Once Upon A Time: “Snow Drifts” (S3Ep21) and “There’s No Place Like Home” (S3Ep22)

This two-hour season finale of Once Upon A Time was good and then it was great and then it was horrible. And then it ended horribly.

But before I get to my frustration about the ending no not Frozen, let’s recap this terribly CGI’ed, plot reset adventure.

We start the episode with Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) flipping through the story book and telling Henry (Jared Gilmore) and the nameless replacement baby about how they met. Aw, remember season one and how good it was. Now we get scenes with the same character, though not nearly as cool, recapping the first season to other characters. The only important part is that Charming fell in love with Snow when he saw his mother’s ring on her finger.

I would say I should stop complaining because Ruby (Mehgan Ory) was there. But then Emma (Jennifer Morrison) walks up with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Regina (Lana Parrilla) walks up with Robin (Sean Maguire) so you know straightness, Disney, babies, yay…


When can we ditch the beards?

Hook slips that Emma is running away to New York. Everyone is a confused by that, especially her parents and Regina because Henry is her son too.


It is too early for your face to be like this

Emma isn’t ready to fully commit to a life with Regina living in Storybrooke forever, so she runs out of the diner. Hook says he will go after her. Henry tells him to take the story book.

After a little more time with his 20-something grandparents and baby uncle, Henry sees the giant column of light being created by Zelena’s time portal. Hook and Emma have some moment and then she sees the column too. She wants to go investigate. Hook and the audience are like probably a bad idea people tend to fall into those a lot. Emma doesn’t even get the chance to get close enough to fall because as soon as the door opens she and Hook are pulled in.

The gang, minus Henry, plus Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) go to the jail and find out Zelena is missing. Rumple changes the security footage to make it look like she escaped herself.

Emma and Hook are dropped into the Enchanted Forest. They aren’t sure when at first, but then Emma’s sees a wanted poster for Snow White and knows this has to be shortly before her parents met. Hook says they have to be careful and not change anything to avoid a Back to the Future situation. He also decides she needs a better outfit.


Still wish Regina got to see this

Hook and Emma wander through the woods for a while and end up at a village. They hide as full evil-music, badass outfit Evil Regina walks out and threatens to kill one of her captives if nobody can tell her information about Snow White.


That’s better, Regina

Hook hears a carriage coming and pulls Emma off the road. They hide as Charming and Kathryn’s carriage has to stop because of a downed tree. Emma recognizes this as the moment when bandit Snow attacks the carriage and steals the jewels. Emma looks around and sees Snow up in one of the trees. She gets excited and being a dumb Charming breaks a twig. Snow turns to the noise and falls out of the tree. Great, Emma you have been in the past 10 minutes and you already wrecked everything.


You Charming!

Emma has to explain to Hook how much she just effed everything up. Luckily, someone else was listening too. Rumple appears as the full Dark One, getting a hilarious response from Emma.

At first, he doesn’t believe that they are from the future. Emma tells him he has to help her remain existing because if not she will not be there to break the Evil Queen’s curse so he can find his son. The mention of Baelfire sparks his interest and he offers to take them back to his palace. The story book starts to fade away just like the photo in Back to the Future.

Rumple tells Emma and Hook that Charming and Kathryn are hosting a ball that night. They just need to get Snow there so she can steal Charming’s mom’s ring because that will set into motion the Snowing story line from season one. Rumple uses some crystal ball thing and see that Snow is at the Enchanted Forest’s one tavern trying to get passage on a ship. Rumple agrees to help get the portal back to the future open.

In a sort of funny, but also too long and slightly annoying series of scenes, Hook and Emma have to convince Snow to book passage out of the kingdom on the Jolly Roger. Emma has to distract drunken past Hook while current Hook promises Snow passage on his ship if she steals the ring from the palace. She agrees. Also, in here current Hook gets jealous of Emma showing too much attention to past Hook and Emma and past Hook make out a ton. I cared.

Then, Emma and Hook are hanging outside the palace unable to get inside, but Rumple comes and gives them invitations, fancy clothes and CGI’ed different faces. That is not referenced again so by the end of this mess, I forgot that they didn’t look like themselves.

They are able to get inside and meet more of the endless list of forgotten characters — except Mulan of course — who appear in this episode. King Midas asks who they are and Emma, being forced to think quickly, names them Charles and Leia.


