It usually takes a few episodes for Once Upon A Time seasons to get this terrible, but season five is breaking the record in sucking this much in episode three. Like last week, this episode is not worthy of a full post so here are three good things and six bad things about “Siege Perilous.”
Despite him being alive three seasons after we were told he was dead, I am glad Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) is back. I liked him, but that was because he was in season 2A, which was the last good half season. So, I give the show about four episodes before it totally ruins his character. But, whatever. Having him be the person to introduce the fact that Arthur (Liam Garrigan) might be the bad guy was a good move. Lancelot was always an honest trustworthy character, who helped our main cast.
Hook doesn’t love Emma anymore
This isn’t only about my anti-Captain Swan feels. I like that Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) doesn’t like the Dark One version of Emma (Jennifer Morrison). He says she isn’t the same and not the girl he went on that annoyingly re-enacted date with. Hook can’t see past the Dark One label and see that the Emma he loves is still there. But, last week Regina (Lana Parrilla, who had a tragically small amount of screen time this episode) told Emma she knows the normal, savior her is still there and she can tell because she knows her better than Hook does. This is a love triangle, right? This is really sounding like a love triangle.
The last five minutes
This seems to happen a lot with this show. The majority of an episode is terrible but the last five minutes is good. So after Lancelot randomly reappears and warns Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) that Arthur might be bad, we find out that he is. He hid the magic Mario mushroom from Charming (Josh Dallas), he lied about having a magic bean and he conned a servant into lying for him, taking the fall and then poisoned him. I was so quick to agree with all the fans that thought Guinevere (Joana Metrass) would be the surprise villain because she is a non-white woman, so I did not see this coming. As the show seemed to establish with that sonogram photo scene with Hook and Robin (Sean Maguire), Arthur would not know what security cameras, which are all over the sheriff station as we found out last season, are. If that does not come into play at some point, I’m going to be mad.
Everything with Arthur and Charming
You know what I don’t want to see on this show? Two bland white dudes running around looking for a magical Mario mushroom. Regina and Belle (Emilie da Ravin) figured out they needed the Mario mushroom to communicate across dimensions with Tree-Merlin, couldn’t they have come along to find it? So, watching two characters I don’t care about run through a lame Lord of the Rings dead marshes rip off for apparently no reason, until the too late in the episode reveal that Arthur stole the mushroom
to smoke it himself as my dad commented to protect Camelot was stupid.
Does Arthur really not know who they are?
In Camelot, Charming — who is still being called David for some reason — has a long explanation of how King Arthur is a legend in our world and that is how he knows about him and his round table. But, he adds about two seconds later that he and Snow know Lancelot because the Enchanted Forest and Camelot are basically neighboring kingdoms. So, why does Arthur not know who they are? Lancelot clearly did before he met them back in season two. Also, Arthur knights Charming as Sir David (isn’t his real name James?) of the Enchanted Forest, which doesn’t make any sense because he is already the King of the Enchanted Forest. And what was with Arthur whole explanation for the circular table meaning equality and Charming being surprised that Arthur, as the King, didn’t have a special seat? Charming, that has been your and Snow’s set up since the beginning of the show and in the alternate reality four episodes again. Just an hint of continuity would be nice, OUAT.
This fucking chase scene
Where the hell is this taking place? Storybrooke isn’t that big. Why does that dude have the apparently only horse the curse brought over? Why isn’t it in the stables? Storybrooke has stables. Also, King Arthur can drive a truck? That is an interesting skill for you to have, person who has lived in Camelot until like three days ago.
You are not the sheriff!
Charming, you are not the sheriff. Your daughter was elected sheriff back when Storybrooke had some actual structure as a functioning town. You, a pet shelter worker in the cursed realty, made yourself sheriff after your daughter, who has actual experience in law enforcement, fell through a portal. Call yourself the town guard or the legal authority of Storybrooke, but not the sheriff, you idiot.
Arendelle was bad, but Camelot might be worse. The castle establishing shot looks like the graphics from the Spyro the Dragon PlayStation One game. And there was so much unnecessary CGI in Arthur round table room. The weapons on the wall, the candles, the chairs, the weird 9th grade volcano project table center piece (my dad’s snark was on point this episode). You are a widely successful network television show, OUAT. You can’t afford to buy candles?
