Review: Once Upon A Time – Season Six Premiere

Five years after we first meet the long-haired, blonde hero of the fairy tale-drama series “Once Upon A Time”, we discover that even she has to pay a price for being who she is: the Savior.

The sixth season of “Once Upon A Time” starts out in the more or less “usual” way: the viewer encounters new characters from another fairy tale, this time “Aladdin”. However, instead of continuing this storyline, it starts to build a parallel with “today´s” plot in Storybrooke. Simultaneously, the twist from last season´s finale with Hyde´s arrival in the small town of Maine takes its flow, while – again at the same time – Regina´s loss is thematized. Not to forget that we also have to focus on what happens with our BBFE (Big Bad For Ever), Rumpelstiltskin.

As you may already recognize, “Once Upon A Time” begins its sixth year in TV with multiple plotlines at once. Of course, this opens up many possibilites to continue the series without becoming boring. However, the first impression is rather a confusing one.

But let´s try to sort it out:

-Obviously, Emma and Aladdin share the characteristic that they are/were both “the Savior”. For the first time however, we discover that being a hero in this show has its price, which seems not only logical, but somehow a little philosophical, as it tries to counteract the common thought of fairy tale heroes alway getting their happy endings. It shows us the reality of what it means to help others at all costs: losing each time a part of oneself. Especially the look into Emma´s future is pretty frightening for the viewer, as it appears that we might loose our favorite hero for ever. But let´s not be too afraid and think that Jennifer Morisson is leaving the show – it might just be one of those tricks to keep viewers hooked on a show. Plus, it´s a good puzzle for the viewers to try to solve: Who´s going to be the hooded villain Emma is going to fight?

-Hyde´s arrival in Storybrooke and his “need” to stay there appear pretty mysterious and not very clear at the beginning. As he gets fastly caught and imprisoned, it´s even less transparent how he is still confident that he will get what he wants. Though, let´s not forget that most of the time in this show, villains are not that eager to publish their evil plan like an article on the Internet…and sometimes, to get caught is even part of the plan. So there goes our Mytsery N°2.

-Character growth along a TV-series that is already running for several years is not only necessary, but vital for a show to keep going. Regina is the best example for that: In the last season, she showed great strength to give up and eliminate her “evil” self after the ultimate and irreversible loss of the love of her life. Most evidently, the writers didn´t take everything away from Regina´s character, like her sassiness for instance. Instead, they added a side to her: being open about her feelings. Her conversation with her previously greatest enemy, Snow White, proves that even without the “evil” side in her, she can be a whole person and choose another life than the one filled with hatred and remorse – which doesn´t however please her rather wicked sister, Zelena. The long awaited return of the Evil Queen – one of the viewers´ favorite BBFE – finally plays out in the final and best scene of each episode. But what is the EQ´s goal? Perhaps, is she the hooded enemy in Emma´s vision? As the EQ´s previous goal was to destroy Snow White and Charming´s happily ever-after – which is expressed in Emma´s existence – it makes sense that she will yet again pursue this path and finally win. Mystery N°3 plays right into our hands.

-What doesn´t change though and is one of the most confusing elements presented in the season six premiere is Rumpelstiltskin.and Belle´s storyline. His visit in her “dreamland” and the reveal of Morpheus being/becoming their son is a touch too abstract for the show…why is Morpheus against his father? And how can he simultaneously exist as a foetus in Emma´s belly and as a young adult in their dreams? And why did Hyde know how to free Belle with the help of Morpheus? Do I need to really write it down? Mystery N°4  is here!

So, we have four mysteries to solve in the upcoming episodes, which on the one hand, makes it even more exciting to see how it all plays out, but on the other hand, makes it also quite difficult to keep up and concentrate on each storyline at once.

My tip for you little ducklings: If you like the show and you are curious about how the mysteries get solved, keep watching. Though, in case this is all too much for you and you are overwhelmed – I do not believe that it will become any easier with time, as it is only the beginning of the new season. My rating for the season premiere is therefore: “interesting, but confusing”.

