More on (un)satisfying endings: Once Upon a Time, Season Six (#SFWApro)

ONCE UPON A TIME (rights to image remain with current holder) wrapped all its plotlines this season, better than Blind Spot did, but not necessarily well. Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned.

The sixth season itself, for me, was largely unsuccessful, juggling several plotlines:

•Inhabitants of the realm of unfinished stories — people like Dr. Jekyll, who know their story ends badly and want to escape it — show up en masse in Storybrooke.

•Jekyll’s potion liberates Regina’s evil side to wreak havoc again (the actual split may have been at the end of last season — I honestly don’t remember).

•Emma’s powers as the savior begin to waver as she starts getting visions of her death.

•Aladdin, who fled his role as the savior of Aghrabar, reunites with Jasmine and steps up to the plate at last.

•Gideon (Rumple and Belle’s son) shows up as an adult. So does Rumple’s mother the Black Fairy, who’s forged Gideon into her weapon to destroy Emma.

The results were mixed. The unfinished stories had some potential, but outside of Jekyll/Hyde, they never did much with it, focusing primarily on Aladdin (better than the plotlines with characters from Frozen and Brave though). Wicked Regina felt like recycling plots from several seasons back, though I did like the ending (Good Regina gives up enough of her own goodness to change her dark side’s evil ways).

The plotline with Emma and the Black Fairy was the big one for the season. It suffered from ramping up the parent/child issues this show frequently deals with to a factor of 11. And the ending seemed like a cop-out. We’re told repeatedly that if Emma kills Gideon, she’ll succumb to her dark side. If he kills her, the Black Fairy wins. Before we get to the final battle we have a cliche far too many fantasy/SF TV series use — the lead character wakes up in a mental hospital, told that everything they’ve been experiencing is just a delusion of their warped brain (Smallville and Buffy have both pulled that one).

And then in the final battle Emma realizes the way out — let Gideon kill her. Her heroic sacrifice causes a big burst of pretty life which fries the Black Fairy and saves the day. Which is not a bad finish per se (I’ve seen good stories where victory hinges on refusing to hurt an innocent) but as we’ve been told repeatedly Emma Dies = Evil Wins, with absolutely no hint it could be otherwise … like I said, a cop-out.

I did like the final scenes in which everyone in Storybrooke gets their happy ending. Emma and Kilian marry, Snow and David are happy with their family, Regina now lives in a town where people like her (points for not just finding her a man at the last minute). And then at the end we meet Henry 10 years later, finding a small girl at his door offering him the Author’s book, just as he once showed it to his mom. She says she’s his daughter (like Emma, he denies it) and that only he can break the curse …

I don’t know if it’ll work. I don’t know if I’ll watch. But I think the reboot is a good idea. It’s obvious they’ve got nowhere new to go with events in Storybrooke, and this way the happy endings stay happy.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “More on (un)satisfying endings: Once Upon a Time, Season Six (#SFWApro)

  1. I think this series jumped the shark in season 2 or 3 when they stayed in Neverland forever. After that, it resorted to constant use of memory loss potions or spells and multiple saviors and dark ones. Season 6 was very hard to keep straight.

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