What a Finale! Once Upon a Time sure outdid themselves this time.
Poignant. Eloquent. Common Ground found between good and evil. The impact show finales dream to accomplish. Only problem, this finale ended only the sixth season, and not the entire series.
Once Upon a Premise…
ABC executives created a winning combination of wild by taking fairy tale after fairy tale and twisting them. They showed a human side to villains and a dark side to heroes. The characters from even different genres of fairy tales co-existed in the same universe. All victims of a curse cast by the Evil Queen to strip Snow White and Prince Charming of their happy ending.
In the topsy-turvy existence, everything played out exaggerated and extreme. The lives held loosely together by a woman named Emma. Despite her troubled childhood she is called to serve as Savior and protect fairy tales everywhere. She was brought into the story by Henry, the very son she gave up to adoption by none other than Regina Mills, the alter-ego for the Evil Queen. My thought following the premiere six years ago:
If it worked it would be brilliant, but making it work would take a lot of effort.
And a lot of effort indeed plagued the show – sometimes painfully so. Often, the storylines presented as contrived and simply lasted way too long.
Once Upon a Battle…
Unexpected epic battles filled the small screen.
Of course, the first battle that continued through multiple seasons was against the Evil Queen that created Storybrooke in the first place. Even when she truly transformed herself into Regina, a hero and a part of the extended Charming family, a double of her splits from Regina courtesy of Dr. Jekyll’s special potion that also created Mr. Hyde. This created a new Evil Queen and a new battle only to find conclusion when Regina truly loved herself and shared that love with her “twin”.
The Jekyll and Hyde battle arch shocked viewers with the true evil. Or maybe not. He did create the potion, after all.
This wasn’t the first time that the story arch presented a good guy as a bad guy. Peter Pan, the quintessential boy that would never grow up, resides within the Once Upon a Time universe as a vindictive evil hellbent on achieving revenge against his own son, Rumpelstiltskin (aka Mr. Gold). This arch with Peter Pan lasted an excruciatingly long time. Even when it seemed to end it began again.
Other battles included the likes of such villains as Selena, the Green Witch from the Emerald City, Hades, Rumpelstiltskin himself, Captain Hook, and the Black Fairy, among so many other somewhat forgettable side battles.
Along the way we learn that The Evil Queen received the curse from Rumpelstiltskin but it was created by the Black Fairy.
Once Upon a Family…
The evil is intersected as are the live of these characters. And not just the villains. The family trees interweave right to the beginning with The Black Fairy and Peter Pan as the parents to Rumpelstiltskin, whose own son is the father of Henry, the Savior’s son who is being raised by Regina. Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, making them Henry’s grandparents alongside his other grandfather Rumpelstiltskin. And then there is Gideon, Rumpelstiltskin’s second son, this time with Belle, who is a major pawn of the Black Fairy in the final battle.
Regina had married, and killed, Snow White’s father to become Queen. Her sister Selena came from the Emerald City full of jealousy and hate. Later, Robinhood and Regina fall in love, but after being tricked by Selena fathers a child that becomes Regina’s own niece.
Captain Hook falls in love with Emma and they marry, even after learning that in his pirate days he had killed Prince Charming’s own father. All is forgiven, as he is a changed man.
Once Upon a Victory…
We come to the final battle with The Black Fairy. She wants to eliminate all the fairy tale realms by exterminating Emma’s belief. Once again, Henry remembers and battles for his mother’s memory while the rest of the family struggles to return from collapsing fantastical realms. The secret revealed about The Black Fairy shows that she was just a mother trying to protect her son but power went to her head. In the end, the prophecy that her own son would kill her was fulfilled.
As the Black Fairy became dust, her final spell remained in effect as Rumpelstiltskin’s own son sought to kill the Savior. When Rumpelstiltskin found his son’s heart and gave the command to end the mission. The spell, however, remained unbreakable. Little did he know, all was not lost in that Emma refused to kill an innocent, accepting her death like true goodness does.
In their unified moment of doing the right thing, good and evil came together in a bond of love and life was restored. The family full of former villains, now heroes, and heroes with a dark side, is together ready for their happy beginning.
Once Upon a Problem…
The problem rests in the circular end to the episode that has Henry’s apparently unknown daughter knocking on his door in some city outside Storybooke, just as he had done with his mother. This girl set to begin some new battle and needs Henry.
But they already had the final battle and a picture-perfect end to a series that wildly shook up the world of fairy tales. And ran its course.
Let the characters live in their happily ever afters.
Feature photo courtesy of ABC on IMDb.