Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series has been the attempted redemption of the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla). This season should be particularly fascinating as 'good' and 'evil' join forces to try and save Henry.
Other ABC shows are trying to revitalize by moving their characters to different locations: in this week's premiere of 'Castle' Beckett moved from New York to DC.
Is a new locale exactly what 'Once Upon a Time' needs to recover from its sophomore slump?
Despite the fact that there has been a general assumption that we will still see those left behind in Storybrooke, the first episode focused on the gang that was trying to rescue Henry (Emma, Regina, Snow, Charming, Rumple, and Hook) and those who escaped the curse and remained in the Enchanted Forest (Aurora, Mulan, Philip, Robin Hood, and Neal). Plus, obviously, the introduction of new characters Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.
What was I most thankful for during the season premiere? The fact that though it switched between worlds they were "present day" simultaneously occurring worlds as opposed to flashbacks. To be frank the constant flashbacks were starting to grate on my nerves.
Some key points from the first episode that will probably become central themes this season:
*Regina tells Hook that Owen called her "a villain". She (interestingly) says she has never thought of herself that way, and then wonders whether a villain deserves of a happy ending.
*Emma gets into a fight with her parents about their constant belief that everything will be all right. She wants to focus on reality not fairy tale dreams. She questions whether them "getting her back" is worth everything that has been lost (i.e. Henry and countless lives). This brings the return of Emma's abandonment issues and lack of self worth, a concept which has only been touched on in past seasons.
*Emma rallies the troops by saying that they're all going to be needed to save Henry. She tells them that in order to succeed they have to abandon the concepts of good and evil and just be who they are: "a hero", "a pirate", "a villain". When Regina asks who Emma is she say she is "a mother", but is that really the way Emma sees herself?
*Regina asks Emma if she expects them to become friends. Emma says no, there's "too much history". But will Regina and Emma become friends this season? If Emma continues to be disillusioned with her parents' bright and cheery take on life it seems possible, after all, Regina's past experiences are the ones that most clearly mirror Emma's own.
*In one of the most important scenes of the episode the characters on the ship begin to fight (Snow v. Regina; Charming v. Hook). Emma quickly realizes that their anger is feeding the storm. To stop it she throws herself into the ocean. Interestingly, the shock that Snow and Charming feel seems almost identical to that of Regina and Hook. This suggests that Emma may be the force that can bring the sides of [relative] good and evil together.
|What connection does Hook have to Neal?|
Since Neal is stuck in the Enchanted Forest and unable to reach Emma through Aurora's dreams, it seems likely that Emma will continue to believe that Neal is dead. This leaves room open for a new love interest to form, which could give the writers plenty of tension to deal with when Neal is eventually reunited with Emma. Presumably he'll still be in love with her (as he declared his love in this episode) but Emma will have moved on. If the writers do decide to play with this tension it seems obvious that they'll pair Emma and Hook. Of course, a large portion of fans want Emma and Regina together, but we now know that will never happen.