First of all, it is not easy to write for television. The nature of network TV in particular relies heavily on ratings and commercials. If your ratings slip, you don’t necessarily get a chance to finish your story. You have to tell everything in forty-minute segments with appropriately-placed commercial breaks. I give full credit to all the storytellers (writers, directors, performers, crew, etc.) who create excellent shows for our entertainment.
That said, sometimes the storytelling is clunky and comes across as too much grabbing for attention. Season finales usually pick the “grabbing for attention” route and then further like to hammer it home with taking away what would be an otherwise satisfying ending to an episode and throwing us curveballs in the hope that we will watch the show again in the fall. However, sometimes these curveball plots are unnecessary. We are, after all, quite interested in the show already!
All right, needless to say, SPOILER ALERT below.
Seriously, what? What, I ask, was the point of bringing back Marion?
I understand why Emma did it (not leaving her behind was the honourable thing to do), but as far as the plot of the finale went, bringing back Marion was entirely unnecessary. All they succeeded in doing was wrecking Regina’s life again, and also wrecking Robin, Roland, and Marion’s lives thus far. Marion remembers a different man and a younger boy – not to mention that she has missed out on a fairly intricate plot and is entirely unfamiliar with the world of Storybrooke. Robin has spent quite a while getting over his first wife and is in the process of moving on with Regina – contrary to what it seemed in the finale, he is not about to immediately return to being an adoring husband to Marion. Roland, meanwhile, is joyful to see his Mama again, but he has spent a significant portion of his short life without her. He has grown used to being raised by his father and his father’s friends, and was just starting to get used to this strange lady who saved him from monsters, bought him ice cream, and made his dad laugh.
To their credit, the writers understand this. Clearly, they have plans for these characters for next year. However, the final cut of the finale did not do these characters justice. Robin embraces Marion (as he likely would), but we don’t get to see him have a moment of clarity shortly thereafter when he remembers the woman that just accompanied him into the diner (whose arms he woke up in that morning) and who is still standing there looking devastated. He has not stopped loving Regina – she is now relegated to being his mistress. As Tinker Bell said in the third episode, by not approaching Robin Hood in the past, Regina ruined his life as well. Now, he is conflicted between his wife – his son’s mother, his legal wife (we assume), and who loves him – and his mistress. Neither woman deserves to be second fiddle, either.
I actually have to admit that one of my first thoughts was that the writers were going to have Regina end up pregnant next season, since they can’t seem to make her suffer enough.
Emma, however, is not entirely her mother’s daughter. Emma is not a pure princess who assumes that since she did what she thought was right, she is absolved of any wrongdoing. She might actually try to fix the problem that she created by bringing back Marion from the dead.
Speaking of bringing back, in their journey back through the time portal, Emma and Hook also drag back an urn from Rumplestiltskin’s cupboard of dark magic. In the final moments of the episode, the urn spills open and an ice princess emerges. Emma, therefore, might have more problems on her hands than Henry’s other mother’s love life.
As for the rest of the two-hour season finale, the plot was fairly basic and mostly resolved: Emma and Hook travel back in time to when Snow White and Prince Charming first met. They screw up that first meeting and thus they spend the rest of the episode fixing the timeline. It was jolly good fun. Emma bonded with Hook and their romance arrived at the point where it made sense for them to be together. Emma also realised that she was a part of her family and that she had a home to get back to. She got to go back and see the Old Country, as it were.
Was it a good finale? Absolutely – with the exception of Marion. It was a meaningful adventure that harkened back to the earlier episodes of the first season. We had romance, intrigue, and action. They set up a brilliant cliffhanger for next year with the introduction of the ice princess…and then added an extra parting shot by wrecking Regina’s happiness. I think a lot of viewers were outraged. The ice princess was interesting, but not enough to make me forget that I had just had my heart stomped on!
Season 6, Episode 23 (For Better or Worse)
Speaking of unnecessary cliffhangers, the ending of Castle left Beckett thinking that her groom is dead, much like three years ago when she was shot in the final frame of the third season. Really, dead? Not just kidnapped?
However, that cliffhanger worked well. We know that Castle is not dead – the show is named for him. Next season’s premiere will be a search and rescue case that will find him safe and sound, and he and Beckett will have their wedding four months late. What we don’t know is who kidnapped him and why they did it. We can speculate all summer. Meanwhile, the penultimate scenes were beautiful and sweet. If the show had not been renewed, it would have been a good finale for the series – albeit, very sad.
What seemed to be an unnecessary curveball about this episode was that the entire plot hinged around legal technicalities. Beckett and Castle end up hunting down Beckett’s college boyfriend whom she married on a Vegas trip. They need him to sign the divorce papers so that they can get married. The story then turns into a buddy-cop comedy, and all is seemingly resolved much as we have come to expect from the show and from that genre.
From a practical perspective, however, there was no need to go off on a wild goose chase. There was nothing stopping Castle and Beckett from getting married ceremonially on their appointed day, and then getting the boyfriend’s signature and getting legally married once they returned from their honeymoon. Plenty of people have two ceremonies, even those not getting married in a religious setting. Not once did they even consider this option. Thus, the urgency in this episode seemed too contrived.
All in all, this was a fun adventure and beautiful finale, even without the wedding taking place. It was quirky in typical Castle fashion, but leaves us hope that all will be well next year.
Now, I have to recover from having my heart stomped…and figure out what I’m going to write about next week!