Friday, September 25, 2015

Once Upon a Time Episode Analysis (Operation Mongoose Part 1 & 2)

I freaking LOVE this two-part episode!!!!  In fact, it’s tied with ‘Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home’ for my absolute favorite episode to date.  Maybe it’s just seeing a whole adventure in the Enchanted Forest that makes it so appealing to me.

Before the main action begins, we get a quick flashback that shows how Isaac became the Author.  It’s revealed he was actually from our world, where he worked as a salesman at a store that sold TV sets in the 1960s.  However, he wasn’t that great of a salesman, with his boss not hesitating to say so, and his dream of becoming a writer wasn’t going anywhere, as all he ever got were rejection letters.  But on one fateful day, he gets a letter from the Apprentice, which instructs him to come to a certain address for a meeting.  Upon going to the meeting, the Apprentice presents Isaac with a test by showing him five different writing utensils, instructing him to pick one.  This test was designed to determine who would be the next Author, as only the person best suited to the task would be ‘called’ to the magic quill.  When Isaac passes the test, the Apprentice explains about the importance of the Author’s job to record the stories from all the different realms.  To prove his words, he shows Isaac a magical portal door that leads to one of the realms, stating that the fact that Isaac can see the door is proof that the role of the Author was his.  This scene also contains a blink-and-you’ll miss it inside ‘joke,’ if it can be called a joke.  The Apprentice explains to Isaac that he is being selected as the next Author as the previous one has just died.  Notice the date on the letter Isaac got from the Apprentice states that this happened on December 15, 1966, which was the day when Walt Disney died from lung cancer.  (Remember what August said, about how the Author before Isaac was ‘a man named Walt?’  Well, played OUAT!)

As we’ve left off last episode, Isaac is currently creating a new story entitled ‘Heroes and Villains,’ which will ensure the villains will be the winning side.  But the Nevengers are at a loss as to how to stop him, let alone figure out what exactly he’s planning to do to them.  Not really sure why they’re looking through the Sorcerer’s hidden library, however.  I admit I don’t know much of the intricate rules of magic, but I doubt whatever Isaac tried to write would appear in those other blank books.  That’s when August shows up, explaining that while he never met the Sorcerer, he has met the Apprentice during his time in Phuket.  It turns out that was how August learned all about the book, and possibly knew Neal was Baelfire.   My real question is why he didn’t mention this before.  Anyway, August shows them a drawing of the Apprentice so they’ll know who they should be looking for, which helps Killian figure out exactly who Gold had trapped in the hat in ‘The Apprentice.’  Using one of the broomsticks at the Apprentice’s cottage, Blue is able to free the Apprentice, who somehow already knows that Isaac is on the loose.  Is someone who is trapped in the hat able to remain conscious of what’s going on outside?  Because the Apprentice’s brief pause when he saw the visibly remorseful Killian standing there gave the impression that he was possibly not aware of his presence until that moment, even though Killian was speaking regretfully about the unwilling part he played in the Apprentice’s entrapment half a minute ago.   Either way, the Apprentice announces they must once again trap Isaac inside his illustrated prison before he can do even more damage.  To accomplish this, Snow, Charming, Henry and Killian head back to the loft apartment to retrieve the page while Regina, Emma and the Apprentice start making their way to Gold’s shop to stop Isaac from completing his new story.  Although, why no one thought to go right to Gold’s shop to begin with is beyond me.  They already knew that Isaac and Gold are in cahoots, and Regina clearly saw last episode that Gold is in no condition to stop them, so there was nothing preventing them from going up and physically restraining Isaac earlier.  Maybe if they had done that instead of messing around in the Sorcerer’s secret library of blank books they might have gotten to Isaac in time.  But because of their delayed action, Isaac is able to complete ‘Heroes and Villains.’  The moment he completes the book, everyone in Storybrooke instantly vanishes.  All except Henry, because unlike everyone else in Storybrooke, he was conceived in the Land Without Magic.  This is a potentially creepy scene, seeing Henry walking around the completely deserted town.  It’s like a scene out of a rapture movie.  Remembering the one driving lesson he got from Grandpa Charming during the Wizard of Oz arc, Henry commandeers a car and drives to a diner outside of Storybrooke, hoping someone there had some idea of where his family is.  However, while the waitress was not much help (and I’m not sure why she thought Henry was a runaway, as he was clearly looking for his family) Henry does see something that provides a clue- multiple copies of the book Isaac was writing is on full display on a sale rack inside the diner.  Finding this book leads Henry to New York, where Isaac is having a book signing.  Basically, when he wrote the original copy of ‘Heroes and Villains,’ Isaac made it so his book would be an instant bestseller with a huge fanbase.  When Henry goes to the book signing, he confronts Isaac, demanding that he fixes things and brings everyone back from the Alternate Universe Isaac has trapped them in.   Isaac insists that he can’t do anything, because he automatically stopped being the Author when he used his position to secure his own happy ending, something that’s always been against the rules.  But Henry has inherited a stubborn refusal to give up from his mother’s side of the family, and despite Isaac’s ridicule, he enters the book to save his family himself.  That’s right, it’s Henry’s turn to be the hero, which I consider the show’s way of apologizing for how Henry has been utilized during this entire story arc.  Ever since the Author arc began, Henry has pretty much done nothing except stare at a page, eat doughnuts and get kidnapped by Cruella.  It’s about time they gave him something worthwhile to do.

