Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Once Upon a Time" Season 1

“Once Upon a Time” is the direct descendant of “Lost.” It is inspired by, structured after, written like, and aimed at the void created by that shows absence. Both series dealt with important issues of life like faith, truth, and right vs. wrong—good vs. evil. Whereas “Lost” involved people from our reality trapped on an unexplainable island—with flashbacks to the real world filling out characters’ back stories—“Once Upon a Time” takes place in a reality like ours, but populated by people ripped out of a fairy-tale land. The flashbacks to their former lives help us understand them better, and the story-arch of the season involves their rescue from the evil curse that brought them to this mundane world.

The writing and acting are good, the art direction and special effects are done on the cheap. However, the thing that makes this show so compelling is the way that it illustrates true faith. Faith not done in the Postmodern way seen so often today that says, “whatever one believes, if believed earnestly, will be true,” but rather a faith that is needed to see reality. The characters’ reality in this show is that they are from another world and the current lives they live are a lie, are unfulfilled, and even a curse. That curse renders them incapable of seeing the truth, unless they chose to believe. In one crucial scene near the end of season one, the man that used to be Pinocchio is trying to convince the heroine of the truth. It should be simple for him to do so because he is truly turning back into a puppet. He tries to show her his leg, which is now completely wooden. She can’t see it.

August: You don't see it, do you?
Emma: See what?
August: Your denial is more powerful than I thought. It's preventing you from seeing the truth!
Emma: Okay, one of us is losing it here and it's not me.
August: You don't want to believe. After everything you've seen, why can't you just do it?!
Emma: Why it so important to you that I do?
August: Because our town, everyone, needs you!
Emma: I don't want them to need me!
August: Well that's too bad, because we all do.

Later on, once she does believe, everything literally becomes clear. This is the way true faith works. It takes faith to see reality. Unfortunately, cheap imitations are abundant. And the problem with false faith is that it can also change the way people see the world. The key is to not have simple, blind faith. As in “Once Upon a Time” the ability to see reality holds up to the test. It isn’t just a belief in a story, but an awakening to the deeper reality conveyed in the story.

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