Once Upon a Time Season 2 Finale Review: Straight on 'Til Season 3

Once Upon a Time S02E24: "And Straight On 'Til Morning"

I am a wreck right now. I should be jogging down by the beach, then coming home for a sensible meal and checkin’ my stocks or whatever grown-ups do. Instead I am a hot mess hunched up in a blanket, unable to sleep due to fitful, OUAT-themed nightmares after a night spent screaming about magic beans to the consternation of my neighbors and their infant. That finale was intense! It also made very little sense and featured not just a macguffin but a deus ex machina and TWO pencil sketches that were cherishingly gazed at. No wonder I feel so shaky this morning.

So everyone we’re interested in on OUAT is now on the same cozy little ship together, bound for an islanded studded with emo teen dreamboats.The Lost Ones! A team of Abercrombie & Fitch models who will stop at nothing until they find HENRY!

Which is good, because Henry could use some male peer companionship. There was something desperately sad about Henry on the tire swing in the very beginning of the episode, something about how he was both too old and too large for it (seriously I thought the rope was breaking on its own at first and Mr. Gold was just not saying anything about it), not to mention he was totally stone-faced, like swinging on a tire was a chore he had to finish. What are his options? Another 500 swings on the tire while Granny stares at you with a shotgun in her lap or go make ANOTHER birdhouse with your schoolteacher/grandma. Yeah, a team of rowdy adolescent boys giving him noogies at a forever summer camp is just what the doctor ordered for ol’ Jared Gilmore.

So the fact Greg and Tamara absconded with him is actually pretty cool, except I do not need to see those two lunkheads Season 3. Not with some of the shit that came out of their mouths this episode. “So you don’t know who you work for?” “We’re not like you Hook. We’re not characters grounded in a backstory with plausible motives for our actions. We’re plot coupons.”

They “activated” the macguffin diamond with a pickaxe and then took off because they are totally willing to die to cleanse the world of magic but would rather not actually die, thanks. Also these proud magic-haters needed to kidnap Henry and take him to a magical realm, using magic? Go home, OUAT writers, you’re drunk. Or at least they needed to fill about one more cocktail napkin with brainstorming on Greg and Tamara’s character arcs. But whatever, even if the diamond was ridiculous, at least it got us to where we wanted to be at the end of this season: with the Charmings embracing Regina (literally) as a hero.

Yes, last night Snow basically was #TeamRegina so hard and I loved it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be nodding in agreement with Snow while watching a conversation between her and Emma, but Snow took her daughter to SCHOOL last night. She read Emma Swan like a bill of rights and then served her a diploma. After a heart-rending goodbye with Regina in the mines…

Emma came on over to Granny’s like, “Okay guys, this show better hit the road! Let's all 1200 of us get ready to jump in a portal! *cough* Regina’s sacrificing her life for the town! *cough*”

Henry, in an unprecedented moment for the show, actually objected to his single mother of 10 years being left to die and referred to her as his mom about three times in a row.  Then Snow argued that Emma must do the right thing by going back into a mine and throwing the diamond into a portal, where it would presumably explode another reality (sucks to be you, HalloweenLand or whatever).

 And to seal the deal, Archie gave his approval. Hey Archie!

Appreciate the support, Archie. Now sit down, the grown-ups  are talking.

At no point in all this did anyone mention the Blue Fairy, who I assume was marathoning CSI: SVU on the nunnery flatscreen. That’s right, the entire town was willing to risk their lives for Regina rather than appeal to the Blue Fairy for help, because all of the BF's magic comes at the price of a long, arbitrary moralistic speech/getting your ass reverted to age 9. Real talk: The Blue Fairy just kind of sucks at magic and everyone in Storybrooke knows it.

A reluctant Emma and her entire family made their way down to the mines, where Regina was bravely yet barely holding it together and Emma realized that Hook still had the magic bean in his OTHER little clutch purse. (The one David had tried to awkwardly finger earlier and they acted like he had taken the bean but there was no way he took the bean and it was weird.)

