Once Upon A Time Season 5 Review: Dark Swan Ruins The Show

once upon a time

Once Upon A Time’s Season 5 is now over and the show has been renewed for a sixth season. After suffering in ratings and receiving terrible critical reception, it was a surprise for everyone when the show got renewed. But despite what you may think of Season 5, one thing can be agreed upon: the season was uneven. Too many characters were introduced and the show didn’t know what to do with half of them. And to make matters worse, the marketing for Once Upon A Time was crazy. Dark Swan and King Arthur were overhyped and we all know what happened with that. Despite all of that, this season did have some redeeming factors. Here I will break down the entire season and deliver on a verdict.

The Good:

Dark Hook:

Dark Hook was just excellent despite how short-lived he was. Where Dark Swan failed miserably, Dark Hook actually succeeded. Maybe it’s because Hook was originally a villain whereas Swan was not. He talked like a villain and he was absolutely unmerciful. His like hadn’t been seen on the show since the days of The Evil Queen. The problem, though is that Dark Hook was killed off far too early. I’m pretty sure they should have gone with Dark Hook instead of messing around with Dark Swan.

Rumplestiltskin Showing His True Colours:

I’ll say it: Once Upon A Time was really messing around trying to turn Gold into some sort of hero. The show’s just obsessed with turning villains into heroes. But the cold harsh truth about Rumple is that no matter how hard he tries he can never be a hero. Belle is the one who can rein him in but in the end his lust for power always prevails. I thought it was about time the show admitted his villainy. They did and the Once Upon A Time’s all the better for it. It’ll certainly avoid a lot more confusion in the episodes to come.


Easily the strongest point of the entire season apart from Dark Hook. Hades is something the show’s never done before. I mean he’s a literal god. He’s the only hyped up character this season that actually delivered. A villain for villainy’s sake. Sorta like Cruella but more interesting. There was always a sense that Hades was more powerful than all our heroes combined. He even got a great sendoff: getting killed by Zelena, the love of his life. Plus, he gave a lot of the villains on this show a run for their money. It makes me wish he hadn’t been killed off so easily.

Hook’s Revival:

A controversial topic for sure. A lot of people think that Hook’s revival was a cheap cop-out from the showrunners. After all, Emma had finally come to terms with Hook’s death. In fact, according to some of us even thought Prince Charming’s revival was a cop-out. But Hook’s death is like the biggest revival to ever happen on the show. Despite the fact that it was cheap, I still think that Hook’s revival is a game-changer. Hook remains an interesting character after all. And the show desperately needs interesting characters. But don’t think I’ve forgiven the writers for not having the guts to kill him off.

The Finale:

Well, the finale wasn’t that good. In fact, it revolved around Henry who’s easily the weakest character on the show. And Violet, who’s flatter than a pancake(there’s a pun there). Despite all that, the episode had Dr. Jekyll, who’s the main character of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That means that there will be more Penny Dreadfuls to come. Perhaps Dracula and Frankenstein might make an appearance. I’ll admit I’m a fan of Gothic Horror and I love the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, so the promise of these characters is good enough for me. Plus Evil Queen is back. That has to count for something right? I’m looking forward to a great Once Upon A Time Season 6.

The Bad:

Dark Swan:

The most over-hyped character development for Season 5 was Dark Swan. The cliffhanger last season meant that Emma was supposed to be the big bad this season. Well, Dark wasn’t big. Nor was she bad. Well, she pretty much did nothing except walk around in tight-fitting spandex. Then we realize she was doing all this to save Hook. I mean, what the hell? The supposed big bad is neither big nor bad?

Everything To Do With Camelot:

Yep, the granddady of all legends: King Arthur, The Sword In The Stone and The Knights of the Round Table. And of course Merlin the granddady of sorcerers. While Merlin was okay, the Camelot story arc was beyond disappointing. As someone who’s a huge fan of the Arthurian Legends and someone who’s seen all episodes of Merlin about a thousand times, I was naturally pissed off when they turned King Arthur into the pettiest villain on Television. King Arthur would easily top a list of worst villains ever. Marian and Lancelot may have been better characters than Arthur but even they couldn’t save the Camelot storylines.


And the award for most pointless main character goes to…Henry of course. Henry was especially bad this season. He was just sort of…there. For apparently no reason until the finale. I mean he’s the Goddamn Author. How hard can it be to give him some proper storyline? Instead we get a whiny and angsty teenager. What’s worse is that the writers promised he’d get more relevance that season. Funny how the writers think that giving him a love interest counts as relevance. Speaking of Violet’s another horrible new character. I kinda hoped she’d turn out to be evil which could have saved her character.

Merida’s Episodes:

Hey, so we haven’t had any characters from Brave on Once Upon A Time. Time to bring Merida to the show. Well, it worked out terribly. While Merida had the potential to become a great character, the episodes revolving around here were a mess. I still think they could do something with her but right now, she’s bad news for the show.

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