‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap: ‘Going Home’
This epic hour of ‘Once Upon a Time’ almost felt like a proper series finale, what with the many poignant flashbacks to pivotal moments in the major characters’ lives and Regina’s spell finally being broken. But this isn’t the end for ‘OUAT,’ this was merely a mid-season finale that cleverly set the stage for a new tale of fantasy, heroism, and weirdness for 2014. Sure, this episode kinda rebooted the series (again), but that’s not such a bad thing considering how dull several of the episodes have felt this year. Maybe shaking things up will breathe new life into the show. But before we start talking about the future, let’s discuss this episode, ‘Going Home,’ a little more in depth.
The episode picks up right where the show left off last week, with Emma, Regina, the Charmings and crew desperately trying to outsmart Peter Pan and stop him from casting a curse on Storybrooke. Pan’s curse would remake the town to his liking, which would be bad, since the only thing Pan seems to like is himself. Pan later reveals that the curse will kill everyone in Storybrooke (He even sacrifices the life of his Benedict Cumberbatch-looking lieutenant to enact the curse). So with the clock ticking, Regina and Rumple churn out a spell that will restore Henry and Pan to their proper bodies, allowing them to physically nab the spell from Pan’s hands and stop it from hurting anyone.
The body switacharoo spell works, and it seems like everyone is going to get their happy ending after all. Rumple has Pan trapped with the anti-magic bracelet, which renders his dark powers moot, and the rest of the good guys are gathered in the middle of the town preparing to counteract Pan’s curse. But then everything quickly goes to hell, leading to a bittersweet ending that probably had many viewers screaming at their TVs.
Pan rips Rumple’s anti-magic bracelet off like a piece of cheap costume jewelry and proceeds to bind his son with its power. Rumple so wanted to put an end to his dear old dad’s dark and murderous ways, but his plan seems to have fallen apart because of Pan’s trickery. Pan leaves a defeated Rumple beat up and, well, rumpled on the floor. Pan wants him to sit there and watch everyone in the town die, a powerless coward with no one to save him. But Rumple refuses to give up so easily; he grabs a sword and seemingly cuts off his own hand in order to remove the magic-blocking bracelet so he can go toe-to-toe with Pan in a magical battle on the streets of Storybrooke. But the battle between these two titans never comes. Instead, we’re treated to something far more tragic and unexpected: Rumple retrieves the Dark One’s dagger from his shadow, grabs Pan and pierces him with it. But Rumple, who has always been convinced that saving his family meant he had to sacrifice himself, also pierces his own chest. It’s a fatal blow for both of them. Pan reverts to the form of a dodgy old man and the pair disappear in a flash. Like magic.
It was a bit of a shock to see Rumple turn his grey heart to sparkling white and sacrifice himself in order to save everyone else. But the question of whether he’s really dead is still unanswered. Perhaps he’s merely lost or trapped in another realm, as is usually the case when stuff like this happens on ‘OUAT.’
But the OMG moments don’t stop there. Regina reveals that stopping Pan’s curse involves breaking her own curse, which would safely send everyone back to their enchanted realms and remove Storybrooke from the history books. This sounds like a good deal, except for the fact that Emma and Henry will be left behind, and their memories of Storybrooke and everyone in it will be gone. Emotions run high as everyone finally accepts this fate. Regina also sheds her grey hat by giving Henry and Emma a new life; after Storybrooke vanishes in a cloud of purple smoke, Regina places happy new memories in Emma and Henry’s heads. Now they can live as though Emma never gave up Henry, so at least they can be together and have a shot at a happily ever after.
The final scene takes place a year later. Emma and Henry do indeed seem to be living a happy life together in a cute apartment in the city. They have no memories of Storybrooke, and their days of adventure are replaced by a cozy family routine. But their normal life is threatened by a knock at the door. It’s Hook! And he’s come back to seek Emma’s help in saving her parents! With her memories erased, Emma mistakes Hook for a crazy stalker in leather and kicks him out. His attempt at trying the overused “true love’s kiss” trick falls flat, and Emma and Henry are left wondering, “What the hell is going on?”
It looks like Emma’s adventuring days aren’t over. ‘OUAT’ will be back with new episodes on March 9 with a new story arc and a new villain, the Wicked Witch of the West! Here’s hoping she brings her flying monkeys along for the ride.
Anyone else looking forward to seeing Regina bump heads with the Wicked Witch?