(Beware, spoilers below!)
So boys and girls, this is it. The ultimate showdown. Good and evil. As we say goodbye to the much loved Frozen cast, what new hell are we unleashing on Storybrooke this time? As per last week, this is a long recap given it’s the midseason final, so if you’re after just the review scroll down to nearer the end of the post to avoid the bulk of the recap.
We start off at the ice wall as Elsa brings it down. However, they find out that some of Ingrid’s residual magic remains and no one can cross the town line. At the same time, Gold is dangerously squeezing Hook’s heart when the latter finds out that Anna knows about Gold’s intention. He tells Hook he needs to keep Anna out of the way.
In a snapshot of the Belle and Rumplestilskin of the past and we realise that Belle has always wanted to travel the world. He reveals he’s been to Camelot and comes back with a magic gauntlet that enables you to locate the weakness of anyone. Back in the Storybrooke of the present Gold tells Belle to pack a bag so that we can whisk her away to New York for a proper treat.
With Ingrid’s magic over, Regina puts Marion’s heart back in her chest as a reluctant Robin looks on. In Granny’s Marion talks to Regina and calls her out on the affection they have for each other. Marion says she will step out of the way for Regina’s sake because she does not want Robin to be with her out of obligation as opposed to choice. In the park Robin declares he chooses Regina, even as they watch Marion play with Roland. Just then, Marion faints, still affected from Ingrid’s curse. Regina says the solution that might work would be if Marion would cross the town line and free herself from the curse. However, she would not be able to go on her own, with Robin and Roland having to accompany her.
A walking broomstick leads Hook and Gold to the house which we find out belongs to the sorcerer, and his magic broomstick reveals the Arendelle portal. Gold didn’t count for Henry though, and Henry arrives at the shop, telling Belle about what’s happened with the town line. As they help Belle search for another suitcase, they uncover the magic gauntlet, which provokes a strong reaction in her.
Back with the Belle and Rumplestiltskin of the past, Rumplestilskin magics away Belle to fetch the laundry, only for her to be confronted with the most adorable dalmatian puppy. As the puppy disappears, she gets kidnapped from behind by a nameless person. He comes after Belle when a little token is dropped in front of him by Diaval the raven. In it there’s a hologram like video where Belle says that if he does not bring the gauntlet to her captors she will die.
In Granny’s, Hook declares that he’s found the portal to Arendelle and we find out that Rumplestiltskin is dictating the words to him through his heart. As he explains it all to Emma she knows that something is wrong but nothing can be done.
At the town line, Regina is waiting at the town line when Rumplestiltskin slips into her car. He reveals not just that he’s leaving town, but also that he knew what Henry was up to. Alas, he confesses that he does not know who the writer is. He tells Regina to take what she wants instead of moping, and he admits that instead of changing he’s just evolved. She watches as he slips away out of sight of the town forever, and she rips up the page which shows the both of them together.
Back in the past, Rumplestlitskin comes with the gauntlet to save Belle and is confronted with Maleficent. However, he’s outnumbered as both Ursula and Cruella also appear. Confronted with losing the gauntlet or saving Belle, he gives it up.
In the clocktower Rumplestiltskin opens up roof of the clocktower so that the stars can align and he can end Hook once and for all. Meanwhile at the sorcerer’s house the Frozen crew are off back home. Just when the other two cross through the portal Anna asks who Mr Gold was back in the fairytale world. When they tell her it’s Rumplestiltskin the crew realise he’s been playing them the whole time. Meanwhile, as he’s about to crush Hook’s heart both Emma and Belle appear. Belle holds up the dagger and commands him to stop. When the two are whisked away alone at the town line she reveals that when she asked the gauntlet for what he loved most, it led her straight to the real dagger. In a fraught moment she commands him to cross the town line and leave Storybrooke forever, and Gold is left all alone.
Back in Arendelle, Elsa is looking at an old picture of Helga, Gerda and Ingrid as Anna stands there in a wedding gown. She tells Elsa she was not going to walk to down the aisle unless Elsa was as happy as she was. For once, Anna is the one in the gloves as she goes to get married.
After Emma shoves Hook’s heart back in his body (leaving to a passionate reunion), Emma sits down to drink with Regina when Henry suddenly runs in, having found something in the sorcerer’s house. He’s found a hidden magical library with all the black books looking just like his story book.After they tell Emma about Operation Mongoose Emma promises to help in order to keep her promise to Regina. She will help her find a happy ending.
Six weeks later we watch as Gold, much dishevelled, wanders into New York. This is paralleled with him having uncovered how he tricked the Queens of Darkness and gave them the fake gauntlet – he appears to be playing a much bigger game. In the present, as he’s walking into a New York aquarium, he finds Ursula and tells her that he’s found the rules still apply to him, and that he needs to find the Author after all in order to get a happy ending.
This episode went through some of the most unexpected twists and turns all season. Anyone who saw the resolution with Robin and Marian coming deserves a gold medal and makes me excited for the role Michael Socha will play in the future with the Merry Men. The cast were on point here, with all possible kudos going to Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla and Emilie de Ravin in that order for pulling out some of the most heartfelt acting all week. I was momentarily afraid that the portal to Arendelle would be another trick, but I was glad to see the happy resolution to the Frozen side of things, even though I will miss them terribly. With Hook’s life hanging in the balance I like that it took some tough women to save the day (following on from last week), and for Henry to finally find some answers is a fitting resolution for Jared Gilmore’s character, who has thus far not really accomplished, well, anything. The tease of the Queens of Darkness were exciting, and whilst this time last year reminds me of the iffy storyline that was Zelena and Oz I hope the concept behind finding the author will lead to a fascinating and much improved second half of the season. Gold’s progression, which I have questioned many times this half of the season finally comes full circle and makes sense this time, and it will be most interesting to see both him and Regina go for the same goals with different means. Regina’s battle has been much harder than Gold’s, but I feel as a person she’s a winner already. Good things never did come easy. Many congratulations have to be given to the Once Upon a Time writers, who have brought the show back to the greater heights of earlier seasons whilst delving into deeper questions during the process. This seems to have brought out the best in the costuming, acting and music in the show and it is most welcome.
Well, now I’ve just got to find out what on earth I’m going to do until March 1st. Start the show again from the beginning, anyone?