Just no. Emma needs a hero to pull Excalibur from the stone. “A hero” is all that Hallucination Rumple (Robert Carlyle) said. Hey you know who we spent all last season establishing as a hero? Regina! Later, Emma tells Rumple it has to be someone with a pure heart. So, like the heart of the truest believer? You know, Henry (Jared Gilmore)? But sure show, let’s “clear the heart” of our former dark one and make this lying, manipulative, borderline abusive asshole our new hero because you know there isn’t a person Emma would have thought of before this.
See you next week.
This episode was terrible and I couldn’t bring myself to write a full post about it so here is the five good and five bad things about it.
Regina and Emma scenes
Now let me get this straight this is not the scenes with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) in them or the scenes with Regina (Lana Parrilla) in them, it was only the scenes with Regina and Emma in them. They both got caught in a lot of stupid little scenes with Robin (Sean Maguire), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Snowing (Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas).
The first scene they had together in Stroybrooke with Henry (Jared Gilmore) was great. Mostly because of how it set up the season’s action and the absurd levels of sexual tension. Emma taunts Regina about what happened in Camelot, but Regina points out it must be bad if she took the memories from everyone. Emma warns Regina that something is coming to Stroybrooke that only the savior can stop. Regina says she can be the savior now but Emma isn’t buying it.
In Camelot six weeks ago, Regina is covering for Emma and telling everyone she is the savior so Emma doesn’t have to use magic. Regina is worried that she is going to go dark. I hope the shows plays it up more of Regina using the dagger to control Emma by accident because it adds a really great new level to their relationship and power dynamic.
Also, Regina says she will release Merlin from the tree in Camelot so Emma never has to use dark magic. Emma agrees to save Robin in Camelot and pay the price herself despite Hallucination Rumple (Robert Carlyle) saying it is Regina’s price.
Hook and Belle bonding
Some of the scenes were terrible, but the show contrasting Hook and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) was clever in the show’s canon. Hook thinking Emma being the Dark One was a curse that could be broken with true love’s kiss was horrible because clearly it is not a curse you idiot. But Belle trying to explain to Hook that loving the Dark One is harder than hating them was good. Also, showing them together while Rumple was talking about love was a good bit.
Henry gets a love interest
While in Camelot, Henry meets a girl named Violet (Olivia Steele-Falconer) at the ball Arthur held for them. He meets her again in almost the exact same way in Storybrooke. The curse Emma cast to bring everyone back to Storybrooke also brought a bunch of Camelot folks. I’m glad Henry has gotten a love interest and the show has acknowledged the fact he isn’t the useless kid that he used to be. Also, did Violet remind anyone else of Lily? Aw, the Swan side of Swan-Mills having similar first loves.
The return of Hallucination Rumple
Emma’s reaction to seeing Hallucination Rumple was what sold me on the idea. She seemed to think she was done with his guidance because she embraced the darkness, which makes me think there is a larger reason for her turning dark. This might be me trying to add too much meaning to this mess, but I really hope I’m not because it would be good and interesting. He also lead Emma to the sword in the stone in the basement of her stolen house. He tells her she can complete the sword and snuff out the light forever.
Sleeveless outfits on Emma are always a good thing. So, good job costume department.
That dance scene
Bo Peep being a warlord might be the last thing that pissed me off as much as this dance scene with Regina and Snowing. Regina doesn’t know how to dance? You mean Regina, who was raised by Cora who was dead set on having her daughter marry up so she could become a queen did not teach her to dance? I get that the show as trying to do something cute and vulnerable with Regina, but when it goes so much against her backstory it just comes off terribly.
Why with the kissing?
There was so much kissing in this episode. Emma and Hook didn’t even kiss in the 4B finale but they kissed twice in this episode. One was Hook idiotically trying to break the non-existent Dark One curse, but the other was after Emma saved Robin in Camelot because Robin almost dying made her think of how much she likes Hook? Because after such a dramatic scene with Regina the show has to remind us they are straight by having both of them kiss their dude love interests? Regina and Robin made a bit more scene. He did almost die in Camelot and Storybrooke, but Regina’s interaction with Emma about saving Robin was way more dramatic and heartfelt than her reaction to Robin almost dying.
That is not how Greek Mythology works
Every so often this show poaches from Greek mythology like it is a normal fantasy show and not a show about fairy tales Disney owns the rights to. It always turns out bad. This time the show had a harpy — though it called it a fury — attack Robin and try to pull him into the underworld. So yeah a harpy, not a fury, which causes madness. The terribly CGI’ed
harpy fury takes Robin to Lake Didn’t Exist Until Season Three, which doubles as the River Styx, I guess. Charon then floats out, but Regina, Snowing and a few dwarfs that are hanging around like they are main characters again share the dementor’s kiss from its and it goes away? I don’t even know. That is not how Greek mythology works.
