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Once Upon a Time – Only You / An Untold Story – Review

Well here we are at the end of another season. With season six already confirmed, I wasn’t too nervous toward the end of this two hour finale event, though I’d have to say this finale probably has the least finality of any Once Upon a Time season ender before it. That’s not a bad thing since it allows everything, both good and bad, to flow forward into season six. I was entertained with this double episode even if the earlier parts were a bit dour with the fresh emotions from Robin’s death. I love the new characters introduced. What is it about Once Upon a Time that creates a unique kind of creepiness for each new villain? I’m greatly looking forward to the possibilities that have opened up in the wake of this finale.

First off, I am so pleased with the role Henry took in this finale. They gave Jared Gilmore a lot to do and so much to work with. You can really see how the young actor has grown in to his craft. And as for the character, you can also see how Henry has grown to become his own person, independent from his parents and his family. Henry even had the guts to stand up to his Grandpa-stilskin on more than one occasion. Henry’s intentions may have been good and his goals misguided, but his journey was the most important part of this episode. His growth, his recapturing belief, his breathing new life into faith despite terrible things happening was remarkable. I will say, I found the speech at the library a little cringe-y, despite how well it was acted. I did enjoy the reintroduction of Violet; it’s nice to see Henry interacting with people his own age. One of the highlights for me though was seeing all the different versions of The Book stashed away and getting a glimpse at the potential worlds and stories that could make an appearance on Once Upon a Time.

Speaking of growth, Regina has changed so much since we first saw her in the pilot. I found her story in these episodes to be just heartbreaking. The finality with which she speaks about never being happy and always fighting dark impulses felt so genuine; there wasn’t a moping, “woe is me” quality to it. I also appreciated how she called out Emma in the clock tower. While Emma did have a right to be nervous and wary, Regina has earned the benefit of the doubt by now. I enjoy how the finale took the time to allow the audience to get inside Regina’s mind. However, I’m not impressed by the separation of mayor and Evil Queen. The thing that always makes Once Upon a Time stand out, the thing I mention in almost every review I write is how the show portrays good and evil as a grey territory. Everyone is a bit of both where heroes can kidnap babies and villains can nurture them. The idea that Regina can so easily strip herself of the Evil Queen, as if it were a separate entity all along, really negates a lot of the message Once Upon a Time has being giving its audience for the past few years. I feel as if someone wanted the Evil Queen to come out and play more and this was the best way to do that. I’m hoping that in season six Regina will find that she can’t live without the darkness in her and take it back. It makes everything so much less complex when something like this is reduced to black and white terms.

Rumple, I have to shake my head at you. You chose power, quite literally, over love once again and once again it didn’t work out well for you at all. And now it seems the ultimate “deal with the devil” has been made between Mr. Hyde and Rumple, resulting in the town coming under this new villain’s sway. I know Rumple is doing what he does for his new family, but what about his grandson, Henry? It’s clear the Dark One could care less about the extended parts of his family; it just bothers me now that there is no alliance between them all. They begrudgingly work together, but then Rumple sets off on his own plans, which invariably mess up the rest of the protagonists’ plans. I guess I’m getting a little tired of Rumple constantly stirring the pot. He flat out admitted that he liked the darkness within him. I want to see some lasting consequences for our Dark One. I’d hate to say it but I almost want to see Belle leave him completely. Perhaps this latest deal with Hyde will backfire in a way that knocks some sense into the Dark One.

I enjoyed Snow, Charming, Hook, and Zelena’s adventure in the realm of untold stories. The sass was on point, which was nice to see as I had been worried Zelena leaning more towards the heroes’ side would soften her. The mystery cropping up in this new land, coupled by the excellent music (that addition of violin really stood out to me) was a great setting for this combination of characters to have their first adventure together. And I will just come out and say it; I loved how Mr. Hyde was portrayed on Once Upon a Time. There have been so many iterations in media, many going for the brutish monster route, when in fact Hyde was a man like Jekyll. It was his actions and proclivities that made him a monster, not his appearance. It’s interesting that Once Upon a Time chose to use two actors to portray the duo instead of having one actor play both roles with the help of makeup and prosthetics. Though it seems Hyde will be taking on a much larger role that Jekyll, so the separate actors make sense.

The thing I am most pleased with is that we are once again staying in Storybrooke for season six. Once Upon a Time is always strongest when the action takes place in that little town in Maine. That’s where the weaving together of fairy tale and family drama flourish. Once Upon a Time has kicked the doors open on something only hinted here or there; the possibility that all literature exists in these books. All the way back to season two with Dr. Frankenstein this has been building up and now there are possibilities for literary heroes and villains of any shape and size to be see on our screens. This new potential has breathed life back in to Once Upon a Time for me. Season five hasn’t been my favorite season. There were many great scenes and stories told, but also quite a few moments that just didn’t work for me. Now, with all these stories in Storybrooke, anything is possible. And I can’t wait to see more.

Be sure to join us next year for season six!!

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
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