Once Upon a Time season 5 was a huge bummer for a number of reasons. Hook died (twice), Robin was completely destroyed, Rumple became a total monster and Regina failed to destroy her evil alter ego. The part of the season that Emma didn’t spend as the embodiment of all darkness, she spent crying.

Yet in the hour-long recap/preview special for season 6, Once Upon a Time showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis promised that the new season will be more hopeful. So does Once Upon a Time deliver on its promise in the season 6 premiere, titled “The Savior”? Not so much. If anything, things get much, much darker for our heroes and our villains.

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Savior Problems 

Things start off with the Once Upon a Time version of Aladdin. Boy, things are depressing here! There is no Robin Williams-esque Genie character (though that’s probably a good move overall). Aladdin is some bearded, shaky bum, and Jafar is still alive and totally powerful. In fact, Jafar’s only activities seem to be showing up to the hovel where Aladdin currently lives to taunt Aladdin and choke his friends or turn them into dust. Jafar also lets us know that saviors like Aladdin never get happy endings, which seems like a direct contrast to every fairy tale ever, but whatever.

Back in Storybrooke, people are arriving from the Land of Untold Stories, and Mr. Hyde still has an accent that can only be described as “supervillain.” Though the arrivals from the Land of Untold Stories arrive in a gigantic dirigible, the aircraft lands in the woods and everyone on it escapes. It should be relatively easy to find these new arrivals in a town where literally everyone knows each other’s names, but apparently that’s not the case. The new arrivals all escape, and our heroes must figure out a way to take down Hyde. 

It doesn’t take long to figure out the plan. Jekyll comes up with some machine that will knock out and trap Hyde. Once it is created, Hyde is captured with relative ease. Yet a whole new set of problems starts when Emma starts getting weird visions of herself in a sword fight and her hand starts shaking like Aladdin. Great start to this “hopeful” season.

The Family Who Dreams Together…

Meanwhile, we find out where Rumple went to break Belle out of her sleeping curse. Hyde sent Rumple to the God of Dreams, Morpheus. Using a spell, Rumple is able to enter Belle’s dreaming state, and he should be able to get her to wake up. Guided by Morpheus, Rumple finds a Belle who is dreaming that she is still a slave servant at Rumple’s house. They haven’t fallen in love yet, and Belle still sees Rumple as a beast. 

Morpheus tells Rumple that if he can get Belle to fall in love with him, she will wake back up. The only problem is that Belle doesn’t love Rumple, and any attempt that Rumple tries to make her fall in love with him will be a trick. Rumple refuses to listen and goes about trying to trick Belle into loving him by dancing with her and playing the theme to Beauty and the Beast. As awful as Rumple has been to Belle since forever, the whole thing is kind of adorable. Rumple might be an abusive monster, but there are few songs as romantic as “Beauty and the Beast.”

Luckily, it doesn’t work. While the dancing reminds Belle of her past and history with Rumple, it also reminds her that she can no longer be with him. Belle can’t be with someone who lies to her so much. She doesn’t want to raise her son together with Rumple.

It’s at this moment when Morpheus shows back up and reveals that he is not Morpheus at all. Rather, he is the grown-up version of Belle and Rumple’s son. “Morpheus” tells Belle that she can’t allow Rumple to destroy their family like he did with his previous one. Belle agrees, wakes up and officially breaks up with Rumple … again. Things are turning around on the hope front.

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Secrets and Lies

Emma investigates the cause of her visions. Archie, aka the town psychiatrist (and sometimes cricket) with a voice like velvet sex, tells Emma it is just stress and she needs to relax. In typical Emma fashion, she ignores all that logical advice and instead acts emotionally and rashly. Emma threatens Hyde for help, and he tells her that she should talk to the Red Bird. 

It turns out that the Red Bird is an oracle. The oracle tells Emma that the visions she is experiencing are part of Emma’s future. (Duh!) The twist is that the visions do not just foretell Emma’s future; they also foretell her death. One day, Emma will die in a sword fight with some mysterious villain. Naturally, Emma tells no one of this impending disaster and just acts as if everything is a-okay, which will inevitably end horribly for everyone involved. Never mind, everything is awful again. I can’t stop myself from smiling about all the “optimism” going on right now. 

While Emma is lying about her future and her feelings, Regina and Zelena are getting it all out in the open. The whole part with them being loving sisters lasts all of five seconds. Regina admits/yells that she blames Zelena for Robin’s death. Zelena tells Regina that she is upset that Regina went to Snow for advice about killing the Evil Queen inside of her. Regina, according to Zelena, killed the part of herself most like Zelena and didn’t even talk to her about it. It’s basically just a lot of yelling and tears, so it’s like every Zelena and Regina scene ever. 

After their fight, Zelena goes with baby Robin to her own house on the edge of town. Inside the house, Zelena has a visitor. The Evil Queen is there to meet her sister. The Evil Queen tells Zelena to sit down because they have some sisterly bonding to do. To Zelena’s credit, she looks properly horrified. Thus ends a good but incredibly dark and foreboding season premiere.

What do you think? Was the premiere too dark? Do you think Emma will actually die? Do you trust the oracle or Hyde? Did Belle make the right decision leaving Rumple?

Once Upon a Time season 6 airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.