once upon a time season 4 finale

Obligatory disclaimers ahead – there will be many spoilers because there is much to discuss about the detailed plot points involved in the Season 4 finale of Once Upon a Time. (Have I mentioned lately how much I adore this show and the way the writers tell these stories?) I’ll give you a minute to escape from this post.

Still here? Good.

First of all, all the OMGs. What the writers did here with the flipped script (heroes acting like villains) is nothing short of brilliant. Some transformations worked better than others, such as Regina playing as the fairytale land version of Snow. I enjoyed watching that version of Regina, and the costume really worked for her. On the other hand, the evil Snow and Charming were truly terrifying. Snow White, in her original bandit role, was a character to be respected for her outlaw skills, but when paired with no moral compass, that made her truly feared as the Evil Queen character.

It was an interesting strategy to make the Author a villain.  This wasn’t something I expected, simply because the heroes and villains in the original book were so accurately depicted as the characters we saw play out in the past few seasons.  Snow / Charming – good.  Regina / Rumplestiltskin -bad.  But the character development was never quite that simple.  We saw Snow temporarily embrace the dark side.  We saw Regina and Rumple display some positive qualities that made them appear worthy of redemption, even though the goodness never quite sticks to the Dark One.  Let me add to that thought – THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE.  Rumple should never be completely redeemed.  If that happens, Once will be ruined for me.

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i have some ideas about smartwatches

Dear makers of wearable technology-

Listen up and pay attention. I have some words of wisdom to impart to you regarding “the next big thing”, which should bear some resemblance to previous attempts that you all seem to have ignored on your way to smartwatch perfection. So the following is for you, Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, and all current makers of “wearables” that tell time digitally.

This is part of our smartwatch past. Remember this one? It’s called an Abacus WristNet. There’s even a vintage Amazon page for it here.fossil smartwatch

 

This was a marriage between Fossil and MSN Direct (which provided the data service to push important data DIRECTLY TO THE WATCH). No Bluetooth available and no phone connection required – and yet data was received by the watch. This is truly revolutionary stuff (#sarc). It had its own data plan, and you could get sports scores, weather, and even national news. It’s a good-looking watch. The monochrome display is nothing to write home about, but it does the job.

You may ask, what is the point of mentioning vintage technology long abandoned as a commercial failure? Good question. The answer is that this ancient attempt nails many of the features today’s smartwatches should have to be truly useful to the average person.

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on the same theme

Read this.

I think the whole idea here is finding ways to keep you sane while you’re in a holding pattern,  and you still have those great expectations of the future.  This is about preparing properly for when that future arrives, and being ready for it.  It gives me hope to know that I’m not a powerless player in my own life, if that makes sense.

life, love, and politics

It has been awhile since I have posted here.  Chalk it up to apathy, or laziness, or the simple fact that there have been far more important things distracting me from my random musings on television, sports and awesome tunes.  Let me explain where my head and heart are right now. Long musings ahead…

In my very first post on this blog, I wrote this:

Perhaps we have lost our ability to believe in something bigger than ourselves.  We can easily lose sight of the bigger picture when we get bogged down in the details. We look at the fortunate fools who still believe and trust in the power of a big dream, and we are envious. We are envious because we used to be where they are. We know better now. We are smarter, too smart to believe, to dream, or to act like our lives mean something.

Here’s to the ones who haven’t become jaded and cynical enough to settle for being ordinary. Dreamers with a plan can change the world.  We have seen it throughout history. We can’t all be singers, or actors, or people with a great big stage to influence huge crowds of people, but we all have a part to play. We can make a difference where we are.  This is too easily forgotten. Don’t lose the belief in the impossible. That is what makes us feel alive. That is what keeps us from being ordinary and settling for an existence that can never satisfy us.

In this life evolution, every day should be a chance to become more inspired and more motivated to live the life we were born to live, and to be the people we were created to be.  When I lost my full-time job over a year ago, it changed a great many things about my life.  Some know-it-all egghead might call this a paradigm shift which was long overdue.  Simply put, I had to make a decision to get on with my life, and find a new career doing what I love to do.  This was the easy part.  Embracing the return to the retail world has been a challenge, and the only saving grace I have is knowing that this will not be my future.

Some of us are lucky enough to have people in our lives who inspire us by their example and their passion for doing what they love, in addition to having mad skills in their field.  I count myself as knowing a few people like this,  and they have my enduring thanks for existing and generally being awesome in all things.

Hope is a powerful emotion, because without it, we are lost and our actions and lives end up being a reflection of misdirection and confusion. We need to know, not just suspect, that the future will be better for us because we are consciously acting to make that the case.  Too often we are spectators in our own lives, and no life has reflected this to this point more than my own.  But once the decision is made to move the ball forward, that’s where the joy comes in, no matter what small insignificant annoying thing happens in your daily life.

