Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 22, season 1 finale)

This week was the finale for the first season of Once Upon A Time, and boy was it a rollercoaster ride of an episode!

The title is "A Land Without Magic". The previews summary stated the following: Regina forges an alliance with Emma in order to save Henry's life which leads Emma to believe in the Curse. Meanwhile, the events surrounding Prince Charming's escape from the Evil Queen and his reunion with Snow White are revealed.

Let's dive right into the action...

Once upon a time in the land of Fairytales, Charming is realizing iron bars do a prison make. Banging on the lock with a rock is not going to get him out of captivity. Unfortunately for him, the plan is not for him to remain a prisoner forever. The guards come to take him to his execution. Yet even with his hands chained together, the Prince manages to best two guards but more soon follow. Luckily, one of the guards is an ally. The Huntsman buys him time to escape, risking the wraith of the Evil Queen. Regina is not without her resources though and once she gets a bead on the Prince via a magic mirror, she sends him off to an inescapable forest.

Try as he might, Charming finds himself hopelessly running around in circles. Rumpelstiltskin appears to him, offering to provide some help. After magically lifting Charming's mother's ring from his person, the bargainer uses magic to enchant it. With the ring as a guide, Charming will be able to escape the forest and find his true love. Ah, but there is a price. Realizing he has no hope in beating Rumpelstiltskin in a fight, the Prince agrees. In exchange for the ring, he has to take an egg-shaped container and place it in the belly of a beast.

Arriving at Maleficent's castle, the Prince finds the evil queen has more than just magic. She transforms into a dragon, planning to snack on the fleshy male. After a heated battle, fire blasts and all, Charming manages to slam-dunk the egg into the dragon's mouth and escapes. On the shore, Rumpelstiltskin is there and ready to give up the ring. He even transforms the Prince's clothes so he'll look his best when he meets his true love.

Charming rides across the kingdoms, guided by the ring. When he finds the dwarves, they are sullen as they stand before Snow White's glass coffin. She is dead. The Prince offers his goodbye kiss which awakens her and sends a magic pulse across the realm. Reuninted, the two decide to take back the realms that King George and Queen Regina have each taken from them.

In Storybrooke, Henry is rushed to the hospital where Dr. Whale examines him. Based on the boy's vital signs, he cannot see how a mere apple turnover could have done this to the boy. When Emma realizes it could have been magic and touches the storybook, suddenly events from the other realm flash through her head. She gets it! The boy was right all along. She feels it in her heart that she is the child of Snow White and Prince Charming.

While looking in on Henry, Regina is approached by Jefferson. He wants her to keep her end of the deal, to reunite him with his daughter. Regina feels the deal is null and void since the wrong person ate the apple. She has no time for the man. So, Jefferson takes matters into his own hands. He dresses as an orderly, slips into the secret basement of the hospital and frees Belle. He wants her to find Mr. Gold and tell him that it was Regina that imprisoned her. Oh, does that hatter like to stir up trouble.

Emma goes to see August for help, but the man is no longer able to move. The last stages of his transformation back into a wooden puppet is upon him. He begs her to break the curse, to save him and everyone. His head then turns to wood. Emma realizes she needs to find another ally. Back at the hospital, she accosts Regina in a supply closet, demanding to know why. Regina admits the plan was for Emma to eat the magic apple-dessert. She does not know what effect it will have on Henry. Emma insists that they do something to reverse it, but Regina is out of magic. She believes though one person might have some left. Emma realizes she means Mr. Gold.

At the pawn shop, Gold says he may have kept something aside for a rainy day (just as he told Charming when he gave him the egg to hide it). He asks Regina if she can still reach her old "friend". The mayor says she knows where Maleficent is. Gold offers Emma a sword for the task, the sword that belonged to her father.

At the library behind a hidden panel is an old hand-crank elevator. Regina will lower Emma down to a hidden cave where she will have to retrieve Gold's item. Emma stumbles upon the giant beast whom she awakens. Going on instinct, she abandons the sword to rely on what she knows - her gun. But bullets do not slow the beast. Maleficent does her best to slay the intruder. Emma comes to the realization that in order to beat an ancient foe she needs an ancient weapon. Hurling the sword with incredible accuracy, she slays the beast. In the remains, she finds the egg-shaped container.

Halfway back up the shaft, the elevator stops. Gold appears at the top, saying Regina has abandoned her post and that the motor seems to have burned out. Emma is ready to climb up, but Gold insists she throw up the egg first. The woman agrees and does so, and Gold vanishes with his prize. Emma climbs up only to find Regina bound and gagged. Freeing her, the mayor explains Gold did this to her and has taken off with what he wanted. He could not be trusted. Before they can follow him, they get a call from the hosptial.

David catches Mary-Margaret on the street to tell her that he is leaving town for Boston. She can't think of a reason to make him stay.

Gold returns to his shop with the egg and opens it with the key he kept. Inside is the magic potion which he kept in hiding all these years. Just then, Belle arrives at the shop and tells him who was holding her prisoner. While pleased to be back with the woman he loves, Gold says there is something he must do immediately.

At the hospital, the two mothers find that Henry has apparently died. There is nothing the doctors can do. The Mother Superior of the nuns is there to pray over the boy. Distraught, Emma tearfully gives the boy one last kiss goodbye and tells him that she loves him. A pulse shoots out from that spot, across all of the town. Henry, of course, awakens and tells her that he loves her too. Everyone else in the room, in the town, are dazed as if awakening from a fog. The Mother Superior (the Blue Fairy) tells the Queen that she better go into hiding as a lot of people will be very angry with her.

We get glimpses of others remembering too: Dr. Hopper coming out of his office, Granny and Red leaving the diner, etc. The one scene I wish we had seen was August becoming human again. Did the breaking of the curse do it, or do we have a story to deal with in season two? The more I think about it, the more I am thinking the later.

At the well whose water returns lost things, Belle tells Gold/Rumpelstiltskin that she remembers him and their love. He realizes that Emma must have broken the curse. But he has one more thing to do. Taking the potion, he drops it into the well. A purple fogs begins to rise from the well, spilling out into the woods and heading towards town. Belle asks him what that will do. He smiles and says that this will bring the magic back to the town. Belle asks why. He replies that magic is power, and clearly he wants his back.

David is about to hit the edge of town when he remembers. He turns back and finds Snow White walking. They kiss and vow never to be apart. Then, the purple fog rolls into town.

At the hospital, Henry and Emma see it too. She asks "what now?" The boy responds "something bad!"

At her home, the shaken Regina notices the coming fog too and begins to smile. She has a feeling what is coming is and knows she'll gain from it.

As the fog hits the center of town and engulfs the clock tower, the clock strikes 8:15 - the same exact time the clock had stopped twenty eight years ago when Regina first unleashed the curse upon the kingdom.

Whew! That's a lot of story in one hour. While I would have loved it to have been a two-hour finale or even an hour-and-a-half just to expand upon some of these great scenes, I'm okay with what we got. There will be plenty of time in the second season to expand upon everyone "waking up".

And while I have a few ideas swimming around in my head on where I would take the story based on this point, I am certain the writers are going to set us up for another major story arc come the Fall. The return of magic will have a lot of major players in town: Mother Superior/the Blue Fairy, Jefferson/the Mad Hatter, Evil Queen Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. Plus, you have the strong ally force of Snow/Charming/Emma/Henry plus the former dwarves, Red and her wolfing abilities, etc. I have a feeling Storybrooke is going to become a war-zone. I am also excited to see what other characters we'll meet in the next season - more friends and potentially more foes as well.

See you all back here for season two!

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