TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.21/6.22

JENNIFER MORRISON

Source: ew.com

Title The Final Battle: Part 1/The Final Battle: Part 2

Two-Sentence Summary After the Black Fairy casts her curse, Henry has to try to get Emma to believe the truth about herself and her family, who are trapped in an Enchanted Forest that is rapidly disappearing along with her belief. Meanwhile, flash-forwards reveal the next generation’s Truest Believer and her skeptical parent.

Favorite Line “Now we get to do what’s next. Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a powerful thing, but living with that kind of belief—that’s the most powerful thing of all. That’s hope. So you ask ‘What now?’ Now, we get to keep going on. We get to keep doing what we love with people we love. An ending isn’t happiness. Being together is.” (Snow White)

My Thoughts
“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.”

Once Upon a Time has always been a show for believers and for those who want once again to believe. It’s a show that reminds its viewers that there is power in believing—in magic, in your loved ones, and in yourself. Belief—and the hope that comes from living out that belief even when others try to tell you that you’re crazy for it—is a saving grace in a world that all too often has forgotten that being hopeful isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.

This chapter of Once Upon a Time was the story of a woman’s journey to believe in the face of incredible obstacles, and it was also the story of the boy who helped her find that belief. This chapter taught its viewers many lessons, but one of its most lasting messages , which was reflected in an important way in this finale, was that it’s okay to need help sometimes; you don’t have to do everything on your own—including believing in yourself.

The power of belief was at the center of “The Final Battle,” to the point where the titular battle wasn’t really referring to the swordfight that occurred near the end of the episode but was actually the battle for Emma’s belief, which began—as Rumplestiltskin predicted it would—when Henry brought Emma to Storybrooke on her 28th birthday with the goal of getting her to believe in her true self.

In the world of Once Upon a Time, belief is so powerful that a lack of it can literally destroy worlds. I thought it was such a fascinating twist to have the “realms of story” begin collapsing as Emma’s belief faded. Although when taken literally, it was a little disturbing to consider the lives lost if only that small circle of characters survived Emma’s crisis of faith (but maybe when Emma believed again everything that seemed lost went back to the way it had been), it served as a powerful symbol of what belief means to these characters. A lack of belief—cynicism, apathy, pessimism—can act as a dark, destructive cloud, wiping away not only magic but also love, family, and a sense of home. Those things can’t exist for us unless we allow ourselves to believe we can have them, so for those to be the things threatened by Emma’s lack of belief made perfect sense given this show’s ethos.

What was so interesting about the interplay between the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke scenes in this episode was the way they balanced each other out—when Emma’s belief was at its lowest, her loved ones still believed they could help her. Whether it was Zelena, Regina, and the Evil Queen working together or Charming and Killian teaming up for another adventure, these characters chose to believe in themselves and in each other in their quest to get back to Emma and Henry.

Out of all the Enchanted Forest storylines in this episode, Charming and Killian’s beanstalk adventure was my favorite because of what it reminded us about these two men. They’ve come so far from the days when Charming saw Killian as nothing but a pirate to the moment when he called him his “son…in law.” But even from the start, these two characters have always been motivated by the same thing: love. They hate feeling helpless when they know their loved ones need them, so it seemed fitting that Charming would be the one to notice that Killian had struck out on his own to get back to his wife. (I smiled every time he called Emma that. THEY GOT MARRIED!)

It also seemed fitting that Killian delivered his heartbreakingly beautiful monologue about his relationship with Emma to Charming. Not only are Killian and Charming alike in their devotion to the women they love, Colin O’Donoghue and Josh Dallas are alike in the sincerity of their line readings, which has always made them such great scene partners.

