Holy mother of season finale shockers, Batman! So much to say about that episode! We better get right into it since there are two hours to wade through. I had feared that the two hours would include one hour of flashbacks since they showed a lot of old material in the preview and that’s how they do the two-hour season openers. But, I was pleasantly surprised that these two hours were all-new material. Though it is billed as a two-hour finale, it is technically two episodes put together.
Once Upon a Time Season 3 Finale Recap and Review
The opening frame shows a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal. Any doubt that this is a Disney-owned franchise? A little girl is being adopted and an early teens’ Emma watches dejectedly but is told she will find a home too.
In the Charmings’ apartment, Emma asks if she will finally be told what her little brother’s name is and they tell her that it’s tradition for the name to be revealed at a coronation ceremony. She says, “You’re not going to hold him out in front of the clock tower and present him like Lion King, are you?” Ha, ha, I had a chuckle at that. Disney movie that you can’t quite figure out how to work into the storyline. Good imagery, though. But, they are going to have a potluck at Granny’s instead. Henry comes in and says he found them an apartment. Is it funny that there are classifieds in Storybrooke? Who are they advertising to? No outsiders are going to come in and rent an apartment there and everyone there should have their own place. The only person without a “home” is Emma. Speaking of which, where do Hook and Smee live without the Jolly Roger? I digress. Emma says that she thinks the Charmings are stalling so they have more time to think of a name, but the irony is that Emma is stalling so she doesn’t have to tell everyone that she is planning to take Henry back to New York.
Regina and Robin Hood are having some wine and making out now that Regina has her heart back. They discuss their mutual broken hearts after losing their loved ones. Regina finally reveals to him that Tinkerbell had led her to the man of her destiny. She hadn’t had the courage to go see him, but she had seen his tattoo and pushes back Robin’s sleeve, revealing his tattoo. He’s surprised but says that things work out when they are supposed to and that maybe before wasn’t the right timing.
In Gold’s Shop, Rumpel is hiding the real Dark One dagger when Belle comes in and says she doesn’t want to carry the dagger around. She asks him if they could hide it back in the Enchanted Forest in the vault with no doors in his castle. Rumpel says that that was only for the most “dangerous and unstable” magic that even he couldn’t understand. Mark this, because this vault becomes very important later. Belle heaps coals on Rumpel’s head, talking about how he is a changed man.
At Granny’s, Grumpy is talking about how “ding-dong” the witch is done. I wondered if they knew then that she was REALLY gone yet. Rumpel had gone into the jail cell at night and this was clearly the next day. Had no one gone to check on the prisoner yet? They are having a potluck and no one has checked the jail? Because if they knew that she was gone-GONE, then surely they would be a bit more unsettled and discussing it. Henry is reading the story of how Snow and Charming met. They needed a refresher. Or, at least Emma did. Red is back. Guess she has more time now that her other show, Intelligence, was cancelled. It was pointed out on another site that they tried to do a decoy Ruby in at least one episode. In the background, you could see an actress dressed like Ruby, but it wasn’t actually her. Hook lets it slip that Emma is planning to retreat to New York and though Emma tries to shut him up, Regina wants to know what is going on. Rather than talk about it, Emma leaves and Hook goes after her. Henry, fortuitously, hands Hook the book and says it might help her remember where she belongs. Henry then sees the shaft of light shooting into the sky through the window. Rumpel says that Zelena’s portal is open.
Then they decide to go check on Zelena. Obviously, she is gone. Regina wonders if Rumpel did something and he lies, saying Belle has his dagger. Charming pulls up the surveillance video (on Betamax tape, ha ha). Rumpel magically changes the tape so he isn’t on it and it appears that Zelena turns herself into a statue and then crumbles. They muse that she must have had enough residual magic left to end herself and then without her, the pendant leaked its power and fulfilled her final wish. Until they figure out what to do with the portal, Rumpel said they should stay away from it because a trip to the past could be catastrophic.