It doesn’t take long for Henry to get acquainted with how topsy-turvy this AU version of the Enchanted Forest is, as Isaac has followed him into the book and, after knocking Henry out for a short time, has him tied up as a sacrifice-of-sorts for an attacking ogre.  Henry is saved at the last minute by a knight who wields light magic.  This knight is quickly revealed to be AU Rumpelstiltskin, who not only defeats the ogre, but also frees Henry and sends him on his way.  And this is where I raise an eyebrow.  Oh, not because of Rumpelstiltskin being a great, brave hero who wields light magic, as I was already aware that things were going to get weird.  It’s the fact that no one ever acknowledges the fact that Henry is wearing modern-day clothes.  Back in ‘New York City Serenade,’ Henry was able to vocalize the unusualness of Killian wearing full pirate regalia in the Land Without Magic.  But no one is doing the same for Henry now, even though his modern-day clothing is just as out of place in the Enchanted Forest as Killian’s pirate look was in our world.

Once Henry is free, he sets off to set things right.  Believing that everything can be fixed with True Love’s Kiss, Henry uses his copy of ‘Heroes and Villains’ to locate AU Regina, who is essentially filling the runaway bandit role that Snow did in Pre-Curse Enchanted Forest.  Despite Henry’s best efforts to convince her, AU Regina refuses to believe his story that she’s actually his adopted mother and that nothing is supposed to be this way.  When he shows her his copy of ‘Heroes and Villains,’ AU Regina just dismisses it as some sort of dark magic and proceeds to scoff at Henry’s insistence that everything should be set right if she finds Robin and utilizes True Love’s Kiss.

Meanwhile, Isaac has been bumbling around, trying to stop Henry from setting things right.  In his attempts, he gets captured by the AU Dwarfs who take him prisoner and bring him before Evil Queen Snow (*GiggleSnort* Nice hair, Snow) and AU Charming.  In this version of the Enchanted Forest, Evil Queen Snow’s True Love had been Charming’s twin brother, James, and when he died tragically, Evil Queen Snow had forced AU Charming into the same fate Evil Queen Regina had inflicted on Graham.  Isaac convinces Evil Queen Snow that Henry is a threat to her and must be eliminated.  To make sure to cover all the bases, he also pays a visit to AU Rumpelstiltskin, who is living in a cottage with AU Belle and their baby (who might be the AU Baby Neal.  It’s never really determined).  He tells AU Rumple that Henry and AU Regina pose a danger to the realm, and if he wants to continue living happily with his family, he must get rid of them both.

