those of you who are crossing your figners and toes for Belle to regain her memory, we’ve got some bad news for you. We’ll let Kitsis explain: “Remember when David Nolan was in a coma and he woke up and didn’t know who he was and then all of the sudden one day his cursed personality took over?” Be prepared Rumbelle fans because in episode 19, Belle is released from the hospital but she’s not the same innocent book-loving girl. Get ready to meet Lacey. “She is the opposite of Belle… things are going to get a lot more interesting for Mr. Gold,” Kistis says. Emilie de Ravin also offered her two-cents on the new character: “Racey Lacey.”
Always-Evolving Characters: You may think Snow White is the purest of pure, but be warned Once fans, the characters of Storybrooke always have a chance to change. “I think the interesting thing about our show is that we don’t write all of the good characters completely good, and we don’t write all of the bad characters completely bad.” Kitsis says, “And at the end of the day they’re all searching for their happy endings, it’s just that some of them have a harder path.” Especially our dear sweet Snow. (Hint-Hint!)
What do you think of all the Once Upon a Time goodies we’ve gathered? What storyline are you most eager to see more of? Intrigued to meet Lacey? Cast your spell in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: Kevin Parry/Paley Center for Media]
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If you’re a television nerd like me, you’re well aware of the duo behind ABC’s newest hit drama, Once Upon a Time. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis both wrote for one of the most elaborate mysteries to ever hit television: Lost. And if you didn’t know that already, every early promo for Once made sure you found out. Naturally, this invites a certain level of comparison, and while the connection is a bit weaker between the two series than you might hope, it pretty easy to spot the lessons the creators learned from their time writing for Lost. And now that the it’s six episodes in, it’s safe to say those lessons are the biggest reason the new series actually works…sort of.
The series finds Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) as a bounty hunter who’s tracked down by the son she gave up for adoption, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore). He believes that she’s the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and that the Evil Queen’s (Lana Parilla) spell has trapped the couple, along with a slew of other fairy tale characters in a town called Storybrook, where time has stopped and no one remembers their true fairy tale origins. It turns out he’s right and the Evil Queen is ruling over everyone as a small town mayor. Emma feels for Henry and decides to stay, meaning she starts sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong and our characters’ backstories and the mystery behind the Queen’s evil plan slowly begin to unravel. The series also stars Jamie Dornan as The Hunstman (and Sheriff of Storybrook), Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket (and Henry’s therapist), and Robert Carlyle as the mysterious, sinister Rumpelstiltskin.
Now, before I have a slew of Lost fans jumping to conclusions, Once doesn’t touch the brilliance of Lost. It is, however, very easy to spot the elements our writers are pulling from the beloved series. The pilot dropped us right into the action: Emma goes straight to the fairy tale town just as Lost dropped us right into the aftermath of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. From this sudden beginning, we start to unravel the mystery of this strange small town through the fairy tale characters’ flashbacks. We see glimpses of their alternate existences before the disaster of the Queen’s spell. While it’s an obvious repurposing of the Lost format, it’s what gives the series its teeth. This style of slow reveal is what hooks us, whether we appreciate the show’s other elements or not.
And when it comes to Once’s other facets, the fantasy element is a little overgrown. The writers obviously need to fiddle with fairy tale lineage, storylines, and interactions amongst well-known characters in order to deliver a story that we haven’t already read as young children. That’s all good and well, but it seems that their ideas often exceed their budget. The result is a series of fairy tale scenes that could be fantastical, but feel more like a well-produced video game than a scene from a primetime drama. These scenes attempt to be ultra-serious and modern, but the problem is they are fairy tale scenes and their appearance doesn’t merit the severity the writing bestows on them; the series should probably lend a little more levity and whimsy to these moments, especially if they continue to include an alarming excess of rhinestones and feathers on every princess’ outfit. (Not a good look – in any century.) So, I ask, Once writers, why so serious? They seemingly have no issue including silly little Easter eggs like the Apollo candy bars Hurley loved so much and the latest episode’s flash of Charles Widmore’s beloved MacCutcheon scotch or even Disney nods like dwarfs humming “Whistle While You Work” or Archie naming his Dalmatian Pongo; I just wish that same level of fun and playfulness was consistently throughout instead of in tiny little spurts here and there.
