Once Upon A Time S5 – Thinking Out Loud

Hello everyone. I’ve just spent the last few days contemplating the OUAT season 5 winter finale and the episodes that led up to it.
For anyone who has NOT watched OUAT (Once Upon A Time), this is a warning for spoilers, because if not, I’ll have to blue-out the entire post. Blue-out means the words become ‘invisible’ in the post until you highlight it with your cursor. However, there will still be some blue-outs, because I would like to give anyone reading this the choice of not learning about some of the spoilers.

 

IMDb premise:
‘A young woman with a troubled past is drawn to a small town in Maine where fairy tales are to be believed.’
Emma Swan is the main character of the series, daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. She was sent to our world – which has no magic – to protect her from a curse (you will find that the series has a lot of curses) that made fairy tale characters forget themeselves. For example, Snow White is Mary Margaret Blanchard, and Prince Charming is David Nolan (slash John Doe).  Emma has no counterpart in the fairy tale world, as she escaped the curse, as does her son, Henry. Whose stepmother is the Evil Queen (from Snow White story), who cast the curse. (I’m trying very hard not to Captialise curse, because it’s usually the same curse, just with different spins on it.)
In season 5, it begins with a big bang where Emma Swan, the saviour (season 1 – please watch…the pilot or even the trailer will explain it) , has become the neighbourhood Dark One. The Dark One is basically the most powerful dark magic practitioner. Rumpelstiltskin  –
– was (is) the Dark One. His counterpart is Mr. Gold. Long story short, his heart was rotting from all the bad things he has done, and he was dying. To save him, Emma accidentally untethered Darkness (yes, I know I Capitalised. Bite me.) from him, and it was going to destroy the town where the fairy tale characters were all staying in – Storybrooke.

 

And so bad-ass Swan was born. I’m not saying that she wasn’t badass before, but now that she’s dark, she just looked even more badass. I mean look at this:
BAD-ASS.
And this is the tagline:
‘There’s no Saviour anymore in this town.”
I was so excited to watch this season…I mean, how often do you get to watch the child of Prince Charming and Snow White go dark? Emma Swan has cut a really big swath as a Saviour (breaking the curse, fighting a dragon, learning how to use magic). Season 4 was…messy, to say the least. Before S4 & 5, there was one major arc to the story, and mini character arcs in between. Now there are two arcs, and two different tones to each season. I have to say that, even though it allowed them to incorporate new fairy tale characters like Elsa and Merida, it kind of made the entire story worse. It’s just too jumbled up, with too many characters, and not all of them are helpful or good to the storyline.
Personally, I feel that Belle is one of the weakest links to the story. In one word, she is too good. I can understand why, since she alone was not even given a real Storybrooke counterpart (spent most of the time in the asylum), so all her chipper goodness from being Belle came through. I wish the creators had made her a tougher chick, not just in emotions alone (she’s almost always the only one who thinks that Rumple/Mr. Gold can be good, and then repeatedly runs away from him because he showed her he was baaad to the bone.) I found their Beauty and the Beast romance sweet, but it became rather redundant and draggy as the seasons went on. She has a few good episodes, but nothing spectacular.
And what about Maleficent and Lily? In the previous season, Maleficent finally got to meet her daughter, Lily, and there was the whole teaser about who Lily’s father is. Where’s that going to go? I’ll admit, these characters are still new, but they are so well flesh and the dynamics here reminds me of a better version of Mary Margaret and Emma, before they knew they were mother and daughter.

 
This is what Snow and Emma should be!!!!! This scene is the best I’ve seen between a mother and her grown-up estranged daughter.

