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For seven years, Disney"s Once Upon A Time oscillated between being truly good & original nội dung to being a trainwreck of what-the-hell-was-that?
Once Upon A Time Season 1 had a great hook & kept many people interested through Once Upon A Time Season 3. After that, fans started lớn taper off.
I saw it through khổng lồ the end, and while I"m glad I did, it meant I had lớn suffer through what I would argue was not only the worst season of the show but the worst season of any show ever: Once Upon A Time Season 5.
Yes, the Frozen arc was flawed, yes, Once Upon A Time Season 6 was directionless, and yes, Once Upon A Time Season 7 threw out the timeline, but Once Upon A Time Season 5 is the season that nearly led me khổng lồ quit the show.
What made Once Upon A Time Season 5 so bad?
Let me break it down.Lack of Forethought
One of the major problems with Once Upon A Time Season 5 was they seemed lớn be bringing in characters or shiny toys for the sake of bringing them in without thinking about how they would affect the overarching plot.
When that character or shiny toy didn"t amount lớn anything, they would abandon it because they didn"t think it through.
Like how Lancelot came back, but we"re not sure how he was alive or where he"s been, và then he just disappeared again.
Or how come Emma was acting all evil and like she blamed her family when they returned to Storybrooke without their memories of their time in Camelot?
How come Killian wasn"t haunted by former Dark One"s in Storybrooke just because Emma wiped his memory? He was still the Dark One, wasn"t he?
Or how come nobody tried true love"s kiss on Emma in Camelot? and how come when she and Hook did kiss in Camelot, and she was actively trying to lớn get rid of the darkness, it didn"t work?
What on earth did that horse vì chưng to end up in The Underworld with unfinished business?
Many of these are just things that don"t make sense, but they could have made sense if the writers had thought them through & come up with reasonable explanations.
This lack of forethought had been happening in preceding Once Upon A Time seasons and was bearing poorly thought out fruit on Once Upon A Time Season 5. Mostly, it led to what we call a lack of follow-through.Lack of Follow-Through
Once Upon A Time Season 4 set up a lot of plotlines. They brought back Maleficent and introduced her daughter Lily. On Once Upon A. Time Season 4 Episode 23, Lily told Emma that she wanted lớn stick around lớn find out who her father was.
Henry became The Author, with the power lớn write the storybook.
Will Scarlet was brought over from Once Upon A Time in Wonderland. A lot of mystery surrounded his being in Storybrooke, and he spent some time with Belle.
Fans of the show were looking forward to seeing how these plotlines developed, but we did not see Mal or Lily on Once Upon A Time Season 5. They weren"t even mentioned.
(Neither was Will Scarlet, though I"ve already made my thoughts on how the show treated that character crystal clear.)
Henry"s being the author is briefly referenced during the first half of the season and does come into play in the second half.
However, despite his new power và the introduction of a love interest for him, Henry gets very little screen time and character development on Once Upon A Time Season 5.
Those are just the plots they left dangling when Once Upon A Time Season 4 wrapped. The show also introduced plots throughout Once Upon A Time Season 5 that they didn"t follow up on.
For example, Granny and the dwarves hitch a ride lớn Camelot with The Heroes because they are sick of being left out of all the action. They then proceed to be left out of all the action.
We barely see them. Granny"s Diner is more of a utilized character than Granny.
The show also establishes that King Arthur has brainwashed his wife into submission. Even when Arthur dies, Guinevere remains in her brainwashed state.
We never check back in with her và see her and Lancelot have a happy ending saving Camelot.
In The Underworld, Mary Margaret is teased as regaining her badass warrior persona on Once Upon A Time Season 5 Episode 13. Then the character is sidelined.
David also notes on Once Upon A Time Season 5 Episode 3 that he doesn"t just want to be remembered as a man who kissed a sleeping princess awake 30 years ago. However, his character is similarly sidelined.
Ginnifer Goodwin needed to lớn take a step back because she was pregnant, but what was the excuse to lớn sideline David?
His becoming a Knight of The Round Table sadly did not amount to much.Ignoring Their Own Rules
Once Upon A Time, as many shows that involve world-building, established some in-universe rules during the early seasons.
One of the rules they established was that the only way khổng lồ become a Dark One is to lớn kill the current Dark One. This is completely ignored when Dark One Emma uses her magic khổng lồ turn Killian into a Dark One so that he won"t die.
This development upset và confused many, as it went against what we"ve always known. If it were possible for a Dark One to vì that, wouldn"t Rumple have done it for his son?
The rules of magic were also established in the Onceverse, though they were stated more explicitly on Once Upon A Time In Wonderland.
In fact, the whole villain arc of the Wonderland series centered on Jafar trying to change the rules of magic.
The rules of magic are as follows:
1) You can"t make someone love someone.
