Once Upon a Time: There's a Cloud Hanging Over Us

Once Upon a Time S01E22: "A Land Without Magic"


How are you doing? Are you doing okay? I'm assuming you watched Once Upon a Time's finale last night and if that's the case you probably need someone to check in on you and lord knows you're not going to find that at work. Are you somnambulating from your desk to the copier with a vague sense of ill-ease? Did you spend a little extra time in the car before you went inside, fingers white-knuckled on the wheel? Were your dreams troubled?

Because that finale was INTENSE and if you took a day off to just recoup I would not blame you. In fact, if you're struggling, I suggest you go home sick right now and continue reading this at home. Tell your boss or secretary or yoga studio receptionist or the principal or whoever you're taking off for the day.

Okay. Everyone cozy? Then let's talk the shit out of this show.

First of all, the second I saw Graham take off his mask I knew we were headed for some people-pleasing. "This one is gong to be for the fans," I said in between lustily smooching the screen. Graham's appearance was brief and we moved quickly along (though of course not before he shared a scene with Regina, who had clearly dried her hair with a fireplace, one of the drawbacks to the fairy-tale world that is rarely discussed).

As quickly as Graham left my screen, I can't complain about the pace, because for once it FLEW. For a season composed largely of weird tangents, OUaT's finale was remarkably focused on a rapid succession of fan-pleasing events. The episode flew by yet stayed efficiently mindful, as mindful as Emma, who shrewdly put an apple turnover into a baggie before leaping into an ambulance with Henry.

Like, thank the Good Lord Emma finally believed in the curse. We have all seen her grab the Storybook before so I'm not sure what exactly triggered that burst of understanding, but comprehension is a hot new look on Emma.

Also: I thought her believing in the curse would mean August would be healed, apparently she also has to break the curse to save him from his now solid-oak state. (How creepy was his wooden face with the blue eyes, btw? This show is NOT for children, I'm sorry.)

Whatever the intricacies, Emma believed, and not only did she believe, she rolled with that punch, swept the frantic Regina into a closet, and demanded answers (which Regina, strung out on grief, gave. How Un-Regina of her!). From there it was a quick trip to Mr. Gold's pawn store, where he presented her with an epic, not-at-all-metaphorical quest of slaying a dragon with her "father's sword." Chills upon chills!

Elsewhere in fairy tale-land Rumpelstiltskin was giddily taunting the prince and manipulating him into feeding a gold egg to a dragon, the same one Emma was about to retrieve. (You'd think it would pass out of the dragon's system but I am not here to parse hairs or complain about a Kristin Bauer appearance—a sly way of combining Disney Sleeping Beauty's mythology with Disney's Snow White mythology. How many seasons until we lose the folklore roots entirely and the Disney revisions are the accepted truth behind traditional fairy tales? I would guess three.)

It cracked me up that Emma and Regina were in this uneasy alliance, and right before Regina lowered her down BY HAND in a rickety old elevator (fairy-world technology, ugh) Emma was basically like, "I am going to kill you, bitch! Now lower me gently to the ground." Regina has ALREADY tried to off you just to avoid splitting Christmases, Emma. Try not to tempt her TOO much into flattening you like a blonde pancake. And then we got a lot of this:

Like I'm sure it was super expensive and represented the finest that TV green screen creature animation has to offer but I am still unclear about how Emma could reasonably throw a sword and have a dragon immediately, conveniently transform into a bunch of ash with the shiny-clean gold egg deposited nicely on top.

Not that I was looking forward to her rooting around in dragon intestines like on Family Double Dare (okay yes, I totally was) but I understand the show had a lot of ground to cover. It had to break, then un-break, then re-break our hearts and there were precious few minutes left.

I did love Rumpelstiltskin giving a man-makeover to the prince. I loved seeing the Snow White kiss again, and the pulse, and the proposal after the kiss. It was a nice counterbalance to David Nolan creepily weeping outside MMargaret's closed car and then preparing to haul all his worldly goods to Boston in an old pickup. Mr. Gold had meanwhile given Regina a fetching duct-tape-over-the mouth look and snatched the Egg of True Love from Emma. Unfortunately, the dunderheaded-ness that saved her from a complete mental breakdown and allowed her to manage the concept of Storybrooke's dual reality also allowed her to be easily tricked into throwing a precious golden egg up to Mr. Gold (it's right in the name, folks).

Of course, by that time it didn't even seem to matter because the show was asking us to believe that Henry was DEAD and probably killed by the Mad Hatter. Who looked so James Dean hot in 1950s scrubs that I would have forgiven him for it, especially when he knocked out Nurse Ratchet and FREED EFFING BELLE.

I wonder now how the Mad Hatter knew about Belle and why he hadn't staged this coup earlier, but at the time I was far too busy screaming at my TV with joy to care. Belle was out! Mad Hatter sent her to find Mr.Gold! IS THIS HAPPENING!? I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!

Lana Parrilla and Jennifer Morrison, meanwhile, were giving the dual performance of their lives in the hospital overhead, watching Henry flatline. Guys did you tear up? I was BAWLING. These ladies are FORCES, Lana and Jennifer are emotional BOMBS and they got detonated simultaneously as Henry was unplugged from his machines. And then in the moment we had all predicted but that was still amazing fan wish-fulfillment, Emma kissed Henry's forehead and broke the curse.

Stunning, stunning, stunning. My jaw was on the floor. David Nolan calling "Snow!" across the street was of course the most poignant. Watching the orderlies and doctors suddenly remember a time when they had wings or ate porridge, I almost felt bad for the patients of the hospital because surely there was no more work that day. "We are going to have to re-schedule your hip replacement surgery because I just remembered I'm actually a cobbler."

Obviously just as heart-rending was the reunion of Belle and Rumpelstiltskin (and how nice for Belle that he's hot Robert Carlyle now and not a sparkly, giggling gremlin. Upgrade!), but the show clearly made the point that, as usual, Rumples was more set on wielding his dark powers than taking a five-minute break to sex up the woman who loves him. Even after the curse broke and for the first time he had the woman he loves, who he thought was dead, at his side looking crazy-sexy tussled and all come-hither. Sigh.

