ONCE more, with feeling

"The good news is... well, let's face it, there's not a lot of good news."

It looks like we’re going to need another post to discuss the Once Upon a Time “winter finale” and all its associated feels.

So. Many. Feels.

Off the top of my head, things that were not even slightly shocking or surprising about the winter finale of ONCE:

  • Pan ripping Felix’s heart out to complete the curse.
  • Tinkerbell getting her wings/fairyness restored.
  • Pan’s demise. (Like Cora before him, he was too evil to live.)
  • A massive cliffhanger at the ending.

So, aside from getting those things we expected, ONCE served up one gut-wrenching emotional sucker-punch after another. In the words of a random Twitter fan:


Some thoughts and observations:

Rumpel’s sacrifice. I really, really thought he was going to go all “Misery” on himself, hack off his own hand, and then Hook would be all like “Guess we’re even, mate?” And yet… the theme of the whole episode was “character development: see, we’ve been doing it all along and you never noticed.” Yes, Rumpelstiltskin’s first instinct was to claw away at that magic-dampening cuff, and yes, he obviously considered sacrificing his hand to get his precious magic back. But in the end, he let go of his power, stopped trying to find his own happy ending, and closed the loop on his family’s generational daddy issues SPECTACULARLY. And gut-wrenchingly. Neal/Bae’s face? Belle?

I think we all needed a minute after that.

Regina’s sacrifice. For all the “one step forward, two steps back” that her character has undergone, it seems like in the end, she really did love Henry. Giving Emma and Henry false memories of never being separated was an act of atonement. I think she finally did realize the gravity of what she’d done with the curse. I don’t think she’s going to be all warm and fuzzy baking non-poisonous apple pies for the rest of The Enchanted Forest dwellers once they all get home. (Not that they’d eat them. Trust issues and all.) But I do think she’s solidly on the path to redemption now. No more backsies.

Other random items of note. As always, I enjoy the little (or obvious) nods to LOST. For example, Pan’s shadow turning into the smoke monster briefly upon expiration. And the flashbacks (and one flash-forward) seemed particularly LOST-like, focusing on showing that previously-mentioned character development.

Also, is it wrong that after all that crazyness, I was like “Wow. Nice apartment, brainwashed Emma and Henry!” I mean, they’d just lost the most meaningful experiences and relationships of their lives, and I was all like “I love that rough-hewn table!” I should probably confess right now that aside from the soapy goodness of the drama, I mainly watch this show for the deliciously fanciful costuming and set design. I still want the wallpaper from Regina’s office with the trees in it.

Speaking of ONCE costuming: SQUEE! And double squee!

Things we’re left wondering.

  • When Regina said “It will be as if Storybrook never existed” what does that mean, exactly? Especially for people who died as a direct result of the curse? Will Graham/Sheriff Skinnyjeans rematerialize in the Enchanted Forest?
  • What about August/Pinocchio? On second thought, never mind about him. I forgot he already got resurrected and re-real-boy-ified.
  • Of course, if that were the case, we’d have a whole problem with causality. Because that would also mean Owen & his dad would never have come to Storybrook. Which means Pan would never have found Henry. Which means the curse would never have been reversed.
  • So I’m feeling like what Regina meant is “This particular stretch of Maine highway will look as it did pre-scenic town dropping out of the middle of nowhere, and no one will remember it was ever here, but Whatever Happened, Happened.”
  • Did Wendy, John and Michael make it out of Storybrook, and back to Jolly Old England, before the curse hit? Does anybody actually care?
  • Why send Hook instead of Baelfire to recruit Emma? Even if she didn’t remember Storybrook, she should have still remembered “Neal” as Henry’s baby daddy. (Of course, considering how that ended, he probably still would’ve ended up with a knee to the groin.)
  • And speaking of Nealfire, why did he have to go back to The Enchanted Forest, when he didn’t arrive via the Curse? If Emma was exempt, why wouldn’t he be as well?
  • Especially since we see in that preview, Doctor Frankenstein/Whale apparently got Left Behind in our world. I assume that’s because he didn’t originate in the Enchanted Forest? But if the curse pulled him through, why wouldn’t it pull him back?
  • Are we excited about Oz and the wicked witch getting introduced into the mix? Is there any chance Rebecca Mader’s makeup will get better? Because that little flash was god-awful and obviously greasepaint.

Speaking of “that preview,” here it is for your perusal:

What about you? What are your burning questions, other than “how are we going to wait until March for the resolution of that cliffhanger?”


  1. ·

    Not that I’m going to give up on the show just yet, but for all the “turning fairy tales on their ears” the show has been famous for–why, oh, why did the black fairy have to be so evil that she was exiled, etc, etc. I know it’s a black thing, but I swear that one stupid cliche robbed me of enjoyment of the entire show. Except that like you, Kat, I really appreciated/coveted Brainwashed Emma and Henry’s apartment.

    1. Kat

      Well, it was a pretty sweet apartment… I’m a sucker for exposed brick.


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