This is where I want to be.  This is where I want to take my life.  We all must make those decisions for ourselves, and we must choose to actively pursue the life we want, in concert with our families and our faith.  This is how we achieve joy, no matter what circumstance of life comes our way.

Just a few thoughts.  Thanks for reading.  XOXO.

ugh

At what point does a fan completely give up on their favorite team because the organization making all the decisions is totally stupid?  I guess the answer is that a true fan doesn’t abandon a team for this reason, but the Mets organization is completely stretching the limits of what a sane fan should have to endure.

You would think that a baseball lifer such as current Mets GM Sandy Alderson would be able to make a few more quality personnel decisions than he has, but somehow GMs with much smaller budgets do a lot more quality work with their resources than he does.   Now, it is entirely possible that he is hamstrung in decision-making by the Wilpons, but still…this level of mediocrity should not be tolerated.  It has been years since the Mets have been serious contenders for NL East titles or playoffs, and it is time to find someone to blame for this.

Hope is not a strategy – as some speaking in political terms have been known to say.  We need a plan, an exit strategy from the mediocrity if you will.  If the Mets have scouts who are not even close to making accurate player evaluations, we need new ones.  The thing is, I don’t know who is responsible for this mess.  I just want it to be fixed.   Firing Terry Collins is not the answer.  I suspect the blame should be placed on whoever evaluates this underachieving roster.  So whoever that is, fire them and find someone else.  What’s Billy Beane doing these days?  Give him some money to play with and see what happens.

random thoughts on the ouat season finale

Before I get to Sunday’s epic finale, let me just comment on the previous episode – I was very pleased to see that the writers allowed Henry to get his memories back and restored his belief in magic and the triumph of good vs. evil that has been the driving force in this series.

While there have been some compelling storylines with the adults on Once Upon a Time,  it is my belief that Henry is a critical part to making the fairytale real for the viewers.  I just wish that they hadn’t waited so long in this group of episodes to involve him.

Now to the adults – Zelena’s gone.  Good, although somehow I suspect she will be back at some point.  I really enjoyed her as a villain, and I’m glad the slight attempt to redeem her failed.  I mean, yes, in real life, bad people usually have some trigger in their past that causes them to choose the dark side and continue to make the wrong decisions about situations confronting them.  But in the world of Disney, villains have to remain villains.  Unless of course, said villains are the Evil Queen and Rumple….

Speaking of,  the finale brought an interesting twist to Regina’s story.   The reappearance of Robin Hood’s wife (thanks to Emma’s successful rescue attempt) will cause her to fight off some pretty dark thoughts and inclination to strike out against Emma.  We shall see if Regina’s redemption is permanent or whether she will return to being the Evil Queen.  My suspicion is that even though this is a crushing blow for her, her love for Henry and for Robin Hood will keep her from doing anything to Emma or to Robin’s wife.

I was actually rooting for Regina and Robin Hood as a couple, because I want her to be happy.  She has tried to change, and love changes people in a permanent way.  Is it bad that I want something to happen to Robin’s wife?  She seems perfectly lovely, but I just cannot let go of the idea of Regina and Robin Hood together.   Maybe this can be resolved without killing off his wife.  If so, that works for me.

I will keep saying this- Belle deserves a better man than Rumple.  The wedding was beautiful, but somehow this couple doesn’t work as well in Storybrooke as it does in the fairytale world.

So far I am 0 for 3 in the couples I support to continue into the next season together.   The next couple breaks this streak – Emma and Hook.

Many interesting things happened with those two in the finale – Emma wearing fairytale clothes (and a red princess dress!) and the two of them dancing at the ball being just two of those things.  I loved seeing Emma looking so girly and pretty for once.  It was such an awesome change.  I love Emma’s strength as a character, and her wardrobe usually reflects the tough woman she is, but it was nice to see a different side of her in this episode.

Even though I would not mind seeing Neal return somehow, I am now completely sold on Emma and Hook as a couple.  He is madly in love with her.  What other pirate would sell his ship to be with the woman he loves?  In pirate terms, that is quite a serious commitment, and I am glad Emma recognized that act as the sacrifice that it was.  Yay for Emma and Hook.  I am happy that she finally recognizes that Hook is worthy of her attention.

Last random thought – we saw ice coming from some unknown figure’s hand – is this supposed to be Elsa from Frozen?  If so, I cannot wait to see what direction they take her character next season.  So excited for the fall season.  I have a few unanswered questions that need to be resolved.

i object

Yes, this post involves recent events on Once Upon a Time.  Spoilers upcoming.

You cannot kill Neal.  I strongly object to this.  While I appreciate the need to resurrect Gold / Rumple,  must we kill off Neal to accomplish this?  Of course the obvious caveats apply, mainly that no one really dies on a tv show, but still…why are the writers attempting to kill him off? It does not negatively affect what is happening between Emma and Hook to keep him alive, and this would just be yet another predictable conclusion to a storyline if Hook was the only good guy left alive.  I want more surprises.  I do not want to know everything that is going to happen on this show before it happens.   Do not misunderstand this – I am in favor of Emma and Hook as a couple, but I do not want this to be decided right now.   I would have liked her to have to choose between Bae and Hook.