When did Snow and Charming start going by Mary Margret and David again? Everyone was using fake names in Camelot, which I understood for Regina who didn’t want everyone to know she was the former Evil Queen Regina right out of the gate. But, it has been established that Camelot is a realm of the Enchanted Forest so wouldn’t Snow and Charming have more authority going by Snow and Charming?
Town line crossing= A tree?
The episode started with the dwarfs voting someone to cross the town line to see what happens because they don’t want to deal with Storybrooke and all its dangers without a savior. Dopey crosses and turns into a tree. Regina says, “that’s new.” Also, Merlin is a tree in Camelot. None of this was explained. Hopefully this is something for a later episode to reveal because if not what?
I decided to start with that to remind myself why I am still putting myself through this mess every September. I wasn’t expecting this episode to be good. I was expecting it to be all right because Once Upon A Time is usually good at premieres, but this one wasn’t. It had a few good moments when it focused on its well-established characters, one good twist and one disgustingly obvious plot twist.
The episode starts with super young Emma (McKenna Grace) going to see The Sword and the Stone at a movie theater by herself. She is told by a mysterious usher — who we know from promos is Merlin (Elliot Knight) — that she will have the chance to pull Excalibur from the stone one day but she shouldn’t do it.
We then cut to Camelot and a knight riding a horse, which always means a bad episode. King Arthur (Liam Garrigan), Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) and some other dude find the sword. A rival dude arrives, they tell him not to touch the sword. He ignores them and turns to dust. Arthur is able to pull it out but the tip is missing because it is the dark one dagger!
We then switch to Storybrooke and rejoin everyone left standing in the street at the end of 4B. Regina (Lana Parrilla) freaks out. Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) tells Regina to calm down. Robin (Sean Maguire) asks stupid questions and Charming (Josh Dallas) is useless. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) tries to summon Emma (Jennifer Morrison) with the dagger. It doesn’t work and Regina realizes she must be in a different realm.
Emma appears out of the black goo in the Enchanted Forest and is met by Rumple (Robert Carlyle), but it isn’t really him. He is just a representation of all the Dark Ones and the dark powers inside Emma. He is ready to be her Dark One guide. He tells her the only way to avoid becoming the Dark One is by death. Emma tells him to eff off, she is going to find Merlin because the Apprentice said he could stop it.
Back in Storybrooke, the gang gets the all-powerful magical item of the week from the Apprentice. It is a wand with all light magic that can open a portal to the Enchanted Forest, but it needs to be weld by someone with all dark magic. Regina tries, but it doesn’t work. They realize they need Zelena (Rebecca Mader) to wield it. This all leads to a bunch of messed up scenes with Zelena taunting Robin about the rape baby and Regina and Hook squaring off over who is willing to go further to save Emma. It was a mess but Hook said Emma sacrificed herself for Regina.
Emma makes her way through the Enchanted Forest with Hallucination-Rumple and realizes she can’t control her magic or her darkness until she bumps in Merida (Amy Manson) while chasing a wisp. Amy Manson isn’t doing that bad as Merida, but she is a bad position following up Elizabeth Lail and Georgina Haig’s excellent portrayals of Anna and Elsa last season.
Merida agrees to take Emma to the stones where they can find more wisps. She needs it to rescue her three brothers who were kidnapped because the clans decided to revolt after her father died. That actually sounds kind of interesting and I wouldn’t mind a flashback of that. Hallucination-Rumple convinces Emma Merida has the only wisp and Emma’s chance to find Merlin will be lost after she uses it. He tells her she must kill her to stop her from doing so.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, idiot Hook recruits Henry (Jared Gilmore), who they make really stupid when the plot calls for it, to free Zelena from her hospital dungeon and magic cancelling bracelet. Their plan backfires of course and she escapes, kidnaps Robin and gets the wand from Regina, in another middle of the street confrontation. She tries to create a tornado to take her back to Oz instead of the Enchanted Forest, but Regina knew she would double cross them. She is able to capture her again and redirect the tornado to take the main cast, the normally forgotten children and a handful of dwarfs to the Enchanted Forest in Granny’s. Regina and Snow have two good moments in here over how much they hope to save Emma.
