Previously on OUAT: Hades was defeated, Robin died, Hook came back, and there was sadness. Unlike any other of the reviews this season, we are not going to go into heavy detail with each event in the episode, instead we will look at the groups from a wider lens.
Team Lets Do All the Saving of the World
Emma tries to break the news of Killian to Regina, who just lost her true love for eternity, but as usual everything is interrupted by things going to hell not a few hours after the events of the last episode. The main difference is that this time, Gold is creating all the trouble in trying to wake Belle without True Love’s Kiss. His plan is to harness all the magic in Storybrooke, and use that to wake her. The issue is that they do not believe Gold will give back the magic when finished. After Emma and Regina have a little confrontation regarding Regina’s current grief and how it might bring out the Evil Queen; Henry, the true believer in magic pulls a 180 and decides that magic is evil and needs to be destroyed. I did not have a lot of issues with the episode, but I did have a problem with this Henry plotline. First, it came out of nowhere, and even if one explains it by the death of Robin and all the things that happened in the Underworld, it is still quite a stretch for him to get to this point… only to reverse it in the second half of the finale.
The Hero team then moves to follow Henry and get him before Gold attacks first; Gold wants his Olympian Crystal with Storybrooke’s magic back, which Henry stole. After a few wrong turns: Emma, Regina, Henry, Violet and Gold are all in New York. Henry’s plan is to look for information in Neal’s apartment, as Neal was dead set to destroy magic at one point as well. Emma and Regina are dealing with the consequences of Henry’s actions, mainly that if he destroys the crystal, their town might disappear as well, and also, the crystal is bringing magic to the LAND WITHOUT MAGIC. Once in New York, Emma and Regina have a touching moment in Neal/Robin’s apartment as they look for Henry, where Regina reveals the best character development moment of the season yet; she is not happy being good since all it does is bring her pain, but that she knows it is the right thing. It is so far removed from the woman in season 1, and the last battle against darkness that it feels really thoughtful. Regina does good because it is right, despite the pain it might bring her. The other thing is that she feels trapped by her past, and how it prevents her from moving forwards. It is a simple yet powerful scene, where we see similarities between the leading ladies.
Henry and Violet are at the Midtown Library doing research when they come across storybooks with tales they had never heard of before. They quickly come to the conclusion the stories in them might be true as well. The other giant coincidence in the episode is that Violet sees a cup from afar, and luckily she has been taught what the Holy Grail looks like, and it is right there in the Library! Not only that, they found the one item in any world that can destroy magic. As Henry decides it is time for a change of location, Gold catches up to them, and steals back the crystal. Emma and Regina soon find the kids passed out, and when they wake them, they question Henry on his new and highly surprising motives. The new plan is to get the crystal back from Gold.
As Gold has lost Pandora’s box, clouds of magic swirl atop the hotel building he is staying at (Ghostbusters anyone?), and Henry and Violet know where to head to next. Gold is trying multiple forms of magic to try and get Belle back, but nothing is working. As Emma is about to text Henry to stay put (pointless since Regina had already torched his phone back in Boston), she reads up on a text from Granny with the news of the realm travelling buffoons. Regina makes a great point when she exasperatedly says: “Again?” Emma and Regina head into the Hotel and try to get the Crystal away from Gold, with Regina running interference, and Emma trying to steal it; but Gold seems to have known all along, as he realized Belle is in the same place as the lost heroes, so he needed a hair from Regina to track Zelena down. As Gold is about to kill Emma and Regina, Henry bursts in and uses the Dark Grail to destroy magic, trapping the other team in the Land of Untold Stories.
Back in New York, as Emma tries to cheer up Henry, Regina and Gold visit the dragon (Remember the old guy who helped August way back when.) The dragon agrees to help Regina, but he is unable to open a portal to the Land of Untold Stories; but before they go, the dragon lets them know that the Land without Magic is not an accurate name, as magic is there, but the people don’t see it. Henry thinks back and remembers the last time he made a wish on the fountain and how soon after Hook came back to get them after being separated by Pan’s curse. He takes them all to the fountain and they all make wishes, which seem to work, but not strongly enough.
