Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Once upon a time 5A: Food for thought. Hook, Dark Swan, Rumple, Zelena, Robin, Regina and Baby Pistachio review.

Hello Everyone,

Those of you who know me personally or have just read my previous post in June, you will know how much I love Once upon a Time and with Season 5A drawing into a close until March, I have only a couple of words to summarise my feelings towards this winter season finale. Curious, intrigued, uncertain and out-of-body, to name a few. This review is super long as always, because I review the whole season and not just an episode at a time, as of 5B I think I will start to try to do an episode at a time so expect a review each week for this show as of March. For now, here is the first half of the review specificially looking at Zelena, Regina, Robin, Pistachio, Rumple, Hook and Dark Swan.

Let's bring you up to speed...
If you haven't already you can read my previous post about Season 4 finale, which should bring you to the start of season 5A, give yourself a couple of minutes to read through that OR please come back to this post once you've watched season 4 and 5A. Do not read any further if you have not seen it already as this contains many spoilers.
I do not take ownership of the photos or images on this post.

I feel like this is the perfect photograph to summarise this season half; what the fuck am I even watching? Season 5A has taken us on another rollercoaster ride from beginning to end, in a way I can not imagine. So let's start from the end of season 4.

Season 4 leaves us with Emma being "sucked up a vortex of evil" (we can only hope she was riding a magic unicorn, despite popular belief of Regina) after taking all of the darkness by tying her soul to the dagger, a pregnant Zelena who is carrying her half-sister's partners baby inside her (baby Hood in the witch-house!), an almost dead Rumplestiltskin who now has a pure heart, a deceased sorcerer's apprentice and a need to find Merlin to save Emma from darkness. So where did season 5A go from here? It begins with a young Emma, ironically going to watch "The Sword in the Stone" in the cinema, to set the scene for us entering Camelot. Within this opening, we see a young Emma pick-pocketing a candy bar spotted by the Usher, who we later find out is Merlin, (we should have really known from that moment, rewatching does help) telling our young Saviour not to remove Excalibur from the Stone. Say Emma didn't get Rumple to remove the sword from the Stone again, Hook wouldn't know he was the Dark one, we'd still have a Crazy King Arthur on a deluded fantasy, still have Emma as the Dark one and we may have seen a different season altogether. Of course, that might have been extremely dull and as a fanbase of Disney, I think we were all excited and wanting to see Excalibur whole.Emma's trip in the vortex of evil leads us into the Enchanted forest, where we see the new Dark one and our "former" saviour, Emma Swan, rise from the chamber, greeted by"The voice inside her head; the dark one's powers inside her, inside all the dark ones" taking the shape of Rumplestiltskin; probably a lot easier than being that of Gorgon's fire-breathing Bandersnatch. Here we see the struggle between Emma still being the saviour and Dark Swan begin, which Adam and Ed did promise us would be what we saw throughout the first half of Season 5 "Every part of her is fighting her dark urges" (-Edward Kitsis to Ew.com July 3rd, 2015). Whether that first half is part A or part B, I personally believe to remain unclear, as at the end of this Season we still see that Emma has a link to the dagger. When entering Gold's shop she can still hear it calling to her; perhaps because she was a former Dark One OR perhaps because a tiny part of the darkness still remains inside her. Throughout the season, we can safely say that so far we have not entirely lost our saviour to Darkness, it was teased in promo's before the new season began that she would have the stereotypical dark one glitter-reptilian skin, within this promo we see her imprisoned within a cell and then crushing the heart of the guard into not dust, but diamonds, giving extra glam, power and fear of what this Dark one maybe like.
I feel like perhaps the fans that were hoping to see her fully go into the darkness, as that promo would suggest (if you haven't seen it, click here) may feel slightly disappointed, but let's look at what happened to our "Dark swan" throughout the season.
Emma's adventure begins within the Enchanted Forest, we see her arguing with the voices of the Dark one's inside her head. Throughout the other seasons of Once upon a Time, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) as a character has shown some outstanding developments, from not only being a non-believer but furthermore, by starting to believe in herself, her loved ones and her family. In Season 5 this plays a very vital and crucial part, it differentiates her from all the previous Dark One's, who felt they needed the power of the Darkness to become someone either brave, powerful, revenge or perhaps because they believe they do not possess the ability to be loved or to be a "hero". ZoSo, the Dark one before Rumple, became a dark one due to his greed for power, Nimue the original Dark one was seeking revenge, likewise Hook embraced the darkness when he was seeking his revenge as well. However, in the incidence of Emma Swan, she took on the darkness to protect Regina and her family from living with it and as we see her arguing with the voices inside her head, we see "her guide" disappears due to her self-belief and her awareness of her self-worth.
Personally, I feel this is what makes her so different from Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), as we often see that without the power of the Darkness he feels as though he is "not the man Belle deserves" and that he will always "be a coward", he shows a great lacking of self-respect and self-esteem without the power throughout all the Seasons. The only season where I can honestly say I have admired Rumple throughout was Season 3. We saw that he was good at the same time still a man with great power, still someone you didn't mess with and if you did then you were in for some really dark days. Since season 3, he has returned to believing he is a coward and his lack of self-belief, as well as the continuous need for power has consumed him. I believe this is the main reason why at the end of Season 5A, we see he has decided to regain the Darkness and tie himself to the Dark one dagger again, he feels like he can not achieve anything unless tied to it. However, he even proved to himself he could be a hero and yet still dangerous, still powerful I mean he fought Dark Hook and won.
In contrast to that Emma manages to defy the darkness within her and her actions are arguably always self-less. In fact, the only time she uses her Dark Magic throughout the season was to save Robin, save her family, save Hook and to reunite the dagger with Excalibur.Arguably, we do see her controlling Henry's first love, Violet,  in turn breaking her son's heart as part of her "plan" to have the tear of a freshly broken heart to create a potion. Let not also forget she wanted to put all the Darkness into Zelena then kill her using Excalibur, using Zelena as a vessel. Perhaps for the greater good of everyone else and to save everyone, but alas she still did something to Dark in order to achieve it. We could argue that although her acts are heroic, she has used Dark Magic to achieve it and therefore "she has embraced her darkness". I think this is what the writers were referring to when they said we would see her "fully embrace the urges of Darkness" in the first half of season 5A; she was refusing to indulge in Dark Magic. We must note that dark magic is completely different to light magic and through Emma's character we see this, it comes with a greater price than her just needing to believe in herself in order to make magic lights come out of her hands. In this Season we see her resurrect two people from the dead, reunite Excalibur to the dark one dagger, cast a potion to communicate with Merlin, command Killian and Nimue to appear etc. all of which come with a steep, dark price to pay from breaking her son's heart to saving Robin and sacrificing someone else at the request of Regina. The prices being as steep as they are, although the acts were out of love and care for another person, they are enough to change a person, she's still indulged in magic which she tried hard to resist and therefore, she has still changed into Darkness. All of this in mind, I think it is fair to say that Emma has in some way embraced the darkness, therefore, calm down. 

