Many people seem to think this blog is about Pretty Little Liars, but it’s not. This blog is about my obsessions, and Pretty Little Liars just so happens to be one of my most dominate obsessions of the recent year. As obsessed as I may seem to be with Pretty Little Liars, it’s nothing in comparison to how obsessive I can get with fairytales—Disney Princesses, Tinkerbelle and the other Fairies, The Descendants, Once Upon a Time, etc. I have been obsessed with fairytales for as long as I can remember. I grew up obsessed with mermaids because of The Little Mermaid. I believe in true love and happy endings, largely because I believe fairytales can be real if we do as they say—have faith, hope, and trust. Because I am obsessed with fairytales I have sat down with my computer many times in an attempt to write about “Once Upon a Time,” but have been unable to because I watched every episode for the first time long before starting this blog—well, at least most of the episodes. Therefore, I have decided to start not with the first episode of the series, but with the first episode of season 5—the episode that premiered last night on September 27, 2015.
“Once Upon a Time” airs on ABC, which means Disney owns it, so it also means all of the royalty from the series are also technically Disney royalty. Because of this technicality, if I had to choose a favorite Disney Princess (whether official or not) I would absolutely choose Emma Swan as my favorite Disney Princess (daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming (therefore, also technically sister to “Chad Charming” from “The Descendants” if, like me, you try to connect every spin off story to the original story). If feel like Emma Swan really relates to almost everyone, especially the women, of my generation! She is strong and independent and she doesn’t need a man to provide for her, but that doesn’t stop her from having weaknesses, from needing to rely on other people, and from wanting a man to provide for her, though of course she would never admit any of those three facts to anyone. Anyway, the whole series has led up to this big moment in the finale of season four when Emma, aka “The Savior,” has to make the most consequential decision she has ever made in her entire life. She has to decide if she wants to become “The Dark One” and risk giving into the darkness that she has spent her whole life trying to escape or not to become “The Dark One” and risk the safety of all the people she loves—her parents, her son, her lover, her friend/son’s adoptive-mother, and her newborn baby brother. As shown in the finale, she ultimately makes the decision everyone knew “The Savior” would make all along—to risk giving into the darkness in order to save her loved ones. We don’t actually get to see any of the consequences of that decision though until the premiere of season five because, as any good series does, and as this series always does, we were left with a cliffhanger.
In the premiere, we saw Emma/The Savior in a light we had never truly seen her in before—the light of Darkness. She was swept away to the magical realm where her darkness took the physical form of Rumplestiltskin in order to guide her in how to use her new found dark magic—as if it wasn’t already hard enough for Emma to control her light magic.
While Emma battled with her dark side, her loved ones battled with a decision of their own. Would they risk everything to ask Zelena/The Wicked Witch to summon a portal for them to follow Emma into the magical Realm? The decision to work with Zelena was automatically almost unanimous except for one person—Regina/The Evil Queen. It’s not that she didn’t want to help Emma, or at least one would assume that that was not the case—but that she really did not want to work with her wicked sister—the same sister who tried to steal her one true love in order to get what she wanted.
Meanwhile, while Regina and Hook continued to battle with the decision to involve Zelena in their endeavors to find Emma—of course, Hook was all for it—Emma was dealing with a battle of her own. The darkness, still in the image of Rumplestiltskin, led Emma to a young maiden named Mirada, who had captured a blue creature named a wisp, which would one person one answer to any question. The darkness tried to convince Emma that the only way to find Merlin, the powerful wizard with the only power that could save Emma from the darkness—was to kill Mirada and steal the wisp from her. However, Emma vehemently tried to convince the darkness that she was still good, that she would never give into the darkness. She did slip up a few times though, and during one of Emma’s audible arguments with the darkness, Mirada (whom Emma must have assumed was sleeping) overheard the argument and tried to escape without Emma noticing. Of course, Emma and the darkness did notice and they followed Mirada.
Still in Storybrook, Hook and Henry decided to work together to go behind Regina’s back, who at this point had decided against working with Zelena, to get Zelena to work them to find Emma. Of course, Hook was blinded by his love for Emma though and misjudged just how powerful Zelena could be. While, Henry was waiting outside her cell, Zelena was able to with draw the wrist swath that kept her from using her powers and escaped the dungeon in which she was held.
With Emma and Mirada, we see a confrontation take place after Emma poofs herself to where Mirada had escaped to. Emma tries to convince Mirada that she is not dark, but simply cursed by the darkness which she was trying so desperately to overcome, but Mirada refuses to believe her after hearing the conversation Emma had in which she argued with darkness about killing her. Emma does not prevail with convincing Mirada though, as Mirada starts to shoot arrows at Emma—whom she thinks is just a very powerful which. Each arrow that Mirada shoots at her, Emma catches and releases while the darkness urges her to retaliate and attack. Emma does a good job of acting against the darkness’s guidance for a while, until the urging becomes too strong, while Mirada continues to shoot arrows at her, and she does what all have hoped Emma would never do—she pulls Mirada’s heart out of her chest.
In Storybrook, the family is fighting with Zelena about how they would use the Light wand to summon a portal to reach Emma. With the wand in her possession, Zelena summons the portal to take her and her unborn child to Oz, but Regina one-ups Zelena’s plan and David/Prince Charming handcuffs Zelena and they all head to Granny’s where Regina pulls out Emma’s baby blanket from a bag as bait for the portal to take them to her.
When the find themselves in the magical realm, they find themselves face to face with Emma as she fights against the darkness in her telling her to crush Mirada’s heart so that she might obtain the wisp. Immediately, the whole begins to try to persuade Emma not to crush the heart. Emma argues, by way of listening to the every loudening darkness, that it’s the only way to get to Merlin and save them. The family, mostly Killian/Hook, argues that that is not the case. He reminds her she is the reason why the good guys—Snow White/Mary-Margaret, David/Prince Charming, and Henry/her son—are able to work alongside the villains in piece—himself and Regina/The Evil Queen. It is evident in Emma’s eyes that she knows his words are true and that she wants nothing more to collapse in his arms and give up her powers—both dark and light—if it means truly saving everyone, but the darkness continues to shake her, until eventually, Hook’s voice wins in Emma’s mind for the time being and she puts Mirada’s heart back into her chest.
The final scene with Mirada shows a conversation between her and Emma in which she thanks Emma, who is confused because she literally tried to kill her only moments prior. Mirada laughs and agrees, but explains the thanks is due to the fact the Emma showed Mirada just how dark she could be and it reminded her of her own dark side-the side that was planning on killing the people who took her brothers, but instead, because of Emma’s influence, she had decided to show mercy once she returned to her own land.
After Mirada parts ways with the rest of the fairytale characters, King Arthur shows up, none too surprised to find Emma and her family, because Merlin had told him long ago that they would show up and that Emma would be the one to reunited him with them. Because of this predication, King Arthur and his knights escort Emma and her family to Camelot.
Finally, in the last scenes, we see the family all return to Storybrook six weeks later with their memories swiped again, only this time Emma isn’t the Savior, but the Dark One who rambles on about them all getting punished for what they did to her—whatever it is that they did do to her, we don’t know quite yet, but we do know that this is quite probably going to be the best season yet. I for one am excited for this season because it’s a perfect example of no matter how good or bad you have been in the past, you must continue to make choices every day in the present and future and those choices can change who you are if you let them.