I apologize for the slight delay in getting this post finished. I hope all of you had a happy weekend of pre-Christmas festivities!
With Christmas fast approaching and many shows on short or painfully long hiatuses already, this was a relatively uneventful week in the world of television—with a few major exceptions, of course. Sunday’s midseason finale of Once Upon a Time was every bit as compelling and emotional as a series finale, with only its final moments serving as a reminder that there’s plenty of fun in store for us once March 9 rolls around. The rest of the week was filled with Christmas specials and classic films (from It’s a Wonderful Life to The Sound of Music), and it concluded with the hilarious hosting performance Jimmy Fallon provided on Saturday Night Live, proving that his beautiful bromance with Justin Timberlake is creative comedy gold.
I don’t think it should come as a surprise that my favorite television moment of the week came from Once Upon a Time. “Going Home” was one of the show’s most powerful hours to date—from Rumplestiltskin’s climactic showdown with Pan to Regina’s gorgeous character growth; from the Charming Family’s final hug to Hook’s last promise to Emma. But in an hour of incredible emotional highs and lows, nothing was better than the sequence of Emma and Henry driving away from Storybrooke as the town disappeared under the purple cloud of Regina’s magic. Everything about this scene was perfect—the music, the lighting, the editing, and the subtle but effective acting by Jennifer Morrison with just her eyes in the rearview mirror.
I got choked up when the new curse engulfed Henry’s storybook—that symbol of hope and connection between mother, son, and the world of fairytales they were leaving behind. But I completely lost it when Emma chose to hold baby Henry in her new memories. Although it’s not real, whenever Emma gets her old memories back, she will still have the belief that this new memory represents—the belief in the possibility of her having a happy ending as a mother. To see Emma’s entire character arc reflected in this change from the inability to believe in her role as a mother to her acceptance of this role was truly touching. And the way Morrison showed—just in the slight crinkle around her eyes—Emma’s new sense of peace and happiness as the new memories took hold was wonderful.
The final scene of the episode was worth all of the emotional exhaustion that came before it. Hook’s arrival in Emma and Henry’s world was a most welcome surprise for me as a viewer, and it gave me such hope for the second half of this season. I’m hopeful that Emma will get back her old memories while still getting to keep the ones of her happy life with her son. I’m hopeful that she’ll have someone by her side who crossed realms to find her after she was supposed to be gone forever. And I’m hopeful that Emma will be able to accept and be with people who accept all that she is—the savior, the mother, the princess, the lost girl, and all of the other facets that make her the kind of character such great episodes are based around.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?