Closing One Book and Opening Another – Once Upon a Time (Season 6 finale)
I was prepared to be done with Once Upon a Time after the season finale. This season was tough, disjointed and all over the place. It has felt like the writer’s were grasping at straws, desperately trying to find ways to keep the show going. I stuck it out because I knew that there were rumors this could be the last season. I wanted to see how they ended it.
The season finale was a great way to end this story. We spent six seasons with our set of characters and the season finale was the time to close that book and open a new one. I had no idea going into the finale how they were going to wrap up the storylines and then set up a new, fresh season. The last few minutes left me intrigued. I wasn’t going to watch season seven, but I now have to at least give it a shot and see where they are going.
The finale started in “The Enchanted Forest, During a Time for Great Upheaval.” This should have been a tip off that something was odd because this show always gives a time period when doing the flashbacks. We see a man run and wake up a little girl. He hands her the storybook and tells her she has to run and to protect the book. We see him take a stand. We assume that he dies in the battle.
We then jump to our present “timeline,” right after The Black Fairy’s curse has taken affect. Henry wakes up on the roof where Hook and Emma’s wedding took place. He has the book. He goes down into the town and quickly learns what the curse did.
The Black Fairy’s curse sent Emma to a timeline where she is in a mental asylum. In this time she came to Storybrooke but there were no Charmings and no one was from The Enchanted Forest. She is found to be crazy for her believing Henry and is forced to an asylum to help with her supposed delusions.
Henry is desperate to find her and make her see that she is being tricked. Of course, The Black Fairy intervenes and tells Emma that she has to stop believing in the stories in order to help her son. She centers her argument on that Emma is only making it so Henry can’t live a normal life.
The rest of the group has been sent back to The Enchanted Forest. They are desperate to find a way back to Emma. We quickly learn that all the storylands are falling apart and disappearing. Since Emma no longer believes, the stories are starting to fade.
I loved this idea. I wish this was the idea that was the theme throughout this whole season. This main problem with this season was that there was no overall theme. We had too many stories going on at one time. This idea, that without belief there are no fairytales or stories, is an interesting idea. I think a lot could have been done with it.
This show has always been about the power of belief, hope and stories. Without belief no story can exist. If ,as you are reading you don’t believe what you are reading or don’t feel like the characters could be people you could ever meet and talk with, then the stories haven’t done their job. You have to believe the story could be real, that the situation could happen. You have to get lost in a story or else it is just words on a page.
The Final Battle that has been spoken about all season is not a huge battle between The Black Fairy and Emma. It is a battle for Emma’s soul. The Black Fairy knows that if Emma stops believing and leaves all that she has gained behind then The Black Fairy can win. Emma can’t fight her, she will no longer be The Savior.
Henry refuses to give up on his mother though. He starts to play the game of the world and figures out ways to convince Emma that all of the stories are true. He takes her to where her and Hook got married. For a minute she gets flashes of memories.
Emma tells Henry she has to get away. She needs to start over and get away from Storybrooke and everyone thinking she is insane. Henry agrees to help her escape, though he has a different plan. He finds The Storybook and decides to take it back to Emma, though gets caught by The Black Fairy.
She knows that Henry is in her way, so she decides to push him down the steps. She injures him in order to convince Emma that she needs to stop believing in order to protect Henry. The Black Fairy is able to convince Emma that the way to save Henry is by burning The Storybook.
As the book burns the Enchanted Forest (the last of the story lands) begins to crumble. Emma walks away and returns to Boston. As she runs, our group is desperate to find a way to save themselves but they quickly find out that there is no hope. They can’t stop the destruction.
Emma gets back to her old apartment (though why it has been kept for her, untouched, is a mystery). She is willing to restart her new life, but finds a new storybook written by Henry. It tells her, her life story. It is the story of everything that happened to Emma since she came to Storybrooke.
Emma returns to help Henry. She tells him she may not remember her past life but she believes in it. That it is the life she always wanted and she is willing to believe in the possibility of that life. That is the moment where everything stops falling apart. Emma decides that she believes her son. She believes that there is something else to life then what she has been fed. She decides to take a chance and see where it leads her.
