Ever since Elsa and Anna said their final, chocolatey goodbyes to Storybrooke, "Once Upon a Time" has been all about figuring out which of its characters are heroes and which are nefarious, treacherous villains. But on Sunday night's (May 3) episode, viewers and former Enchanted Forest residents alike learned that the choices that Regina (Lana Parrilla), Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) make don't even necessarily affect where they fall on the hero scale, because the Author can just rewrite them any way he damn well pleases.
As usual, the big reveal that the author was rewriting the book to fit Rumple's (Robert Carlyle) needs was especially cruel to Regina, since she had only just made the heroic decision to not rewrite it herself, to erase Zelena from existence. Instead, she decided to embrace a different path than her mother's and enjoy a happy future with Robin Hood, leaving Zelena to metaphorically rot in prison.
Emma also chose the hero's path as she finally forgave her parents for the mistakes they made while she was still in utero, but again -- none of what happened in "Mother" matters as of this moment, since Rumple and the Author could pull a George R. R. Martin and give these characters a future that's more "Game of Thrones" than Disney if they so choose.
So, to play Devil's Advocate for a hot minute, here's what we hope might happen when the heroes finally embrace their dark side in "Operation Mongoose" -- and why someone finally has to die:
Hook and Emma should get it on.ABC/Jack Rowand
If you saw next week's preview, then you probably noticed that it featured a witchy-looking Emma hanging out in what appeared to be a castle tower. Which is fun and all, but we're just hoping that Emma finally lets loose and embraces her, um, sensual side when it comes to the hunky Irish pirate that is madly in love with her. We know that "Once Upon a Time" is a PG-rated show, but maybe they can embrace a little PG-13 in its second, 9 o'clock hour? The Captain Swan shippers need it, ABC.
Someone (Snow and Charming?) should do something that actually has lasting consequences.ABC
When Rumple got banished from Storybrooke earlier this season, pretty much everybody knew that he'd be back within weeks -- and they were right. "Once" is definitely a show that the entire family can enjoy, but that doesn't mean that the same characters should get away with doing the same treacherous things over and over... or even that the "good guys" should be able to escape every single curse scot free.
The preview for next week showed Snow going bad while Rumple lived the life of a hero, and here at MTV News we're hoping that something major happens that will irrevocably change life in Storybrooke next year. Bonus points if this comes from Snow and/or Charming, since the two of them had little to nothing to do all season -- and it would be fun to see the show really embrace the fact that heroes sometimes have to do really sh-tty things to stay ahead.
Someone should die.ABC
We're not saying it has to be Belle -- but hear us out, here. "Once" always promises high-stakes action in its mid-season and season finales, but lately all we've seen is the same characters managing to find some sort of spell that gets them out of trouble in the episode's final moments (usually followed by the appearance or reappearance of a brand new witch, obviously).
"Operation Mongoose" would earn major brownie points if it actually offed a major character like Belle or Rumple -- come on, we all know that Emma, Snow, Charming, Hook, Henry and Regina are safe -- and even more points if one of the heroes was the one who held the knife. "Once" is about to enter its fifth season, so a major dramatic shift is pretty much necessary if the show wants to build some momentum going into its Twilight Years.
It doesn't have to be one of our main heroes that dies -- actually, it probably shouldn't be for the sake of the kids -- but someone has to go if the writers want the audience to keep buying these dramatic stakes they're always promising. Valar Morghulis, guys.