2) You can"t bring back the dead.
3) You can"t change the past.
The second half of Once Upon A Time Season 5 centers on The Heroes going lớn The Underworld lớn bring Killian back from the dead, và in the end, they succeed. Zeus restores Killian to lớn life as a reward for helping defeat Hades.
This is problematic because once you start bringing people back from the dead, death loses meaning. The resurrection was clearly contrived for convenience"s sake.
What"s more, The Heroes were all gung-ho khổng lồ go on a rescue mission to lớn the Underworld, despite the magic users among them being aware of this rule.Mishandling Redemption Arcs
Once Upon A Time has always emphasized hope & the idea that love can redeem even the darkest souls.
Once Upon A Time Season 4 ended with Rumpelstiltskin"s heart being scrubbed clean of the darkness and Emma Swan taking up the mantle of The Dark One.
This provided many possibilities. More than anything, it seemed lượt thích an opportunity khổng lồ redeem Rumpelstiltskin.
This is first because he no longer had The Darkness inside him, và second because it allowed The Heroes a chance to understand & sympathize with what made him so evil in the first place.
Instead, The Heroes adamantly advocate for Emma but disregard a newly pure & powerless Rumpelstiltskin worthy of their time or help.
Rumple becomes a hero, pulling a sword from the stone, but he relapses to lớn Darkness in the end.
Killian Jones becomes a Dark One alongside Emma and embraces his newfound darkness rather quickly, despite all the character"s progress throughout the series.
Yet, once he is no longer The Dark One, he is forgiven, redeemed, and resurrected, despite all he did.
Worst of all, Zelena has a quickie redemption in The Underworld!
So does King Arthur!
For more of my thoughts on mishandled (and well handled) redemption arcs on Once Upon A Time, kiểm tra out this post!Missed Opportunities
Once Upon A Time Season 5 brought us to Arthurian Mythology & The Underworld.
These are accessible to lớn Disney because the movies The Sword in The Stone và Hercules had a lot of material Once Upon A Time could have played with.
The idea of making the legendary King Arthur a villain was an intriguing concept, but it was poorly executed, và Merlin was killed off just when his character was getting interesting.
As for the Underworld, that plot was entirely underwhelming. Hades in the movie is a fun and charismatic villain, but his interpretation on Once Upon A Time was weak và meh. His romance with Zelena was meh and weird.
He wasn"t a fun character, & his flaming hair was all wrong. Honestly, Disney"s Descendant"s 3 did a better job bringing the god of the Underworld khổng lồ life.
Megara, also, was a huge disappointment. In the movie, she was a badass. She didn"t need a man, she had a complex backstory, and she was willing lớn sacrifice herself for love.
On Once Upon A Time, she barely exists. Hercules barely met her when he was alive, died trying lớn save her life, and now meets her again in The Underworld only to pursue adventures off-screen. So much for that romance.
I will admit that Hercules being young Snow White"s first crush và her first kiss, was a bright spot of the season. There were just so many dark spots that it got eclipsed.
Aside from bringing in Hercules và The Sword in The Stone, Disney also decided to lớn bring in Merida from Brave.
However, she wasn"t so much a character, as she was a tool for Emma và King Arthur to lớn get what they want. Her presence, despite a charming performance from Amy Manson, was forgettable.
Once Upon A Time Season 5 also brought back some fan-favorite characters; Ruby and Mulan. However, their roles during the season were incredibly brief.
Mulan coming back và having great chemistry with Merida, not to mention a bond with Ruby, only to kết thúc up as alone và miserable as she was when we last saw her on Once Upon A Time Season 3 was very unsatisfying.
It was also never explained why she left The Merry Men.
As for Ruby, at least her absence since Once Upon A Time Season 3 was explained. Fans were also thrilled lớn finally get a cannon LGBTQ ship with a true love"s kiss. Ruby fell in love with Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz.
However, this relationship was very difficult to invest in because it was incredibly rushed. Dorothy had been forgettably introduced briefly on Once Upon A Time Season 3 during their Oz arc.
This older version of her was also forgettable & not so easy to lớn warm to. Ruby and Dorothy"s romance arc would have been better served if it had been spread throughout the season.
Once Upon A Time Season 7 proves that the show could give us a season-long LGBTQ ship khổng lồ really root for, i.e., Alice and Robin. We deserved it sooner, though. Ruby deserved it. She deserved a lot better, and so did Mulan.
Let"s not forget, this is a plot that takes place in the land of the dead. Many characters could have been brought back. Graham comes lớn mind, but we never saw him. He wasn"t even mentioned. Nobody looked for him.
With all the build-up for Merlin and Nimue on the first half of the season, you"d think we would have seen one of them, but nope.
Both David & Snow have lost their parents, but we didn"t see Queen Eva, Ruth, King Leopold, or Robert.
