Review: ‘Once Upon a Time’ brings fresh plot to season 5


Katie Matthews, Editor-in-chief

The dark one’s dagger hits the ground. Regina, Robin Hood, Prince Charming, Snow White, Captain Hook, and Henry look around, and they fully realize what has just happened.

Last season on Once Upon a Time, fans were shocked to find out that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) had absorbed the darkness that had escaped Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and left Storybrooke shocked that the one person who had the most light now has the most darkness inside of her.

In the season 5 premiere, Emma is missing and the main characters Regina (Lana Parrilla), Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and Henry (Jared Gilmore) set out to find her through a portal into Camelot where Emma has to overcome her darkness or let it consume her.

At first, this season seemed underwhelming because the plot felt like the writers were starting to run out of ideas, but the plot twist is working well so far thanks to Morrison’s performance.

This season was of course going to be different, but with watching Goodwin’s Snow White go dark last season and seeing the quick recovery from that, Emma being the dark one for long seemed impossible.

However, nothing is impossible in Storybrooke as Emma shows when she comes back from Camelot and the darkness has clearly consumed her.

Morrison’s versatility as an actress is evident as viewers see the contrasting sides of her character’s new personality. She had shown variety before in Emma, but her changes in facial expressions and body language make this other side of her character resonate even more. These components make her outstanding in her new role and shows promise for the rest of the season.

Even though Morrison’s performance was top-notch, the rest of the episode fell flat in comparison. The other actors and actresses fell into the background, as their quest to get to Emma felt like any other search in Storybrooke. Typical drama followed the search and the others only got interesting when Emma interacted with them, but the drama was captivating no matter how typical the quest was.

Once Upon a Time is a show that always captures viewers even if the plot feels like it’s been-there-done-that. This quality is probably what keeps viewers like myself coming back each season to figure out what is happening in Storybrooke.

Overall, season 5 seems promising thanks to Morrison’s impeccable portrayal and the writers’ genius new plot line. Hopefully, Emma’s darkness will last because it gives the show the revival it needed.

In looking forward to next week’s episode, there was a nod to Regina becoming the new “savior” since Emma threatened to punish her friends and family for trying to get rid of her darkness. This reversal of their traditional roles will be interesting to see and hopefully next week will soar above this week’s episode.

Once Upon a Time airs Sunday at 8 p.m.