Season four of Once Upon A Time ended eerily similar to the season finale last year.
Everyone is celebrating at Grannie’s after Hook and Emma have once again saved the day from a magical retconning. Regina and Robin Hood are finally happy together, as our Hook and Emma. But then an obstacle appears in true love’s way and a mysterious darkness whirls into Storybrooke. This time ’round, instead of “Marian” popping up to ruin Outlaw Queen and the Frozen storyline comes into existence, we get the spirit of the Dark One possessing Emma, putting Captain Swan on hold till… I’d say the winter finale of season five.
Hero Today, Villain Tomorrow
“Operation Mongoose” was one hour of filler and another of actual plot. So if you wish to save yourself sixty minutes, here’s a quick recap of part one. The Author began life as an ordinary man of our world named Isaac Heller, who dreamed of becoming a great writer. He was recruited by the Sorcerer’s Assistant and we all know how well that turned out. Now in Storybrooke Heller has finally gotten the chance to write the story he always dreamed of: Heroes and Villains, a tale of what happens when villains win the day. However, due to his rogue behavior, Heller then loses his Authorial abilities and it is now up to the only remaining resident of Storybrooke, Henry, to save the day.
And that’s about all you need to know about part one of “Operation Mongoose.” Henry and Isaac get pulled into his own book, an alternate reality where all the villains have gotten their happy endings… except for Hook, Maleficient*, and Regina. Once has always relied on rules of convenience and the show crumbles beneath the weight of a two hour airing.
There is little reason for me to recap what occurs in Heroes and Villains land because very little has any meaningful effect on Storybrooke. Sure, a few characters finally were given the push they needed to express their feelings and/or realized the goodness inside of them, but we (the audience) didn’t need an hour of OUAT writer’s room fanfiction to get there.
The Pen in the Ink
But how Henry and the Author escapes this alternate reality, now that is important. Some of my readers may have seen this coming…
Henry is able to save the day by taking up the mantle of the Author, re-writing Heller’s story and returning the denizens of Storybrooke to their rightful roles. Originally when I called this reveal it was in the hope that we would be seeing less of Henry, but that no longer seems to be the case. I’ve actually grown to like the Savior’s son and now it seems that it’ll be Mr. Gold who will be getting less screen time. I loved Robert Carlyle’s performance in season one and two of Once, especially his giddy Rumpelstiltskin. However, after the loss of both his father and son, we have rarely been treated to Gold’s sly side and few flashbacks have featured Rumple’s signature laugh.
To Be Continued…
So why are we possibly going to see less of Belle’s ex-husband? Remember Mr. Gold’s heart attack back in New York, supposedly caused by his inability to take his magical medicine back in Storybrooke? Well, despite having access to his heart meds now, Gold’s conditions continues to worsen. The Assistant uses the Sorcerer’s Hat to suck out all of the darkness from Gold’s heart and puts Gold’s body in a form of stasis until the heroes can come up with part two of their clearly-not-well-thought-out plan. For it is then that the darkness bursts out of the hat in the hopes of finding a new host. The only one who can stop the darkness is the Sorcerer, finally revealed to be named Merlin. Anyone else not surprised by this?
In the meantime, until the heroes can find Merlin, someone must become the new Dark One in order to contain the darkness temporarily. After all of the hoopla about preventing Emma from turning dark that went on this season, she takes it upon herself to carry the curse.
What can expect next season now that ABC has finally decided to announce their renewals? Obviously there will be the search for Merlin. Fingers crossed we don’t get emo Emma ala Spiderman 3 once she pops back up in Storybrooke as the Dark One.
The storyline I’m most interested in seeing is the search for Lily’s father. Lily explains that the necklace she wears, a shell from the dragon egg she hatched from, is her only clue. It also appears that Maleficent conceived her while in dragon form. So who do you think the baby daddy is? A new character we haven’t seen yet? Fairy tale canon or an original creation? My money is on Chernobog. He’s the creature featured in Fantasia‘s “Night on Bald Mountain” and who the Queens of Darkness had a run-in with in the episode “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
- Lily is around in Heroes and Villains, but no sign of Mommy Dearest. Could ABC no longer afford Kristin Bauer van Straten, because that’ll put a major damper on season five.
- We’ve all been thinking it and now Emma finally compares Captain Hook to Jack Sparrow.
- I was hoping that the name Isaac Heller would be a reference to some fairy tale scholar or author. Instead, the real-life Isaac Heller was a famous toymaker who co-founded Remco Industries.
- Also, who thought the Author’s motivation for breaking the rules was the worst?!?! I never needed to know the reason behind his actions, did you guys?