REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final Battle

Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final Battle

The season six finale of Once Upon a Time wrapped up many of the major storylines, bringing the show to full circle and then also leaving an intriguing set up for the next season.

Storybrooke falls under its latest curse, this time from the Black Fairy. As always, the whole town is engulfed in a malevolent fog and, despite promises from the writers that this curse would be unlike other trials the characters had faced, this one featured a classic Once Upon a Time device – memory loss. So the final battle would not be a clash of swords or magic but a battle for belief, which admittedly has been the theme of the show from the very beginning.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final Battle

Emma’s feeling some déjà vu.

Maybe the intention was to bookend the six seasons and to properly conclude Emma’s journey by having her go full circle. This was season one all over again but this time Henry reached puberty. And though this was definitely treading familiar territory, there was something nostalgic about Henry trying to convince Emma that all their magical adventures were real.

But since Once Upon a Time has tackled this theme of the importance of belief incessantly over the past few seasons, this finale felt flat. It might have been more effective if the curse had been stretched out over a few more episodes and not just in the two-hour special. The stakes were never going to be too high because we expected everything to be resolved within the two episodes anyway.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final BattleAnd again, I could not help but compare this finale to other explorations of the same theme. Other than the previous seasons of the main show, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland already had a very effective (and dark) take on convincing the heroine that her adventures in a magical place were not real. And if we’re going to tackle the power of faith, I have to say that American Gods is a more compelling exploration of this theme.

Comparisons aside, the finale was also jam-packed with many of the supporting cast as well as the different “realms of story” such as Oz, Agrabah, Wonderland, Neverland, and probably the wish-realms. It was painfully clear that the writers were trying to cram in as much of the expansive universe of Once Upon a Time as they could just in case this was to be the series finale.

Lucy Once Upon a TimeBut in between everything that was happening, there were also introductions to a couple of new characters, including an adorable little girl from the Enchanted Forest, who was determined to protect the Story Book and who was guided by Tiger Lily. We find out in the closing scenes that there is a chance for a story beyond this final battle and since Once Upon a Time was renewed for a seventh season, we might see how everything plays out.

While Henry tried to make Emma remember, everyone else in the family, thankfully, did not have any memory loss. Instead, they kept themselves busy by reliving some of the more iconic moments in the series like Snow finding Charming for the nth time, Hook climbing a beanstalk while reminiscing on his first adventure with Emma, and Regina working with her not-so-evil twin to create a portal back to Storybrooke.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final BattleThe Black Fairy kept Rumple and Gideon by her side but made the foolish mistake of separating Belle from them. For an all-powerful fairy who has supposedly been keeping tabs on her son for years, she does not know him well. This mistake led to her downfall and Rumple ended up killing her and ordering Gideon not to kill Emma. (And wait a minute, does the control of the sorceress really continue over the heart of someone she captured even after she’s dead? Who knows anymore on this show).

There was a cool moment when Rumple was being dissuaded from doing the right thing by his evil half. As enjoyable as it was to watch two versions of Regina, I would have loved to see more of Rumple fighting with his Dark One persona. Anyway, since he’s one of the main characters who will be present in the seventh season, there may still be a chance for this.

Long story short, Gideon stabs Emma for some reason and she turns into a pillar of light and then Henry kisses her and breaks the spell. Gideon turns back into a baby so that his parents may have a fresh start with him. All the realms are restored.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Eps 21&22 – The Final BattleThen, in the final moments, everyone gathers at Granny’s, all smiles and happiness. Though the way the scene was set up, it looked like the Last Supper and Emma was Jesus. Anyway, cheesy as it was, it still warmed fans’ hearts to see the big and complicated families of Charming, Mills, and Stiltskin gathered together, triumphant over adversity once more.

If this had been the end of Once Upon a Time, it would have worked. And it’s still difficult to imagine what the show will be like without Jennifer Morrison and many of the other main cast members. As much as I love Regina and Rumple, I don’t know how the show will continue with just them and Hook (which makes even less sense considering he just married Emma!).

But the show will go on, apparently, and at the very end we see a grown-up Henry who has apparently lost all his memory of his family. It takes a visit from his daughter, Lucy, to send him off on his next great adventure. None of this makes sense but I can’t help but be intrigued for what comes next on Once Upon a Time.