Emma finds Merida at the Hill of Stones and takes Merida’s heart. She is about to crush it, with Hallucination-Rumple’s taunting, right when the Stroybrooke gang arrives and stops her. With some poorly written words of encouragement from Regina, Snow and Hook, Emma puts Merida’s heart back. Snow tries to give the dagger to Emma so she can control herself. But Emma hands it to Regina instead. She tells her to save her like she saved her and destroy her if it comes to that because she is the only one she can trust to.
She walks with everyone back to Granny’s that landed in a different part of the forest. Then King Arthur rides up and says they have been waiting for Emma because a prophecy said it would reunite them with Merlin. They all go walk into a terrible CGI’ed Camelot.
Then the disgustingly obvious plot twist happens.
Six weeks later, Granny’s lands back in Storybooke and everyone wakes up dressed in Enchanted Forest clothes. Regina, looking fantastic, says the last things she remembers is walking into Camelot. Because, plot reset. Again.
Emma then walks in that weird Dark Swan outfit, has some eye sex with Regina and tells them they tried to stop her from being the Dark One and they failed. Regina reaches for the dagger, but Emma has it. She tells them there is nothing they can do to stop her and she is going to punish them for what they did to her.
Though I am beyond annoyed that the big twist was memory loss again, I am slightly interested to see how the dynamics between Emma and Regina, Henry and her parents changes now that she is fully the Dark One. So I guess this was an effective episode because it has sparked my interest to see what comes next. But, was it a good episode? No. But as I said, I wasn’t expecting it to be because not many episodes are anymore. Anyone know when Mulan is coming back?
Because we are getting close to the season premiere of my favorite hot-mess of childhood nostalgia and subtext, Once Upon A Time, I decided I would do another things I hope to see post. I did one of these before 4B started and a follow up on how it did, which was terribly. So let’s try this again, shall we? Season 5A starts in 12 days, so here are 12 things I hope to see when it returns.
It is actually going to happen this time! We are actually going to get Ruby (Meghan Ory) back. Ruby randomly disappeared during season three, because Meghan Ory got cast in a now cancelled NBC show. The show never wrote her off and continued to mention her like she had just gone on vacation for a while, which is impossible because I’m pretty sure people can’t leave Storybrooke and return without the assistance of magic. I’m assuming the show is just going to have her randomly reappear with no explanation and I am fine with that. I’m just glad she is going to be back.
2. A consistent season long story arch
You know what would be fun? A story line that actually lasted longer than a half season and appeared in every episode. This show has followed a simple formula since the second season. The new characters are introduced in the first episode. Usually in episode two or three we meet the big bad. The middle episodes fumble around and give us some un-needed backstory. There is one great episode devoted to Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison)’s dynamic. One terrible episode devoted to back story we don’t need. In episode 11, the plot returns. And then in the last two, everyone bands together, somebody falls through a portal or is cursed, the big bad is defeated and everyone celebrates at Granny’s.
It would probably be too much of a challenge for the writers, but if it would take all of season five for the hero gang to find Merlin or an alternative Dark One that would be cool. Devote less time to introducing new characters, slow things down and give more time to Regina, Snowing (Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) dealing with the aftermath of Emma becoming the Dark One.
Yeah, this is a repeat request but it is still needed after last season wrote off the only non-white Queen of Darkness (Merrin Dugny) first and aged up Lily from a Latina teenager (Nicole Munioz) to a white adult (Agnes Burkner). I don’t know if I want to have any hope in the show after that, but the Camelot story line might hold some promise. The show has cast Portuguese actress, Joana Metrass to play Guinevere. Also, Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) will be returning. I’m guessing that means he will only be in Camelot flashbacks because he was killed before we even meet him in season two. And again, I exclude Regina from the show’s diversity points. Yes, Lana Parrilla is Porto Rican but we have been given no indication that Regina is supposed to be.
4. A justification for the love interests
Now, maybe I am just being blinded by my fancy for every gay ship on this show, but why am I supposed to be invested in the straight ones? I feel like the only two canon relationships we have gotten to see much of is Snow and Charming and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin). Snowing is boring as hell now and I am over the cuteness of them. Rumbelle used to be cute but now I feel like it has gotten almost abusive because of how manipulative and horrible Rumple has been.
I have never seen the appeal of Emma and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). She is our goofy, lovable idiot hero who is always trying to do the right thing no matter how dangerous it is. I have never liked Hook. Actually, I liked him in the alternate reality in season four when he was a sensitive, wimpy hero. But, regular Hook? No, he just seems too cocky and entitled and just wrong for Emma. As for Regina and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), is there a reason they are together beyond the story book saying Regina’s true love has a lion tattoo? I bet lots of people have lion tattoos and at least one of them has to be less bland than Robin Hood.
