Monday, December 16, 2013

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 3-11 - Going Home

Another finale, another threat to destroy the entire town of Storybrooke.  That was my thought, at least going into last night’s winter finale.  I mean, we just saw this at the end of season two.

And yet.

And yet, the emotion they packed into this episode was pretty amazing because it resolved character arcs from the season and from the series as a whole in some cases.  I really hope they don’t undo all of that in the second half of the season, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the mean time, let’s get to it.

The flashbacks were a series of scenes.  We got Charming having to talk Snow down from the ledge as they are waiting for the original curse to happen.  We see Hook and Tinker Bell’s first meeting in Neverland (as she holds him at knife point after knocking Smee out).  And we saw again the scene where Emma gives birth to Henry only to give him up for adoption without even holding him.

The one scene I want to focus on a bit more is the one where Henry gets his book of fairytales. 
We see him sitting at lunch at school, and Mary Margaret comes up to him.  He was supposed to turn in a family tree, and he hasn’t.  He’s feeling upset and wondering why everyone but him seems to stay the same.  In the midst of comforting him, Mary Margaret gives him the book, which just happened to appear in her closet and she found when she was clearing it out recently.  The idea is to give him hope.  He looks at a couple of pages as Mary Margaret walks away, including one of Snow and Charming’s wedding.  He stops her, and when she looks up, she looks just like Snow in the picture.  But then Henry blinks and she’s back to Mary Margaret.

So now we know how Mary Margaret got that book and how Henry wound up with it.  We still don’t know how it got to be in her closet, but my theory is still that August/Pinocchio wrote the book and left it for Mary Margaret to find.  Why Henry was able to make the connections in it, I don’t know, although it probably had to do with him being Emma’s son and having the heart of the truest believer.

So, let’s jump to Storybrooke present, shall we?

We rejoin the action as Pan is casting the curse.  Where else?  The well outside of town of course.  He casts in several potions, but then has to cast in the heart of the one he loves the most.  Rumple?  No.  It’s Felix for being so loyal to him for so long.  Felix tries to protest, but he doesn’t do it in time and is killed.

Meanwhile, back at the crypt, Gold is explaining that he doesn’t know for sure what will happen with the curse.  But the only way to stop it is to get the scroll from Pan and have Regina counter the new curse.  And the best way to do that is to switch Pan and Henry back to their true bodies.  Gold can do it, but he needs a powerful wand – the Black Fairy’s.  The Blue Fairy used to hold on to it, so part of the group goes out to get it while the other part goes back to Gold’s shop to prepare for the rest of the switch.

Back at the nunnery, Blue’s body is being laid out.  Tink is part of the group that goes here, and she does it partically to pay her respects to Blue.  They are just asking the other nuns/fairies about the wand when Pan’s shadow shows up.  Hook tries to distract the shadow so they can light the candle and trap it, but it starts flying too high.  And so it becomes Tink’s job.  She is able to get the pixie dust to work, and she flies close enough to trap the shadow.  Then she throws the coconut into the fire, killing it forever.

That also reawakens Blue, who reinstates Tink as a full fairy and gives the group the Black Fairy’s wand.

Back at Gold’s he casts the spell, sending the rest of the group out to meet up with Henry in his real body while he stays behind to fight Pan.  He put the bracelet on Pan that keeps someone from doing magic, but when Pan wakes up, he easily takes it off.  He’s the one who created it and it doesn’t work on him.  He pushes Gold across the room with magic and then slaps the bracelet on Gold before leaving to kill those that Gold loves.

The rest of the group has met up with Henry, who promptly turns the spell over to Regina.  She faints when she touches it, and when she comes to, she explains there is a way to counter act it, but there is a price.  She gets no further when Pan shows up and freezes everyone.

While they can not move to talk (well, Regina can blink really rapidly), they can hear and see what is happening.  As Pan starts to crow about how he will kill them to hurt Gold, guess who should show up but Gold.  Pan is shocked, and Gold takes advantage of that.  He says he is no longer afraid of doing what needs to be done.  Then he has his shadow come back with the dagger that will kill him.  He hugs Pan and stabs the dagger through both of them.  At first, Pan turns into Gold’s father and pleads with his son for his life, but Gold refuses.  He twists it, and they both disappear.  The spell is broken and everyone starts is able to move again.  Belle breaks down in tears.

And Regina explains what she had learned.  When she touched the scroll, she saw that stopping the new curse would mean she would never see Henry again.  In fact, the only way to counter it is to send everyone back to Enchanted Forest.  They will go back to where they belong.  Henry was born in our world, so he will have no where to go and must leave down before the curse strikes or before Regina counters it.  Emma can stay as well because of her status as the savior.

As everyone is saying goodbye on the outskirts of town, Regina reveals one more thing.  This is going to wipe Storybrooke out as if it never existed.  Meaning that memories of the last few years will be gone.  However, she will create new, happy memories for the two of them.  They get in Emma’s bug and drive away, and we see the smoke of the curse rolling over the town, including into Henry’s bedroom and the book of fairytales.

Next thing we know, we are back to Emma giving birth to Henry, only this time she decides to hold him.  From the smile, we know she decides to keep him.

But there’s one more scene.  After we get the text “One Year in the Future,” we find a normal happy morning for Emma and Henry.  As they are sitting down to breakfast, there is a knock at the door.  It’s Hook.  “You’ve got to come with me.  Your parents are in trouble.”  Of course, Emma has no clue who he is or what he’s talking about.  He tries to kiss her to restore her memories, but all that gets him is a swift kick and a door slammed in his face.

End of episode.

