Let me preface my review of the Once Upon A Time midseason finale by saying I love this show and I really wanted to love this half season. The build up to this season and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) playing the Dark Swan was huge and it had so much potential. We were teased that Emma would be potentially the greatest Dark One of all time and we were in for a ride. Well, basically none of that happened. There were a number of things wrong with this season and they all culminated in the mid-season finale. Read below for more spoiler information!
*** SPOILERS BELOW ***
The episode begins with all the main characters being greeted and marked by the past Dark Ones that Hook has brought to Storybrooke. Rumple tells everyone that basically they have been marked for dead and will get taken to the Underworld so the Dark Ones can stay in Storybrooke and there is nothing they can do about it. Emma is obviously upset, blaming this all on herself for letting Hook become the Dark One.
This ends up leading to a great, emotional moment between Snow and Emma. My problem with this? Where the heck has all this interacting been all season? You expect me to believe that in this whole half season, there weren’t better opportunities to have Emma interact with her parents?! Whatever. That’s not even my biggest complaint.
Emma tells Regina that she needs Regina to keep her promise and basically kill her so she can sacrifice herself for her family and get rid of all the darkness. Hook is still creeping around and steals Excalibur back from Emma after tricking her by appearing as Henry. Oh, did I mention, he planned to get rid of all of Emma’s family as part of his revenge? Including Henry? Yeah, at one point Snow, Charming and Henry are clutching at their hearts as they are all transported to the river waiting to be taken to the Underworld.
Regina and Hook apparently have some history and Regina is the one to remind him of this, in the form of some flashbacks. After being a total prick to Emma for the last couple episodes and getting ready to off her family, he apparently has a change of heart and decides to sacrifice himself. This leads to him sucking all the darkness into himself (or so he thinks) and then Emma running him through with Excalibur; killing him to get rid of the darkness.
This leads to a lot of tears and some great acting by Jennifer Morrison. So yay, the darkness is gone for good! Right? No. Apparently Rumple never changes and he manipulated the sword with magic and Hook actually transferred all the darkness back into him, rather than actually getting rid of it. Poor Belle! Campaign for Belle to catch a break 2k16!!
Emma uses this leverage to convince Rumple to open up the portal to hell, so she can go save Hook. I’m so done at this point. The guy was begging for you to let him go, LET HIM GO. Also, am I supposed to believe that a mother would be completely fine with her boyfriend trying to MURDER her son and then after a change of heart he’s completely forgiven? That’s not even mentioning all the screwed up things he said to her as the Dark One.
They made this whole half season about Emma and Hook, rather than Emma dealing with her darkness and looking within. This show has become “the Hook show.” Every major storyline revolves around Hook, it seems like, and all the other major characters are cast aside. The acting talent in this cast, such as Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla, was sorely underutilized in this half of the season. I’m so disappointed with this show right now. I know many others are, as well, so I can only hope the show takes some of these criticisms into account for the next half of the season.