As far as embracing the darkness goes, Killian Jones has shown us what a pirate's life as the Dark One would be like. Killian's character I feel in some ways has developed as well taken steps back, from the moment he discovers he is the Dark one we see him change very quickly from the hero or "lovesick puppy dog" to this quirky, humorous Dark one, who has nailed the Rumple dearies; almost seeming slightly deranged and drunk from the idea of gaining revenge. Before he regained his memories of being the dark one, Killian since returning to Storybrooke had a certain darkness to him in comparison to how he was in Camelot. However, in both realms until he regained his memory, he still believed in Emma whereas in comparison we see Belle almost warning him in "Dark Swan" (episode 2) that loving a Dark one is almost impossible. This is where the differences between both Hook and Belle mirror the differences between Emma and Rumple, Emma we know has a firm belief in herself and she knows that she can fight the darkness just as Killian also mirrors this same support and shows he truly believes in her. In fact, Killian throughout this season is the only one who has barely used the dagger, to try to control Emma into doing the right thing, the only time he used the dagger was to bring her to him and to bring her home just after she became the Dark one. What I have loved throughout this season is the fact their love has always been pure, strong, true, in some parts we have arguments and feelings of betrayal, Hook is very much a man of his word and he did ask to be left to die a hero, but Emma disregarded that for what some would argue to be "selfish reasons" but what I personally believe to be the act of love. You can't honestly tell me, that if you had the power to resurrect someone from the underworld that you would just let them die? Someone you love? Through it all, their love has got past the tough times as true love does and this is because neither of them gave up on each other, at any point. Emma had confidence in Hook and believed they could fight the darkness together, However Hook did not have the same belief or faith in himself to fight the Darkness, not until the very end thanks to Regina. It is throughout the majority of Hooks time being the Dark one that we could say, we see some similarities between himself and Rumple. It is his lack of belief in being able to fight the darkness, as well as a desire for revenge that has made him indulge in every whim. Likewise, Rumple has a lack of belief that he can be a hero or a good person, however, add in a love for power as well as immortality and you perhaps have the perfect package. In contrast, yet similarity throughout Rumple's time of being the Dark one, we've seen him lose lack of belief in himself and therefore, Belle has also started to mirror this lack of belief as well, as on many occasions Belle has used the dagger to control Rumple. 

