As a big cataclysmic finale, ‘And Straight on Till Morning’ was underwhelming, but the lack of action was made up for with where this episode brought the characters. Certain arcs came fill 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 2 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.
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 Parilla 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.”