The 20 things Once Upon A Time did wrong and 8 it did right in 4B

Back in February, 28 days before season 4B started, I did a post called 28 Things I hope for when Once Upon A Time Returns. I decided I would revisit that post now that 4B has ended and see how the half season did. It wasn’t very well.

1. Anything cool for Snow and Charming – Verdict: Failed 

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They got to do stuff, but it wasn’t in any way cool. After already being the couple everyone is over and laughably stupid, the show tried to rewrite and darkened their characters but ended up making them even worst characters and even more horrible parents.

2. Diversity – Verdict: Failed 

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Somehow the show get even worse at diversity this half season. I really didn’t think it could be possible. Of course, the only non-white member of the Queens of Darkness was the first to be written off. It killed off Marian to replace her with a white character, but technically she was never even alive in the entirety of season four. And then the worst example, of the show aging up Young Lily, played fantastically by Hispanic actress Nicole Munoz, to a white lady.

3. No villain plan monologues Verdict: Failed 

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Mother" - Emma returns to Storybrooke to reunite Lily with Maleficent while Regina and Robin struggle to cope with the implications of Zelena's pregnancy. When Gold's health takes a turn for the worse, Isaac looks to a new ally for help procuring the magic ink he needs to re-write history. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, Cora returns from Wonderland to beg Regina's forgiveness on the anniversary of Daniel's murder. Cora vows to help her daughter find true love, but Regina remains suspicious of her mother's intentions, on "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, MAY 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) REBECCA MADER, LANA PARRILLA

It wasn’t being too bad at this at first. The QoD and Rumple said they wanted their happy endings but never said what they were. Then Zelena was re-introduced and the show didn’t stand a chance.

4.  Belle keeps her cool – Verdict: Failed 

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Belle didn’t get much for a story line this half season. But in what she did, she was either shoehorned into a pointless new relationship, being handed off from one man to the next or forgiving her lying, manipulative, abusive husband.

5. Less questionable relationships the masses are supposed to believe is endgame – Verdict: Failed 

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I expressed my Rumbelle frustrations above, but every canon relationship in this season seemed to have some questionable element to it. Or it was just so bland I was questioning its existence. Robin is supposed to stay with Zelena after she tricked him into impregnating her. Regina and alternate realty Regina are both with Robin just because she was told it was supposed to happen. And feel free to attack me Captain Swan shippers, but why are Emma and Hook even together? They are so boring.

6. Less CGI – Verdict: Failed 

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Do I even need to explain this one?

7. Continued acknowledgement of Regina’s character growth – Verdict: Passed

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The show did excellent on this one because Regina getting her happy ending, a privilege reserved only for heroes, was one of the focuses of 4B. She also put herself in dangerous situations to help protect Emma and Henry and got to the hero of the alternate reality.

8. More Swan-Mills family moments – Verdict: Passed

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I wish the whole series could be like how these three interacted in the alternate reality. But, Emma and Regina teamed up multiple times to save Henry and protected each other throughout the half season. Hopefully, Regina and Henry team up to save Emma next season.

9. An explanation for Cruella de Vil – Verdict: Passed

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As stupid as it was, the show did explain it. Cruella has magic because the Author decided to give her powers for no real reason and yes, 1920s London is it’s own realm. Ugh.

10. Same for Maleficent – Verdict: Passed

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This one was actually done well, with the other Queens of Darkness conning Snowing into helping bring Maleficent back to life so she could take revenge on Snowing for stealing her child.

11. Less Hook – Verdict: Failed 

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As I said in the original post, I’m not sure what he is still doing here apart from wanting to get in Emma’s pants. He’s contributed almost nothing to the plot and has just been standing in the background as a visual reminded that Emma is supposed to care about someone more than she cares about Regina.

12. No more new characters – Verdict: Passed

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I’m really surprised the season passed this one. The Author was the only new character that was added in 4B. And despite him being annoying as hell and me generally hating him, he and expanded characters Lily and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice actually worked to push the plot forward.

13. Regina’s mansion – Verdict: Failed 

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Has it stopped existing?

14. Not Robin – Verdict: Failed


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I’m still really annoyed that the show brought him back. He was fairly written off, that Marian/Zelena twist was stupid and Regina’s happy ending is not a man!

15. Magic lessons – Verdict: Failed

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From what we have seen in flashbacks, it seems like it took years for Regina to master her magic skills. How has Emma done it in less time with no training?

