Sunday, May 20, 2018

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 22: Leaving Storybrooke

It’s time for the final episode of Once Upon A Time ever, barring spin offs (and, let’s face it, there’s a good chance of there being spin offs here). Which means, being Once Upon a Time there won’t be a whole lot of common sense or logic but we will have lots of soaring emotion and tweeness.

So Robin and Alice have gone to Storybrooke to seek help and it all kind of goes wrong because Granny and the Dwarfs all scream “OUTSIDERS!” and try to kill them. The hell is this?! Since when is this a thing? Did they all start supporting Trump or something?

Robin and Alice run to Zelena instead and quickly convince her by throwing lots of insider knowledge to convince her and recruit her on side

Back to the wish realm with everyone stuck in a big magical snow globe and ye gods why why why do villains not just murder their enemies already? Anyway everyone’s cold, evil!Rumple has used Henry’s author powers to completely rob Rumple of his magical powers. So he can’t escape. Instead this leaves Rumple and Killian to play nice and reflect on the bond that years of trying to kill each other has created. And Killian finally asks why Rumple with all his power didn’t just kill him

Haven’t you being paying attention, Killian? Villains don’t kill people. They torment them until they eventually turn around and win. It’s a rule

Rumple instead says that Killian is the closest thing to a friend he has. Which is deeply tragic but we don’t have time to explore this so let’s just say “awww, they’re friends who occasionally try to kill each other”. It’s like friends with benefits but kinkier.

And now I have a mental image of Killian and Rumple and kinky things and leather and that’s just distracted me from the rest of the episode.

Anyway, Maui’s hook just appears (this isn’t explained at all) which lets them break out. This gives them chance to angst a little more, plan the future and for Rumple to have a heartbreaking scene where he realises he will never be with Belle again

Meanwhile young!Henry has Regina captured and wants to make her suffer for killing his grandparents (I’m assuming this is Wish Realm Regina but at no point does Regina make more than a token effort of explaining that wasn’t her). Regina is super focused on telling Henry how he can be good and forgiving and nice and shiny and how she’s totally his mother in another dimension. In some ways this is why Regina doesn’t really want to convince him of her innocence because she wants Henry to embrace goodness and innocence and forgiveness et al.

Henry isn’t listening and expects to fight Regina in a duel. Of course he doesn’t just kill her because it’s a villain rule. Regina does have a happy dream of Robin, the original Robin, mainly because this is the last episode so everyone needs to have a cameo. Hey they went to Storybrooke just to throw in some dwarfs and even then they could only manage three of them.

Time to check in on Evil!Rumple’s evil plan: he has written a book for every single character ever and he’s going to use Henry’s dark-Author powers to suck everyone into a book containing their own personal hell. If by “personal hell” you mean “being alone”. Honestly you’d think he’d be more creative than that - there’s so much you can do with bamboo skewers or electrodes or disco CDs

And this “villain rule” is getting a little silly. Honestly why why why don’t you just KILL PEOPLE? You wouldn’t need Henry’s Dark Author powers. You wouldn’t need to watch while portals suck them in. You wouldn’t need to bring the blue fairy back just to throw her in a portal without even giving her a speaking line.

The gang goes to rescue Regina with Robin (young) and Killian providing a distraction for the guards (and Robin asking for Killian’s blessing in marrying his daughter and it’s sweet and awesome and shiny and yes the whole concept of a father giving his blessing for a marriage is rooted in patriarchy and sexism but context also matters: a same-sex couple getting any kind of familial blessing means a lot more in the context of the sheer number of LGBTQ people who are rejected by family on top of their relationships not being acknowledged.)

older!Henry rescues Regina with help from their Soppinessess, Snow and Charming. Oh yay. They are back. Woohoo. Also Snow just killed someone - shouldn’t she take to her bed for the next 3 years or something? Or does that not apply with extras?

With Regina rescued the Charmings lead them in a war council. And by “war council” i mean shiny speech of saccharine sweetness. Remember the Charmings are the most passive heroes ever. Their entire schtick is not to plan, not to do anything just react and hope their goodness means they’re rewarded. And it works for them EVERY TIME. Argh. How they rule a kingdom I will never know.

The next step in the not plan is for Regina to go to young Henry and appeal to his better nature while fighting at sword point

While everyone else goes after the Dark One with the hope that Rumple can use some borrowed magic to rip out his heart… uh huh if ripping out his heart was that easy he’d be dead long ago. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t work and evil! Rumple opens up a lot of portals… which y’know is still way less efficient than actually killing them. Killian grabs Alice to protect her meaning he triggers the nasty curse on them as well.

