Last night was the season finale for Once Upon a Time, and it ended with a wonderful twist to set up the next season (which they didn't even know for sure they were getting till after they finished filming).
My history with this show has been a bit rocky. We watched season one on Netflix while season two was airing and we loved every minute of it. When season two hit, we binged it in order to be caught up for season three, and we've watched every season since as it airs (not as much fun as binge-watching, let me tell you). Season two was almost as good as season one, but the Greg/Tamara arc in the last third just didn't sit well with me. I liked the idea of it (especially Greg's backstory) but having Neal with someone who's obviously not going to last the season was not a good idea, and I didn't care for the way their story panned out. (Ha!)
Seasons 3-5 had some good arcs and episodes, but largely their two-arcs-per-season format did not work. Arcs that had extreme potential were rush (looking at you, Neverland, Oz, and Dark Swan) or were just plain uninteresting as a whole (*cough*Underworld*cough). That being said, I've stuck with this show anyway. (Last year I was ready to just quit but the finale hooked me in with Jekyll and Hyde and Untold Stories.) When season six (just finished) was in pre-production, the showrunners promised a return to the storytelling format from season one: a season-long arc and Storybrooke-centered stuff. This was the best move for the show and it did not disappoint.
Going into the finale, even before we knew for sure there would be a season seven, I wanted just two things from this double episode: Gold to be redeemed for good and the setup for season seven/what might have been season 7 to be both right and fitting. I got both my wishes!
Now that we know what the setup for season seven is, I've compiled a list of what I do (and don't) want to see next year:
Henry's daughter's name: because calling her "Little Girl" only works for so long. Plus, we all know names are important, so I expect hers to be very telling.I watched the ending again tonight. Her name is Lucy. As in "light"; reinforcing my idea she's the new Savior.
- Who her mother is: because it certainly isn't Violet, Henry's first girlfriend (last seen meeting him at the school bus before the final time jump in the finale). My personal theory is that it's Tiger Lily because Henry says "take the book to your mother" and the next time we see the girl, she's with Tiger Lily. BUT she calls her "Tiger Lily" so maybe not?
- Why Henry isn't in Storybrooke (or the realm where he vanished after giving his daughter the Book), why he doesn't remember his own daughter, and how exactly he ended up in Seattle.
- A season-long arc: because season six proved this is the way to go for Once.
- The battle for Henry's belief to take more than two episodes: because the last time we fought for anyone's belief for longer was season one with Emma, and since the last scene of season six was clearly an homage to Henry showing up on her doorstep, this had better be a long haul battle for them.
- Whether or not Henry is still the Author: because it seems strange for him to be hiding out like this if he is.
- A strong season-one vibe, with lots of introductions and ground-laying, without retreading too much. This season can (and in my mind, should) serve as a sequel to the previous six. It's the Girl Meets World to their Boy Meets World. It's the revival/reunion show. The showrunners should make that work in their favor. This is a chance to bring in lots of new viewers while keeping the old ones.
- Storybrooke: The Next Generation: when we finish season six, there are (at least) five royal babies floating about Storybrooke -- Neal, Robin, Alexandra, Gideon, and Aurora's baby (whose name I've forgotten). These kids should all be at least 12 by the time Henry returns, perfect for interacting with his daughter and maybe even playing a larger role in the story (especially since many of their parents aren't slated to return).
- A proper send-off for Emma: since Hook is expected to return and there's a significant time jump, I expect Emma's strongly hinted at guest appearance to be a perfect stage-setter for Henry's journey while still not taking away the happy ending from season six. Maybe they time-travel Hook away. Maybe there's a sleeping curse. Maybe it's just Hook from the Wish Realm. But don't tear up this marriage you just spent six seasons building towards.
- Speaking of, Gold CANNOT go dark again. Not after everything he just went through. Not after you FINALLY gave him redemption. If this happens, I will quit the show and never EVER look back. (You've done this to me TWICE now, Once. I won't be burned a third time.)
- That said, I'm open to bringing back Wish Realm Rumple because Rumple is so much fun.
- A new Savior. Emma is clearly gone from the picture, and Rumple has fulfilled his destiny of defeating the Black Fairy. It's time for a new Savior on the scene. But I'm not sure it should be Henry. Yes, he's the son of a Savior and her True Love, the grandson of the last Dark One (who it's also implied is the original Savior). But I think part of Henry's journey this season needs to be stepping into his roles as father and Author, and part of that will be realizing that he is not the Savior -- but perhaps his daughter is.
- I don't want to see more old characters shoe-horned in "because we can"; this has failed multiple times before. Give us characters with story arcs.
- Please don't realm-hop for the sake of putting it in the show. There are lots of Disney and fairy tale stories you have yet to explore, but make it part of the season's heart and the characters' journeys. Rapunzel was wasted in season three because you shoe-horned her in rather than giving her a real story arc. Don't do that this season.
- Lily's father: okay, this one I'm not 100 percent sure I want, because at this point I'd be satisfied with a simple throwaway line about how Lily and Maleficent found the Dragon and they went off to one of the realms to live happily ever after. But address it someway, because you've promised it too many times now.
That's all I can think of for now. Anyone out there watch Once as well? What did you think of season six? Anything on your season seven wishlist that's missing from mine? Let me know in the comments!