Darkness on the Edge of Town

March 2, 2015 4:05 AM

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“Darkness on the Edge of Town” is an episode that is somewhat cluttered, mostly because it has the mammoth task of setting the stage for what’s ahead. But it largely succeeds in building tension for the half-season ahead, despite the fact that we don’t really know the specifics of what Gold (Robert Carlyle) is planning. Actually, I found that vagueness to be one of the big assets to the start of this new threat to Storybrooke, since there are few things quite as scary, or quite as threatening, as the unknown. Of course, the good comes with some bad: for one, I’m not particularly thrilled that Gold is back in Storybrooke already, since it somewhat cheapens his banishment earlier this season. It didn’t feel like he had to suffer all that much, or for all that long, before finding a loophole to allow for his return. In effect, it feels like he was hardly even punished for what turned out to be some pretty vile actions. Worse, it seems to contradict the power of the dagger, since he can apparently circumvent Belle (Emilie De Ravin) banishing him forever simply by using the Snow Queen’s scroll to re-enter Storybrooke. It feels like a cheat to get the story moving, and yet…well, I can see why he’s back already. Narrative urgency couldn’t allow for us to spend countless episodes in limbo, waiting for a point in time where Gold had suffered sufficiently enough to allow for his return. The story needed to start now, or this would be the driest season of all-time. And so it is, as Gold is back, and he’s got Ursula (Merrin Dungey) and Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) on his side, with plans to bring back Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten). So yeah…he’s pretty much brought the best of the worst.

The story feels a little less focused with four villains than it did in the first half of the season with Ingrid, but I think it’s a bit too early to judge whether this storyline direction will be stronger or weaker. If nothing else, there’s a lot of intrigue on the table, thanks to some vague hints...

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