In the wake of Hook resurrecting every Dark One who ever lived, the residents of Storybrooke are facing the very real possibility that some may not survive the midseason finale of Once Upon a Time.
During Sunday’s episode, the newly resurrected Dark Ones will set their sights on snuffing out the light for good. “That’s a whole can of worms that none of us expected even existed,” Ginnifer Goodwin tells EW. “We’ve spent five seasons fighting a Dark One, so finding out that they can all come together — they are an unstoppable force when it comes to fighting the Light Ones.”
There’s just one tiny problem with the Dark Ones’ plan: They need to sacrifice a soul in order to stay in the realm of the living, which means that a number of our favorite heroes, including Snow (Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), Regina (Lana Parrilla) and more are quite literally marked for death. “Once you snuff out the light, all there is is darkness,” Parrilla says. “What does that mean for everyone? All the living souls are in danger, especially because we don’t know what could happen. We all get branded, and we’re all being sent to the Underworld, so what does that mean for our future? It’s a scary fate for them.”
With the situation looking grim, Gold (Robert Carlyle) advises everyone to spend their final fleeting moments with their loved ones, which is exactly what he does with Belle (Emilie de Ravin). “There’s a lovely moment in episode 11 where he genuinely thinks that’s it for everyone, because they have been marked, and the ferryman is coming to take them all to the Underworld,” Carlyle says. “He thinks that’s the end of it. He meets up with her and gives her this car and a potion to cross the town line and be unaffected by it. She’s obviously saying, ‘Why are you trying to get rid of me?’ He’s like, ‘I’m not. I just want you to have the life you’ve always wanted. You’ve wanted to see the world, you’ve wanted to experience life, and I want you to do that,’ not telling her that obviously that he and the rest of them are going to die.”
However, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) refuses to give up hope, and searches for a way to rid the Darkness, which has enticingly offered up what Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) wants the most. “Hook is facing an internal struggle,” executive producer Edward Kitsis says. “For Hook, the thing that he coveted most in the world was revenge, and that would be revenge on Rumple. The real question is: Is he willing to sacrifice everyone else in his life to get revenge? The roles are reversed because now it is up to Emma to save him.”
“She feels incredibly guilty that she’s responsible for everything going astray,” Morrison says. “She knows that even though her intentions were good, a lot of terrible things have happened because of it. Now her son’s life is threatened. That’s the big thing that gets Emma every time. Even when she chose to take on the Darkness in the first place at the end of season 4, her decision to give herself up was: “Yes, Regina’s in danger, everyone’s in danger, but my son’s in danger.” Every decision for Emma since she’s been reunited with Henry goes back to her concern for him and never wanting to have to be separated from him and never wanting to hurt him again. Now, as the Dark One, she made choices to hurt him, which is devastating. Her family is in danger, including Henry, because of the choices she’s made. She’s in such a deep well of guilt and will do anything she can to make it right.”
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Once Upon a Time’s midseason finale airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.