Even with this glaring issue, and the annoyingly cardboard leads, Emma and Henry, the series is still taking some serious steps to ensnare us. While our leads are little dry, they’re combatted by the colorful cast around them. From the sinister Rumplestiltskin to the unrelentingly dreamy Prince Charming to the wistful and maddeningly sweet Snow White, Emma and Henry have enough characters to bounce their straightforward roles off of that we stay entertained. Most recently, we saw the real world school teacher Snow White get just inches from her Storybrook happy ever after, only for the amnesia-afflicted real world version of the Prince to return to his wife. (Oh yes, he’s married to someone else in this version of their lives.) Her heartbreak leads her to another potential suitor and we find that this love story is far from reaching its happy ending, but we know it will get there eventually. The obstacles are so large though, that we can’t help but be curious as to how they’ll possibly overcome them.
Once Upon a Time is not a show any of us are likely proud to watch, but if we’ve been at it this long, we’re sort of stuck. Those Lost-esque devices and whimpering, heart-breaking pouty faces from Goodwin are keeping us on the hook. But by the same token, I doubt this hit show is about to inspire a slew of blogs and message boards hell-bent on solving the mystery before the show can get us there. It’s fun and engaging, but impressive, high-minded television, it is not.
As the real-life 1950's pin-up girl Bettie Page actress Gretchen Mol shakes her moneymaker in this true-American-story drama. Page a Tennessee-raised religious cutie moves to New York in 1949 for a new life when college dreams don't materialize. She's a trusting soul who loves to pose for strangers' cameras and naturally falls into modeling. In no time she's wearing suggestive lingerie and trading spankings with other models. To Bettie the bondage get-ups are silly not prurient. But despite efforts to expand herself and learn acting she remains a pin-up girl. In Bettie's most famous picture she's posing nude in a Santa hat in a 1955 Playboy magazine. After testifying at Congress amid the sexual Puritanism of the '50s Bettie realizes her "notorious" reputation. She quits the biz for her religious beliefs and disappears from the public eye for good. Mol's performance is described in press materials as "incandescent." It is brave to say the least. The actress’ movie career has needed a jolt since she was labeled the next “It” girl in the late ‘90s after starring with Matt Damon in the 1998 Rounders. Her last film was Neil LaBute’s 2003 The Shape of Things. But Mol finds her niche in Notorious. She plays Bettie as she was--a simple-minded and free-spirited character which can be a dangerous combination. The actress doesn't add impresario nuances to the pliable young woman beyond the Southern accents but it is an incandescent performance nonetheless. Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol) brings her rough features to Paula Klaw Bettie's tough-minded manager transitioning from the Emmy-nominated success of HBO’s Six Feet Under. Mol and Taylor play off each other very well. Recent Oscar-nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) also sneaks in there as a Southern senator calling for pornography investigations. In the hands of director/writer Mary Harron and writer Guinevere Turner Notorious snaps along like an old crime noir quick like a paperback on the beach. It is ironic and biting smoldering with sexuality but the melodramatic intentions are obvious. The dialogue lapses into clunky spots occasionally but they seem deliberate. The script's potency should not be understated. It's a statement about government's role in bedroom matters and the side effects of an American society prudish about its sexuality. Harron seems a sharp-edged journalist a chronicler of 20th century America and recruited Oscar-nominated researcher Sam Green (The Weather Undergound) to strengthen the movie's veracity such as recreating '50s-era Times Square. Bygone technical methods such as Super 8 cameras are used to match the classy black-and-white photography. Notorious is a little rough but fairly successful in its mission.