While Emma is deciding what path to take, Rumple is also making a huge decision for himself and his family. In this alternate timeline Rumple has his son but Belle has supposedly run off and left her family. Rumple doesn’t believe this and he knows that The Black Fairy did not keep her word. She did not give him his family.
Rumple has his own decision to make. He can either buy into what his mother tells him, that with her new, grand power she can give him back Bae, and put his family back together or he can fight her influence on him. She offers him a new life but he knows that all magic comes with a price.
Rumple is done letting his family suffer for his choices. He decides that he does not buy into his mother’s schemes and he ends up killing her. Once The Black Fairy is dead the curse is lifted. Emma remembers who she is and everyone is brought back to Storybrooke.
Unfortunately before The Black Fairy died she commanded Gideon (whose heart she still had) to kill Emma. The Black Fairy learned that darkness cannot snuff out light. Only light can destroy light. She forces Gideon to do her dirty work.
Rumple rushes to find Gideon’s heart to return it to him. As he is picking it up he is given one last choice. The devil on his shoulder tells him that he can have all that he ever wanted; power and family, if he only puts down Gideon’s heart and lets him kill Emma.
Rumple decides that he is done betraying his family. He tries to stop Gideon. He tries to command him to not hurt Emma, but it doesn’t work. The Black Fairy’s spell cannot be undone that easily. In the end Emma knows what she has to do and that is to let Gideon kill her. She sacrifices herself for her family and her home.
She falls and appears to be dead. Everyone rushes to her side and in an echo of Season 1 Henry kisses her and wakes Emma up. True love’s kiss wins again.
The storybook returns and we learn how the final battle was actually won. The last page says “When good and evil both did the right thing, faith was restored and the final battle was won.” Snow then gives a sweet speech about what comes next. That this is not the end of their story. It is not about the happy ending but believing in the possibility of the happy ending. Now, they live on. They get to see what happens next in their lives and they get to do it together.
The final scene shows all the worlds we have seen throughout the last six seasons coming back together. Then we get to see how everyone gets to move on with their lives. Snow and Charming have a farm. Snow goes back to teaching. Henry goes back to school. Emma and Hook work together. Rumple and Belle start new with a baby Gideon. And Regina is once again mayor, or as the dwarves put on her door, “Queen.”
That proves the perfect ending for this series or at least this “book.” All of our characters get to move on and actually live their lives. They get to see where their stories go now, no longer having to fight. They get to live this next chapter with one another, in the life that is meant for them. To me it was perfect. It was literally closing this book and that is what this show needed. Life moving on with joy and togetherness.
The last few moments gave us a hint as to what is to come in the next season. We find out that the man from the beginning, the one that sent the little girl away, was actually adult Henry. His daughter arrives at his door step (much like Henry did to Emma’s in season 1) and tells him he has to save his family.
She is carrying a new storybook, one that contains our old story but will start a new one. After that last scene I am intrigued to see where this story is going. I was so set on letting this show go. Especially after this finale. It all ended so well!
Now I want to know what is going to happen. I feel like this is the only way for this show to move on. It is time to move our focus to a whole new set of characters, a new theme and a new story. This will only work though if this “book,” feels new and fresh. We need to have new themes, something other than the power of love and family. We need to have new characters and brand new stories.
I know that Regina, Hook and Rumple are supposed to play a part in the next season but I am hoping they are side characters. I am hoping this will feel like a sequel to a book series. New story but with cameos from people we know. It needs to find a way to get us hooked on these new characters and I think this time jump may just be the ticket.
I don’t know if I’ll do reviews for the next season but I am interested to see how this show handles this new turn. It could go very well or it they could get stuck. It will be interesting to see.
“Curses have never stopped us before.” – Snow – It was nice to see this end to a curse. I hope that in the new season we stay away from curses. Curses are the tool used in this book, time for a new way to stir things up.
“Belief in something, something that isn’t real, can be dangerous” – Black Fairy – This is what she wants Emma to believe. She wants to her to think having firm belief is a bad thing. When the opposite is true, having belief in what you can’t see will give you hope and provide a driving force for you to take risks and do the impossible.