Once Upon A Time aired its first season finale, ‘A Land Without Magic’ last night! So, was Henry saved from a death-like slumber? Does Emma finally believe and accept her role as the savior? These questions answered, plus, shifting loyalties abound while Mr. Gold’s secret agenda is partially revealed. SPOILER ALERT
The episode began in the fairytale world, with Prince Charming escaping from the Evil Queen’s castle with a little help from a familiar face: the Huntsmen/Sheriff who we last saw giving up his heart to the queen. Alas, once free from the castle walls, Charming finds himself trapped in an enchanted forest. Rumpelstiltskin comes to him and tells him that he can help the prince find Snow White if he does something for him in return.
With Henry unconscious and in the hospital, Emma loses her temper and confronts Regina about the apple turnover, finally getting her to admit that the curse is real. Hopeless, and without any magic, Regina is as terrified as Emma concerning Henry. According to her, magic is “unpredictable” in this world, and the women have no choice but to form an unlikely alliance and go to Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin for help.
Mr. Gold tells the two mothers that he has an emergency vial of magic saved for a rainy day. However, the magic of true love that he had bottled in the fairytale world was hidden, by Charming, in return for the spell that would help guide him to Snow. And so, Maleficent returns as the beast in which the magic is hidden. As a special punishment, Maleficent, the Evil Queen’s rival, was brought to the nonmagical world in dragon form, the magic protected in her belly.
Before descending into the mines to fight the dragon, Emma goes to visit August, who is rapidly deteriorating into wood. The sight of August turning into wood before her eyes is just another confirmation that the curse is real, and she becomes increasingly determined to get the magic and cure Henry. Using the sword given to her by Mr. Gold, Emma is able to defeat the dragon, reducing Maleficent to ash, and recover the magic.
Meanwhile, David decides to leave Storybrooke for Boston in an attempt to start over. He goes to Mary Margaret and professes his love, hoping that she will give him a reason to stay. Unable to recover what they once had, Mary Margaret does not return the sentiment and tells him to leave. Later, as she keeps Henry company in the hospital, Mary Margaret rediscovers the importance of happy endings when she reads him the story of Snow White and Prince Charming from his book.
In the fairytale world, Rumpelstiltskin gives Charming his mother’s ring, now enchanted to glow brighter the closer he gets to Snow. When Charming finally finds his true love, he is too late, and Snow is believed dead inside her glass coffin. To say goodbye, he leans in for a kiss and wakes her, as true love’s kiss breaks the curse of the poison apple. Charming proposes immediately, slipping the ring on to her finger. (Side note: did anybody else LOVE the dress Snow White was wearing? I loved it.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Gold tricks Emma into handing him the magic, and, before they can go after him, they are called back to the hospital. Henry is dead.
True love’s kiss was, again, the answer. As Emma kissed Henry’s forehead and told him she loved him not only did Henry awake, but the curse over the inhabitants of Storybrooke was broken. It was Emma’s true love for Henry that broke the curse, not Mary Margaret’s true love for David, like Henry had originally believed. Henry and Emma were still confused, however, when everyone remained in Storybrooke, a nonmagical world, even though the ‘curse’ had been lifted. And, Regina ran home to hide from what was sure to become an angry mob of fairytale characters seeking revenge.
In a move that might make Mr. Gold next season’s villain, he used the magic to activate a wishing well, which has the power to bring back what you’ve lost. I was sure that he was going to use the magic to bring back his long lost son, but instead, Mr. Gold brought magic into Storybrooke!
While all this was happening, Jefferson/the Mad Hatter embarked on his own quest. Angry with Regina when she refuses to follow through with her end of the deal and erase his memory of his past life, Jefferson breaks into the underground prison beneath the hospital and frees Belle. Belle’s resurfacing is sure to cause great tension between Mr. Gold and Regina, but I wonder how long she will stick around now that Mr. Gold has regained his thirst for magic and power.
Making Storybrooke a magical place instead of bringing them all back to the fairytale world is a nice twist, as it completely flips the power dynamics in the town. Regina, now (supposedly) able to return to her Evil Queen status, has gained back her powers, and so, has regained her advantage over the mere mortals of the town. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold as Rumpelstiltskin has more power than ever, as he is free to use it whenever and for whatever he likes (remember, in the fairytale world he was imprisoned by Charming).
Here are my burning questions:
1) Now that Storybrooke has magic, does that mean that characters that never had magic before will get some? Or will it remain the same, with only the fairies, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Evil Queen having magical powers?
2) What does this twist mean for Emma and Henry, who don’t really belong in the fairytale world?
3) Now that Snow White and Prince Charming have found each other again, will they be looking for their child as a baby or will they recognize Emma as their own daughter?
4) What is Mr. Gold’s endgame? Based on what happened in the last few episodes, Mr. Gold’s only interest in bringing Emma to Storybrooke and getting her to believe in the curse was to get his last vial of magic back and bring back magic for good. But, why does he need magic again? Is it for a specific purpose, or is he simply drunk with power?
5) Why does Charming propose to Snow using the enchanted ring? I am suspicious: who’s to say Rumpelstiltskin didn’t put another spell on it without informing the prince?
6) Now that Emma broke the curse, will August be returned to his human form or was it too late?
7) Did time stop again at 8:15 when the magic reached the clock tower? If so, are the inhabitants of Storybrooke still trapped in the town? Or will the return of magic transform the town back into fairytale land?
8) Will Emma get a true love interest next season?? I would really like that.
9) Are we going to find out who Dr. Whale is in the fairytale world? This episode made me incredibly curious because, even after the curse was broken, he said nothing, and was just sitting in the hospital in shock. Clearly, the writers are keeping his identity from us for a reason…Right?
And, with that, the season is over! What did you think? Was it a good ending to OUAT’s first season? How did you feel about season 1 overall? Are you happy that the curse was broken?