Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Once Upon A Time 7x01 Review: “Hyperion Heights” (Déjà Vu) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Hyperion Heights”
Original Airdate: October 6, 2017

When Once Upon A Time wrapped up its sixth season in May, there were a lot of questions surrounding whether the series would return. Most of the series’ stars either left the show or didn’t have their contracts renewed, which made the idea for another season skeptical at the least. With the perfect ending for the series and a definitive tease for a seventh season, OUAT was better off ending than announcing a hard reboot to continue. As a longtime fan of the show, it is hard to accept that the show is literally starting fresh, and the season premiere doesn’t quite work the way that the creators would like it to.


If you have any questions about what the new season of OUAT looks like, then all you have to do is watch the series’ pilot episode and swap out a few characters. Instead of Henry showing up on Emma’s doorstep, a grown-up Henry is visited by his daughter, Lucy. Just like Emma, older Henry doesn’t remember his past and is cursed. The only difference between the two episodes’ openings is the location (Storybrooke versus Seattle), and Lucy tells Henry the truth about his story from the beginning without holding anything back. Lucy is much pushier than her father’s younger counterpart, and she’s probably the best, most likable new character.

The rest of the episode plays out similarly to the pilot in the present-day scenes. Henry travels to Lucy’s neighborhood when she steals his laptop and encounters the cursed fairytale characters — not that he knows who they are. The neighborhood is run by Cinderella’s evil stepmother, who is very much aware of reality like Regina was. Regina is now a free-spirited bartender with the same personality she ended the sixth season with, whom Henry meets upon Lucy’s request to go to the bar. Henry is forced to stay in town longer than he wanted due to his car being stolen.

He reports the missing car to the police and encounters Hook, who is a detective in this world. Hook’s new partner is Rumplestiltskin, who also looks like he is — once again — aware of everything that is happening. Henry acts just like Emma did in the pilot, which was pretty boring to watch. The season premiere felt like an exact copy of the pilot, and there’s only so much of the same thing that one can watch. It wasn’t new or exciting, which didn’t come as much of a surprise to me. I wasn’t a big fan of the new take on the highly creative world that graced the small screen for the first time seven years ago, and I don’t see how it can turn into something original anytime soon.


Henry’s baby mama is none other than a new iteration of Cinderella, which doesn’t make any sense considering that a Cinderella character played a role over the first six seasons of the show. It was annoying that there’s no explanation as to why there is another Cinderella in this reboot. The new version is a bit different from her predecessor and takes more risks. However, her arcs in the fairytale realm and reality weren’t all that interesting. The only big difference seemed to be that stepsister Drizella seems to be nicer than the original evil stepfamily.

There is one intriguing “new” character: a creepier version of Alice (of Wonderland fame), who appears in both worlds. The real Alice might also be aware of who she is. The character as a whole is very mysterious, and it is unclear what type of role she will play throughout the season. In the fairytale land, Alice has a connection to Rumple that hasn’t fully been discussed yet.


Unfortunately, the rebooted Once Upon A Time isn’t nearly as good as its predecessor. There’s very little originality in the season premiere and too many references to the other six seasons. If you want to do a hard reboot, you can’t be constantly referencing the past. It simply doesn’t work. OUAT needs to figure out which direction it wants to go in: either do something new, or continue the past stories. It can’t be both because it comes off as super cheesy. The pilot of this show is one of my favorite TV pilots of all time, and the seventh season premiere feels like a pilot gone wrong.

The copycat method will not hold its own for very long. Based on the useless premiere, there are two options as to what happens from here on out: First, the series decides to move past its reboot premiere and dive into a deeper story that isn’t the exact same thing as season one. Second, the series continues down the dark path it has started on and completely tanks by midseason. If the latter option does happen, then there’s a good possibility of ABC giving OUAT the axe by December or January. The current story isn’t strong enough to carry a whole season, so something has to give for the show to live on.


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