Since the beginning of Once Upon a Time, the series has been about happy endings. Even in Season 4, one of the major plot lines focused on the villains writing their own happy endings. Isn’t that what fairy tales, or TV series based on beloved fairy tales, are all about? The same can be said for any book being read or movie or TV show being watched. You want to see the characters succeed and find happiness. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen, including several deserving ones on OUAT who just can’t seem to catch a break.
As OUAT continues to air, it sure seems like many characters are having their happy endings ripped away over and over again. Granted, the series is about heroes and villains and the struggles they face in achieving happiness. The series wouldn’t be interesting without conflict, including the inner conflict many of the characters face. Admittedly, I definitely wouldn’t tune in if everyone was happy 100 percent of the time and living a life filled without worry or struggle.
That said, it would be nice to see a shift in the characters who are rewarded time and again with happy endings. Don’t get me wrong: I am a huge Emma Swan fan. If I ever needed a bounty hunter or a badass savior to come to my rescue, she’d be the first one I’d call. However, it’s starting to get a bit old that she continues to find the light in the darkest of times, whereas many of the other characters repeatedly find themselves trying to climb to the top of the happiness chain.
Has Emma faced tough times? Absolutely. I mean, she was the Dark One and even had to leave Hook behind in the Underworld. In the end, it all worked out for her. No matter what she faces, she always seems to find her happy ending. Basically, viewers know going in with each new season that despite any hardships or heartbreak Emma may or may not face, everything will most likely work out in the end for her. And, yes, that’s great, but it’s a little frustrating when the same can’t be said for someone like Regina, Mulan or Zelena.
Take this season and Regina. In the episode titled “Last Rites,” Robin Hood died. I’m still frustrated with his death. More than the fact that I’m going to miss Robin and I was looking forward to seeing what he would bring to the table in future episodes, I’m beyond upset for Regina. Weren’t Robin and Regina supposed to be endgame? Did anyone else think (thanks to Tinkerbell and her whole speech about the lion tattoo) that they were soulmates? If that’s the case, then why kill him?
Not to mention, this isn’t the first time she’s found herself sad and in pain over something in her life, including her contentious relationship with her mother and her first love, Daniel, dying. Has Regina done her fair share of evil things? Hello, she was the Evil Queen, but she has proven herself to be a good person and is even now considered a hero who works alongside other heroes. She has worked so hard to turn her life around and continues to get screwed.
Like Regina, Mulan has also struggled to find her happy ending. First, she walked away from Aurora, after falling for her. It was hard to watch Aurora stay with Prince Phillip, but fans held onto hope for Mulan’s future, which many thought would become even brighter upon meeting Ruby. Many were rooting for Mulan and Ruby to end up together. Did they? No, because of course they didn’t. Ruby just had to end up with Dorothy.
Obviously, I am thrilled for Ruby and Dorothy. They deserve to be happy, but Mulan has always been one of the heroes and deserves some type of happiness. Why can’t she find love too? Obviously, Mulan or any other character’s happy ending might not include a significant other and that’s OK, but I just want these particular characters to be happy. I truly believe that Mulan will someday, but it better not come with the price of breaking her heart repeatedly or making her feel hopeless.
And don’t even get me started on Zelena. Yes, she’s been seen as the villain and has done horrible things, but who hasn’t on OUAT? I mean, she was abandoned by her mother and pushed to live a life of wickedness. Maybe I’m the only one that feels this way, but sometimes there are villains, like Zelena, who I can’t help but root for and see the good in. Remember, OUAT is about both heroic and villainous characters and their ability to change for the better. Zelena has a long way to go, but she has already made huge progress, and I hope she finds happiness along the way for proving she isn’t only wicked.
It was hard for me to watch Hades string her along for his own benefit. Thankfully, Zelena opened up her eyes and ended Hades for good. Let’s just hope this means she’ll continue to take positive steps toward a lighter future, especially for her daughter’s sake. I truly hope there is happiness ahead for Zelena.
With all of that said and my rant partially over, am I giving up on OUAT? No, not anytime soon. I still have faith in the show and enjoy it immensely, save for a few of the issues I find with it on occasion, including those who get happy endings and those who don’t.
But I’m going to continue to have hope in the series because maybe the creators have some really great stuff in store for Season 6 and for Regina, Zelena and Mulan. Plus, maybe, just maybe, they’ll give fans what they want and stop being selective in which characters get their happy endings.
However, if nothing changes soon — especially for Regina, who really deserves happiness more than anyone — then I just may have to succumb to a curse and wipe my memories of the show.
Once Upon a Time‘s two-hour Season 5 finale airs Sunday, May 15 at 7/6c on ABC.
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