My only guess is that season one was entirely planned, at least much more than anything they’ve done since, and the best episodes in the following seasons were so much better because some aspect of them was also planned along with the first season.
I just don’t understand why they can’t see what everyone else sees. It drives me nuts because I feel like they wouldn’t even have to change their story much to make it more interesting, if only they’d let the characters drive the plot. Let relationships evolve, Emma and Regina don’t always have to butt heads, Neal doesn’t have to pretend like he wasn’t about to start a life with a woman he loved and trusted, Hook doesn’t have to pretend like all he was born to do is get drunk and pine after Emma, and Emma doesn’t have to pretend this whole thing isn’t insane!
We still could’ve had Regina taking Henry home this episode, but instead of contributing to Emma thinking Henry isn’t normal and sparking a bit of an argument between them, we could’ve had the two of them be the only ones who sensed something was off. We could’ve seen them have each other’s backs and insist to the others that something was different with him.
(And really, doesn’t it say something about Henry as a character that the only two things they can think of to make him seem “off” are that he doesn’t react to the book and he wants to be with Regina? Too much time spent writing him as a plot device and not as a person.)
We could’ve had Neal and Emma having an adult conversation, both expressing concerns about their relationship, or we at least could’ve had Emma be a little more insistent with her parents about why she wasn’t ready to talk to him, instead of pushing it off on her concerns about Henry. I’d rather see Neal struggle with what he’s been through recently (suddenly having a son, losing Tamara, finding Wendy and the Darlings, reuniting with his dad) than see him be so carefree about wanting to get back with Emma.
And we could’ve had Hook and Tink actually bond (and maybe enlighten us a little as to their backstory) while still emphasizing that he’s got feelings for Emma. They could’ve made that point without having him act like a 12 year old. I’d rather see him try and deal with his feelings for Emma by reminiscing and laughing with Tink than seeing him attempt to get her drunk and have sex with her. We could’ve gotten some real substance out of both those characters, as well as insight into their shared history, but no… Hook either has to be pathetically in love with Emma, a total scumbag, or both.
And instead of arguing over which one of them will “win” Emma, Hook and Neal could talk about how odd it is to find themselves in that position, they could talk about how they feel about each other, about their whole gigantic history. They both must have such conflicting emotions, Hook must still feel a fondness for him, and regret for giving him up to Pan, and Neal must feel a lot of anger, but probably also curiosity about his mother (does he know how she died?) and then a lot more confusion about how this guy managed to get romantically involved with both his mother and his ex-girlfriend and justify it all even when he wanted to be a father to him.
I’m sorry, I know I’m talking entirely about the dudes and the triangle, but that’s what’s so frustrating to me! Because even this love triangle junk doesn’t have to be this terrible! And if they’re going to force it on us and give these men screen time it’s irritating that they can’t even make it interesting or elaborate on their feelings beyond “they both want to be with Emma.”
I don’t understand! It’s like they scratch out a first draft and never bother to go back and look it over, they just decide it’s good enough as is and it’s a shame cause even the worst parts of this show don’t have to be this bad.