Hello everyone and welcome to my review of the Season 4 finale of Once Upon A Time. Where do I even start? So much happened and, though I do have complaints, I think this episode was probably the most epic Season Finale of the show.
I didn’t even know what to title this review. I mean, obviously the normal show name, episode number, and episode title but then my creative title at the end was hard to think of because I had so many ideas that seemed good for the episode. And side note, the episode number is only accurate if you count the two-parters/two-hour episodes as a full episode (see “Smash the Mirror” and “Operation Mongoose”). Back to the naming of this review though. I realize that the Season 4A finale was titled “Heroes and Villains”, but I thought it was a fitting name for this episode too because it was the title of Isaac’s new book. My other choices were “The New Author”, “The New Dark One”, “The New Operation”, and “Villains Get Their Happy Endings”.
I absolutely loved the alternate story. Everyone did such a great job at being the opposite of themselves and I especially loved Regina saving Henry without even remembering who he was. I also thought that leaving Emma out of book, although still sending her to the Enchanted Forest, but with no need to write her as a new person was a good explanation to why she still had her memories from before.
What I didn’t understand was why Henry didn’t get swept up with the curse. He has been to Neverland before, so if it was a case of being in a magical world, he should have been included with the rest of his family. Or maybe it had to specifically be the Enchanted Forest that Henry had to have been in, which would make sense except for one detail: There’s another person in Storybrooke who has never been to the Enchanted Forest, let alone a magical world. Baby Neal. So that would mean that Henry left a baby all alone in Storybrooke. My other theory was that the Author Isaac specified that Henry would stay in the real world and didn’t talk about the baby and so Baby Neal was actually Belle and Rumpel’s alternate universe child.
Obviously the writers of the show had to tease us with the “Henry is the Author” thing towards the end of the episode. After years of people assuming that the Author of Henry’s book was actually future Henry, it only makes sense that a joke be made towards it. I mean, I am super okay with Isaac no longer holding that power because he can not be trusted after that fiasco, but it seemed a little too obvious to make Henry the new Author. When I watch shows, I like to be surprised (see The Blacklist and Pretty Little Liars). And another thing: couldn’t Henry have stopped the Dark One from terrorizing the town and becoming one with Emma if he had just written the Dark One out of existence? First of all, I don’t like the fact that the Dark One doesn’t have to be inside of a person to survive and we are just now finding out, because it makes the writers look like they are just adding new things to already established things and they’re just trying to connect everything that they can. Secondly, I think Chernabog should have come back in those last moments because, hello! he’s still Disney’s incarnation of evil and so him being the Dark One makes perfect sense. But Henry broke the pen so now he can’t do anything about it. (Except someone might be able to make a new pen for Henry, so I don’t know exactly how this will all work…)
Henry being the new (and last?) Author isn’t the only thing that I am disappointed about. The Sorcerer is Merlin. I feel like this is one of the biggest cliches that the writers have ever used. Sure this can lead into all of The Sword in the Stone (which I have never seen), but Merlin seems like the go to, all-powerful wizard and I think the writers could have been more creative. Sure, it was a surprise to me, but not a good surprise because it’s the most obvious answer and the only reason that I hadn’t thought of it was that I had been expecting a more shocking, someone-we-already-know answer. I had also been thinking Yen Sid since they have been doing the whole Sorcerer’s Apprentice thing all season, although they probably will merge aspects of both Merlin and Yen Sid to make the Sorcerer. There were also probably copyright issues with the name Yen Sid, so I guess it makes sense to not use him exactly.
For those of you who were freaking out about Hook and Regina dying in the alternate universe, I was a little nervous but I also figured they wouldn’t actually kill those characters off. I mean, they’re both two of the most popular characters and the writers would have had an uprising against them. But I also remembered that, although they couldn’t change the past (mentioned when talking about Henry’s dad Neal), the alternate story wasn’t exactly the past. It would have become concrete had Henry not saved the day, but because he did, everything went back to how it was before. My only question there is how much do they all remember from the alternate world? I know Henry, Emma, and Isaac remember, but do the others?
I don’t understand the deal with Rumpel’s heart. Like, he’s not the Dark One anymore and his heart has been cleansed. But showing us that his heart is now white implies that he will now be filled with light magic and be good. I don’t know how that could be possible, but I guess we will see what happens next season. Speaking of next season, and seeing that Belle and Will aren’t actually a thing anymore, hopefully we get some answers about Anastasia (Will’s love interest from Once: In Wonderland for those of you who didn’t watch it). We have gone 21 episodes (or 23, depending on the whole two-hour episode thing) with only a quick reference to the Red Queen and I am super bitter about that to be perfectly frank.
I am glad that Lily is staying in Storybrooke for a while, although I am a bit confused at the introduction of her next storyline. Out of the blue, she tells Emma that she is on the search for her father and there are no leads because Lily’s biological parents did the bang-bang in dragon form. Watch it be Chernabog. I will legitimately cry if she is the daughter of pure evil. Also, I noticed that the last Queen of Darkness (which was the promotion for 4B), Maleficent, was mysteriously absent from the whole ordeal of the episode except for the quick mention by Lily. To be honest, I think the writers just need to plan further ahead.
That’s it for this week’s review and it’s the last review for the show until September. Luckily the show was renewed so we will be able to continue to enjoy the twisted fairytales and Emma falling into darkness. Make sure to stay tuned to ABC for announcements about next season and keep up on the news with this summer’s Comic Cons.
On a non-Once related note, I have news about my other two shows that I review. The Blacklist was renewed for a third season, which I have known about since the announcement a month or two ago. Resurrection, another ABC show, was not so lucky. It was unfortunately cancelled due to low ratings, but the show did wrap up most of it’s stories, so its bittersweet. There are many other announcements being made about cancellations and renewals because this week is the week of the Upfronts, so make sure to go check on the status of your favorite shows.