Personally I feel that the Rumbelle ship has not been given a chance to set sail throughout Once Upon a Time, something which as a former member of this ship displeases me. Rumples continuous love for power, Baelfire and Belle struggle has been carried through every season since the very pilot of the show and although his love for power is a part of his character, as stated before, due to his lack of self-belief and self-love, we see that this is the very reason why his relationship with Belle is not working. This lack of self-belief and self-love, I feel we reignited in the moments he lost his son, Baelfire. The purpose for him to give up the Darkness was due to Baelfire wanting him to be a hero, wanting him to be the father that he never had. However, when Baelfire passed away in Season 3, since then Rumple I believe has lost his real purpose of fighting the darkness. Yes, he loves Belle of course he does but is it enough? I can understand the frustration of those within this ship as we have seen on two occasions, that Rumple is very capable of being a hero and a very good hero at that. We still have that "do not mess with me" presence even when he is good, however, the writers then rip this from the ship again and throw him back into Darkness. The man that retrieved Excalibur from the stone, a man who finally had what he wanted at the end of Season 4; freedom from the dagger and a pure heart. Personally, I feel that this constant switch and putting Rumple back into this darkness is furthermore limiting Robert's acting. He is a very versatile and varied actor, well known for his ability to do many roles and do it with his own unique style I would like to see something more challenging in Rumple's character, to show the talents of Carlyle more fairly. However, I can argue, that I feel or at least hope now that Rumple will remain dark, his thirst and love for power are exceedingly strong, stronger now as he has the power of Emma as well as Hook and all other dark ones, inside him. I feel like this gaining of more power will change Rumple's character slightly, making him far more evil and powerful than he was previous. Furthermore, as his heart is no longer coal but starting from a clean slate, assuming this power will go to his head we'll see a lot more evil from Rumple perhaps in this next season, as he may feel more invincible and if this is the case, we can kiss Rumbelle goodbye.

In contrast, Emma and Hook's love throughout this season has been on a rollercoaster, I feel it is safe to say that this has been very focused on the CaptainSwan ship, true love and Emma's happy ending. (operation light swan or operation mongoose 2). The scenes of Hook within Camelot, as well as when he had no recollection of being the newest Dark One, in terms of his feelings for Emma almost mirrored each other showing that although Emma was dark, he would go to the ends of Earth and beyond to save and protect her, that he always loved and he always believed in her right?
Nope, hang on a second! In Storybrooke, he at one point said he no longer loved her on two occasions, once when he was on board the ship and refused to accept Emma as the Dark One, Second after discovering he was a new dark one and going full on badass. A lot of the fans I have seen have been saying "how could Hook change within 5 seconds of finding out he was the dark one?" but there is a reason I said "almost" mirrored each other.
In Camelot, we saw a lot of Hook showing true belief in Emma as he is probably the only character, who refused at points to use the dagger to convince her to do the right deed. In fact, the only time he used the dagger was to try to call for Emma and bring her to him at the start of the season. When returning to Storybrooke six weeks later after his memory was erased, Colin showed an in between of Hook where for me personally, I sensed a darker and different edge to him, but I could still see his love for Emma being overpowering of that darkness at points. Example, the moment on board the ship where he said "he no longer loved her" I believe to be the Darkness instead of our beloved pirate talking to her, during episode one "The Dark Swan" when he walked out of her home and said "something felt different", showing first real signs of uncertainty because of Emma being the Dark one, again I believe this to be the Darkness within Hook.

Despite those two occasions, he still believed in her in some way, we see this mostly in "Birth". (episode 8) Throughout this episode until the end, in particular, we see Hook trying desperately to rekindle what he and Emma had, saying he forgives her for whatever she is trying to atone for, although this basically backfires when Hook discovers Emma saved him by tethering his soul to the other half of Excalibur thus turning him into the Dark One. However, the season finale episode "Swan Song" shows a Hook who can fight the darkness to be the man he wants to be, the man who protects Emma, Regina and their families by sacrificing himself, he shows in this moment that his true love for Emma outweighs the power of Darkness, as he puts an end to all the Dark ones returning. Can we also take a moment to appreciate the difference in music as Emma rose from the Dark one chamber in comparison to Killian? We had some pretty heavy, dark, orchestral sounds from when Killian rose as the dark one whereas, in contrast, Emma had a sort of light and almost hopeful sound to it.
If I didn't talk about the paralells between Snowing and CaptainSwan I would be foolish, Adam and ed have used this in particular I would say as a comfort to the fans, yes we're going to the underworld, yes we're going to see cora, Peter Pan and many other people we don't want to see but it's ok! Because we're going to find Hook, we will always find Hook. In addition to this reassurance, I feel that it is a verbal symbolism like an unbreakable vow, this is true love, the real deal and the idea of them sharing one heart is symbolic on it's own. I really can not cope it's just a beautiful comparison and relfection of love; though I am sure many of the Snowing fans feel deeply offended "that's OUR LINE". This shouldn't be taken personally, Adam and Ed have used this as a tool to reinforce that this is the real deal and there isn't any way these two no matter what is thrown at them, they will not be seperated. 

