The fall finale of ‘Once Upon A Time’ continues down a dark path.
Once Upon A Time has become progressively darker throughout season five. The fall finale stays true to that pattern. With a lot at stake, the people of Storybrooke have only one chance to stop Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) from bringing all of the former Dark Ones back from the Underworld.
“Swan Song” opens with a young Hook and his father (Brennan Jones) on the open sea. As he tucks his son into bed, he tells him to “find that brave part deep inside” of him. When young Hook awakes from a night of slumber, he finds that his father abandoned him and his brother along with a lifetime of forced servitude.
In Storybrooke, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Regina (Lana Parrilla), David (Josh Dallas), Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), Robin (Sean Maguire) and the dwarves are on a search for Hook and the many Dark Ones he has brought back from the Underworld. They all decide to split up, which is an awful idea. It’s the cliche from all of the classic horror films.
When they split up, all of them are cornered by the Dark Ones. They pass through the people of Storybrooke, and the Mark of Karen is branded on their wrists. The Mark of Karen allows the Dark Ones, who only have a temporary pass into the real world, to inhibit another human being forever and send them to Underworld. The citizens have until the moon reaches its peak to find a solution. Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) isn’t hopeful. He suggests that the characters “use this time to say goodbye.”
In the Enchanted Forest when Regina was still the Evil Queen, she asks Hook to kill her mother. In return, Hook wants to go to a land without magic in order to get revenge on Rumpelstiltskin. The Evil Queen wants to test him to see if he has any weaknesses. They set off on a journey.
Back in Storybrooke, David, Mary Margaret and Henry (Jared Gilmore) all give up on finding a way to get rid of the mark. As they leave, Regina enters and Emma asks her to do whatever it takes to save everyone else. In order to do so, one person has to take on all of the darkness and sacrifice himself or herself for the citizens of Storybrooke. Emma volunteers. She was never fully dark. The part of her that is the Savior is still in there. She accepts the fact that she has to be the hero and is willing to sacrifice herself.
Rumple calls upon Belle (Emilie de Ravin), his one true love. He gives her a potion that will allow her to cross the town line safely. He does it to protect her. At the end of an emotional goodbye, Regina and Emma show up at the pawn shop. They want the excalibur so they can destroy it and Emma. Rumple warns them that it might not work for the sword will choose who is worthy.
Years ago, in a pub in the Enchanted Forest, Regina tells Hook that he has to stand up to a man to prove that he is capable of doing the job. The man he has to confront is his own father, who has not aged at all because of a sleeping curse. He was awoken by true-love’s kiss. In order to get his revenge, Hook has to kill his father. Hook allows his father to leave, but he has to make it look as if his father is dead. Hook orders a transit to take him to a place where the Evil Queen won’t find him.
Robin and Regina use their last moments to get rid of Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and protect Robin’s children. Regina uses a wand and summons the tornado that transports her back to Oz. Zelena warns Regina that she will see her again. I expect the group will make an adventure to Oz next season.
Emma goes to Granny’s and watches her happy family. Instead of joining them and saying her goodbyes, she leaves a note on the jukebox and says she has to fix what she has done.
Emma goes to her house to use the excalibur, but Hook stops her. Hook tells her this is who he really is and threatens to kill her family. Emma takes the excalibur and lunges at Hook. Hook disappears, and Henry takes his place. Emma hands the sword to Henry. At that moment, Henry turns into Hook! Hook tricked her into giving him the excalibur. Now what are they going to do?
At Granny’s, Mary Margaret and David find the note on the jukebox. They rush out to stop Emma when Nimue (Caroline Ford) shows up. She says, “Hook has already stopped her, which means there’s no escaping the Underworld now.” They are transported to the lake, which serves as the portal to the Underworld. Regina asks Hook to remember the man he wanted to be. Part of Hook wants to be good. He doesn’t want to succumb to the darkness, but he feels as if it’s his only option.
In the Enchanted Forest, Hook watches as his father puts his new son to sleep. He says the exact same thing he used to say when Hook was a boy. That enrages Hook, and he kills his father. That is the part Hook wants to forget. He doesn’t want to be the evil pirate that killed his father.
In Storybrooke, Emma tries to stop Hook, but Nimue prevents her from interfering. Hook looks at Nimue and orders her to stop. “I’m being the man I want to be,” he says. He takes the excalibur and puts all of the darkness into it. He orders Emma to take the sword and kill him. Emma doesn’t want to do it, but Hook reminds her that she has a family to take care of. Before sending the sword through his abdomen, she gives him one last kiss. In a flash of light, all of the darkness is taken away, including the darkness within Emma. Unfortunately, Hook does not survive.
That is a game changer. Emma was madly in love with Hook. She was willing to commit to him, and for Emma, that is huge. Emma will undoubtedly struggle with Hook’s death in the second half of the season. But a thing to keep in mind is when a character dies on this show, they typically don’t stay dead. As fans of the show, we can only hope that they will find a way to bring him back.
At Emma’s house, she hears the whispers of darkness. That is odd because the darkness is supposed to be gone. She calls Rumple and goes to his shop. He has the dagger. Rumpelstiltskin is the Dark One again. Instead of removing the magic, he just moved it. He now possess the strength of every Dark One. Emma wants to make a trade with him. She won’t tell Belle as long as he sends her to the Underworld. Emma wants to save Hook. She is going to work the same magic that kept her parents alive. A long time ago, David almost died. In order to save him, Mary Margaret split her heart in two. Emma plans to do the same.
The fall finale ends with Regina, Robin, Henry, David, Mary Margaret and Emma venturing into the Underworld. In closing, Emma says, “Hook, I will find you. I will always find you.”
Speechless. The episode left me speechless. Just when you think there can’t be anymore twists and turns, Once Upon A Time turns a corner and heads in a different direction. It seemed too easy that the darkness would be gone just like that. Rumple had seemed to be changing, but he tricked everyone, including the one person he loves. A bright side is that Emma no longer has darkness within her. She has returned to being the true Savior. The second half of season five will be interesting. I can only imagine that Once Upon A Time will continue to get darker as the character head into the unknown of the Underworld.
Once Upon A Time will return at 8 p.m. March 6, 2016, on ABC.