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'Once Upon a Time': Has it lost its magic?

'Once Upon a Time' is in its second season, but has it lost some of the elements that kept viewers watching last year?

By Tiffany VogtThe TV Addict / October 29, 2012

From the moment that Emma broke the Storybrooke spell, we knew that nothing would ever be the same in ONCE UPON A TIME again. The whole premise viewers tuned in for was to see how a young woman was persuaded to come to a town where all the inhabitants were fairytale characters – with one significant twist: none of them knew it. It was simultaneously hilarious and intriguing to see Emma encounter each character and guess who they really were from all the classic fairytales. It was also fun watching the dubious Emma slowly discover that things were indeed not as they seemed on the surface in Storybrooke. So the lure of the show was in the discovery. We were intoxicated and addicted to solving the mysteries along with Emma.

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Yet, that part of the journey came to a screeching halt as Emma kissed Henry’s forehead and the curse was broken. Initially, it was just Emma’s presence in Storybrooke that cracked the curse’s hold and time began to move forward again. Yet that powerful “true love’s kiss” broke Regina’s (aka: The Evil Queen) dastard plan to have everyone live out their lives in perpetual frozen time, unaware of who they really were. That was her dream fantasy, to reign supreme over citizens with no awareness of the lives they had lost. But Emma’s arrival definitely put a stop to that; and even before she stumbled across the way to break the curse, Emma had begun to bring people’s memories back from their deep slumber.

Season 1 of ONCE UPON A TIME was thus a fascinating adventure as we watched the chinks in the curse appear. Then when Regina’s curse finally broke, we were intrigued by the idea of what this entire town of people would do upon finding out what had been done to them and that they were trapped in Storybrooke.

However, another wrinkle was immediately thrown into the mix as Mr. Gold took out the potion he had saved made from the hairs of Snow White and Prince Charming, effectively another “true love” potion and tossed it down the Wishing Well, freeing magic in Storybrooke.

As viewers, we barely had time to process that one curse was broken and another had been enacted right before our eyes. This compounded everything at once: not only did Storybrooke residents remember exactly who they were and were anxious to find a way to get back home to their world, there was the added factor that magic was now available for those who had wielded it before. Regina and Mr. Gold were about to square off for a epic battle that could destroy everything.

But this is when things got kind of interesting: the one wrinkle was that no one could leave Storybrooke or they would lose all their memories of their former lives and who they were. It was then worth considering: was Regina’s curse truly broken? In fact, the first episode of the 2nd season was entitled “Broken.” However, what if that was not meant to imply that the curse was broken, but rather that it was not broken. For who was that man living in the city who received the message card that held only the word “broken” on it? He could not have been August (aka: Pinocchio) for August was still stuck in Storybrooke. Who else was out in the world that could understand the significance of that one word message?

Then, as if they were all not dealing with enough, the very first thing that Mr. Gold did after getting his magic back was to unleash a wraith on Regina. Why exactly did he do that? To punish Regina for keeping his beloved Belle locked away for 28 years and telling him that Belle had died? Okay, we’ll forgive him for that one, but it naturally created a situation that did not do any good; for in trying to banish the wraith, Emma and Mary-Margaret (aka: Snow) were transported through a portal and back to the fairytale land.

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