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 6×19 “The Black Fairy” Recap

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It’s like Ellen’s 12 Days of Christmas only with saviors.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn that Rumple was destined to be the savior, but learning that another would be his undoing, Fiona did everything in her power to stop it only to become the person that was prophesied against her son. She was then banished by Tiger Lily and the Blue Fairy, forcing Rumple’s father to grow resentful of him. In present day Storybrooke, Rumple pulls an inception on himself, Emma, and Gideon where he learns the truth about why his mother gave him up. Zelena learns how to drive. Killian chooses his best man. And a twist leads us closer into the final battle.

Review | Analysis: At its greatest Once Upon A Time is a show that reminds us of how much strength it takes to be vulnerable. And it’s often taken us through captivating journeys of self-discovery through characters that have had difficult times opening up their hearts. “The Black Fairy” was a fantastic reminder of the fact that there’s bravery in openness, and there’s strength in numbers. It was also the most evident reminder of the fact that evil isn’t born it’s made, and to reiterate that fact in an episode so close to the final battle was actually perfect.

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Once Upon A Time 6×16 “Mother’s Little Helper” Recap

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If only someone prepared us for this episode.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we see the story Gideon told prior brought to life and discover that his heart may not be as tainted as we imagined. In present day Storybrooke, Gideon asks Emma for her help but betrays her. Killian asks Blackbeard for help but the two end up Neverland thanks to Gideon’s trap. Everything’s a mess. Henry’s facing some weird author possession. Isaac is set free and the Black Fairy makes her way into Storybrooke.

Review | Analysis: “Mother’s Little Helper” did something Once Upon A Time hasn’t done in a while and it surprised a lot of us with a twist we didn’t see coming. But beyond that, it allowed us to understand Gideon’s torment while learning that the Black Fairy is truly the worst parent of all. But above all else, “Mother’s Little Helper” reminded us of the fact that things aren’t ever black and white. People can surprise us with their actions. People can be flawed in their word choices. People can be wrong. And since we now know the final battle is coming, the only thing we can be certain of is that good will always win.

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Once Upon A Time 6×13 “Ill-Boding Patterns” Recap

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Hmph.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn that Beowulf actually existed during the Ogre Wars and Rumplestilskin killed him. Oh, but he didn’t do out of free will, Baelfire commanded him to. (The kid who presumably hated magic.) Robin teams up with Zelena in order to leave Storybrooke, and Regina comes to the realization that she should’ve never split herself from the Evil Queen. Rumple darkens his soul for Gideon. Emma finds the ring, and Killian pops the question with a giant secret hanging over their head.

Review | Analysis: Every once in a while it’s safe to expect that we’ll come across an episode in our favorite show that’ll make us angry cry. And “Ill-Boding Patterns” was that episode for me — if I weren’t reviewing the show, I might’ve skipped it to save myself from witnessing the hottest mess in Once Upon A Time history. Perhaps, the most unfortunate aspect is the fact that the episode was set up to tell a riveting story, and it could have succeeded if it chose to respect its characters a little bit. It could’ve succeeded if the easy route wasn’t taken. Now while “Ill-Boding Patterns” is probably my least favorite episode to date, it wasn’t without great moments and it finally addressed something I’d been hoping for.

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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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