To eliminate the ‘danger’ Henry poses, Evil Queen Snow sets a trap for AU Regina, on account of how Isaac told her that Henry would most likely be with her.  AU Regina’s life is saved just in time by AU Robin.  They end up at a tavern and, after sorta ripping off the Captain Swan hand-bandaging scene, the two begin to talk, with AU Regina feeling an obvious instant connection with AU Robin.  But it doesn’t appear as if anything could ever come of it, as AU Robin is to marry AU Zelena later that day.  (And if you listen carefully, you can hear me violently throwing up in reaction to that.)  When Henry hears about the wedding, he realizes that that must be their deadline, and the only way to set things right again is to stop the wedding.  Earlier, Isaac made a rookie mistake by practically informing Henry that when they hear the church bells toiling out, they will have reached the last page of the book, and will no longer be able to fix things.  But AU Regina refuses to even consider listening to Henry any longer, and tells him to try finding the other mother he mentioned.  The problem is Isaac had claimed that he didn’t write Emma into the story, but when Henry states that Emma was supposed to be the Savior in the true reality, the title clearly strikes a chord with AU Regina.  Reluctantly, she tells Henry that there used to be rumors of someone who called herself the Savior, but Evil Queen Snow had her thrown into prison in an impenetrable fortress.  Now knowing that Emma is in this alternate reality after all, Henry sets off to find her, using a map he ended up finding in his copy of ‘Heroes and Villains’ before Regina had burned it.  (That was a little too convenient, but I can live with it.)  When he figures out the impenetrable fortress is located in the Bottomless Sea, he realizes that he needs a ship to get there and therefore seeks out AU Killian so they can venture out to save Emma with the Jolly Roger.  But upon finding AU Killian and the Jolly Roger, Henry learns the hard way that Gold had gotten Isaac to turn Killian into a cowardly deckhand who has to answer to Blackbeard (ugh, him again).  If Henry was disappointed by this, he doesn’t let it get to him, and he cleverly deals with Blackbeard pretty quickly, allowing him and AU Killian free reign of the Jolly Roger.  He convinces AU Killian to help him sail the Jolly Roger to where Emma is being kept.  It’s here we get confirmation that Killian had been spending quite a lot of time with Henry off-screen, as Henry had gotten enough sailing lessons to aid AU Killian in manning the Jolly Roger.

They eventually reach the impenetrable fortress where Emma is being held, and after dealing with the solitary guard by utilizing the ‘Wookie prisoner gag’ (even in the alternate universe, we still get a great Killian vs. the Modern World moment), Henry manages to locate where Emma has been chained up.  Upon finding her, it’s revealed that Emma is essentially this world’s version of Jefferson, in the sense that she has maintained her memories of how things are supposed to be.  So she is able to instantly recognize Henry, resulting in a really sweet reunion scene between them.  But even though Emma admits she doesn’t have her magic in this Alternate Universe,  Henry is quick to reassure her that they can still put things right again if they manage to stop AU Robin from marrying AU Zelena.

Before they can do that, however, we get the meeting between AU Killian and Emma.  And it is just so ADORABLE!  Remember how Past!Hook was all taken aback when he saw Emma?  Well, AU Killian is so flabbergasted upon meeting Emma, he can barely string two words together.  You really get the impression that, unlike the real Killian, AU Killian has had absolutely no experience with women prior to this.  So as you can imagine, his encounter with the woman who is his True Love in the true reality really floors him.  Even in this completely warped version of reality, Killian is just so besotted with Emma, especially after seeing how quick she is to rely on him when the solitary guard is revealed to be AU Lily, who transforms into Dragon Lily to try and stop their escape, an effort that ultimately fails because of Emma and AU Killian’s joint effort.  I’ve recently became aware of a story called The Chaos of Stars.  While I’ve never actually read it myself, I am familiar with a particular line from that book.  “And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”  After seeing how quickly AU Killian seems to fall for Emma, I really feel that quote just fits these two so wonderfully.

Now, I gotta discuss something about AU Killian which makes me appreciate the real Killian even more.  Throughout this whole adventure in the alternate universe Isaac created, every time Henry and Emma try and tell someone that this world isn’t real and that things are supposed to be completely different, they’re met with skepticism and disbelief.  Everyone just thinks they’re completely bonkers.  All except AU Killian.  It’s clear in the scene following the defeat of Dragon Lily that Emma and Henry has told him about how things are supposed to be.  And he completely accepts their story, and even asks Emma to tell him more about that other reality after Emma gives him a brief sword fighting lesson.  Despite the best efforts of Isaac to make things different, it’s clear that at his core, Killian is still the same man, right down to his complete faith in Emma and her son.  It’s just like how Killian is one of the only people who have never doubted Emma’s superpower.