Killian’s speech was one of the highlights of a great finale because, again, it was all about the importance of belief. He reminded Charming and the audience that he and Emma both had to believe in and work for their happy ending. Emma helped him believe he could change for the better, and he helped her believe the same about herself. They gave each other hope—the hope that their past didn’t have to define them, the hope they could be loved, and finally, the hope that they could be happy. They never had the assurance that their love would be strong enough to survive everything their journey threw at them, but they believed in it anyway. They believed their love was worth fighting for—even if they had no idea how their story would end. Killian and Emma’s vows were incredibly romantic, but I think this speech, delivered with O’Donoghue’s trademark sincerity, might have been an even better summation of why this love means so much—not just to Killian and Emma as characters but to those of us who watched it unfold as well:

Things changed. We changed. We made each other better. Emma and I were never a predestined love story guaranteed a happy ending. We fought for our love, and we won.

And that has been the most special thing about this love story—it’s not a traditional fairytale; it’s a story of two people who struggled to believe they could ever be happy and open their hearts again making the choice to believe in each other and in the strength of their partnership and love. They fought for their love when they might have lost hope in the past, and Killian continued to fight for that love by going back to the place where it all began—the beanstalk.

The beanstalk was initially a test of Emma’s faith, and it revealed that she had a long way to go before she would be able to believe in Killian. Now, though, it was a test of Killian’s faith, and it was one he intended to pass. He believed his wife was worth risking life and limb for, which was a stark change from his motives the last time he climbed that beanstalk—back then, his goal was getting back to Storybrooke to get his revenge, while now it was getting back to Storybrooke to save his True Love, his wife. And Charming could see the strength of Killian’s belief, which inspired his own belief in his son-in-law’s quest.

I was a little disappointed that their adventure turned out to mean very little to the actual plot of the episode, but it gave us two lovely romantic moments—Killian’s aforementioned speech and Charming and Snow’s True Love’s Kiss. I know they already did this exact role reversal in Season Two, but they could give each other True Love’s Kiss a thousand times, and I would never get tired of it. And thanks to the flashbacks to their first True Love’s Kiss in the pilot, we were reminded that Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin’s chemistry has been magical from their first moments onscreen together and has only gotten more magical with time. If this beautiful kiss was our way of saying goodbye to this love story, I can’t find it in me to complain about the logistics of it. (True Love’s Kiss can save people after falling from great heights now? Cool.)

In the end, the Enchanted Forest stuff was fun, but the heart of this episode resided in Storybrooke with Emma and Henry. For as important as Snow, Charming, Regina, and Killian have become to Emma, Henry had to be the one to encourage Emma’s belief in this finale (and not just because of how it ended). This story began because a little boy believed in magic and in his mom and his mom loved him enough to break a curse, so it felt right for this story to end with that same little boy—now a young man—and the love between him and his mother.

The first half of this finale was difficult to watch because of how well both Jennifer Morrison and Jared Gilmore played their characters’ struggles. Morrison made Emma seem so defeated and beaten down by memories of people telling her she was crazy for believing in Henry’s stories of magic. This lack of faith was different than what we saw from her in Season One; back then, Emma was hardened by life but still had a spark left in her that allowed her to believe, but now, that spark was gone. Even when she had brief flashes of memories of her wedding and when it seemed the image of Killian in the book might trigger a realization, the voices of the world telling Emma her belief was ridiculous and even dangerous were too strong. And Gilmore met that sense of defeat with his own desperation that felt very different from the young boy who once seemed so sure he could get his mother to believe. Now, his efforts were filled with a fighting spirit he inherited from his mother. Her defeated attitude only made him even more steadfast in his belief, which made for a more mature dynamic between them befitting the six seasons that had passed since Henry showed up on her doorstep.

Despite Henry’s best efforts, though, the Black Fairy’s curse seemed too strong. When Emma burned the storybook, I was devastated. That book represented hope, but it also represented her true identity—her story. Burning it was like watching Emma burn a part of herself—the part that was strong, happy, and able to believe she could be loved. However, that’s what made Henry’s surprise storybook so beautiful. Emma left because she thought it was the sacrifice Henry deserved, very much echoing her choice to give him up as a baby. But Henry wasn’t about to let her go without a fight. If he couldn’t show up on her doorstep again, he would do the next best thing—bring her story to her. By writing Emma’s story again even after the book was destroyed, Henry showed that he still believed in her—even when things seemed to be at their worst. He was never going to give up on her, even though it seemed as if she’d given up on herself.