16. Ruby – Verdict: Failed 

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Snow Drifts" - While Mary Margaret and David celebrate the naming of their son at a coronation in Granny's Diner, Emma and Hook are pulled into Zelena's time portal and find themselves in the Enchanted Forest of the past. But in their quest to discover a way back, they must be careful not to change ANYTHING or risk altering the lives of their friends and family -- as well as their very own existence, on the two-hour season finale of "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, MAY 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Katie Yu) MEGHAN ORY

Hey, guess who is still missing? Granny was even on alternate reality Queen Snow’s council, but Ruby wasn’t.

17. Only needed back story – Verdict: Failed

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The season devoted an episode to Ursula’s back story just for her to be written off at the end of it. Another episode was devoted to Cruella’s just for her to be killed off at the end of it. The Author’s was mostly pointless, except for a tiny bits of information that told us how the authors are selected. I’m not sure the one with Regina in “Mother” had a point that wasn’t a messed up infertility reveal.

18. Mulan – Verdict: Failed 

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I hope she is off defending random hot ladies on the Island of Missing Characters.

19. Less incredibly convenient plot devices – Verdict: Failed 

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It would require good writing for this problem to go away. This show does not have good writing.

20. LGBT representation – Verdict: Failed

ONCE UPON A TIME - "Lily" - Emma's potential for darkness is looming over everyone, but when Emma realizes Maleficent's daughter Lily is in fact her closest friend from her foster care days, she resolves to find Lily and reunite her with her mother. Regina joins forces with Emma and together they set out to track down Lily and to warn Robin about Zelena. However, neither of them is prepared for the harsh realities they'll encounter in the outside world. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Gold faces a crisis involving Belle. In a foster care flashback, things are looking up for young Emma with her new family until Lily's appearance threatens to destabilize everything, on "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, APRIL 26 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) JENNIFER MORRISON, LANA PARRILLA

Really with this show’s history of non-inclusion and everything that happened this season, if we are ever going to get any LGBT representation at all it would only make sense between Emma and Regina. Well, maybe Lily and Emma or Lily and someone we haven’t met yet. But, I’m going to keep hoping for SwanQueen. I’m going to leave it at that. If I start getting into this show’s horrible queerbaiting practices, I’m just going to piss myself off.

21. No more memory loss – Verdict: Passed

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The show actually went a full half season without anyone undergoing a memory loss curse. Sure most of the characters suffered from memory loss in the finale but that was an alternate reality and it gave us bandit Regina so I’m going to let it slide.

22. More of excellent Regina’s dialogue – Verdict: Passed

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One time she called Emma, Snow, Charming and Hook “the Charming softball team and their pirate mascot.” I love sass queen dialogue. It is the only thing this show writes well.

23. No Will Scarlet – Verdict: Failed

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Why was he here? His show was cancelled. And Belle confessed that she never loved him, so what was his point?

24. Tinkerbell – Verdict: Failed

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Cora apparently got to see Tinkerbell, whenever that episode took place. But, sadly we didn’t get to see her at all. Hopefully, she is hanging out with Mulan and Ruby on the Island of Missing Characters.

25. The characters from the Baby Class of Missing Characters – Verdict: Failed

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I guess Aurora, Ashley and their children are on the island too. I’m not counting Aurora’s appearance in “Enter the Dragon” because that was too much of a time line fail.

26. The characters getting an explanation for Zelena’s death – Verdict: Passed

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This did not play out the way I thought it would. The characters got an explanation for her death. She didn’t die, she floated around in the season three finale, killed Marian, morphed into her and returned as a villain. She really seemed like she was about to reform in that jail cell with Regina before Rumple randomly killed her. But, I guess the show just gave up on that since it has been so bad with other characters’ redemption arches.

27. Baby Braids Regina, if there is story for her – Verdict: Failed

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I am glad that we got to see Baby Braids Regina again. She’s my favorite flashback character. But, she really didn’t need to be in the Maleficent flashbacks in “Enter the Dragon.” The Regina we met in the “Mother” was about half Baby Braids Regina, but that entire flashback was pointless. Bandit Regina was pretty similar and that’s a different category. Damn, that is four different versions of Regina in this half season. That is Tatiana Maslany level shit, Lana. Good job.

28. The rest of the missing characters – Verdict: Failed

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Again only our main characters were around when a town wide crisis was happening. Belle even crashed the half season party at Granny’s to alert everyone of the crisis, but Storybrooke still seemed empty when Emma was sacrificing herself for Regina in the middle of the street about five minutes later.

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