Review: Once Upon A Time season 5
While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait. Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par? Below is my spoiler filled review. As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season. There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch. It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season. Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season. It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again. I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain. Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best. They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind. Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant? At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves. Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works. Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play. My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd. I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used. Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering. Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart. I’m happy with where they both started and ended. Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down. Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.
King Arthur was frustrating for me. It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face. This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power. Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get. The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger. That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season. And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part? I didn’t care about the race change. What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.
Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One. We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.
Violet came as a surprise. Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting. I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it. It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.
Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too. What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara. Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting. Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative. Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.
Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect! In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season. She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.
Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale. (long sigh). Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career. I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset. Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show. In fact I welcome it. But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion. Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that. She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all. To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby. So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead? Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike. If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid. Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot. All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.
Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots. I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences. Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to. We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books? There should be no limits. I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all. Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season. I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town. Who are they? They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else? The suspense is killing me. Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined. Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.
In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important. Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places. That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store. Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.