Ultimately, Henry’s belief once again helped Emma find her own. I loved everything about Emma’s return to Storybrooke—from the way her outfit echoed her Season One wardrobe and hair to the fact that she did need a little push to help her believe again. There’s nothing wrong with drawing strength from other people’s belief in you; there’s nothing shameful about needing a reminder of your best self from those you love when you feel like that self is gone. That’s what love is all about—believing in someone even when they find it hard to believe in themselves. True strength comes from being open to that belief and using it to find your best self again instead of trying to stand alone all the time.

Emma’s return wasn’t perfect; she didn’t triumphantly say she remembered, but she did believe that she could be the woman Henry wrote about—even if she still had no proof that she really was that woman. And that’s important. Because showing up is more than half the battle; it takes more courage to believe than to remember. Emma’s journey has been about believing in the face of a lifetime of circumstances that would make anyone a doubter, and this was the ultimate moment of belief. She believed she could be the woman Henry wrote about—a hero who loves and is loved and found happiness—and that belief was enough to save all the realms of story.

What was so important about Emma’s statement of belief was that it was a distinct choice she made to believe in herself as the Savior. For so long, all I’ve wanted for Emma was for her to choose that path instead of feeling like she had to live out a destiny she had no say in. And this was her making that choice. She told Henry that she wanted to be the woman he wrote about—the Savior. And that was a sentence I’d waited six seasons to hear her say. This was Emma punching back one last time and defining herself on her own terms, and this time, she chose to define herself as all the things Henry said she was—a mother, a daughter, a wife, and a Savior. She was no longer someone who had a destiny thrust upon her; she was a woman who chose her own path because she believed in her ability to be a hero.

Emma’s choice to believe may have saved the realms of story, but her loved ones still needed a way to get back to her—and she still needed to remember the truth. That came from another character making a choice rooted in love and in belief—Rumplestiltskin. By choosing to kill his mother, he put love first and he allowed himself to believe that he didn’t need the power she was promising in order to have a good life with his family. That choice broke the curse, proving that Rumplestiltskin was truly the Savior destined to destroy the greatest darkness.

But Emma wasn’t out of the woods yet. The Black Fairy’s final command was for Gideon to kill Emma, which led to the literal Final Battle—a swordfight between two people whose parents gave them away to allow them to have their best chance but who actually grew up in worlds that broke them and left them alone and lost. Gideon and Emma’s similarities run deep, which was what made their battle so painful. Gideon didn’t want to kill Emma—he was an innocent whose agency was taken from him. And that was why Emma couldn’t kill him, why she ended up sacrificing herself instead. (Don’t get me started, though, on my confusion over why everyone just had to stand back and watch and why no one even tried to restrain Gideon or help Emma.) Emma Swan’s empathy has always been her secret weapon; she has always used the life experiences that could have turned her into a villain to instead fuel her desire to help others.

When Emma threw down her sword and prepared to sacrifice herself, it was the culmination of her entire story. She went from being a woman who didn’t believe in this identity as the Savior and then came to fear all that came with it—the responsibility, the tragic fate—to a woman who fully embraced her identity and her fate without running away in fear.

Emma was completely selfless in that moment, and that selflessness was met by a surprisingly selfless act from Rumplestiltskin. When faced with the ultimate choice between love and power—between having to work hard for something real and taking the easy way out—Rumplestiltskin chose love. He chose family. He chose to do the hard thing, to believe that his love for his family is more important than his power and that he can finally be the man they deserve. Watching him stare down the devil on his shoulder in the form of his worst Dark One self was chilling; Robert Carlyle was brilliant in that scene, and he made me believe in this character for the first time in a very long time.

