Revelations, Questions and Frustrations

This week there was a double bill of Once Upon a Time to watch. Episode 8 and Episode 9, Birth and The Bear King and the first episode contained a shocking plot twist, the second was any of the main characters actually really in it?

The revelations sparked questions and the frustrations come from the message on the netflix site. The next new episode will be “January 1st” – excuse me? Now Once Upon a Time has a really long hiatus, three months from December 6th to March 6th. That is expected, that’s why they split the season into two story arcs A and B. They wrap up one story arc so people aren’t mad as hell for three months waiting to see how it ends.

Netflix have been brilliant, putting up the new episode on the wednesday, after it airs in the US on the sunday. Why are they suddenly breaking from form? The last two episodes of 5A and saying we have to wait 6 weeks for them. Have to wait for the episodes that will wrap up the story arc, explain everything and bring resolution to the conflict which has ramped up over the previous 9 episodes. Why do that? That is mean, that is cruel and unusual and mean and very, very frustrating.

Alright so let’s talk about the episodes that have aired and that shocking plot twist. Obviously massive spoilers below.

Hook is a dark one!
There, that’s the big plot twist, the massive spoiler and the reason why Emma is still the dark one. She was about to reforge Excalibur, and then remove the darkness from herself in Camelot. However, Hook had been injured by Excalibur, a sword meant to cut immortal ties which makes even minor wounds deadly.

The only way Emma could think to save him was by binding him to the sword. Merlin had already been bound to it, so it just had to pass on like the curse of the dark one had. She sucked the magic out of Merlin, like the apprentice sucked the magic out of Rumple. The sword got emblazoned ‘Killian Jones’ and Hook respawned at the vault of the dark one.

Now Hook begged her not to, Merlin warned her if she did that then she would lose the fight against the darkness. She transformed, from Emma with her curly hair, white dress and haunted eyes, into the dark black leather, tight white bun and painted crimson lips of the dark one. Everything she has done since then – apparently – has been to fix what she did. To get the darkness out of her, and Hook, obviously without either of them dying.

This provided the reason for why Emma lost her fight. It also brought some sense to her being the dark one, and everything she’s done. Rumple was never evil for it’s own sake, he had motives, everything he did was to find his son.

However, it also brought a metric ton of questions. The biggest question being why didn’t Hook know? Magic responds to emotion, I find it hard to believe that he could have that kind of power inside him and not be aware of it, unless Emma blocked his magic somehow. Now, Emma had magic before she took on the darkness, but she was still very aware of the darkness – the voices inside her head. I suppose Hook had Merlin’s magic, only Merlin had ever held it, there wasn’t a dark one central going on like with the darkness in Emma.

Which brings me to my next point. Why did Hook respawn at the vault of the dark one? Merlin warned Nimue that if he killed, then his magic would turn dark and he would become a dark one. However, Merlin hadn’t killed, in fact he’d done the previously thought impossible and resisted the command of the dagger (well the sword) and so his magic was still his own. Merlin wasn’t a dark one, for all that his magic and the magic of the dark one came from the same place. I know Hook has killed but that was in the past, surely he would have had to have killed with magic, or after he gained it for it to turn dark and become a dark one?

That leads me onto another question of how did the vault of the dark one come to exist anyway? I seem to recall at some point, possibly back in season three, they said it was the place where the first dark one was created. However, the first dark one was Nimue and she turned into the dark one at the place of Prometheus’ flame, that’s a different place from the vault.

I really hope they explain these things. I had all these questions and then they spent the whole of the next episode with Merida and Arthur. I actually said at one point “who the hell cares, go back to Storybrooke!” which is mean because I didn’t dislike the storyline, I just wanted answers and it felt like an unnecessary delay.

Of course none of these questions even begin to tap into how Hook will feel about the situation. He hunted the dark one, the ‘crocodile’ for a couple of hundred years, he loathed him, he hated him and everything about him. Even now, even though Rumple is no longer the dark one, Hook still hates him, still looks down upon him. I mean that is Charming family hypocrisy at it’s finest, they defend Emma because of the darkness and ‘we have to save her, it’s not her fault’ etc. but they look down on Rumple who struggled with the same curse for years.

The end of the episode suggested Hook was going to return to his more villainous days, back when he switched allegiances at the drop of a hat depending on what suited him better. However, I’m pretty confident that was a bluff, that he’s only pretending to go along with Zelena. I’m sure he might be pretty angry with Emma, I mean we haven’t seen what happened after he respawned yet. I’m pretty certain there must have been a confrontation before the casting of the dark curse and the wiping of everyone’s memories.

The other parts
I absolutely loved how Regina said about “doing what was necessary, whatever it takes” because she was the only one willing to make the hard choices. That is so true, and one of the reasons I don’t have much respect for the Charming’s. They are stereotypical heroes and they are great people, the world needs them but their idealism would get everyone killed without a little pragmatism injection.

Zelena had her baby, well that is one way of not having to suffer through pregnancy. She had a baby girl and poor Regina. Zelena was all “who’s green with envy now sis?” taunting her that she’d had a child with Regina’s true love. Well, the last laugh will be on Zelena because in no land could she be considered a fit mother, she’d warp the child horribly even if it’s physical needs were met. If Regina can get past the circumstances of conception, then she can raise her with Robin, it will be their daughter. That might be harsh on Zelena but really she brought it on herself.

