Once Upon a Plot Hole

The new fairytale soap opera Once Upon a Time premiered Sunday night, and already there are significant plot holes.

The set-up is pretty simple. In some alternate universe, all of our favorite fairy tale characters live in a magical kingdom. On the day Snow White is to be wed, the evil queen arrives reveals that everyone will soon be cursed. Later, when Snow White gives birth to her daughter, the evil queen returns with an evil spell that will freeze time for everyone and send them to another dimension.

As the evil curse clouds move in, Snow White’s daughter, Emma, is placed in her Panic Wardrobe and sent to the same dimension but somehow safe. Well, as safe as a newborn can be by the side of a road in a blanket.

Seriously, that was the big plan. Put a baby in a blanket and shoot it off to an unknown location. We’re also told only one person can go through the magic wardrobe. Honestly, why send the baby? Surely Prince Charming would have had a much better chance of saving everyone. Frankly, I’ll let these errors go. This is a fairy tale world where princesses use their hair as a ladder and offer up their first born children for a room of gold.

No one ever accused Snow White of being smart. If you read the full story she is repeatedly almost murdered by old women and never has a problem trusting the next one that comes trapsing through the forest with a basket of apples.

In the real world, the set up is a bit more confusing.

All of the fairy tale characters are transported to the town of Storybrooke, where time stops (Given the age of Emma this would have to be 1983 or so). Time does not progress. Remember that.

Snow White’s daughter Emma is not in the town and grows older. When she is 18 she gives a son up for adoption. He is raised by the evil queen, and 10 years later he seeks out his birth mother to save his town.

Emma comes to Storybrooke, and we see that everyone, indeed, remains there, frozen in time.

Okay, here’s the first problem. Emma gave up her son, Henry, for adoption. He was raised by the evil queen. He is 10 years old. So, for some reason he grew older while no one else did. You can say, well he was born in our world so the curse doesn’t work. Fine. So it shall be. But that causes even MORE problems with the story.

Snow White is a school teacher. That means there are other children. If time has stopped for everyone, then they shouldn’t be aging. However, Henry IS aging. So wouldn’t everyone notice that Henry seems to be moving up in grades while no one else is? Regardless of how you partition off those affected by the curse, at some point someone is going to notice that there are some people in the town who haven’t aged in 28 years.

Henry is proof that townspeople can interact with those not affected by the curse. At some point, someone has to notice something strange in the 28 years they’ve been in Storybrooke.

Speaking of 28 years, clearly the townspeople can sense change. They have SOME interaction with the outside world. If they didn’t everyone would still be stuck in 1983. Clearly the town has managed to stay somewhat modern. How do they rectify the changing dates with their own unchanging appearance? Consider Gipetto. He was already old when they came to Storybrooke. Has no one thought, “Hey, that guy must be 110 years old by now?” Or perhaps thought “Red Riding Hood is the hottest looking 50-year-old on the planet?”

Even if the residents somehow magically can’t put 2 and 2 together, that doesn’t affect outsiders. A town that size isn’t self-sufficient. They have representatives and taxes and food shipments. Someone has to think, “Wow, Storybrooke has had a hot mayor for 28 years.” There are so many holes with the premise it’s hard to keep them in one place.

And what about Emma? Why is she apparently unable to leave Storybrooke? When she tried, she swerved to avoid a wolf and crashed into the town sign. That’s a pretty blatant indication that she can’t leave. However, Henry had no problem getting out, and he’s her son. That means if the issue is biological he should have been unable to leave as well.

I can tell this is going to be the kind of show where the more they explain the less it makes sense.

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