Pros: Returning characters, emotional resolutions
Cons: New characters not nearly as good
The Bottom Line:
Missing some of the magic
Still glad I watched it
“Imagine If I Were to Walk Through that Door and Say I Was Your Son.” “That Would be a Kicker, Wouldn’t It?”
As a big fan of Once Upon a Time, I was worried yet hopeful when I learned the premise for season 7. A new curse and new characters while leaving many of the familiar people and locations behind? This might be good, but it could be very bad as well. And it turned out that this final season of the show was both, sometimes in the same episode.
The season picks up immediately after the cliffhanger that ended last season. Lucy (Alison Fernandez), a young girl, has just found Henry, now an adult played by Andrew J. West, and told him that she is his daughter and his family needs him. Since we last saw Henry, he has authored a huge best seller, but is now suffering from writer’s block, so he agrees to go with Lucy to see what she is talking about.
By doing so, he is introduced to the world of Hyperion Heights, a town under the thumb of Victoria Belfrey (Gabrielle Anwar), Lucy’s grandmother. Lucy herself is being raised by her single mother Jacinda (Dania Ramirez), who Lucy claims is Henry’s wife Cinderella. It isn’t long before Henry is meeting other residents of Hyperion Heights, including Jacinda’s roommate, Sabine (Mekia Cox), Roni (Lana Parrilla), who owns the bar in town, and police detectives Weaver (Robert Carlyle) and Rogers (Colin O’Donoghue). But all of them are under yet another curse. Will Lucy be able to convince any of them of the truth in time? What is the purpose of this curse?
Those familiar with the show will certainly recognize the premise of the season. While it most closely resembles the first season, the characters have been cursed and given amnesia so many times it isn’t funny. Still, I was intrigued by the new season, and wanting to know what was happening to the characters I love kept me tuning it.
One of my biggest concerns was how the characters that did come back were still connected to the characters who didn’t return. I mean, we spent so much time investing in Captain Swan and Rumbelle, I was going to be very upset if Hook and Rumpelstiltskin being in this season ruined the happy endings we had just seen for their characters at the end of season six. I’m not going to spoil the hows, but I will say that this was one area I was very happy with.
However, I can’t get over the feeling that this season was not that well thought out. Yes, we have backstories for everyone we are meeting here as well as flashbacks for our returning characters that fill in the gaps between last season and where they are now. Some of the characters are twisted together in fun and surprising ways. Yet, they seemed much more random this time, or at least not as well thought out and communicated to us. As it became obvious that this season would be the final season, I feel like character arcs got rushed as well. The result was a season with much less emotional satisfaction than the previous seasons. Also, the fact that we were dealing with “alternative universe” versions of characters we’d already met like Alice (Rose Reynolds) and Cinderella didn’t help.
The exception to that was the returning characters. Probably because of the six years we’d already spent getting to know them, I was invested in what was happening to them. And yes, that did extend to adult Henry as well. It was these characters and their story that kept me coming back week after week to see what would happen next.
And don’t get me wrong, I would get drawn into the story as I was watching an episode. But it didn’t have the same magic as earlier seasons of the show did.
Of course, another issue I had was the timeline. It drove me crazy all season long, and even their attempts to partially explain it at the end created more problems than solutions.
I will certainly give them this – knowing they had been canceled early in the season, the writers did do their best to give us an emotionally satisfying send off. While not everyone might be happy with what happened to their favorite characters, I found it mostly satisfying. Part of that was the return of many of the original cast members to give the show the ending it really deserves.
Like everything else, the acting was a mixed bag this season. Don’t get me wrong, the returning trio was still as outstanding as always. It was the new actors who were hit or miss. That also may be why I didn’t connect with their stories and characters as much.
The show continued to be filled with special effects. Outside one or two weaker episodes, these continued to shine.
While this season was definitely not as strong as the others, I’m glad I stuck around for season 7 of Once Upon a Time. It’s definitely the weakest season of the show, but I liked getting the final chapter for these characters I truly do love.