Emma started down the steep slope taking her from savior to becoming the new Dark One on Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 1.
Below, TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Christine Laskodi, Allison Nichols and Amanda Steinmetz are joined by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to debate Emma’s ability to fight the darkness, Merida’s appearance in the Enchanted Forest and their favorite couple after watching "The Dark Swan."
Did you think Emma would be able to fight off becoming the Dark One?
Jim: It was touch and go there at the beginning before her family showed up. Though things got better once Family got involved.
Christine L: When the episode started, I had a lot of hope that maybe it would be a one-off type of thing and that she would fight it off. Emma has always been incredibly strong, so it seemed to be something that was probable. But as everything unfolded with her and Rumple, and she got to feel the darkness, it was obvious where it was going.
Allison: I always knew at some point, she would give in. It would have been really lame to have this twist without Emma ever actually going dark. I'm really enjoying watching her struggle to fight it off. I'm curious about what finally pushes her into the darkness.
Gareth: I had a feeling the darkness would end up taking control. I think it might be like the ring in Lord of the Rings. The longer Emma is tethered to the dagger, the more it wields it's will over her. Something has obviously happened to Emma during her time in Camelot which has pushed her over the edge. She clearly blames the residents of Storybrooke for something. The flashbacks in Camelot should be interesting this year. I can't wait to find out what went down.
Amanda: It was always a possibility that should would, but that would have been terrible considering the show's promotion of Emma becoming the Dark One. I'm excited to see this side of her, and to watch the darkness battle it out with the light inside of her.
Would you like to see more of Merida?
Jim: It would be nice to see a little more of her. I think they may have over corrected from last year's over use of the Frozen story line. I have to also give full props to the actress for the awesome facial expressions while Emma had her heart in her hand, she emoted that pain very well!
Christine L: I'm going to say no at this point. I want to know what happened in Camelot, so unless she plays a role in that, I'm not very interested in her.
Allison: I would love to see her again, but only if she serves a point in the quest to save Emma. Like Jim brought up, one if the big issues last season was that Frozen took over and we barely spent time with our main characters. I enjoyed Merida, and I would love to see her interact with more of our characters. I just don't want to get sucked into her quest to save her brothers.
Gareth: I took an instant liking to Merida. She's a little spitfire. I think they have achieved the right balance with her character so far. She didn't take away anything from the core characters.
Amanda: Eh. She didn't really do much for me, but that could change with time. I'm with Christine though, I'm more interested in Camelot at this point.
Who is your favorite couple on Once Upon a Time?
Jim: Robin and Regina. All they have had to overcome and deal with and yet they still managed to get together makes my heart sing for them.
Christine L: Outlaw Queen! I love seeing Regina happy, and they've had such a long road to get to this point where nothing is standing in their way (unless you count that baby, but I'm not!). With Beauty and the Beast being my personal favorite fairy tale movie, Rumpbelle always gets me. Though we didn't see a lot of them, the introduction of the rose was wonderful!
Allison: Captain Swan all the way! They have been through so much, and I'm really excited to see how they handle Emma's darkness. Killian knows a thing or two about darkness, and so I'm hopeful that we will get to see some great moments of Killian trying to help Emma with her darkness and/or Emma dragging him into the darkness with her for a bit.
Gareth: In a bid to not receive hate mail and get involved in the numerous shipping wars, I declare my allegiance to Granny and Gepetto. They need a bit of loving!
Amanda: I have to go with Captain Swan. I'm curious to see how Emma's darkness will affect Hook. Will he fight to keep the goodness in her, or will he be attracted to the dark side of Emma?
Was there anything in “The Dark Swan” that disappointed you?
Jim: Absolutely! "Lost Memories" - AGAIN. Seriously, how many times are they going to use this damn trope. Seriously, some of the brightest minds in TV work on this show, can't someone think of another way to get to the story?
Christine L: That abrupt ending! I was just as confused as the characters were. I need to know what the heck transpired in those six weeks that would have caused such a huge turnaround from the hopeful way they entered Camelot.
Allison: Lost memories, SERIOUSLY?! I had the same reaction Jim did. This is nothing new. It isn't exciting. Honestly the flash forward at the end served no point. It was just the writers way of showing us that Emma goes dark, which we all knew was coming. Other than that, Charming and Snow being bad parents and bringing Baby Neal on that twister ride was upsetting. Robin did the same thing, but at least Roland isn't a newborn.
Gareth: I'm with Jim. I let out a loud groan at the memory loss. Why did they have to lose their memories just to keep what happened a secret from the audience? There are other, more intriguing ways of plotting a story without giving the game away. But besides that plot thread, I thought it was a really solid episode and set up the story well.
Amanda: We are all on the same page because that ending made my eyes roll to the back of my head. It's just plain old lazy storytelling. How many more times are they going to use the memory loss as a crutch? Enough already!
What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?
Jim: I loved Regina's "Hey Guyliner" comment to Hook. Was a great bit of humor at a tense point, and seriously, he wears a lot of eyeliner!
Christine L: I loved Killian telling Regina that she was too good for the wand to work, that was a nice nod to exactly how far Regina has come. I also loved Regina tricking Zelena into opening the portal and weakening her. That entire scene in the town square was on point!
Allison: I really loved all of Emma's interactions with Not!Rumple (that's what I'm calling him). I loved hearing a little about the transition to embracing the darkness and watching Emma struggle to fight off the darkness temptation.
Gareth: Loved seeing NOT Rumple overdosing on the sass in this episode. His scenes with Emma were great.
Amanda: I really enjoyed Hook and Regina's snarky banter. I want to see them team up more.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.