‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap (Season 1, Episode 22): All You Need Is Love
This week on Once Upon a Time, Emma and Regina must join forces to save Henry, and everything is engulfed in a mysterious purple cloud.
Prince Charming has managed to escape from Regina’s dungeon, with a little help from this week’s surprise guest, the Huntsman. But using her magic mirror, Regina teleports Charming to her Infinite Forest (the same place Hansel and Gretel wound up, I guess). Luckily, Rumpelstiltskin is there, and willing to make a deal: He’ll return Charming’s mother’s ring, which is now enchanted to glow brighter as he gets closer to Snow, but in return, Charming has to help him hide away his most powerful potion–the magic of true love. Charming attempts to take the ring from Rumpel by force, but this doesn’t work out too well. So instead he has to accept the deal.
In Storybrooke, with Henry hospitalized after eating Regina’s apple, Emma has to accept the truth–the curse is real. And the despairing Regina has no choice but to confirm Emma’s suspicions to that end, and to propose an alliance. Regina takes Emma to Mr Gold to discuss possible solutions, and he reveals that he still has some magic hidden away: his powerful true love potion. Regina is surprised that such a thing exists, but Gold reveals that he made it out of Snow and Charming’s hair. He even included a drop of it in Regina’s curse, which explains why Emma is the chosen one. The potion is hidden away inside of… “her.” Regina seems to know what Gold means. Only Emma can retrieve the missing potion, and she’ll need to use her father’s sword.
Before embarking on her quest, Emma says a tearful goodbye to the sleeping Henry, and leaves the book under his pillow for when he wakes up. Regina’s next to talk to Henry, but she’s interrupted when Jefferson shows up to collect on his debt. Obviously she has no intention of honoring her part of the bargain. Meanwhile, Emma’s gone to August to ask for help, but she’s too late: she arrives just in time to see him finally transform back into wood.
In the fairy tale world, Charming goes to Maleficent’s castle, where he has been instructed to find the castle’s beast. The beast turns out to be Maleficent herself, who transforms into an enormous dragon. After a long fight, Charming manages to get the potion inside the dragon, where it remains hidden in her belly. Charming jumps out the river into a lake, and when he emerges on shore, Rumpelstiltskin gives him the ring and a change of clothes. Charming goes on to rescue Snow as we saw in the pilot. He asks her to marry him, and she accepts, but says that it’s time they took back their kingdoms from their parents.
In the present, Regina leads Emma to the library, which has a secret door, behind which is a hand-operated elevator. Regina lowers Emma down into the cave beneath the library, where she finds the very same dragon. She throws her father’s sword aside and attempts to defeat it with a gun, but to no avail. Eventually she uses the sword again and pierces the dragon’s belly. It explodes, leaving behind the container with the true love potion.
Meanwhile, David confronts Mary Margaret on the street and informs her that he’s moving to Boston, unless she asks him to stay. Everyone on this show is always threatening to move to Boston. Apparently there’s nowhere else they can think to go. Anyhow, she won’t do that, so he gets in his car and leaves. Later MM goes to visit Henry in the hospital, where she reads the story of Snow White to him from the book. But his heart rate suddenly drops, sending Dr. Whale into a panic. With everyone distracted, Jefferson sneaks beneath the hospital to where Belle is locked up, and opens her room, instructing her to go find Mr. Gold and tell him that Regina had her locked up. So that’s his revenge against Regina, I suppose.
On Emma’s way back up to the library, the elevator stalls. Gold yells down from above, saying Regina sabotaged it and left her, so won’t Emma please toss the potion up to him and then climb up? Because Emma’s an idiot, she does this, and finds that Gold tricked her and stole the potion after tying Regina up. When Emma and Regina get back to the hospital, it’s too late. Henry’s dead! But Emma goes up to him and kisses him, and true love’s kiss wakes him up. Aww. But not just that–it wakes everyone up. Everyone in Storybrooke remembers their fairy tale lives now! Regina has to go run and hide before the townspeople rebel. David turns his car around, drives back to the center of town, and makes out with Mary Margaret in the street. Hooray! But if the curse is broken, then why are they still in Storybrooke?
Meanwhile, Belle has made her way to Gold’s shop, which makes him all emotional. But she’s still confused, because she still doesn’t remember him. He leads her through the forest, and while they’re walking the curse breaks and Belle remembers everything. But before they can have a tearful reunion, Gold says there’s something he must do. He takes her to the well–the well that sits atop the water with the power to restore that which is lost. Gold drops the true love potion in the well, and when it hits the bottom, a dark purple cloud emerges from the well and spreads across Storybrooke. It’s magic! Magic has been unleashed upon the land!
So that’s a pretty big change in status quo for the show next year, isn’t it? I was surprised enough when everyone got their memories back–I figured that once Emma accepted her destiny as chosen one, it would be at least another year of questing and curse-breaking before the curse was finally lifted. After all, the show’s a big hit and the network’s going to want to milk this one for all it’s work. But then they went even farther with the reintroduction of magic, and while we’ve not yet seen the effect that’s going to have on Storybrooke, you can bet it’s going to change the flavor of the show a lot. Unless it’s completely undone in the first episode of the next season, which is always possible.
It was a pretty good finale, with some genuine surprises, and some pretty satisfying answers to some questions that have been burning since the very forgiving. But it feels like something’s missing. For all its talk about true love, there’s much more cheap sentimentality than genuine emotional core. Still, I can’t help but come away excited about what the show can do next season. With that cliffhanger, they’ve given themselves carte blanche to reinvent the show any way they like. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we’ll have to wait the summer to find out.
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