Okay, now the thing with the sword fighting lesson.  Watching it play out is a complete treat for any Captain Swan fan, as the sexual tension is just off the charts.  But you wanna know what makes this scene even more enjoyable for me?  Think about all the other times we’ve seen Emma wielding a sword on-screen.  I think the last time we’ve seen her using a sword was in ‘Dark Hollow,’ and she was more or less just swinging that thing around like a club.  The fact that she’s now giving AU Killian lessons suggests someone had given HER some sword fighting lessons at some point.  Now, who do you think covered those lessons?  I’ve now got a head cannon of Emma and Killian standing in those exact same positions at one point, only with the roles reversed.  Think of that and smile like a loon.

Unfortunately, things start going downhill when Evil Queen Snow and AU Charming shows up, because AU Lily, who apparently survived getting hit with a cannon, helped them find Emma, Henry and AU Killian.  Wanting to make sure Emma and Henry can escape capture or death, AU Killian decides to stand and fight AU Charming and Evil Queen Snow, despite knowing that doing so would most likely cost him his life.  And that’s just one more reason why I like Killian so much.  I’m sure everyone remembers how Rumple reacted when he was given the opportunity to fight for the chance to get his wife back and keep his family intact.  In a glaring contrast to that, AU Killian had only just met Emma and Henry a few hours ago, and here he is, completely ready to risk his very life for them by fighting a battle he can’t possibly win, just so Emma and Henry can get their chance to escape and restore things to how they were supposed to be.  Even in a world where they tried to make Killian a coward, he’s still a braver man by far than Rumpelstiltskin was.  Of course, this leads to one of the episode’s heartbreaking scenes.  For one brief moment, it looks like Emma’s talk of ‘muscle memory’ might be truer than even she knew, as AU Killian’s swordsman skills come to the surface, helping him defeat AU Charming almost effortlessly.  But when AU Killian turns his attention to Evil Queen Snow, AU Charming literally stabs him in the back.  (I believe the real Killian would say that was ‘bad form.’)  Emma’s reaction of watching AU Killian dying is just devastating, and it really gets you in the feels when you notice how AU Killian keeps his eyes focused on Emma right up until the moment he collapses.  But Emma is unable to stick around to mourn, as she and Henry have to hightail it out of there to avoid getting hit with Evil Queen Snow’s fireball.

Henry brings his two mothers together, hoping that Emma can convince AU Regina to have a bit of faith in what they’re telling her about how everything in this world is supposed to be completely different.  At first, AU Regina is just as skeptical of Emma, but in the end, Emma is able to convince AU Regina to open herself up to the possibility of finding love with AU Robin.  To drive her point home, Emma finally verbally admits that she’s in love with Killian, but voices her regret that she was always too afraid to come out and say it to his face.  She urges AU Regina to not make the same mistake.  Her words do the trick, and Henry, Emma and AU Regina head off to the church to stop AU Robin from marrying AU Zelena.  But before they can do anything, AU Rumpelstiltskin appears to stand in their way.  Keeping him busy so AU Regina can stop the wedding, Emma engages AU Rumpelstiltskin in a duel.  Watching this duel only solidifies the possibility that Emma learned how to properly wield a sword from Killian.  She even utilizes that same overly-flashy twirl move that Killian did during their fight at Lake Nostros way back when.  But much like with his duel with Killian back in ‘The Crocodile’ flashback, AU Rumple ends up cheating, and uses his magic to push Emma backward.  When Henry steps in and picks up Emma’s fallen sword, AU Rumpelstiltskin very quickly overpowers him as well.  But right when he was making the killing blow, (because that’s totally the act of a real hero; cutting down an unarmed 14-year-old) AU Regina jumps in, choosing to save Henry instead of stopping AU Robin’s wedding.