I love Zelena, with her I finally get why people “love to hate” certain characters. I don’t like Zelena in terms of rooting for her, in fact I very much want her to finally have to face justice. However, I love her character, her snarky lines are just brilliant. As much as I want Zelena to pay for what she’s done, that would write her out of the show probably and so I kinda get why the writers haven’t done it. She’s compelling to watch and so as much as I hate it, I get why they brought her back and made her a main character.

These episodes brought back a few characters. Doctor Whale made an appearance, you know I will never be able to see David Anders without thinking of Sark on Alias, I absolutely loved him in that. Whale is nowhere near as cool, but there was a nice exchange about his hair and Regina wondering “are there no other doctors” which was a bit like the show poking fun at itself.

Then Ruby and Mulan reappeared and as promised, the show sort of explained where they had been. Mulan had gone to join the merry men but she hadn’t stayed there long, instead travelling to Dunbroch to train Merida in the art of war. That explains why she wasn’t caught in the second dark curse. After that she did what she had to in order to survive. She said it was heartbreak but it was perhaps loneliness and despair too. Storybrooke has taken so many from the Enchanted Forest and surrounding kingdoms, being left alone in the magical realms must be difficult.

When Ruby appeared as a werewolf, my first question was “how the hell did she get to the enchanted forest?”, I wondered if maybe she hadn’t returned with the others after the second dark curse. I couldn’t remember if we’d seen her or not, but the second I asked that question, Mulan asked that question on screen. Apparently Tiny, the magic bean giant, had tried to regrow his beans after they were all burned back at the end of season two. They hadn’t had much luck but they’d managed to grow one.

Excuse me? Isn’t that really kind of selfish. Snow hugged her and told her that she would miss her, but that she must follow her heart. Ok, I don’t have a problem with Ruby using the bean to go to the enchanted forest. True I think it might have been smarter to save it for a “break glass in case of emergency” type situation. However, what if other Storybrooke denizens wanted to go back?

One line, one line is all it would have taken, for them to say she’d see who else wanted to go home. I mean using the bean just for her, yeah so wrong given how rare they are. Naturally I suppose it could have incited a debate about whether it should be used at all but considering the ‘heroes’ are usually so big on ‘doing the right thing’ you’d think they’d want to risk it regardless.

The producers/creators said in an interview that they would be introducing a gay relationship onto the show. Now, previously Mulan had fallen in love with Aurora, which was only ever going to end badly because she and Philip were true love. However, it’s reasonable to assume that Mulan is one half of the love story and I’m wondering if maybe Ruby is the other. She’s only had one boyfriend, who she wound up eating when she turned into a werewolf. They are going off on this quest together, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Rumple and Belle had one scene, just one in the whole two-parter. I was not impressed. True Rumple in dark one guise from Emma’s head made a brief appearance too but that’s not the same. However, that one scene still said a lot. Belle and Rumple were together in his shop, she had a crossbow to try and protect them. Maybe even though we aren’t seeing it on screen, they are working through their problems? I don’t know, I want more screen time for them.

I suppose it was the CaptainSwan ship that had center stage. Hook wanted to move forward with their relationship, he’d found a house for them to move into and Emma was scared of the future. It wasn’t that she didn’t want it, just that change good or bad is scary because what if it doesn’t work out? In the end she worked through it, she admitted that she loved him and wanted a future with him and that’s why she ended up giving him Merlin’s magic. Hook said that knowing she had a future was enough for him, but she said it wasn’t enough for her, that she needed him for her future. I’m sure CaptainSwan fans the world over were very happy about that.

I suppose I should say something about the Merida storyline. Linking her and Arthur was interesting I guess, and Merida’s declaration at the end that she was “going to get Arthur, to get justice for her dad” means that perhaps there will be a Merida-Arthur confrontation. Somebody really should call Arthur on his wrongdoings, he’s worse than King George, he really doesn’t care who he hurts, he even has his own wife under a spell.

Which reminds what happened with Lancelot? We broke him out of jail and then where did he go? Oh and I rather suspect Merlin is still alive. Rumple survived having the magic sucked from him, so Merlin theoretically could have as well. Maybe all of these missing people will prove important when the final showdown comes. After all Merida is sort of MIA in Storybrooke at the moment, after Emma gave her heart back and Rumple took the sword out of the stone.

Another point, why is Merida in Storybrooke? None of her people are, she asked about her family and Emma said they were at home. Therefore Merida’s kingdom wasn’t caught up in the dark curse, so she must have been in Camelot at the time, perhaps seeking justice against Arthur? I wonder how her kingdom is faring without it’s Queen, they won’t even know where she is.

They are ramping everything up for the final conclusion. I really want to see how it all ends and I’m mad as hell at netflix. Why do you torture us like that? I want Rumple to do more, I want Regina to have a magic fight. I mean she said “no-one hurts my sister but me” and that was cool but a bit wrong. Zelena has hurt a lot of people, Regina doesn’t have the monopoly on that. However, if Regina throws down with Zelena, then that would be cool, it’s not like Rumple can do it now he doesn’t have magic.

Rumple could do something though, I mean what about the “you made a mistake turning me into a hero.” “there’s a lot of heroes in this town” “but none of them are me.” I loved that so much! It played right into my belief that villains make the best heroes because they are pragmatic, and willing to do what is necessary. Well, Rumple go save the day with your smarts and your scheming and be awesome!

I’m sure whatever happens in the next two episodes, it’ll end with Emma and Hook no longer being ‘dark ones’ as I really can’t imagine them continuing this Dark Swan arc forever. That is the arc for 5A, so it’s time to wrap it up and do something else. I have no real clue what 5B holds but I can’t wait to find out.