5. More Grown Ass Man Jared Gilmore
My opinion’s on Snow and Henry have completely flip-flopped. I used to find Snow awesome and badass and interesting and I found Henry annoying and lame and just wished he would get off the screen. I credit my hatred of Snow to the writing and Henry now being my third favorite character to Grown Ass Man Jared Gilmore. Despite about five seconds supposedly passing between the end of season three and the start of season four, Jared Gilmore went from a child to a grown ass man. With his foot of height, he also gained a lot of acting ability and familial chemistry with Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla. I hope to see some more of it.
6. Integration of new characters
Camelot is going to be our flashback kingdom for the season. The show has already established that Camelot is part of the same realm as the Enchanted Forest. Lancelot was a friend of Snow and Charming’s while they were trying to win their kingdom back from Regina. So, I’m not sure how the show is going to integrate them with the existing characters. Probably with a continuity or timeline fail. Also, Merida from Brave, our first Disney/Pixar addition, is running around. Is she is Camelot too?
7. A less fucked up handling of Zelena’s story line
I saw that at Comic-Con A&E compared Zelena to Hannibal Lector in terms of her unpredictability. Haha, no. There is a difference between an manipulative, intelligent psychopath and whatever Regina, monologue obsessed crazy Zelena is. I really wish she just would have stayed dead, but now that she is around — and a season regular — could we please make her story line less fucked up. She killed Robin’s wife, impersonated her, essentially raped him, got pregnant and now he is supposed to stay with her? Now, that is Hannibal Lector level messed up. But, god forbidden anybody is queer.
8. No magic infertility cure
Regina making herself infertility to piss off Cora might be my least favorite thing to come out of season four. It was not needed. It gave a really messed up self-harm message. And nothing is more cliched than a strong female character’s big weakness being infertility. But now that it is here, I hope the show sticks with it. As I have seen a lot of fans say, the show shouldn’t create a magic cure for what I assume they introduced as a relatable aspect of Regina’s character. Also, the show did that cure already with Snow in season two and Regina is clearly cool with adopting.
9. Less focus on Snowing
Last post I asked for something cool for them. It didn’t happen and I’m beginning to think it never will again. So, let’s just not focus on them so much. This show has enough characters to support itself without the horrible parent, idiot duo.
Continuity seems like a lot to ask from this show. It has no idea what time line’s are, with Aurora popping up about 10 years in the past about the same age as she is now and everything in the Frozen time lines happening “a long time ago.” But, if the show could try to have some in this season I would be pleased. Make a few references to last season, have Emma and Henry tease someone about the alternate realty or make comparisons between Emma becoming the Dark One and when Rumple did. Just something to make it seem like each half season, isn’t its own self-contained mess.
And of course:
11. LGBTQ representation
I think I have made this clear already, but I would really like to see some LGBTQ representation on this show. This show acknowledged the existence of homosexuality in season four in 2014 and I got excited about it. That is how bad this show is at it, despite there being a ship name for any same-sex pairing you can think of. The show may have written off Ice Swan, Sleeping Warrior, Little Beauty and Fairy Queen but Ruby is coming back so Red Beauty and Red Snow are too. Dragon Queen, Hooking, Runaway Swan and Snow Queen are still running around. Plus, the reason I still watch this show, SwanQueen.
It is not going to happen but I had to include her. She is one of my favorite Disney characters from my childhood and the show made her badass and queer. She supposedly joined the Merry Man after Aurora and Phillip’s cockblock baby stopped her from confessing her love to Aurora. I just hope she is off defending some random hot chick where ever she is.
Back in February, 28 days before season 4B started, I did a post called 28 Things I hope for when Once Upon A Time Returns. I decided I would revisit that post now that 4B has ended and see how the half season did. It wasn’t very well.
1. Anything cool for Snow and Charming – Verdict: Failed
They got to do stuff, but it wasn’t in any way cool. After already being the couple everyone is over and laughably stupid, the show tried to rewrite and darkened their characters but ended up making them even worst characters and even more horrible parents.
2. Diversity – Verdict: Failed
Somehow the show get even worse at diversity this half season. I really didn’t think it could be possible. Of course, the only non-white member of the Queens of Darkness was the first to be written off. It killed off Marian to replace her with a white character, but technically she was never even alive in the entirety of season four. And then the worst example, of the show aging up Young Lily, played fantastically by Hispanic actress Nicole Munoz, to a white lady.
