Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Once Upon a Time, Season 5, Episode 11: Swan Song

We start with a ship at sea in a storm with a kid and his dad on board – I’m going to guess at young Killian because this show needs moooooar flashbacks. His dad then broke poor Killian’s heart by selling his son and running from the law

Do we really need more angst here? Really?

Flashbacks! This is all about Killian’s daddy issues this week.

Waaaay back when Killian and Regina were both evil and made a deal: Regina tried to recruit Killian to kill her mother in exchange for a trip to a land without magic where he can kill Rumpletiltskin without his magic. After she makes him confront his dad because DADDY ISSUES – and this daddy is also lucky enough to find a way to be immortal – by being put under a sleeping curse. True love broke the curse and made him a better man. Oh and as a better man he has a new son. This apparently inspires Killian to spare his dad and get him to safety rather than stabbing him in the face.

Except Killian sees his dad selling the same lies to his new son as he did to him – and to rub that salt in, he’s even called his new son Liam. Killian’s older brother’s name. His dead older brother. Recycling the names of dead older children is kin of tacky. He stabs his dad to death and his dad, like all convenient sacrificial characters, dies begging his son to redeem himself.

In the present Gold and Killian have a confrontation – the pair still don’t like each other much. This scene is entirely about taunting.

The rest of the good guys march down the road in dramatic formation, recapping Killian’s plan to bring back all the Dark Ones. Emma is preparing to kill Killian if necessary. Mary Margaret soggily whimpers at the idea. I think this is why Emma tells them to split up

Everyone gets a collection of Dark Ones confronting them – all of them marking their wrists. The Mark of Charon – Gold explains that the Dark Ones can’t actually stay in the real world, they have to choose replacements. Those with marks will be dragged into the Underworld which Gold assures us is a terribad place. He’s already given up

Regina goes to try and confront Killian about how far he’s gone but he points out that Regina doesn’t really have a whole lot of moral highground to lecture people about going too far in the name of revenge. She throws back his own path of redemption and how he changed even as he scorns hers. He menaces her with magic rather than let her talk.

Meanwhile, Mary Margaret is being soggy and despairing. Rather than find a solution she wants to have a nice goodbye dinner. I bet she orders the salad, or something equally wet, dull and virtuous. Emma and Regina aren’t giving up – but Emma is going all out now to save her soggy family; she wants to put the Darkness in someone and sacrifice them (as was the original plan with Zelena. A good plan I might add, though no-one agreed). She wants to sacrifice herself

I wish to make it clear now, show, if Emma sacrifices herself therefore showing her true goodness and redemption and earning a bright light and twinkly resurrection then I will go out, find the cutest, most adorable, most twee creature, kill it, cook it and eat it.

Gold is also doing the “make the most of their last moments” by giving Belle magic to allow her to travel and see the world. Belle leaves and Emma and Regina arrive for Excalibur for the sacrifice. He gives it to her without a deal – but warns them that Excalibur has the will of its own and chooses its own miracles.

Robin and Regina focus on curtailing Zelena (who is planning the ultimate crime – redecorating Regina’s super-awesome office). She’s brought the wizard want with her – which she now definitely make work thanks to a boost of self-confidence and banishes Zelena with a tornado – sending her back to Oz. Well that was anti-climactic.

Emma leaves a note for her family and is reminded death isn’t so bad as she sees the Charmings being all soggy.

Killian also doesn’t want Emma to kill herself so after much taunting, some angst and a really obvious trick, he takes the sword off her. Well that plan falls apart. Just as the Charmings find her note and Nimue reassures them that Killian has already foiled her sacrifice plan with minimum effort.

They’re teleported to the gateway to hell along with a gazillion dark ones, ready to commit the ultimate atrocities – inflicting the Charmings on all the innocent underworld monsters. Charon arrives, Emma arrives to cry and say goodbye –while Regina decides to invoke Killian’s epic daddy issues.

Daddy issues works – and Killian raises Excalibur and uses it to draw all the darkness out of everyone – pulling all the Dark Ones into the blade – then clearly planning to sacrifice himself for the darkness. Emma and Killian beautifully argue over who gets to sacrifice themselves with a good stabbing. Emma takes the blade… and stabs him.

Nooooo this show just became 800% less sexy!

Excalibur is destroyed, Emma and Killian become human again, their Darkness powers gone – and Killian dies.

In the aftermath Belle and Gold reconcile – and she seems to be taking back her reservations from the last episode. Which may be short lived… because Emma can hear whispers. She calls Rumple to his shop where Rumple reveals the truth: he used magic to change Excalibur. It didn’t destroy dark magic, it simply moved it and Rumplstiltskin as a shiny new dagger with his name on again. Yes he’s the Dark One. Not only the Dark one but the most powerful Dark One ever

As Emma puts it, Rumplestiltskin found a loop hole and betrayed them all again – because he’s just that damn good. Emma decides to blackmail him (unwise), threatening to reveal all to Belle unless the Dark One sends her to hell

No, really, she wants to go to the Underworld to pull an Orpheus on Killian. And no, she’s not going to sacrifice herself for Killian – but she’s going to share a heart/life with him just like Mary Margaret and David do.

He also seems to be bringing an entourage because she does have some awesome friends. And the Charmings. Well everyone needs sacrificial pawns.

Despite my threat against cute fuzzy animals, there was a lot of beautiful, touching goodbye scenes in this episode. They have some height emotional moments here.

I also like it’s little ways of conveying a message – can there be any greater sense of Gold’s redemption than his not trying to make a deal for Excalibur?

I find myself… disappointed by this mid-season finale. I think part of that is due to this being a pretty epicly awesome season with twists and turns and so much action and fun that the bar was set high. This was one of the best seasons OUAT has pulled out in a while – this ending was lacklustre. The defeat of the Dark Ones, the defeat of Zelena, Rumple getting his powers back was a series of non-events, one after another all strung with the epic daddy issues no-one wanted or needed. So many anti-climaxes! So many easy defeats of what should have been epic fights. That’s it? Nimue is gone? She was awesome! That’s it, Zelena is gone? She was awesome! That’s it Dark one Killian is gone? But he was awesome! It was all too easy and no amount of weeping could sell it as more

And it’s not just this episode but the way it runs off a lot of the plot lines. Merlin and Lancelot, two awesome and unexpected POC roles were brought back for this season and that was excellent and… wait, that’s it?

Mulan and Merida had their own epic little storyline and they brought back Ruby! Maybe they were going to finally get behind ACTUALLY developing Mulan as bisexual rather than playing the “probably but we’re not going to go too far…”  MulanRouge could have been a thing. That’s it?

I just hope the next half of the season pulls a lot of it back because there was too much epic in the first half to have it all end so flabbily.