Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) and Charming (Josh Dallas) try to steal back the magic beans.

Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Charming (Josh Dallas) try to steal back the magic beans.

[rating:4/5]

It’s the finale! Will it impress? Will it let us all down again? Will I ever want to watch this show again? Will it, like the promos tell me, be “epic?”

We’re back on Hook’s pirate ship with a younger Neal in tow—which I’m just putting together how odd this is. Hook wants revenge on Neal’s father Rumpelstiltskin for Neal’s mother’s death.

The family ties on this show are outrageous. However as of now Hook believes Neal could be the key to their survival. He speaks to Neal about why he ended up on his boat and his father, and how he’s a coward and how he abandoned him. Hook demands his name and the response of Baelfire puts him into a shock.

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It’s nice to see Hook be able to be a situation without horrifically failing at it.

The next close up is of Henry swinging with Granny standing watch as Rumple looks on and tries to magic Henry loose, believing in the prophecy that tells of Rumples death at the hand of a young boy.

He’s stopped though by the Charming family arriving to sour his mood even further: his son was shot and then fell through a portal to who knows where, and suspected to be dead.

The Charmings, the bearers of good news.

They tell Rumple of Regina’s fail safe and how Tamara has her hands on it now. They know it’s hard for him now but they need his help. But this he says is his fate, his consequence for using so much dark magic, one of the two people that could bring him a sense of peace.

Hook is now helping Tamara and Greg find the axe that activates the trigger to get rid of the town. They’re willing to die for their cause but is Hook? Absolutely, he says, but from his reaction it seems that might not actually be the case. Or so I’d hope because one dimensional villains (such as Tamara) are rarely interesting.

The trigger is hit. And now what? We have Rumple on an emotional bender, reeling from his son’s apparent death, Regina still healing after her electroshock therapy and everyone else as per usual running around with their heads cut off.

Regina is still at the Charmings’ when the rest of the family shows up and the town’s foundation begins to shake. Regina tells Henry that since he was born here, he’ll survive, but the rest will die. Which will leave him alone.

But Hook shows up (point one for me) and offers his help. He doesn’t want to die, after staring death in the face he’d rather survive than get his revenge. They have enough time to steal back the magic beans. They split off in pairs, Charming and Hook for the beans, Snow and Henry to safety and Emma and Regina to find a way to stop it all. Before they leave Regina apologizes to Henry for not being what he wanted her to be, but she’ll try.

See? This is an interesting character development, this is an interesting Regina, and this is what would have benefitted the show for the past ten episodes or so.

Back in flashback mode we see Hook bargaining with the Lost Ones, (allusion to the Lost Boys) as he tries to hide Baelfire’s whereabouts from them. The Lost Ones believe he belongs to them since the shadowy Peter Pan character was taking him to Neverland.

Grumpy gives a spell to Rumple that will help Belle remember her past self. She once helped him and he wants Belle to know her true self before she dies, not the angst-fueled Lacey.

On Hook’s ship, we see him telling Baelfire that his sea legs aren’t too bad and wishes to show him more about sailing. Is he actually bonding with the boy or is it a manipulation tactic to ruin Rumple? Is it a mix of both? It would probably be more interesting if it was the latter. Hook tells him that he shares a similar past of parental failings and that his father left him too. Baelfire takes this as invitation for share time and tells him that his father is the Dark One—and essentially tells him everything he needs to know about killing him. He says his father chose a dagger over him.

Charming and Hook are chasing after Tamara in Storybrooke where he tells Charming he’s fighting for himself and that’s all he needs as a motivation tactic. They confront Greg and Tamara head on. Shots are fired and Hook tackles Greg to the ground to get the beans from him but they end up escaping. Hook’s managed to get his hands on one of the beans and they leave, saving the fight for another day.

Regina and Emma are underground looking for the trigger and they can feel the magic being sucked away. Slowing the device will require all the strength she has and that’s when the realization hits that Regina will be sacrificing herself. Emma wants to know what she’ll tell Henry, she tells her to tell him it wasn’t too late for her to do the right thing. Let her die as Regina, not as the Evil Queen. I’m ashamed to admit the emotions I felt during this scene were strong and embarrassing. Lana Parrilla nailed it. She was vulnerable and brave and it was a fantastic scene for such a damaged and often times irredeemable character. It was a tired Regina who after all of the harm she had caused simply wanted to leave a positive image in her son’s mind.

