Ongoing canon is what it is

Being a fan of the X-Men has prepared me for so many fannish experiences.

I was pondering this while watching the most recent episode of Once Upon a Time. Someone on Tumblr noted that, based only on this episode, you would never know that Ruby and Belle were really close friends. Yet we had two episodes devoted to that subject.

The thing is, with a complicated and ongoing canon, you can’t make everything fit all of the time. Some episodes focus more on one character rather than another. Or on one plot instead of another. That’s just the way it is, and you can go crazy trying to fit everything together in a reasonable and consistent manner.

I know this lesson from reading the X-Men and related comics for over twenty years. Most recently the comics had a complicated plot about who was hosting the Phoenix. And, repeatedly, characters said that only Jean Grey was ever able to host the Phoenix for any length of time — and even that killed her. I read all of these declarations while mentally shouting, “WHAT ABOUT RACHEL.”

But, this wasn’t Rachel’s story. And in what was a pretty rip-roaring, damn good story, there wasn’t room for every character and every loose end and plot thread from twenty years of canon. I know this, I understand this, and it doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story. I can let it go.

Similarly, I can let the loose ends and character inconsistencies on Once Upon a Time go. The show is what it is, and it’s trying to incorporate not only two seasons of show-specific canon, but fifty years of Disney films and eight hundred years of Western literary tradition. Some episodes are going to further one plot or character at the expense of another. That’s okay with me. I can watch for the characters and moments I favor.


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