Five years after we first meet the long-haired, blonde hero of the fairy tale-drama series “Once Upon A Time”, we discover that even she has to pay a price for being who she is: the Savior.
The sixth season of “Once Upon A Time” starts out in the more or less “usual” way: the viewer encounters new characters from another fairy tale, this time “Aladdin”. However, instead of continuing this storyline, it starts to build a parallel with “today´s” plot in Storybrooke. Simultaneously, the twist from last season´s finale with Hyde´s arrival in the small town of Maine takes its flow, while – again at the same time – Regina´s loss is thematized. Not to forget that we also have to focus on what happens with our BBFE (Big Bad For Ever), Rumpelstiltskin.
As you may already recognize, “Once Upon A Time” begins its sixth year in TV with multiple plotlines at once. Of course, this opens up many possibilites to continue the series without becoming boring. However, the first impression is rather a confusing one.
But let´s try to sort it out:
-Obviously, Emma and Aladdin share the characteristic that they are/were both “the Savior”. For the first time however, we discover that being a hero in this show has its price, which seems not only logical, but somehow a little philosophical, as it tries to counteract the common thought of fairy tale heroes alway getting their happy endings. It shows us the reality of what it means to help others at all costs: losing each time a part of oneself. Especially the look into Emma´s future is pretty frightening for the viewer, as it appears that we might loose our favorite hero for ever. But let´s not be too afraid and think that Jennifer Morisson is leaving the show – it might just be one of those tricks to keep viewers hooked on a show. Plus, it´s a good puzzle for the viewers to try to solve: Who´s going to be the hooded villain Emma is going to fight?
-Hyde´s arrival in Storybrooke and his “need” to stay there appear pretty mysterious and not very clear at the beginning. As he gets fastly caught and imprisoned, it´s even less transparent how he is still confident that he will get what he wants. Though, let´s not forget that most of the time in this show, villains are not that eager to publish their evil plan like an article on the Internet…and sometimes, to get caught is even part of the plan. So there goes our Mytsery N°2.
-Character growth along a TV-series that is already running for several years is not only necessary, but vital for a show to keep going. Regina is the best example for that: In the last season, she showed great strength to give up and eliminate her “evil” self after the ultimate and irreversible loss of the love of her life. Most evidently, the writers didn´t take everything away from Regina´s character, like her sassiness for instance. Instead, they added a side to her: being open about her feelings. Her conversation with her previously greatest enemy, Snow White, proves that even without the “evil” side in her, she can be a whole person and choose another life than the one filled with hatred and remorse – which doesn´t however please her rather wicked sister, Zelena. The long awaited return of the Evil Queen – one of the viewers´ favorite BBFE – finally plays out in the final and best scene of each episode. But what is the EQ´s goal? Perhaps, is she the hooded enemy in Emma´s vision? As the EQ´s previous goal was to destroy Snow White and Charming´s happily ever-after – which is expressed in Emma´s existence – it makes sense that she will yet again pursue this path and finally win. Mystery N°3 plays right into our hands.
-What doesn´t change though and is one of the most confusing elements presented in the season six premiere is Rumpelstiltskin.and Belle´s storyline. His visit in her “dreamland” and the reveal of Morpheus being/becoming their son is a touch too abstract for the show…why is Morpheus against his father? And how can he simultaneously exist as a foetus in Emma´s belly and as a young adult in their dreams? And why did Hyde know how to free Belle with the help of Morpheus? Do I need to really write it down? Mystery N°4 is here!
So, we have four mysteries to solve in the upcoming episodes, which on the one hand, makes it even more exciting to see how it all plays out, but on the other hand, makes it also quite difficult to keep up and concentrate on each storyline at once.
My tip for you little ducklings: If you like the show and you are curious about how the mysteries get solved, keep watching. Though, in case this is all too much for you and you are overwhelmed – I do not believe that it will become any easier with time, as it is only the beginning of the new season. My rating for the season premiere is therefore: “interesting, but confusing”.