Within minutes of Emma breaking the curse, Rumples had hauled poor Belle up to a mountaintop well and had thrown the true love potion into the magic water, creating a giant purple fragrance cloud that billowed into Storybrooke and overtook the population as the clock settled, once more, on 8:15. The ending was purposefully ambiguous. True love can break any curse/is the strongest magic, and it's just been added to water that can restore whatever is lost. So...does this mean he's re-set the curse, except with Emma caught up in it this time, as the clock would suggest? Or does this just mean the Evil Queen will again be a force in this world with crazy pineapple hair and bug-bangs and an ability to woo Henry back by Darque Magicks? I frankly doubt Kitsis & Horowitz know what that cloud means either. It was an ending that gives the writers the largest amount of options possible going into a new season.

So that's why I'm going through my day today in a haze. I'm still wrung out from sobbing over Emma and Regina's tour-de-force performances. I'm giddy from Snow and Charming returning to being Snow and Charming. And there's a looming sense of dread too, the ringing triumph of the emotional fulfillment clouded by, well, a cloud. Couldn't the cloud have been, at least, just starting down the mountain? Did we really have to watch it overtake Snow White and Charming like a horrifying mountain of purple ash?

Of course, if it means magic in Storybrooke, awesome. LOVE magic. But I'm also super afraid it's re-set the curse. It's the uneasy dance we do with this show, wanting a happy ending and yet knowing there cannot be one as long as we keep watching. Happy relationships are boring. Parents being wise and loving are a yawn. Neighbors responsibly helping each other don't sell papers, guys! This summer, I am going to think about this finale a lot, I am going to dream of the Season 2 premiere and, honestly, dread it a little too (if the curse is re-set I don't think my heart can take it). I am also going to think about what our world would be like if we were fundamentally interested in witnessing functioning happiness. Instead, Heaven help us, we're in love with the struggle.


QUESTIONS:

1. Belle! Your thoughts on Mr. Gold's reaction?

2. How did the Mad Hatter know about Belle anyway?

3. What does True Love make besides beautiful, dumb babies?

4. Does it seem pretty easy to kill a dragon?

5. What was that purple cloud about ?!

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I want to say thank you to Lily Sparks for sparking my interest in this show. Once upon a Time is the show I run away to after a hard day at my back-bracking low-paying job.I started watching the show after your review of the mid-season episode Skin Deep. I love the comedy you put into your review and I can tell your a fan too! Thank you Lily Sparks and hope to read your reviews when season 2 starts!
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I was extremely excited to see Graham again, even if only for a few seconds. It made me so sad when he died because I felt like he was the one person (besides Henry) who was rooting Emma in Storybrooke. But, in retrospect, if he had not died Emma wouldn't have become sheriff and all of the hyjinks that ensued from that would never have happened either. The most surprising part of the episode was when Jefferson freed Belle. It was like he had this trump card burning a hole in his pocket. Like he was just waiting for Regina to piss him off just once more and then he would sic Mr. Gold on her. I was loudly applauding him for finally standing up to her. As far a trump cards go, this was an excellent one! The one thing Rumpelstiltskin loves more than magic; although as we saw at the end of the episode, he really doesn't love her more than magic. But she's got to be a close second, I mean a close third...after magic and revenge. Revenge on Regina that is. That's going to be interesting for season 2, watching every single person in Storybrooke take their revenge on Regina. Yes, the CG with August completely turning into a wooden puppet was slightly creepy and the fact that we didn't see him being human again in the finale will be another issue left hanging over the summer. One other thing that bugs me, is that they haven't shown who David Anders' character is in the story world. He's either someone random and they just haven't gotten around to him yet or he's someone big and they are waiting for an opportune moment to tell us who he is. Or he's just some random person who happened to somehow show up in this random town entirely populated by fairytale characters under a curse. I think the first one is more likely. Can't wait for season two!!!
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Just thought- do the nuns run the hospital? as well as the school? Both traditional occupations for nuns, btw; but what does that tell us about their role in FTL? Caretakers of and instructors in the use of magic? It's possible...



We seem to get hung up on this good/bad dichotomy with FTL characters; but one of the great things about this series is the way even "evil" characters have reasons for what they do. (Maybe not logical reasons...) Maybe the magic in FTL is more like a color wheel- complements and contrasts- instead of just black and white. I'd love to think that's part of what the purple cloud represents.



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I'm pretty much still stuck on your opening cap with Jamie Dornan <3



Loved the finale but once again, kinda off-put by the Belle/Rumple thing. Just doesn't do it for me.



I seriously LOLed at Emma killing Malificent/Dragon with a sword throw. She didn't even get singed once??
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Asbestos extensions??
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Interesting things happening next season:

Henry meeting his dad (i hope)

Jiminy Cricket getting a bucket load of patients who have multiple identity issues to deal with

The Blue Fairy coming to terms with the fact her religious ideals suggests she is an abomination somehow hmmm

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Imagine the sessions-



" Archie, I keep thinking about all the guys in the diner at lunchtime"

"What's wrong with thinking about guys, Red?"

"I can't decide- A-1 or au jus?"





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Fantastic! Jiminy or whatever his english name is will be really busy (and really rich!)

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I thought Mr. Gold reverting back to Rumpelstilskin was awesome and very well timed, there was just too much good going on in this episode. So that was great.

That photo with Belle thinking Gold was her dad was so on okey, that was the exact thing I was thinking when it played out.

True love should not be questioned since its the foundation of all fairy tales. Questioning that might ruin all essense of our childhoods.