Team Lets Find New Ways to get into Trouble
Let us begin this side with that little background moment when Killian enters Granny’s and David is so happy to see him he hugs the guy. Captain Swan has the Charming seal of approval apparently. Moving on, once the towns folk realize that the town is in danger, they are given the choice to return to the Enchanted Forest. As Charming, Snow, Zelena, Killian and Granny supervise, the people cross over and into safety. There is one touching moment when the Merry Men go through with Roland, and the kid gives Zelena a gift for Regina; it is nice to see that at least we get some closure on what happened to the little boy. As the towns people finish passing, Zelena tries to close the portal, but it has become unstable due to the fact that magic is tied to the town; in a moment, the portal bursts out from its frame, and swallows Zelena, Snow, Charming and Killian to lands unknown. Coincidentally the wand broke, and it needs a specific potion to do so. There is a thing about this that annoys me: portals are supposed to be these rare things that you can only open with beans and stuff, but here was Zelena waving a wand, and poof, portal to wherever she wants.
They are soon taken prisoner by a person who immediately assumes they all work for the Dark One. Clearly this is the setup for the next season, where Henry’s storyline is more of a side twist. Soon enough we will learn that this character is Mr. Hyde, and that the groundskeeper from an earlier scene is Dr. Jekyll. This is where the episode truly has my attention: it is expanding its world and mythology again. Hyde is played by Sam Witwer, which was the revelation actor of the episode. Not only is Mr. Hyde incredibly well performed, but Witwer’s portrayal lets us see that this is a villain that we will enjoy exploring a lot next season. Among the things that happened on this end was Hyde’s interest in controlling the Dark One, and Jekyll helping the heroes escape by recrafting Zelena’s wand.
Hyde’s plan to control Gold involves taking Pandora’s Box (Gold’s wife in his mind) from the man himself. Also, props to the music for Hyde, probably one of my favorite character themes on the show. Jekyll wakes up in a strait jacket the next morning, and as Killian tries to jimmy the lock of the cell he arrives to break them out. They exit to a marketplace in a world filled with many different types of people. Among them we see a gypsy, which might or might not be Esmeralda, musketeers, multiple characters out of Victorian England, and some wearing Indian headdresses and clothing; and several steampunk like characters. In this scene we learn the name of the place: The Land of Untold Stories.
Dr. Jekyll goes to his old apartment, to get a serum to separate himself from Hyde, although the Storybrooke team does not know this yet. Hyde’s sidekick comes in to take the vial, and forcefully makes Jekyll turn into Hyde, revealing himself to the heroes. In this scene we also see more of Hyde’s power, as not only is he super strong, but he seems to be able to absorb magic into himself as well. Surprisingly Hyde uses the serum to separate himself from Jekyll, and before Hyde can kill the doctor, the heroes come back to get him. Snow knocks out Hyde with a machine of sorts, and they all run away before Hyde wakes up.
It all comes together
As Hyde catches up with the heroes, Henry makes an impassionate speech in New York to the strangers walking by, and tries to get all of them to make a wish. His speech falls on the premise of believing in magic even when you cannot see it; and how magic can make the world a better place. New Yorkers apparently feel like helping and they all make wishes, powering the crystal and the fountain; and as Regina throws her coin the fountain bursts a portal open; and on the other realm, the pennies fall from the sky unto the trapped heroes. The heroes run into the portal, but Hyde is left out. Everyone is reunited in New York, as the spectators congratulate them on the performance, and Henry feels a little let down that they did not truly believe.
