Going into its fifth season, Once Upon A Time has been bringing those characters that we grew up with to life in new and complicated ways since it burst onto Netflix in 2011. With main characters Snow White and Prince Charming, Rumplestiltskin, the Evil Queen and original characters Emma Swan and Henry Mills, the show follows the occupants of the small town of Storybrooke and their relations with magic, their origins in the Enchanted Forest, each other and their inevitable fates that have been written in time.
The last four seasons have seen a plethora of guest stars and characters from Sebastian Stan as the Mad Hatter, Robbie Kay as Peter Pan and Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail as Elsa and Anna. Season 5 was no different with the opening scene seeing Amy Manson as Merida capturing our screens and hearts. Those of us who spent four years glued to BBC Saturday nights watching Merlin between 2008 and 2012, have perhaps found it a little strange to see this take on the legendary King, his beautiful wife and the all powerful wizard who are playing pivotal roles in this series.
Whilst the three way split between the Enchanted Forest, Storybrooke and Camelot has been often fairly complex and all too easy to find yourself lost as to where you were in which particular narrative, they have been interesting story lines. The abundance of characters in the show have given us perhaps too many plot lines now for even the writers to follow as many characters who have been integral to previous seasons, or even episodes, are ignored in favour of new plots and characters, leaving fans wondering where they have been in all the madness.
Nevertheless, the characters who have been the main focus in the seven episodes we have been treated to so far, have given us thrills and exceptional acting, especially from Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan and Elliot Knight as Merlin. With all the surprises that have been thrown at the audience since the first episode of the season, each episode leaves us wondering which plotline will be followed next, which characters will have the focus and who will be left gathering dust for yet another episode.
While the show undoubtedly is still incredibly popular and consistently produces high quality episodes, there is a small question as to whether the writers’ blatant disregard for well-developed characters whose arcs are abandoned in favour of new ones will eventually be their downfall. Despite all of this, if the first seven episodes are anything to go by what Once Upon A Time has in store for their audience, this season is sure to be as full of twists and turns as the preceding ones.