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Once Upon a Time: Going Home

“Happy endings aren’t always what we think they will be.”

It’s ridiculous that after half a season of hit and miss plots, Once Upon a Time has completely turned the page and shown just how incredible it can be when there’s nothing holding it back.

In one fell swoop, Pan finally bit the dust, Rumple made a tremendous sacrifice, and Regina finally showed us all that her transformation from evil queen to loving and selfless mother was complete. Not to mention that this show will never be the same again.

Starting with the least surprising, Pan’s time to bow out finally arrived, and boy, was it good to see him go. But Rumple sacrificing himself for his loved ones was incredibly powerful, and honestly, a huge shock. I’ve made no secret of that fact that Once Upon a Time often fails to make any of its twists unpredictable, but this episode had so many I never saw coming that it’s hard to believe it’s still the same show it was a few weeks ago.

Regina made a similar sacrifice, though not as dark as Rumple’s. It must have been unimaginable for her to give Henry up after fighting for him for so long, but she did it anyway, and all to save the people she used to hate more than anything. It’s been a long road for her since season two began, and I think her transformation has finally come full circle. It’ll be interesting to see how she fits back into the Enchanted Forest when the show returns.

It wasn’t just those two major character turnarounds that made this episode, it was how quickly the series has turned the tables, and re-imagined its story completely. Is Storybrooke gone for good? Maybe not, but the fact that those behind the series have taken a huge leap like this makes me excited about Once for the first time in ages.

I’m not sure what the back half of the season will bring, but ‘Going Home’ was such a whirlwind of events that it’s almost made the plodding pace of the past few weeks bearable. That the show could accomplish so much so effortlessly, and still make time for some brilliant character beats along the way, says so much about how great it used to be, and how great it can hopefully be again.

5 out of 5 yellow vessels


Whether or not Rumple comes back again, I think the significance of what happened here won't be lost.

I’m still not taken by Tink, but I enjoyed her finally embracing her inner fairy again.

Mother Superior is back, and I still don’t care.

I hope we never have to see Robbie Kay or his manic eyebrows ever again.

I liked how all the flashbacks touched so many different pasts, and they held a lot of significance for each of the characters involved.

I absolutely loved Emma and Hook’s goodbye. That look said it all.

I wonder what life back in the Enchanted Forest will be like when all the Storybrooke gang go back?

The black fairy sounds like someone I’d like to see showing up someday.

I’m excited for the new villain to arrive on the scene.

He Said, She Said

Rumple: “I’m a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings.”

Mary Margaret: “[Fairytales] are a reminder that our lives will get better, if we just hold on to hope.”

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. For the first time in SEASONS I'm actually excited to see where the show will go next.

  2. That episode would have made a good series finale...I kept thinking, "This show wasn't canceled, was it?" I agree, it was a very exciting episode.

    I'm shocked by how much you disliked Pan! I loved his character and thought the actor who played him did a great job. I was hoping he would stick around Storybrook and that Snow and Charming would disappear. Oh well. Maybe he will come back with Rumple...I mean, Rumple is not dead, right? He is half the reason I watch the show, the other half being Regina.

    Did anyone else find Emma and Henry's happy little breakfast "Desmond in the Hatch"

  3. M--yes!! In fact, as soon as we saw the "one year later" subtitle and then the opener to the scene my husband and I both said "they went LOST!"

  4. I honestly think they did they year jump thing just to keep up with Jared Gilmore's growth spurt. He's huge now!

  5. Liz Haley...glad I wasn't alone!

    sunbunny-you are probably right! Pesky teenaged boys. Always requiring alternate realities to accommodate their growth spurts.

  6. I'm so glad that Pan just ripped off the cuff! I spent the whole thing going, "They didn't mention magic keeping it on, and there isn't any lock. It's basically a nullifying bracelet, why wouldn't he just take it off?" So when he did just that, I think I just laughed my head off. But I guess there was actually some magic in the cuff they didn't mention because Rumple had such a hard time getting it off. Did they mention it in an earlier episode?

    From the perspective of someone who's seen season 4 and half of season 5, this episode (and the half season that follows it) might just be the best that Once has to offer (for me, at least). It's truly one of my favourite episodes of television...Aside from the part where they were clearly just trying to stand very still instead of actually frozen at the end. And I'm still not quite sure why Pan didn't just stab Rumple while he was giving the whole speech at the end there.

    Great review! The episodes are so much fun to watch when I've got these reviews to read too.


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