In the Land of Untold Stories, Hyde is attacking his lab in anger of letting the heroes escape, but then Gold appears, and they manage to strike a deal of sorts. As the gang hides out in Neal/Robin’s old apartment, Regina is in the roof contemplating what she learned from the dragon (To keep the Evil Queen at bay, she has to suffer), and Snow comes bearing the potion from Jekyll, which Regina takes as Emma and Snow look on. In a great twist, Regina and the Evil Queen are completely separated from each other. Regina (with Emma’s help) then kills the Evil Queen by crushing her Heart. Back in Storybrooke, Violet reveals her father is the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Twain), and when she tells Henry she is staying in town he sweetly kisses her. Then for the first time ever Emma tells Killian she loves him, without either of them being in mortal danger. Regina then untethers the crystal from Storybrooke’s magic, and the crystal dissolves. For a moment they believe that things will be ok, but then Hyde appears behind them, ready to bring his own brand of terror to town. Back in New York, the Dragon is visited by a puff of smoke that turns out to be the Evil Queen! Seems like the heroes will have their hands full next season.
Rating: 8.0 Good. The episode itself was actually one of the best of the season, setting up the next one with a lot of interesting possibilities. Among the standouts were Regina breaking free from the Evil Queen once and for all, the extent to which the world has now been expanded, Hank Harris and Sam Witwer as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and finally the first non-end-of-the-world I love you from Emma. The one downfall was the fact that Henry’s entire plot seemed to come from out of nowhere for the character, and lasted for less than a day.
Season 5 Review:
This season built upon the shows main formula: to have an influx of new mythology and world building, while telling the story of finding happiness. This isn’t a bad thing, but for the first time in the show’s history, their dual theme season felt dragging. The introductions of Camelot and the Underworld were more than welcome, but it almost feels like the plot in both areas was spread too thin. Another thing they did was introducing incredible characters (Hades and Merlin, mostly), but still focusing entirely on the main cast. While Merlin’s story did get a lot of exploring, Hades was sidelined to having his story solely tied to Zelena, when we would have loved to see his past with Zeus as flashbacks; props to Greg Hermann for giving us a character so compelling, we were left wanting much more. There is also a small issue with using the last two episodes of the season solely to build for the next season: the last two episodes were faster paced, and filled with a lot of mythology that deserved a closer viewing, and it also suffered from having Henry’s small days of doubt be something that felt out of place. The downsides of the season fall firstly on how stretched the storylines were, and much déjà vu it felt like with the curse and memory loss, and the journey to a new realm to defeat a magical stronger person. Another downside was how they handled Hook’s death: he died way too many times this season, and it was well known he would survive it all. You cannot kill the same character over and over and find new ways to bring him back, before people stop being sad at his death because they know it won’t stay like that.
Season Rating: 8.0 The Season was good, but it was not the best of them all.
Season 6 Preview:
From the storybooks Henry found, and the scene at the square in the Land of Untold Stories, here are the names of possible characters:
- Gulliver – Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)
- Captain Nemo – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea & The Mysterious Island (Jules Verne)
- Don Quixote – Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)
- Paul Bunyan
- Esmeralda? – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)
- Aladdin – The Book of One Thousand and One Nights
- Captain Ahab – Moby Dick (Hermann Melville)
From along the grapevine, here are some of the theories that have sprung out:
- Emma and Hook will get married/engaged
- Belle will wake up and have the baby; and we will revisit Rumbelle (Again)
- Maleficent and Lily return, and the search for Lily’s dad is likely to return. Perhaps a dragon myth from the Untold Stories?
Here are the things I’d personally like to see:
- A Three Musketeers story involving BOTH Killian and David (although I am pretty sure it will only involve David if it happens).
- Not revisiting the whole Belle wants Rumple to change for the good, and he likes his power. Make him like Barney Stinson! Until the baby is born nothing but power matters.
- Emma vs the Evil Queen melee
- Not adding past characters for the sake of adding characters; give the new characters enough room to grow, and the main characters new conflicts to handle.
- Bring Back Will Scarlet! Will Scarlet was awesome!
- Captain Swan as a relationship! Captain Charming Bromance
- I’d like to know what the hell is Killian’s job in Storybrooke.
- Regina not moving on from Robin within the first 15 episodes of the season: he was her true love… let her grieve, and struggle, and find the strength in the family that is always there for her. Don’t push her to a new guy just to calm don’t crazy fandoms.