Once Upon A Time 6×21-22 “The Final Battle” Recap

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And they lived happily ever after.

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Episode Summary: The Black Fairy’s curse hits Storybrooke trapping Killian, Snow, Charming, Regina, Zelena, and co. in the Enchanted Forest while Emma’s in a Psychiatric Hospital and it’s up to Henry to help her believe again. As it turns out, if Emma stops believing that the life she once had is real, it’ll fade from existence. Rumple faces his mother one last time. The families reunite. And they live happily ever after.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a special show — for six years it has allowed us to begin our weeks with the faith and belief that no matter how hard things get, there’s always a happy ending in store. And while the “The Final Battle” was anything but a perfect episode, the stories it told were beautiful. Once Upon A Time may not be over for good, but a prodigious chapter has ended — a chapter that’s changed lives. A little bit of happiness in the midst of dark days where television series are uncertain, but where Once Upon A Time was concerned, we always knew it’d end well. It’d end leaving us with a surplus of hope. It’d leave us braver, kinder, better than ever.

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Once Upon A Time 6×11 “Tougher Than the Rest” Recap

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“Tougher Than the Rest” was a solid season premiere that finally addressed something we’ve all been wanting to know.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn that a little last-name-less Emma was about to burn away pages of The Ugly Duckling story in order to keep warm after running away, but a kind stranger talks her out of it by telling her she’s capable of changing her fate. Back in the Evil Queen’s wish realm, Emma seeks August’s help to rebuild the wardrobe that sent her into our world while Regina seeks out Robin to learn if he’s happy in this land. Killian and Charming do everything in their power to find the hooded figure who’s after Emma while Rumple and Belle attempt to figure out their infant son is suddenly standing before them as an adult.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is truly at its best when its focus is on telling our heroine’s story. And perhaps that may appear to be a biased opinion to some, but the truth is, while it’s engaging to get a twist on our classic fairy tales, it’s inexpressibly beautiful to watch Emma Swan’s story unfold. At its core, this series is about self-discovery and understanding the importance of our choices. It is a series that often highlights the prominence of rising after tremendous falls and persevering while climbing the steepest hills. While “Tougher Than the Rest” had its flaws, it was thematically exquisite.

“If we believe in something strongly enough, we all have the power to change our fate.”

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Once Upon A Time 6×09 “The Changelings” Recap

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Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn about Rumple’s mother after he steals a baby and summons the Black Fairy. And in present day Storybrooke, Aladdin becomes the Genie, Emma finds a weapon from her visions, and Belle gives birth to her son then sends him away for a better life.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is often great at maintaining an engaging speed with its storylines, but sometimes, there is such a thing as slowing things down, and pregnancies are one of them. Frankly, it’s disturbing and this should be the final time it’s ever done. Please and thank you. That said, Once Upon A Time’s “The Changelings” was a solid reminder of how much strength these characters, especially the woman, walk with.

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Once Upon A Time 6×07 “Heartless” Recap

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One heart, one curse, and perpetual weeping by all fans until this is resolved.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we’re taken back to a time where Charming and Snow met without ever knowing who the other was. In present day Storybrooke, the Evil Queen finds a new way to torture the couple when she comes accepts that they’re willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the town.

Review | Analysis: Belief has often been an incredibly powerful theme in the world of Once Upon A Time and in “Heartless” it serves as a gorgeous reminder of hope. It’s this very belief which has strengthened our characters to the core reminding viewers that encouragement is a weapon we must all use to brighten up the days of our loved ones. Come what may, the Charming family has always found a way to happiness — no matter how brief it’s been, their adventures have been worthwhile. And with this new challenge arising in their paths, it is bound to make them even stronger. Snow and Charming were once on their own, but today, there’s an army behind them. There’s an army believing with intense faith that they can break the new curse bestowed by the Evil Queen.

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Once Upon A Time 6×03 “The Other Shoe” Recap

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We are in this world to right our wrongs, love with all our hearts, and give with all our might.

Episode Summary: When Ashley realizes she has a second chance to save her stepsister Clorinda (Mekenna Melvin), she chooses to do it all on her own, but is later in need of a healing touch. Emma battles with the desire to give Killian his happy ending, but fears and the savior shakes continue to overpower. Snow decides she wants to go back into teaching. Charming searches for the truth about his father’s accident. The Evil Queen teams up with Mr. Hyde while Regina and Dr. Jekyll try to figure out how to control their other halves.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time’s “The Other Shoe” was one of the strongest, thematically moving episodes the series has had in a while. An episode I’d give a solid 9.5 rating, too. It’s the closest we’ve ever gotten to perfection in Once Upon A Time history — every minute of it was rich in storytelling and performances. This show is special. It has been special from the very beginning in the unique way it’s delivered our favorite fairytales with a twist and while a series like this can get redundant quicker than most, Once Upon A Time has managed to keep its magnetism for six years. We are never too old or too young to be reminded of the power of belief — a profound emotion that’s capable of achieving the impossible. “The Other Shoe” served as a beautiful reminder of the fact that it’s never too late for anything.

“The Other Shoe” is unsurprisingly the work of the remarkable wordsmith Jane Espenson — a woman who’s no stranger to writing some of the most incredible episodes of Once Upon A Time. And in “The Other Shoe” Espenson and Jerome Schwartz managed to seamlessly take us back to the magic that made us fall in love with season one while exploring the issues we’re facing today.

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Once Upon A Time 6×02 “A Bitter Draught” Recap

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It’s definitely time for a movie night; in fact it’s long overdue.

