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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Once Upon A Time S5 (Second Half)


Once Upon A Time
Series 5 (Second Half)



Sometimes I feel like I don't really have anything to say about Once Upon A Time anymore. It doesn't actually give me any new material to work with, since each arc - hell, each episode - basically involves looping about the same plot points the show's been rehashing since its second series. With nothing new or interesting to comment on, I'm basically left giving it the same review over and over again. At least Supernatural has the decency to get progressively worse every series, thereby allowing me to marvel at how it just keeps finding new lows. Once Upon A Time doesn't even do that, because to be honest, this arc was not concretely worse than the Camelot arc, or the Frozen arc, or anything like that.

Picking up after Hook's death halfway through this series, the second half of series five sees Emma, Regina, David, Mary Margaret, Henry, and Gold traveling to the Underworld, a domain (which is actually just Storybrooke with odd lighting) ruled by Hades where the spirits of people with unfinished business are trapped. As they set out to rescue Hook, they find themselves helping the people trapped in the Underworld with their unfinished business - but Hades has his own plans, including keeping them in the Underworld forever, and also abducting Zelena, Belle, and Zelena's daughter for mysterious purposes.

Those purposes are actually still pretty mysterious by the end of the series, as that plot thread gets dropped a little ways along. Zelena speculates that Hades wants to use her child as part of a time travel spell to travel back to before Zeus trapped him in the Underworld, but Hades drops that plan - after denying he ever had it, so who even knows - pretty quickly, and then it's never brought back up again. Instead, it's just a convenient way to get Zelena and Belle in on the action - Zelena so that she can have a redemption arc, and Belle because clearly we haven't had enough Belle-Gold relationship drama.

Just get a divorce or something, honestly just stop.

(Kill me.)

Once they're down there, those two and their relationship troubles (because Zelena, we find out basically without any build-up, is actually Hades' one true love and the only person who can start his heart beating again) become the main focus of the plot, with anything regarding rescuing Hook or escaping the Underworld taking a solid back seat to Zelena and Belle coping with their supposed true loves being evil.

Every other conflict the show has going for it gets wrapped up in bizarrely hasty fashion. Regina and Zelena's bitter, resentful conflict (wherein Zelena feels wronged by Regina for having the life she didn't, and Regina feels wronged by Zelena repeatedly wronging her) is wrapped up by them both regaining memories that reveals that they met as children and loved each other as sisters, because that - somehow makes things better?

I mean, Zelena killed Regina's boyfriend's wife and masqueraded as her for months, effectively raping Robin in the process; and she effectively killed Emma's boyfriend who was also Gold's son; and she stole a child - but apparently, no, that's fine so long as she and Regina got along as children. Good, great.

Yeah, sure, whatever, blue fire hair, very Disney, fine.

Meanwhile, Hook being Hades' prisoner is resolved in the most anticlimactic way possible, and while the show hints at having some genuine emotional weight when Hook has to stay behind in the Underworld near the end of the series, it immediately goes back on this with literal deus ex machina, as Zeus handily resurrects him. The Robin-Zelena custody storyline (who on earth comes up with these storylines?) is resolved by Robin being killed, so that Zelena - see above paragraph about her many crimes - can have sole custody of a vulnerable child, and everyone generally views this as fine. 

The show hints at Regina struggle with her dark side again, before less than two episodes later getting out of it by having her evil half separated from her good half so that she can literally murder her evil half. Who is chained up, by the way. And is a sapient being. I feel like there's a bit of a confused message there, when Regina's first act as somebody who is purely and wholly good is to viciously enact the extrajudicial execution of a restrained, sapient being, while two of her friends watch approvingly.

Are - are these the good guys? It feels like these are the bad guys. Gold, who is arguably the show's main antagonist, is coming across as more heroic than Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, Hook and David right now.

Hercules shows up briefly. It's fine, I guess. Writing this review is making me
physically tired.

In a weird turn, the main plot ends - again, very anticlimactically - two episodes before the end, leaving the final episodes for a story about Jekyll and Hyde, and Henry trying to destroy magic. It's awful. It's just awful, and both of those episodes are really quite unremittingly terrible.

It looks like there's going to be a series six, with Hyde having arrived in Storybrooke along with a bunch of other 'untold stories' (except his story was - did I imagine reading that book? Because I'm pretty sure Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a told story), and Regina's evil side apparently still alive despite having her heart crushed, because - that makes sense I guess, I just don't care anymore, to be honest, I really don't, this show is exhausting.

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