Ruth was a fan-favorite, and in the cases of the other parents, Snow & David could have used some closure (and a heftier storyline)
We"ve already discussed how Ruby was in The Underworld for a bit. Maybe if she"d had more time there, she could have gotten some closure with Peter, Billy, or her mom.
Eating her boyfriend really ate Ruby up và affected her future relationships. Imagine if they could talk about it. Và who didn"t love Billy? There would have been so much for Ruby lớn explore in The Underworld.
Belle could also have used some closure with her mother. I"m on board with anything that helps her be more utilized, and being an expectant mother herself might have made it the perfect moment.
And after everything he just went through with Zelena, maybe Robin would lượt thích to talk to the actual Marian instead of a fake one.
We did see Neal for five minutes when he told Emma he"d moved on khổng lồ a better place because he had no unfinished business. This is a load of crap when one considers how he died & never saw his son again.
Couldn"t he have seen Henry or Rumple? Would it have been so bad for him lớn be a part of the story instead of just a cameo?
We also see Prince James, David"s twin brother, who apparently resents him for being the twin their mother kept or because he got all the glory or something (frankly, it was a bit confusing).
This could have been a great chance to round out the James character and provide a bonding moment between brothers.
It could have been great material for the David character & could have brought in their father a season early, plus, again, Ruth. Family reunion!
All the ships sunk on Once Upon A Time Season 5. Rumbelle, CaptainSwan, và OutlawQueen were never the same again. Snowing was the same, which is the problem.
Rumple and Belle have never had the easiest time of it, but one thing that"s always been clear was that they loved each other. Even when Belle banished Rumple at the town line, she was more hurt and angry than out of love.
Rumple"s story has always been about redemption, as I"ve said ad nauseam. Belle has always been a part of that. Once Upon A Time Season 5 played the same song, but the tune rang less true.
Belle fought for Rumple when he was helpless, but even after he was a hero and she admitted she loved him, she decided she didn"t want lớn be with him. Then, he became The Dark One again.
She came back to lớn him after learning he lied lớn her, and Rumple calls her on maybe being more attracted khổng lồ the darkness than she"ll admit, but there"s little follow-up for this.
During the second half of Once Upon A Time Season 5, Rumple fully embraces the darkness, & Belle finds fault with everything he does.
Despite having a baby on the way, all they do is make their relationship even more & more broken.
Then Belle goes under a sleeping curse, which Rumple can"t wake her from because apparently, they aren"t true love anymore.
I"ve talked about this before, so I won"t bore you with all of it. Just kiểm tra out my posts on how the show screwed over Belle & Rumple.
Okay, let"s talk about CaptainSwan.
CaptainSwan had some points in its favor in the earlier seasons of Once Upon A Time. Killian Jones was a charming and incredibly attractive bad boy type, and he và Emma had a bunch of chemistry.
(Of course, when you look lượt thích Colin O"Donoghue, you have chemistry with just about everyone!)
Killian và Emma were both orphans, and they bonded over that. They also flirted a bit, which gave their ship and the show some much-needed levity.
Their courtship was light và fun, with some real deep moments, like "you traded your ship for me?" and "Don"t you know, Emma? It"s you."
However, on Once Upon A Time Season 5, they went from fun và flirty with a side of deep to epic và tragic và toxic.
Emma, a character who we know has walls up khổng lồ her head, went from not being ready for a relationship to lớn crossing moral lines lớn save Killian và then literally dragging her family khổng lồ hell khổng lồ save him.
I think I"ve made my feelings on resurrection plots clear, but lớn believe Emma, of all people, would go lớn these extremes for someone she"s only been dating a few months is a bit of a stretch.
(Yes, the writers have said the second half of Once Upon A Time Season 3 through Once Upon A Time Season 6 only takes place over the course of a few months. That"s canon.)
Basically, they wanted to make CaptainSwan as epic as Snowing, even having Emma say, "I will always find you," the Snowing motto, on her way lớn the Underworld.
CaptainSwan didn"t have the juice for that, và making them epic & tragic took away what was fun about them.
Someone pointed out that Once Upon A Time was at its best when focusing on familial relationships & that the couples worked best as subplots. This is true.
Once Upon A Time Season 5 stopped being a well-rounded show & just became the Hook and Emma show, và for whatever reason, the couple didn"t have what it takes to hold the show up.
While not a CaptainSwan shipper, I was willing to lớn give them a chance, but after Once Upon A Time Season 5, I was fed up, và I wasn"t the only one.
Aside from taking away from every other aspect of the series & losing their fun side, many have described Hook"s behavior toward"s Emma as toxic.
Yes, he was The Dark One for some of it, but nobody accepts that excuse when we"re talking about Rumple và Belle, so why should we accept it with Killian? What"s good for the goose is good for the gander.
