Once Upon a Time: And Straight On 'Til Morning

“The future isn’t always what it seems.”

As a big cataclysmic finale, ‘And Straight On 'Til Morning’ was underwhelming, but the lack of action was made up for with where this episode brought the characters. Certain arcs came full circle, while new ones were created to fuel next season. If only there were more dragons...

A common threat forced all of the big characters to pull together to save the day. It was Regina’s story that stood out the most, here. I predicted where it would go last week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy to see it happen. All season she struggled with doing the right thing by Henry, and in this episode she finally made the right choice. Sacrificing herself to offset all the bad she has done is surely enough to make her at least half way good, and that powerful moment between her and Emma makes me think that there’s at least one person who thinks a lot more of her now.

Emma’s journey this season was less pronounced, but in those final moments when they thought it was all over, Emma finally accepted her family. It was cheesy as hell, but Jennifer Morrison really brought everything to that little family moment, and I really felt it. Emma’s always had to hide her feelings, but between watching Neil get ripped away right in front of her, and facing what she thought was her last moment with her loved ones, we’ve seen more of the real her in the past two episodes than we ever did before.

Rumple’s turn here sort of negated Lacey’s transformation in a way. After it was so easy to transform Belle back to who she was, it made it painfully obvious that the whole story was just a cheap attempt to bring about turmoil for the finale. It’s an arc that the show could have explored more, but seeing Belle back again, and watching Rumple make a really tough choice to save Henry, I sort of forgave the whole thing. It looks like everyone will start out next season in a totally new place, which is exciting.

I can’t say a lot of this episode was edge of your seat stuff, though. The apocalyptic fail-safe was pretty tame, and easily conquered. Tamara and Owen’s escape was also anti-climactic, though Henry’s kidnapping was an interesting turn, especially after we discovered his wanted status in Neverland. I’m not sure I feel like the flashbacks were worth it, especially since they didn’t even fill in all of Bae’s past life, but in the context of next season I’m pretty sure they weren’t completely without merit.

This finale could have done a lot more, but where it fell down wasn’t in this season’s biggest stories. For me, the most important parts of Once’s sophomore year were Regina’s redemption, and the new Charming family dynamic, and they were what tied this whole episode together. Lord knows there was a lot left up in the air, but we at least got closure where it was most deserved, and that makes this episode pretty good in my book.

4 out of 5 Carved Sailing Instructions

Plus

Naturally Neil washed up in a place where he was conveniently rescued by Aurora, Mulan and Philip. I’m looking forward to seeing those guys back again, though.

I wonder how next season’s narrative will start out, now that all the primary characters are completely separated from the supporting ones. Belle can hardly carry all of the Storybrooke stories by herself, so my guess is that this journey is resolved fairly quickly.

Lana Parrilla was amazing in every scene this week, as was Colin O’Donoghue. He needs more screen time immediately.

It’s great to see a new big bad being set up for next season. Tamara and Owen didn’t really fill that role too well, so I’d like to see the show really embrace the major villain next season.

He Said, She Said

Regina: “I’m sorry for what’s happened. I tried to be the person that you wanted me to be, and I failed, and I won’t let you be alone. Just know that I love you.”
Henry: “I love you too.”

Belle: “The future isn’t always what it seems. I will see you again.”

Snow: “Emma, I killed her mother.”
Emma: “You did that to Cora because you had to.”
Snow: “No, I did it because it was easy.”
Snow’s turn to the dark side didn’t get any attention at all, but this was the moment where I felt like the show hadn’t forgotten it.

Regina: “I love you, Henry. I only wish I was strong enough to stop all this. I’m just not.”

Previously posted at PandaTV.

8 comments:

Morgan India said...

Isn't Colin O'Donoghue already a series regular? I think they made him a regular around the 12th/13th episode. It was announced like, right after his first appearance, I think.

TJ said...

Mixed feelings about this finale. But it was good...I think. I'm in a bit of a blur here...It was good wasn't it?

About Belle:
Couldn't stand Emilie de Ravin when she was in Roswell, couldn't stand her in Lost as well, so here I'm thinking, I am not liking this actress...but then something happens. I looooved her as Belle! All the scenes with her and Rumpy made me smile like a little birthday boy. Then, comes Lacey...and I'm back at can't stand her. So, I'm glad Belle's back, but we only got abt 10 sec with her...sob

Hmm, the rest, I really liked Hook in this one. His bonding with Bae was so cute (and maybe we got a potential future backstory who Hook really is) and for certain that will play out somehow next season.