So it looks like Emma and Henry has failed to fix things, as the church bells start to ring out, signifying that they’ve reached the end of Isaac’s book.  As if to pour salt on the wound, they can do nothing to save Regina, and have to simply watch as she dies in Robin’s arms (while Zelena runs off after starting to turn green upon seeing how the dying AU Regina was ruining her day).  Emma angrily rounds on Isaac, who chose that moment to appear and gloat, demanding he fixes things.  Again, Isaac says he can’t as he’s no longer the Author.  But that’s when Henry’s attention seems to be drawn to the magic quill that Isaac dropped when Emma punched him.  In the episode’s big reveal, it’s shown that Henry is the new Author.  I can’t really remember if I actually saw this coming, but I do remember that it didn’t catch me by surprise.  Using some of the blood from Regina’s fatal wound as ink, Henry uses his new position to hit the magical reset button, restoring everyone back to Storybrooke.  And, after a brief scare when Emma races into the loft apartment to find Killian seemingly unaccounted for, it’s revealed that everyone who died in the alternate reality was restored to life after all, including Killian.  And how sweet was it that the moment he woke up back in Storybrooke, his first instinct was to try and locate Henry?  That man is so ready to officially be Henry’s stepfather. 

The reunion scene between Emma and Killian is played out really well, and it’s made even better when you realize the moment when Emma throws them onto the bed was not only ad-libbed, but, much like how actress Jennifer Morrison hadn’t realized actor Colin O'Donoghue was going to tighten the makeshift bandage with his teeth in ‘Tallahassee,’ actor Colin O'Donoghue reported that he had no prior warning that the throwing on the bed thing was going to happen when they did the actual filming of that scene.  Anyway, Emma is presented with the perfect opportunity to finally tell Killian she loved him.  And she very nearly says it, too.  But in the end, her nerves fail her, and she instead thanks him for sacrificing his life for her and Henry in the alternate universe.  But the moment isn’t totally ruined, as you can see in his face that he knew what Emma had wanted to tell him, and even though she wasn’t ready to actually say the words, he knows how she feels and therefore is not going to push her.  Like always, he’s simply going to wait until she’s ready.  And just to throw a cherry on top of this moment, we also finally get to hear Killian refer to himself as a hero, which his such a satisfying moment considering how long it’s taken him to overcome his deep-rooted feelings of self-loathing, which made him always view himself as the worst person imaginable.  So great to get an indication that he’s grown past that negative view of himself.

Meanwhile the Apprentice has a friendly chat with Henry, who seems to be processing the fact that he’s the new Author.  Henry admits he’d considered trying to use his new position to resurrect Neal, but the Apprentice gently informs him that not even the Author can bring back the dead, and the best way for Henry to honor his birth father is to simply record his story.  Henry, deciding that the ability to manipulate lives is too much power for anyone, breaks the magic quill.  Which leaves me wondering if Henry destroying the quill is putting an end to the lineage of Authors or simply means no one will be able to manipulate anything the way Isaac did.  It’s not really explained too well.  But this scene is also noteworthy to me because it’s the second time in this two-part episode someone discussed the possibility of the Author resurrecting Neal.  I might get flamed for this, but I’m really hoping that this isn’t them foreshadowing someone finding a way to actually bring Neal back.  Because that would just be overkill.  He’s, dead, he’s alive, he’s dead, he’s alive; quit yanking our chains!  If they absolutely HAVE to bring that character back, please, please, PLEASE bring him back as Boy Baelfire.  I’d be perfectly fine with that.  Just no more Adult Neal.  I’m begging you.

As for Isaac, his attempt at escaping Storybrooke is cut off by Snow and Charming, who take him into custody.  They ask him why he was so determined to cause everyone harm, and he then reveals that he was just going postal.  Isaac’s essentially that kid who got picked on a few times in high school and now thinks the whole world is out to get him.  With him taken care of, everyone heads off to Granny’s, just like every other time a crisis is averted.  Robin and Regina are happy and decide they can deal with the whole issue of Zelena’s pregnancy together before heading off for a moonlit walk.  Snow and Charming (who finally are shown with Baby Neal in tow) apologize to Killian for killing him in the AU world, Emma once again emphasizes the fact that she forgives her parents for what they did in the past, and Lily voices a desire to locate her father, whose identity is unknown even to Maleficent because their copulation occurred when they were in dragon form.