In the case of both Rumple và Emma, when they were the Dark One, their goals were usually to protect those they loved, even if it meant crossing lines to vị so.
Killian told Emma he wanted lớn hurt her & that she was a pretty blonde distraction from his true goals of revenge.
He feels bad in The Underworld, và Emma absolves him without a second thought, something anti-Rumbellers have accused Belle of doing. Again, goose, gander.
Finally, the main ship that was screwed over on Once Upon A Time Season 5 was OutlawQueen. After seemingly overcoming every obstacle to their love, Robin was needlessly killed off on Once Upon A Time Season 5 Episode 21.
Even though he was killed trying lớn stop Hades, & his sacrifice actually led to lớn Hades" defeat, Zeus, like Killian, didn"t resurrect him. He stayed dead.
Not only that, but he died in the first place because Regina chose khổng lồ trust Zelena, you know, the woman who raped him. Some have speculated that Robin was killed off lớn make Zelena"s redemption arc more palatable.
Regardless of the reason, neither Robin nor Regina deserved for it to kết thúc that way. How many boyfriends does Regina have lớn watch get murdered? Why couldn"t they be happy together?
Snowing are very happy together. They have a brief marital tiff on the first half of Once Upon A Time Season 5, but it"s quickly resolved. There is no conflict or real plot for Snowing.
Better shows have had issues keeping a couple interesting when they"re "old marrieds." It"s the moonlighting curse. Some shows can debunk it, but Once Upon A Time is not one of those shows.
As I said before, the show doesn"t vị so well when they focus too much on romance because they don"t seem khổng lồ know how to write it. Once Upon A Time Season 5 put a spotlight on that flaw, & we all suffered.The Aesthetic
I hate lớn bring it up because it seems like such a minor thing, but the lighting và overall look of the show during The Underworld plot really bugged me.
It just wasn"t visually pleasing. It hurt my eyes và made me not want lớn watch. I get that they are in The Underworld, but was it essential khổng lồ make it look like that? Did they need that red filter?
Also, I get that they wanted khổng lồ use the same phối from a production perspective, but it really made very little sense for The Underworld to look exactly lượt thích Storybrooke. Their explanation did not hold water (just like Zelena and Hades"s courtship).
I know it"s a bit nit-picky, but I"m figuring if it bugged me this much, it bugged others, and when you have this many things wrong with your show, you don"t want to địa chỉ cửa hàng anything else, even if it"s just visual.That Ending
As had become their habit at that point, the show wrapped up Once Upon A Time Season 5 with a two-part finale that had little to bởi with the season & was meant khổng lồ set up for the coming one.
This involved Henry taking a field trip to thủ đô new york with Violet to get rid of magic. Now, I"m all for more Henry, and he and Violet were dễ thương together. It was nice he got screen time. It"s more what they did with it.
Let"s forget that Henry randomly decides getting rid of magic will solve all his problems and then change his mind because that actually happened before on Once Upon A Time Season 2 Episode 17.
(They did it better then, but we know chất lượng had declined since then, so points for doing something mildly in character?)
Let"s focus on how Henry gets magic back. He stands on a statue in the middle of Manhattan & asks people to believe in magic. Let me repeat, this 14-year-old returns magic to the world by getting New Yorkers lớn believe!
It took a year for Henry to lớn get Emma lớn believe, not to lớn mention proof & corroboration of his story. That was in Storybrooke, which was under a curse, & it was his mother. These are strangers in Manhattan!
For those of you who haven"t been to lớn Manhattan (pre-pandemic), it"s full of crazy people putting on shows or shouting things out. It"s also full of cynics & people who rush past strangers every day, giving them a wide birth.
People are constantly asked to lớn give money to lớn homeless people, và sometimes they do, but often, they turn away, pretending not khổng lồ see. And that"s just money. Henry is asking for genuine belief in magic.
(And money, because he wants them to make a wish in the fountain).
What New Yorker would stop in the middle of Manhattan, listen lớn this 14-year-old who is either crazy or looking for attention, và believe what he is saying?
He"s actually more likely khổng lồ get a few people who take pity on him khổng lồ cough up a coin than he is lớn get genuine belief in the middle of Manhattan! Mostly though, he"s going lớn be ignored.
I respect the suspension of belief in fiction, but that was just a bridge too far for me.
Well, there you have it:
Between lacking forethought and follow-through, ignoring their own rules, missing countless opportunities, screwing up redemption arcs and well-beloved ships, the visual aspect, và that scene at the end, Once Upon A Time Season 5 was the most unbearable season of the show.
I challenge anyone to lớn find a show that screwed themselves & their fans so thoroughly in the course of one season.
Did you lượt thích Once Upon A Time Season 5? Did you think another season of the show was worse? What about a different show?