Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Once Upon A Time (S1, Ep1): The Pilot

"Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest filled with all the classic characters we know. Or think we know. One day they found themselves trapped in a place where all their happy endings were stolen. Our World. This is how it happened...."

These are the opening words that begin the pilot episode of the "Once Upon A Time" series. Our minds have been conditioned into believing that the fairy tale world is filled with bliss and happy endings. Apparently, this isn't the case. Now, we are going to learn the bigger story about the stories we know "or think we know."

The episode begins with Prince Charming; who is rushing to find Snow White. He finds her dead, and begs the dwarfs to allow him to say good-bye. He gives her one last kiss and and true love's kiss awakens her. They are both stunned and relieved. Snow White exclaims "You found me!" The Prince says, "Did you ever doubt I would...? You never have to worry. I will always find you!" What follows is the royal wedding (as to be expected). So far, the fairy tale is just as we all remember. Then, comes the "catch." The evil queen arrives and she vows: "Soon, everything you love, everything all of you love will be taken from you forever. And, out of your suffering, will rise my victory. I shall destroy your happiness if it is the last thing I do."

The months pass and the royal couple is now expecting a child. They also continue to wonder and worry about the Queen's threat. Snow White insists on visiting the imprisoned Rumplestiltskin to see what he may know about what is to come. Prince Charming reluctantly agrees and they go to see him. Rumplestiltskin is all about making deals, so he insists on knowing the name of their unborn child (Emma) in exchange for what he knows. He tells them that "the queen has created a powerful curse; and it's coming. Soon, you'll all be in a prison, just like me, only worse! Your prison, all of our prisons, will be time; for time will stop. And we will be trapped someplace horrible; where everything we hold dear, everything we love, will be ripped from us, while we suffer for all eternity,...while the queen celebrates, victorious at last! No more happy endings." Snow White frets about what can be done and he says that the only one that can do anything is the child she is carrying. He tells them that the child is their only hope and that they MUST get her to safety. Then, on the child's 28th birthday: "The child will return. The child will find you, and the final battle will begin!"

As the royal couple, and various other characters, try to determine what their game plan is, the blue fairy comes in with an enchanted tree and says that if fashioned into a vessel, "it can ward off any curse." She commissions Gepetto to the task. However, she says: "The enchantment is indeed powerful, but all power has its limits, and this tree can protect only one." It is decided that the pregnant Snow White will be the one who is saved since her child is the one that is predicted to save everyone from the curse.

Gepetto works on the tree diligently and finishes the wardrobe. Meanwhile, Snow White unfortunately begins going into labor; and right as the curse begins to descend upon their world. Emma is born and they wrap her in a blanket with her name on it. Snow White insists that the Prince take the baby and put her in the wardrobe. She says that they have to have faith that she'll come back for them and that they have to give her "her best chance".

Prince Charming literally fights his way to the wardrobe (the palace has been invaded by the Queen's men). He puts the baby inside the tree and she disappears. The Prince is happy as he lies there slain by one of the Queen's guards that assaulted him. Snow White hobbles into the room and cradles the Prince in her arms; whispering to him and kissing him. The Queen arrives and hovers over them; assuring Snow White that she won't remember any of it. The Queen is angry and slightly worried when Snow White informs her that her baby "got away" and tells her "You're going to lose. I know that now. Good will always win." The Queen smiles and says, "We'll see about that!" as they disappear into "someplace horrible....where the only happy ending will be MINE!"

Now, we go to the real world where we see a little boy who is traveling through the city holding a book. It's obvious that he's on some sort of mission. He finally reaches his destination, which is the home of Emma Swan. She is a bail bonds person and had just gotten home from an eventful night. It's also her 28th birthday; and she's celebrating it alone. She has no family or friends and is basically a loner. As she's blowing out a birthday candle on a cupcake, she hears her doorbell ring. After the boy confirms her identity, he announces that he's her son. He begs her to come home with him to Storybrooke. On the way, Emma notices his book of fairy tales that he insists are true; and that she's in the book. She says to to him that he has problems; problems that he says that she is going to be the one to fix.

When they arrive in Storybrooke, she notices the clock in the middle of town. The boy (Henry) explains to her that the clock never moves and that time is frozen. He says that the evil Queen has sent all the characters of the book into the real world and that none of them remember who they really are. Also, no one can try to leave the town or bad things will happen. As he's' telling Emma about these things, Henry's psychiatrist shows up. Archie (aka Jiminy Cricket) probes Henry as to where he's been and Henry dances around the issue and minimizes the truth of the matter. Archie assures him that, "Giving in to one's dark side never accomplishes anything." He then informs Emma that Henry is the mayor's son. Emma promptly takes him home to the mayor, Regina (aka the evil Queen).

