The seventh season of the fairytale-centric television series Once Upon A Time recently premiered with a completely different take on what viewers have been familiar with.
Through its preceding six seasons Once Upon A Time had masterfully told the story of good vs evil in a variety of different forms it takes. At the core of the story was Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison, and her quest, as saviour to return the ‘Happy Endings’ to all the fairytale folk of Storybrooke.
By the end of the sixth season it appeared that the story was drawing to a close as the much-touted final battle had been won and most character seemed to find their place and happiness. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be Once if the creators and writers didn’t have a twist up their sleeves.
And so the seventh season of the series had been flaunted as a sort of new chapter. In fact, Season Seven would commence a whole new book. It has been well documented that several members of the recurring cast will not return for the seventh season. This was evident in the season premiere as the only recognisable cast members in the first episode included Lana Parrilla, Colin O’Donaghue, and Robert Carlisle.
However, they are not the Regina, Hook, or Rumplestiltskin you’ve come to know. In fact, they have completely different identities. Regina is now bar-owner Roni who’s feistiness takes a while to assert itself but is most definitely there. The irony of Roni, even in the first episode, is that she ends the season premeier by giving a so-called ‘hope speech’, which is something Regina snarkily detested for a good five seasons.
In contrast to his original disposition Hook is the rather meek Officer Rogers who grins and bears it a lot more than Killian Jones ever would have. Meanwhile Rumple is now Detective Weaver, who definitely looks as shady as he’s always been. I’d even put money on the fact that Det. Weaver is very much awake and well aware of who he really is.
Henry, now grown up, is the central protagonist to the story. And in a somewhat bittersweet twist doesn’t believe that magic is real, nor that he is the son of the Evil Queen or that his grandparents answer to Prince Charming and Snow White. Almost as if it were a mirror image of the pilot Henry’s daughter, Lucy, shows up at his door claiming that he has the task of breaking the curse and re-uniting with his true love Cinderella. In this iteration Cinderella, real world name Jacinda, is a single mom working a low-income job and under the thumb of her stepmother.
While the reception, among fans of the show, of the new Cinderella was lukewarm at best there was unanimous praise for Andrew J. West’s performance as adult Henry. So far, West has done a superb job of incorporating young Henry’s idiosyncrasies into his own performance in manner that makes you look forward to the rest of the season.
If you’d never seen Once Upon A Time before this season premiere you could very well think it was the pilot for a new show, it felt that different to what has gone before.
For fans this new chapter of Once will probably take a bit of adjustment. But the good thing about the season premiere is that it was intriguing enough to peak the interest of what the writers and creators have in store next. And that is Once Upon A Time to a tee.