I think Emma thrusting her'fathers' sword to the side, in favour of her gun should have gotten a mention, that was definitely one of the best moments of the season for me. very emma.
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I'm wondering...after the events of the finale, does that mean Emma and Henry go into the story book now?
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The episode has its up and downs

I like the ending and the fact that magic is coming which make a nice

new plot for next season

What I dont like is them breaking the course in such a stupid way

I mean Emma is not the only mother in that Hospital

There are other mothers who love thier child no less

and kiss thier child if thats all it took the curse whould be already broken

I can undrstand why her kiss could save Henry

but I dont understand why it had to break the curse

I think it whould have been better if they made it

that next season Emma (now that she believes)

whould go a quest to find a way to break the curse

but that is how did it too bad

What puzzels me is which fairytale charactor is the doctor suppose to be

I mean he is not just a extra he did apper in a couple of episode

Oh and about the mad hatter it seems quite logical that a guy

who has a score with Regina whould follow her every move

(like he does with Emma) and find her secret about Belle



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I thought Emma was the ONLY PERSON who could break the curse. Am I mistaken? I've been confused more than once when it comes to this show.
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Do you think Regina made the curse so that none of the people from FTL were able to truly love? Was that how she took away all their happy endings? Seems like if true love can break any curse, she would have to fool proof her plan in that way. Emma was unaffected by the curse and was still able to break it through true love.



They were clearly pushing us to question who Dr. Whale is. He looked the most confused out of everyone when the curse was broken. Whatever memories were restored to him, it didn't look like he enjoyed them.
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Dr. Whale looked disappointed, right? I thought I was the only one who thought there was something up with him after the curse was broken. Even though he was kind of a jerk when the show first began, he still had the "honor" that comes with being a doctor. I can't wait to see who his fairy tale character is. I am clueless about it.
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Dr. Whale didn;t know that was his name, but won;t he be the whale from Pinnochio's story?
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I was so beyond happy to see Graham! I missed him so much and to me when Regina crushed his heart was when I knew I was hooked on this show, because I was so so upset!



This show is so like Lost ((btw loved the Apollo Bar in Henry's backpack)) its going to be a LONG summer and probably part of the fall while we wait for the 2nd season
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I wanted to see Emma meet her fairytale parents.. I hope so much the cloud changes something that does not make that impossible again!
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1. Loved Gold's reaction. You could see everything imaginable flashing through his eyes. Then instead of going and celebrating like a champ he dragged her on mountain tops to magic wells with magic water to unleash magic. If I were Belle I'd be a little offended.

2. He's Mad. It's like a requirement that Mad people know everything. It feeds into the conspiracy theories, paranoia,and schizoid behavior. I'm just glad that he's not just pretty and dense. He's pretty, crazy, and somewhat bright. That's the trifecta for the ideal relationship right there...

3. Cute and smart grandbabies? I think the pretty passes down to each generation but the smarts? That skips a gen. Poor Emma. She never stood a chance. I love that it's implied that True Love is a double edged sword....just as much evil can come of it as good! I for one look forward to that!

4. Pfft it's nothing really. I know when I go slaying dragons it takes me all of ten minutes. Especially if I have my special armor in the form of my kickass leather jacket and skin tight jeans...oh and my daddy's big, shiny sword. That isn't phallic at all, Charming.

5. It looked like the people of Stonybrook were about to have a REALLY good time...Granny knows what I'm talking about.



Seriously this finale was just the best! I didn't expect them to even think about kickstarting Emma's belief in the otherwise unbelievable so I'm sort of surprised and pleased that they handled that straightforward and early on.I was also pleased to see her go Lima Heights on Regina like that....again. Those two should totally fight more often. It's kind of beautiful.



It was weird however seeing the two realms sort of collide. I don't know. It freaked me out in the best possible way. Seeing Mr. Gold handing Emma David's sword...an actual dragon hidden beneath the ground of some warehouse...I'm totally walking around manholes from now on. But it did give us great scenes like MM and David as SW and PC running in the middle of the town and giving us swoonworthy awesomenss. I'm back to loving these two again.



And GRAHAM!!! It was just chalked full of hotness between his brief appearance that made me smile and curse the queen for taking him away from us so soon. And the Mad Hatter who is just...so deliciously intriguing. And August...who went all stiff on us. I wonder what that means for next season? Rumple/Gold and Charming/David seem to be the only consistent male characters on this show. I love them both but I like the steadiness of the Grahams, the Augusts, and the Jeffersons.



I like Rumple. He's an unknown and I like the mystery that shrouds him but somehow in the finale no knowing where he stood was more unsettling than it ever has been. Why unleash the magic to that degree? Why was he so insistent on doing it at that particular time? he seemed in a hurry. I'm still thinking that perhaps he's ultimately more focused on trying to get his son back and that was what his intentions were....getting back all that was lost, meaning his son. I also wonder if that works for the real life world too. Like could that make Graham come back?! And surely that means August could stop changing...maybe, even though the curse isn't fully broken. I have mixed feelings about the return of magic in their realm. On one hand it could be unquestionably interesting and open the door for numerous storylines...on the other hand...I liked that there were those limits and a reality to Stonybrook.
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Mr Gold KNEW Emma was going to break the Curse with True Love magic. The "pulse" may have generated enough magic for the vial/well combination to be effective. If he didn't take advantage of that effect, it mat not have brought the magic back.



What they do with the magic next season will be interesting...
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p.s. I really like to see them drop a little the Disney style fairytale...but in the originals one there were less happy endings and a lot more creepy stuff...In cinderella one of the step sisters cut off her fingers to make the shoe fit...and in the sleeping beauty part two there was a woman falling in a pool full of snakes...I don't know if I like to see that in OUAT
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I really loved this episode (and your review as usual!). I was really afraid but wow....

If Mr.Gold used one drop of love potion to make the curse and now half a bottle to do whatever....we can be sure it will be big. I think it will be fun to see everyone struggling to adjust to the post-curse reality...Maybe we will see the chief fairy dress like a stripper again, but she is also a nun, so....And MM? will she go to teach again? Or just leave it all? SB will be a difficult place to live in for the next few weeks..

