So I’m rambling but..
Emma’s not strong, brave and tenacious because she’s the saviour. She’s always been that way, it’s a part of who she is. Emma’s the saviour because she’s strong, brave and tenacious. So the wish took those things away. It didn’t strip her of the ‘saviour’ title, it stripped her of all the things that make Emma.. Emma.
Instead, we saw Princess Emma.. unwilling and unable to defend herself and fight for what’s right, easily accepting of defeat. That person is the polar opposite of the Emma Swan we know and love, which I guess was the point? I don’t think the message was that without the curse and magic and heartache, Emma wouldn’t be that resilient, capable woman. I think the message is supposed to be that without all of the things that make Emma herself, she wouldn’t have even been the saviour in the first place. ‘Emma’ first, ‘saviour’ second.
At least, that’s how I’m choosing to see this episode.