Luckily for them, Regina reaches Henry by pointing out she didn’t have to come for him but she did it, even being willing to die, to prove to him that he is loved and valued. Naturally in Once Upon a Time world this shiny happy lovey-doveyness is enough to melt Henry and make him drop his sword - and let go of all his dark hate and anger

Which stops the portals working because the Dark One was using evil author power for them rather than his own magic and just killing them because Villain Code

Time for a show down between Rumples with Evil Rumple saying how weak Good Rumple is but Good Rumple being clear he is best because he evolved - because he’s no longer the cowardly creature that became the Dark One out of fear. He also accepts he won’t see Belle again - the Magic of the Guardians is gone - but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t do good. Because you don’t do good because you want a reward - you do it because it’s right

And thank you Once Upon a Time for finally acknowledging that! After seven seasons of claiming you need to be good to get your happily ever after and the Charmings basically relying on the rewards of being good to get them out of every problem imaginable, we finally acknowledge that good should not require bribery.

Rumple rips out his own heart and gives it to Killian. This does two completely unexplained things:

It cures Killian of the curse that hits whenever he’s near Alice

It kills both himself and Evil!Rumple. I have no idea why. I mean if killing your wish!Realm parallel killed you as well then the Charmings would be dead. They’re not. Nope, sadly not.

But, as I said, this is Once Upon a Time finale working with fairy tale rules so it doesn’t need logic it needs lots and lots of moral lessons and singing bluebirds and other sappy disney stuff. So even though Rumple is dead we still get a scene with him and Belle reuniting because the Twee is strong with this one

The plan now is what to do next, especially with two Henrys one of whom is evil but we’re not talking about that. And Regina decides on a curse

C’mon, a curse cannot be everyone’s go to solution in this place!

She wants to change the curse so that rather than crushing the heart of who she loves most, everyone she loves and who loves her carves out a chunk of their heart to give to her (this is not horrifying AT ALL) and this will bring ALL the magical realms together in one place - Storybrooke - so no-one will ever be seperated again

I imagine this includes all the bad people they’ve banished to various realms? Brings all the villains together in one place as well? To say nothing of having 8 squillion monarchs in one place each playing who has the biggest crown. Seriously we have monarchy all over the damn place on this show? Do you want to speak to some of these people first before you drag them from their homes and drop them all next door to ALL THE DRAMA IN THE WORLD EVER

And how big IS storybrooke. Because I’m sure that ALL THE MAGICAL REALMS EVER would cover a lot of space - probably more than Maine. Wouldn’t people notice Maine has either disappeared or is now covered in castles and dragons?

Ok, it’s Maine, but SOMEONE might notice.

Y’know this would be the awesome beginning of a soap opera, with all these magical realms together and being super dramatic with each other

Of course since this is the Last Episode Ever, it all works flawlessly and we don’t get like a 9 million sided civil war, dragons don’t eat everyone and we don’t have hordes of ogres/trolls/goblins charging out of storybrooke to invade New Hampshire. Instead we get awesome aerial shots of castle next to castle, medieval town next to town with magic and dragons and all kinds of shininess in a big magical utopia that totally won’t be nuked when the President realises a large chunk of the US has been replaced by a magical empire.

Instead everyone gathers for a ball - including Emma and the other Killian (and won’t there be like 9 million clones of everyone now? Like 11 Cinderellas and 30 Snow Whites and a couple of dozen characterless princes with an unfortunate habit of molesting corpses?) all to celebrate a coronation - Regina’s

Yes, because they have 9 million monarchs they have decided to choose one to rule them all: Regina. Not the Evil Queen - but the Good Queen. On account of her being the only one who has shown the slightest shred of competence. And I’m here for this. I’m here for this being Regina’s happily ever after. I’m here for her redemption train reaching this glorious end. I’m here for Regina to be upheld as the ultimate force to save them all AND for her being the one with the proven competence to actually get things done. It’s been a rocky road, but Regina earned this

All Hail the Queen

Which is the end of Once Upon a Time after this last season was cancelled… and part of me thinks that it’s time as it has been struggling on for seven seasons, but part of me is frustrated because it could have gone a lot further if they had pulled off the reboot

After the end of season 6, the loss of many actors and the closing of so many storylines: I think they had three choices: cancel the show. Reboot the series with a new central cast.  Redirect the series by taking some awesome side characters and making them protagonists

Either of the latter two would have worked. Instead they tried to do both and it didn’t work

I mean, rebooting the story with new central characters would have been great. We’d have adult Henry, Jacinda, Sabine, Naveen, Lucy, Alice, Robin with Facilier playing the is-he-a-villain-or-not that Rumple tends to play and new villains in Gothel and Victoria. We have some compelling characters here, enough themes to continue the show but enough new directions to make it fresh as well as the concept of alternate world fairy tale characters in case they wanted to pull out, say, a new Sleeping Beauty. Or if they wanted to actually include Maui rather than just have his hook appearing (not ok to just include the tool and not the character of colour). It could have worked - and it would have been much more diverse than the pretty much all straight, nearly all white 6 seasons that had preceded it. We would have had centraL POC in Jacinda, Lucy, Sabine and Naveen, something which only Regina had managed before. We would have had a major same-sex relationship between characters who weren’t plot boxed for entire seasons or didn’t just vanish. It would have been excellent

But they tried to have their cake and eat it - and kept on Regina, Killian, Rumple and Zelena who pretty much stole the show and shattered the focus which left us with this season - lots of mini storylines but no focus and no direction and two casts of characters who seemed to have little to do with each other