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Once Upon a Time Review: True Love's Kiss

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"A Land Without Magic" showed us the truth behind true love's kiss and it was nothing that I predicted. And it wasn't only the magic that was full of surprises in Storybrooke, as love also popped up where I least expected it.

There were so many dramatic components to the Once Upon a Time season finale that it's difficult to know where to start - but I'll begin with my favorite dynamic duo.

A Land Without Magic Scene

No, it isn't Snow and Charming, it's Emma and Regina. For as much as they loathed one another I loved watching as they were forced to work together. Two such powerful women, compelled to strive together to save their son made for some great TV, especially since they'd rather kill one another.

As was evident in this Once Upon a Time quote, even when Emma was suddenly thrust into a world where a true love potion existed, she never lost her straight to the point approach:

Mr. Gold: I saved some for a rainy day.
Emma: Well it's storming like a bitch. Where is it? | permalink

So, Rumplestiltskin not only used some of his true love potion as a curse fail safe, he hid the rest in the dragon. That was a twist I didn't see coming. It also led to an awesome elevator. Honestly, the steampunk looking contraption was more interesting to me than all of the dragon footage combined. 

Emma did two things that seemed downright silly:

  1. Putting down the sword. Did she really think a few measly bullets could take down a dragon? A grenade launcher maybe, but a handgun. I don't think so. Plus, that was her father's sword. There had to be some significance in using it but perhaps that symbolism alluded her at that moment.
  2. She threw the egg up to Rumplestiltskin. Hadn't she been in Storybrooke long enough to learn that the two least trust worthy people were Regina and Mr. Gold? I know shoving it inside her leather jacket and climbing out wouldn't have been easy but it seemed like the better choice.

But as we learned with her trust in Sidney, there are times Emma can be naive.

It was wonderful to see some long lost characters come back to visit. The Huntsman (aka Graham) was a sight for sore eyes. Having him and Charming share the screen was simply a lovely dose of fairy tale eye candy that didn't last nearly long enough.

Finally, Regina's treatment of Jefferson came back to haunt her. There are only so many times you can pull the rug out from under someone before they retaliate. Jefferson might not have been able to do the deed himself but he knew who could and he knew the trigger to pull to make it happen.

Which led us to Belle. Who knew it would be so easy to spring her from her hospital prison? I did wish there had been a little more build up to her meeting with Rumplestiltskin. I had hoped he'd be the one to go and find her instead of Belle being sprung on him at such an odd moment.

Admittedly, they had me worried that Henry might actually be killed off. There would have been a twist. But in the end, true love's kiss was the purest of all.  I always thought it would have to do with Snow and Charming but I was happy to be wrong. It was a mother's love for her son. When Emma kissed Henry the curse was broken... sort of.

Although everyone remembered their past, no one was transported back to it. 

Which did give us the joy of not only watching Charming save Snow in the fairy tale world but also getting to witness David and Mary Margaret realize the truth of their love. The latter happened in the nick of time as I wondered what would happen to David as he attempted to drive out of town. 

The saddest moment of the entire episode was when Regina told Henry the following:

No matter what you think, no matter what anyone tells you, I do love you. | permalink

I felt for Regina because, in her own way, I believe that's true. No matter what her motives or methods, she loves Henry.

So with the end of the season most of our heroes have found true love while Regina has lost hers and in perhaps the scariest turn of events, Rumplestiltskin has brought magic to Storybrooke. Unpredictable, powerful, magic. And Regina is smiling. This just can't be good.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (429 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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I think love will eventually triumph in this show, if the creators can end it on their own terms. But I think both Regina and Gold will be vanquished, as a consequence. I can see both of them in the end, just as Voldemort was at the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga: shriveled souls completely alone and utterly miserable. A tragic end brought on by their refusal of love. Til then, however, they'll wreak havoc.

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(got cut off) Magical power was Regina's means of preventing Snow from having a happy ending with Charming. That was the whole idea of the curse, in the first place. We saw that come to an end with Snow and Charming's reunion in the middle of town. The return of magic gives Regina a new opportunity to thwart their love. That's why she smiled at the oncoming purple fog. Her fundamental character flaw is similar to Rumple's, in that she refuses to experience love. If she did, she would also have to fully accept the pain of losing Daniel. She won't let herself feel that. She's afraid, like Rumple was. So she embraces an inferior substitute to insulate her heart: revenge/hatred. No doubt, in season 2 Regina will concoct some new scheme to thwart Snow and Charming's love (and everyone else's, in the mix). But like Gold, it will also keep herself from love -- it will inevitably perpetuate the wedge that exists between her and Henry. She's a tragic villain, too. I think love will eventually triumph in this show, if the creators can end it on their own terms. But I think both Regina and Gold will be vanquished, as a consequence. I can see both of them in the end, just as Voldemort was at the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga: shriveled souls completely alone and utterly miserable. A tragic end brought on by their refusal of love. Til then, however, they'll wreak havoc.