 

But I was still excited for S5. I could just imagine Emma being the Dark One, and when the season began, and ended…
Well, it was pretty bad.
First of all, Emma wasn’t fully a Dark One. As a comparison, Rumplestiltskin’s first act as a Dark One was to go to the town he lived in and made everyone who ever treated him badly pay for it (snapping his neck and making him kiss his foot, for one), and terrorising the town and everyone in the Enchanted Forest (which is where the fairy tale characters live, pre-curse). Emma‘s first act was making everyone forget what happened when they tried to get rid of the Darkness inside of her.
I mean, she was badass.
These are some of my favourite scenes with Dark Emma. Unfortunately, they do not make up for the story. It’s the same old fare of everyone trying to find out what happened during the time they lost their memories. It’s familiar, and bland. I mean, it had to happen, because of how the story for the season was constructed. It’s well constructed, but it’s becoming predictable. Stories, especially of these fantasy fare, should rarely be predictable. Old cliches, yes, but spun well.
And the curse. Oh my god, the curse.
When the first season began, as you have or will find out, there is a Dark Curse. It requires the sacrifice of the heart of the one you love most, and it’s been built to be ‘the darkest curse of all curses’. Except this mystical and evil curse build-up gets thrown out the window repeatedly over the seasons. Yes, there are different takes on it, but if its so dark and evil, it shouldn’t be used too often. Over two or three seasons, yes, but not repeatedly. (Season 1 -Dark Curse lifted by Emma; Season 2 – Dark Curse almost enacted by Pan; Season 3 – Dark Curse started by Wicked Witch of the East Zelena, and finished by Snow White and Prince Charming; Season 4 – Snow Queen casts a curse, to wipe out Storybrooke, but leaved Elsa and Emma safe; Season 5 – Dark Curse enacted by Hook, finished by Emma.)
And the winter finale doesn’t even make sense.
But to talk about that, there’s another spoiler.

 

Hook, a.k.a Captain Hook, a.k.a Killian Jones

 

Hook, as in Captain Hook, is the other Dark One. Emma tethered his soul to the dagger (and sword) of the Dark One. Hook very quickly becomes accustomed, and even darker than Dark Emma (pseudo-Dark Emma?). His character arc is very fast. From the end of one episode to the next, he rapidly goes into Dark Hook mode (which isn’t even very much of a difference from recovering villain Hook), just more bloodthirsty.
Then suddenly, just as it seemed everything was going to hell, he changes his mind.
 
I mean, hello? No conflict over being the Dark One, like Emma did? I mean, he’s supposed to be a recovering villain. The knowledge of being the Dark One shouldn’t just turn Hook into a Dark One with the snap of a finger. Yes, Emma, did lie to him by making him and everyone forget that Hook is a Dark One, but that doesn’t make sense as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
And then, going back to everything going to hell, Hook tethers all the Dark Ones he summoned from Hell to himself, and asks Emma to kill him. ‘To let him die a hero.’ And when she does kill him, she doesn’t become a Dark One. I mean, Hook didn’t tether Emma’s darkness to him, and there’s been all this hoo-ha about killing people being the first step to being dark, and this magically doesn’t work for Emma???????
I know that there’s a big hoo-ha about the 100th episode of OUAT, but after the messiness and overall weird-outs I’ve gotten, I’m not surprised that the viewing population of OUAT Season 5 went down. I think, because Season 4 was the first from the new ‘flavour’ of OUAT (two big arcs instead of one), so people were more curious and willing to watch. But with Season 5, the not-bad became bad, and the good parts shrunk, and things made even less sense.
And with the march half of OUAT Season 5, it just gets messier.
The pacing and characters are the problem of OUAT Season 5. Things are happening too fast, and loopholes are left out. (E.g. Henry falls in love with a girl in Camelot, has his heart broken in Camelot, and post-Emma Curse, is still with said girl. Weird much? And it’s left unsolved.)
I wish there was a do-over card for series. I want to write my own version of Dark Emma, but I afraid that the creators might take offence, since I’ve spent the entire post dumping on their work, which got more complicated and worse, imo. I feel that, with such a special and magical premise, they twisted it into a really odd ball. It’s still good to watch for Regina and Hook zingers, but things are souring, and I’m not sure if they can be saved.
Maybe the Oncers should come together and come up with a do-over of bad OUAT seasons/arcs/episodes.
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