Suspense has been building over the summer. Ever since our first glimpse of Dark Swan (view all images HERE), we knew Emma would be heading for some big trouble. Our anticipation increased even more after seeing ‘OUAT’s’ latest vixen in action as the full-fledged Dark One.
Emma is a sight for sore eyes in the chilling sneak peek released at San Diego Comic-Con last month (watch HERE). The Dark One has shed Rumple’s signature golden skin-tone and has upgraded to platinum…blonde that is. Jennifer Morrison’s new look on the show makes her seem like David Bowie and Madonna’s love-child. Bleached brows, glitter glazed alabaster skin, and a crimson scowl have replaced the fresh-faced, low-maintenance style we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on the spunky bounty hunter and self-sacrificing Savior. Unfortunately, Emma’s appearance isn’t the only thing that has changed. Dark Swan is a merciless heartbreaker…literally! It looks like saving Emma will be even harder than we thought.
The Season 4 finale abruptly ended after a haze of purple smoke consumed Emma and left the Dark One’s dagger behind. Although it feels ominous, Oncers have learned never to lose hope. However, the opening scene from the Season 5 premiere (released at the D23 Expo), gives us something to worry about. As you can see in the embedded video, “The Dark Swan” seamlessly picks-up from where we left off.
Seconds after Emma disappears, everyone stands in shock. A distressed Hook jumps into action. Have no fear! The swashbuckling pirate will simply summon his beloved. Hook holds the dagger and commands the Dark One to appear before him, but his demand is not met. As Regina explains, Dark Swan is out of this world, so she does not abide by the dagger’s rules. Uh-oh. Where could she be?! Of course, we’ll have to wait and find out, but we do have one little clue.
Entertainment Weekly released an image in which Rumple is training Emma. What?! Isn’t he supposed to be in a coma? How can this be? While at SDCC, Robert Carlyle clarified Rumple’s status to EW, saying, “Rumple’s not in a coma. Gold’s in a coma,” later following up with, “Gold’s got a white heart, Rumple doesn’t. It’s a different thing.” Yes, it is a little confusing, but now we can begin to see what Carlyle means by that perplexing statement.
In the image (shown HERE), Rumple is in his top Dark One form, while Emma is in feathery rags. Is this part of the way in which the dagger gets passed on to the new Dark One? Is Rumple supposed to teach Emma the ways of the dagger before he moves on and she completely steps into his shoes? Back when Rumple became the Dark One, he was crudely thrust into a dangerous new life and had to figure things out on his own. Maybe it is different this time because the Dark One did not technically die, but transferred power instead. Of course, the image could also be an attempt to misdirect fans and this scene could just be part of a dream sequence. Nonetheless, one thing is clear: Rumple and Emma will battling themselves this season.
Mr. Gold has the chance to start over, but where does that leave Rumple? Did removing the darkness from Gold cause some kind of split within himself? Has an evil Rumple been banished to another world? Or does he simply reside in Gold’s subconscious? Will Gold’s blank slate be painted black again? Can Belle’s love save his soul this time around? And what does this all mean for Emma?
Dark Swan is beyond our heroes’ reach. Judging by what we’ve seen so far, she seems to have happily succumbed to the darkness. Emma is surrounded by so much True Love and support, but she must still be open to receiving it or else it will have no impact on Dark Swan. Will Emma follow in Rumple’s footsteps and become a slave to the dagger’s power? Can Storybrooke’s new nemesis be saved from herself? Will the Savior have the strength to fight the darkness within? If she’s trapped in another realm, then how can our heroes or Merlin even save her from the darkness? Will Rumple/Mr. Gold serve as a cautionary tale for Dark Swan/Emma? Will the same thing happen to Emma when our heroes try to remove the darkness from her too? Or is Merlin’s magic different? Is the great wizard powerful enough to exorcise the darkness from Emma without any horrible repercussions?
As always, we are left with more questions than answers. For now, all we can do is speculate. So start working on those theories, Oncers! Do you have any idea where Dark Swan is hiding? Do you think she can be saved? Despite all the True Love Rumple received from Belle and the redemption he sought for his son’s sake, he was never able to shake the Dark One’s powerful pull. Will Dark Swan suffer the same fate? Do you have faith in Storybrooke’s resilient Savior? Share your thoughts below!
‘Once Upon A Time’ returns Sunday, September 27 at 8 p.m. on ABC.