Once Upon A Time, Ep. 3.05, “Good Form”: Bad pacing kills momentum

Once Upon a Time, Colin O'Donoghue, S03E05 promo pic

Once Upon a Time, Colin O'Donoghue, S03E05 promo pic

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 5: “Good Form”
Written by Christine Boylan & Daniel T. Thomsen
Directed by Jon Amiel
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC

“Good Form”, this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time, is all about Hook. The present day storyline as well as the past story arc have to do with one central person, and that is none other than our dear old captain himself.

Everything pretty much flows together seamlessly. The acting is phenomenal, as usual. “Good Form, however, is just another filler episode for Once Upon a Time. It is there to move the plot along and get things that need to be done, done. Colin O’Donoghue is given a chance in the spotlight and he takes hold of it with no reservations. Since his appearance in season two, O’Donoghue has always managed to captivate us. He plays Hook with incredible grace, giving a very naturalistic performance. It is nice that the writers have put their own spin on the Hook story and we get to see more their take this week. However not even O’Donoghue can save “Good Form” from the past storyline’s terrible pacing. It stretches out over a course of the episode and it is tedious. What is particularly frustrating about this is that when we saw Tinkerbell’s backstory a few episodes back, the writers tried to fit too much story into too little time. The show needs to work on its pacing- it either goes way too fast or way too slow and this is quickly killing the momentum that this season should be building.

The only other aspect that is interesting in the episode is how Emma, Snow, and Regina make contact with Henry. Emma gets desperate in her search and eventually turns to Regina for help. It is nice to see Lana Parrilla get more screen time and do what she does best, playing the delightfully wicked Regina. Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Parrilla have exceptional chemistry with one another and it is always a treat to see the three of them share the screen. When Once first premiered it was all about these three women. They were the pinnacle of the show, with other characters filling in the cracks, so seeing them together without the boys or any other distractions is entertaining.

Once Upon a Time, Colin O'Donoghue, S03E05 promo pic

Aside from the backstory of Hook, “Good Form” pretty much goes through the motions of a filler episode. It is a little unnerving that we are only five episodes in to the third season and there have already been two weeks of filler. It is true that something major can’t happen in every single episode, but it feels like the spark that season one had is slowly burning out. Season one had excellent pacing and suspense. We were quite often left gasping or screaming at the television set. It is sad to say that once magic was brought back to Storybrooke, the magic of Once Upon a Time started to dwindle. The writers continue to play tug a war with our emotions; a major development or plot twist will happen that gets us excited for the next week and then when the episode comes along, we are let down. They have to find ways to stretch out storylines while keeping them interesting, because right now, they aren’t. Perhaps these pacing and plotting issues are a byproduct of the writers creating a serialized show for a twenty two episode season. Maybe the spark would be rekindled if the seasons were shortened to thirteen or fifteen episodes; cable series have already started to find success with this model (Homeland, Game of Thrones, etc.) and with Hannibal and Sleepy Hollow, the networks are experimenting with the format as well. Could Once Upon a Time be next?

All in all, “Good Form” is solid, but it isn’t great. The episode drags itself out only to move a few pieces across the board. Hopefully next week things will pick up when a certain mermaid comes for a visit.

Josh Bouye

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