Gold creates a Storybrooke portal; Zelena and Regina clash; Belle and Rumple are reunited; Snow and David try to send a message from the Underworld to their son, Neal.Gold creates a Storybrooke portal; Zelena and Regina clash; Belle and Rumple are reunited; Snow and David try to send a message from the Underworld to their son, Neal.Gold creates a Storybrooke portal; Zelena and Regina clash; Belle and Rumple are reunited; Snow and David try to send a message from the Underworld to their son, Neal.
Season 5's previous episodes for me were decent to brilliant. Unfortunately "The Brothers Jones" saw its first disappointment in one of its lesser episodes and 'Once Upon a Time's' weakest episode in a long time. "Our Decay" definitely is an improvement, evidenced by being better received critically, at least the main plot-line adds to the characters in question and doesn't feel pointless. It's still not great and a lesser episode of Season 5, while far from being a 'Once Upon a Time' low point.
There are good things about "Our Decay". It mostly is a handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and cookie-cutter. It is beautifully photographed too and the effects are improved here. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.
Despite them deserving much better material, mostly the performances are fine. Rebecca Mader brings both menace and pathos, effectively casting a spell as she always did as Zelena. Lana Parrilla is typically spot on. The two best performances comes from the ever reliable Robert Carlyle and particularly Greg Germann. Germann and Mader work so well together, and do wonderfully playing off each other.
"Our Decay" is at its best with the development of Zelena, she is a very interesting character and shows some real growth, and the heartfelt Belle and Gold chemistry. Gold putting Belle in her place is the highlight of the episode. Really liked the intriguing Oz storyline here too as is the tension between Zelena and Regina, beautifully played. The Hades and Zelena evoked mixed reactions from me, leaning towards the positive, there is intensity, intrigue and poignancy and Greg Germann and Rebecca Mader help quite a bit before it got melodramatic and soapy in the latter stages.
However, Emilie De Ravin provides one of two acting debits here, there have been times previously where she did show improvement but Belle is just not interesting in development and De Ravin is incredibly bland. The other is Sean Maguire, who does irritate and Robin is fairly useless here. Some of the story is jumpy and cluttered, the relationship between Hades and Zelena does feel rushed and out of the blue, parts don't make sense like with Rumplestiltskin and the dark one, and parts are just plain strange like with the Charmings.
Most of the characters have been more interesting elsewhere, Hades, Zelena and Gold excepted. Character development is barely there, other than with Hades and Zelena, and much of it feels dumbed down.
The nosedive in the writing seen with "The Brothers Jones" continues in "Our Decay", too much of it is too soapy, dissolving into melodrama in the final third, and the campiness goes overboard. It does feel like the show has run out of ideas, Hades' plan is like rehashing that for Zelena in Season 3.
Overall, a lot of great things but also wanting in other areas. 6/10 Bethany Cox
- Aug 21, 2018