Charming is trying to call Emma to warn her. Why doesn’t she ever answer the phone when there’s an emergency? You’d think she’d have learned by now. Hook is trying to convince her to stay with her family. Emma says that she doesn’t fit into the fairy tales. She’s not a part of magic and princes and princesses. She says she is looking for home, which is the place that when you leave, you just miss it. Then she sees the shaft of light and has to check it out. She gets the message from Charming, but misses the part about how she should stay away from it, apparently. She wants to figure out how to close it, but it ends up sucking her in and then Hook dives in after her, saying, “One of these days, I’m going to have to stop chasing this woman.” They realize they are back in the Enchanted Forest, but unsure of the timeframe. When Emma sees a wanted poster for Snow White, she figures out this is pre-Charming marriage time. Emma said she had been thinking about Henry and the storybook when she fell through so that must make a difference in the time that they landed in.
Hook asks if she has any idea how to get back. Emma says, “What do I look like? Marty McFly?” I laughed out loud. About three episodes ago, I mused that this could end up being like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, running around trying to fix things before he disappeared from existence as his picture faded. That’s EXACTLY what is happening here! Good call! Yay me! Hook has no idea what she is talking about. I kind of chuckle because apparently the Charmings watched enough TV to know about Lion King, but Hook has no idea who Marty McFly is. Emma tries for a second to explain about lighning and DeLoreans, but gives up. But, when Hook asks if he is a wizard, Emma thinks they might need a wizard and they should go find Rumpel. But, before they can, Regina’s carriage rolls up and she threatens some townspeople, trying to find Snow. Where did these townspeople come from? Hook and Emma were alone in the forest. Regina has a captured woman and Emma wants to help, but Hook tells her she can’t interfere or she will disrupt the space-time continuum. Well, he didn’t say that in so many words, but pretty much. They steal some clothes for Emma so she will blend in.
Snow sets a trap to rob Charming’s carriage, which Hook and Emma just happen to walk up on. Emma, knowing the story, watches with interest to see how her parents met and we see how they are setting her up to have an invested interest in these fairy tales that she feels so far removed from. However, she snaps a branch which startles Snow, who falls out of the tree she was hiding in and the robbery of the wedding ring doesn’t happen as it should have. Emma realizes she just made a huge change.
Charming and his betrothed arrive at Midas’ castle.
Snow tries to barter passage out of the area with Blackbeard, but she doesn’t have enough money.
Hook and Emma arrive at Rumpel’s castle and Hook says he should probably stay out of sight since Rumpel wants to kill him. Rumpel appears and has Hook in the magical choke hold (seems to be a favorite among these bad guys in the Enchanted Forest) and Emma says if he doesn’t let him go, Rumpel will never see his son again. Emma quickly explains that she knows about the curse and she is the savior and that they are from the future. They say they need his help and Rumpel wants to know if he succeeded in finding Bae. They say yes but he doesn’t want to know more because he doesn’t want anything in his head that might change things. Emma says she may have already changed things. Emma pulls out the book to show Rumpel how things are supposed to happen but the story has disappeared, just like the picture in Back to the Future. The ironic thing about these Back to the Future references is that back when Robert Zemeckis was creating the movie, he pitched it to Disney, who didn’t want it because they thought that the concept of a mother falling in love with her son was too risqué. However, Industrial Light and Magic, part of Lucasfilm, which Disney acquired in 2012, had their hand in creating Back to the Future. Anyway, Rumpel tells them about a ball that Charming will be at and uses his crystal ball to find Snow for them. Rumpel says he will try to get the portal open, but they have to fix getting Emma’s parents together. Sound familiar? At least Charming isn’t falling in love with his daughter, ha ha. Hook suggests that since Snow is looking for passage and he has a boat, that’s a perfect setup.
Emma’s job is to distract the real Hook while the future Hook deals with Snow. Emma uses her flirtation and cleavage to reel Hook in. Future Hook goes to the Jolly Roger and offers to give Snow passage in exchange for her stealing some “treasure”, the wedding ring. Though Emma tries to keep current Hook drinking at the pub, he insists on taking her back to his ship. Emma ends up between the two Hooks and future Hook knocks out the other Hook because even though it’s himself, he’s jealous and angry at the other Hook’s passes at Emma. Hmmm. Confusing? Awkward?