Episode Summary: Regina and the Evil Queen come face to face when the Count of Monte Cristo attempts to kill of the Charmings as he was once convinced to. Emma goes to a session with Archie. Killian offers Belle a space on his ship. And the Evil Queen shares her plot to turn everyone against each other.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time’s “A Bitter Draught” wasn’t my favorite episode, but it opened up a lot of great issues. And most importantly, it reminded viewers most of season one because learning about a character’s past is what was so intriguing about the beginning. However, what doesn’t seem to change is the fact that the series wants us to continuously remember that “we are both” has and will always be a running theme with its characters. It is what it is. There’s good and bad in all of us and attempting to start over by ridding ourselves of our sins in the way Regina has done has shown to be the cause of more issues. As human beings we are susceptible to sin — we have and will always make mistakes, and sometimes, we’ll make the same mistakes over and over again until we finally realize enough is enough. Some of our characters have come to that point where they need a change, and since words without actions are dead, it’s refreshing to see Once Upon A Time showcase some of these issues in a realistic sense with the fairytale elements interwoven nicely.

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Once Upon A Time 6×01 “The Savior” Recap

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Welcome back to season one. Oh, wait no season six. It’s going to be an incredible ride (like season one).

Episode Summary: Resuming right where we left off in the season five finale, our heroes are disturbed with a dirigible from the Land of Untold Stories, but when they finally capture Mr. Hyde, it turns out he’s actually going to be usual to Emma, leading her on a journey where she learns what her visions mean. Gold wakes up Belle and in her sleeping curse, the two meet their son, Morpheus (Giles Matthey). And while Regina’s made the decision to make proper amends, the Evil Queen has a plot to turn her sister against her.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time’s sixth season premiere has set up a promising arc that’ll focus on the power of our choices beautifully. No person changes overnight — day-by-day human beings grow into better versions of themselves simply by choosing the direction they want to take. And sometimes, the closer they get to progress, the farther back they go, but with persistence, growth can be achieved. Our favorite Storybrooke heroes have continuously found themselves at crossroads and it finally appears as though this season will explore their temptations with great depth. If “The Savior” promised anything, it’s the fact that people are always responsible for the choices they make. And it appears it’s finally time for every character to learn that.

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Once Upon A Time 5×17 “Her Handsome Hero” Recap

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Once again, do not make the deals with the devil, kids — there’s always a trick with him.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal Belle and Gaston’s first meeting followed by an adventure that showcased what a powerful team they could’ve been if their story evolved further. However, when they’re reunited in the underworld, Gaston reveals she was a weakness and his quest to kill Rumple is the unfinished business he’s doomed with. And unfortunately, when Rumple’s involved, souls don’t move forward to eternal bliss, instead, they decay in the “River of Lost Souls”. In an attempt to stop the men from destroying each other, Belle accidentally pushes Gaston into the river, but despite the fact that a soul departed in Hades’ preferred way, because it wasn’t Rumple’s doing, he will not allow Belle to keep the child. Emma believes her dreams are visions leading to Snow’s death, but what the heroes come to find is the fact that a beloved friend has found her way into the underworld — now whether dead or alive, (hopefully the latter) next week’s episode is bound to be extraordinary with Red and Mulan.

Review | Analysis: From an early age, fairy tales were meant to paint gorgeous pictures of the significant lessons, except sometimes, instead of dragons and witches, the demons are internal battles. Once Upon A Time and this arc especially, emphasize the vitality of hope in a masterful way. It’s been scientifically proven that positivity and laugher can play an enormous role on a person’s physical health. In the same way, negativity can do the exact opposite. “Her Handsome Hero” touched on perspectives inspiring us to once again be certain of the fact that though a hero’s life isn’t always easy, it’s not only always worth it, but it strengthens hope and ensures happiness in beautiful ways.

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Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Recap

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Love is enough … or at least for some.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn that at the time where Zelena was first concocting her time travel spell, Hades was there to help her; only instead, he fell in love, but Zelena chose to carry on with her plans. In present day, Belle, “baby green bean”, and Zelena are teleported to the underworld where Hades and Zelena unite and Henry’s time as the author isn’t as peachy as imagined.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is always here to remind us that love is not only a choice that’s always possible, but it’s also always enough. And in “Our Decay” we were given the opportunity to see two men take two completely different routes in their journey of love allowing us to fully understand that at the end of the day, if love is true, it’s eternal. No matter if it’s romantic or platonic, love and only love is the strongest force of all. In what may have been one of the most surprising episodes in Once Upon A Time history, “Our Decay” did an astounding job of baring characters in a way that’s bound to permanently alter things.

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Once Upon A Time 5×10 “Broken Heart” Recap

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It’s a dark, dark world out there.

Episode Summary: In Camelot, we see an upset Killian enact the curse through Nimue which then forces Emma to wipe everyone’s memories in order to take care of everything on her own. In Storybrooke Killian takes away Emma’s memories and resumes his revenge while the heroes attempt to figure out his plot.

Review | Analysis: The episode’s left a good majority of viewers puzzled, but in a way, that’s a good thing — a “penultimate” episode is supposed to be a massive conundrum. And while we’re on the edge of our seats as well, we have to believe that this is a series about hope. We have to believe that at the end of the day, true love always wins and darkness can never come close to being as powerful. “Broken Heart” was meant to break viewers. It was meant to make us feel angry and hurt, but thankfully, this isn’t where it ends, and with a climax this intense, we’re bound to see a lovely resolution. Once Upon A Time is a series that’ll always remind us of the importance of families, friends, forgiveness, and love — it’s the series where good always wins. It always comes down to the power of choices and they are what define us. As much as this series is a fantasy, the flawed characters add the realism we all need in order to connect with them, and in this story, even the heroes make mistakes.

If this were any other show, we’d without a doubt be addressing the episode differently, but for five seasons Once Upon A Time has taught us to have hope, and it’s what we’ll choose to do. That said, this review features theories and we normally hate writing without valid context, so please take things with a grain of salt.

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