But of course, this is Storybrooke.  Nothing can stay happy for long.  While all this was going on, Belle had marched into Gold’s shop to confront her estranged husband, only to learn that the man Rumpelstiltskin was going to die any second, and once Rumpelstiltskin died, there’d be nothing to stop the Dark One from having unparalleled control.   When Gold loses conciseness, Belle races over to Granny’s and storms in, saying ‘hey, Rumple’s about to die, and that’ll just give the Dark One unbridled reign.  We should do something about that, or stuffs gonna go south pretty quickly.’  They go back to Gold’s shop and the Apprentice decides the best option would be to syphon off the darkness in Rumple’s heart into the Sorcerer’s Hat.  At first, it seems to work, even though Rumple’s heart is now bleach white, which doesn’t look the least bit healthy, and the Apprentice places Rumple’s body in a state of suspended animation until they can figure out a way to revive him.  But then, the Sorcerer’s Hat starts to reject the Dark One’s essence, because it’s apparently too much darkness for the hat to contain.  I can’t be the only one who finds this questionable, as we’ve seen that hat was able to contain Chernabog.  Are you telling me that the hat could handle Chernabog’s dark power but not the Dark One’s essence?   That sounds a bit iffy to me.  But in any event, the Dark One’s essence escapes from the hat and tries to enter the Apprentice until Emma drives it away with her light magic.  While Snow and Charming head off after the Darkness, Emma, Killian and Henry stay behind to try and tend to the Apprentice, who instructs them to track down the Sorcerer, who is finally revealed to be Merlin.  Turns out the Darkness is this ancient entity that Merlin fought against eons ago.  To stop the Darkness from pretty much wiping out everyone and everything, Merlin had the Darkness tethered to a living vessel, which was how the very first Dark One came to be.  Only Merlin can stop the Darkness once and for all, so the Nevengers are going to have to seek him out.  (Oh, does this version of Merlin have Archimedes?  Please say yes.  Owls are awesome.) 

Once the Apprentice gives Emma, Killian and Henry the task of seeking out Merlin, he dies.  I mean, I think he dies.  It’s not very clear.  While Henry, I guess, stays behind with the Apprentice, and possibly to help Belle with the comatose Rumple, Emma and Killian hurry out to join Snow and Charming, who have had no luck in locating the Darkness.  (The fact that it’s nighttime during this scene probably doesn’t help much.)  Regina and Robin appear as they’re returning from their walk, and they’re quickly filled in on what’s just gone down.  Although, Regina shouldn’t have acted so surprised, as Gold pretty much had warned her that this was going to happen back in ‘Mother.’  In a related story, one has to ask why Regina hadn’t let anyone else know that Gold had informed her he was dying.  Oh, that’s right; she was too wrapped up in her own problems to even think about how Rumpelstiltskin dying would mean the Dark One would be unleashed in full force.  For someone who has previously griped about Snow and Emma never thinking of the consequences of their actions, she sure doesn’t do much of it herself.

That’s when the Darkness makes its presence known again, as it essentially attacks Regina.  Emma, realizing that the Darkness is just going to continue attacking everybody until everyone’s life has been snuffed out, decides to sacrifice herself to save everyone.  Remembering what the Apprentice said, about Merlin tethering the Darkness to a living vessel, Emma volunteers herself to be the new vessel for the Darkness, despite Snow, Charming and Killian beseeching her not to.  However, Emma knows there’s no other choice and, after reassuring her parents that they’d be able to figure out how to take the darkness out of her, and finally confessing her love to Killian, Emma allows the Darkness to absorb into her, becoming the new Dark One.  However, the only evidence there is of Emma’s new status is the fact that the Dark One’s dagger now bears her name, as Emma vanishes from sight.

And thus ends season 4 of Once Upon a Time.   And I honestly, don’t know how to take the thought of Emma being the new Dark One.  I refuse to believe she’s going to be dragged down to Dark One Rumpelstiltskin’s level of ruthlessness.  After all, this is Emma we’re talking about here.  But then again, Rumple’s the only Dark One we’ve ever actually seen in action.  We never saw enough of Dark One Zoso to actually gain an understanding of what he was like.  There’s no way of knowing what the Dark One’s essence will do to Emma, or if it will make her do something that can’t be overlooked.   I’m also wondering how long this plotline is going to go on for.  I don’t believe for an instant that Emma is going to be the Dark One for too long, but are they going to follow the current pattern and have it resolved half-way through season 5, or is Emma’s stint as the Dark One going to continue all season or longer?