3. No villain plan monologues Verdict: Failed
It wasn’t being too bad at this at first. The QoD and Rumple said they wanted their happy endings but never said what they were. Then Zelena was re-introduced and the show didn’t stand a chance.
4. Belle keeps her cool – Verdict: Failed
Belle didn’t get much for a story line this half season. But in what she did, she was either shoehorned into a pointless new relationship, being handed off from one man to the next or forgiving her lying, manipulative, abusive husband.
5. Less questionable relationships the masses are supposed to believe is endgame – Verdict: Failed
I expressed my Rumbelle frustrations above, but every canon relationship in this season seemed to have some questionable element to it. Or it was just so bland I was questioning its existence. Robin is supposed to stay with Zelena after she tricked him into impregnating her. Regina and alternate realty Regina are both with Robin just because she was told it was supposed to happen. And feel free to attack me Captain Swan shippers, but why are Emma and Hook even together? They are so boring.
6. Less CGI – Verdict: Failed
Do I even need to explain this one?
7. Continued acknowledgement of Regina’s character growth – Verdict: Passed
The show did excellent on this one because Regina getting her happy ending, a privilege reserved only for heroes, was one of the focuses of 4B. She also put herself in dangerous situations to help protect Emma and Henry and got to the hero of the alternate reality.
8. More Swan-Mills family moments – Verdict: Passed
I wish the whole series could be like how these three interacted in the alternate reality. But, Emma and Regina teamed up multiple times to save Henry and protected each other throughout the half season. Hopefully, Regina and Henry team up to save Emma next season.
9. An explanation for Cruella de Vil – Verdict: Passed
As stupid as it was, the show did explain it. Cruella has magic because the Author decided to give her powers for no real reason and yes, 1920s London is it’s own realm. Ugh.
10. Same for Maleficent – Verdict: Passed
This one was actually done well, with the other Queens of Darkness conning Snowing into helping bring Maleficent back to life so she could take revenge on Snowing for stealing her child.
11. Less Hook – Verdict: Failed
As I said in the original post, I’m not sure what he is still doing here apart from wanting to get in Emma’s pants. He’s contributed almost nothing to the plot and has just been standing in the background as a visual reminded that Emma is supposed to care about someone more than she cares about Regina.
12. No more new characters – Verdict: Passed
I’m really surprised the season passed this one. The Author was the only new character that was added in 4B. And despite him being annoying as hell and me generally hating him, he and expanded characters Lily and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice actually worked to push the plot forward.
13. Regina’s mansion – Verdict: Failed
Has it stopped existing?
14. Not Robin – Verdict: Failed
I’m still really annoyed that the show brought him back. He was fairly written off, that Marian/Zelena twist was stupid and Regina’s happy ending is not a man!
15. Magic lessons – Verdict: Failed
From what we have seen in flashbacks, it seems like it took years for Regina to master her magic skills. How has Emma done it in less time with no training?
16. Ruby – Verdict: Failed
Hey, guess who is still missing? Granny was even on alternate reality Queen Snow’s council, but Ruby wasn’t.
17. Only needed back story – Verdict: Failed
The season devoted an episode to Ursula’s back story just for her to be written off at the end of it. Another episode was devoted to Cruella’s just for her to be killed off at the end of it. The Author’s was mostly pointless, except for a tiny bits of information that told us how the authors are selected. I’m not sure the one with Regina in “Mother” had a point that wasn’t a messed up infertility reveal.
18. Mulan – Verdict: Failed
I hope she is off defending random hot ladies on the Island of Missing Characters.
19. Less incredibly convenient plot devices – Verdict: Failed
It would require good writing for this problem to go away. This show does not have good writing.
20. LGBT representation – Verdict: Failed
Really with this show’s history of non-inclusion and everything that happened this season, if we are ever going to get any LGBT representation at all it would only make sense between Emma and Regina. Well, maybe Lily and Emma or Lily and someone we haven’t met yet. But, I’m going to keep hoping for SwanQueen. I’m going to leave it at that. If I start getting into this show’s horrible queerbaiting practices, I’m just going to piss myself off.
21. No more memory loss – Verdict: Passed
The show actually went a full half season without anyone undergoing a memory loss curse. Sure most of the characters suffered from memory loss in the finale but that was an alternate reality and it gave us bandit Regina so I’m going to let it slide.
