I didn’t think I’d be writing this – I certainly didn’t expect to. Like most people I’d processed the idea of Jennifer Morrison leaving the show and then convinced myself it wouldn’t happen. They wouldn’t deprive Once Upon A Time of its star or half of the OTP that was one of the biggest reasons people watched in the first place.
They just wouldn’t.
Veteran of TV shockers that I am, I should have known better. The X-Files, did, after all, write out Fox Mulder. Castle tried (and ultimately failed, because the outcry was tremendous) to write out Beckett. Many a bad narrative decision has been taken in the name of money and/or because letting go is really, really hard.
So I’m here to say (to ask, really) – don’t be one of those shows, Once Upon A Time. Writing out Emma Swan is not the answer. If your star, your heroine, your savior is leaving, you need to end the show here and now.
You want the franchise to continue? Great. Do a spinoff. Use characters that are only tangentially connected to Emma Swan, characters whose stories could continue without her. Give us Regina’s search for love (but not without Henry). Hell, give us Rumple’s actual redemption arc (but not without Belle).
But don’t give us Hook doing absolutely anything other than living happily ever after with the love of his life.
Don’t make it so five years of investment in this couple, in their journey, in Emma’s journey, is wasted because of financial reasons.
Because, that’s the thing. It would be wasted. Castle didn’t even go on without Beckett, but knowing Stana Katic wasn’t invited back has soured me for even re-runs. I still, so many years later, haven’t watched any Season 9 episode of The X-Files that didn’t include Fox Mulder, and I’m a Gillian Anderson fan first and foremost.
I don’t want that to happen to Once Upon A Time. I really, really don’t.
Especially because the last episodes of season 6, up to the musical, have been the best this show has been in years. Every character has gotten a moment to shine, and the writing has made me relate to people I didn’t expect I could ever relate to.
Plus, Emma – the lost girl we met on the Pilot, all those years ago, has grown up. She’s found her family; she’s married the love of her life. She’s found her happy ending (beginning), and though we would have loved to see her have many more adventures with Hook by her side, we don’t want to be forced to watch another prolonged separation, or worse yet – a tragic end for the character, just so her other half can go on adventures.
Emma has come full circle. The show has come full circle. Let it go out on top. Let us always remember Captain Swan as they are now, let us remember Emma happy with her family.
This show, since its introduction, has been all about hope. And that’s why I still have hope. Hope that we – and Emma – can still get our happy ending. Hope that this is the end.
If we can’t watch the happy beginning, let them at least have it without us. They deserve it. We deserve it.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.