Dark Swan Rises

There is no savior in this town anymore.

Season five of Once Upon a Time has started. Thanks to Netflix picking up distribution for the UK I only have to wait three days from the US broadcast to watch. That is just brilliant and makes me wish all my shows could work like that. I mean seriously in the days of the internet, I don’t see why it can’t. I’m permanently 18 months behind on some of them, not getting the previous season until they are halfway through the next one. However, that is probably a rant topic for another day.

I know I was going to post my thoughts on season three and four. Quite frankly I just haven’t got round to it yet and now I don’t know whether I should do it at all. The last post I made to wrap up season two was rather difficult, as I was halfway into season four at the time.

Perspective is everything and watching what happens later, does change my opinion about what happened before. I’ve been rewatching season one lately. First time through I hated Regina and was cheering for Emma. Now Regina is my second favorite character, I’m cheering for her and thinking Emma is the mean one. Perhaps I should do a post about that. I know, I know, I find it way too easy to ramble on about this show. It’s not my fault the show is so damn awesome.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about season five, the premiere episode. Obviously, there will be spoilers for that episode under the cut.

If you aren’t a Charming, nobody cares
It’s no secret that Rumplestiltskin is my favorite character. My theory when I saw the teaser promo image, of Rumplestiltskin in his dark one imp makeup and clothes, was that he was a hallucination of Emma’s. That much was true, as the real Rumplestiltskin remains in a coma back in Storybrooke. However, I thought that Emma was hallucinating him as when the apprentice had sucked out the darkness, he’d also sucked out Rumple’s soul, so he was sort of possessing Emma. That part wasn’t true. Instead the show said that she was seeing Rumple to put a form to the dark one, the voice of the demon inside her head.

In the premiere episode this hallucination of Rumplestiltskin, which actually wasn’t him at all, was the only part he really played in the episode. Aside from a couple of shots of him in a coma in his shop. Now, fair enough, the guy is in a coma he can’t really do much. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t still be development with his true love – Belle. Was there any such development or continuity? Not really.

Honestly, Emile de Ravin has been a series regular since season two I think, she’s supposed to be a main character. However, I have long thought that the writers don’t really know what to do with her. She’s often there during events but she doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t really say anything, she doesn’t really do anything, she’s just there running alongside the ‘heroes’ or standing next to them.

That was very much the case in the premiere episode last night and it was such a missed opportunity. It wouldn’t have taken much to have made me happy, just a small nod to continuity here and there. For the most part the show is pretty good at that, as it lets you read in as much or as little as you like. However, sometimes there has to be some reaction on screen and there just wasn’t.

Let’s start with the blue fairy. She hates Rumple and the feeling is decidedly mutual, which she deserves being a manipulative, judgmental, hypocritical, pious … I could go on but you get the picture. That she was there ‘caring’ for him was all manner of shades wrong. Although I suppose she was mostly there for the apprentice. When she told Belle that she should go and help ‘the heroes’ because Emma needed the help I was screaming at the screen. Yes, Emma needs help but she has a ton of people and it’s not all about her, other people are important too. Belle was rightfully hesitant and Blue gave her an enchanted rose, so that she would know whether Rumple deteriorated.

Never mind the fact that they then jumped realms, back to the Enchanted Forest. If, once there, the petals started dropping off, it would be pretty damn difficult for Belle to run back. She would be trapped about Rumple would die alone, or with his hated enemy. I can only imagine how irritated Rumple is going to be when he wakes up. You left me with the Blue fairy seriously? It’ll be a wonder if she doesn’t accidentally kill him herself, as he’s too dangerous and for the good of all, I really don’t like her.

There was a nice fix-it fic on fanfiction.net which stated some better reasons for Belle to run off with the ‘heroes’ to Camelot. Basically that true loves kiss hadn’t helped him and she didn’t know what else to do. That people thought Merlin could help get the dark one out of Emma, so maybe he would be able to help Rumple as a former dark one. She couldn’t do any good at his bedside, but finding Merlin could help him so that’s why she went.

Anyway, I’ve kind of got off track from my point about ‘if you aren’t a Charming then no-one cares’ as that was in reference to Zelena. Yes, Zelena pretended to be Marian and got knocked up by Robin. A way of getting back at Regina, spoiling her happy-for-now as Zelena really hates Regina. Now, don’t get me wrong, Regina is my second favorite character so I’m always happy for her to get time in the spotlight. However, I really seriously wish that the writers wouldn’t just forget all of Zelena’s other crimes.

Zelena killed Bae (Neal), she killed Rumple’s son. She kept Rumple as a slave, probably tortured him and all kinds of nasty stuff. However, he was the dark one so nobody cares. I think that’s all they see him as, not as a person with feelings. I know that Henry never really got much time with his dad, and that he would be desperate to help his mother (Emma), but I really wish he’d at least blinked about breaking Zelena out of jail to help. It really is like all that season 3B evil that she did is forgotten, in favor of the Regina-Robin-Baby stuff.

Then there’s Belle, who didn’t seem to blink at Zelena, even walked side by side with her into Camelot. She was even there when Zelena tricked Bae into resurrecting Rumple at the cost of his own life. All it would have taken is one line, or a few dirty looks, or something to show that she remembered, she hadn’t forgotten and she didn’t forgive. However, Belle and Rumple are not Charmings. Regina isn’t either but she’s all very wrapped up in their story and they call her family through Henry. They call Rumple family too sometimes when they want something, they certainly aren’t ever there for him if he needs something.

