The Season 4 finale of Once Upon A Time aired less than two weeks ago, and any fan of the show will tell you that we're already desperately looking forward to Season 5 — and how could we not, after everything that took place in "Operation Mongoose"? The stakes in Storybrooke are now higher than ever, and it's anyone's guess as to what's just going to happen next. I have my ideas, of course, and I know what I'd like to see play out on screen, but considering I can't telepathically transmit script ideas to OUAT writers, I'll just have to hold out hope until fall.
Season finales are the opportunity for shows to set up the following season, to leave viewers hanging on all.summer.long. without a clue of what's happening in the lives of our favorite characters. And while Once has made a habit in past of using their last episodes of a season to introduce a new fairy tale character in the mix, this time it simply wasn't necessary. The heroes and villains — the ones that will change the course of everything — are already there, and things are about to GO DOWN. I mean, not that they haven't before, but there are some pretty massive changes we'll have to contend with in Season 5, and I can't wait to see how it goes.
Emma is the new Dark One
After sacrificing herself to save Regina, Emma took on perhaps the heaviest burden one could in OUAT-land: becoming the Dark One. We don't yet know how this will affect her, how much her light will be able to fight against the darkness that will threaten to overtake her once and for all, but I sure can't wait to find out.
Gold is, for the first time in a long time, completely powerless
Being the Dark One nearly killed Rumplestiltskin forever, so the Sorcerer's Apprentice helped remove the darkness from him to save his life. And that's all fine and well (though he seems to be in a stasis state at the moment and whether or not he'll recover is unknown), but something tells me he won't take kindly to being powerless again. You can't go from the ultimate evil dude to just a gentle-hearted townsman. There's going to be trouble.
Zelena is going to have Robin Hood's Baby
Sure, Regina and Robin have vowed to work things out regardless of the complications surrounding Zelena posing as Marian to trick Robin into getting her pregnant (one of my LEAST favorite storylines from Season 4), but once that baby arrives, all bets are off. And Zelena is far too cunning and desperate to put up with sitting in a locked cell with an anti-magic bracelet on forever.
Henry's going through puberty
I mean, we can't not mention this, right? It's great that as a kid he was all into the book and figuring out how to make fairy tale characters' dreams come true, but what about as he gets older? Is he going to become resentful of the life he's got to lead because of who his moms are? Now that he's the Author, will he begin to learn magic? Big changes have got to be coming for Henry, since the character was pretty underused last season, except towards the end.
Regina may just be the new Savior
Emma kept Regina on the path to redemption and Regina tried her hardest to do the same for Emma. Now that Emma's sacrificed herself for Regina's happiness, Regina will likely feel an immense sense of duty to save Emma, and rightfully so.
Lily is in town and she seems to be staying
Lily wants to figure out who her dragon dad is, and she's only just developing a relationship with her long-lost mother, Maleficent, so they'll have to give her a few interesting storylines next season, right? Maybe for once, she can do the right thing and help Regina save Emma.
The hunt for Merlin is on
You heard what the Apprentice said — only Merlin can possibly contain the darkness and banish it for good, and while he's "far, far away", they're going to have to find him. Whether or not he'll actually be willing to help, however, will be a whole other issue, I imagine.