22. More of excellent Regina’s dialogue – Verdict: Passed
One time she called Emma, Snow, Charming and Hook “the Charming softball team and their pirate mascot.” I love sass queen dialogue. It is the only thing this show writes well.
23. No Will Scarlet – Verdict: Failed
Why was he here? His show was cancelled. And Belle confessed that she never loved him, so what was his point?
24. Tinkerbell – Verdict: Failed
Cora apparently got to see Tinkerbell, whenever that episode took place. But, sadly we didn’t get to see her at all. Hopefully, she is hanging out with Mulan and Ruby on the Island of Missing Characters.
25. The characters from the Baby Class of Missing Characters – Verdict: Failed
I guess Aurora, Ashley and their children are on the island too. I’m not counting Aurora’s appearance in “Enter the Dragon” because that was too much of a time line fail.
26. The characters getting an explanation for Zelena’s death – Verdict: Passed
This did not play out the way I thought it would. The characters got an explanation for her death. She didn’t die, she floated around in the season three finale, killed Marian, morphed into her and returned as a villain. She really seemed like she was about to reform in that jail cell with Regina before Rumple randomly killed her. But, I guess the show just gave up on that since it has been so bad with other characters’ redemption arches.
27. Baby Braids Regina, if there is story for her – Verdict: Failed
I am glad that we got to see Baby Braids Regina again. She’s my favorite flashback character. But, she really didn’t need to be in the Maleficent flashbacks in “Enter the Dragon.” The Regina we met in the “Mother” was about half Baby Braids Regina, but that entire flashback was pointless. Bandit Regina was pretty similar and that’s a different category. Damn, that is four different versions of Regina in this half season. That is Tatiana Maslany level shit, Lana. Good job.
28. The rest of the missing characters – Verdict: Failed
Again only our main characters were around when a town wide crisis was happening. Belle even crashed the half season party at Granny’s to alert everyone of the crisis, but Storybrooke still seemed empty when Emma was sacrificing herself for Regina in the middle of the street about five minutes later.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, where do I even start with this episode? It had a lot of Regina, both in Storybrooke and in flashbacks. But in a testament to how terribly written this episode was, not even Lana Parrilla could save it. And to think I was excited when I saw Jane Espenson wrote the episode.
We start in the Enchanted Forest with Regina (Lana Parrilla) and her father. They come upon a group of citizens having a wedding on royal land without Regina’s permission. It is the anniversary of Daniel’s death, so Regina gets rather pissed, more so when her dad questions her in front of her citizens and she takes a dude’s heart and crushes it.
This episode had a lot of examples of good acting but terrible dialogue. We aren’t actually told when this is, but Regina’s tone and facial expression tell us this is somewhere in between Baby Braids Regina and “I will destroy your happiness” Evil Queen Regina. She storms away, leaving her father, and goes to Daniel’s grave. There is a rose there and Cora (Barbara Hershey) appears behind her. I feel the same way about Cora’s return as I did about Robin’s. She was fairly written off and there is no reason to bring her back. Regina already learned this lesson in season three and wasn’t Cora trapped in Wonderland? She said she got help from The Rabbit, but why did she then go back to get saved by Hook later on?
Back in the present in New York, Regina is having a beer with Robin (Sean McGuire) at quiet possibly the same bar Emma and Neal did that one time. They are trying to figure out what to do about Marian being Zelena (Rebecca Mader). Robin says they can still be together but Regina says the whole thing is her fault and there will always be that child hanging around. Regina quietly says something about not being able to give Robin a child in here.
Back at Neal/Robin’s apartment, Adult Lily (Agnes Bruckner) is getting information from Emma. Also, Zelena is just hanging out, making herself tea like she isn’t a murderous psychopath. Then Regina busts in and says they are all going to Storybrooke.
When they get back, Emma hugs Henry (Jared Gilmore), hugs Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and sidesteps Snow’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) hug attempt. Emma then introduces Lily to Maleficent (Kristen Bauer van Straten). She is about to cry and Lily really isn’t sure what to think.
Regina then takes Zelena to the cells under the hospital. She gave her that magic cancelling wrist cuff, which I’m surprised the writers even remembered. Regina says she will stay there until she has the baby and maybe then she will kill her. Zelena says she can’t because that would be killing her true love’s child’s mother.
