Additionally, while Chief and Nurse Ratched's Season One appearance seemed mostly like an Easter egg, it also seemed to indicate the fictional world will be as big as the writers can dream. Ditto the mention of Avonlea (in the first Belle episode). Most fairy tales tell the same story. Blasting out the walls of the universe to include all fiction, seems to me to be a good idea -- especially if they want the show to run five or seven years. I don't expect it will ever completely abandon the fairy tale premise because of who are main characters are, but I'm happy to know that the whole of fiction is now available.
My friend, Rachel, is impatient with the separation between the Charming men and the Charming women. She also feels we've had more than plenty of backstory focusing on Rumpy and Regina. She'd prefer if this season featured more current story -- one that honed in on the relationships, particularly between all the Charmings, since that's the true heart of this story. I admit to sharing her frustration where the family is concerned. The Charmings made me fall in love with the show. I agree they are the heart: strong, enchanted, all glowing and candy apple red.
I love Parrilla and Carlyle, but there were times, in the first season, that I thought they were overused. This season though, I think we're seeing them so much because they are part of the extended Charming family. This is not a spoiler, but I really think the Mysterious Stranger might turn out to be Bae. If he is Bae, and if he's Henry's bio-dad (which previews make seem likely), that's going to make Rumpy Henry's other grandfather. Regina already has two ties to the Charming family (Snow's step-mom and Henry's adoptive mom). So while I want to get more on Snow, Charming, Emma and Henry, I think we're building to that. Now, watch me be completely wrong. Still, I believe Once Upon A Time is a redemptionista work, and Rumpy and Regina need nothing else so desperately.
I'll be back Monday with coverage of "Tallahassee." In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum where we need both science and magic.