Both Emma and Rumplestiltskin did the right thing, but initially it seemed not to matter. But that’s actually when doing the right thing matters most—when there’s no guarantee that it’ll lead to something good for you. However, just when things seemed at their bleakest, Henry reminded us all what really matters: True Love. He kissed his mom not to try to break a curse but just because he loved her, much like Emma did with him back in Season One. And just like it did then, that kiss—True Love’s Kiss—worked. Yes, Emma could have been kissed back to life by her husband or even her parents, but I loved the symmetry of it being her son, her first True Love, who brought everything full circle.

As Emma found herself surrounded by her family, it felt like the perfect way to close this chapter—with the woman who wished not to be alone enveloped in hugs from her friends, her son, her parents, and her husband. As Snow said in her perfect monologue delivered with such hopeful beauty by Goodwin, this isn’t the end of the story; they get to keep going on. True Love’s Kisses, weddings, and victories over villains may be happy endings in fairytales, but in life, they’re happy beginnings. They’re gateways to new adventures, and it was nice to see the writers acknowledge the original driving force behind the show—to explain what happened after “Happily Ever After”—as they closed this chapter of it

The final montage of this finale was some of the most beautiful work ever done on this show. Without any words—with only Mark Isham’s gorgeous score backing the vignettes—we were reminded of the lessons that each character has taught us over the years. In Snow and Charming’s farmhouse future, we were shown that happiness is found not in the big moments in life but in the little moments of peace and normalcy spent with your family. Regina and Emma dropping Henry off at school together reminded us that their journey has been about happiness being found when you put aside your differences and find common ground. The dwarves bowing to Regina—Queen of Storybrooke—showed us that forgiveness can be found and we can all find a place where we belong. (Not to mention the fact that even the Evil Queen found happiness with an engagement to Robin Hood.) And I was surprised to find that the most emotional I got during that montage was during Belle and Rumplestiltskin’s dance. Maybe it’s just the fact that the opening notes of “Beauty and the Beast” make me cry all the time, but I think it had more to do with the idea that no matter what we’ve done in the past or how unworthy we may feel of a happy ending—we can still get one. Rumplestitskin and Belle got a second chance to raise their son, proving that sometimes you can get second chances in life.

Did Rumplestiltskin deserve this chance? Probably not. But that’s not what this show is about. It’s about hope. And someone out there watching probably related to Rumplestiltskin’s story of bad choices, addiction, and fear and felt like his happy ending gave them hope for their own. Because Once Upon a Time is in the business of spreading hope, not serving up karma.

And what about Emma Swan? She rode off into the sunset with her new deputy who also happens to be her new husband. Two former thieves—pirates in their own way—finding a life in fairytale law enforcement, putting down real roots in the town they call home. Her happy beginning is rooted in the things she was afraid to even admit she wanted when we first met her—a home, a love that doesn’t leave, and a family by her side. She now has all of those things, and her sense of contentment in those final shots will warm my heart forever. Morrison did such a beautiful job of showing Emma’s happiness radiating off of her, leaving us with do doubt that this character has finally allowed herself to believe in her own ability to be happy.

The final tableaux of this part of the story—with all the characters we’ve come to know and love sharing a meal together at Granny’s—reinforced the idea that this show has always been, first and foremost, about family. This is Henry’s crazy extended family, the family Emma wished for on that blue star candle, the family Regina never believed she’d be a part of, the family Snow and Charming feared they’d always lose, the family Rumplestiltskin was never brave enough to fight for, and the family Killian feared he’d never be worthy of. They’re all imperfect, but they’re all bound together by love, forgiveness, friendship, and a belief that they’re stronger together.

I couldn’t have imagined a happier ending.

However, this isn’t a show about happy endings—it’s about what comes after them. And the story of what came after this moment is what will fuel the show going forward. For now, all we know is that Henry grew up to have a daughter but has somehow forgotten both her and his family. Now it’s his turn to rediscover his belief and save his family with the help of his child.

I’ll admit that the fun parallels between the pilot and the end of this episode made me much more eager to check out Season Seven than I was expecting to be. I most likely won’t write about it weekly, but consider my interest piqued. If nothing else, this episode reminded me that Once Upon a Time knows what kind of show it is and won’t do anything to take away hope from its viewers. That’s enough for me to believe in the story they want to continue telling.