On to something a little bit more Wicked, Zelena and Robin's "baby pistachio" has arrived at once upon a time (thanks Emma for the onion rings). Let's bring you up to speed with this one because honestly, it's a little bit complicated. So since season 3B, we have had the lovely Rebecca Mader playing the overly Wicked Zelena, if we face facts any Evil Regal has secretly loved to hate this witch, is it normal for all those who are Dark to be so deranged? In any event, so Zelena at the end of 3B went through the time vortex with Emma and Hook, during this time Emma freed Robin's first wife, Marian, from ironically, Regina's cell. Before returning to the present day in Storybrooke, Zelena killed Marian and used a potion within her necklace to transfigure into her, fooling everyone into believing she is Marian including Robin. Eventually, although hit by Elsa and giving her an even colder heart, she is freed and Regina encourages Robin to start a life in New York City with Marian and Roland, without her. Down the line of Season 4, Rumple and Regina discover that Robin has been tricked a little too late as Zelena is now carrying baby Pistachio. She was two months pregnant, however zapped out of her cell and given onion rings by Dark Swan, her pregnancy soon sped up and welcome the new baby. Firstly, I loved Dark Swan in that labour room giving sass to Zelena after she was, in my personal opinion, rude to Regina, that Swanqueen love shows no limits.
Second, I couldn't help but notice how upset everyone has been over Regina and Hood deciding to send Zelena away to Oz, I am aware of Regina's history plus the fact she was allowed to keep Henry despite how semi-insane she was in Seasons 1 and 2. However, she always placed Henry first in some way or another and eventually accepted that Emma was his biological mother, with just as many rights as she has and furthermore I think she realised that he's grown up a lot since the start of the show. Almost having your heart ripped out by your great-grandfather can be enough to make you realise what kind of man you want to be, him also being the new author and holding that much power has made Regina realise he can handle a lot of responsibilities. Let's not also forget that since Season 3 she has changed dramatically from her previous Evil queen stance, I hear you why can't Zelena do the same? Why isn't Zelena been given a chance?
Back in season 3 (click it to see the clip), Regina placed Zelena's necklace in her vault and gave her a second chance instead of killing her, in an interesting sibling way where she threatens her to take the second chance or she will rip her heart out. Take it from someone with a sibling, this is normal behaviour and trust me, although Regina threatens it she will not actually do it because if she was to do it, she would have by now. The truth I feel is that Regina is clearly tired of Zelena trying so desperately hard to take everything from her or tired of giving her chance after chance, she obviously loves her sister and that is plain to see for the typical sister love of "no one hurts her but me" kicks in during the "Birth" episode. Zelena is refusing to take these chances and make a change. Personally, I feel no sympathy for her especially after in "Swan Song" where she says "neither of you will be here to stop me, you'll both be dead! I'm going to raise this child to be wicked" personally, my morals are very much against this as I don't believe it is fair first of all, to celebrate the death of your child's father, in addition to then force the child to be someone that she may not want to be; Don't even get me started on the fact she's actually considering calling the baby Pistachio. 

I can understand Robin and Regina's sudden change of heart and sending Zelena back to Oz, they had to do whats right by Hood's daughter and offer her the best chance she has at being the woman she wants to be, I love how this also mirror's Killian's story with his father and how that also relates to Regina wishing to kill her mother and hiring him to do so, I felt this clever parallel was very enjoyable to watch during "Swan Song". 
Regina has shown that she is the true saviour this season and proven just how far she is willing to go, to keep her true love Robin, how far all of them are willing to go to secure each others happiness. Snowing and all the dwarfs even stepped in offering a part of their lives to trade for Robin's. It's nice to see that the whole town are starting to see Regina has changed as well, not just those that are close to her I feel like we finally have our queen. In addition to this, in the end it was her words to Hook that made him realise what he had done and made him decide to change, to become the man he wanted to be; a hero. You Go Regina! She's also shown an amazing growth as a mother, not only to Henry, but to Roland and Baby Hood as well, which is fantastic to see. I am loving the fact that Regina is starting to believe in herself and to become a true hero, the rest of the town starting to believe it as well was really enjoyable to see in the first episodes. Although they have not been given much screentime, I personally feel like these characters are in a perfect place, we've seen sme growth in Regina when it comes to self belief and although with their complications, OutlawQueen still stands strong; yay! 

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