'Once Upon A Time' Season 5B Will Bring Emma Face To Face With An Important Figure From Her Past

If you thought the cast of characters for Once Upon A Time Season 5B couldn't possibly get any bigger, think again. We already know we'll be temporarily reunited with some old favorites as we venture into the Underworld, but it's not just the dead that will come rushing back during the attempt to rescue Hook — the Storybrooke crew will also have to face their inner demons, too, and that means plenty of flashbacks to their younger years. In fact, we'll even get to meet Emma's former mentor Cleo, played by Rya Kihlstedt, who you may remember from Heroes Reborn.

Cleo is described as "a bail bondsperson and no-nonsense woman" who has "a tough exterior hides a strong nurturing side that isn’t often given a chance to come out." If she seems a bit similar to another badass we met five years ago, I'm sure that's more than intentional. Given that Emma learned a lot of what she knew about being a bail bondswoman from Cleo, it's clear her influence was still heavy when Henry came knocking at Emma's door back in the pilot. Cleo won't be seen until Episode 20, called "Firebird", but I don't think I've ever looked forward to a guest star so much in the history of this show.

I've made no secret of saying that I've been mourning the death of Emma as we knew her since Season 5 began. The writing for the character has been so inconsistent this season, so frustratingly out of character for such a strong, stubborn, brilliant woman like Emma Swan, that it's been hard to watch her sort of wither away and become a shadow of her former self — not because she was the Dark One, but because the writers suddenly shifted focus to be Once Upon A Hook, and instead of having Emma remain the same bold, brash woman she always has been, she became a sullen puppy content to chase around an abusive, lecherous pirate in the name of "true love" (which I think we can agree it most certainly is not).

I'll be honest — miss Emma. I miss the Emma that's awkward and clumsy and intense all at the same time; the Emma that was starting to believe that her life before now wasn't her fault and that she deserves better; the Emma that wouldn't take crap from an alcoholic pirate who thought persistence would wear her down (and sadly, it did). I want that Emma back, and Cleo might just serve as enough of a reminder of who she once was to jolt her back to herself. That likely means we've got another eight episodes or so of this insufferable Emma, but if it means she comes back to us in the end, I'll hold on for that.

I'm not giving up on you, Emma Swan.

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