And belief is everything.

I’m planning to write more about the conclusion of this chapter of the show and my relationship to it in the future, along with a revised letter to Emma for The Fan Mail Project, so stay tuned for even more feelings in the coming weeks!

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17 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.21/6.22

  1. No time to really write all the things right now, but did anyone else have Neverending Story flashbacks when the Nothing came to take away the Enchanted Forest?

    Also, “True Love’s Kiss can save people after falling from great heights now? Cool.” yeah, that.

    I’m not sure how it works that Rumple can have a happily ever after while still remaining The Dark One, but I guess *maybe* we’ll see more about that next year. Or not.

    • You were not alone in your Neverending Story flashbacks!! Even down to all the lands and the characters coming back after Emma’s belief was restored. I am going to go with the idea that the magical lands havent always been tied to the savior’s belief…the black fairy just tied the realms to it with her curse. All the logistics and motivations for this whole thing were very confusing and not really explained. Looking back now I wish we could have drawn out this final battle into the whole back part of season 6 instead of giving us all that pointless drama with Killian and Emma.

  2. This finale wasn’t perfect, but its ending was near perfect.

    During that final montage, I remembered what I read somewhere in this blog, about how you thought the series with end on an Emma’s birthday surrounded by her family – in complete opposition to what happened on the pilot. For a minute, I expected to see a birthday cake being brought to the table.

    However, since they’d already recreated the birthday cupcake scene for Wish You Were Here, I guess doing it again wouldn’t have the same impact.

    On the other hand, remember when David said, on Manhattan, something like “Thank God we don’t have Thanksgiving on our land, ’cause that dinner would suck”? Well, they had that dinner and, guess what? It didn’t suck. In the contrary: it was the perfect way to end this part of the story.

    Well, almost. The Last Supper imagery was a tad too much for me.

    • I also agree that The Last Supper imagery was a bit much, although really, there isnt really any other way they could have staged it for a final image that wouldnt involve the back of some people’s heads. Nobody eats like that, its just the easiest way to get everyone’s face in the scene, so I am going to forgive them.

      • Ditto on the Last Supper. (Of course, to me it more like “Hey! We did this on “Lost.” Let’s try it here, too.)

  3. Lovely job on this. I’m glad you stepped and put together all the insightful, coherent sentences. (I’m still in floppy feelings land.)

    I’m so glad we get to look forward to some more posts to help us all process this. It’s a testament to the power of story, the power of words that we all feel so deeply about these stories and these characters.

    I love the continued focus on hope and the power of belief in this finale. It’s what drew so many of us to the show (and to this blog).

    A happy ending doesn’t just happen – you have to work for it. (That was the problem that Regina had in the early portion of her redemption arc – she thought once she turned her away from evil that everything would be easier.) Killian and Emma had to fight for their love, but Charming and Snow had to work for their happy ending (and beginning and ending) as well. In fact, we’ve seen almost everyone who chose to be a hero fight for their happy ending. Happy endings are worth fighting for. Hope is worth fighting for.

    (Fight the good fight, fellow NGN-ers.)

    I do think it’s good that Rumple was the one to defeat the Black Fairy. This gave him a chance to choose his family over power. I love how you phrased that as “he chose to do the hard thing” because that’s how I’ve always thought of Belle. She has so often chosen to do the hard thing. It’s nice to see Rumple step up now to do the hard thing.

    Emma saves herself by believing in the person she wants to be. (We all know how much I love the theme of identity.) She punches back and decides who she’s going to be –and it’s not the person so many people are trying to tell her she is. She will save herself. She will choose who she will be.

    “Because showing up is more than half the battle; it takes more courage to believe than to remember.” Let’s have that put on t-shirts. I love that at when she first comes back, she doesn’t completely believe. She wants it to be real. Sometimes you have to start acting before belief fully kicks in. Taking that action makes it real.

