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SEASON FINALE RECAP & REVIEW: Once Upon A Time “A Land Without Magic” S1 E22

15 May

I think it’s fair to say that no one can bitch anymore about ABC’s Once Upon A Time, not moving the story forward.  Not only did it move forward but it gave us a “what the hell happens now” moment at the very end.  I love that!  I’ve loved this show all year and I really enjoyed how they brought everything full circle to the pilot yet there is so much more to learn now.

The thing I love about OUAT is that there are certainly moments you see coming.  Emma kissing Henry to wake him up with True Love’s kiss is one of them.  But there are many other moments that really take you by surprise and question how you didn’t see it coming (like Little Red Riding Hood being the Big Bad Wolf.)  There are certainly things that will annoy you.   Emma supposedly being an expert in telling when people are lying to her yet being duped countless times.  But then there are things that will truly delight you like when August goes to see Marco in his shop and work with him just so he can be close to his father.  The show has a little bit of everything….mystery, romance, adventure, silliness, fantasy, violence, evil, and heart.   And it was all pulled together so perfectly in last night’s finale, while many lingering questions were finally answered.

One of the big events that everyone wanted to happen, happened last night…..Emma finally believes.  Lately it seems as though Emma has been given a really hard time.  People were getting very frustrated that she wasn’t believing.   It didn’t bother me as much as other people because, let’s be honest, would you believe that all the fairytale characters you read about and watched as a kid were real?   Hell no.  It would take some massive convincing and a huge leap of faith.  Your first instinct would be Emma’s….that Henry is having some sort of mental break.   But, when two adults (Jefferson and August) also try to tell you that it’s real, something has to trigger deep down inside….especially since you are supposed to have this gift of knowing when people lie to you.   Actually my problem with Emma is more her gift (or lack of it) than her not believing.  How many times has she been duped this season.  It’s as if the writers completely forgot about that storyline.  Anyhoo, I’m thrilled with the way Emma found out.  She needed a magical push.  When Henry was in the hospital, she was going through his things and she picked up the book.  As soon as she did, flashes started streaming into her head of her parents with her as a baby and scenes leading up to her going into the tree to be saved and she finally believed.  Just then, Regina shows up and Emma lays a beating on her.  It was great.  She confronts her about everything Henry said being true and shockingly, Regina admits to her that it is.  They decide they need help from the only other person who knows the truth and has the power to help….Mr. Gold.  By the way, the look on Emma’s face when Regina says to her “some people call him Rumplestiltskin” was priceless.

They go to see Mr Gold and he agrees to help.  He tells them that there is some powerful magic hidden in Storybrooke but only Emma can go and retrieve it.  We learn that Rumplestiltskin had a vial of True Love he created in fantasy land.  It’s the only thing that can break the curse because nothing is more powerful than True Love.   So that’s what Rumpy was doing with Snow and Charming’s hair!!  He wanted to save it for a rainy day. Why?  Did he know this was going to happen?  Or did he simply want to have something just in case he needed it but not knowing what he will need it for?   So where was this vile hidden where only Emma could go and retrieve it?   Why in the belly of the beast of course!   Charming hid the vial in the stomach of Malificent’s alter ego, the dragon, and when Storybrooke was created, old Malificent was brought over in her dragon form.

One of the things I loved most about this episode (besides Snow and Charming reuniting but more on that later) was the parallel of watching Charming take on the dragon while Emma was using her dad’s sword to fight the dragon in Storybrooke.  Both were doing it for love…Charming to save Snow’s life and Emma to save Henry’s.  It was beautifully done.  Emma wins and off she goes to save Henry, or so we hoped.  Gold tricked her (surprise surprise) and when Emma is untying Regina to go after him, they both get a call from the hospital..it’s Henry.

They rush in and Dr. Whale (I’m dying to know which character he is) tells them that Henry is gone and that there was nothing they could do.  Everyone is in tears (myself included.)  Emma walks in and over to her son and she tells him how much she loves him and then she kisses him.  Voila!!!  Henry takes the same deep breath that Snow takes when Charming wakes her with a kiss and Henry is back with us.  And while I saw that coming a mile away, what I didn’t see was what happened next.   As the kiss awakened Henry, it also “awakened” all our favorite fairytale characters.  The wave of truth spread throughout the town and one by one we see Granny, Red, Jiminy, the Blue Fairy, Charming, Snow, all start to remember who they really are.  As this happens, the Blue Fairy turns to the Evil Queen and says “I think you may want to run and hide Your Majesty.”  It was great!    But not as great as what happened in the street!!!!!!   We see David/Charming pulling his car into town and pulling over and start running.  Now at this point, we assume he knows who he really is, but it wasn’t until he yelled “SNOW” when he saw Mary Margaret/Snow that we knew for sure.  She softly and sweetly whispers “Charming!”  and they run into the street and kiss and I couldn’t be happier!!!  Nor could I stop crying.  I know, I’m a complete wuss.  But Snow White and Prince Charming were one of my favorite stories as a kid so I am very invested in them!

