Posted on October 14, 2013
OUAT, We Are Fighting
SPOILER WARNING: The latter portion of this post will contain spoilers for 10/13’s episode of Once Upon a Time.
Last season, OUAT added a few new characters, two of whom are Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Mulan. And those two ladies had UH-MAY-ZING chemistry together. Kicking ass and taking names and being a pretty pretty princess and…! And I knew that they’d never get together, because it’s a ~family show~ and we alllll know that queer people don’t have families, so I just settled in to ship them like burning and curse Prince Phillip’s existence (or non-existence, at that time).
Then there was an episode where, like you do, Aurora literally lost her heart. And she got saved and all, but she still didn’t have her heart, and Mulan was like, “WHOA HOLD UP THERE I NEED TO GET PRINCESS HER HEART BACK”. And it was the most important thing to Mulan. And she got the heart back, brought it to Aurora, and literally put it back in Aurora’s chest. And it was HOT and INTENSE and the CHEMISTRY DEAR GOD THE CHEMISTRY.
And then Aurora was all, “Cool, thanks, let’s go find that man person I’ve had actually zero on-screen chemistry with!” And I raged. But, you know, what else is new? I’ve been seeing it in Rizzoli & Isles for years: two ladies with insane chemistry have a sexually-charged moment, and the first thing the writers do is remind the audience that MEN are the important thing here.
I let it go. I focused on the rest of the story (which was easy because the Mulan & Aurora part of the story faded away).
And then there was last night. (Spoilers start now!)
Last night, Mulan has a good talk with Robin Hood, who talks about how important it is to tell the person you love that you love them (Marian is dead, for Plot Reasons, and he’s glad he got to tell her one last time or whatever). Robin Hood is all ~impressed with Mulan and invites her to join his Merry Men, and Mulan’s all, “Hold up, bro, gotta do something first!”
And then she RUNS TO AURORA. She makes sure Phillip’s not around, and it is SUPER. FUCKING. CLEAR. that she’s about to tell the princess she loves her. I AM EATING MY SHIRT IN “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOING HERE” EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION.
But before she can say it, Aurora interrupts her to tell her that she’s pregnant with Phil’s bastard child. (I mean, I don’t think they’re married?)
And I literally (literal literally) slid off my chair to cry on the floor. Which it looked like Mulan wanted to do, too. She quickly switches tracks and tells Aurora she’s off to join the Merry Men kthxbye, and she flees.
Mulan flees, and I begin to RAGE.
1) You didn’t have to do ANY of that to get Mulan separated out with the Merry Men. You didn’t have to give me any fucking HOPE that MAYBE, for ONCE, a queer person would get to experience happy feelings.
2) You didn’t have to do it THAT WAY if you really wanted to fuck with your queer viewers’ hearts. Mulan could have said how she felt, Aurora could have been confused by her feelings, and Mulan could have still decided that she didn’t want to cause a complicated love triangle. She could’ve said, “Okay, you figure out how you feel, but in the meantime, to protect my heart, I’m going to hang with mercenary dudebros. Come find me if you decide you wanna be with me.” (Hell, you gave David an entire season trying to decide between two women, you couldn’t give Aurora the chance to even consider her options?)
3) Of course, it’s the tough, butchy, fighting girl who surprises people with her femaleness when she takes off her helmet who falls for a girly princess. Way to enforce gender-norm stereotypes by denying the girly girl a chance to love a tough woman in ways that go beyond her toughness.
4) And you had to include a BABY in the mix, to make sure that there is NO FUCKING CHANCE that Aurora will realize she DOES have feelings for Mulan, or consider leaving Phillip.
5) If you hook up Mulan and Robin in a way that basically ignores the fact that Mulan is in love with Aurora, I’m done.
I guess I can hope that Phillip dies soon and Aurora figures out that Mulan loves her and accepts that she loves Mulan too and they become a family. If that’s where this storyline ends, I will sing all your praises.
But for now, I’m just really pissed off.
I think last night I was mostly emotional over Mulan, but this morning I see where you’re coming from. Thinking about it makes me a little angry as well. Mostly because it feels like they spent all last season throwing the up the NO HOMO! flags all over and the moment we get something quiet and real about Mulan’s character it’s dashed away again. I’m frustrated because I feel like that was meant to appease us in some way.
On a good night this show is a mess that’s juggling a hundred characters, so it’s a wonder we get anywhere with anyone. But the thing for me is, it has on occasion slowed down enough to give us poignant moments with other characters in all sorts of relationship situations and it feels like 80% of those situations have been heterosexual romantic love (with the other 20% being friendship or familial). So it’s not that they’re not capable of handling Mulan well, it’s just not their priority, which makes me sad. That could have been just as heartbreaking, if that was where they wanted to go, given the proper set up and consideration. Especially since that scene with Aurora’s heart was so great. Pfah.