You’re welcome, Star Wars fans

Emma has some cute moments of getting to live parts of the childhood she missed in the Enchanted Forest. Kathryn is being a bitch like always and orders Charming to go to their room and fetch her different shoes.

Then, evil queen Regina barges into the ballroom. She was invited but her entrance made it seem otherwise. Over in the bedroom, Charming runs into Snow who just climbed the terrible CGI’ed castle and is stealing the ring. He body slams her, she hits him with a jewelry box and climbs out the window. But, Kathryn spots her and goes screaming to everyone that Snow White is in the castle.


Why couldn’t you have stayed this cool?

Emma and Hook leave the ballroom and find Charming screaming after Snow that he will always find her. Emma has to push one of Regina’s knights out of the way so he doesn’t shoot her but then she finds that Snow dropped the ring. Hook tells Emma to get it to her and he will fight off all the guard that are now on them. But, Emma runs back into the ballroom and gets surrounded by Regina’s guards and ends up in this hopefully-a-future-fanfic situation:


Emma tries to talk her way out but this Regina gets rather pissed when this person who helped Snow White escape calls her Regina. She then has her guards take her to the dungeon.


Lolz Regina, those are not her eyes

That was the end of part one and it was way better than I was expecting. Of course, we return with a flashback with Taylor Swift look-a-like Emma and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) in Portland in 2001. There was also some flashbacks to Emma’s childhood at the start of this episode but I missed it because of a thunderstorm warning, but that didn’t matter and neither did this scene except Neal saying you don’t have a home until you miss something. So, moving on.

Back in the alternate reality past Enchanted Forest timeline, Snow walks into that net trap and Charming walks in too creating this part of the Snowing love story. But, it is interrupted by Hook because lol #CaptainCharming. Hook tells Charming Snow doesn’t have his ring Emma does, but she is locked in the Queen’s dungeon. Snow chimes in from the net that she can help them break in because she used to live there.


No girls allowed

On the way to Regina’s palace, Snow and Charming have all the conversations they did the last time this situation happened. They have to wait until nightfall for Snow to break in. She goes off and Hook and Charming have a nice bonding moment around a campfire, until it is interrupted by Red. She tells them Snow sent her to help get them into the palace by wolfing out and eating all the guards.


Please don’t leave again

Over in the dungeon, Emma is staring at her parents’ ring and telling what bits and pieces of the story she can to the other woman locked in the dungeon. The other woman talks about losing family and standing up for what is right and its pretty easy to guess that she is Maid Marion, though she never says her name. They are both scheduled to be executed the next day, but Emma isn’t going to let that happen. She picks the lock and breaks both of them out and they join the rescue party and go try to find Snow. Hook is worried about the woman Emma broke out because they weren’t supposed to change anything in the past, but Emma says her life is more important.

Up in Regina’s bedroom, Snow is trying to sneak up on her but it doesn’t go so well. Snow tries to use her dark fairy dust on her but Regina is able to stop her. Snow says she is there to kill her but Regina doesn’t think she has it in her to kill, and I guess this version of Snow doesn’t or at least not yet. Finally after three seasons, Snow and Regina yell at each other for what happened with Cora killing Daniel. Snow says she was just a child and Regina said even children should know that actions have consequences. She has her guards take her and says she will be executed that night.


A+ sneaking, Snow

The rescue party gets to a window above the part of the castle Regina is about to kill Snow in just in time to see it all happen. Snow gets tied up and Regina unleashes a fireball at her. She goes up in flames, which was dramatic in terms of faking character’s deaths on this show. Obviously, Ginnifer Goodwin is not going to get killed off and the vile of dark fairy dust was shown right when she was being tied up. But, with Ruby bawling and Emma and Hook trying to hide how upset they are it was a pretty well done scene.


I’m having season one level feels about this


And this

After that the gang goes to cry around a campfire. Hook tells Emma to just live in the here and now and she’s like ‘wait, I’m still here now.’ So, clearly Snow isn’t really dead. Emma starts getting all excited about starting a search for Snow as a bug starts flying around Hook. Snow said earlier that she would use the dark fairy dust to turn Regina into a bug. So ta-da Charming realizes this, Bug Snow calls her the Blue Fairy (Keegan Tracy Connor) and she turns her back into a human. Emma is so happy she forgets what timeline she is in and hugs Snow. But, she is met with the same look Henry gave Regina at the beginning of 3b, completely disconnection.