I think the MadHatter story was used as a plot device, but I really hope that they will give us a backstory that explains it all in season 2. Also, the more Sebastian Stan, the happier I will be. He isn't at least a Poor Man Graham. It will be a nice family, him Emma and the two kids: remember that time I was beheaded by the queen of harts? And you remember when I used to be really smart and hack in computers and find people?

they killed the dragon exactly as in the Disney's sleeping beauty...so it's ok for me

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You raise some great points about the post-curse SB reality... it's going to be awesome to see that play out. One thing though - I don't think the entire curse is made up of the one drop of love potion. What I took from that scene was that Rump put the drop of love potion on the scroll of the curse so that Emma could break it. Anyone who truly loved Henry could have broken the sleeping curse, but only Emma (the product of the true love that created the potion) could break the Dark Curse. But in any case, it's hella potent stuff.
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Doesn't Henry have a crush on Grace?
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There's an interesting possibility as to why Mr. Gold wants to bring magic into our world: remember in the "Return" when the blue fairy is explaining to his son how the problem with his father is specific to their realm, that somehow his powers don't belong there. So what if somehow they do belong in our world( the Mad Hatter says to Emma when they meet that some worlds have magic, some don't and some, like this one, need magic), and even with his powers he wont be the dark one here.
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That is exactly what Rumplestilskin figured out all along. :)



I think the next season will be more centered around him, with Regina in the background gathering herself and making new plans.



Third season she's back in full force with a new curse.

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I don't think it will be as simple as that. The fairies were almost certanly manipulating Bae into taking his father with him. It still needs to be revealed what exactly their game is. I'm guessing the battle will be more complicated tham simply Gold vs. Regina-and Gold knows this. That's why he needed his powers back. And it may even be that Gold and Regina aren't the main villains.
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Lots of possibilities...

We'll see.
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GRAHAM!!!!!!!

anyway...

I have to say my feelings about Mr. Gold were fluctuating one heck of a lot during this episode...I came into it slightly convinced he's on our side, more than I had been previously, and I was really moved by his emotion towards Belle's return, but the purple cloud thing upset me...I don't understand his motives for it. The "power" thing was weird...his reunion with Belle made it seem like he was actually a good enough guy to be above that. That left me very confused about his character.
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Timing- if the vial didn't get dropped before the "pulse" of True Love dissipated, it might not have had enough magic available to work.
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That's why he refused her love, before, and also why he refused to follow his son: he wants his powers. Without them he's a coward (remember?).

Gold/Rumplestilskin is only on his side.



But, as he said so well himself, all Magic comes with a price.
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- Too much, too soon? I've gotta say I'm really worried about the show's future. One of the main issues I had with this show was that they had problems moving the story forward, therefore dragging everything so much. I understand that they have to stretch out things as much as possible due to the longevity aspect of the premise. Now, it's the complete opposite... did they move way too much the story? Considering they want the show to go on for a long time, I think that breaking the curse was a bit premature.... Now will probably face the same problem of them dragging out things and having issues with the story and how it advances.
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I had a similar feeling with so much happening during the finale. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it pans out in the premiere. I know what you mean though.
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Good creative writers don't have to "stretch out things" a lot for a show to last. I'm sure you, as I, do have a few examples. Next season, we will see who we are dealing with.

I really hope that these folks take pride in what they create. There is so much possibility with this concept and lets hope that they don't go the "lets-throw-anything-at-them-they'll-keep-watching-anyway" route.

You want a show to last... give the viewers quality writing.

(Good story beats good CGI by ten fold.)
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Fantastic review once again Lily!!! This was a fast paced super finale .... There were a few silly moments but generally this was one of the best episodes this season! Can hardly wait for season 2..... Also can hardly wait for True Blood and more of your funny and insightful reviews :))
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If magic has been brought into this world will the fairies be able to fly and get tapped for civil defense? Or better yet, will Red start snacking on people again? Maybe Meghan Ory will get a spin off.
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5. well now rules are changing. everybody [including Emma & Henrie] gets into the book and nobody can escape. bad for emma & Henrie, who will have to deal with that in the second season :p
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This was a really knockout finale - so many things going on; so little time, but they made the most of it all. Excellent. I did not like the cunning look on Regina's face when she saw the purple cloud coming toward her. This cannot bode well for anyone else...
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I've figured out what the purple cloud will do--it will cause everyone to switch bodies with the person closest to them. So Dr. Whale becomes the Blue Fairy, Emma and Henry switch, Snow and Charming switch, Granny becomes Red, etc. We'll know about the switch because they'll retain their voices--we'll get a season of Josh Dallas playing Snow White with Ginnifer Godwin's voice, and vice versa.
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That's sick but hilarious- I can actually imagine some of that. The dialogue! and the outfits- would David raid Emma's closet so MM could wear a leather jacket? And what about Emilie de Raven in Mr Gold's suits? Rumplestiltskin in the maid's uniform?
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1. I don't think Mr. Gold knows how to process that Belle's still alive, his plan is coming to fruition, he's desperate to find Bae and all of a sudden he has her back. He has to hold her at arms length or he'll give up all his power (magic) again.

2. He knew everything. If he can see through a telescope he'd have noticed the Mayor goes into the exit A LOT. 2+2=...

3. No idea. Can't wait to see.

4. Very easy but I'm assuming she stayed a dragon because the golden egg would not sit will in human form?

5. Here's to it literally being magic - time for the fairytale people to run amock in our world! Or could it be the spell pulls through anyone from FTL back 'home' (including those related - Emma and Henry) which is how he's going to get Bae back?



Poor Dr. Whale looked shell-shocked.
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From flashing when holding a book to seeing a man turn in to wooden puppet to fighting a 30 feet freaking Dragon in an underground cavern all in what, halve a day. That is a serious shock to the system. points for Emma for keeping all her marbles.
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lol! On the other hand, it makes you kinda believe in magic... doesn't it?
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Not that I dislike Charming in his princely attire but the leather is kind of a plus...
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Terrific finale! Fast-paced, emotional and dramatic. Couldn't ask for anything more! So looking forward to season 2 given that ending.
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1. Belle! Your thoughts on Mr. Gold's reaction?



2. How did the Mad Hatter know about Belle anyway? Who knows.



3. What does True Love make besides beautiful, dumb babies? No comment.



4. Does it seem pretty easy to kill a dragon? Just a little.



5. What was that purple cloud about ?! No clue. But the evil Qween looked happy about it.
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In my opinion this season had its ups and downs, and I guess most of you guys and girls would agree with me over that. But then I was expecting the finale to be quite positive, just to end up quite disappointed.



