First off: Poor, poor Regina. Seriously, how many times is she going to be that close to achieving something resembling happiness, only to have someone kick the chair out from under her? I understand Emma's (dumb, dumb, omg dumb) impulse to save an innocent woman from, yeah okay, certain death, but she already knew that even the tiniest action could have universe-altering consequences. She nearly erased her own existence by stepping on a twig! I know she had no idea that the woman she saved was the wife of Regina's intended true love, but still.
On that note: Why doesn't Belle remember her? Rumpelstiltskin made a potion to remove his own memory of meeting future-Emma and future-Hook (who, explanation or no, I'm amazed he didn't incinerate on the spot), but as far as we can tell, he never gave a dose to Belle. The second she regained her memory in Storybrooke, the first words out of her mouth on meeting Emma should have been, "Hey, I remember you from Rumple's castle!"
The more I see of Hook, the less and less I like him. While this is partly because I like Rumpelstiltskin and Hook did a number on him over Milah, it's more because Hook is kind of a dick. He convinces a married woman to desert her son and run off with him, betrays said son to the Lost Boys, and once he hits Storybrooke immediately repeats his pattern of attempting to seduce a woman away from the father of her child. Not to mention that his competition is the son of the woman he convinced to leave her husband! Doesn't he ever go after women who AREN'T currently involved with other men? Meh, at least he's pretty.
Also, HOLY CRAP THEY FINALLY LEFT NEVERLAND JUST GO ALREADY. Seriously, I have never been so bored by a story arc in a TV show (this is hyperbole, as I'm sure there have been more boring arcs in other shows, but it's late and I'm too tired to think of any). Endless, pointless hours of Rumpelstiltskin skulking in the jungle hallucinating Belle, of Regina snarking (okay, that part's always awesome), of the Charmings squabbling over who loves each other more and who's willing to sacrifice the most ("I'll stay in Neverland because I love you!" "No, I'll stay because I love you MORE!" "No, I'll let you kill me for a curse to save you!" "I'll sacrifice HALF MY HEART, hah!"), of Pan smirking and taunting, and of course Henry being BREATHTAKINGLY stupid. Who trusts some random magic teenager over their entire family after just a few days? Henry, apparently. The Oz arc may have taken half a season to resolve, too, but at least Stuff Happened. With all the camping in Neverland I was getting flashbacks to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and its associated PTCD: Post-Traumatic Camping Disorder.
Zelena: Ehhhhhh. Too much wasted potential. They took what could have been an awesomely kick-ass villain and turned her into a whiny, pouting teenager with mommy issues and a bad case of stalker with a crush. Stashing crazy!Rumpelstiltskin in the basement was the last straw, no pun intended. I'm getting heartily sick of characters going crazy or getting amnesia. This is the THIRD time they've pulled the amnesia plot device. First season was Charming. Second season was Belle. Third season Henry's walking around like a zombie staring at his Game Boy. (Emma, too, but they magicked it out of her pretty quickly.) I wonder whose memory they'll wipe the fourth time around?
Regarding Zelena, seriously, how many more relatives do these people HAVE? Peter Pan is Rumpel's father? The Wicked Witch is Regina's half-sister? Next they'll be telling us that Ruby and Pongo were separated at birth. Sheesh.
I was a tad upset that they killed off Neal, mostly because it sucked that Henry has to lose his dad right when the guy came back into his life. Also he's a flat-out better choice than Hook. I expected for Hook to have this really horrible, tragic back story where we watch him forced into piracy and be slowly corrupted, but no, he gleefully dives into a life of crime for Teh Evols. Some of it was because, eh, his brother's dead and that's sad, but it was mostly HEY LET'S BE PIRATES 'CAUSE THAT'S COOL. And the entire crew just...goes with it. We're supposed to believe that every last man aboard the king's ship in the Navy agrees to mutiny and hand the ship to their former captain's brother based on...what? Hearsay? Rebellion? Sheer force of personality? Not buying it. Part of me likes to think that none of this happened...Hook's entire back story is all in his head and he's just making it up for his own ego, which is WAY more in character than the origin we're shown.
I liked Ariel okay, although I didn't remotely buy her "true love" for Eric. Dude looks like any other random guy on the planet: completely average and boring. I did get some amusement out of Belle and Ariel greeting each other like old BFFS, because it's BELLE and ARIEL and they're GREETING EACH OTHER BY NAME, and cracktacular shit like that is why I watch this show. And seconds later Tinkerbell walked in. I love this show. <3
Speaking of Tink, I spent the entire Neverland arc, when I wasn't bored to tears, trying to figure out why the actress who played her seemed so familiar, and where I'd heard the name Rose McIver. I finally broke down and looked it up online...and it turns out she was on an episode of Xena! The episode Little Problems, where Xena switches bodies with a kid? She was that kid. And holy crow, she's beautiful now, and was one of the few bright spots in the Neverland arc. They did a great job casting her.
The Blue Fairy's back story with Tink cemented my personal feeling that, as wonderful and helpful as Blue pretends to be, she's secretly kind of a bitch. I'm convinced she gave Baelfire the magic bean not out of any sense of compassion for a desperate boy, but solely to get Rumpelstiltskin out of the Enchanted Forest and eliminate him as a threat, and her treatment of Tinkerbell didn't help her case. Yeah, Tink stole some pixie dust; does that really justify stripping her of her magic and removing her wings? I was actually sort of happy when she "died," and equally unhappy when she returned. Not because it was Blue, but because it was the second serious non-villain character death in the show (hey, they need to have Graham in another flashback!), and it was shocking and it needed to be shocking. I was pissed that not only did she come back to life, but it was completely glossed over and everyone took it in stride. "Oh no, Blue's dead! Let's hold this touching prolonged funeral service and spend half an episode mourning over the loss of one of Storybrooke's very own--wait, what? She's alive? Cool, let's go kill Pan."
Finally, OMG ELSA YES YES YES SO MANY GALLONS OF YES. I am beyond stoked for the fourth season now. (And from what I can see from promos, the actress is totes adorbs. Like frolicking-puppies-and-unicorn-smiles level of cute. I may or may not have a new girlcrush. Just sayin'.)
And now I'll have to wait for the fourth season. Fortunately I'll be living with my husband and we will probably have cable by then, which means CURRENT EPISODES. No longer will I be solely reliant on DVDs! SQUEE!