We're only a few short weeks away — four, to be specific — from the premiere of Once Upon A Time Season 5B. While in past seasons the winter hiatus has been nearly interminable, this year's break has been... well, a breath of fresh air, to be frank. The absence of Once Upon A Captain Swan from my TV screen has given me a chance to step back, relax, and also rewatch Seasons 1 through 3, when this show was still any good. (It should be noted that I don't recommend this activity, as it'll only make you sink into a deep, dark depression in contrast with the current state of affairs.) In any case, we're trudging on, for better or worse, and we're headed to the Underworld to "save" Hook, which shouldn't be possible since he's dead, but apparently it is, because who needs non-retconned storytelling if it suits the writers' baffling whims?
My interest in this show has been hanging on by a thread for a while now, connected only by my love for Regina Mills and the wonder that is Lana Parrilla (who has been robbed of any meaningful storylines or screen time this season thus far and is probably too good for this show at this point, anyway) and the distant hope that somehow, someone will slap some sense into the powers that be and it'll magically return to the wonderfully creative and empowered show it once was. Alas, that doesn't seem to be immediately forthcoming, and when we return, we've gotta go to literal hell so that Emma can try to bring her boyfriend back to life, which, as I mentioned, isn't actually impossible. In fact, not only will we reunite with some old heroes and villains who have departed our world and moved on to the next, but we might bring them back with us, because death isn't forever and can totally be cheated!
As Josh Dallas (Prince Charming) explained to Entertainment Weekly, "It’s a place that, once they get there, they’re going to discover that possibly some of these people can be saved and brought out of there, because maybe they’re misplaced in this world. We’re going to meet some people down there that maybe you don’t expect or you haven’t seen in quite a while — maybe a family member of David’s we might see down there. There is definitely a particular person down there for David that he’s going to come across, and Mary Margaret will come across that person too."
While I'm pleased that Snow and Charming might actually get some real screen time beyond standing around looking dumbfounded by their daughter's complete 180 in behavior and attitude, the big takeaway from that statement is that "some of these people can be saved and brought out"... of hell. Sure, Dallas could be misleading us as people on this show are wont to do, but given the other improbable and ridiculous things that have happened over the past 12 episodes or so, I wouldn't put it past Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis. Which begs the question: Why bother to create any rules if you're just going to break them when it's convenient? Also, who are we bringing out of there (and why)?
Frankly, I'm not looking forward to a Hook revival and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that, as Kitsis so poetically put it a while back, that "he could rot there." From his mouth to God's ears (or the writers' keyboards). That might sound mean, and my opinion has nothing to do with Colin O'Donaghue as an actor or a person since he seems lovely in both regards, but with the character's suitability for further storylines. But if it's not Hook we're saving, then who? Could it be Cora? Peter Pan? Neal? My money's on the latter.
We already know Michael Raymond-James has been hanging out on set and likely filming scenes for the second half of the season, so it's likely the Storybrooke gang will encounter Neal in the Underworld. Don't you think Rumple will do everything in his power (which, given that he's the Dark One again, is quite extensive) to bring his son back? Certainly Neal is the most deserving at another chance at life in this world, given that he was robbed of real character development, much to the audience's chagrin. I don't know about you, but I'd take Neal back over Captain Guyliner any day. Maybe then, things could start getting back to normal around Storybrooke — but I won't hold my breath.