Once Upon A Time: “Operation Mongoose” (S4Ep22)

This episode had everything I have come to expect for a Once Upon A Time finale: a slow start, a messy plot, Emma struggling to have chemistry with men, some great SwanQueen moments, the half season party at Granny’s and a whole lot of standing in the street.

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The episode opens with a knight riding a horse through the woods. That is never a good sign because usually when an episode starts with that it is terrible and spends too much time telling something we already knew. This is different but similar.

The knight is on a TV in a color television store in 1966. The Author is poorly attempting to sell the television to a couple. His boss comes in and steals the sell from him. Afterwards, they talk about dreams and living life to the fullest and the boss tells the Author he isn’t a writer and nobody wants his stories. It was long and slow. It all lead up to the Author getting a letter to meet a publisher, who turns out to be the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

He lays five pens on the table and makes him chose one. He choose the magic quill. The Apprentice tells him he is the new Author and takes him through a portal to the Enchanted Forest.

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Meanwhile in Storybrooke, everyone is looking through the blank story books at the Author’s house to see if anything has appeared. Nothing has and they don’t know what to do. Then August (Eion Baliey) wanders in and says the Sorcerer’s Apprentice would, but no one has seen him. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) says he has and they get the Blue Fairy to help get him out of the hat. He says the only way to stop Rumple’s (Robert Carlyle) plan is to trap the Author inside the book. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina (Lana Parrilla) go to Gold’s shop to stop him. The rest go to Mary Margaret’s apartment to get the original book.

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At the shop, Rumple is still about to became full dark one. He asks The Author if he could bring Neal/Baelfire back to life. Thank god, he can’t. But the Author says he can make it so his son thought of him as a hero and not a coward. With all this Neal talk I was really concerned he was going to reappear somehow, thankfully he didn’t. The Author writes “the end” in the “Heroes and Villains” book, then everything starts glowing white and the lights starts flashing.

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After that clears, Henry (Jared Gilmore) wakes up to find he is the only person in Storybrooke. He wanders through the middle of the street for a bit shouting names until he realizes he has to try something else. He takes a car and stops at a roadside diner. He asks a waitress if she has seen anyone from his family. She thinks he is a runaway and excuses herself to go call the police. This whole thing seemed really stupid. Henry used to be really annoying and gets kidnapped a lot, but he has always been rather smart, especially when it comes to magic. So this was all just a messy way to get him to look at the book rack and see “Heroes and Villains” written by Issac Heller, the Author.

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The Author is now a best-selling author and is giving a talk at some convention, with bad cosplay and a goofing representation of an Evil Regal. As he is signing books, Henry pops into line and puts a photo of the door in front of him. He agrees to talk with him privately. I was really glad when Henry arrived. I find the Author really annoying and Grown Ass Man Jared Gilmore has made me like Henry.

Henry demands to know where his family is. The Author tells him they are in his bestselling book. He rambles on a bit, saying he wanted to give the villains their happy endings because he can never get his own no matter what he writes. But, since he broke so many rules. He is powerless now and doesn’t have any magic. Henry threatens to open the door because he has the magic key with him. They fight for a bit and just when it seems he is going to get away with the original Heroes and Villains book, Henry straight up body slams him, finds to a random picture of a door and opens it with the key. They both get sucked into the book.

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Henry arrives and gets amazed by everything until he is knocked on the head by the Author. This starts being a common theme for this episode. Henry awakes tied to a cart. The Author must have attended the Zelena School of Villain Grandstanding and blurts that they are in the last chapter and the story ends with bells ringing that afternoon. Henry is able to get out of the Author that if a hero gets a happy ending the story would be destroyed and everything would go back to normal.

Then the Author leaves so Henry can get attacked by an ogre. He almost does but a then a knight comes by and saves him with magic. The knight then removes him helmet and says he is Rumpelstiltskin, a knight. He seriously said that because the writing takes a terrible turn from this point forward. He tells Henry to run along to his family and rides off.

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Henry must have nicked a copy of “Heroes and Villains” at some point. He starts navigating the forest looking for a hide out. He finds it and them someone points an arrow at his head and demands to know who he is. He tells Regina, dressed like bandit Snow, that he is her son.

