After a few slow weeks, last night Once Upon A Time finally let all its cats out of the bag and then chased them around town with a vacuum. So let's break this mother down, because we have a lot of convenient ground to cover.
While I'm kind of ticked at Once for cramming all the good stuff in the final episode of the season, I am glad they finally "went there." I only wish one of the 99 plots from the first season's conclusion could have been sprinkled over the previous four weeks. Unfortunately, in the course of trying to do everything at once and cram in as many Lost nods as possible, the heart kind of fell out of the bottom. But we did get a dragon, and more Maleficent — and that's always nice.
The final episode's fairy tale story starts a few hours (or so) before the original pilot. Snow White has bitten the poison apple, and Charming is locked in the Evil Queen's dungeon. Thanks to the help of one very not dead Huntsman McSexy Beard! Wasn't it nice seeing him again? Poor Emma, doomed forever to get splinters dry humping the wooden corpse of her next potential boyfriend (more on that later).
Prince Charming is running around fantasy land, looking for Snow. Where is Snow? How can I be with Snow? But instead of finding Snow, he finds Rumpelstiltskin (or Rumpel finds him). Rumpel promises to help Charming find Snow, but only after he completes this one convenient plot point. See, Rumps has known what the Evil Queen was up to all along, and has hidden an emergency exit within the wicked curse, his true love potion. But to keep it safe, he needs Charming to get it inside the belly of the dragon — because this is the finale and there should be a fuckin' dragon, amirite? Bodda bing bodda boom, Charming fights and Maleficent in dragon form, delivers this cumbersome line: "I'm gonna need a smaller egg," and awakens Snow awakens from her coma. Everyone wins, until they don't, and the Evil Queen makes the curse and kills a bunch of people. But for now, it's a win.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Emma gets blammoed from picking up the Once Upon A Time book (because now she wants to believe?) Presto chango, Emma is all, "All right, we're all fictional characters now," and moves forward with the wacky plan to retrieve the True Love potion from the belly of the Dragon Maleficent (who is trapped under the library and PISSED). This is one of those moments I wish would have happened in another episode, so we could have been there when Emma starts screaming, "holy crap you're a werewolf, holy bejeezus there are other worlds, I'm the same age as my parents, TALKING CRICKET MAN!" But she doesn't, because this is the finale, and we have a dragon to slay.
However, one thing that happens in the real world that is totally awesome was when Emma starts smacking Regina around. It's about damn time. Emma's got a violent streak in her, and we got no problem seeing it pop out here. Regina deserves that and more — let's not forget she killed Huntsman Skinny Jeans, and other people who are not attractive enough for me to remember at this moment. Also, Emma got to make this face with a zoomy lens.
Now that Emma "believes" she can also see August in his true form. And of course she walks in, right as he turns into the creepiest wooden man sex doll of all time. Good lord, it's moments like this that make me go "awwwww, I love this show."
But the Snow White and Charming's proposal story, Emma suddenly believing, breaking the curse, slaying the dragon (twice, kinda), saving Henry, and watching Pinocchio go full wood wasn't the ONLY storyline up in the air last night. The Mad Hatter is also in play. Pissed that Regina didn't hold up her end of the deal, Hatter sets Belle free (who then reconnects with Rumpelstiltskin). It's a great set-up for the new season, as not Rumpel and Regina will be even more angry at each other. But again, I just didn't feel the love between these two, because there was just too much going on elsewhere.
Sidenote: is this the White Rabbit? If so, adorable. Also did everyone see that Sidney Glass had been banished to the secret loony bin? Poor Sidney.
Finally Henry just up and dies, both moms run to his side to that classic "this is a sad moment on Lost" music. Emma kisses him and presto, he comes back to life, because True Love! This also breaks the curse and everyone in Storybrooke realizes that they're fictional characters! Charming and Snow are reunited (Snow's fantasy persona is obviously much more forgiving than real life Snow). Regina high tails it out of the hospital. But not before telling Henry she loves him. And you know what, we believe her. Lana Parrilla nailed it in the finale. And the cherry on top — more things for people to do! Rumps heads to the wishing well with his last bit of True Love bottled up and brings magic to the real world. Shock and awe pass over the town in the form of a giant purple smoke monster. The last thing we remember is the look on Regina's face, a smile, because magic is power.
Until next season, may all your problems be solved by purple smoke (and may the nuns get back into the push up bras and giant heels — but this time in the real world)!