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@Liz
Regarding to Emma's visions after holding the book: She has actually held the book before but she only saw the visions that one time because it was the first time she actually believed in the curse. Earlier Pinnochio had shown Emma his wooden leg but her denial in magic and inability to believe completely clouded what she allowed herself to see. Regarding Pinnochio "dying" and turning to wood: I personally believe that Pinnochio was running out of time, since there was no magic to keep the "enchanted wood" he was made out of filled with magic. It was the Enchanted wood that made him a wooden boy versus a puppet. He turned to solid wood after the magic slowly ran out but won't turn back into a human man until Rump bring the magic to Storybrooke. Regarding the true loves kiss solving all problems and curses: I really don't think that any true loves kiss would work. Emma was the "chosen one", the only person who was NOT cursed by the Regina and the only one with magic in her (as she was born of true love). SO,, her kiss worked because although she was not in a magical world, she had the magic within her.

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The entry of magic into "our" world will be both a blessing and curse for Regina and Gold. They will regain their magical power, but this is exactly what prevents them from experiencing the superior power of love. Rumple had the chance to experience this by way of Belle's kiss, but he loved power more. It's what also cost him his son, when he refused to enter a world without magic. His loving reunion with Belle will be short-lived, because his return to power must get in the way of her love for him. And he will probably reunite with Bae in season 2, but that will also end tragically because this is no longer a world without magic. Rumple's character is fundamentally flawed. His first dilemma was that he acted in a cowardly manner during battle. He mistakenly thinks that power is the cure for that. But everyone who ever acts bravely in this show is empowered by love. He will always refuse love. It's what makes him a tragic villain. Regina is motivated fundamentally by revenge. Magical power is her means to achieve that end, against Snow. That's why she smiles at he approaching purple. The curse was meant primarily to take away Snow's happiness -- keeping her apart from Charming. We saw that ended with their reunion in the middle of town. But the return of magic gives Regina another opportunity to separate them. Like Rumple, her fundamental character flaw is to reject love for some inferior substitute. For Regina to embrace love would mean for her to feel fully the loss of her beloved Daniel. She won't let herself experience that and instead seeks to feed her heart with hatred/revenge for Snow. She cannot fathom that Snow's mistake was even motivated out of love--a desire for mother and daughter to be united rather than separated. (Granted, it was naive and ultimately Ill

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1. When Emma touched the book she got all those visions. Was that because what happened to Henry made it easier for her to believe in magic and the book was just a final step, or was it because this was actually the first time she held the book? I can't remember if she has ever touched the book before. 2. August said that Emma had to break the curse before he "died". Now she has sort of broken it, does this mean he will be back to normal? Or does he have to return to the fairytale land first? Or will Rumpelstiltskin's magic be enough?

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@Aurelia101 I do agree the finale is a bit rushed, I'd appreciate if they can put one more episode. But still everything make sense despite the fact that it all comes so fast. As for the dragon, well Regina did managed to bring all the 'creatures' to Storybrooke into their human form, and Maleficent is a dragon/lady so it makes sense that Regina brought her in her dragon form. And although it seemed dramatic the way Emma killed the dragon, that is actually similiar to the way Prince Philip killed Maleficent in the story 'Sleeping Beauty'. Well, all the connections to these fairy tale story is what makes the series so interesting in the first place ;p

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What can I say? Bravo! Jesus, this series had got me fooled so many times... Rumples is a pure genius, not only did he got us all tricked from episode 1, in the end he actually got almost everything... He got Belle back, and with magic comes to Storybrooke he can now become the Dark One in our world... the only thing left is to find his son.. Although I hate the fact that this means Regina now have all the magic she needs (right after she used her very last one!) to go on with her rage,,, some part of me can count on Rumples revenge on her for what she did to Belle.. let's just hope so.

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now THAT is the way to end a season! OUaT can sometimes be confusing what with the stories going in every direction with no end in sight, but this is what good television is about, bringing a whole confusing season to a satisfying end with a promise of even more magic and evil to come! now that magic back in play, i do hope they find some way to bring back the hunstman/graham(what do we call these people now that they remember?) i think his story with the queen could be something worth exploring, doesnt hurt that he's easy on the eyes too!

Enkeli superholocaps

I don't think that true love's kiss between mother-father/son-daughter works on every case. I think that it's a special thing for Emma as she is "the chosen" or whatever and Henry is the only one she loves right now. If it were really for everyone there would be too much curse-breaking kisses available and that would make curses look kind of dumb. There's a lot of limitation on "true love's kiss" that we learn on every episode and I think this is one of them. On condition that the kisses lose effectivity the curse allows Emma's kisses to be very very powerful. Like with Graham and now Henry. The curse is very powerful after all. Or it's supposed to be. I don't know. It's just my opinion. I agree with the blue fairy thing too. It would be silly for her to miss a chance of eliminating the Dark One curse and even giving up such a rare thing instead. That's another reason I think this mother/son kiss is a one-time thing. Or an Emma thing.

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The reason true loves kiss worked with Emma/Henry and not Snow/Charming is because Henry knows who he is. Remember, when Emma asked him why didn't the kiss between MM/David break the spell, he said it is because Snow does not know who she is (or maybe he said 'they' don't know who they are). When Emma kissed Henry, they both knew exactly who they were.

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