(This first post will have no spoilers)
Where do I start???
Season 2 of ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' was an interesting and perplexing conglomeration of many ideas, people, plots, and story lines. At times it felt very slow, particularly through the first ten episodes. Then after that it began whirring through story after story at breakneck speed. It was a lot more confusing than the first season.
Overall, I enjoyed the first season more because it had more of a "formula" to it. (Storybrooke, flashback, Storybrooke, flashback) Season 2 could be pretty crazy. (Storybrooke, enchanted forest present, flashback, modern world flashback, enchanted forest present etc.) The second season also seemed to grab onto random story lines and plots, as if the writers were grasping for threads that they didn't know what to do with, yet they just knew they would need it later. I'm not saying the writing was bad. The writing was excellent. I'm not saying they didn't outline. They did manage to tie it all together rather nicely, though rather suddenly, in the last two episodes. It just all seemed a bit, "It's getting boring, now what?" "Throw Lancelot in!" "But what's his backstory???" "We'll think of it later, just go go go!"
I feel bad for the writers though. I understand just how difficult it would be to pick up and create a story after the incredible finale of the first season. And they did it very well, considering. There was a few things I would have done differently, but all in all, I think they did an excellent job with what they had to work with.
The themes of the story were much the same as the first season. Most of the emphasis was again on family. I was happy that it was a bit less "true lovey" than the first season, probably because Snow and Charming's story was resolved. I was surprised at a new theme though: that of redemption. All of the characters, even the baddies, ponder and strive for redemption in various ways. I found it encouraging that a public TV show would go into something that deep, but it was also sad for me as a Christian to see how hopeless it is for people who do not know Christ, therefore, not knowing the only way for redemption. More on this in a later post.
Forgiveness, trust, guilt, honesty, and compassion also made an appearance.
On a more superficial note, the costuming, sets, make-up, and hair styles were all fabulous. I especially liked how they showed the change in Emma through her outfits. I actually wasn't a fan of most of her outfits (not my style) but it was cute how they showed her slowly letting her walls down.
There was more humor the second season. Just funny, quick little quips like:
(David and Mr. Gold in Granny's Diner, talking)
David: "Wait, you're asking me for help?"
Mr. Gold: "Well I'm certainly not here for the overpriced lasagna."
(In the Enchanted Forest)
Belle: "No! I cannot just stand by and watch you kill and innocent man!"
Rumpel: "You can sit if you like."
I think it's a tad obvious who my favorite character is. XD
All in all, the second season was a ton of fun to watch and was extremely exciting. The first season was better, but like I said before, the writers did excellently with what they had to work with. I would not say the second season was a disappointment though. A lot of new, fascinating characters and stories were introduced. Some new concepts were explored. It just could have used a bit more structure.
However, I am extremely excited about the third season of Once Upon a Time starting this fall. The finale set the next season up perfectly for a whole new adventure which has the capability of being a better story than the first season. I'm hoping the writers are able to accomplish this.