Once Upon A Time Review: “Forking Paths” Lead Confusing Places

Once Upon A Time

I’m always one of the last people to give up on a show. I’ve invested so much time in Once Upon A Time that I am definitely willing to continue with it. However, episodes like this make me question my unyielding loyalty to certain television programs. This was a fine episode for filling in gaps for our new main characters and what happened to them prior to the curse. It was well acted, and interesting and helpful information. But that’s about all it was. I enjoy a good visual story as much as the next guy, but if you’re really pressed for time in this Peak TV era…maybe read a recap of this one.

Conveniently, I have some of the highlights here: Cinderella is partially responsible for the “death” of her step-sister. Her step mother needed Henry’s heart to bring her back, but thanks to some sage advice from Regina, “Ella” couldn’t go through with it. Regina, Earth-2 Hook and Henry had joined Cinderella’s resistance prior to the curse. After the curse: basically the same stuff, but modernized slightly.

I have mixed feelings about exposition heavy episodes. Often times, we need the exposition, but at what cost?  I fell asleep several times during this episode. They certainly could have condensed the stories from this episode into smaller bits, or combined it with another inevitable episode just like this one. This kind of episode appears more and more frequently during 22 episode broadcast seasons, but that doesn’t ensure that it’s effective. As a matter of fact  it’s often the opposite. As someone invested in the story, I both wanted and needed the information provided by this episode. But, watching it in a week-to-week format brings with it limited effectiveness. Perhaps when people binge it, it will fit right into the story.

Some positives:

  • The acting is really good. Lana Parilla is as good as ever (can we give her more to do, please?) and Andrew J. West and Dania Ramirez lead a strong group of newcomers to the universe.
  • The show doesn’t forget its heritage. Even though it’s moving forward without some of the long-time beloved characters, Once Upon A Time hasn’t been shy about revisiting events from Seasons 1-6.
  • There is still a pretty strong Season 1 vibe, which bodes well for the overall quality of the season.
  • They aren’t doing Frozen again, so I’d say that’s a huge plus.

I hate being negative in reviews because I really do love the show, and I know how much it takes to put it in front of me each week. I don’t take anyone’s hard work for granted. That being said, this episode felt like exposition and little else. Hopefully, the information and development from this episode will pay off more handsomely in the near future.

A few other thoughts:

  • I’m intrigued by some of the new characters and how they’ll fit in to everything. Some of the characters are clearly good and bad right now, but some others ((like Alice) are ill-defined.
  • Next week’s episode looks like it will fill us in on Rumplestiltskin’s life prior to the curse. That’s something I’m extremely interested in learning.
  • I like the Step-Mother, but she’s still got nothing on early season Regina.

Overall, this was a fine episode. It just didn’t have anything memorable or remarkable about it. I expect that the details revealed in it will be important soon, though, so at least read a recap if you are cutting back on your watching efforts.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know!

Once Upon A Time airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC

Once Upon A Time Season 7 Episode 3 Review: "The Garden of Forking Paths"
2.5

Summary

Henry sets out to help Ella and the rest of the community from the evil step-mother in this week’s exposition-heavy Once Upon A Time

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