“And Straight On ‘Til Morning”: Once Upon A Time Season Finale Review
“So she found a solution to the memory problem today, in the nick of time, before we all die.” Well, at least Rumpelstiltskin is aware of the disturbing lack of consistency displayed in Once Upon A Time.
It is frustrating trying to follow and be invested in a show that constantly changes the rules, throwing in random twists seemingly on a whim. “And Straight On ‘Til Morning” continues in the same indecisive pattern as previous episodes. As a season finale, it adequately sets up an interesting plot for the next season, and the characters’ relationships remain an intriguing aspect of the show. It was much stronger at the beginning of this season, but seems to have wandered off track.
In an effort to save the people of Storybrooke, Regina offers to slow down the fail-safe diamond. First she has an emotional good-bye with Henry, because it turns out slowing down the diamond will take up so much strength that she will die. Emma seems game, but when she tells the others they virtuously insist on saving Regina (even though their plan risks the lives of everyone else in town). It might be the more difficult path, but it is the right one. Considering Regina was willing to sacrifice all of them half a second ago, this seems a little generous. The Charmings, however, are firm on it.
Hook is less enthusiastic, something he makes obvious when he steals the magic bean that they need for their noble plan. Emma gives the entertaining pirate a passionate speech about how he can choose not to be alone this time by helping them. Hook ditches them anyway, but ends up returning to offer his ship and services when Henry gets kidnapped.
Yes, Henry is kidnapped by Greg and Tamara. They open a portal and take the boy to Neverland. It turns out that while the two kidnappers came to Storybrooke to get rid of magic, once they learned about Henry they changed course. As we learn in the flashbacks, Peter Pan is evil and wants Henry. Why? We’ll have to wait till next season to find out.
Rumple begins the episode by staring at the rope of Henry’s swing, slowly slicing it with his mind. Henry is swinging above some large, sharp rocks. (As a side note, that’s just a terrible design for a park.) It seems we are supposed to worry that he is going to fall to his death. Maybe this is supposed to be suspenseful, but it is such an obviously empty threat that it is actually a humorous moment.
However, Robert Carlyle still remains one of the show’s strengths as Rumple. His scenes with Belle/Lacey are poignant and emotional, particularly when he returns her memory to her. Keeping in mind all of the nasty stuff that Rumple has done recently, one would think that Belle would be angry with him. Instead, she kisses him and cries about all the pain he has had to endure, especially in regards to his son. It is that same pain, though, that inspires him to redeem himself by helping find Henry.
Thanks to Emma joining forces with Regina, Storybrooke remains safe. With their magical powers combined, they manage to stop the diamond from destroying the town. It is too bad that Regina spent essentially the entire episode standing above that diamond, as she is the show’s other major asset.
So now Charming, Snow, Emma, Regina, and (the always knowledgable) Rumple have joined forces with Hook in their quest to save Henry. Considering all the past and present feuds involving these characters, that should make for a bit of a tense ship. Earlier in the episode, Hook tells Charming, “Hey! Live to fight another day, mate.” Charming takes offense to this, informing Hook that he is not his “mate”. It’s just an expression, Charming.
Once Upon A Time does an excellent job of exploring grey areas in relationships and redemption. There is a touching focus on family, and people of all ages can find something to appreciate in the show. There is also some powerful acting displayed, but those scene-stealing performances cannot save a confused story. Hopefully the next season will rely less on sudden, illogical arcs. Returning to the basics that made it a charismatic fan favourite would make for a more engrossing show.
What did you think of the episode? Did it succeed in making you anxious for season three?