Rumple and Belle are toasting to the end of the world as the forest begins to overrun the town when he apparently comes to his senses and realizes that the real Belle does deserve to be herself for her death and serves her the potion in their special teacup. And voila, just like that, Belle is back and they kiss and lovey music plays and oh my word I still need more conviction from this character. He says he’s sorry for waking her up to die but he needed her, the loss of his son hitting him hard. A wonderful scene for Robert Carlyle.

Emma meets up with the Charmings and Hook and they wonder how they can save Regina, and Snow comes up with the idea to throw the trigger into the portal. Snow and Charming tell Emma to give them the chance to be parents, but Emma doesn’t want Henry to be left alone if something goes wrong. Snow tells her that they can’t build a future on Regina’s blood just because it’s an easy out.

Hook isn’t okay with this. But Emma tells him that they have to, they understand each other so listen to her, that they will survive despite the fact that it seems crazy. She tells him Neal is Henry’s father and he just lost him so now she’s doing anything she can.

He realizes it’s Baelfire.

Which is a cue for a switch to Hook’s ship where Smee is defending his choice to keep Baelfire aboard, a Baelfire who’s raging over the fact that Hook knew his mother. So Hook tells him that his mother and him fell in love and how they had spoken about taking Baelfire away with them. Baelfire blames Hook for the destruction of his family. Probably would have been more effective if we’d seen more than ten minutes of growth.

Henry, Emma and the Charmings go to save Regina with some heavy-handed dialogue but realize too late that Hook had in fact managed to steal the bean back from her. Characters with different levels of depth, awesome, characters that flip flop from one extreme to another? Annoying.

Hook tries to rectify his relationship with Baelfire and tells him it’s not too late to change, he can change for him, he can be family with the crewmen. In anger, he gives Baelfire to the Lost Boys and it’s a dark turn for a tragic character that’s made none of the choices that have damned him.

In real time, Hook is still on the ship, contemplating the bean as Regina continues to hold off the trigger but she tells them she can’t do it for much longer.

Emma seeks comfort in her parents and Regina apologizes for not being strong enough to hold it off.

Emma realizes that together, her and Regina could be powerful enough to stop it. This is something I’ve been waiting for, always seeing the two characters as being more similar than the characters, and the writers alike, would care to admit.

And she’s right. They stop the trigger from exploding in a very anti-climactic scene but all is not what it seems and they realize Henry has been taken by Tamara and Greg. Why? Oh my god how did it even happen? Loopholes galore.

The Charmings chase after them just as a portal opens and they jump in just as Rumple appears as well. When all hope seems lost they see Hook’s ship appears and he tells them he needed a reminder than he could help if he wanted to. Hook offers his ship, Rumple offers to help track. Rumple asks Belle to stay behind to help keep the town stay safe by means of a spell. Rumple tells her that he won’t be going back but he needs to save Henry for his son’s sake. Belle promises she’ll seem him again.

And I’m sure he will, especially if the show is picked up for a third season.

But as of now? I’m very happy with the group of characters aboard the ship.

We see that Neal has landed up on shore with Mulan and co. Did anyone else forget about them?

But back on ship Rumple and Hook make peace and Hook realizes through Rumple’s tracking device that Henry has been taken to Neverland. The portal is open, Rumple tells them that Tamara and Greg are simply pawns and that the person in charge is someone they should all fear. And down they go.

But wait? Did they just hint that the main baddie of next year will be Peter Pan?

I think I enjoyed this episode. Not to say this it was great but I was entertained which is what the main objective of a show like this should be. Plus. they finally hit on a number of things I wanted to see:

1. The return of the layered, softer Regina.

2. A complex Rumple who settles into his persona which is straddling the line of a good and bad but does what he needs to in special circumstances.

3. The pairing of Emma and Regina who have always been the most interesting and too shortly explored duo. Both of whom do what they need to survive and who grew up feeling alone.

4. Hook getting explored, even if it was rushed. Also, Colin O’Donoghue is just a nice actor to look at as well as being one of the more watchable actors on the show.

5. Throwing Henry into something likened to a black hole.

There were pirates, magic beans and portals to other worlds. It was ridiculous and schmaltzy and sometimes ant-climatic, but I was entertained and that’s all I ever really need from the show.

So where do they go from here? There’s an interesting crew on board with the writers seemingly trimming the fat of the cast, so who will they encounter next year?

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