After talking with Regina and getting Henry settled back in, Emma decides to head home. She sees that Henry left his book in the car right as she swerves to avoid hitting a wolf in the middle of the road and crashes. She wakes up in the Storybrooke jail where Regina is begging the Sheriff to find Henry, who has gone missing again. Emma offers to help and they search his computer history and find that he used his teacher's credit card to find his birth mother. They question his teacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard (aka Snow White), about Henry's whereabouts. She doesn't know anything, but it's discovered that she was the one that had given Henry the book of fairy tales because she thought he was lonely and that the stories might give him "hope" for a "happy ending." She suggests to Emma that she should go look for him at his "castle", which is an old playground.

Emma finds him right where Mary Margaret suggested. Henry keeps telling Emma about her destiny and that he understands that she gave him up for adoption in order to give him his "best chance"; just like Snow White did for her. She is still in denial about it. She tells him that she is in no book and is no savior; but that she did want him to have his best chance. She explained that when she was a baby, she was found on the freeway and then ended up in the foster care system. She tells Henry that his life with his adoptive mother can't be all bad and that he has a good life. Henry tries to assure Emma that her parents didn't abandon her; that they were saving her from the curse and that that's just where she "came through". He begs her to stay for just a little while. She finally takes Henry up on his offer. She decides to stay for a week after Regina coldly threatens her and tells her to stay away from Henry and leave Storybrooke. As she is settling into her room at Granny's Bed & Breakfast, the town clock begins ticking. Additionally, Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin) runs into Emma as he's collecting rent from Granny and tells her to enjoy her stay.


If you're still reading, let me apologize for the already long blog. However, knowing the basics and foundation of the story is very crucial, so this first blog of the series is obviously going to be the longest one. Though, why am I spending such an extensive amount of time to blog this series when you can obviously read recaps elsewhere online, buy Season 1 for yourself, or watch it on Netflix? Well, as explained in my previous blog entry, this series has a lot of spiritual truths woven into it (whether it was intended to be there or not). Therefore, I just want to share the things I see in each episode so that it might encourage you to think about the Biblical truths of God's Word that are nestled into this TV series meant for our "entertainment." 

God is our "Prince Charming." He is always in pursuit of us and has been since He first created us. He will "always find us" and likewise, we should be seeking Him too (Psalm 27:4-8, Psalm 105:4). He is love and life to us and endures forever (1 John 4:8, Psalm 136). He sustains and saves us (Amos 5:4, Psalm 119:88, John 3:16, James 4:8). We are His bride (Revelation 19:7, 21:9, 22:17). In Him, we have eternal life; our "happily ever after."

Of course, we do have our adversary (1 Peter 5:8). Satan has always sought to ruin God's good and perfect plans (John 8:44, 1 John 3:8). Satan thinks he's high and mighty, but he's nothing and WILL be destroyed (Isaiah 14:11-13, Revelation 20:10). No matter what happens, everything works out for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It's true; good ultimately always wins! The perfect world that God created did become cursed, but Christ's sacrifice is what has overcome that curse (Romans 5). That tree (the cross) is where our Savior redeemed us. His sacrifice saved us all and He is coming back for us to take us home where we are meant to be (John 14:2-3). One day, we will escape this temporal "horrible place" where we don't belong; which Christ has already overcome (John 16:33, 1 John 4:4, 5:4-5).

God's Word gives us hope for a happy ending, and that's because the Bible is no fairy tale book; it's TRUTH! The Bible tells us who God is, who we are, and where things are going. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). We have to keep clinging to our faith (Hebrews 11) because in the end, those are the ones that will be saved (Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13).

This world is full of struggles. It's terrible, foreign, and full of pain and troubles. We don't always know who we are or what we're meant to do and we wander around in our own "Storybrooke". We all have to pursue and accept our destinies. We are meant for great things (Ephesians 2:10) and sometimes we feel like Emma (or like Moses or Jonah) and we want to deny or run from our calling. We think of all sorts of reasons why we can't do what we're meant to do, or say it's meant for "somebody else" and we bury our talents (and heads) in the sand (Matthew 25:14-28). It's hard to embrace the big picture sometimes, but we overwhelm ourselves instead of just focusing on the baby steps. Maybe we should just focus on the small choices; the little things that we can decide to do "today" that will eventually work up to the bigger choices of "tomorrow". Maybe we can't walk in such big shoes right away, but we'll grow into them. It's a journey, and it all starts with one step of faith. We have God's Word to encourage us, as well as others who are on the same journey of faith with us (Hebrews 10:25). Together, we help each other stay strong and persevere.

Grace and peace to all of you as you live your lives to the fullest! Take advantage of this one life that you have to live and make it your "best chance", because you won't get another one! Seek, find, and walk in the faith we were all meant to discover and possess! It will be rewarded! God bless you all!

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