I, for one, found Emma and MM striving against the Mad Hatter way more exciting than those weird dragon fights. The dialogue lines were particularly silly, it even reminded me that "Dreamy" episode. Also, I really did not like its pace; it was so rushed, and it'd be so much better if the same story was told in an extended episode (after the due adjustments of course; Emma spanking the Mayor, flashing when holding the book, it was just so bad)...



But these are complaints about how the story are being told, not against the story itself, albeit there are things we cannot ignore.



Since Sunday was Mother's Day, I have to bring up my favorite example of plot flaw: What did happen to Charming's Mother? Did his recklessness lead King George to kill her? Is Charming just fine with that, as long he "always finds" Snow, whatever it takes? Or is it simply what it seems to be: a plot flaw? I know it's not a big deal, but it's not the only one. It may suggest that the creators and writers are not that compromised or willing to tie up the loose ends. And every time I see a random "42" or a moving, ill-intentioned and noisy smoke, I fear the worst; the unsolved things and long-run mysteries worked wonders in Lost, but after an entire season OUaT doesn't seems to know what it is or who it wants to please. To be fair, it seems to know where it's going, but that's all.



I do hope the second season improves its general quality to match the actor's; I do hope OUaT establishes and consolidates what it is and what it wants. That being said, I can wait for the second season as long as it takes.

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I do agree about the season having it's ups and downs. A few episodes left me downright annoyed and ready to give up on the show. But I thought the finale was pretty well done, with a few cheesy moments here and there. I also agree about the episode feeling rushed. They wasted a lot of time throughout the season on things that felt unnecessary and I think they were forced to rush in this last episode.



Like you, I've always wondered about Charming's mother. I hate the Snow and Charming flashbacks because its obvious from the premiere that they get married and have Emma. Those flashbacks were a waste of time for me. BUT I was hoping that those fairy tale flashbacks would at least address what had happened to Charming's mother...but they never did. I think this is just another mistake on the part of the writers. This is something else that needs to be addressed and hopefully they will explain this next season.
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I would agree the season as a whole was uneven, but I am hopeful for 2 reasons. One is that when I look back on some of my favorite series, the first season is always the worst. People are still getting their footing, and the unconventional nature of this show means there will probably be more pitfalls than a situational comedy with a set formula. I am not an apologist for anyone on the show, because they did seem woefully unprepared for a good chunk of this story, but I'm just saying first seasons, in hindsight, are always the worst. The other reason is that this finale opened up way more avenues for excitement than the first season could have had. There was so much exposition and backstory this season, and I feel like we can forge ahead into S2 without some of that drudgery. I wish they had found ways to make character-building episodes more integral to the plot, so I'm with you on that - hopefully most of it is over.



I do have to disagree about the dialogue being as bad as "Dreamy". I thought the finale was reasonably well-written and extraordinarily well-acted. MM's face when David says Kathryn isn't using the deposit on the apartment -- Ginnifer didn't speak a line right there, but her face said, "Oh my God, she's moving back to SB and you're going to give your marriage another try." It was such a natural and instantaneous reaction. These actors are so pro, they can make even the spaces in between lines magical.



I really enjoyed the pace of this episode, but that's possibly because I was so sick of puttering along. I don't feel like any of the stories pertinent to this episode got poor treatment because of the pacing. Some of them did get poor treatment just from carelessness, though. For example, I feel pretty sure they're not going to tell us how Jefferson survived his fall and was gone before they looked down.



As far as the plot hole you mentioned, I think they tried to wrap up that part of PC's story during "The Shepherd" episode. King George threatened to kill PC's mother if he did not marry Abigail, and this meant he could never see his mother again or everyone would know he wasn't the true prince. They have a tearful goodbye, and she gives him the ring. But now he has bucked the king anyway and is marrying SW, so there's no reason he couldn't see his mother again once they "take back the kingdom". Maybe we'll even find out his real name. In a way though, PC's mom is an integral part of the PC/SW love story in the finale - without that ring, he wouldn't have been able to find his true love. Not too shabby a lesson for mother's day. That being said, yes there are enormous plot holes in this show and I share your disdain for them.



Glad to hear you're looking forward to the second season. I guess in the end, they're doing something right if we want more!
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Didnt the queen use Jefferson a lot before the show really started. I thought that may have been mentioned and why she brought him with her. She gave him a mansion so he had some importance to her. I just love his character. I think he is great as the mad hatter. I see next season having gold and regina using magic a lot mainly against each other. I would also love to see more Kristen Bauer and why regina truly punished her in dragon form. I mean I know it has to do with the egg and snow and charming finding each other. But I want to see how it all happened. I also think on top of the queens curse gold had a different type of potion hidden know regina would hide the dragon so when the curse was broken none of them would be sent back. I think he is looking for his son and needs to find him before allowing any of the characters to go back. I still think his son is Henry's dad therefore still needing Emma. Just thoughts! L
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Maybe it was really the egg that trapped Maleficient in Dragon form? interfering with her magic somehow. Or maybe the Curse hit when she was a dragon and there wasn't enough magic in Storybrooke for her to change back.



I really hope Maleficient comes back next season!
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I have no idea why Regina would want to trap Maleficent in a different form, but it couldn't have had anything to do with the egg, because Regina had no idea that Mr. Gold had hidden it there.
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Maleficient controlled her own transformations; unless a magic egg wouldn't transform? I hadn't thought Regina had anything to do with Maleficient being stuck as a dragon- but maybe she did. And with magic being less predictable in Storybrooke than FTL, Regina didn't HAVE to know about the egg.
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I don't think Regina decided the punishment for every character. Maybe the curse was designed to deprive you from your happy ending, and Maleficent's maybe was being a super charming and hot woman...hence the dragon form
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when rumplenstinsky was in the well i believe that he was going to ask for his son, how selfish of him to ask for magic, clearly he hasn't changed
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I've been thinking a lot about that well and how he could have used it to get Bae. From what we have seen, you have to submerge something in the water for it to restore the thing that is lost. August had to dip the pages of the book in the water, Rumple had to drop the potion into the well. So I'm not sure he could have gotten Bae back from the well - somehow it's going to take magic to get him back, and that's why he did what he did. After seeing his reaction when he thought August was his son (and realizing he spent centuries planning this curse to get him to the land where Bae is), I don't think he is doing anything to deter from the plan of retrieving his son. He somehow has this set up where he can have Bae, Belle, and possibly immortality for all of them. I keep thinking about him telling Belle, "There will be time for everything."
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I had a feeling that magic in a real world would be the main thing in the next season....
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There are a lot of flaws in this show, but we must remember it's not intended to be a psychological thriller, a murder mystery drama, or emotionally conflicted doctors with special guest star Meryl Streep- this is pure fantasy, plain and simple- which besides bringing in a real world element of a small town in Maine, is intended to be fairy tales with a twist. And like all fairy tales, the characters are written more one dimensionally, with one desire or wish to be fulfilled by the end of the story. So, that this finale tied up a lot of loose ends quickly and easily (and almost randomly and incomprehensibly- Emma's quick change of heart and Belle all of a sudden out of jail and in love with Rumple, he dumped her!), really shouldn't surprise us too much.