Am I a bit bitter about this? Yeah possibly. I think part of the problem is the cast of Once Upon a Time is pretty large, and so they can’t give everyone the attention they deserve even among the regular cast, let alone all the recurring characters. Plus of course they bring in new characters for the new storylines, like we have all the Camelot people, like we had all the Frozen people last season, and so stuff gets dropped and forgotten, or not given the attention I would like and think it deserves.

There was more to the episode?
Yeah I suppose there was. I just tend to focus on what’s most important but there was other stuff too that’s worth mentioning. The curse of the dark one transferred differently this time, as it wasn’t done by the person killing the previous host with the dagger. Therefore, despite respawning in the vault of the dark one, the curse doesn’t have a very strong hold on Emma for most of the episode. Not until we cut to six weeks later, with no clue (yet) as to what happened in that time, when she is then in full dark one mode.

This light hold was interesting, and probably explains the hallucination of the demon, the dark voice inside Emma. Rumple certainly didn’t have that of Zoso but then he was full on dark one straight away. It makes me wonder what did happen, whether the dark one slowly got me control until Emma was fully cursed like normal. However, it could also have been (more interestingly) that whatever they did to try and get the dark one out of her backfired.

I really wish Henry had mentioned his father. After all he had a strong reason to mention him as Henry is now the son of the dark one, his father was the son of the dark one, so they have that in common. A line about him wondering how his father had dealt with it would have been nice, maybe they will include that later with Emma in full dark one mode.

What was up with taking Granny’s? It’s like practically the only place to eat in town, aside from that Italian we saw once. How will Storybrooke survive? Not to mention I don’t think it will do the building much good, ripping the foundations out like that. That being said I loved Regina having Emma’s baby blanket because she couldn’t ‘carry her bug’, that was awesome.

Oh question, why did they take the kids to rescue Emma? I get that Henry would have pushed to be included, and would perhaps be useful given how much Emma loves him. He is also old enough to deal with it, and indeed saved everyone in the season four finale from the warped universe created be the author. However, baby Neal and Roland would be nothing more than liabilities. I’m sure they could have found a sitter or maybe one of them should have stayed behind.

I’m not being funny but they are like the ‘leadership’ of Storybrooke. It’s like when they all ran off to Neverland to save Henry. Who did they leave to mind the store? No-one. Although I guess it at least proves who the trouble magnets are, if nothing bad happens when they aren’t around. Plus I guess the show just doesn’t have time to deal with it. I mean they never really followed up on the deposed King George causing trouble in town, back in season two. He torched Jefferson’s hat but nothing more was ever said.

Personally I hope that he got locked up for Billy’s murder, he killed him even though he tried to make it look like Ruby did, but the show never said that’s what happened. However, he wasn’t the only former monarch in Storybrooke, especially with the second curse. There’s Cinderella and Thomas, Aurora and Philip, Maurice (Belle’s dad) and probably loads of others. I’m surprised they aren’t all up in arms about reclaiming their former station, as the fairytale land is quite feudal with the class system.

Although I did love Sneezy wearing Emma’s ‘savior’ jacket, being the temporary Sheriff alongside Sleepy.

Oh and I would be remiss in failing to mention – Zelena cut off her hand! It got the magic cuff off but man how sharp was Hook’s knife? It just cut through the hand like butter and it must have been magic because there wasn’t even really any blood. That is super impressive seeing as it cut through bone and everything, she didn’t even have to put it on a flat surface and slam it down like a meat cleaver. Can you hear the sarcasm? I’m thinking that they screwed with the special effects here to make it more child-friendly. I found it laughable but it was one moment, so I suppose I’ll let it go.

There was Merida. Like Frozen I haven’t seen Brave, though I should probably look up a picture at least. I saw some Frozen merchandise in the shop the other day and I was struck by how accurately they had cast the live action people. They really did look just like the animations the characters are based on. Therefore I am curious as to whether Merida is just as well cast. No real comment about her, don’t know her story, to be honest don’t really care, it’s just a detraction from the main cast. I want more of the core of the show really, less of all these additions. They might be fun but unless each episode becomes three hours long, it’s just taking away from what’s important.

Oh the big twist was Excalibur. Arthur pulled it from the stone and found the end of the sword was missing, the end having been taken to form the dark ones dagger. That is such a cool twist and I really can’t wait to find out the truth behind that. Oh plus Merlin, or at least I think it was Merlin, meeting Emma as a child at the movies with the Sword in the Stone film on in the background. He said she would have a chance to take Excalibur but she shouldn’t.

I really, really, really can’t wait for the Once Upon a Time twist to the legend of Merlin and Camelot. I know it’s been done to death and I know I just said that the additions were detracting from the core of the story. Well, that’s still true but I do like the additions when they add more to the background and flesh everything out. I just want more of the main regular characters too. They really should make each episode twice as long. Oh if only right? That would be awesome.

I think I might have ranted about this episode a bit. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it as I love this show. I suppose I just wanted more but it’s not all bad, I can headcanon some depth and things might improve with future episodes.

Premieres are always difficult things as they have to kickstart the season, start lots of story threads and give the writers places to go for the next 9-10 episodes at least. Therefore, they are busy things with everything that has to be included. The depth might come later, though I’m not holding my breath.

No, seriously it was a good episode. There were lots of really awesome lines. Robert Carlyle was brilliant as the hallucination of the dark one, he really should get all the awards for his performances. Oh and Grumpy coming in to the diner and demanding that he got to come along, that was epic! I especially loved how Happy behind him wasn’t so sure (certain death??), that was great. I think Regina wins on lines as per usual. ‘Vortex of evil’ was definitely memorable.

Counting the days till next Wednesday – episode two – The Price.