Rumpel appears and gives them an invitation to the ball and acts as their fairy god…mother? He puts Emma in a red ballgown and changes their appearances, so no one would recognize them in the future.
As they go into the ball, King Midas greets them as asks who they are. Emma says that Hook is Prince Charles and as I am expecting her to say she is Princess Diana, she says she is Princess Leia. Ha, ha! Back to Lucasfilm, which again, Disney now owns. Emma is suddenly enchanted by the ball. I was surprised that the dancers were wearing such slim dresses instead of the huge skirted things you would expect and which Emma is wearing.
Snow is breaking into the castle and Charming goes to fetch Princess Abigail’s comfortable shoes. And, Regina bursts into the ball. Snow finds the ring, but Charming discovers her. Snow White escapes but as archers prepare to shoot her, Hook and Emma have to stop them. Emma realizes that Snow dropped the ring and runs to get it to Snow, but is taken prisoner by Regina, since she assisted Snow White in escaping.
That’s the end of the “Snow Drifts” episode. Now, on to “There’s No Place Like Home.”
This part opens with a flashback to 13 years ago with Emma and Neal. My goodness! Why do they torture me so much!? Neal!!! I want Neal to come back so badly. They just keep teasing me and throwing him in here a little at a time, just enough to torture me! Neal breaks into a padlocked carnival, so he and Emma can sit in a swing ride and talk. Apparently this is early in their relationship because Neal is telling Emma a vanilla version of his life story. They talk about home and we realize that what Emma said about home being the place that when you leave, you just miss it came directly from Neal. Aw!
Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Emma is thrown into Regina’s dungeon. There is another woman there, the one that Emma had previously wanted to help but was prevented from rescuing by Hook. She refuses to tell her name so that the Queen doesn’t hear and hurt her family. She’s there because she knows where Snow was hiding and refused to tell. She says they are only in there for one more night because the next day, everyone is to be executed.
In the meanwhile, Snow is captured in a net by Charming, as it happened in the original story. He offers to let her escape if she gives him the ring, which she doesn’t have. Hook appears and says he knows where the ring is and he needs their help to get it back. Snow knows the castle since it used to be hers.
As the trio are traveling by wagon, Charming grabs Snow’s necklace which is a vial of fairy dust from a dark fairy that she plans to use to turn Regina into a bug to be squished. Snow scampers off to find help.
Charming and Hook have a heart to heart about love and marriage over a camp fire. Ironically, Hook says he doesn’t think Emma’s parents approve of him and Charming thinks that the lengths he has gone to to save her should warrant their respect. Hook says, “I hope you remember that.” Ruby shows up to help get them past the guards.
In the dungeon, Emma and the unknown woman talk about family and how missing them doesn’t lessen, but gets worse. Emma picks the padlock the same way that Neal did all those years ago and springs herself from the cell. The woman says for her to run, but Emma hesitates, wanting to save her.
Wolf Ruby helps Charming and Hook take down the guards and then Emma and the unnamed woman rush out. Hook reprimands Emma for changing things by rescuing the woman.
Snow is sneaking up on Regina but as she is opening her bottle of dust, Regina confronts her. Snow throws the dust at her, but Regina stops it and it falls to the floor. Regina has the guards take Snow and says she will be executed that night. She is tied to a stake and Regina conjures a fireball. The band of Charming, Hook, Emma, Ruby, and the other woman see through a window but they can’t get there in time. Regina throws the fireball and Snow is engulfed in flames. Emma is inconsolable.