As we prepare for season 5, which will air this Sunday, please enjoy this list of things I want to see happen in Season 5:

  • Reappearances of old favorites.  It’s already been confirmed that Ruby and Mulan are returning this season, and while that’s awesome to hear, especially if they’ll give an in-show reason for their unexplained disappearances from the show, I’d love to see more old faces coming back.  Like more of Jefferson.  The fact that they’ve brought in Will Scarlett from the Wonderland spinoff really gives them a perfect setup for Jefferson to come back.  Maybe with Jefferson helping Will find a way back to Wonderland, which he was clearly trying to do in the Frozen arc but seemed to have forgotten about during the Author arc.  Plus, having Jefferson come back also means that Grace would, too.  I think it’s about time we get to see Henry making friends his own age.  Season 1 made a point in saying Henry didn’t have friends in Storybrooke.  I imagine he purposely kept himself from making any once he noticed none of the other kids were actually aging because of the curse.  Now that the original curse is broken and time is moving again, the other children must be aging now, too.  So nothing’s preventing Henry from making friends with his classmates.  So it would be great to see him hanging out with Grace sometime.  Or with Nicholas and Ava/ Hansel and Gretel, who we haven’t seen in AGES.  Also, how about Anton?  What exactly happened to him after his beanfield was destroyed at the end of season 2?  I know he’s still around; they mentioned him in one of the Frozen arc’s deleted scenes.
  • More new locations.  So far, we’ve visited the Enchanted Forest, Wonderland, Neverland, Oz, Sherwood Forest, Arendelle, and now we’re going to see Camelot.  Are we going to Narnia, next?
  • More of the friendship between Killian and Belle.  I can just picture Belle becoming something of a rock to Killian during the upcoming Dark Swan arc.  After all, Belle knows all too well what it’s like to have your True Love be the Dark One, so she’s perfectly placed to help Killian through the tormenting times he’s about to face now that Emma’s been possessed by the Dark One’s essence.  I can also see a lot of potential for more interaction between Killian and Henry as they work together to save Emma.  After all, both Henry and Killian share a True Love connection with Emma.  Those two teaming up to save their shared True Love would be the perfect stepfather/stepson bonding moment.
  • A little less Regina, please.  I know she’s got a pretty big fanbase, but I’m starting to get tired of how she seems to be taking over the show’s limelight.  The main character of this show is supposed to be Emma, but as of late, Regina seems to be becoming the focus and stealing Emma’s thunder.  And just look at most of season 4.  While there were a few moments when I was able to approve of Regina’s actions, she always turned right back around and bugged me again soon afterwards.  At the very least, let her actually have the lessons she learns stick.  Because one moment, she’ll be saying ‘I can’t go back to my old ways if I want my happy ending’ and the next, she’ll be back to saying ‘as long as I get what I want, I don’t care about what happens to anyone else.’ Which makes me ask if Regina is supposed to be an actual character or simply a human yo-yo.
  • I’m also wondering what’s going to happen to Gold if/when he regains consciousness.  Do you think he’s going to remember what he did during his reign as the Dark One?  Or is everything he did after killing Dark One Zoso going to be permanently erased from his memory?  Just imagine what that would mean!  It would mean he’d have forgotten all about what happened to his son.  While that would be a bit tragic, a part of me does feel like it would be poetic justice.  Sorta like forgetting all of that is his punishment for every horrible thing he’s done as the Dark One.  Actions do have consequences, after all. Also, would he go back to how he was before becoming the Dark One?  You know, that whimpering, weak-willed coward who couldn't even try to fight for his wife's return?  It would be interesting to see how Belle would respond to that old/new personality.
  • More of Killian’s backstory.  So far, out of all the main characters on this show, he’s the one whose backstory has been explored the least.  (Unless you count Henry, but seeing how he was 10 in the pilot episode, he doesn’t have much of a backstory to explore anyway.)  And that kinda bugs me as Killian really has become my all-time favorite character on this show, particularly since he’s the only star player who has yet to do something that considerably irked me in some way.

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