ABC run by Disney is behind all of this rigmarole, so we should expect some happy endings before they snatch them away by the creators of LOST. Really, compared to how cheesy and ridiculous this show could've easily been, there have been some singularly great moments and episodes. Hat Trick was a delightful trip, and the Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was just a fantastic piece of writing and the reason we fall in love with TV shows for their ability to wring our hearts and keep us guessing until next week.

This show has staying power not just for the fresh telling of old stories, but the great actors take what they get (which is not always good) and make it better or fantastic. When a villain is even more fascinating than the hero, we are more intrigued and can never resist a good conspiracy theory (love you Robert Carlyle!)

So kudos, OUAT. You have given us enough resolution to satisfy the fans for now, but just enough questions to have us crawling back. Just please, give the women some curling irons and hair bands- goes a long way- and quit killing off or woodefying the hot guys!

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I'm still confused as to why the Hatter is back. Didn't he disappear into his hat? Either I missed something, or they just hoped no one would notice his sudden return.



But I agree with you. :) I take it as it comes and let my imagination do the rest. And I never thought I'd have such a love/hate relationship with a villain! LOL I'm looking forward to more of Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold and trying to figure out his end game. (And whether I should like him or not, hahaha!)
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If they reset the curse for season 2, I won't be watching. This show tortured me enough for one season. As for your questions...



1. Belle! Your thoughts on Mr. Gold's reaction?

-I thought Mr. Gold should have been happier to see Belle. He seemed happy but then pushed her to the side to focus on his agenda.



2. How did the Mad Hatter know about Belle anyway?

-They needed a way to free Belle and they decided to use the Mad Hatter. I don't even think they know how he knew, they are probably racking their brains right now to come up with an explanation.



3. What does True Love make besides beautiful, dumb babies?

-True love seems to create a lot of misery, from Snow to Belle to Dreamy...



4. Does it seem pretty easy to kill a dragon?

-It was a little too easy, but I know they were pressed for time. If they would have cut some unnecessary stuff this season, they could have expanded on this entire finale.



5. What was that purple cloud about ?!

-The cloud is magic settling in, but I hope it's just the return of magic, not the return of the curse too.
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I think magic will be brought bk to everyone. Rumple doesn't want the curse, he wants Belle! ( and maybe his son??)
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I love this episode; as soon as Emma and Regina were throwing each other around in the hospital supply closet (still my favorite scene of the night, btw), I knew it was going to be epic. The acting was top notch, and the hour was over much too quickly.

~Is anyone else curious about what MM was actually going to say to Henry but cut off? I know I could be reading too much into it, but I feel like there's still something significant behind the book that we haven't gotten yet.

~I was super excited that Emma tried to use bullets on the dragon, even if they didn't work. I'm a big fan that there was a bit of "wait, who says I have to play by your rules? I've got a damn gun!" thought process going on. I hope that carries over into next season; I think it might help Emma in the future to come at things from a different angle.

~ MALEFICENT the DRAGON! Also, why does no one use the library? That made me so sad! (Although I was slightly mollified by Regina's scathing "Would you like a tour?" Lana Parrilla, I love you so hard.)

~Speaking of whom, if you had told me when this show started that I'd spend most of the finale feeling super sorry for the Evil Queen, I would have laughed in your face. Seriously, I kept routing for her even when I knew I wasn't supposed to. I just couldn't help it. She was so sad.

~Was anyone else pissed that the Blue Fairy told Regina to run, rather than being like "Oh hell no, you're not getting out of here after all the shit you just put us through!" I mean, I knew she had to get away, but they could have at least made an attempt.

~Who is that Dr. Whale fellow, anyway? And why is he the one that Regina turns to for a hug?

~Regina's love for Henry; can we discuss? Is it real? I was pretty damn convinced after this episode. AND if it is real, did she only realize she loved him when she had to fight Emma for him? Because her lying about loving him in the first episode was the whole reason Emma decided to stay in the first place.

~Please please please let there be an adorable little reunion scene between Emma and Snow and Charming in next season's opener. I want to watch that happen so badly.

