For the first time in its four-year run, young Henry got to live out his dream of becoming the hero to save his family from the alternate universe that the Author and Rumple created.
How did Henry save the day and what did that mean for the Dark One on his deathbed?
The finale of Once Upon A Time came and went and looks like that darkness that Emma supposedly has, well, that will take front and center when season five returns in the fall.
Check out a recap of the major stories of the finale along with random thoughts, memorable quotes, and my review of the two-hour finale.
The Big Stories
A New Story: After the Author and Rumple rewrite their new stories, Henry is suddenly left alone, in Storybrooke. Thanks to those brief driving lessons from Grandpa Charming, Henry gets himself outside of the town and comes across a certain book called “Heroes and Villains” with Isaac, aka the Author’s photo.
Henry pays him a visit, but he’s too happy as a famous author to get Henry his life back. However, Henry is able to trick Isaac into getting inside the book. And the Alternate Universe begins.
Enchanted Forest AU: Once in the Enchanted Forest, Henry experiences everything he’s read about for years. This time, however, Grandpa Rumple is the hero and not the Dark One.
He comes across the bandit Regina who is hiding from the evil queen, Snow White, because Regina stole Snow’s happy ending. Sound familiar?
Isaac, also on the loose, is captured by the evil dwarves and meets Snow and guy-liner Charming and tells them of a kid, Henry who is trying to help Regina. Uh-oh.
Since Regina doesn’t remember Henry, or anything, he tries to convince her. He decides that the way to exit the book and return to reality is for Regina to get her happy ending is by sharing True Love’s Kiss with Robin.
Regina eventually finds Robin, but right when she starts to fall for him, she discovers that he is engaged to Zelena and is to be married that day. It looks like, however, that Robin may also have a little thing for Regina.
Henry needs more assistance and that is to find Emma. Only problem, Regina says she was locked away in a tower for telling everyone she was the Savior. Henry recruits an oddly unsure Hook who brings her to Emma.
Lucky for Henry, Emma remembers everything and they need to get to Regina to help stop that wedding. Hook and Emma share a couple of cute moments before they return to dry land and meet Snow who wants Henry’s head. Weird, right?!
To save Emma, Hook sacrifices himself for the possible reality of him and Emma and to help save her and Henry. That being said, Charming and Hook start a duel and Hook is killed.
Emma and Henry find Regina to go after Robin for her happy ending. But, even then someone else decides to get in the way: Rumple.
Not only is Rumple a literal knight in shining armour, he is married to Belle with lots of kids. Isaac ruins the party and tells Rumple about Henry and how his involvement could lead to a return to an evil and unhappy life.
Obviously, Rumple wouldn’t take it. He meets Henry, Regina, and Emma at the wedding. While Regina goes to stop the wedding, Emma fights off Rumple and then Henry.
Regina tries to stop the wedding, but sees that Rumple is about to kill Henry and sacrifices herself.
The New Author: As Regina is dying, the Author arrives knowing it is too late for Henry to change the story, but Henry sees the Author’s quill and notices a special connection Henry has when he touches the quill. Henry is supposed to be the new Author.
With Regina slowly dying, Robin remains by her side and his new bride, again, turns green with envy and disappears (nothing is good enough for Zelena).
To save everyone, Henry writes a new story with the quill returning everyone to their normal reality.
Back to Normal: Back in Storybrooke, everyone reunites, and the Author tries to get away leaving a dying Rumple alone. Belle comes to him and says she wanted the ending they had in the alternate universe.
But with the darkness ready to take over Rumple completely, Belle gets the Apprentice, who was restored from the hat, to help take the darkness away.
The Apprentice is able to succeed. Only problem is that the darkness from the Dark One was traveling aimlessly through Storybrooke without someone to attach to.
The Apprentice reveals the only one who can control the Darkness, or get rid of it, is the Sorcerer himself, aka Merlin!
But, before they can find him, Emma makes a huge sacrifice. When the darkness encircles Regina, Emma lets herself become the Dark One so Regina can have her happy ending with Robin.
With that, the darkness takes over Emma and a name appears on the dagger for the new Dark One…Emma Swan.
- Via TVLine’s recap, a crafty viewer made the connection that the previous Author had died in 1966, also known as the year Walt Disney died.
- As excited as I was that Eion Bailey reappeared as August, it seemed a waste of a scene for him to appear.
- Evil Snow was a total badass!
- There were a lot of parallels to the first episode and season in general, kind of loved that.
- The writing instrument chooses the Author, very Potter-esque, Henry even destroyed the quill a la Harry Potter.
- I love the mention of Neal on many occasions, especially heartbreaking when Henry wanted to use his Author powers to bring him back :'(. But it looks like Michael Raymond-James may be busy next season.
- In other news, Lily wants to stick around Storybrooke so Emma can help find out who her dad is.
- Not sure how I feel about Belle returning to Rumple after everything.
- I’m a big fan of Merlin in The Sword in the Stone. I hope they keep the essence of that version. It’d be highly entertaining.
- Sean Maguire for series regular status!!
- Take a moment to realize that the story wrote for Hook included him being allergic to rum. How great is that??
“I like room service and indoor plumbing. You’re welcome to a happy ending in your land, I’ll take one in mine.”–The Author, Isaac
“Let me tell you about this place. It’s cold, there’s no running water and things are always trying to kill you.”–Isaac
Emma: “You were a regular Jack Sparrow.” Hook: “Is that good?”
“You don’t need to be sorry, although I do intend to hold this over your heads for a very long time.”– Hook, about Charming killing him
Review: 3.8/5 I loved the alternate universe of the Enchanted Forest, especially Regina, Snow, Charming, and Hook. It was also a great to see Henry at the lead, it felt about time for him to get his time to shine. I’m not sure how I feel about Emma becoming the Dark One, but I love the idea of Merlin making an appearance.
What’s Next?: This is a big step in the Once Upon A Time story. How will Emma being the Dark One change things? Is Lily’s dad someone we know or a familiar name? Is Rumple going to return to pre-Dark One self?
So many questions and such a long, long time until we get answers.
What did you think of the finale?
Need to catch up with recaps, check out all season 4 recaps in addition to recaps of important episodes right here.