SPOILERS AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Reunions, introductions, and time-travel all make an appearance in Once Upon a Time’s season 5 premiere, setting up what’s bound to be a whirlwind of a season. Former Savior Emma Swan fights the urge to succumb to the darkness she sucked up in the season finale in the Enchanted Forest. In Storybrooke, Hook leads the others try to figure out how to get her back. Viewers get their first look at Camelot, and sass is plentiful. Here are the top 10 character rankings for “The Dark Swan.”
9. Leroy/ Grumpy – The head dwarf makes an appearance in the ranks for the first time (ahead of showrunners Prince Charming, Snow White, and Belle, so way to go, buddy) for finally standing up to the core group of characters. As a cursed cyclone comes roaring up Main Street, Grumpy runs into the diner, heralding his usual warnings. When Regina tells him and his compatriots to leave, Leroy stands up to them and says he hates being left out of the adventures. That’s right, you deserve some time to shine too.
8. Robin Hood – The most interesting part of this character is how Robin Hood – one of the most benevolent, cunning, and awesome Disney characters even for being a fox – often plays the damsel in distress. In this episode, Zelena holds him hostage for a bit as leverage against Regina. His heartbreak and genuine concern for everything (except for the missing Emma really) lands him on the list, at least for this week. Also, his adorable son. He’s also on the list for that.
7. Lancelot – He had maybe a handful of lines this episode, but he sure made them count. After a fellow knight tries to remove Excalibur from the stone before Arthur, he disintegrates. Lancelot’s response? To Arthur: “Your turn.”
6. Merida – Brave’s protagonist makes her grand appearance this week and she did not disappoint. Her accent’s a little too strong, which isn’t actress Amy Manson’s fault, but the writers choose too many keywords (i.e. lass, wee, etc.), like they were trying to emphasize that she is, in fact, Scottish.
It’s going to interesting to see how her part in the season plays into everything else. Here’s what we know: Emma nearly kills her; some rival kingdom kidnapped Merida’s three little brothers; and her father is dead.
5. Regina Mills/ Evil Queen – Regina is an enigma, as per usual. She hates her half-sister and is protective of Robin and Henry, showing that good and light magic lies within, but she’s angry and frustrated with Emma for saving her life and (rightfully so) furious with Hook and Henry for releasing Zelena from her cell. Her sass, as always, is on par, if not stronger, in this episode, especially when talking to Hook.
However, little Regina quote of the episode: “It’s not like she rode off on a unicorn. She got sucked up by a vortex of evil!”
4. Mr. Gold/ Rumplestiltskin– Mr. Gold is still in a magically-induced coma back in Storybrooke, but Rumple is in full force. As a Tumblr poster so elegantly put it, he has become the annoying Dark One Clippy, making comments and quite literally voicing the dark thoughts in Emma’s head.
He’s made less annoying because he’s a sassy monster, and that’s always better than popping up and asking pointless questions we already know the answer to.
3. Zelena/ Wicked Witch of the West – Congratulations, Zelena, you’ve risen from the bottom. She is crazy. Certifiably insane, but actress Rebecca Mader pulls it off with ease. She cuts off her own hand just to get her magic back, and then magically reattaches it (in front of one-handed wonder Captain Hook). The insanity is so fun to watch and this season only promises more of it.
2. Killian Jones/ Captain Hook & Henry Mills – These two are tied this week because they’re pretty much in the same situation and have the same reaction to it: the woman they love is in deep trouble and they’re willing to do anything to get her back. Together, they allow Zelena to break out of her cell, but end up in Camelot ready to take on whatever the new realm brings them.
If one of the two has to eke out the other, it’s Hook. He just wants his Swan back. The impassioned speech he gives to stop Emma from crushing Merida’s heart made viewers’ hearts stop because it was so good. And on their walk into Camelot, Emma and Killian are incredibly adorable. Which leads to this week’s number one…
1. Emma Swan – To amend a Mean Girls quote, “Emma Swan…How do I begin to explain Emma Swan?” Actress Jennifer Morrison has already proven to be a strong force within the cast, but her portrayal of the dark/light, good/evil dichotomy of the Dark Swan is incredible, even in this one episode. The struggle Emma is going through is constantly present, always being represented in something so simple as shaking hands. This season is bound to interesting, for the Savior has indeed gone dark.
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