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ANTiFangirl: Once Upon a…..Hail Hydra!

Happy Friday! Sorry, I didn’t post last week but unfortunately I was feeling incredibly under the weather. I wonder where the phrase “under the weather” came from? Now that I type it out, it seems pretty silly. Aren’t we always “under the weather”? Anyway the beginning of May means the end of Fall TV so let’s see what’s been happening so far. Shows that I talked about incessantly at the beginning of Fall like Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon A Time, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been renewed for a second season while shows like Almost Human were canceled, although it is to be replaced in the Monday slot by the anticipated Gotham TV show, which will follow a young Jim Gordon. Once Upon A Time and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. both went through their season finales last week. Once Upon A Time’s Season 3 was a complete and utter mess. However like the comic Fables, I can’t seem to stop watching a show about Fairy Tale characters regardless of how messy the plot and character development goes. I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of these shows are now feeling pressured to throw in every single story line they can in fear of cancellation, in which case somebody somewhere should change this rule. The first half of the season took place in Neverland which was very green and also an island (I say this blandly because I am beginning to realize that the set designs for this show, even though it has the power of Disney and ABC behind it, look the same). The second half of the season kind of took place in the Enchanted Forest, which is also very green, and some of it took place in Storybrooke, but mostly in the woods of Storybrooke. A little bit of New York and a little bit of Oz. Oz, seemed pretty green too. While Peter Pan was the big villain in the first half, where he did a lot of sneering with his lip and leaning on his hip to prove his dominance over the lost boys, who are still lost after they are supposedly rescued by #1 orphan Emma, since they come back to Storybrooke with everyone and wind up, well we’re not sure where they wind up. Peter Pan is of course Rumplestiltskin’s father, because you can’t thrown a quarter in this town without some fairy tale character being related to another, just like how the Wicked Witch of the West, the villain in the second half of the season, is obviously the Evil Queen’s sister. The season finale was actually pretty good, and it was probably because it had nothing to do with the rest of the season’s subplots. It was two hours of Emma and Captain Hook going back into the past and allowing Emma to see how her parents met, and also meeting the Enchanted Forest characters in their natural element. Because of the episode, Emma finally, and I mean finally, because her indecisive nature of what it is she wants to do, and what home means was fine in season 1, and I thought that we had solved the problem in season 1 when she had finally decided to believe in magic. Finally, she realizes Storybrooke is her home. It’s her home because her family is here and because once she left she found that she missed them too much to not believe it couldn’t be home. The coolest part of the entire finale as far as I was concerned was when a golden vase that was in Rumplestiltskin’s vault of darkness follows Hook and Emma back to the present. It is revealed at the end of the episode that new Disney princess favorite Elsa, the Snow Queen, was hidden inside. She awakens in an abandoned barn in Storybrooke and immediately turns the place to ice before sauntering out. This could hopefully put Rumplestiltskin back in villain mode if it turns out that Elsa is actually a heroine who he put away for safe keeping. I’m also hoping that the future season 4 sticks to one solid plot and brings back the heart we saw in season 1. Maybe it was because there was no magic in Storybrooke in season 1 so when you saw a little glimmer of it here or there it made you think about the big picture and gave the show a hint of mystery. Now that magic is in Storybrooke I’m not sure what the rules are, there are sometimes spells, sometimes not, sometimes you need a magical object, sometimes you don’t, and a curse that was the focal point of season 1 becomes irrelevant because apparently these characters have the capability of going to all these worlds whenever they want. I’m still not completely sure why Emma has powers in the first place and why she hasn’t thought to question it. Is it because she’s just the savior and we’re just expected to accept this? There are of course positive things to the show as well, not to sound too negative. Of course I must be watching it for more positive reasons. The cast is mostly female, and made up of actresses who can squirt tears out of their eyes like nobody’s business. Lana Parrilla who plays Regina, the Evil Queen, is a great character who has developed very far in all three seasons, but most of that development gets shattered in the last two minutes of the finale. It’s very cool to watch the fairy tale characters interact with each other and some of the writing is pretty smart and funny. You can definitely tell that the cast is comfortable acting together and some of the better scenes is where they all hang around to plan what to do next. It’s also entertaining to watch the show develop on Tumblr since everyone ships everyone with everyone. The other season finale that happened last week was Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Another show on ABC that shouldn’t have had a problem with budget or lack of character development fell a bit short all season long. I kind of feel like for some reason Disney and ABC are pinching pennies. You guys have billions of dollars! And you have a fan base that’s willing to spend billions more! Maybe, if you are going to have a show take place in a billion dollar franchise, don’t let it take place on the inside of an unimpressive airplane. You know why? Because that means that you’re going to have to shoot action scenes in the inside of an unimpressive airplane, or rather if you prefer, a box. I can completely understand why the show was put together and why it should have been a perfect outline to succeed. It had fan favorite Agent Coulson returning from the dead as the main protagonist and the writers put together a sassy team of two quirky scientists, a hacker, a female agent with a troubled backstory, and a serious agent who may or may not just be looking to forward his career. On paper, this show sounds like a Joss Whedon win, and that maybe with the help of ABC he might recapture that old Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly magic, unless of course, I mean just maybe, it’s not