Except for a few scenes setting up the next season, the sixth season finale of Once Upon a Time played out as about as good a series finale as the show will ever be able to do. Which raises the question of why keep the series going. (The answer is probably money, of course.)
The Black Fairy’s curse that was unleashed right after the wedding of Emma and Hook turns out to be a variation of the Evil Queen’s curse. Fiona the Black Fairy has slipped into Regina’s old role as Mayor of Storybrooke and Henry’s adoptive mother. Emma is in the sanitarium where she has no memory of the last five seasons and thinks the magical events of that time are delusions that she and Henry shared. Rumple is still running his shop with his son Gideon and Belle apparently abandoned them years ago. As with other curses Henry isn’t affected, probably because unlike the others he was born in our non-magical world.
The Charmings, Regina, Hook and most of the other characters are back in the Enchanted Forest. But because Emma the Savior is losing her belief all the other realms are being destroyed (just roll with it). When Fiona gets Emma to burn the Once Upon a Time storybook it looks like all is lost and all the worlds besides ours will be toast along with the characters there.
But Henry is able to rekindle Emma’s belief and it turns out Rumple make himself immune to the curse (like he did with Regina’s the first time around). He confronts his mother Fiona (if you haven’t been following the show, yes, the Black Fairy is Rumplestiltskin’s mother) and kills her. But Gideon is still programmed to kill the Savior so the he and Emma have their prophesied showdown.
After some handwavy stuff that makes no sense Emma survives, Gideon reverts back to a baby, all the other realms are restored, and the magic storybook reappears. Everyone gets their happy ending, or as the show rephrases it, their new happy beginning. Had things ended there I think most viewers would have been satisfied with that as a series finale. But wait, there’s more…
The finale begins with an unknown man in the Enchanted Forest sending a young girl away with a copy of the Once Upon a Time storybook as he faces down something. Later the girl with the book gets a pep talk from Tiger Lily. At the end, after the happy beginnings scenes the girl shows up in Seattle and knocks on a door. It is opened by the same man who sent the girl away. The man is an adult Henry Mills (about ten years older than the last time we saw him in Storybrooke) and the girl says she is his daughter. So it looks like next season will be about adult Henry possibly on a story path similar to his mother’s.
- There’s a scene with Emma in the sanitarium that’s an obvious homage to Terminator 2. Emma has upended the bed in her cell (see the image above) and is doing pull-ups like Sarah Conner. (Though Jennifer Morrison doesn’t have the guns Linda Hamilton did.) But no one says “Come with me if you want to live.”
- Someone (I think by Emma) mentions that it’s been about two years since the incident when Henry ate the poisoned tart (back at the end of the first season in 2012). Like Carl Grimes, Henry has grown up quite a lot in a short time without anyone commenting on it.
- While I was right about a time jump, it doesn’t look like we’ll get a post-apocalyptic world with magic versus undead. Oh, well.