Meanwhile, Rumple (Robert Carlyle) is stumbling around, having a magic heart attack. His heart is turning completely black, which will turn him Full Dark One with no Rumple to balance it out. Regina had pooffed herself there. She takes the enchanted pen, the Author and tells Rumple she doesn’t give a shit about him. He then collapses.
Regina brings her and the Author to her heart vault. Does her mansion no longer exist? He tells her they have everything they need, but the ink isn’t going to work because it has to be charged with the blood of the Savior at her darkness potential. Regina thinks that over for a moment and then gets an idea of how to get some. Clearly, her plan doesn’t involve hurting Emma in any way.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Cora tells Regina she is sorry about killing Daniel. She apparently met Tinkerbell at some point and she told her about the man with the lion tattoo, aka her soul mate. Cora promises to find him for Regina. She then goes to Robin Hood’s tavern. She starts talking to Sheriff Nottingham, who is again, all creepy and gross. She tells him he can help her.
Over at Granny’s, Maleficent is trying her best to bond with Lily. She wants to take revenge on Snow and Charming (Josh Dallas). Maleficent says they should be happy in the present instead of angry about the past. Lily doesn’t like that idea and tries to run off. Her mom tries to stop her saying, if she leaves Stroybrooke she can never return. Lily ignores her and then runs off. The dialogue is so clunky, heavy headed and awkward through this scene. Of course, Kristen Bauer van Straten was still able to act incredibly despite it. Agnes Bruckner was good too. She is very good at capturing Lily in the exact same way Nicole Munoz did. If she was Hispanic too, I might actually like Adult Lily.
In the Enchanted Forest, Cora gave Sheriff Nottingham a lion tattoo and tries to pass him off as Regina’s soul mate. She buys it as first, but as he gets all pretentious, creepy and gross, she is able to figure out it was magic. She pretty much tortures Cora’s plan out of him. He said Cora wants him to be king so Regina will have a child, but he doesn’t know why.
Regina is able to figure it out that she will have her child and then “die of a mysterious illness” and Cora will become the Queen Regent. Regina makes a potion for herself that will stop her from having a child. Cora tells her not to, that this is stupid and a weak way to get back at her. This is when the dialogue went from just being terrible to uncomfortable. Sure, Sheriff Nottingham was rather rape-y also, but this was coming from Regina, a character we are supposed to like. Cora tells Regina hurting herself is weak and Regina says it isn’t if it causes Cora pain also, which sends a really messed up message about self-harm and suicide. Also, Regina says Cora already decided no one would ever love her so why doesn’t she make it official. Because her ability to be loved is tied to her having children, OUAT?
Anyway back in Storybrooke, Regina finds Lily at the bus stop. Regina says a few things to piss of Lily, mostly about her darkness and how she must be mad that it really belongs to Emma. Regina then cuts her hand and is able to super charge the magic ink with her blood, which contains the Savior’s greatest potential for darkness. Regina then magics away and Lily’s eyes glow yellow.
For some god damn reason, Maleficent goes to the idiot duo to ask for help about Lily. The three of them go off to find her and run into a horribly CGI’ed Lily in dragon form.
Over at the docks, Hook tells Emma she should forgive her parents. Emma says it would be easier for her if they had been truthful about their terribleness. They probably said other stuff, but I was too distracted by the utter lack of chemistry between these two. Also, Regina already told Emma all this.
Maleficent and the idiot duo find Dragon Lily. Then Snow runs at her, I don’t know what she was supposed to be doing. It ended up being an excuse for her to be injured when Emma arrived. She told her she forgave her. It was actually good and reminiscent of season one Emma and Mary Margaret.
Maleficent finds Lily once she is back in human form. They clunk through some more dialogue and Lily agrees to stay for a week, which was also how long Emma said she would stay the first time.
Down in the cells, Regina and the Author go to visit Zelena. Regina had planned to have the Author write Zelena out of the story completely. Zelena says she is like their mother, who pretty much erased Zelena from her life. Regina remembers when Cora told her to stop standing in the way of her own happiness. She realizes she doesn’t need to get rid of Zelena. Robin does not define her happy ending, it is finding a place where she feels like she belongs, which was sweet and cute.
But, the Author says he doesn’t like that idea and sends himself to Rumple. Rumple magics up a book called “Heroes and Villains” and the Author writes “Once upon a time” in it.
If it was better written, I feel like this could have been a good episode. I’m not sure what to expect from the finale next week. This show is great a finales, but it is terrible at two-hour episodes. So, best guesses on how this two-hour finale will go?