a Joss Whedon passion project, in which case there’s a lot of banter but not really a lot of heart. Whedon was on record saying, “It’s gotta be a show that works for people who haven’t seen the Marvel movies.” I’m sorry…..what? why? If you are not aiming to please fans of Marvel or the Marvel films then maybe we shouldn’t label the show MARVEL’S Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I think what my biggest problem with the show besides it’s dead character eyes and lack of chemistry with anyone on the cast, was how small it felt. I return back to the idea of here’s an elite unit of the best Coulson can find, but we’re going to put them on the airplane and just fly around and waste a lot of gas just flying around. I remember watching the Avengers film, and even currently in theaters Captain America The Winter Soldier, and what got to me was how massive and influential S.H.I.E.L.D. was. But the show just felt boxed in, even outside of the airplane, the set moved from here we are in an airplane, now here we are walking into an underground lair, or a dark basement. Although I can understand they are looking in the hard to reach places for new and exciting plots, the feel of the show was claustrophobic. The best episode of the entire season was when Lady Sif, who looked incredible, showed up. Suddenly, there were car chases and action scenes happening outside the airplane, and you remember, hey that’s right there’s an entire universe out there of Marvel characters that they refuse to touch base on. In fact halfway through the season you’re waiting for a superhero to show up in order to get us out of this boring funk. The show also picks up when it’s revealed in the movie Captain America The Winter Soldier that Hydra has been plotting and planning within the cracks of S.H.I.E.L.D. The writing of course had no choice but regard that Hydra was hiding inside S.H.I.E.L.D. and gasp “that guy” on the team who was supposed to be the everyman hero, is actually a Hydra Agent. This makes the character more interesting until the voice of Hydra on the show is being played by Bill Paxton. Look, I’m a Bill Paxton fan, but I’m well aware of what kind of character Bill Paxton plays. So of course when Bill Paxton is playing a Bill Paxton character in a role that could have been amazing and terrifying if it was played by someone who was terrifying it could have been better. The writers were clearly catering to Bill Paxton’s acting style by giving him every campy line imaginable, in fact most of his dialogue is just one liners. They bring back J. August Richards, who played Gunn on Angel, as Deathlok. I can’t really fault the actor since he has little dialogue and his main job is to stand around and look intimidating and a bit confused while Disney pinches the pennies again on his blue plastic breast plate costume. Also I think that since Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth were able to bulk up into superhero shape that when I see the only superhero who has been kind of a season regular, then I would hope he wouldn’t look so human. I know it may be too much to ask, but the bar has been set. The characters of Fitz and Simmons, the two quirky scientists, get caught by Agent Ward, our everyman hero turned Hydra Agent, and are brought on board the airplane that Hydra has stolen for, well it’s a little unclear what Hydra’s goal in the show is. I’m pretty sure “change the world” is said a lot. Once on the plane, Fitz and Simmons escape and while still on the airplane they lock themselves in an actual box, literally boxing themselves in while Agent Ward jettisons the box into the ocean. While at the bottom of the ocean, the two characters, who I desperately wanted to be one alien entity as two people, talk about where human beings came from and then decipher a way to get out of the box. When they get out of the box, they are now in the middle of the ocean, luckily a shark jumps out of the water in the form of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury to rescue the two scientists. Okay, he’s not actually playing a shark, he’s in a helicopter that was luckily flying over the exact location where Fitz and Simmons rise out of the water. An argument could be made that there was no way you could have the season finale without Nick Fury showing up, another argument could be made that if there weren’t so many hands in the writing fish bowl that the writers wouldn’t have to jump the shark by utilizing Fury, and would have had Coulson be a more demanding leader.  The task should be how do we write the show that we’re not trying to cater to Marvel fans or the other people who aren’t marvel fans so we should be writing how to fix the problem without Fury, without waiting for the moment when it would be most beneficial for Fury to show up to save the day. While this is happening Coulson and new Agent, “replacement Ward”, are about to break into a Hydra facility. During the mission, New Agent actually utters the phrase, “Sir I bring the noise and the funk wherever I go.” He actually says this. Skye, the hacker, and Agent May are inside the facility. Ward catches up to them and he and Agent May fight while Skye is trying to find Deathlok’s son so that Deathlok will stop working for Hydra because she has managed to hack into Deathlok. She’s just that good. The good guys win and the bad guys get taken away by….well, S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone so I guess the cops take the Hydra Agents away. Coulson yells at Fury and then Fury, even though comic history has taught us that Fury ninety-eight percent of the time leaves a woman in charge, leaves Coulson in charge of the new S.H.I.E.L.D. So Coulson, the ladies, and Patton Oswalt are going to put S.H.I.E.L.D. back together. But right before the show comes to a close of it’s first season, we see Agent Coulson waking up in the middle of the night so that he can write with a knife on the wall some sort of alien language. This alien language has kind of been teased out throughout the season but happens to have no origin yet. I’m only salty about the finale and even the show because it had so much potential, they had all the tools and yet the show fell short of heart and plot. And of course, I’m going to watch the second season in hopes that they improve, because I’m a Marvel fan. Happy Friday! Thanks for Reading!



HI! My name is Michelle and on Twitter I am @RicksRightHand! I love reading comic books from mainstream superhero to indie books. I am an avid film and television watcher. I have blogs on Tumblr; a fun blog full of nonsense- dedicated to get the world excited about female protagonists in pop culture- which I share with @stin where we post the nerdiest of things. I am looking forward to posting about recent comic books and also comic book collections I have read. :)