Where Might “Once Upon A Time” Be Headed?

enchanted forest

We’re big fans of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” around here on families.com. I’ve discussed the show before, and Mary Ann’s reviewed one of the latest episodes. The Disney-inspired drama recently took a short break for the holidays, but it’s going to be back with new episodes starting this coming Sunday, January 8.

I’m not planning to review each episode as it comes along. But now that we’re about halfway through the season I think it will be interesting to take a moment to consider where the show has been, and where it might be going.

Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming prophesied to free the citizens of the Enchanted Forest from the curse, has permanently moved to Storybrooke. She’s humoring her son Henry’s ideas about everyone’s hidden lives as fairy tale characters, but she doesn’t seem to actually believe them. Some of the characters appear to be closer to remembering who they really are, but the only one who remembered fully was killed by Regina moments later.

For me, the big question isn’t really who Regina thinks she is, or even if she’s the main villain. I want to know more about the curse, and specifically, the one who created it: Rumpelstiltskin (hereafter referred to as “Rumpel” for ease’s sake).

Earlier in the season we learned that Regina originally got the curse from Rumpel. He even gave her advice when her first attempt to cast it failed. Curious, given that he also told Snow White how to break the curse, though he only did so in exchange for the name of her unborn child. A dangerous request, as anyone who knows Rumpel’s original fairy tale can attest.

The show has since hinted that Rumpel remembers his prior life as well. That makes sense to me, but in order to explain it I need to step back for a moment and take a look at where the show is going.
I love “Once Upon A Time,” but I don’t know how much mileage it can get out of its original premise.

I don’t think most viewers will last more than a season waiting for their beloved characters to remember their true selves. But this is American television; we want to draw the series out as long as we can. So then what should we do?

Rumpel is what I see happening. He’s clearly got his own game going on, playing both sides of the field for his own as-yet hidden purpose. He’s manipulated everyone, Regina included. I think he’s more in control of events in Storybrooke than she is. I see Emma breaking the curse, only for that to cause something even worse to happen.

What that is, I’m not certain. I just know Rumpel’s planning something, and I think it’ll take effect once the curse has been ended. I’d like for the curse to be broken sooner rather than later, this season or next, and then additional seasons can be dedicated to dealing with the aftermath – the aftermath being whatever Rumpel’s got planned.

The writers have been trying to set up Regina as a complicated character, sometimes sympathetic, sometimes despicable. Wouldn’t it be fun to see her forced to band together with the likes of Emma and Snow White, to fight the greater foe Rumpelstiltskin?

Soon we’ll see if my predictions pan out. “Once Upon A Time” returns to ABC on January 8 at 8 p.m. EST. All back episodes are streaming for free for a limited amount of time on ABC’s website.

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*(This image by paalia is licensed by the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License.)