I know I've posted super long responses the past few weeks, and I apologize; I just start typing and want to talk about ALL OF THE THINGS.
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What makes you think she was lying about loving him in the pilot? Emma's "superpower" which conveniently never told her about any other lies?
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Eh, I'm a bit contrary to most of the rest of the commenters here in that I do think that the superpower does exist, and there were specific reasons involved for the times in the show that it didn't work. But yes, I read it in the pilot that Emma was going to leave until she asked Regina "do you love him?", then decided to stay after all.
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Was that an Allie Brosh reference at the end? LOVE IT! :) Excellent point about the book - that story and how it weaves in MM and Henry's stories is going to be something to watch for. As for Regina's love for Henry, what I got out of this episode is that she may feel the pain of losing something, but she doesn't truly love him. When Emma said to wake him up, Regina said, "I can't." She knows that true love can break any curse, but she knew she didn't have it in her. I think the inability to truly love may be the price of casting the curse. Also, in the middle of her "mourning", she was able to summon all that venom for Jefferson. How could a mother who truly loved her child stand over their comatose body and still put their focus on emasculating someone? The contrast between Regina and Emma in this regard spoke volumes. Emma had one focus - Henry. Regina was still trying to settle scores with Jefferson, scowling about Gold, and even gasped, "No!" when she realized Emma's kiss had not only saved her son but also broken the curse - almost as if she would have Emma take it back had she known that.
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She said 'I can't' because she didn't have anymore magic. This world was without magic and Regina didn't either. Yet it's been said time and time again than Emma had magic in her. THAT'S why it worked not because Regina didn't love Henry.
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I disagree. Prince Charming didn't have magic and his kiss awakened Snow. Belle didn't have it and she almost reversed Rump's curse. True love IS magic - Rump says repeatedly it's the most powerful magic in the world. It's not something Regina would need other magic to create. She either truly loves Henry or she doesn't. And I think she doesn't, and she knew her kiss wasn't enough to wake Henry.
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It was indeed an Allie Brosh reference! From one of my most favorite entries that she's done :) And I think your idea about the curse making her unable to truly love is probably spot on; I hadn't noticed the differences in focus until you had pointed that out. And I realized that even when I was getting strong emotional vibes from her, it was still coming across as more of a possessive "love" than anything else.
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Oh, she was like that way before the curse...
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I agree about Regina's true love but even if she could wake him up (had true love for Henry) she wouldn't because she knows that would also end the curse. Hell, that woman killed her real father to make the curse... who's Henry?

And yes, she cried both times. She's a very sad person underneath, but aren't anyone who rejoices by the suffering of others?
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She didn't have magic in her to wake him up. And he doesn't love her back anyway.
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Oh, and the Emma/Henry kiss was predictable since the previous episode.
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Thought this was the worst episode of the season. The dragon plotline was incredibly random and drawn-out, and reeked of filler. The CGI effects were horrid, as were all the action/fight, and "Dragon-slaying" scenes. The Belle/Rumple plotline seemed suddenly creepy ("I'll take care of you...heh....heh..."). Emma's realization was so random in contrast with her obliviousness all season. Grahm and poor-man's-Grahm barely did anything. The Snow/Charming story had been so contorted and violated by then I could no longer even find joy in them getting together. Henry is intolerable, and I can't stand the way he treats Regina - just the woman who RAISED him, y'know. I feel duped, like I just watched the finale of lost again or something. -shivers-
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How much were you expecting from someone who couldn't even get out of bed? August did the best he could...



Every kid goes through stages where they hate their parents, and then they grow out of it- maybe with the Curse broken, Henry will focus less on Emma and more on Regina. Especially if Emma's the one who has to make dinner and send him to bed on time and enforce all the other rules with which childhood is filled... Regina might start looking a lot better after Henry gets what he's been hoping for.

I liked the dragon scenes, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.
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i disagree with everything you said. Just cause she raised him doesnt mean she did a good job! he hates her for many many reasons. I think henry is very well acted character
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Did anyone else notice Regina/The Evil Queen smiling as the purple cloud came into Storybrooke?
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Yeah I loved that! She will have her magic back causing her to still be able to hurt all those who told her to run once they remembered.
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How can we have missed that? It filled the screen. ;)
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I don't think I've ever seen a season finale do so much and do it well. Even with all the little wonky details, it was still amazing! Killing the dragon -the cuts between Charming and Emma were amazing!- Belle, the curse breaking... Of all the finales in the last week, this was definitely the best. And while I didn't cry or get emotional over Charming and Snow, I definitely had the dopiest grin on my face when they kissed! It managed to bring to a head everything that happened over the season and set up season two, without missing a beat. If I don't see some Emmy nominations for this show...
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If you want AWESOME season finals, watch ANY last ep of any season of SMALLVILLE!!!

They know how to give you a good last ep!
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Great finale! When Henry said, "The curse is broken!" I thought somebody should've said, "But this is still season 1!" They definitely went much beyond I expected.



The only thing I thought was chasing an obviously wrong path, and so wasting time, was Henry's cure. Let's see.



Emma: "So magic is real. How can I save Henry?"

(Me: Just give Henry a true love kiss.)

Regina: "Rumplestiskin may have the answer."

(Me: No, Emma should kiss Henry.)

Rumple: "I have a powerful True Love potion. You have to retrieve it from the beast's belly."

(Me: Wait! Since when is bottled true love more powerful than true true love? Just kiss the boy!)

Emma: "Mr. Gold stole the potion. What are we going to do? All is lost!"

(Me: Just kiss the damned boy already!!!)

Emma: "Wait, there's one last thing I can try. (kiss kiss) I love you, Henry."

(Me: FINALLY!)



Well, but at least all that wild goose chasing the love potion came to complete Rumple's nefarious plans and add to a great finale. That part I wasn't expecting.
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A fine, movin' along with the characters we actually care about, finale! And that dragon! Straight out of one of the scariest images of my childhood - super cool! (In retrospect, given the Disney film, I suppose we shoulda seen that one coming :-) I am sorry that Malificent got dusted, however; and I hope that the home girl will be able to reassemble herself for next season.



Regarding one of Lily's questions, I don't think that the creators will reset the curse, at least not as it was before. There's plenty of room for scheming and ever-shifting alliances between the principals in Storybrooke, even if their brand of magic does come to our world and everyone/most everyone retains their memories.



I do want to thank TPTB in the writers' room for stepping up to the plate during the last 1/3 of the season. During the prolonged era of languishing plots and ham-fisted writing, the entire enterprise felt so - mercenary. It will be interesting to see, next season, whether that same mid-season 'we disrespect our fans simply because we can' attitude is endemic to this group of writers, or simply some mistakes made during a freshman year.



To speak directly to Lily's forum, as the season ends, I have really enjoyed being a part of these discussions! This was my first foRay into a foRum. Some colleagues and I are hoping to get an internet discussion forum up (on an entirely different topic), so it was really important and informative to participate in one myself. It's been wonderfully fun, and more than a little addictive, as I managed to land in such a great forum, filled with intelligent, insightful, clever voices.



So thanks, guys and gals. And thank you, Lily. Everyone have a great summer, and see you again in the Fall!

