Haven't checked in here in awhile, but I did watch the first two episodes of the season and, speaking as someone who really didn't care for large chunks of Season 2, it seemed fairly promising. Then again, I thought the same thing after the first couple episodes of last season, so hopefully they don't go off the rails again.
One thing I do appreciate is that they seem to have realized a few areas where they went wrong last year and taken steps to fix them. The main ones being:
- Realizing that Hook works much better as a charming rogue rather than getting his ass kicked every week as the world's least effective villain.
- Killing off those awful villains from the end of last season (who sucked so much that I don't even remember their names) right away.
- Letting go of the never ending Regina pity party and instead taking her back to the bitch/villain role that she's far more suited for. I also like that they aren't falling back into the lazy trope of evil=smarter this season by having a few of her moves backfire on everyone.
I'm really liking Peter Pan so far. The actor is quite good - he comes across as mischievous and childlike, but in a way that's genuinely menacing.
I guess it's cool that the girls managed to save Phillip (when did that happen anyway?) but I'm still more interested in an Aurora/Mulan pairing than I am in seeing them compete for him. Funnily enough, I'm not one who tends to gravitate toward slash pairings, but I thought they had a really cool relationship developing last season. On the other hand, I like how they once again avoided portraying Aurora as being useless just because she's not a warrior.
And speaking of love triangles, I'm still not looking forward to the inevitable Hook/Emma/Neal one, although this is a rare example where I don't think I really care which one she ends up with* - I think both could work. And on a side note, I've been getting increasingly pissed off by the comments I've seen elsewhere on the web *coughTWOPcough* basically saying that they don't want Emma/Neal because he's too ugly for her. Not only do I find the sentiment pretty gross on its own, but am I the only one who actually finds Michael Raymond-James super sexy? Maybe I'm biased from having seen him on other shows before this one but I think he's just as hot as Hook, just in a different way.
My biggest concern so far is, surprisingly, Rumplestiltskin. I hope they have something better planned for him than just trudging through the forest on his own (or with a imaginary friend), because aside from the cool shadow-cutting sequence I've found his stuff pretty dull so far.
*Yet, at least. I suppose things could change later on.