    The burning book – oh, yeah, that hurt. I love that it’s Henry’s version of the book that helps save Emma. The power of story is powerful indeed.

    Killian and Charming – “I trust my son . . . in-law.” (*Sniffle*) This is the moment where Killian truly knows he’s a part of the family. This is the moment where he knows he’s truly accepted. This is why he’s easily able to tease Snow with the “Mommy” remark. The “we fought for our love and won” speech? Awesome. (Insert happy sigh here.)

    Good endings are tricky. While this isn’t the series finale, it is the ending of a chapter. (Plus, we know that it was designed to serve as a finale if needed.) I’ve always felt that the best and strongest finales provide closure in some areas, but keep things open enough that the audience can imagine continued stories and adventures.

    Yes, I’d love to see more, but this ending leaves me the possibility of

    — Zelena learning how to navigate the world without the benefit of magic
    — Captain Swan adventures. (Everything from remodeling the house to catching bad guys to just hanging out eating grilled cheese and onion rings.)
    — The Captain Swan honeymoon on the Jolly Roger. And pancakes. LOTS of pancakes.
    — Captain Charming adventures. (Once again, everything from helping with the remodeling to catching bad guys to hanging at Granny’s.)
    — Queen Mayor and the dwarves
    — Emma and Snow bonding time
    — Snow and Regina bonding time
    — Cruella and Fiona going head-to-head in the underworld
    — The EQ and Robin stealing from the rich and (sort of ) giving to the poor
    — More doctoberfest celebrations

  4. This has been quite the journey. Both on the show and on NGN!! First I want to thank you for all your reviews over the years. They have truly been a labor of love and I am so thankful that I got to be a part of it over the past few years. I actually want to start this by bringing back a quote from one of our beloved NGN commenters, nicademus11. This is from her comment on episode 3×12 (I was taking a walk down memory lane this week):

    “Who we are meant to be will eventually shine through. We can ignore it for a while, we can even try and run from it, but eventually we have to come to terms with all the facets of who we are. And if we want to find happiness it will be discovered in the reconciliation, forgiveness and acceptance of the path we travel.”

    I just think that perfectly sums up everyone’s journey throughout these 6 years. And not just for some of our characters. This quote can apply to any of them, even Rumple at the end.

    This was not a flawless finale (and honestly this entire season was kinda a mess. I still feel like I am owed an apology letter for subjecting me to the EQ and Rumple making out). I don’t get the curse, I don’t get the black fairy’s motivations, I don’t get why TLKs apparently now bring people back from the dead, or even what really happened in that last scene. I am thinking that Rumple was just too late to stop Gideon and that’s why his heart darkened while Rumple was holding it? But somehow Rumple trying to stop it and Emma accepting her fate and refusing to kill an “innocent” allowed for her to come back and Gideon to start over? Am I happy about this? Yes! Do I understand what happened? Not really.

    I do feel the first half of this episode really set up Killian having at least some kind of role in getting Emma to believe again, which was never really followed up on. It killed me when he first realized the curse had separated them…again…and it killed me even more to see him at the end completely powerless to do anything as they were enveloped by the curse. Everyone in the EF were largely useless in the end. But at the same time I like that Emma’s decision to come back was completely hers alone (although I do wish they showed us that epiphany moment). I thought it tied back beautifully to her best quote of the series: “People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, ‘No, this is who I am’.” Everyone was telling Emma she was crazy. That her belief was just delusion. On the other side was Henry trying to tell her she was a hero. But ultimately this came down to the fact that she didn’t want to be that person she was before Henry came into her life. She chose to be the hero even without her memories or a TLK because that’s who SHE wanted to be. I think that was who she has always been, the difference is now she’s not afraid of it.

