‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5B Wants To Return To Its Roots, But Can Storybrooke Really Go Back In Time?

We're less than two weeks away from the Once Upon A Time Season 5B premiere, so I hope you're ready to embark on the Storybrooke crew's biggest (and dumbest) mission yet: heading to the Underworld to try and bring Hook back from the dead by splitting Emma's heart. Never mind that death is final, Emma's heart can't be removed, and that she most certainly doesn't share true love with Killian — it's all happening, so I prefer to look at this trying time in a positive light. We get to see Cora again! And Peter Pan! And Regina is finally getting some real airtime! Hurrah! Not only that, but executive producer Eddy Kitsis has claimed that Season 5B is going to be a whole lot like Season 1. Say what?

If that load of boloney gave you pause, you're not alone. Anyone who's been in the Once fandom for half a second knows not to listen to a word that comes out of the showrunners' mouths, because nine times out of 10 it's either an outright lie meant to throw us off the trail or so convoluted that it makes zero sense. But Kitsis wants us to believe that the show as it exists now, so far from everything that made it so wonderful for the first few seasons, is set for a return to its roots.

"The second half is going to be very similar to the first season in that we’re going to see Storybrooke as a place of people with unfinished business. We have to wonder if we can’t help them find their happy endings even in the afterlife."

Whatever you say, Kitsis. If it doesn't have all of the following, it ain't Season 1 status:

Evil Mayor Regina

As much as I loved unraveling Regina's many complicated layers, she's come way too far to go back. Who she was on Season 1 was fascinating and a little frightening, but my girl has grown since then and I'm glad for it (even if I do really love rewatching the old days and feeling proud of her for how far she's come).

Unbeliever Emma

Emma rolled into Storybrooke on her 28th birthday with no idea what she was getting herself into, poor thing. She also really didn't want to believe that she'd come in contact with a bunch of storybook characters and that she herself was not only the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, but also the Savior the town had been waiting for. Ah, the good old days. There's no going back to that!

Graham

Season 1 wouldn't be Season 1 without Graham, right? Unfortunately, he's dead, so that's impossible. Oh wait, or is it? Maybe he can come back to life, too, if we're just changing the rules of life and death willy nilly. Miss you, Graham! Shame you're probably too busy practicing BDSM with Dakota Johnson to come back for the Underworld eps!

Focus On Strong Women, Not The Men They're Inexplicably Chasing After

Ah, Season 1, full of strong, badass women who wouldn't put up with any crap, didn't need men to complete them and wouldn't be with one just because he begged or because some fairy dust said he was "The One", like, half a century ago. They were strengthened by love, not reduced to a shell of their former selves because of it. I miss you, Season 1 Emma. (I also miss those tank tops, but that's a whole other story.)

Mary Margaret Actually Having Screen Time

Aside from standing around looking distressed about Emma and being dethroned as a paragon of goodness and light, Snow White hasn't actually done much of anything since the first couple of seasons. Remember when MM got a ton of screen time and it was awesome? Yeah, me too, guys. Me too.

A Very Tiny Henry

Henry was so little! He was just an itty bitty baby and now he's a teenager and the Author and so grown up. Of course, Henry was always rather wise beyond his years and knew what was up even when the adults around him had no chill. Still, you can't ignore that the man of the Swan-Mills family isn't a little boy anymore.

A Less Exasperating Rumple

Before everyone gets their pants in a wad claiming that I'm talking trash about Rumple, relax. I love Rumple! I think he's the best villain on the show (Zelena is giving him a run for his money, though) and that Robert Carlyle is an amazing actor. But you can't pretend that the whole "I'm redeemed / No, nevermind, I love the power too much" rigmarole isn't more than a little tiring. Let him be evil! That's him! Stop trying to pretend he'll ever be anything but! Back in Season 1, Gold was formidable and that's just who he was. Too bad we didn't keep it that way.

As you can see, it's never going to happen. You can't go back, and that's not what Once needs — the show needs desperately to move forward, and as far away from the damage they've done in the first half of the season as possible.

Images: ABC; Giphy