So after flirting with the idea of just dying in her parents' arms (and like, how awesome was it when Henry left the Charming family hug to join Regina, who was over like S.T. Rugglin' to keep them all alive? That hug was all I ever needed)...

... it finally dawned on Emma that waaait a minute, she has innate magical powers too! Maybe she should, like, stand across from Regina and make that diamond BOUNCE.

A couple things about this: A.) In all fairness they should have been holding hands, since they did open the portal in the hat in the season premiere only after they touched. B.) You don’t have to be a women's studies major to see the subtextual lesbian implications on this one, something that much like Archie I approve of (let’s take them from sub to text though, Season 3!) C.) THAT’S ALL IT TOOK?! That’s really all it took. Three seconds of Emma and Regina teaming up. They saved Storybrooke in less time than it takes to microwave a burrito. Like damn. 

So after a very awkward “Oh heeey… we’re ALL heroes now haha that wasn't a metaphor for anything btw” moment came the TRULY awkward realization that Snow and Charming had misplaced Henry. Now we know why Emma and Regina get Granny to watch him at the playground and why they’re always so grateful to see him alive and well, because his grandparents are TERRIBLE BABYSITTERS. Snow and Charming are great people, but they are nonsense parents. They just can’t hold onto a child. Can’t do it! A baby, to them, is like a greased watermelon to you or me.

So now, thanks to a change of heart that was actually pretty well grounded by the FTL flashbacks, Hook returned to help out the Storybrookers. Without a doubt, the Peter Pan as a horror story has been the most successful conceit of this entire season, and the looming fear of the shadowy pan, the threatening Lost Ones raiding the pirate ship, and the adult pirates actually being sort of a refuge—it was all fantastic world-building and made Hook’s heroic turn at the end feel earned (unlike the deus ex machine memory drink which… whatever. Got to pick my battles).

It also makes me excited that basically all the fan-favorite characters are on the ship, except for Belle, who Mr. Gold hilariously barred from tagging along even though he expects to die on this voyage and Belle is supposed to be his like raison d’etre. But God forbid they enjoy a simple burger together, no, Belle has to stay behind and cast a cloaking spell on Storybrooke, because we all know the Blue Fairy can’t be trusted with that. Once again, Mr. Gold seems to want to have a relationship with Belle all by himself. He loves her, he just doesn’t seem to want to be around her, ever. I think he actually may have been more into Lacey. (MISS U LACEY.)

Storybrooke, the drabbest towne in all of Maine, is safe once more. Neal is in Fairy-Tale Land with Aurora, Mulan, and PHILIP?  Was this some sort of time warp, or did Aurora and Mulan somehow free Philip’s soul, reunite it with his decaying body, and re-animate him? And if so, WTF! Maybe the portal Neal actually fell into was to the Land of OUAT Characters Who the Writers Don't Have Time to Come Up With a Storyline For Right Now Sorry.

So there you have it: Another season of twists and turns got to their twistiest and turniest and now we’re all headed for Neverland (and a few of us are a lot better at mannin' ye riggin' than I expected—Regina is just toiling away on those small sails up on deck and you know she's wearing heels).

Were you entertained? Intrigued? Are you angry that the next episode is so far away, or will it give you time to recover OR are you swearing this show off for good? Let’s discuss.


… Did it sort of take Emma way too long to attempt magic?

… How much of Season 3 do you predict will be spent in Neverland?

… Why do the Lost Ones want Henry? Is Henry missing a shadow, has anyone noticed?

… The Blue Fairy: Why does she never lend a hand in times of trouble?

... Are you angry that Mr. Gold left Belle behind, or just relieved she's not Lacey?

… Tamara and Greg: Have these plot coupons expired, or will “HQ” beam  them some new storylines for Neverland?

… What did you think of the finale and the season overall?

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