When last we left Storybrooke, the town was in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the planet. And as Tamara and Greg enact their plan to use the magical trigger, it seems as if all is lost.
Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and her parents break the bad news about Neal to Mr. Gold (Roberty Carlyle) and Henry (Jared Gilmore), but their problems quickly become bigger.
Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Greg (Ethan Embry) turn on the magical fail-safe that begins the destruction of the town. The forest will reclaim Storybrooke and all the people who weren’t born in this realm will die.
Meanwhile, in the seas off Never Land, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) ends up bonding with young Baelfire (Dylan Schmid) after rescuing him. In addition to being the Dark One’s son, Bae is the son of the woman Hook loved. This trumps Hook’s desire for revenge on Rumplestiltskin for a while.
Not for too long, though. When Bae lashes out at Hook for ruining his family and only looking out for himself, Hook turns Bae over to the (creepy) Lost Boys who want to take him to Never Land.
It turns out that a certain feared being called Peter Pan is searching for a particular boy, for reasons unknown. That boy turns out to be Henry.
In Storybrooke, the gang manages to retrieve one lone magic bean from Greg and Tamara. They decide the townspeople’s best chance is to escape to another land through a magic bean portal. However, Regina (Lana Parrilla) will be left behind, holding back the destructive forces as long as she is able.
To save Regina as well, a second plan is drummed up. They will try throwing the trigger itself into the portal, thus saving Storybrooke. However, Hook steals the last magic bean and heads out to sea.
Emma joins forces with Regina in fighting off the magic-sucking power of the trigger. They are successful, and the destruction is halted. Storybrooke is saved!
However, Greg and Tamara kidnap Henry and take him into a portal to another land. They have been ordered to take Henry somewhere … by someone unknown. Hook turns back and gives Emma the last bean, and the whole gang follows Henry’s trail through a portal in the Jolly Roger.
Oh, and it appears that Neal (Michael Raymond-James) made it back to the Enchanted Forest alive. He’s found by none other than Mulan, Phillip and Aurora.
So, the total destruction of Storybrooke was really just a giant red herring on the part of the writers. There was a lot of time spent on the problem and its solution, only to be resolved tellingly quickly and replaced by a new problem. Nice end-of-season feint, writers!
Peter Pan, Big Bad Villain? And Captain Hook, Kinda Good Guy? Well, that’s a new approach! It looks like there’s a lot to be discovered about Never Land next season.
Neal is still with us! Seriously, he adds so much to the show. How could we live without him at this point? What are the chances he’ll be upgraded to a regular next year? One can only hope.
“Let me die as Regina.” Regina has been very interesting this year, vacillating between good and evil. Her matter-of-fact decision to save the rest of the town was spot-on, as was her and Emma’s for-the-greater-good teamwork.
Speaking of that team-up, kudos to the writers for managing to remember that a lot was made early in the season about Emma’s ability to use magic. It was starting to look like they might have forgotten that little plot thread.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Once again, Emma proves her ability to leap to some pretty big conclusions. When Henry goes missing in the mine, she immediately ascertains what happened to him, based on just the most minimal of clues. That should be what she considers her superpower, not her questionable ability to tell when people lie.
The timing of the discovery of how to restore people’s true memories was oddly convenient. And a little unsatisfying. Robert Carlyle did a good job with Rumple’s emotional reunion with Belle, but it still didn’t pack the punch that it should have. Instead, it was shoehorned in between bigger rival plots.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“Straight on Till Morning” was written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis and it was directed by Dean White.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. It will return in the fall.