I have to level with you guys: Until about 8:55 p.m., I wasn’t really feeling this episode.
Though the hour featured four separate storylines – the Magical Breakfast Club’s journey to find Tinker Bell, Tink’s “complicated” history with Regina, Henry’s life among the Lost Boys, and Bae’s plan to get from the Enchanted Forest to Neverland – none of those plots felt particularly vital. What’s more, a fairyback centered on actual fairies meant even more – and worse – CGI than usual, as well as a ton of cheesetastic dialogue delivered with painful earnestness (“I will be the judge of what is fairy-like!”). The third season’s first few episodes each had their moments, but by the time 9 o’clock was nigh, I had begun to think “Quite a Common Fairy” might be this year’s first dud.
And that’s when we learned that Mulan was in love with Princess Aurora.
Whoa! Time out! In Onceworld, everyone has his or her own One Twue Wuv. But while those pairs don’t always hail from the same background or even the same species – we’ve seen dwarf/fairy, genie/human, even immortal giggling imp/bibliophile – they have always included one female being and one male being.
This makes Mulan’s attraction to Aurora a pretty huge milestone. Given both characters’ ultra-heteronormative histories – and a general lack of LGBT characters in Disney properties – this twist is an even bigger deal. Remember, too, that Aurora isn’t the first recipient of Mulan’s unrequited love; back in the beginning of season 2, the warrior maiden had a thing for Aurora’s own Twue Wuv, Prince Phillip. That means Mulan isn’t simply a lesbian – she’s bisexual, not to mention one of the few bisexual characters on TV whose orientation isn’t a ready-made punchline. (Looking at you, Glee.)
TL;DR: Mulan’s big moment was pretty awesome, and we should all be impressed with Jane Espenson for somehow managing to queer up a figure included in the Disney Princess lineup… without even making her sexuality into some giant, character-defining thing.
Anyway. Other stuff happened tonight too! Stuff like the aforementioned introduction of Tinker Bell, a wannabe bigshot fairy (much like Nova) who breaks fairy law due to a chance encounter with a ground-walker (much like Nova). The difference: Though Nova didn’t end up running away with her dwarf paramour and thus got to keep her wings, Tink was stripped of her own wings after deliberately disobeying the Blue Fairy and stealing some of her precious pixie dust. (How is pixie dust different from fairy dust? “It’s stronger,” David explains. “Like nuclear fairy dust.” Except he pronounces it “nuke-ular,” which makes him a lot less charming.)
NEXT: And this time, clapping’s not enough to save her