Monday, May 15, 2017

Once Upon a Time - The Final Battle

Once Upon a Time closes out the show's Sixth Season with a two-hour finale ominously entitled "The Final Battle." While Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), David (Josh Dallas), Hook (Colin O'Donoghue), and Regina (Lana Parrilla) awake in the Enchanted Forest, Henry (Jared Gilmore) remains in Storybrooke but things are slightly different than he remembers. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is a mental patient, the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) is the town's mayor (and his adopted mother), and no one is interested in his tales of magic, curses, or fairy tales. Returning to the themes of the show's first season, Emma's "final battle" isn't a war with magic or swords (okay, she will get to swordfight before all is said and done) but a battle for belief. At stake, should she falter, all the realms of story... including the one where her family remains trapped as the realms slowly go dark one by one.

The season finale offers plenty of callbacks to the show's earlier seasons including a trip up a beanstalk, a magic kiss or two, and the finale scene which finally explains the identity of the young girl clutching the storybook in the opening scene as she reaches her destination. This cliffhanger helps explain the show's major cast shakeup next season which will see the majority of the core cast not return. Can the show recapture the same magic the second time around, without these core characters (who at least get to go out to their own happy endings)? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

After years of watching Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) do the wrong thing, being teased with a hero turn only to see he return to form, I'm glad to see the Dark One finally step-up when called for. There are some missed opportunities, I would have loved a cameo from Elsa and Anna, and some bewildering plot issues (such as rewriting history to take away the heroic end to the Evil Queen and why the Enchanted Forest exists so long after Emma falters), but overall the episode ends the season, and the series for several of the core cast, on a strong note.

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