ONCE UPON A TIME
Season 5, Episodes 22 & 23 (Only You & An Untold Story)
As has become customary these last few years on Once Upon A Time, the season finale was a two-episode story that, while connected to the storyline of the season, was fairly self-contained and was intent on setting up next season. The conflict of the preceding 9 episodes having been resolved in Last Rites, the central question of Only You and An Untold Story was “where will we go from here?” What will happen next?
On one hand, I am glad that the Underworld story arc is over and the Camelot characters have returned to their respective realms. One might say that the latter was wrapped up rather abruptly, but at least it was dealt with. On the other hand, these two episodes shifted the focus to yet another villain and storyline. Now there is a whole summer to get one’s expectations up.
Even moreso than last year, Henry got to step up as the hero of the finale. While he starts out as an antihero bent on destroying magic (since it has caused nothing but misery for his family), he also does an about-face and resolves to fix it. There is something to be said about the fact that the “truest believer” wants no more to do with magic – not only does he think that this is the easiest solution to help his family, but he also wants to have a “normal” life of a teenager. Let’s face it, it is hard to focus on dating when you’re constantly realm-hopping and having to explain your weird family to everyone, or else getting left out because everyone still thinks you’re a child.
In this episode, Henry proves that he is definitely no longer a child, but he is not yet a grown man. He is capable of taking action and has the decency and wherewithal to fix the consequences of said action – which is more than a lot of adults; but he is still impressionable and prone to the whims of others. He is more mature than his great-grandfather Peter Pan ever was, but he is not beyond villainy.
As his love interest and sidekick, Violet is an intriguing character in her own right. I hope that she reappears next season so that we can learn more about her. In previous episodes, she was more of an object – someone for Henry to swoon over and Emma to manipulate. In this episode, we finally learn more about her past, more about what motivates her, and get hints of her personality. We still mostly see Henry’s perspective, namely that she is foremost his love interest, but he is seeing more sides of her and thus so are the viewers. While they might not be destined to be together forever, I would enjoy seeing them go on more adventures together in the near future.
Equally important to the finale was the relationship between Emma and Regina, who embark on a quest to find Henry, keep him from destroying magic, and keep Rumplestiltskin away from him. While on this journey, they get a chance to catch up about their emotional journeys from the past episode. Emma got her man back, but Regina’s didn’t make it. Rather than be horribly jealous and petty (although there is a part of her that would like to be that way), Regina acknowledges that she needs to keep on the good path. Mainly for herself, but also because Robin would want her to.
This comes to fruition at the end of the finale, when Regina is given the chance to empty herself of her Evil Queen persona and destroy her. Unfortunately, likely because Regina is still alive, her Evil Queen is not quite dead…and out of her control. Oops! This will be interesting!
Further complicating matters? Rumplestilskin makes a deal with Hyde (of Jekyll & Hyde fame) to give him the keys to Storybrooke in exchange for something that could help him rescue Belle. So while the heroes have saved the day once more, Hyde and his minions have arrived to take over the town, and the Evil Queen is incorporeal and on the loose. Thus we have an interesting set-up for next year! Hopefully the writers can weave a good story and not a spiky mess.
On a happy note, Hook and Emma are back together, both alive and well! Also, Regina and Zelena have made peace, Henry and Violet are an item, magic has been restored, and everyone has made it back to Storybrooke intact.
Naturally, we await the fall and picking up the adventure again. For now, lasagna at Granny’s!