TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E6: “Dark Waters”

  • It’s funny that Hook and his crew thought that a submarine was a narwhal, but also, could you blame them?
  • Regina having all of these conversations with literally the other half of herself has to be taking a serious toll on her sanity. She should be the one having regular therapy sessions, not Emma.
  • The Evil Queen’s costumes are fabulous, though. They don’t get old.
  • I bet that whatever happens in this episode, it wouldn’t be as good as if it had just consisted of Henry teaching Hook how to play video games.
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TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E5: “Street Rats”

  • This is a pandering attempt to make Jasmine “less of a damsel” (not that I ever thought of 1992 Jasmine as a damsel to begin with), but I don’t hate it as much as Disney’s other recent “girlboss” revamps of princesses.
  • I can’t tell if this show is endorsing talk therapy or not. Emma keeps seeing Archie for her problems, but the story implies that it’s pointless because the solution lies in Emma uncovering magical answers rather than coming to terms with herself.
  • The Cave of Wonders was definitely scarier when it was nothing but a tiger’s head (rather than a tiger’s head over the doorway) and only appeared at night. Not to mention when it had the epic and scary Alan Menken music.
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TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E4: “Strange Case”

  • I find it exceptionally stupid that Mr. Gold—who looked like a scaly-skinned demon in the fairytale world and whose entire romance with Belle is based on Beauty and the Beast, a story that’s entire point is appearances don’t matter—thinks the first step to winning Belle back is a wholly superficial move: cutting his hair.
  • I still don’t like this show’s version of Belle, but I kind of dig the friendship that she has with Hook. Although it’s a little weird when you remember that, in Season 2, he shot her in the chest.
  • Mr. Gold treats Belle worse and worse every season, and their relationship has become so toxic by this point that the idea of them ending up together makes me want to throw up.
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TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E3: “The Other Shoe”

  • Archie not telling Emma off for barging into his therapy session with Leroy, and not letting Leroy finish his session but instead instead ordering Leroy out, is very bad therapist form. His practice must get terrible reviews.
  • As much as I like this Cinderella content because I’m a sucker for Cinderella and ball gowns and retellings, it’s hard to ignore how randomly inserted it is since Cinderella hasn’t been on this show for 5 seasons. It’s like the writers are desperately trying to conjure up iconic characters to retain viewership.
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TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E2: “A Bitter Draught”

  • No matter how many times the show tries, Regina casually apologizing for the billionth time that her past self tried to kill Snow and Charming never quite works.
  • Why are we wasting time on another Snow White/Evil Queen flashback story? Can the show please give audiences something else?
  • Belle is marginally tolerable only when she commits to Rumplestiltskin being beyond help and just wanting to get away from him.
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TV Talkback – Once Upon a Time S6E1: “The Savior”

  • For the first few seconds of the episode, I was impressed by how subtly-yet-recognizably the score worked in bits of “One Jump Ahead.” Then it had that red lightning effect and…well.
  • I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t bring back Naveen Andrews as Jafar, but the creative team probably wanted to pretend to the best of their ability that Once Upon a Time in Wonderland never existed.
  • Hyde has been the Big Bad for about 15 minutes, and I am so unfathomably bored with him already. This season is not looking good.
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A Look Back: Dead Men Tell No Tales

When I began my Pirates retrospectives, I did not originally plan to revisit Dead Men Tell No Tales because I found it so excruciatingly awful. But completionism won out, and I decided to give the film the benefit of the doubt. The truth is, it’s better than I remembered. (Maybe because I’ve seen so many more soul-crushing movies now than I had in 2017, Pirates #5 seemed less horrendous by comparison.) Make no mistake, it’s a terrible movie, filled with CGI gunk and abominably lazy storytelling. But it gets the job done and it consistently held my attention—even if the majority of that attention was negative—more than On Stranger Tides.

Things have gone so ridiculously astray by this film that it’s hard for me to be actively angry at it. Instead, I think of it and I just feel exhausted and bored. For a movie attempting to reboot the franchise, it’s amazing how much Dead Men Tell No Tales reminds audiences of not just the previous movies and characters, but how much better those previous movies and characters were. I don’t care about the adventures of the old characters’ children because the writers failed to make them anything more than bland copies of their parents.

Come to think of it, “bland copy” is an accurate summary of Dead Men Tell No Tales as a whole. The other sequels had their low points (some more than others), but they at least had the decency to do something different each time. More than half of the scenes in Dead Men Tell No Tales feel like awkward retreads of territory that the franchise already covered. However, the movie doesn’t put a new spin on any of this content: it just sets up the reference framework and leaves, never establishing its own identity.

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