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Once we come back to them Henry has told Regina everything and she thinks he is crazy, she couldn’t have ended up in some land called Maine and adopted Snow White’s grandson and raised him with Snow White’s daughter. Henry tells her it is all true and she just has to share true loves kiss with Robin Hood before the bells toll and everything will be fine. She calls him crazy again, Robin Hood is her thieving rival and she has never even met him. She tells him to go ask his other mother for help.

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Meanwhile, Issac the Author gets kidnapped by the Dark Guard, who are the dwarfs acting as Evil Queen Snow’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) guard. He is taken to her palace before Snow doing her best Evil Regina impression and not pulling off the Evil Cleavage as well. She wants to know what she is doing on her land. He tells her he is from a different land and a boy come too. He and the bandit Regina are going to try to stop Robin Hood’s wedding so she can have her happy ending. She is also planning to rob one of her carriages on the road later.

An actual interesting twist with this part of the alternate reality, James, Charming’s (Josh Dallas) evil twin brother, replaced Daniel, the stable boy, in this realty. Regina, as a child, accidentally told and got James killed. So, Snow took Charming’s heart and basic keeps him around as the Huntsmen. Also, a good way to find a place for Josh Dallas in this episode.

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Regina then goes to rob the carriage on the road. Just when I was thinking Emma might come out of the carriage, Snow and Charming did. They pretty much had a standoff saying everything Snow and Regina have for years just in reserve. But, then arrows start flying in and someone ends up saving Regina. And it was not the person I wanted to see.

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He takes Regina back to his tavern. They talk about thieving and knowing of each other. Regina is starting to think maybe that boy was right and this could be her true love. Robin starts going on about finding someone you love and knowing you have to be with that person no matter what. Regina agrees. And then Robin is like, ‘hey, meet my fiance.’

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Regina quickly goes after ignoring Zelena’s (Rebecca Mader) invitation to the wedding. She gets outside and is scared by Henry showing up and calling her “mom” again. She tells him everything he is saying can’t be true because Robin Hood is about to get married. Henry looks inside and sees it is Zelena. He tries to explain all that to Regina. She tells him, some people just don’t get to have a happy ending and he should really go find his other mother, Emma or something. Henry says she isn’t in the book and asks Regina if she knows of a blonde sorcerer named Emma who might go by the Savior. Regina says no but with this face:

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Henry can tell she is lying. Regina says she used to hear about someone like that, but she was locked up by Snow in a tower somewhere. We then cut to a tower and get our first glimpse of Emma, at the end of the first episode.

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The second hour also starts with a knight riding a horse. It is Rumple again. He gets home to Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and their baby. Belle also invited in a traveler who was thirsty. It’s the Author. He talks to Rumple alone. Rumple seems to know everything isn’t real and the Author tells him it all could be ending because of Henry and he will loss his happy ending with Belle.

Henry goes to the docks and says he needs a ship to go to the Queen’s island tower. Hook tells him he can’t just walk onto the Jolly Roger without permission and he can’t help him. It turns out Hook is just a deck hand and Blackbeard is the captain of the Jolly Roger. Henry doesn’t have time for this shit and knocks out Blackbeard and tells Hook he will help him sail the ship.

Despite Regina saying the tower was impossible to get into, Henry and Hook, who can’t even sword fight in this reality, sneak in and knock out the one guard. Henry runs up to the tower. Henry finds Emma chained up and isn’t sure if she is actually crazy or not or what he should say. Then Emma calls him Henry and says she remembers everything. Her punishment was to know everything and not be able to help.

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They get on the ship and Emma tells them to hurry because a terrible CGI’ed Dragon Lily (Agnes Bruckner) starts chasing them over terrible CGI’ed water.

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Snow gets back to her Ruby-less council, straight up murders Doc and tells them to find Regina and the boy and kill them or she will start picking them off one by one.

Once they get back on land, Emma tries to teach Hook how to use a sword as Henry goes off to find food. Hook realizes he and Emma must be close in her reality. She says they are. Then Snow and Charming arrive. Hook tells Emma to run with Henry and he will fight them off. He says it doesn’t matter if he dies or not because if Emma and Henry are right none of it is real anyway. Snow sends Charming at him and I forgot how much I used to ship Capt. Charming. Emma stands with Henry at the back of the alley, instead of running, just so she can watch Hook get killed by Charming. They then run off to find Regina.

