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Once Upon a Time – The Brothers Jones – Review

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I have such mixed feelings about this episode. On one hand I really enjoyed Henry’s story, I found his rebellion from the sidelines refreshing. I’m so glad he has his own subplot and especially interested and excited because it isn’t in addition to any of the other main characters’ stories. On the other hand, I just couldn’t get invested in Liam’s story. I think this might be because we really don’t know the character. We only saw him once in a flashback and didn’t get to know him enough in “The Brothers Jones” for his actions and sacrifice to make a significant emotional impact. That being said, this is one of those Once Upon a Time episodes that isn’t necessary filler, it just brings the story to the next point. It was a bit of set up, but as we saw in the final scene of “The Brothers Jones”, what they are setting up is definitely intriguing.

While Liam’s inclusion and his distaste for Emma left something to be desired for me, I did enjoy the way “The Brothers Jones” explored the status of Hook and Emma’s relationship. Yes it’s true they made up in the end, but that initial reunion and how Emma wanted everything to go back to normal, but Hook had reservations, seemed very natural to me and I appreciated that more than if they were instantly 100% fine with each other. While they reconciled rather quickly, I felt it was better to restore the relationship as opposed to dragging out their conflict for the rest of the half season. I enjoy character exploration and I enjoy plot driven action, but when you don’t balance them out it becomes overwhelming.

The flashbacks with Liam and Hook were not terribly thrilling, though I didn’t realize until now how little we know of Hook’s background. When we see him in flashbacks 9 times out of 10 he is a dashing pirate, so seeing Hook as a screw up little brother was different. It also explains why Hook seemed to drop everything in present day Underbrooke to follow Liam blindly. We know the brothers were abandoned and replaced by their father, so Liam naturally was a father substitute for Hook. I did feel that Liam’s sacrifice didn’t pack the punch that we had hoped for in this episode. I just felt emotionally distant to this plot. Liam made a bad choice to save a family member, which is par for the course with Once Upon a Time, but where with other characters I’d be more willing to explore this, because we really don’t know Liam nor have we had time to get to know him, his struggle isn’t very interesting.

What did grab my attention in ‘The Brothers Jones” was Henry’s subplot. Not only did it feature Cruella, who is just a fun character all around, we got to see the Apprentice again. I was always dissatisfied at how the Apprentice died, I felt there was more he could do to guide and teach Henry. Here, he admits to the young author that he may have stretched the truth a bit in regards to the restorative powers of the quill. I found that fascinating and made me wonder what other authority figures could be twisting the truth (I’m looking at you, Blue Fairy). What was best about this scene was that the Apprentice wouldn’t give Henry the correct answer, he allowed the boy to figure out the right path for himself. It’s just so satisfying to see Henry finally taking charge and not waiting in the wings. He’s being proactive now instead of reactive and I look forward to what the rest of the season has to bring in regards to him taking up his author duties. It’s a relief that this storyline is being picked up again as it is central to the lore of Once Upon a Time, the exploration of which is the most satisfying part of season 5B.

Speaking of Cruella, while this may have started out as a more comedic scene, her interaction with Charming was interesting, if not slightly uncomfortable. She pretty much confirms that James, Charming’s evil twin, resents his brother because he got the life James wanted. I mention this because it reminds me strongly of Zelena and her beef with Regina, as well as the notion that villains see themselves as heroes in their own stories. And with Zelena coming back into the picture, I’m sure this will have some relevance later. Also, the fact that Cruella uses the word “mama” as a pet name for a man who she admits has mommy issues in some ways cracks me up and in others makes me want to high five the writers for sneaking that in there. While brief, this is one of my favorite things about “The Brothers Jones”, just a small character moment with well-timed humor and a bit of a dark underbelly.

As I said before, this episode seemed to be mostly set up for things to come. Not only for the long term remainder of the season with Henry taking up the mantle of Author once again, but the more immediate intrigue of what Hades and Zelena had going on in the past. Hades has always been so powerful and confident in the Underworld, always a step of two ahead of everyone, why would he need to care or worry about the Storybrooke heroes knowing his story? While I don’t want to see Once Upon a Time give us a straight backstory for the character, the idea of something in Hades past that he wants to hide has grabbed my curiosity. However, the character works better as an unknown quantity, so it’s best if he isn’t over explained. And I am thrilled to see Zelena back. She may be a popular unpopular character, but her exit via tornado last year disappointed me. With her back in the picture, I’m hoping that the writers will revisit the conflict surrounding her “little pistachio” and a more satisfactory resolution for baby and all parent involved will occur. What I’m finding that I like most about season 5B of Once Upon a Time is that I really don’t know where anything is going; I’m content to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Tune in next week for “Our Decay”.

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
Recent Reviews by Ashley B (All Reviews)

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