However, Emma realizes that she is still here and should have faded from existence, so Snow must still be alive. A bug starts buzzing around them and Hook is about to squish it but Charming stops him, remembering what Snow had said about the dark fairy dust back in the wagon. The blue fairy appears. She knows that Emma is not who she says she is but lets her keep her secret. She undoes the spell and Emma throws her arms around her mother, but Snow doesn’t know her, so Emma looks totally stricken that in a matter of minutes, she watched her mom die, she came back, and then feels alone when her own mom doesn’t know her. We are getting a full dose of mommy stuff for Mother’s Day!
Hook muses through the possibilities of what could happen now that Emma saved the woman in the dungeon. Emma’s solution is to take her with them. She won’t be around to mess up whatever was supposed to happen, yet she still lives. They try to explain this to the woman but she doesn’t understand or trust them, so she says unless they are kidnapping her, she’s going to find her family, so Emma knocks her unconscious and says, “then I guess we’re kidnapping you.” Hook laughs with sadistic glee. Charming realizes that Snow has taken off with the ring. He knows she is going toward the troll bridge so he runs off after her. Emma prepares to follow, but Hook says that’s what they were supposed to do in the story. Emma explains that the only way Snow was able to save Charming in the original story was by using the dark fairy dust. Now that she doesn’t have it, she has no weapon.
They race to the troll bridge where Snow and Charming are fighting off the trolls, just like they were supposed to. Charming frees Snow and she runs, thinking he’s behind her, but when she realizes he’s not, she turns back. She grabs her pendant, that is now empty of dust. But, she fakes it. She threatens them with dark fairy dust and they back off and she even extorts some coin out of them while she’s at it. Emma and Hook watch from the bushes as the story continues with Snow trying on the ring and Charming falling in love with her, Emma crying as she watches. This scene is where I realized what they did with Snow in these episodes. In the storyline, Snow has had her baby. But, in real life, Ginnifer Goodwin is still pregnant. So, in the scenes where you see Snow in full-length shots, she is either hooded and shown from behind so that her face is obscured (stand-in for Ginny) or it is old footage from the original storyline. In the times where they needed new material because something had changed, they show Ginny from the shoulders up, so we don’t see the obviously 8-month pregnant woman when this version of Snow was pre-Emma and not supposed to be pregnant. You can tell which is which by looking at Ginny’s face. In the new footage, her face is more full, from pregnancy, than in the repeat scenes. In the scenes where Emma and Hook are watching from the woods, the trees obscure most and Snow is turned away, but in a brief moment, you can make out a bulge, ha ha. The story reappears in the book, all is saved!
Emma and Hook (carrying the unconscious woman) go back to Rumpel. He says he can’t help them. Only the person who opened the portal can reopen it with the magic wand he had, so unless Emma has magic (which she doesn’t), she can’t reopen it. Rumpel is making a forgetting potion for himself because he knows too much about the future now. He sends them to his vault with no doors. Hook looks around and finds an urn, but Emma yells not to touch anything because everything in there is too dark or dangerous for Rumpel. If he’s afraid of it, they shouldn’t mess with it. Hook is trying to convince Emma to use her magic. He thinks she is blocking it because it is easier. But, Emma wants to go back and be with her family because watching her mother die and then getting her back was too much–she wants her mommy back. She says she saved her and lost her all in the same moment and that’s what Snow has experienced with Emma. She thought Henry brought her back to break the curse, but he really brought her home. She misses her parents and knows they are her home. After she says all this, the wand in her hand is glowing–her magic is back! She opens the portal, but after Hook goes through it with the woman, Rumpel appears and grabs Emma and asks about his son. She admits that Bae forgives him and loves him but that he died to save them all. Rumpel wants to save him, but Emma begs him not to change the future and to not take away from Neal that he died a hero. She insists that he has to drink the potion. For a minute, I wonder if this is the segway to bring Neal back, but Rumpel drinks the potion and lets her go. The portal closes and Rumpel says, “What the hell am I doing in here?”