Who da hell are you?

This encounter gives Emma that missing home moment that Neal was talking about in the flashback scene. Snow didn’t look at her like her mother or even the caring roommate she had in season one. It seems pretty clear that Emma is going to stay in Storybrooke and not go back to New York, but the show drags that out for a bit.

Snowing has all of the same scenes with a different twist and Emma gets to see their final scene and she gets all teary about it. Hook says not everyone gets the chance to see their parents fall in love. But, as many people in #queerytales said watch yourself, Disney not everyone’s parents are still living happily ever after like your sickeningly happy, straightness fest. Sorry, this is when the episode started going from great to terrible.

But, Regina said her catchphrase while wearing this:


She is always the best thing about this show

Emma, Hook and the mystery woman/Marion head back to Rumple’s to go through the portal. Emma decided they should bring the woman with them because Hook said her presence in the Enchanted Forest could cause problems. Emma did have to knock her out and Hook had to carry her because she thought going to the future sounded crazy.

Rumple says he can’t help them because only the person who used the portal can re-open it. He is making a memory potion to forget what Emma told him about the future. He then sends them into his most dangerous magic vault, where they will remain forever unless one of them can use magic.

Hook accuses Emma of not believing in herself and trying to run away and that is why her magic isn’t working. She said she is done running because watching Snow “die” and her not recognizing her made her want to stop running and stay with her family in Storybrooke. Her magic then starts working and she uses the Black Fairy’s wand to open the portal. Rumple jumps into the vault and wants to know what happened to his son after he finds him before he erases his memories. Emma is reluctant to tell him at first but then says that he died a hero and saved everyone. Rumple then drinks the potion and lets Emma go.


Do we have to keep bringing up Neal?

The rest of this episode sucked, aside from Emma’s cute reunion with her parents when she calls them Mom and Dad and says she is staying in Storybrooke. It was everything I hate about this show whether is it forcing any straight relationship no matter how messed up it is down our throats, shitting on Regina’s character arch or introducing more “villains” for it to humanize the crap out of.

They named the baby Neal.


After the guy who left their daughter pregnant and in jail

Captain Swan happens.


Because he traded a ship to find her

Rumbelle gets married.


Though his greatest act of love was faked

Outlaw Queen gets an adorable family moment. Though I clearly don’t ship this, it took this show three seasons to admit that Regina is not longer a villain, so she deserves some happiness.


Even if it is not with Emma

Nevermind. Emma wants to introduce the mystery woman/Marion to Regina so she can see that she is not the evil queen anymore, but Robin sees her and has a family reunion capped with a super cute “Mama?” from Roland. And this happens:


Right in front of Regina

This leads to a heartbroken Regina blaming Emma for wrecking her happy ending just like her mother did all those years ago. Emma says she just wanted to save her life, she didn’t know who she was. I’m just going to let Lana and JMo’s faces speak for themselves here.



So if you’re keeping score, Snowing gets a happy ending, Rumbelle gets a happy ending, Captain Swan gets a happy ending, Robin Hood and his family get a happy ending and Regina gets her feelings destroyed…again. It has taken three years for this show to admit that Regina isn’t a villain anymore. She was made an outcast in Neverland with only Emma standing by her side. She gave up Henry and saved everyone at the end of 3a. She was an outcast again in Enchanted Forest in this missing year and didn’t have Emma to support her. She defeated Zelena, finally got some happiness and the show destroyed it and seems like it might be throwing her backwards down her redemption road. I don’t think I have been this mad about the finale of anything in a really long time. Not even the Bomb Girls movie ended this badly.

Oh and on top of everything else, this happened:


No! Frozen?! Disney, stop just no!

OUAT, you already ignore that half your fans are gay now you are going to ignore that we are also 20-somethings who love the Disney classics that come out in the 90s and before that. We don’t want your newest product-producing movie in this show. And isn’t Elsa not even really a villain? That’s not the character to add to a show that already has a problem humanizing its villains too quickly.

I’ll probably write a post expressing my frustration for this season overall, but for now I’m glad to have a break from this show. I’ll see you in the fall, OUAT. 


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