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 6×18 “Where Bluebirds Fly” Recap

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Episode Summary:  In flashbacks we’re introduced to the Tin Man and the Lion allowing us to understand that when Zelena had the opportunity to keep a friend safe, she turned it down believing her magic was more important. In present day Storybrooke, when the Black Fairy gets one step ahead of the heroes, Zelena’s sacrifice helps them out.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time has continuously reiterated the fact that strength isn’t power but rather bravery and selflessness. Through its intricate characters and their gorgeous arcs it’s reminded us of the fact that strength is never to be measured by magical abilities or carelessness, but rather love and courage. And “Where Bluebirds Fly” reminded us of this detail through Zelena’s character allowing Rebecca Mader to shine wonderfully.

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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 5×21 “Last Rites” Recap

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“Keep your chin up, there will be happiness again.”

Episode Summary: When our heroes return to Storybrooke, Zelena is hesitant to believe Hades has actually teamed up against them, and after replacing the Olympian Crystal, Hades attempts to use it to kill everyone in order to create a new kingdom with Zelena. Back in the underworld, a newly deceased Arthur teams up with Killian in order to help the heroes defeat Hades. One soul dies, while another returns.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about hope — a reflection of the real world, only with fairytale characters. And much like in the real world, there are genuinely dark, hopeless times. To be quite honest, when a series like this leaves us in a hopeless state, it isn’t easy to write. And it’s not something that happens often, which is what makes it so jarring and too emotional. Funny thing is, Once Upon A Time is a show that knows how to kill people with closure — especially when it’s a character we’ve grown to truly care for. But perhaps, we’re simply meant to believe that sometimes, there is no closure.

“Last Rites” was simultaneously satisfying and emotionally numbing — two juxtaposing mindsets that feel incredibly wrong together. But that’s life: where there’s childbirth, there’s also death somewhere else. Where there’s happiness, there’s also deep sadness. But on Once Upon A Time though there may not always be hope, True Love is always strength, and where there’s strength, there is always a natural desire to be selfless. True Love is sacrifice.

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Once Upon A Time 5×20 “Firebird” Recap

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To quote the 80s classic, The Princess Bride: “death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while.”

Episode Summary: In Flashbacks, while Emma’s searching for her birth parents, a Bail Bonds woman, Cleo, manages to convince her to let go and after her death, Emma pursues the same career. In the underworld, True Love’s kiss restarts Hades’ heart and the quest Killian and Emma are sent on doesn’t go as planned forcing the heroes to once again say goodbye as they return home without the man they set out to rescue.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time deals with incredibly real situations with fantastical elements, but despite the fact that magic and myths are a prodigious part of this series, the issues our heroes face can often be unbearably difficult at times. Nevertheless, we’ve come to learn that the hard path is always the right path and in the midst of the journey, it’s key to remember that the choices made today, pave the road for tomorrow. Emma Swan is the character that’s made her way into countless hearts for a number of reasons and the love story she’s a part of needed to be just as unique as her role in this fantasy world. “Firebird” tragically epitomized what it truly means to be brave revolutionizing the notion that where there’s bravery, there’s always love. It is apparently possible to have an episode even darker and more heartbreaking than “Swan Song”, but Once Upon A Time is a series about hope, and when it comes to Emma and Killian’s love, there’s never a single doubt that it will prevail.

“Firebird” explored a theme we don’t often see on Once Upon A Time, and it’s the importance of letting go. As human beings we have a tendency to hold on too tightly and while there’s strength in determination, sometimes, we must let go in order to let the universe take its course. Sometimes, we need armor in order to get through the things that burden us. And sometimes, armor isn’t about protecting ourselves, but rather protecting those we love. Ultimately, it all comes down to selflessness and the fact that while it’s okay to choose ourselves every once in a while, we must be able to tell which of our choices will lead us towards the good life we’re destined for.

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Once Upon A Time 5×19 “Sisters” Recap

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“Sisters” is one of Once Upon A Time’s most beautiful and thematically powerful episodes.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal that there was a time where little Regina and Zelena got along incredibly well only to have their bond broken by Cora and their memories of one another completely wiped. In present day, once Regina overhears Hades’ plans to leave the underworld and make a living with Zelena in Storybrooke, she seeks out her mother in order to stop Zelena from giving Hades “True Love’s” kiss. James switches places with Charming and attempts to kill those closest to him. A heartfelt apology finally allows Cora to move on, but before Zelena could happily take her sister’s advice, she’s taken captive by Peter Pan and Rumplestilskin.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about family. It is the show where despite how ridiculous it sounds to those who’ve no idea what it’s about, each and every character is connected to one another in deeply intriguing ways. And “Sisters” managed to make a strange connection absolutely beautiful. When you say it out loud, it sounds bizarre to think that the Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch of the West are sisters. However, after this week’s episode, it’s a relationship a lot of us care greatly for. Despite it’s unique and wonderful ridiculousness, Once Upon A Time tells real stories and while some stories are bound to have a happy ending, other’s simply just aren’t given the chance. Sometimes, it’s too late. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to change someone, it doesn’t work out. And “Sisters” not only illuminated the serenity found it forgiveness, but it showcased the rage that’s built up from the refusal to let go.

Anything and everything requires love. In order to move forward you must open your heart to those in front of you. In order to forgive, you must choose to hold on to love . The greatest strength doesn’t come from magic or physical versatilities, but rather love, for love and only love alone could change lives in impeccable ways. And at the end of the day, it all comes down to a choice. 

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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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