Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep23 – An Untold Story

The second half of the Once upon a Time season finale dealt with the consequences of Henry’s desire to get rid of magic, as well as the details of the new realm that Snow and the others stumbled into. But since this is a show about happy endings, things wrapped up pretty nicely, giving the heroes a few moments to breathe before their next new challenge.

So Henry, formerly the Truest Believer that Peter Pan made such a fuss about in Season 3, became against magic and conveniently found a black Grail in the library in New York that could nullify magic. During a tense confrontation with his grandfather, Rumple, Henry destroyed the magic of the Olympian crystal, preventing Rumple from reaching Belle and effectively trapping Snow and the others in the other realm.

Henry realized his mistake and instantly regretted it. So Rumple, Regina, and Emma had to scramble to find a source of magic in the so-called Land Without Magic, which turned out to be a misnomer after all. Talk about retcon.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep23 - An Untold StoryBut since the plot demanded it, a magical being lived in New York and so we got another glimpse of The Dragon who made short appearances in previous seasons. The Dragon decided to help the heroes (and Rumple) find their family. Henry then conveniently becomes a believer again and uses the power of wishes at a wishing fountain to harness the magic in the world. After a rousing speech to random New Yorkers, Henry succeeds in creating a portal bringing his family back (as well as Dr. Jekyll). And for a moment, people all believed in magic.

Back in the land of untold stories (as the new realm is called), the mysterious warden proves to be Mr. Hyde while the timid doctor is, of course, Doctor Jekyll. With the addition of these two characters, it is clear that Once upon a Time is no longer drawing from fairy tales alone but from other literary sources. This happened back in season two with the reveal that Dr. Whale was actually Dr. Frankenstein, so the exploration of other Gothic literature is not such a big surprise.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep23 - An Untold StoryThe characters go back to Storybrooke to take a well-deserved break after all the epic quests. Regina is still worried about the Evil Queen coming back, so Snow gives her the serum that helped separate Dr. Jekyll from Mr. Hyde, neatly tying up the themes of good and evil battling inside us and making a plausible link to the Jekyll/Hyde storyline. In another powerful moment, Regina extracts the Evil Queen from herself and then finds the strength to crush her dark heart. Heaving a great sigh of relief, Regina was finally free of the darkness that was causing her so much pain and she looked like a terrible burden had been taken from her.

But the Evil Queen has been such an iconic part of Once Upon a Time so the writers decided they needed her to stick around. Since she could no longer be associated with Regina without invalidating the latter’s whole redemption arc, the writers decided to cleverly have the manifestation of the Evil Queen somehow survive and find her way to the Dragon in New York. It will be interesting to watch how Lana Parrilla plays both characters when the next season begins.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep23 - An Untold StoryThe new realm and the new characters are clearly a set up for season six and so these elements felt a bit tacked on to a season that had a fairly straightforward ending. But the prospect is intriguing, especially since these characters are no longer from fairy tales and that gives the show more room to tackle darker and deeper story lines.

After contending with a legion of Dark Ones and surviving a trip to the Underworld, the people of Storybrooke will now have to deal with the sinister Mr. Hyde and whatever terrible plans he has for them. Not to mention the Evil Queen is back to wreak havoc on the world, this time without Regina’s conscience to keep her in check. A hero’s work is never done.

Thank you for reading the reviews for this season and hope you’ll tune in again in a few months for Once Upon a Time season six.