Every season, Once Upon a Time brings us new villains and stories for us to enjoy. One of the most difficult things for a fan to do, however, is to keep from getting too attached to characters. After all, within a few episodes they will disappear never to be seen or spoken of again.
In the Season 4 finale, we ended on Emma Swan taking in the darkness and disappearing, leaving the dagger of the Dark One behind with her name literally written on it, indicating that she was the new Dark One.
Why this is exciting
As mentioned above, most of the previous seasons have ended on a cliffhanger that leaves us with a new character, whether it is going to Neverland in Season 2, which lead to Peter Pan who ended up being evil, or Elsa appearing from an urn and throwing out an icy arm in Season 3. This season finale leaves us with an already established character becoming something that had been hinted at all season but never took off, and that is Emma becoming Dark.
Why it is good for the show
Lately, I have begun to notice, Once Upon a Time has become less about what the show originally started out as, Emma's journey to acceptance, finding family and learning to overcome her own demons. It has become sort of a gimmick and walking ad for Disney, whether it is having villains and characters come to the show which coincide with whatever rerelease is happening (Ariel with The Little Mermaid in Season 2 and Cruella with the rerelease of 101 Dalmatians in Season 3) or bringing in Frozen only 10 months after the movies release. Adam and Eddy, the shows creators, have stated in the past that they have always had the show mapped out in their head, however with adding newer characters, keeping on Hook who was only meant to be in a few episodes, and catering to the Disney machine, I wonder how far they have truly strayed from what they originally planned.
What it could mean for Season 5
Making Emma the possible new villain is probably the best thing that they could have done for the show, and is one of the only things that they have come up with as of late that I feel was always in their vision. With the darkness taking over her, all the pent up anger and resentment could manifest into a truly dark and formidable opponent, and as we know from Belle and Rumple, who was still the Dark One after many of them, it will take more than "true loves kiss" to bring her back from the edge. And it will be interesting to see who ends up with the dagger, and how they might use it to control her if at all. Rumple spent much of the last season trying to make Emma become dark, and if he does get ahold of the dagger then there may be some dangerous consequences.
The only thing that I am worried about is that they will cave into making Emma good again too soon. They could go in a great direction with this, and focus on the main core characters again, which is something that has been lacking a lot recently, most notably with the Charmings and Henry.
It's time for ONCE to go back to it's roots in Season 5, and this is the perfect step for it. Here's hoping it stays on track