'Once Upon A Time' Season 5 Will Finally Make Snow White & Prince Charming Own Up To Their Big Mistakes
Snow White and Prince Charming may have kept a relatively low profile last season, but with Once Upon A Time Season 5 just about two months away, it's worth thinking about what lies ahead for the new Dark One's parents after everything that's happened. There is, of course, the obvious matter of their daughter, the former Savior, going dark, and that alone will be a heartbreaking situation for the Charmings, who were only recently reunited with Emma and have now lost her yet again. But beyond that, there's that pesky little issue of the duo's not-so-noble past, in which they willingly sacrificed Maleficent's daughter's soul in order to preserve Emma's and ensure it remained good and pure. This revelation was unexpected, to say the least, and it'll have a major effect on both Snow and Charming next season, particularly in light of recent events.
In an interview with BuddyTV, Ginnifer Goodwin admitted that the Charmings went to "questionable lengths" to protect Emma before she was even born, and that the decision they made all those years ago will make the present situation — Emma's new Dark One status, that is — even harder to deal with. "It's going to be even harder to get Emma back than if they weren't such hypocrites really," she said, and perhaps that's true in terms of the Charmings' emotional baggage and their struggle to find answers. However, given that they're lucky enough to have the likes of Regina helming Operation Emma, I don't fear for the Dark Swan's immortal soul long-term, anyway.
Speaking of Regina, it's worth considering the irony here. In many ways, it's the former Evil Queen's fault that the Charmings were separated from Emma to begin with. Forced to send their newborn daughter through an enchanted tree portal to a land without magic in order to escape the Dark Curse and hopefully enable Emma to become the Savior she was fated to be, Snow and Charming weren't to be reunited with her for nearly 30 years. That alone is a difficult pill to swallow — until you consider the current predicament. They've lost Emma again, and while it was Emma's decision to go, it was also — very literally, in fact — down to Regina, and more particularly, Emma's desire to preserve Regina's happy ending. Talk about irony.
Thankfully, Snow is finally getting her childhood wish of finding an ally in Regina, as they've left their decades-long baggage behind, for the most part, and have formed what can only be described as a close-knit family. And it was, in fact, Regina who offered the Charmings mercy in light of their confession about sending an unhatched Lily through a portal, condemned to a life of misfortune to serve their own selfish desires to protect Emma. Knowing the weight of the grief of bad decisions, Regina not only refused to judge the Charmings, but encouraged Emma to forgive them. If an endorsement for clemency means something coming from anyone, it's got to be Regina.
But some forms of shame are private and can't be alleviated via outward acceptance. Snow and Charming will be forced to confront the reality of their lives in Season 5, and I hope it's something the audience is privy to seeing, because it will give these fairy tale characters more depth than anything we've seen so far. While they have always presented themselves as noble heroes to the world, a bastion of True Love and crusaders for Goodness and Right, the truth isn't quite so sunny. Many years ago, they made a decision to better their own lives without concern for the people they were sacrificing. And while they couldn't have known that Lily would be lost to Maleficent completely, their willingness to trade off fates in the first place speaks volumes about who Snow and Charming are at their core.
That's not to say that their desire to protect their daughter isn't understandable, or that their bad decision — entirely intentional or not — is completely unforgivable, but Snow and Charming also shouldn't be beyond reproach simply because of their status as the Enchanted Forest's equivalent of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. It's only now that the full weight of their actions is sinking in, particularly considering such a huge sacrifice was seemingly all for naught, at the end, given that Emma's Darkness eventually found a way. It's not permanent, of course, but it still happened, and that means something.
It's clear that the Charmings love their daughter, and that they're just like the rest of us: human. They make mistakes, they act selfishly, they do the wrong thing. That's okay — or at least it will be, eventually. It's the process of getting there that I'm interested in seeing.
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