Well, well, well. Did we not get an interesting episode of Once Upon a Time last night?
Now that we know for sure that Cora has never read the Evil Overlord List, we can also thank the PTB for telegraphing Cora's demise so much that there really never should have been any hype to generate over it. Really, guys, the last two times a Storybrooke character was killed off, we didn't get any real backstory on them from Fairy Tale Land until the episode in which they died. Don't believe me?
Just last week, we first met Johanna, Snow's former castle servant and trusted childhood friend. (And just a bit reminiscent of the Nurse from "Romeo and Juliet", perhaps.) We have no backstory on her until that point, and she is killed off in Storybrooke in that episode.
And then there's Sheriff Graham. Our dear Huntsman. Emma's dear Huntsman. Regina's dear Huntsman. We knew almost nothing about his life in Fairy Tale Land until the episode of Graham's death.
Once is a fluke. Twice is the beginning of a pattern. So, is anyone really surprised that in the episode finally telling Cora's Fairy Tale Land backstory, Cora is the one who is killed off? Let's not forget that ABC is owned by Disney. It's a pretty good bet they're not going to be silly enough to kill off an opening credits character, at least not any time soon. It's the super-wicked--even more wicked than the Regina the Evil Queen--evil queen who gets it in the end. Of course, as we now know, Cora's death saves her former love's life, so we have an interesting tradeoff that leaves a ton of questions beyond just how Regina is going to get her revenge upon Snow.
What will Rumple do with the knowledge that his life comes from the life of the woman he once loved? He obviously realized what was happening as Cora was dying. He had the candle. He knew. He stared down the abyss of death, and then had Cora's life transferred to him. If that doesn't change him somehow, I might have to get into a disagreement with the writers.
Another question mark regarding Rumple: what will he do now that he has family? He not only has Bae, he has a grandson. He has family who will stand with him against evil. How is this going to affect our dearie?
Snow. Our dear Snow is not as pure of heart as anyone had thought, even Charming. Snow has contributed to taking a life in vengeance. She has avenged her mother, but at what cost? We know Snow has led an assault against King George's castle trying to save Charming. She's a survivor, even if she tries her best to always carry good in her heart. Sometimes, though, idealism must take a backseat to reality. Snow sacrificed one evil creature to save the life of another evil creature. Better the devil you know? Especially now that they owe you their life? What do you do when the Dark One owes you their life? What is it going to take for Snow to call in that favor? Because you know that's now a proverbial gun on the shelf just waiting for the writers to fire it later.
There are other questions, to be sure, but these three have the potential to shift the foundations of Storybrooke in ways we're just starting to imagine.
Farewell, Cora. Hello tectonic shifts in storytelling.