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Once Upon a Time: A Land Without Magic

“Magic is coming.”

Sword fights! Dragons! True loves kiss! Those were just a small fraction of the events of ‘A Land Without Magic,’ an episode that proved itself to be the season finale we’d been waiting for. All of the season’s storylines were brought together seamlessly, and the episode was an emotionally charged spectacle from start to finish, never once letting the tension and excitement up. But, where do we go from here?

When it comes to huge episodes like this one, I’m always at a loss as to where I should start. Usually the most important thing would make sense, but was there any part of this episode that was less poignant than any other? Not as far as I could tell.

Let’s just start with what’s freshest on my mind; the curse is finally broken. And at the exact right time as well. There’s only so much that the writers can milk the forgotten identities thing for before it gets stale, and Storybrooke’s residents’ regained sense of self should prove a powerful catalyst for some interesting plots next season. I wonder how this will change Mary Margaret and Emma’s relationship. That’s going to be a weird living situation...

There were so many turnarounds for Regina during this finale I’m still at a loss as to where she truly stands amongst all this. One thing was cleared up though, and it’s something I’ve questioned myself countless times since the start; does Regina really love Henry, or is he just a pawn in her super-sized vendetta against Snow? Now we know that she felt something for him, which is odd considering he’s the grandchild of the woman she despises, but it at least gave her that much more to paint her as a somewhat pitiable villainess.

Snow and Charming’s reunion was just as striking as I thought it was going to be. Seriously, I was welling up a little bit. Sometimes this show crosses that line into cheesy-town, but you just can’t help but get swept up in it all! As always, present day events tied in perfectly with what was going on in the Enchanted Forest, as Charming and Snow both found their way back to each other. Unfortunately, there’s almost zero chance of this reunion lasting long; the writers enjoy separating them way too much.

Out of everyone, I think Emma is the one character who got crushed with a hell of a lot this week. Not only did she finally accept the truth, but she was forced into battle with a dragon (Missed you, Kristin!), had to face the near death of her son and bear the weight of hundreds of people’s lives on her shoulders. I’ve loved Emma from the start, but her role as the big saviour never felt more right than it did here. She was bad-ass.

The best thing about ‘A Land Without Magic’ was how effortlessly it tied up almost everything that had happened during the season, particularly by reuniting Belle and Rumple. I’m such a sap, but his reaction to Belle’s appearance was just so perfect, I nearly cried again. His motivations and intentions are still a massive enigma, though, especially since the return of magic means that he will almost undoubtedly be returned to his original form. Or, maybe that’s his intention?

Even so, what are the exact implications of magic being brought back into the world? One thing we know for sure is that Regina is at full power again. Will she continue her vengeance against Snow, or is shoe prepared to focus all her revenge fueled energies at Emma now? She did break the curse, take her son and turn the town against her in one fell swoop. That has to make her just as much of a target as Snow.

You know that a season finale is done right when there’s this much to digest. Since Once Upon a Time follows such a set narrative for each episode, a shake-up to the formula was necessary to keep things alive, and I think the broken curse, and the return of magic, could prove just that. October is too far away...


What will become of August now? Is he done for, or will the return of magic and the broken curse bring him back?

Graham! Seeing him just for a second was so rewarding. I hope magic helps bring him back in some capacity.

Team Emma/Regina was fun to watch. It’s a shame Regina will probably remain on opposite sides to Emma next season, they made a great duo.

Even though it didn’t break the moment for me at all, that CGI dragon was ridiculous. Maybe you could up the show’s FX budget next year, ABC?

He Said, She Said

Emma: “I can’t do it, August. I can’t. No normal person can. “
August: “Luckily for us, you’re not normal.”

Charming: “Where is the beast that reigns over this castle?”
Malificent: “That would be me. But Beast is so harsh, I prefer Malificent.”
This show needs more Malificent!

Snow: “You found me!”
Charming: “Did you ever doubt I would?”

Regina: “No matter what you think, no matter what anyone tells you, I do love you.”

Rumpelstiltskin: “Magic is coming.”
Belle: “But why?”
Rumpelstiltskin: “Why? Because magic is power.”

Four out of four big scary Pam dragons.

Previously posted at PandaTV.


  1. This was everything i wanted it to be. I honestly wouldn't add anything. IT finally lived up to its true potential!
    I'm curious as to how they can keep things going next season... I hope they won't back paddle and have everyone go back to not knowing who they are...

  2. I thought it was terrific, too. I think I'm the most intrigued about the fairy tale characters knowing who they are, interacting as "real people" in Storybrooke.

  3. It strayed over into cheesy-town (or maybe its neighbor saccharine-ville) a little too much for my tastes, but I still thought this was a very effective finale. Great way to wrap the season's arc and set the stage for new possibilities. And, I admit I got a bit choked up when Emma thought Henry was dead. I knew that she'd revive him with a kiss, but the look of utter devastation on her face as she slowly walked towards his body crushed me.

    Like Billie, I'm very eager to see everyone interacting as their real selves but in the "real" world next season. Maybe they'll continue the flashback structure, too, by telling us the tale of how Snow and Charming took the kingdom back from Regina and King George (?) in the lead up to their wedding. Seems like they were setting up a longer arc with Snow's comments to Charming after her resurrection.

    See you in the fall!

  4. I agree with Jess in that this finale was way too cheesy. And the dragon... OMG, I know first year students that would do better than that!.

    And Emma disappointed me again. How could she throw the egg to Rumpy?. My god, hasn't she seen a single movie, read a single book in all her life?. Doesn't he know "Mr. Gold"?. And what about her oh-so-infalible lie detector?. Sloppy writing, once more.

    But I'm kind of happy. I thought this was going to be a huge eff-up, and instead they managed to fix quite a bit of the holes they made. Let's hope this spark of common sense in the writers' room grows, and we can get a better second season.

  5. Jess: "Saccharine-ville"
    I like it =)

    And I loved that bit when Emma thought Henry was dead, too. It was devastating.

  6. This felt like the big finale I was hoping for..Dramatic, and maybe a bit cheesy but good cheese. The Dragon was awesome. Poor August..I hope he's ok and not made of wood.
    Emma was a hero, but trusting Gold? Bad move. I'm all for more of team Emma/Regina..
    Rumple and Belle's reunion was cute..but he will continue down and dark path and drive her away/or lose her again won't he?
    Great review.

  7. This was actually a perfect ending to the season. And it was cheesy; but, for a cheesy show, a cheesy end. It's part of the menu.

    Many of us commented throughout the season that the "curse" wouldn't hold up too long, and that a major change should be made for season 2.

    Well, there you have it. We may still have the fairyback structure, but the dynamics between the characters will be the sum of the two stories we've been watching so far. Especially não, since what stopped everyone from killing Regina in their world is here too. Magic will certainly change the show, hopefully for the best.

    What about the person whom August talks to on tghe phone, by the way?

  8. Oh my, but I loved this. There was so much that was good that the parts that were cheesy seemed all right to me.

    I loved the juxtaposition of Emma fighting the same dragon with the same sword as her father. The cuts between the two fights were excellently done.

    I, too, liked Emma and Regina working together. Was it me or was the shot of the two of them squaring off almost too light (blond, red jacket) vs. dark (brunette in black)? Even if it were, it was effective.

    But the part I loved best was the fact that "True Love's Kiss" doesn't necessarily have to be romantic. Yes, I saw it coming, but what a moment.

    Great reviews, Panda. I'm looking forward to Sunday night!


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