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Once Upon A Time: Season 2 [Blu-ray]
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Relive every thrilling moment as ABC's ONCE UPON A TIME: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON casts its tantalizing spell. The curse is broken, magic has arrived, and there's no telling what -- or who -- will be unleashed! Now the exiled fairy-tale characters must grapple with a flood of awakened memories as they come to grips with their new "reality." Old loyalties will be tested, new heroes will emerge and vengeful villains will wreak havoc -- including ruthless pirate Captain Hook and the relentlessly wicked Cora. Amidst the backdrop of previously unexplored lands and a newly magical Storybrooke, love and sacrifice will set the stage for the ultimate battle between good and evil. For, in the words of Rumplestiltskin, where magic is concerned, only one thing is certain: it always comes at a price. From Storybrooke to Fairy Tale Land and beyond, experience the mystery, romance, action and adventure of ONCE UPON A TIME's remarkable second season. Complete with all 22 unforgettable episodes, plus exclusive bonus features, this must-own 5-disc boxed set is pure enchantment on an epic scale.
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There is a continuity of sorts, however, since the fairy tale world (ravaged by Regina's curse) is still around. Emma and Mary Margaret (Snow White) are accidentally sent there, which sets up the two major villains for the second season: Cora (Regina's mother from the previous season) and new comer Captain Hook. The Captain's story isn't as compelling as you might think (re-hashes a lot of the tropes from Regina's story). Cora, however, ranks as one of OUAT's greatest villains (so much so that they'll bring her back about once per season after this). Barbara Hershey plays Cora with the subtlety with which Carlyle plays Gold, but her actions are far more vicious and do a great deal more damage. Regina and Rumple aren't heoric by any means (thank god), but each are on very obvious roads to redemption. The interactions between the now uncursed Snow and Charming and their daughter, whom the writers made the wise choice of giving a cynical initial outlook on the situation, is quite entertaining. Snow/Mary Margaret (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) is much more interesting in this season, and she and Jennifer Morrison have pretty good chemistry, which is expanded and explored through a number of different avenues. They are still friends and confidants as they were in season 1 but they have the added burden of dealing with their knew relationship as mother and daughter. David/Charming (played by Josh Dallas) only gets more boring, and I wouldn't get my hopes up for him to become more interesting anytime soon. Belle (played by Emilie de Ravin) adds some dimension to Gold/Rumple's plot, but no one seems to acknowledge what the effects of being locked up in a padded cell for close to thirty years might do to one's psyche. The character seems unphased, and she is written with a sense of moral self-righteousness that can be a bit much.
This is the last season before the two-part structure takes its ungodly hold over every season to come. With consecutive seasons, the first half will be a plot-line that exists fairly independently and is given more artistic attention while the second halves will be largely convoluted stories that are basically put in place to set up the beginning of the season to come. Said structure isn't as pronounced in this season, but it begins about four or more episodes from the end. You'll begin to see a lot more retcon, gratuitous characters that don't impact the plot that much (many of which are fan-service for Disney aficionados), and the introduction of story-lines that go no where. For instance, season two begins with Sleeping Beauty being released from her respective curse by Prince Phillip. Yeah, you aren't going to see much of these two in the future. Also, don't hold your breath for Maleficent's reappearance. Even though she was both shown and teased in the first season, she won't be showing until a few seasons after this.
The best things about this season are Regina's rocky road to redemption, Cora's menace as a villain, the town coming to terms with its two-fold identity (though it doesn't last very long), Emma and Snow awkwardly bonding, and the revelations surrounding Rumple's motives. For that last one, much of it could be seen coming and is foreshadowed in season one, but it is nice to have the actual pay-off concerning Mr. Gold's elaborate schemes. There's the added bonus of Mr. Gold becoming VERY ruthless when he finds out he can achieve his goals. One great element that I forgot to mention, which is a selling point for this season, is more explanation as to how Regina became an evil witch whilst being the queen. However, there are a lot of plot-lines that overlap with her own that seem quite unnecessary and introduce/re-introduce characters who will be more or less gone after this season (one of whom is just terribly uninteresting; another who we'll lose because of his obligations to a certain major franchise [whose future absence leaves many questions unanswered]).
I guess the cardinal sin, aside from breaking the curse too soon and transitioning to that awful double-arch-with-cliff-hanger-ending season structure, is the continued explosion of characters who either are tertiary to the plot, are not given any development, will not impact the plot in any meaningful way, are transparent attempts at fan-service, or all four.
I'm being very generous with some of my assessments of the protagonists. The antagonists (even with Regina in a moral conundrum state) are the high points. Once again, Parrilla and Carlyle, and Barbara Hershey, carry the show. Regina's quips only get funnier (one of the show's few conventions that never wavers and only gets stronger over time). It's not season one, but it picks up where the first story arc left off with some element of grace and carries on with a sense of purpose, even if it is largely unknown to even the creators.
For those who are veterans of the series, the second season continues to introduce many beloved Disney characters and their stories as well as further dive into the pasts of the main, recurring, characters. There are many subplots in this season, but (SPOILER ALERT) some of the main plots focus on the identity of Rumpelstiltskin’s son and how to find him, re-uniting the 'Charming' family, and how to leave Storybrooke and return to their own world. If you loved the first season, the second season will only deepen your love for the characters and their stories. You will watch the characters grow and change and really experience the “magic” and “power” of love.
Okay, that's not a review of the product as much as a technical review. I've bought episodes of series before, and this has never happened. He couldn't tell me why. He gave me credit and his final answer was, if I ever bought another episode and it didn't load on Kindle, call them back then. Really not helpful.
So, this is more a warning. The video product is great; just what I wanted. But, for some reason, isn't loading into my video library the way it's supposed to. Therefore, I feel like I've been cheated. I want to watch a product I paid for on my Kindle, and due to a tech issue at Amazon, I wasn't able to. With no resolution in site except to call them back if it happens again.
After this Queen is defeated, a new threat emerges, outsiders. What could this mean for Storybrooke, and more importantly, for Henry?
First, I LOVE Disney. Love the movies, the theme park, the store, etc. I also love mixing fairy tales with real life (check out The Sisters Grimm and Peter & Max and Fables (graphic novels). I love the genre.
The problem for me is they just don't do it well. I don't know why. I think their early success made them lazy, but the acting is bad enough to take me out of the scenes. The special effects are laughably bad. And the plot lines have so much back and forth, the season could be cut down by half and be twice as good.
Now, not all the acting is bad (Mr. Gold is quite good, and sometimes Snow White), but it's over the top soap opera style is really not to my taste. The whole time I was watching I felt like fewer episodes and a couple extra takes per scene would do the show wonders.
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