The fifth season of Once upon a Time was a big shift for the series. After four seasons of tackling fairy tales and happy endings almost exclusively, the fifth season has moved to classic tales and started exploring the darker side of its main characters.
The end of the previous season showed that things were changing in Storybrooke and in the Enchanted Forest big-time. After finding the author and discovering his incapability, Regina decided that she needed to make a happy ending for herself.
Upon the lifting of the role-reversal curse, the power of the Dark One, which was previously contained in Rumpelstiltskin, found no host, and Emma had to make the ultimate sacrifice—becoming the Dark One herself.
Warning: The main purpose of this post is to serve as a guide when watching the series or to spark interest into watching the series, so yes, there WILL be spoilers. Lots of them.
After Emma turns into the Dark One and disappears from Storybrooke, the remaining members of the team set out to find a way to restore her true self. They travel to Camelot in search for Merlin, the one sorcerer who could free Emma from the power of the darkness. Unbeknownst to them, King Arthur is on a personal quest himself, searching for the legendary Excalibur. By the end of the first arc of the season, Emma is freed from the darkness with the help of no less than Regina herself. Unfortunately, the consequences of dealing with such dark magic catch up with them.
The characters embark on a journey to the Underworld, where they encounter souls with unfinished business. They find Hercules and Megara, but to resurrect them, two souls must remain in their place in the Underworld. During their stay, they discover a parallel Storybrooke, whose residents are already deceased. They discover a portal through the clock tower that will lead them back to the real Storybrooke. Unfortunately, Robin Hood is killed by Hades.
By the end of the fifth season, we are introduced to a third universe: the Land of Untold Stories. Here, our heroes travel after Rumpelstiltskin learns that he has trapped his family there. In the Land of Untold Stories, they meet Dr. Jekyll, a scientist on the verge of discovering a serum that will separate him from his evil self, Mr. Hyde. Back in the Land Without Magic, Henry manages to rally the help of New Yorkers in bringing his family back through the belief of magic. As a thank-you for saving him, Jekyll hands Regina some of the serum, which allows her to separate her true self from her evil self, the Evil Queen. Regina takes her other half’s heart and crushes it, banishing the Evil Queen.
Meanwhile, Belle learns that she is pregnant with Rumpelstiltskin’s child. To save her unborn child, she decides to get a sleeping curse. Rumpelstiltskin allies with Hyde, who promises him information on how to wake Belle in exchange for Storybrooke.
The Once and Future King The stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, as well as Merlin, belong to a separate subgenre of fantasy fiction. Here in OUAT, it is represented as a separate Enchanted Forest dimension. These stories feature the height of the Middle Ages, sorcerers, knights, and the medieval culture.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson’s most popular story tells of a man with two personalities. It’s meant to show that duality exists in everyone, even in the most gentle or most evil of people.
Dorothy Earlier in the series, we were introduced to the Wicked Witch of the West, Zelena. In this season, the spotlight is on the main story’s heroine. Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz features Dorothy, a cunning, smart young girl from Kansas who finds her way to Oz.
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