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I took the cloud as bringing magic to Storybrook. What I wonder is, how are they going to pull it off? Who is gonna go to work at the grocery store? What will they wear? What will happen to Gold's teeth? Will Charming address the fact that cursed-him was a complete douche?
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He wasn't a complete douche...on partially...there were those brief moments when...that time when...when he was in a coma. He was totally undouchey.



I so have mixed feelings on the purple magic cloud. I just don't want them to have too much power in Stonybrook land. Yes, I'm actually in favor of limited magic this time around.
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I thought exactly the same thing! If you were some kind of prince in fairytale world, will you stop working at the grocery store? And if you were a man-eating semi wolf, will you stop working at granny's and start to eat raw meat?
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Regina did say "Magic here is unpredictable" So that opens the door for all kids of interesting scenarios. Henry as the Sorceror's Apprentice, maybe?
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That "Amerindian" character with a broom in the hospital basement, was that some kinda wink at "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest?
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Was he "Amerindian"? I just took him for a creepy emo janitor. That guy rules! Hope to see him again.
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Yeah, I said it wrong: the dude in OFotCN was... rather. But he had the same look and attitude.
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I'm sure it was Chief Bromden, since Nurse Ratched was at the desk. Maybe Regina imported the whole asylum through Jefferson's hat, and that's why only the two of them know the secret code?
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MH has been stalking the town for 28 years, I imagine he knows quite a bit. I figure there has to be some sort of protective coating in a dragon to keep its own fire from burning it. I think the sword punchered it, thus incinerating the dragon.
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Not for kids? Au contraire! My daughters are 7 and 9, and they LOVE the show! They were so caught up in it and were stoked at the ending. I had a little trouble getting them to bed: not because they were upset or scared by anything, but because we just wanted to rehash the whole thing, and today we're STILL talking about it! They're bummed to have to wait until possibly September to see what-all is going to happen next.



Side note: Loved the nod to Tolkien. Think about it.
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And since I probably won't have an opportunity until the fall to say this again - Lily, your reviews are so wonderful. They make me laugh, make me think, and make me look forward to the next week's episode even more. I love your sense of humor and the way it shapes your approach to criticism. I've never really been into anything enough to join a forum, but it has been so much fun batting around ideas and letting my crazy-fan flag fly for this show. Thanks for creating a place to do that!
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Yes, Lily- thank you for everything, especially the photos! And the paper dolls...



I've never trolled forums for any other show either- Even signed up on Facebook to get the show info! Crazy? or just sparing my nearest and dearest the fallout from my obsession? or maybe I just need to share with people who already have a clue as to what I'm ranting about?
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I agree. I spend most of Monday waiting to be able to get home and read these reviews. They are wonderful.
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Well said, and WELL deserved. No-one else on TV.com staff puts as much of themselves into their work and their "co-conspirators!!". TY Lily.
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Okay, Lily here I go.... Now that was a finale: exciting, fast paced, lots of questions were answered while new ones appeared and it managed to set up nicely S2. As good as it was it was sort of predictable at times, it still was the best episode of the season. Makes you wish every episode would be like this one.

- They're back! Maleficient, Belle, Graham and Jefferson FTW!

- I was kind of disappointed and sad that they killed Maleficient. We hardly knew her yet she had so much potential left.

- The battle with the dragon was really cool and it sort of reminded me of Enchanted.

- I seriously cheered out loud when Emma became a believer, I mean it's about time. It took her 22 episodes though....

- Quote of the week: " Well, it's storming like a bitch..."

- Some highlights of the episode: Emma's battle with Maleficient, Rumple and Belle reunite, August's death and the purple smoke covering the town.

- So what happens when you die in Storybrooke? Does that mean that you're also dead in the fairytale world?

- August's transformation was so great and the special effects have really improved so much. I really hope he comes back as I liked his character.

- By breaking the curse the show managed to resolve of its main issues, the storybrooke plots will finally be as interesting as its fairytale flashbacks.

- Too much, too soon? I've gotta say I'm really worried about the show's future. One of the main issues I had with this show was that they had problems moving the story forward, therefore dragging everything so much. I understand that they have to stretch out things as much as possible due to the longevity aspect of the premise. Now, it's the complete opposite... did they move way too much the story? Considering they want the show to go on for a long time, I think that breaking the curse was a bit premature.... Now will probably face the same problem of them dragging out things and having issues with the story and how it advances.

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There's so much they can do with magic in the modern world- hope they play with that angle awhile. Will it work as expected? or are all bets off?



Too much too soon? I say no- took long enough to get here! but there was a lot crammed into one episode. Do you think much of it was written and filmed before they were sure about the renewal? Might explain a lot...
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I LOVED the "storming like a bitch" line!
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Season 2 is a new ball game! Mr. Glod has brought magic back and the Queen knows it that's why she smiled at the end. It's a new ballgame with magic, so new lines will be drawn. So exciting, I'm glad ABC is giving them a second season. Mr. Gold has to find his son!!!!!!
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I'm pretty sure the new purple cloud Gold created is simply going to bring magic back...the curse will remain broken and storybrook will remain in the modern timeline. Now, magic being back...I wonder if that means anyone who had magic before will get it again, meaning Rumple and Regina..that'll be an interesting twist. The evil queen in the moden time line with all of her magic.
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I fell. I fell on the floor. I was that racked by this episode. I was flailing for joy when Belle remembered everything (I ship Belle and Rumples quite hard)

I would have appreciated a kiss but I guess we're just limited to like six per episode and five of them were wasted on Snow and Charming so whoopity-freaking-doo now I gotta wait MONTHS just for the hopes of one. gonna be tense.

I think the cloud just brings magic back into the equation. like now Rumple and Regina are gonna duel it up sparkly leather style again. and Belle is gonna be Regina's target and everyone else is just gonna have to pick a side. Sparkly Scottsman or Leatherclad Bitch who ruined all your lives? (the choice is clear. ahem. ahem.)
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When I saw Emma believe in the curse within the first five minutes, I sat up on my couch and exclaimed "Holy heck! This is going to be one epic finale!" And I wasn't wrong.
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