The Once Upon a Time Round Table is excited to welcome a special guest this week: Molly Harper, the author behind such supernaturally fun novels as "Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs" and "The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf."
We recommend both these novels, and also recommend you keep reading to see what Molly, Jim Garner, Christine Orlando and Nick McHatton have to say about "True North," the latest installment of our favorite Sunday night series...
Does it bother you that the show seems to be burning through fairy tale characters rather quickly? Do you think it is writing itself into a corner?
Jim: I guess it depends on which fairy tale characters they use. While they have started with the classics, I'm pretty sure that the brothers Grimm wrote dozens and dozens of fairy tales that could be used. While not a corner, it could be drifting into obscure character range where we won't recognize the character right away.
Christine: I think there are plenty of fairy tale characters out there plus I believe they'll keep coming back to certain characters like Snow and Charming and Rumplestiltskin. They'll always have their core characters to continue with. I know I'm looking forward to getting back to them.
Molly: I actually thought of that the other night during the Cinderella episode. What are they going to do when they run out of princesses? But I think that the writers are clever enough that they will be able to offer spotlight scenes/episodes for characters they've already explored. And example would be Archie. Sure, we know he has parent issues, but there are still questions about how he got from point A to point B in terms of mentoring young people- as a cricket and a human. And I would like to see his parents transform back from those creepy dolls and cause some chaos in Storybrooke. I agree with Jim. There are lots of mythologies and lesser known fairy tales to mine for storylines. I would like to see them do something with the non-Disney staples (Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the Pea) and the downright obscure ones (Snow White and Rose Red, the 12 Dancing Princesses, etc.)
Nick: In terms of the big name, Disney fairy tale stories, absolutely. That being said I don't think the show is writing themselves into a corner, but how many of those tales are well known? It all depends on how well they integrate these stories (obviously), and where our favorite re-imagined characters go.
Did the conflict between the Mayor and Emma seem forced this week, given the former had no reason to concern herself with two orphaned children?
Jim: Doesn't the mayor of a town have more things to do that worry about two kids who were shoplifting? While I get the idea that she got involved because she wanted to get under Emma's skin, I'm surprise Emma didn't ask her why she was getting involved. Man, she is really a witch!
Christine: Well, she became aware of it because the kids set up Henry to take the fall so that definitely put it on her radar. After that it became yet another way to irritate Emma and she can't turn that down.
Molly: The Mayor is coming across as a bit of a micro-manager. I think if the mayor of my hometown tried to shoehorn one of his cronies into the sheriff's office, he'd be laughed out of the building. But at the same time, the writers have established that there is a limited government system in the town and no one ever comes into town to visit, so how else were they supposed to cause tension with "official intervention" for the kids? Also, Regina, as the evil queen, already established ill will toward the children because they rejected her generous offer to stay in the castle. So on that level, it made sense.
Nick: A lot of what she does feels forced because she's the only one who is truly in know about what is going on. That means Regina has a lot of trails she has to cover up, and with Emma and Henry hot on her trail she's going to exert a lot of influence no matter what the situation. Plus, Regina loves being in control.
Should Emma have told Mary Margaret that Henry thinks she is her daughter? Will things be awkward around the house now?
Jim: I was really hoping for more with the baby blanket. When MM was smelling it, I was soooooo hoping for her to have a flash that would be that little seed of "what if" But alas, we got nothing, which I guess is a good thing given what happen to Graham when he started remembering.
Christine: I was thrilled that she did. Even though they both joked about it now they'll each have it in the back of their minds and it will color their interactions from here on out.
Molly: Yes, every episode in which she did not tell Mary Margaret about Henry's theory rang a little false for me. Emma had no problem telling Mary Margaret about Henry's other wild ideas, why hush up about that one? And yes, maybe it will make it awkward around the shabby chic brick house, but I think that plotline needed to be moved along. Personally, I find it sort of sad that Emma has spent almost no time with Prince Charming, her dad.
Nick: It feels a little too soon for that reveal to happen especially since Charming hasn't grown close to the two of them yet. When it does happen I have a lot of doubts awkwardness will ensue because Mary Margaret loves unconditionally, as does Charming.
Do you think Emma did the right thing by not telling Henry the truth about his father? Should she plan on telling him at some point?
Jim: While I can understand her not telling him the truth if his dad is a bastard, but making him out to be the hero might have been going to far the other way. Either way, when he gets older he really does deserve to know the truth.
Christine: At this age he certainly doesn't need to know all the gory details but I think making him a hero took it too far. Sooner or later he'll find out the truth and she's setting him up for a very hard fall.
Molly: No. Most of Henry's issues come from not being able to trust what adults tell him, and not being able to tell truths from lies. So the revelation that Emma, who is - in his mind, the champion for good and light - told him a lie this big could be a world-tilting, character-altering plot point. Now that she's lied, she needs to maintain it. Henry could end up turning back to Regina, and that would not be good. If Emma ends up telling Henry the truth, she should time it really carefully. And maybe have some ice cream handy. And a pony.
Nick: I can understand why Emma told the lie to Henry. The poor kid hasn't really had a "heroic" adult in life. There's a lot that can go wrong in this situation, and Emma has to break it to him at the right moment. Otherwise, there's a lot of manipulation that can go be used on him, and a lot of secrets that can be spilled - particularly to Regina.
Who is the stranger on the motorcycle? Any theories on what's in the box strapped on his motorcycle?
Jim: I'm guessing Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold's son, as we never knew what happen to his son, maybe he too was able to leave Storybrooke and return. As for the box, I am betting on his laundry, man's gotta have a change of undies hiding somewhere!
Christine: I'm hoping it's Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin's son because I'd love to see the two of them together and I really enjoy Rumple's story. But there are so many characters we've yet to meet it could be almost anybody. No idea about what's in the box. That's the big mystery.
Molly: I think the theory that he is Mr. Gold's son is really interesting. Personally, I think it could be the Pied Piper. That trunk strapped to the back of his bike is the perfect size for a musical instrument. And he's this seductive stranger who is probably going to make Emma some proposition - much like the Piper. But, in the end, he will probably end up being some old boyfriend of Red Riding Hood. The big bad wolf? (Have they introduced a Big Bad Wolf, yet?)
Nick: Probably a new love interest for Emma. It feels like a good time to have another "stranger" come into Storybrooke and continue to shake things up. As for the box, I'm really not sure.