    I think its pretty clear that this was never a show about justice. After all, almost all of these people are murders. As you said so perfectly, “Once Upon a Time is in the business of spreading hope, not serving up karma.” I feel like there were a lot of people that were hoping for Rumple and Regina and even Hook to get what was coming to them and pay for all their past evil deeds (and some that felt even Emma had plenty of things she should have to suffer for). I will admit at times over the past 6 years I was among those people that wanted to see Regina and Rumple suffer. Hell I am still disappointed nobody ever punched Neal. But I think I came to terms with this not being that type of show a long time ago, and I think that is why I could enjoy the ending. I am also someone that would rather be entertained and happy at the end of something rather than it be real and sad. They could have easily made Regina the final big bad, and a part of me thinks that may have been the plan at some point, but I don’t mind that’s not what we got. Same with Rumple living. While a part of me feels like this conclusion was easy and safe, I also don’t really feel like it was cheap or wrong (even though there are plenty who are never going to agree). For me personally I enjoyed it because Rumple and Regina (and Hook) chose to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing, not because they expected to be forgiven. It might have taken some of them longer than others, but they all did it. Villains don’t get happy endings. Did Regina and Rumple get everything they wanted in the end? Pretty much (Killian is kinda the odd man out here because he never did get revenge unless you count his happiness a certain kind of revenge?). But in Rumple, Regina, and Hook, I don’t see villains getting their happy endings. I see people that decided at various points they wanted to earn their happy endings instead of forcing them. They no longer wanted to be villains, and that’s why I am open to them having happy beginnings. In the end Emma didn’t destroy the darkness, she just created more light, and that new light is being given a chance to grow and flourish and break the ill boding patterns that entangled everyone in this mess in the first place. Being together is their happy ending and the new generation doesn’t have to grow up torn apart from their families like all of them did (at least for now).

    I also didn’t mind that CS was separated for most of this episode (but this does make me extra thankful for the pancake scene, because at least we got SOMETHING). Yes, we wont have Emma next season, but we are also losing Snow and David, so I was thrilled to get scenes between them and Killian. My heart was happy just hearing Killian call Emma is wife, and Charming calling Killian his son…in law and Killian calling Snow ‘mummy’ was perfection. The characters calling each other by their familial names with their ridiculous family tree never gets old to me. And I cant lie, the thought we might actually get to hear adult Henry call Killian ‘Dad’ is making me feel things. (headcannon: Henry didn’t call Killian ‘Dad’ until his brother/sister was born, but then it just felt natural, which is my headcannon because this is exactly what happened with me and my step-dad. Although I am not sure if I want Emma and Killian to have a kid if they are just going to be separated, because sad!).

    While I think most of us had already assumed the new guy was going to be adult Henry, it was confirmed for me the second that they put the “previous on…” from Henry’s POV but they still managed to make it mysterious. Honestly the fact this new chapter isn’t planned to be set in Storybrooke makes me more intrigued to watch next season than I was. I love urban fantasy, and for the most part, despite being in “our world” these characters have mostly been in their own magic small town bubble. I would love to see Henry on some kind of quest through the US. Like a rogue curse cloud that just transported random fairytale characters to our world memory-less and they had to find them and bring them back.

    My main concern is we are being left going into this next chapter with 3 ex-villains, none of whom particularly like each other (does the curse make them bffs?). If anything this was the hardest sell for me in the final family dinner scene. It seemed as if literally the day before Killian was ready to kill Rumple and Rumple was ready to kill everyone. Regina and Killian bicker every single chance they get. Killian was pissed off that Zelena was even in the same room with him when they were back in the EF for no real reason. I really wish they would have done more with these relationships so it didn’t feel so random that they all seemed happy at the end. But again, they are family, and I am sure all of us have some family members we have to tolerate. There usually just aren’t so many past murders or outward animosity involved. I am going to assume this was at least a month later and things had been allowed to mellow out a bit.

    Other Stuff:

    -I LOVED that adult Henry’s apartment number was 815. Once again stuck at 815. When he leaves apt 815 behind, his story starts moving forward again, just like time in Storybrooke. Such a lovely and perfect parallel.

