Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 3: “Quite a Common Fairy”
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Alex Zakrzewski
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
The third episode of Once Upon a Time season three kicks off with another glimpse into the show’s very intriguing and yet creepy take on Peter Pan, before leading to a past Enchanted Forest storyline with Regina actually knowing Tinkerbell. Between the storyline in Neverland, the flashback with Tinkerbell, and Neal’s escapades with Mulan and Robin Hood, the entire episode feels very crammed together. The ride writer Jane Espenson takes us on goes down several different hills and turns, almost enough to make us sick.
Acting-wise, the episode is phenomenal as usual. The casting of Rose McIver as Tinkerbell is superb. McIver handles the different traits of Tinkerbell very well. In the past Enchanted Forest storyline we get to experience a more traditional Tinkerbell; she is sweet and wants nothing more than to help Regina find happiness. Our first meeting with her in Neverland shows us a Tinkerbell who’s almost as psychotic as Pan. McIver pulls off every angle exceptionally well and here’s hoping that she is asked back for several more episodes. While McIver’s performance is wonderful, there are a few issues with her storyline. One is that she is forced to share an already overcrowded episode; Tinkerbell’s arc feels rushed. How did she end up in Neverland? Was it just Regina that caused her downfall? Or were there other factors as well? Hopefully the writers will explain and develop this interesting twist on the character in future episodes. If this is our only chance to see her it will be quite a shame.
“Quite a Common Fairy” acts on the whole as a filler episode. Things happen that need to, but there aren’t any major plot twists or shocking moments. Each storyline is interesting, but feels very crammed together. It seems like we only get like a few minutes with each group before being rushed off on the wings of a fairy to another story arc altogether. Thankfully, aside from Regina and Tinkerbell’s back story, we don’t see too much of Rumple. If we had spent more time with him then the episode probably would have been an even bigger mess.
Even though the episode is mostly filler, there are some rather good highlights. Tinkerbell is fantastic to see. We get to venture even more into Pan’s psychotic world- he’s shaping up to be a very good foe for our heroes. Neal eventually makes it to Neverland. And the small twist of Robin Hood’s love interest-status towards Regina, back in the day, is interesting.
Another plus is that the darkness of Neverland is still going strong, making us shiver and pray that we never have to venture there. Espenson, director Alex Zakrzewski, the cinematographer, and the cast all do a superb job making us feel the darkness and even evilness of the place. They are doing what the show set out to do in the premiere- make us forget the Neverland that we grew up with.
With any luck, however, the writers will not try to cram as much information into the upcoming episodes. Now that everyone is in Neverland, hopefully we will just be treated to the characters’ journeys there and a little bit of backstory. Four storylines twisting and turning is simply too much to handle for one episode.