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Sherlock, The Abominable Bride, Review

First of all: Happy New Year, dear little ducklings! And with the new year comes a new episode of one of BBC´s finest television series,”Sherlock”. Not only is it the first special holiday episode, it is also set in the 19th century – beware, now comes the spoilers – at least, partly.

“The abominable bride” can best be described as a sherlock-centric inception-like adventure. Switching between a 19th-century decor and where the viewers were last left off, reality or fiction aren´t the most appropiate terms to be used here. Instead, the episode begs to differ between the ordinary and the extraordinary as Sherlock falls deeper and deeper into the latter, only to discover that what he thought to be ordinary might possibly be still in the extraordinary.

On the one hand, a very elaborate, artistic way of implementing the simple idea of using a cold case to solve an ongoing one and on the other hand, a confusing and existential-philosophical visual essay about the realms of Possibility, this episode can be summarized in one concise sound: Hm.

While one-third of the drama balances a psycho-horror-crime story with…no story at all, the rest of the remaining time is spend dwelling on “What is actually the point here?”. It is clear that this special episode wanted to offer more insight into Sherlock´s mind, though digging into the past might not have been the best choice. Even though visual adaptations of Sherlock Holmes´ character have been countlessly undertaken, “Sherlock” always remained unique as it placed the iconic characters and storylines in the 21st century. Taking away the core of the show makes it hard for the viewer to recognize it, yet alone familiarize with it.

What I personally missed the most was the fun, the humour, the wit. There were a few lines which might have curled the lips just slightly, but overall the only thing I can truly say is: It was pretty boring.

For all those of you who profoundly know “Sherlock”, it is clear that is has never been about what´s real or not, but much rather about what´s possible or not. And for all I can say, this episode was impossible.

My rating for you ducklings: Wait until the next episode. Perhaps, it will be able to repair the damages made to such an iconic and authentic image.

True Story – cause no story is never true

A journalist´s way to the heart of the reader is not confusion, but truth. Because it´s harder for the reader to accept the blankness and nudity of the truth than getting mesmerized by the reflection of their own beliefs and opinions.

“True Story” is the story of two men who at first, on the surface, appear to be very different from eachother: One (played by James Franco) is accused of the homicide of his entire family; the other one (played by Jonah Hill) is a successful New York Times-Journalist, though, he is also accused of manipulating the facts of his covergae in order to make it more believable, to reflect people´s view on certain problems instead of unmasking the much broader and complex truth. The drama starts with an introduction of those two characters in their most vulnearble and life-changing moment: the first one introduces himself to a stranger as the other one, while the latter realizes that with his next move, his career might be in jeopardy.

Their meetings in the prison are preferably documented by close-ups which makes it possible to see every twitch of the eyes, every wrinkle of a smile and witness the exchange of lies and trues. In “True Story”, it is never about knowing if  one committed the crime he was accused of. It is not about innocence or guilt, but whether one can really know when the story stops and truth begins or the other way around.

Throughout the drama, extremes and simultaenously similarities dominate the scenography and atmosphere: great heat vs. icy cold, bright secondary colours vs. dark primary colours and so on. Two elements which appear so different and extreme that suddenly because of their shared perversion they are the same. Because isn´t it as gruesome to be free, healthy, happy and tell the story of a man who killed his whole family, as being imprisoned, psychichally damaged and indifferent? Isn´t the real prison the own mind rather than the physical presence of cellbars? There are probably very divergent opinions about these last thoughts, though, there is no right or wrong answer.

Seemingly and quite fantastically simulated, the characters seem to grow and change throughout the movie. However, there is only one person who retrieves from the passive role into an active one: the (ex-)journalist´s girlfriend (played by Felicity Jones). But, here I ask myself: Was she really ever passive? Didn´t she know from the beginning on that this was not about finding the truth or with other words: She was aware that for both men it was the sought of the best way to tell a story.

All three lead actors performed – in my opinion – incredibly good and nearly seemed themselves to have lost the sense for a story or the truth.

For everyone who enjoys thrillers, mysteries and a lot of thinking after watching a movie should definitly see “True Story” whose title itself is only a mirror for us to recognize that we are the living completion of two extremes: a story and the truth.