As they arrive back in Storybrooke, Emma asks Hook to fill the woman in and runs to see her family. She tells them that she isn’t going anywhere and calls the Charmings “mom” and “dad” for the first time. They laugh over “Princess Leia” making it into the story book. The Charmings announce that the baby is named after a hero. At that moment, I knew the name would be Neal. Which is bittersweet. It’s a sweet thing to do, but it makes me think that the Neal chapter is closed. I don’t see them having two Neals on the show. I guess it’s possible, but I’m afraid it won’t be. That makes me sad.
Emma and Hook chat outside. Hook tells her that he outran the curse with the Jolly Roger and sold the ship to get a magic bean to get to Emma. So, they start making out. Ugh! I’m still reeling over Neal and those “shipping” Captain Swan are rejoicing. I’m gonna be sick.
Out in the woods, Jiminy Cricket ironically (since he is the voice of conscience) is officiating the marriage of Rumpel and Belle. We see flashes of all the happy endings: the wedding, the Charmings with their baby, Hook and Emma sucking face, and Regina walking happily with Robin Hood, holding his son’s hand. I really like Rumpel’s character as Mr. Gold, but I am so disappointed with his starting this marriage with deception.
Then the happy ending starts to unravel. The unnamed woman sees Regina and freaks out that the evil queen is there. Emma explains to Regina and brings the woman over to meet the new and improved “evil” queen. Robin Hood sees the woman and cries out “Marian!” It’s Roland’s mother, Robin Hood’s wife. They have a touching reunion, but Regina is stricken. She is angry because now Emma is just like her mother, taking away Regina’s happy ending in love. Uh-oh. It’s reminiscent of Charming and Snow in the beginning. When “David” felt love for “Mary-Margaret” but was married to Kathryn. What kind of position is Robin Hood in now? He’s in love with Regina but he never stopped loving his wife. But, what would have happened if he had found out that in the alternate reality, Regina had murdered his wife? Was Tinkerbell wrong? Is he or is he not Regina’s destiny? Regina utters a prophetic statement when she tells Emma, “You just better hope to hell you didn’t bring anything else back.”
Speaking of which…. In Zelena’s barn, next to her witchy circle, lies the urn that Hook had picked up in Rumpel’s vault. A blue substance oozes out of it and fills the grooves of the circle, then rises up in the middle and a figure forms. She is blond and dressed in blue and pulls off a glove and throws out a hand and freezes the urn. She is seen from behind as she is leaving the barn, blue dress with a sheer cape, blond braid, and swishing her hips just like in the movie. Yes, it is. It’s Elsa from Frozen! Confirmed by the writers, this is where the series will be going next season. They have been big fans of the movie, no secret about that, and were even quoted as saying they would be honored if Idina Menzel or Kristen Bell were to want to be on the show.
What will be in store for next season? I don’t know how this will go because it appears as though Elsa is the new villain, but we know from the movie Frozen that she is just misunderstood, not evil. How did she end up in an urn in Rumpel’s vault? If Rumpel thinks she is dark and dangerous and is scared of her, what will that mean? It sounds like people either LOVE this development or HATE it, no middle ground. Those that hate it blame this on commercialism since the movie was such a big hit. Hello? ABC is owned by Disney and they are in the business to make money. Is this a surprise? I read that Kristen Bell was intrigued by the idea of revisiting her role of Anna on OUAT, and it sounded like the writers were thrilled with that idea, but there has been other speculation as to casting. We know this can’t go musical! While I enjoyed the movie Frozen and I wasn’t as burned out on the song “Let It Go” as many people seemed to be, I was not impressed with Idina Menzel’s version of it. I like the song sung by other people, but Menzel is almost screaming at parts of the song. Maybe she is a Broadway star, but I prefer singing to screaming. Personal opinion. I love this show and I am excited about this new development, though curious to see where they take it. I still wish for Neal to come back and am not enjoying the Captain Swan thing. As I said last week, I can’t believe she chose to save him at the expense of being able to save the rest of her family. Hook’s eye candy, but not substance. I feel sorry for Regina and wonder where they will take her next season. What are your thoughts on the season finale and the direction of the next season? Are you happy with the way things went? What do you think will happen next?