ONCE: Coming out of the dark

The midseason finale, “Swan Song,” concluded the surprisingly satisfying Dark Swan story arc. After season 1, the “front half” storylines on Once have been – in my opinion – weak compared to the back half arcs. I hated the Neverland/Pan arc. Despite my deep love of all things Snow Queen, last season’s Frozen arc was a pointless exercise in trying to exploit the popularity of the movie. Once is firmly in “guilty pleasure” viewing territory, but I need it to deliver on the pleasure part of that equation, despite its soapy, often nonsensical plot. 

The Dark Swan arc wisely kept Merida – and the interesting subversion of the Camelot myth – as subplots. It managed to keep me guessing with some interesting twists in the mystery of what happened to make Emma turn bad. While the final conclusion was one of the two I predicted (the other being Emma sacrificing herself), the journey to that destination was solidly enjoyable.

After word got out that Hades had been cast, somebody important was gonna (at least temporarily) head to the Underworld in “Swan Song.” If you just can’t wait until March, might I suggest you pick up my friend Sara Marian’s book The Life and Death (but Mostly the Death) of Erica Flynn.  It features a similarly sarcastic heroine who goes up against Hades in a quest to be reunited with her true love.

A couple of thoughts as we put a bookmark in Storybrooke until March:

  • This will never happen, but I can’t help but think this could lead to the most awkward conversation yet on Once. Emma: “I’m here to resurrect my true love!” Neal/Baelfire: “You brought our son to the Underworld to rescue me?” Emma: “Oh. Um. Hey there, Neal…I kind of forgot you were down here, too.”
  • Also – if Rumple is providing their “visitors pass” to the Underworld, wouldn’t he be a little more motivated to bring back his own son than his worst enemy?
  • Another weird conversation that probably won’t happen: Regina and Robin running into Marian and/or Daniel.
  • Looking forward to seeing Cora again. Pan? Not so much.
  • The heroes of Storybrooke are going to have to literally face the ghosts of their pasts. This is an arc with huge potential for character development. I really hope they don’t squander it.

What about you?  What did you think of Dark Swan? Are you excited about going to Hell and back for Hook?

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