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Emma and Henry find Regina about to flee the kingdom since Snow is out to get her and Robin is about to get married. Emma sends Henry outside and tells Regina she knows her in the other reality and she promised she would get her her happy ending. Regina says clearly a man is not her happy ending. Emma says of course not, because the show realized about three weeks ago that everyone’s happiness being tied to finding an opposite sex baby making partner is rather outdated. Emma says love is tied in with everyone’s happiness and Regina needs to find hers. Emma also says she just watched her true love die and she never got the chance to tell him.

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The Swan-Mills family runs to the church where the wedding is already in progress. Regina doesn’t know what do to and Henry says they need true love’s kiss. Emma wants her to just run in and kiss him. Rumple arrives and says they can’t stop the wedding. Emma sends Regina off and she goes starts sword fighting Rumple.

Regina gets to the door, she peers inside but doesn’t go in. Robin turns and looks at her, but then turns back to Zelena. It was at this point that I was thinking I like this reality. Hook is dead, Robin is married, Snowing is actually interesting again and the Swan-Mills family was running around being heroes together. I would have been fine if the show decided to stay in this reality for a while. And that is probably why this next part happened.

Outside, Rumple has knocked out Emma and Henry picks up the sword to fight him. He yells for Regina to go stop the wedding and Rumple disarms him. Henry says Rumple won’t kill him because he is a hero in this story. He says he has to save his happy ending. He swings the sword at Henry. But, Regina jumps in front of him and gets slashed in the stomach.

Emma comes to and freaks out with Henry. Regina says she couldn’t go into the church, she had to save Henry. Then the bells toll and that is the end of the book. Then the wedding party runs out. Robin is all concerned, Zelena is a bitch and starts turning green. Robin is trying to comfort Regina and telling her she isn’t going to die alone. Um, Henry and Emma are standing right by her. Then the Author appears says, “too little, too late” and Emma straight up punches him in the face!

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She demands him to change it. He says he can’t because he isn’t the Author anymore. His bag spilled when Emma punched him and the quill rolled out. Henry gets called to it and he picks it up. It glows blue and Henry realizes he can change it, they just need ink. Emma is about to cut her own hand but then Henry realizes a dark story needs a light savior and drips the quill in Regina’s blood. Henry then writes that everything Issac did was undone.

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Then, they all wake up laying were they last where in Storybrooke. Emma and Regina don’t even acknowledge each other before Emma runs off to find Hook. He is fine and they have a scene together just so Emma can still be too nervous to tell him she loves him.

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Rumple is still having his magic heart attack and Belle comes in to say she still loves and doesn’t love Will. He has lied to you way too many times to still be forgiven, Belle.

Anyway, Snow and Charming arrest the Author. The Apprentice tells Henry being the Author is a big job and he has the power to change any story he wants. Henry snaps the quill in half and says nobody should have that much power. I’m really glad they made Henry the Author. My theory didn’t play out the way I thought it would but this is still good.

We then have our half season party at Granny’s, which is interrupted by Belle telling everyone that Rumple’s is about to go full dark one. The Apprentice says they can trap Rumple’s darkness in the hat. Everyone, except Regina and Robin who went for a walk, go do that. The Apprentice gets the darkness out of Rumple’s heart and pretty much puts him in an magically inducted coma because he is about to die.

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The darkness escapes the hat and enters the Apprentice. Emma quickly magics it out of him, it turns into a bunch of black lines and floats into the street. Snowing goes to chase after it. Emma, Hook and Henry get the Apprentice onto the bed. He tells them the Dark One’s darkness has to be tied to a person with the dagger. There is only one person who can stop the cycle: the sorcerer, whose name is Merlin.

Emma and Hook run out to find Snowing. Regina and Robin bump into them and the all stand scared in the street as the darkness floats around them. It is trying to select a person and goes around Regina. Everyone freaks out. Robin goes running at the swirling blackness, but gets thrown back.

Emma realizes what she has to do and runs up to Regina with the dagger. Regina pleads with her not too. Emma says she’s worked too hard to get her happiness. Emma tells her parents to find a way to get the darkness out of her again, but as heroes this time. Hook tries to stop her. Emma says she loves him and then plunges dagger into the swirling blackness. She disappears and the dagger remains with Emma Swan written on it.

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Overall, I liked this episode. It was pretty poorly written, but the ending was actually exciting. And I am interested in seeing what happens with this story line next season.

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