But, I'm confused. At first I thought there was some kind of time warp and everyone was in Neverland at the same time. Then I realized that no, the Bae story was a flashback, and the others are coming to Neverland now. But it was really creapy when they got Bae and said he wasn't the boy, and then showed a picture of Henry! I got this all confusing thoughts about Bae didn't even produced sperms back then...

So...was does it all mean? Is it Peter Pan that is going after Henry (why?), or is it someone behind the SHADOW of Peter Pan that want Henry for some reason...I don't know, I'm all in for suggestions.

Once again I am thinking about the copyright restrictions concerning the character of Peter Pan due to some UK hospital. I guess that means that ABC, if they get a deal, would have to pay a fortune if they are using the Peter Pan character. And I would be so disappointed if in next season all we see is the shadow of PP.

Lisianpeia said...

I've recently discover this website, so I'm new. Hi, guys! Also, I didn't read the other reviews to write this one.

I think the season started out pretty amazing, but when Emma and Snow came back from the Enchanted Forest it kinda got a bit... boring. I missed seeing more of Emma too.
Forgive if I hit a nerve here.

There were really good moments.
"The Miller's Daughter" was the best episode from their return up until the finale. Rose McGowan was simply amazing. I think she and Robert should get married, they had great chemistry. Belle losing her memory was a horrible moment and I was liking (well, in a interested way - I was quite pissed, can they just be happy, damn it!) the arch with Lacey, but I agree with the review: it was so easy to bring her back, I think it was kinda lame.

I loved Emma saying "Mom... Dad", it was cheese, but cute and it felt right of to do so.

I agree with TJ, Hook and Bae was cute, and for that I loved the flashback in this episode.

About the villian, I was thinking maybe it isn't Peter Pan... Someone sort of stole Neverland from him? Or maybe this could be before PP showed up?

ChrisB said...

The UK hospital with the rights to Peter Pan is Great Ormond Street. It does an enormous amount of good and these particular rights have, more than once, saved the hospital from closing its doors. I understand completely their wanting to protect those rights.

An all right season finale, but I do like where the characters have ended up. I'm interested to see where the writers will take it all next year.

A great year of reviews, Panda. Thanks for doing it.

KellieK said...

Thanks for this season's reviews. I look forward to reading next season's as well.

I'm actually very interested in the Neverland storyline. I have a feeling that the Shadow is NOT Peter Pan. I also like how they're making the whole Peter Pan story a little darker (especially because this fairytale always seemed very... strange to me. Kids running away from home and forgetting their mothers. And why could only PP fly? Anyway...) I liked the twist with the lost boys being more of the villians than the pirates. It kind of explains the strangeness of the fairytale.

I also think the PP storyline will play out with next season's villian. This is all just guessing, of course, but I couldn't help but notice how Bea kept telling Wendy that magic was bad and ruined lives (and it almost ruined hers) and the way Tamara said they were there to "purge the world of magic" and that it was "unholy". It sounds to me that Wendy may be the head of the 'anti-magic group'. (Yes, I know that would make her very old). But it might be a way they take the show. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Glad they resolved the Lacey mess..
Even better that Regina is(for now) redeemed. She came through in the end.
The new villain had better be more fun than Owen and Tamara..
And more Hook next season please. Thanks for the lovely reviews.
Anna

Maaian said...

I thought this was a fantastic ending to a great season! I look forward to see who'll play Peter Pan and his backstory! I mean a villain Peter Pan is so original I think.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being late to the comments, but I'm just now catching-up with this show on Netflix.

Something that confused me is David saying they're saving Regina because she's "family".

Well... hasn't she always been "family" since she was Snow's step-mother since Snow was a child? Wasn't she "family" all the other times he wanted to kill her?

David's comments also confused me a few episodes ago when he learned Bae was Henry's father. He said "so... Regina is Henry's grandmother" (and Mary Margaret corrected him with "great grandmother").

Well... hasn't she always been Henry's great grandmother (through marriage to Snow's father)? How did Bae's revelation suddenly make it that way, especially when Bae doesn't add any family connection.

This show is so dense with the backstories, that I'm assuming I missed something.