Once Upon a Time finally revealed the long-awaited season 5 LGBT relationship. But not everyone was taken with the introduction.
To quote Snow in Once Upon a Time season 5, episode 18, “Love’s a funny thing.” The characters of Once Upon a Time have had their love tested in every way possible. The strongest have been able to weather the curses, crushed hearts, and numerous betrayals. But fans of Once Upon a Time have not been so lucky.
The latter half of season 5 is not testing the characters so much as the audience. An interesting and rather compelling season 5 opener rejuvenated the world splitting arc that dominated Once Upon a Time‘s season outline for the past few years. Naturally, when the buzz around the season’s spring installment started focusing on a trip to the Underworld, the excitement was palpable. The series was on a roll and characters new and old were coming back into the picture for a new chapter.
Most exciting of all, Once Upon a Time creators teased way back in September that the series was finally going to explore an LGBT relationship in season 5. Commenting on the reveal that the relationship would exist between Dorothy and Ruby Red (not Mulan, the show’s first openly gay character) Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz said to EW, “This past Sunday’s episode was just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love.”
I am pleased that after five seasons Once Upon a Time found a path to introduce a LGBT relationship into their world. But the words, “just another example” do little to convince me that enough care and consideration went into building this relationship for “exploration” in season 5. In fact, looking ahead to the final four episodes this may be all we see of the new couple. In one regard that could be seen as a positive thing since it means that Ruby and Dorothy are likely to survive the season. The same cannot be said for so many other lesbian characters on network television.
The creators maintain that this relationship is not receiving any special treatment, does it deserve some? For what little we will see of Dorothy and Red going forward, it seems like a way to write themselves out of a corner that’s been getting tighter since September. Hopefully, the first on-screen lesbian kiss of the series is only the beginning for the series. Perhaps season 6 can dedicate some time to exploring the relationship between Ruby and Dorothy, or even a new relationship with Mulan. It’s a step in the right direction and certainly gave some new life to an incredibly stagnant season.
You can watch the moment again here.
Brevity is, however, only one reason some were upset. Other people took to the internet to express their disappointment with the “Ruby Slippers” reveal. (A tip of the hat is in order for the subtle ship name placement!) Many, and we mean many, people left comments on the official Once Upon a Time Facebook page speaking out against LGBT characters on a “family show.” Apparently ripping people’s hearts out and crushing them is more family friendly than seeing a story that ends with true love’s kiss.
— Brad Pruitt (@bradpruitt) April 18, 2016
The comments on Facebook are not worth reposting here as they do not deserve the attention. Though one of my personal favorite notes that there are is: if there were no lesbians in fairytales why would the creators chose to introduce them here? My knowledge of the source material for many of these stories may be a little fuzzy, but I do not recall Prince Charming and Cruella handcuffing one another as a means of foreplay. Then again a few jokes did go over my head when I was five.
Once Upon a Time is never going to please everyone, but it can make a better effort to give the material time to play out. The series took a huge step in the right direction with “Ruby Slippers” and we can only hope that OUAT doesn’t get cold feet moving ahead into season 6.
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What do you think about ‘Once Upon a Time’s’ new relationship?
Watch Once Upon a Time season 5, episode 19, “Sisters,” Sunday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.