y'know the drill. SPOILERS.
Okay guys. Let's be honest. While there were some great moments in the episode, it wasn't quite as climatic as most OUAT mid-season finales are. In fact, I thought the flash back scenes with Hook's father were actually kind of a let down (except the finale one, of course). Hook's sacrifice was not at all a surprise... and not nearly as sad as it should have been, given that anyone who reads the internet probably already knew they were going to the underworld in 5b so of course Hook is coming back. Which is sad, because the actors did a great job with the scene.
(Speaking of Hook's father, I totally thought his half-brother was going to be Robin Hood. Someone on tumblr theorized that Liam = William = Will Scarlet, which I think would be interesting although I'm not sure if the timelines work for that).
What WAS shocking was Rumple's reversion to being the Dark One, out of choice. I did NOT see that coming, and this is probably the maddest I have been about anything on OUAT since they made Captain Hook a hot hero. I've been a Rumbelle fan since day 1, and this is my breaking point. I cannot trust Rumple after this. I truly thought that removing the darkness was going to let him be good at last and he and Belle would get to be happy for more than a single night but NOOOOO.
Listen, I can deal with a lot of the show's twists and turns. I'm not a fan who gets mad at every little thing. But this is pretty big, and feels like a real blow in the face to the fans who have been cheering for Rumbelle for 4 years now. *sigh* Yeah. I'm ready to have Belle really and truly get over Rumple and fall for someone else. Except, of course, now actress Emilie de Ravin is pregnant, so there's a decent chance a little baby Gold is heading this way next season.
Now, in regards to babies. poor baby Hood and baby Neal! And Roland! I sort of can't believe that ALL the parents just marched off to the Underworld. And baby Hood doesn't even have a name! We have to wait until March to know her name? Tragedies!!!
The 5a story arc has been quite good, which is why this lukewarm mid-season finale is puzzling. After several years of very disconnected A and B season parts, this seems to be a much more integrated storyline, so perhaps that is a factor.