    -As president of the #getKillianajob campaign since season 3, him being the newest Storybrooke deputy made me immensely happy. Not to mention this is pretty much the best fanfic prompt you could have given this fandom to fill in years of missing time.

    -I never expected them to actually address the Wish Realm mess they left us with but they did, and it was glorious. Honestly it was one of the most satisfying parts of the episode for me. I didn’t know it bothered me so much until they fixed it haha.

    -“its taller than I remember”. I kinda loved this line when Killian was looking at the beanstalk. Time flies when you are getting to know your future wife and obstacles seem less daunting when you make quite a team.

    -Hook’s pirate theme playing as he was in the giant’s castle was fabulous. I loved hearing that piece of music again.

    -As of right now I will most likely watch the new season because I am addicted to fairytale stories and I just cant help myself. And thanks to years and years of reading comics, I think I have become mostly immune to reboots and cannon being blown to pieces.

    • I’ve been mulling over your point about justice. I think some people had a very set idea of how these villains should pay for their past. Personally, I think what I want to see is acknowledgement. This is why I had practically no problem with Killian’s redemption arc: He owned his past and made an effort to change. When his past caught up to him, he felt it was deserved. (I still love your Killian instant karma theory.) I think it took Regina a little longer to own her past. She kept wanting to draw a line — and the effects of the past weren’t supposed to cross that line. And Rumple? He owned his past in the worst possible way — by never understanding what he had done wrong . . . Like you, I want them to get to the point where they do the right simply because it was the right thing. Part of me likes Rumple living — he has to live with the consequences of his decision (unlike when he killed Pan). That’s the hard road of heroism — doing the right thing and living with it when it’s difficult.

      That’s part of what has been fun about this show and this space — we get to mull such things.

      I’m totally on board with wanting to see Henry calling Killian “Dad.” I am SUCH a fan of found family. (Am I the only person who can imagine the grin on Killian’s face the first time Henry does this?) I love your headcannon, but given how quickly Henry started referring to the Charmings as “Grandma” and “Grandpa” I have a feeling Killian may become “Dad” quickly.

      Forgot to mention earlier: I think everyone is aware of my fondness for magical poofing. (This would be the first thing I would learn if I had magic. I want to be able to poof in and poof out — especially to poof out of places.) Jasmine’s snap for the magic carpet runs it a VERY close second. That was seriously cool.

      • I LOVED the carpet snap! I wouldnt be sad if Aladdin and Jasmine find there way back in Season 7. I have no idea what they would do, but I like them. At first I thought she was calling for the carpet to go catch Killian and Charming falling…but I guess the carpet is simply and bloodhound and Killian and David have unbreakable bones.

        I am with you on the acknowledgement thing. It was so much easier for me to forgive Killian than Regina and Rumple simply because he never had a problem admitting he was wrong. Regina and Rumple not so much. But I must be a people pleaser because for some reason simply knowing that fans of Regina and Rumple get to see their favs get happy endings too outweighs whether or not I think they have fully earned them.

  5. Did anybody else miss Elsa and Anna when they gave us a Sven cameo?! I wish they would have at least name dropped them a bit more in the later seasons. Like, “hey look at this wedding present Elsa sent!” Emma and Elsa mirror skype right?

    • Yes! to the cameo.

      I realize that the difficulty with television is that these characters are tied to actual people . . . but yes, we could at least have them name-dropped.

      And yes, Emma and Elsa totally mirror skype.

  6. I love coming here and catching up with all the details I missed (Henry’s apt #815 and references to the music played in certain scenes, etc). Thank you for all the lovely reviews, Katie. My viewing of Once is never complete until I come here. ❤

  7. This is Henry’s crazy extended family, the family Emma wished for on that blue star candle, the family Regina never believed she’d be a part of, the family Snow and Charming feared they’d always lose, the family Rumplestiltskin was never brave enough to fight for, and the family Killian feared he’d never be worthy of.

    Made me tear up! Have so much to say, but I’m at Disneyworld!

  8. Pingback: Fangirl Thursday: The End of an Era | Nerdy Girl Notes

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