The problem Once Upon a Time is starting to have is the amount of evil / bad characters turning good, or at the very least, redeemable because of a singular moment where they did the right thing.  Making the evil queen a sympathetic figure because of her love for Henry works in the context of the story.  But Rumplestiltskin / Gold needs to be evil.  That is when he is most compelling and interesting as a character.  A Rumple-Zelena matchup (whether they are united in evil or opposing one another in a magic dual) would have great potential.  I want to see something similar to those two options.  I want some bad guys to stay bad, and for Belle to move on and fall for someone other than Gold.  Belle deserves her own good guy.  Make this happen, OUAT writers.

So when are they going to find a way to get Henry’s memory back?  The belief Henry has in magic and the power of that belief is what made this whole story work.  Fairytale characters – existing in real life, in modern situations, without their memories, far from their original home – this is not an easy scenario to accept.  But we do, because Henry does (or did, before Pan’s curse). We started out sharing Emma’s skepticism of everything Henry was trying to tell her, and then we saw the evidence and embraced his reality.  Not having Henry deeply involved in the recent story is a mistake.  Yes, I know we need to develop the future relationships between Emma/ Hook and Regina / Robin Hood (he really needs a Storybrooke name BTW),  but the story lacks something without Henry”s involvement in it.

So, I hope two things happen in future episodes.  One, bring Neal back.  Make the future Emma / Hook pairing less inevitable.   Second,  let Henry remember his past.  That could only strengthen the story.

ouat – predictable but enjoyable

If you haven’t seen any of the second half of Once Upon a Time season 3, turn away now.   This contains a few spoilers.

First, let me just admit that Hook and Emma have undeniable chemistry.  I love them as a potential couple, and this is coming from someone who was firmly in the Neal-Emma camp entering this half of season 3.  It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that Emma has two very good choices here, and she has already gotten over the flying monkey.  I would have liked to see Christopher Gorham (Walsh) get more of an introduction before he turned into the monkey, though.  That would have been an interesting situation to navigate in this half of the season, but there is so much more to talk about here than Emma’s love life.

We shall begin with the premise that no one questions or seems to notice that they have a new visitor in Storybrooke that does not have a history there.  Grumpy should have been suspicious of Zelena, even if no one else was.  He was one of Snow’s protectors before Charming came along, so he would have been a logical choice for someone who would ask the right questions of any visitors to town. Speaking of Mrs. Charming, she is a stronger, more independent character in the Enchanted Forest than she is in Storybrooke.  Snow was kind of a badass, stealing stuff, shooting people, and looking out for herself by carefully judging the character of potential friends or enemies. Mary Margaret is someone who is all sweetness and light, wanting to love and accept everyone.  Sometimes it”s hard to believe these two are the same woman.  The loss of skepticism will come back to bite her in her future dealings with Zelena.

David / Charming needs to be a bit more aggressive in his Wicked Witch investigation and should have been more assertive with Mary Margaret when expressing doubts about Zelena. I hope they find out her true identity before something horrible happens.  One of the only remaining mysteries is Zelena”s endgame.  Why did she bring Rumple back?  What are her intentions toward David and Mary Margaret?  Yes, we are told that she wants Regina to suffer, but wouldn’t that have more to do with Henry than any of those three?  Her lost relationship with Henry is hurting the Evil Queen more than anything else Zelena could possibly do to her.

I have been enjoying the first three episodes, but most of the major events have been somewhat predictable.   From the first minute we meet Walsh, it was rather obvious that he would turn out to be a bad guy (although the flying monkey thing was a surprise).  The existence of Hook and Neal made that necessary – that, and the fact that Emma would have to cut New York ties if her eventual destination was going to be the Enchanted Forest or Storybrooke.  I would have liked to have more doubt about that before Emma decided to reject his proposal.

The other event I saw coming was that Zelena and Regina are half-sisters.  I can’t explain how I knew that, but somehow I did.  It makes sense, though.  There is not much difference between an evil queen with magic powers and a wicked witch.   The love Regina has for Henry and the self-sacrifice that she has shown in the past redeems her.  We have not seen anything like that in Zelena, and instead we see her in all situations looking out for her own interests.

The interaction between Zelena and Rumple fascinates me.   They would also make an interesting couple.  What powers does she have (other than his dagger) over Rumple?  Why does he appear to have lost his mind?  What part is Rumple going to play in her revenge against Regina?  Does this mean that Rumple is turning back to the dark side (if only under coercion from Zelena)?   It might not be a bad idea for the writers to do this, because Gold is a much more interesting character when he is scheming and plotting against an enemy.

More later –

Odds on couples-

Hook / Emma – up

Snow/ Charming – steady

Neil / Emma- down

Regina/ Robin Hood – no idea when or if this will happen