Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 22 – TV Review
It’s finally over. And for all my venom and bluster against this show over the years, there will be no gravedancing like there was with PLL.
Sure, even right to the very end this episode is full of plot contrivances and last minute twists that come out of nowhere. But amid all that, Once Upon a Time, much like it has for almost its entire run, found the one true thing within it all:
TL;DR Regina finally gets her happy ending, and proves that she was the true heart of the show all along; Gold makes a noble sacrifice to stop the excuse plot shenanigans with the Wish Realm dwellers; a surprisingly small number of cameos land with a thankful amount of grace; the new characters from Season 7 make the right choice to mostly stand idly by.
I wouldn’t have been opposed to more Tiana, though. Just sayin’.
We’ll start with Henry and the gang, who are trapped in Wrumple’s snow globe of doom. Fook and Gold try unsuccessfully to break free, but thankfully Zelena shows up, having been picked up in Storybrooke by Alice and Robin (the other townsfolk didn’t believe them. I lol’d) to help them out. Meanwhile, Whenry menaces Regina and makes preparations for her public execution. Regina has a dream of Robin (her Robin, not the new model) for his cameo, while Wrumple brings a proposal to Whenry for an even greater evil scheme beyond killing Regina. Apparently, Whenry’s malicious emotions can be harnessed for a spell to use his Author powers to trap our heroes in an individual Once Upon a Time storybook, thus separating them and destroying their hope (this is demonstrated on the Blue Fairy). Meanwhile, Henry is caught by guards while trying to liberate Regina, but Snow and David show up to save the day. Our heroes convene for a plan of action to spread hope, while Gold finds just enough magic for a single heart-rip, and prepares to use this on Wrumple. But bam, Wrumple catches him, and opens up the book portals on Fook, Alice, Robin, and Henry. Fook is forced to grab onto Alice to save her, sending his poisoned heart into overdrive. Luckily, Whenry also chooses this time to accost and swordfight Regina, who implores him to look inside himself for the goodness she knows he’s capable of. Her compassion saps him of his hatred, which closes the portals. But Fook is still dying, and Wrumple is still a threat. So Gold tears out his own heart, both to kill Wrumple (not quite sure how that works, but whatever. Wish Realm), and to give it to Fook, saving his life. Gold reunites with Belle on some spiritual plane, and with Wrumple dead and Whenry no longer evil, Regina comes up with a plan for one final curse: a curse to bring all the realms of story together in Storybrooke. With love. She does, and Once Upon a Time closes its book as Snow and David crown Regina the elected Good Queen of all the realms, and Hook and Emma pop in at the last minute to cheer her on.
It really was Regina’s story.
I mean, I know that the restrictions of losing Jennifer Morrison for the final season put OUaT in the position where it had to promote Regina to protagonist, but fuck it. This is the narrative I always wanted, so I’ll take it.
I will also accept as another personal victory the marginalisation of the Season 7 characters in the finale. This isn’t about you.
Why I hate this episode:
Gold killing himself to save Fook was pretty wack, though, right?
And what was with that “you’re the closest thing I’ve had to a friend” line when they were in the snow globe? What about Regina, cunt? The fact that OUaT thought they could ever make Fook feel like anything other than a disastrous knock-off of Hook is wild. And disappointing.
Emma’s hair at the coronation was bad.
I was expecting more cameos. Much like Season 6’s wedding at the end of the musical episode, all they would have had to do was book the actor for a couple of hours just to get them in makeup and costume and film them clapping in front of a green screen. And don’t say they couldn’t arrange that, because poor Keegan Connor Tracy got dredged up to do just that in two scenes, with no lines.
Also, no lines for the Blue Fairy, one of the OG legacy characters? Rude.
Regina’s magic can’t destroy the snow globe, but Zelena’s can somehow penetrate it to deliver Maui’s hook? Also, when did Zelena get Maui’s hook?
Not that I would want more Season 7 crap up in here, but Anastasia and Drizella didn’t even get a chance to cameo now that all the realms are united?
Who was the Guardian, anyway?
OUaT blew its final chance to chuck in a Once Upon a Time in Wonderland cameo for the “all realms are now merged” crowd scene.
How does Gold killing himself also kill Wrumple? I was able to tolerate that bullshit about how all the Dark Ones’ magic is linked together or something, but their lives also are? Because if lives between our characters and the Wish Realm characters are linked, why didn’t Snow and David die when Regina killed them in the Wish Realm?
Oh, and did Regina get the realms’ consent to amalgamate them all into one? Because that seems like a pretty big deal.
But it’s not all bad:
At least this has basically stamped out any spin-off possibilities. Any show set in the small town of Every Story Setting Ever, Maine would be horrifically unwieldy. And not even the makers of OUaT would be stupid enough to attempt that.
The greatest strength of the episode is the choices it made for its focus: Regina and Gold/Wrumple. They really have been the backbone of this show ever since the beginning. Emma has always had main character problems (think Elena from The Vampire Diaries), which meant our villainous/anti-hero/sometimes-actual-hero leads Regina and Gold got to shine far brighter. And with Emma out, I’m glad that Once Upon a Time’s last hurrah made sure to keep it mostly about them.
We’ll start with Gold, who finally achieves redemption with his sacrifice. Yes, it was to save Fook, which is crappy. But I’ll admit I got a little misty eyed when he was able to reunite with Belle. And her dress was nice.
I’m gonna have to give higher points to Wrumple, though. Carlyle has always made his evil self devilishly fun, and his callousness is refreshing in a world where every villain has to be redeemable.
On that note, let’s hear it for Whenry, who is deliciously cunty to Regina all they way up until his predictable change of heart. Jared Gilmore is just better at being bad, baby.
We’ll get to Regina to close things out, so before we do, I’ll give a shout out to Robin, who doesn’t overstep or overstay his dream sequence cameo. Regina just expresses how much she misses him and that’s about it. No plot nonsense happens within it, and he doesn’t give her any Dream Ghost advice. It was just nice.
I enjoyed Granny, the dwarves, and Hopper not believing Robin and Alice when they arrived in Storybrooke and attacking them. They’ve got a point.
After my ceaseless whingeing, we finally get a tiny wrap-up on the abandoned Maleficent/Lily subplot. Once the realms are united, we see a dragon flying overhead, and Regina and Zelena get some ADR dialogue about that dragon being Maleficent, and they offhandedly mention that they finally found out Lily’s father is Zorro. It’s crummy, but I’ll take it.
And now, onto Regina. Even the lamer moments for her this episode, like her “fight” with Whenry, are successful. Regina really is what OUaT should be remembered for. The only thing she didn’t bring to the finale was a Queenie reprise.
Regina is the last to arrive after Gold’s death, and she delivers an emotional scene for their farewell. I mean, can you imagine if Emma was still the main character and got saddled with that?
Emma does celebrate Regina’s coronation, though. So I’ll thank her for that. The show isn’t about her, anymore, and I’m glad she knows it.
Oh, and as our final goodbye to Once Upon a Time, Regina is left standing triumphant and happy. After all we’ve been through, OUaT had the decency to give us that. I did let loose a single tear, and I’m not ashamed of it. It wasn’t the best show ever, but we always had Regina, and for that I am grateful.