Grading the Series Finales: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

ouatiw finale

Today, Leah is back to share her thoughts on the finale of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and the series as whole.

Title And They Lived… (1.13)

Written By Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and Zack Estrin

What Happened? Jafar and Amara finish casting the spell that breaks the laws of magic, which they then both use for various means. Cyrus and Amara head to the Well of Wonders to return the water, while Alice heads off with an army towards Jafar’s castle, prepared to strike. However, their plans are interrupted when Jafar’s new army captures Alice. Jafar threatens to use his magic to change Alice’s past in an attempt to get Alice to reveal Amara’s location, but before he has to use that plan, members of his army arrive with reports of seeing Amara and Cyrus by two red doors, which the love-curse-stricken Anastasia tells Jafar is the Well of Wonders.

While Jafar chases Amara, Will talks to Anastasia and makes her doubt the validity of her love for Jafar enough to get her close enough for him to reach out and kiss her. The kiss is true love’s kiss and thus breaks the spell Anastasia is under. Upon coming back to herself, she immediately helps Will and Alice out of their various confinements.

Jafar interrupts Cyrus and Amara’s attempt to give the water back to the Well of Wonders and kills Amara, which turns her back into the water that gave her life so many years ago. Alice appears—disrupting Jafar for a moment—but he freezes her with his magic before she can really do anything. As Cyrus attempts to put the water back into the well, Jafar takes it for himself, gaining the wrath of the well’s guardian, Nyx, and bringing about his own punishment as a genie. This undoes all of what Jafar’s magic had recently done, and it stopped the effects of Cyrus stealing the water so many years earlier, freeing Cyrus’s brothers and Will from being genies and undoing Jafar’s revival of Anastasia.

Alice and Cyrus arrive with water from Nyx to bring Anastasia back because it was not her time to die. Back in England, the Rabbit marries Alice and Cyrus ,with Alice’s family, Will, and Anastasia all present to witness their happy day. The last scene of the series shows us Alice telling her daughter the stories of Wonderland, while Cyrus brings them more treats for their teatime setup as the Rabbit looks on from afar.

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Grading the Series Finales: The Office

Title Finale (9.24/9.25)

Written By Greg Daniels

What Happens? One year after the Dunder Mifflin documentary aired, the whole gang reunites and is filmed once again for two very special occasions: a panel discussion about the documentary and Dwight and Angela’s wedding. After catching up with various characters, we learn that Darryl is making a lot of money and loving life in Austin as he enjoys the success of Athlead, which has now changed its name to Athleap. Jim, however, has stayed in Scranton but appears happy with his decision and his life with Pam. Andy’s breakdown at his singing competition audition went viral, and he’s now a nationwide joke—but he did get a job in the admissions department at Cornell. Kevin and Toby were both fired by Dwight, Nellie moved to Poland (the Scranton of Europe), and Stanley retired to Florida.

The day before the wedding, Jim does his best to throw Dwight a fun and Schrute-friendly bachelor party, which is his duty as “bestest mensch.” Meanwhile, Angela is kidnapped by Mose at her bachelorette party and forced into the trunk of a car as part of a traditional Schrute pre-marriage ritual. The wedding day begins with the panel discussion, where Andy discovers he has fans, Erin finally finds her parents, and Pam has to face some tough questions about her reluctance to let Jim follow his dreams.

Following the panel, the wedding preparations begin in earnest, but Jim tells Dwight there’s a problem—the bestest mensch is supposed to be older than the groom, so he can’t do it. But he finds an even better alternative when Michael Scott shows up with a smile and a classic “That’s what she said!” Michael, now a family man with kids of his own, happily sits back and basks in the joy of watching the love that grew out of his office—even the dysfunctional love of Kelly and Ryan, who run off together into the sunset, leaving behind Kelly’s boyfriend and Ryan’s baby (who is then given to Nellie).

Before going to a big reception for the documentary back at Dunder Mifflin, Jim and Pam stop at home, but Jim is surprised to find a realtor showing their house. Pam reveals to him that she had been secretly showing the house for months because she wants Jim to be able to live his dream in Austin with Athleap and have his family there to support him. Seeing the documentary made her see that some things are worth the risk; sometimes you need to do the big, brave thing.

The night ends with a private party in the office where each member of the Dunder Mifflin team says goodbye to their friends who are moving on and to the people behind the cameras.

Best Moment The moment Michael Scott appeared onscreen, I knew that this finale was going to go down as one of my favorite series finales ever. For so long, NBC had been trying to deny all reports of Steve Carell being a part of the finale, but I think everyone knew that a finale of The Office without Michael Scott would just feel wrong. Michael needed to be there—not just for the fans but for the characters as well. Dwight’s face when he hugged Michael was one of the most beautiful single moments of the finale, and it was because it signaled that everything was right in the world: Dwight was marrying Angela, Michael was there to be his best man, and Jim had just pulled off the best prank ever. The emotion in that scene was just right. It wasn’t cloying or heavy-handed; it was filled with the sense of joyful pride that a reunion between these characters needed to have. Michael is proud of Jim and Dwight like a father is proud of his kids, and he should be. But he doesn’t need to say it: It’s all in Carell’s smile. And then he follows that smile with the most-anticiapted “That’s what she said” moment of the series, reminding everyone of the way this show can deftly walk the line between sentimentality and silliness. This moment was everything I’d been waiting for and everything I could have hoped for. It was that kind of perfect series finale moment when you could see the emotions of the actors coming through in their characters in a way that worked wonderfully with the material they were given.

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