I’m quite anxious to see what happens next.  Yes, they will be covering the whole Emma doesn’t believe who she is angle again, but I think they’ll get through that pretty quickly.  Obviously, there are lots of big questions.

How did Hook find Emma and Henry?

What kind of trouble are Charming and Snow in?

Will the character growth we’ve seen in Regina stick?

Heck, did everyone else have their memories of the last couple of years wiped as well?

Is Gold alive or dead?  (More on this one in a minute).

What happened to the Lost Boys?  Where do they “belong?”  Wendy, Michael, Peter?

Heck, is Dr. Whale/Dr. Frankenstein now in his world or ours?

11 weeks, but I’m not counting.

I wasn’t that surprised when Blue came back to life, and I suspected that if they killed Pan/his shadow that would happen.  But the main reason I wasn’t surprised was because her death could have been anyone, really.  It just felt too quick and almost an after thought.  While she’s not a main character, I expected her death, if it were to happen, to have more meaning.

Something more like Gold’s did in this episode.

However, I don’t think that Gold is really dead.  They’ve got to have some way to resurrect him.  He’s too important of a character to the story.

And we’ve seen the prophecy be fulfilled.  I began to suspect a couple weeks ago that the boy in question was really going to be Peter Pan.  And I’ve wondered all along if “his undoing” just meant he was no longer The Dark One.  After all, it never said he would die.

In fact, I’m wondering if that’s the loop hole.  The fact that he drove the dagger into himself is why he will still be alive.  Of course, why we didn’t see him in the final scene remains a mystery.

Before I go, I also have to praise the final third.  The acting and writing was all top notch.  So emotionally satisfying, and considering the arcs we were playing off, that was a good thing.

There was a lot to this one and a lot to wonder about as we wait those 11 weeks.  The show will be back on March 9th, and I’m looking forward to it already.

As always, hit me up with comments and theories.  And don’t be a stranger during the break.


  1. This episode was one heck of a ride. At times it almost felt like it could be a finale for the whole series! The acting was superb in this one. Yes, it was certainly a game changer and yes the "boy" is Pan. But I agree with you. It can not be the end of Rump/Mr. Gold. I like your theory.

    I do believe all those little flashback scenes were important to the ending as to why the various characters do what they do and why.

    "Villains don't get happy endings" - that was sad in this context. Gold redeemed himself and is no longer the village coward. And Regina finally saw that her enacting the curse was only an act of vengeance and how wrong it was. So I wonder what she will be like when they go back. Her one true act of selflessness and kindness to protect Henry and to give Emma a good life.

    Overall a most satisfying episode - perhaps the best of the whole series. What a way to end this part of the season!

    When said as 11 weeks, it makes it seem so far away! And there is a new villain coming! Looks amazing.

    1. And with the new villain coming, I'm really hopeful that we can see the growth in Regina and Gold continue. I like what they've done with them, and I'd hate to lose that if everyone loses their memories of the last couple of years.

      BTW, another theory I want to float out there is that by Regina never getting to "see Henry" again, might that mean not knowing who he is if they did see each other again. Because you know that's going to happen at some point.

      I was thinking the same thing as I was watching about it feeling like a series finale although I'd really want everyone to live happily ever after together and not spread apart like they currently are.

      This isn't the first time they've used the "Villains don't get happy endings" line. I've always found it sad, but in this episode more so than normal.

  2. One sound bite I heard from the preview was everyone kind of on the ground in their Fairy Tale clothing and Snow saying "we're back". So I'm wondering about their losing their memories. I know that if Pan's curse had gone through as planned, then they would lose their memories but I'm not so sure on Regina's breaking of that curse but instead sending them back. When I was watching I got a little confused on certain points and also couldn't hear certain bits and pieces of dialog. I need to go back and watch it again, maybe with headphones this time.

    1. You are right about Snow. But on the other hand, Belle was asking if they knew who had cursed them. They knew the curse was coming, so that part would still be in their memories even if the rest of it wasn't. But if they forgot about Storybrooke, how could Hook know to go get Emma?

      So many good questions, but I think we'll just have to wait until March to find out for sure.

  3. I would only risk my life for love or revenge. Brilliant. I love, love, love the character of Hook. They've done a lot with him this year. Will miss Peter Pan a whole lot; that actor is one of the best 18 year olds I've ever seen. That speech he gave Rumple was positively bone-chilling.

    1. Yes, Pan was an amazing actor. I fully expect to see lots more from him in the future.

  4. We just watched this (I love DVR!) and my boys(9 and 10) are most concerned with the new villain - because she's green, they immediately went to the Wicked Witch of the West but I'm trying to talk them out of that one. My theory is Maleficent, although we saw her in the original season (maybe the pilot?) and she wasn't green - she was beautiful!

    I loved this episode and, to be totally honest, I loved it when Emma was ignorant of magic - it just made every single BIT of magic more, well, magical! (My favorite scene EVER was when she cut down Regina's apple tree - makes me laugh every time I think about it!).

    I agree that though Storybrooke and the memories of those left back will be gone, I think the fairytale folks are going to keep theirs - how else would Hook know to look for Emma?

    My theory on Gold: I think he killed "The Dark One" with the dagger but he will still be alive - just not so powerful/evil? Just guessing, obviously.

    1. Did you see the hashtag during the preview? #WickedIsComing or something like that. It's totally the Wicked Witch of the West. Considering they put Mal's voice in Once in Wonderland, I'm sure they wouldn't have recast it.

      I'm sure they will go another direction with Emma not believe in who she is this time around. And I certainly agree it will be fun to watch.

      Your theory on Gold is similar to mine. I would be shocked if they got rid of him - he's just too popular and important a character. But watching him being mortal again could be very interesting.


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