Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 20 – TV Review
You know what would make this already-strained by too many new, unnecessary characters soap opera in its long-past-due seventh season with a half-in-half-out reboot more grounded and relatable?
Time travel. Of course.
TL;DR Most of the new stuff introduced this season comes to a rushed conclusion as Henry believes in magic again and breaks the curse; because the present day is actually set before Henry left for Another Realm and Henry phones his teenaged self; Tilly arbitrarily defeats Gothel with magic powers; everyone rejoices in their returned memories; Wish Realm Rumple shows up in the final moments.
You know what would make things even more grounded and relatable than introducing time travel at the eleventh hour? Introducing more stuff from the Wish Realm.
So evidently OUaT decided to truncate whatever it had planned to wrap up the new stuff introduced this season due to the cancellation news, as things race to the finish to make way for a double episode fanservice finale. In “flashbacks,” we see teenaged Henry in Storybrooke struggling to decide whether he’ll stay in town or venture into the real world to find a new life. Regina is a supportive mother either way. Meanwhile in the “present,” Rogers escapes the Dark Coven witches and goes to Gold for help, who confirms that yes, magic is real. Together, they recruit Robin to help convince Tilly to leave the magic circle (which is slowly turning the other witches into trees for some reason), but she won’t go. Meanwhile, Lucy goes to Regina to whine about Henry and Jacinda’s kiss not breaking the curse. Regina realises it’s because Henry is filled with adult cynicism, and doesn’t have the childlike belief he needs (because the kiss didn’t work, he has now flip-flopped and has given up on his fairy tale conspiracy). Gold offers her a memory potion, but it fails. Lucy then thinks touching the Once Upon a Time storybook will help, so Regina digs it up from Victoria’s grave (offscreen, sadly), but this also fails. But she does make one last appeal using the adoption records she has from when she got him, and he does call the contact phone number on there out of curiosity. Teenaged Henry answers, and it’s confirmed that our Hyperion Heights plots are taking place before Henry left Earthrealm, and this phone call returns all of Henry’s memories. Meanwhile, Jacinda and Sabine harangue Samdi for Naveen’s whereabouts, but he locks them up. Throughout all this, Gothel proudly proclaims her plan to commit genocide against the human race (again). Regina, despite thinking she lost her bid to awaken Henry, fights her, anyway, but is easily bested. Our awoken Henry comes to her, though, and plants a True Love’s Kiss on her forehead, breaking the curse. Suck that, Emma. This snaps Tilly out of her shit, and she turns up to magic beam Gothel and turn her into a tree. Okay? Everyone is glad to have their memories back, and Sabine and Jacinda manage to escape Samdi. But it’s not over, yet, as Gold goes to attack Samdi for stealing his scrapbook, but Wish Realm Rumple suddenly arrives on the scene to kill Samdi.
The preview for next week shows that Wish Realm Rumple wants the Dark One dagger. But wouldn’t he already have his own Dark One dagger?
So yikes, what a way to go, OUaT. I can appreciate that you wanted to get back to the real OUaT characters for the finale, and the only way to do that was to sacrifice two episodes’ worth of the Next Generations’ plots to get there.
But damn, this episode was a sloppy mess. Even by OUaT standards.
Can you imagine how slapdash the finale will be?
Why I hate this episode:
I have been a proud opponent of all the random Season 7 bullshit and characters, but even I felt kind of bad for them this week. Nineteen episodes of build up was for this? Blech.
The biggest casualty of this is Samdi/Facilier. Obviously, there is no place for Regina’s last minute love interest in the finale, but to get killed off in the closing seconds of the episode by a Wish Realm character? That sucks, man. I guess we’ll never know what he really wanted, or if his feelings for Regina were genuine.
Gothel doesn’t fare much better. Were we given any context for why she wanted to go for a Round 2 of Earthrealm human genocide? Why did she want the Dark One dagger, but now doesn’t need it? Who were the Dark Coven witches? Why is Tilly/Alice suddenly a powerful battle magician?
Who was the Guardian?
Will we have to see Zelena again for the finale?
If Regina knew they were in the same time period as her Storybrooke self (and all her allies there), why didn’t she try calling Storybrooke Regina for help?
Teenaged Henry gets accepted into every college he applied to. Gross.
Oh, and Wish Realm Rumple? Really?
But it’s not all bad:
Rumple showing up to be the villain for the finale is a total Hijacked by Ganon. And I’m happier with that than I would have been if Gothel had stuck around. So I’ll take it.
Everything about Gothel and the Dark Coven was stupid, so I have to admit I enjoyed how the Dark Coven witches became little baby trees, and Gothel herself was tree-ified in defeat.
Despite some competition from Regina, I’m gonna have to say that Henry is the star of this episode. Adult Henry’s disbelief in the fairy tale truth is sensible (and a thankful revision from his fanaticism last episode). But I guess being the person on the other end of a mysterious phone call you, yourself, got when you were a teenager will make you think maybe some weird stuff is going on.
I was also totally here for Henry’s emotion when he was cradling his injured mother after Gothel had tossed her aside. And the fact that True Love’s Kiss was actually Henry kissing Regina made me happy. As an insult to both Jacinda, and to Emma.
In fact, due to Jennifer Morrison not being in the cast, the present and “flashback” Henry scenes are all about how Regina is his mother. Because she is. I’ll never go easy on OUaT for trying to present Emma as Henry’s “real” mother. And I’ll take any petty victory I can.
Regina is no slouch when it comes to her contributions this episode, though. Her anguished appeal to Henry to believe was intense. And bitch dun’ graverobbed to get that storybook. She’s committed.
The curse may be broken, but the poison heart spell on Fook isn’t, as he is still injured by being close to Alice. Hmm.
Samdi’s solution to Henry’s poison heart spell, though, appears to have been legitimate. I wonder what could have been for him and Regina?
Oh, and I also loved having Regina’s mayor hair back. That Roni look was not good enough.