While all this is going on.  Rumpy has the vial of True Love.  What is he going to do with it at this point?  The curse is broken right?   Well let’s back up a few steps.   Jefferson went to Regina wanting to claim his side of the deal and reunite with his daughter.  Regina basically tells him to piss off since her plan didn’t work.   He tries to explain how that’s her fault, not his but Regina, as we all know, isn’t the fairest in the land.   Ha Ha Ha!!!  Get it?   Fairest in the land?   Fair meaning pretty and amenable….oh never mind.   She balks on her end of the deal and Jefferson is not pleased.  So what does he do, something brilliant!!!  He goes to the jail area where Regina keeps all the people she wants hidden (did you notice the S. Glass name next to the first cell?)  There, he opens the door for Belle’s cell.  He tells her to go find Mr Gold and tell him that Regina is the one who held her prisoner and that Mr Gold will protect her.  Belle’s slightly confused and has really bad hair but she does what Jefferson says because she’s happy to be free.

She finds Mr Gold’s shop and when she walks in and asks if he’s Mr Gold, his back is to her.  He hasn’t seen her yet.  When he turns around to see just who has entered his shop looking for him, he sees her.   His heart stops.  He can’t believe who he is seeing for the first time in a long time.  It’s such a sweet moment because the love of his life has returned (even though she doesn’t know it.)  And when she tells him that it’s Regina who held her captive, it sets him on his mission.   He and Belle go to the well area and as they are walking there, the wave of truth rushes through and Belle remembers that she loves him…yeah!!!!   They go to the well and Gold drops the vial into the well.  Bells asks him why he did that and he tells her because he wants to retrieve the magic.  “Why” she asks.  “Because Magic is Power” he tells her.  The next thing you know, the entire town is enveloped in this cloud of purple smoke.  Henry, Emma, and Blue Fairy watch it from the hospital window with a very panicked look on all their faces.  Snow and Charming see it coming for them.  The Evil Queen takes a moment to stop crying for her misery to watch it from Henry’s bedroom window and a huge grin comes across her face.   The final scene is the purple smoke working its way up the clock tower just as it strikes 8:15!

WOW!!!   What an episode.  So many questions answered but so many more have just popped up.  I see what Kitsis and Horowitz were saying when they told everyone in pre-finale interviews that you will finish watching the finale and say “what the hell happens now?”   They were right.  What does happen now?

I guess the big question is, now that the magic is out, are they all transported back to fantasy land or are they still living in Storybrooke but the magic is now with them.  I believe it’s the latter because there is still more story to tell in fantasy land.  Remember, after Charming wakes Snow, he proposes to her (she accepts of course) and they agree to take back the kingdom, away from his father and her step mother.  So there is a war to wage and witness in fantasy land still.  So I think we will still see the parallel universes.  It will be fascinating to see how the fairytale characters live in Storybrooke now that they all know who they are.  Will they remember their lives as Ruby, Mary Margaret, David, etc?  I think so but I don’t know.  And what about August/Pinocchio?  Last we saw, he completely turned back into a wooden boy/man.  Did August die because the curse wasn’t broken in time?  Or did the magic save him?

That leads me to my final big question….was the curse really broken?  I don’t think so.  The curse seems to be two fold…take away the memories of who they really are and banish them to a land with no magic.  I guess you can argue that the curse is broken because they now remember and Storybrooke now has magic.  But the flip side is that they are still trapped in a world where they don’t belong.  Fantasyland is all their homes.  Not Storybrooke.  So is there more of the curse that still needs to be broken?   I guess time will tell.

What did you all think of the season finale?   Most of what I’m reading, people who have stuck with the show are over the moon about the finale.  People are thrilled.  It was a great payoff finale.   I am already counting down the days until September because I can’t wait to see what happens next!!!!

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