Once Upon a Time season 5 comes to a close with a 2-hour season finale that sees our heroes banding together to save magic. When Henry sets off on a quest to destroy magic, Regina and Emma team up to stop him. Meanwhile, several of our heroes get sent through a portal to a new land, and we see the return of the show’s most formidable villain. Take a look back at the most notable moments from episodes 22 and 23, “Only You” and “An Untold Story.”

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Regina Learns Hook is Alive and Rumple Seeks More Magic

OUAT 5x22 Regina Learns Hook.jpgAs the episode begins, everyone gathers together for Robin’s wake and Regina’s family makes it a point to tell her that she doesn’t have to go through this alone. Emma then has the task of breaking the news to Regina that Hook has returned to the land of the living. Instead of trusting that her friend has come far enough to be able to handle this news — as well as Robin’s death — Emma worries that it could push Regina over the edge into Evil Queen mode. Regina is understandably hurt by Emma’s lack of faith in her, but she puts her feelings aside to deal with the problem at hand. With Belle and their unborn child trapped in the sleeping curse, Rumple decides that he needs more power to save his family. Rumple uses a piece of the Olympian Crystal to cast a tethering spell. He connects the crystal to Storybrooke, meaning that he has stripped the town of its magic.

Henry Wants to Destroy Magic

After reconnecting with Violet, Henry asks her to go on a road trip with him. Henry has decided that all of the horrible things that have happened to his family are the result of magic. To that end, he intends to eliminate magic so it can no longer hurt the people he loves. Henry steals the crystal Rumple used in the tethering spell — essentially taking Storybrooke’s magic with him. He and Violet then set out on what Henry calls “Operation Mixtape.”

The Heroes Decide to Open a Portal

OUAT 5x22 Open Portal.jpgWith the possibility of magic being eliminated from Storybrooke, the Charmings decide to send Merida and the Camelot folks home while they can. Zelena uses the Sorcerer’s wand to open a portal and everyone starts filtering through. For some reason, this mass exodus also involves little Roland and the Merry Men. Before leaving, Roland gives Zelena a piece from one of his father’s arrows, “for Regina.” (Roland kissing his baby sister goodbye was one of the saddest things I have ever seen on this show.) Alas, something goes wrong when Zelena tries to close the portal and she, Hook and the Charmings get pulled through. Only, they do not end up in the Enchanted Forest with everyone else. They wind up in a land none of them are familiar with, and they cannot get back home because the wand is broken.

Emma and Regina Team Up to Stop Rumple

OUAT 5x22 ER team up.jpgRumple is set on catching up to Henry to stop him from enacting his plan and Henry’s moms work together to find Henry before Rumple does. This results in a Swan Queen road trip from Boston to New York. Alas, since Henry took Storybrooke’s magic with him, he has unintentionally released magic into the real world. This means that Regina, Emma and Rumple all have access to their magic. Meanwhile, Henry and Violet arrive in New York because he needs something from his dad’s old apartment. Apparently, Neal once also had the idea to destroy magic and Henry knows Neal kept everything he learned in his journal so they head to his apartment to pick it up.

Zelena, Hook and the Charmings Run Into Trouble

Shortly after arriving in this strange land, the heroes are captured and imprisoned. A mysterious man, known only as the warden, questions them about why they have come. He believes the Dark One has sent them, but Snow explains that Rumple is their enemy. Alas, the warden does not release them even after learning the truth. Luckily for the Storybrooke gang, another mysterious man — the gardener — decides to help them. He tells them that the warden made him a prisoner and he will help them escape if they agree to take him with them. They agree to his terms and he says he can fix the wand. With no other option, they hand it over to him.

Regina Opens Up to Emma

OUAT 5x22 Reginaa.jpgAt Neal’s old apartment, Regina finds a last message from Robin. In the letter, Robin tells Regina that he is proud of her and he knows that she will remain the heroic woman he fell in love with. Robin’s letter prompts Regina to admit to Emma that the Evil Queen is always inside of her, threatening to get out. Regina explains that she is constantly at war with her instincts, but that she fights them in order to do good. She also admits that she hates doing good because it only seems leads to more pain and loss. Yet she knows she cannot give in to the darkness inside her. Regina is cursed with knowing the difference between good and evil, and she is constantly trapped between the light and the darkness. Yet she would rather suffer in that in-between place than risk causing the people she loves pain. Lana Parrilla delivers this speech with so much sincerity that it makes this one of the best scenes of the season.

Henry and Violet Make a Discovery

OUAT 5x22 Henry Discovery.jpgAfter reading Neal’s journal, Henry and Violet head to the public library to find something to destroy magic. Henry eventually stumbles upon several storybooks similar to his own. Only, Henry has never seen the stories or characters in these books. Unfortunately, there is no mention in any of the books about how to destroy magic. Violet finds an object there that she believes is the exact opposite of the Holy Grail, aka the source of all magic. Henry tests the object and they realize that it is the Holy Grail’s twin which means they can use it to destroy magic. But before they can, Rumple finds them and takes the Olympian Crystal back from them. Regina and Emma eventually find the kids and Henry tells them that he believes magic has ruined their lives. Henry lies about finding the Grail’s twin so Regina and Emma set their sights on catching Rumple.

Jekyll and Hyde

OUAT 5x22 Jekyll n Hyde.jpgThe warden and the gardener turn out to be one and the same. The warden says the gardener, aka Dr. Jekyll, will be allowed to follow through with helping the heroes so they can all go to Storybrooke. The warden, aka Mr. Hyde, then uses the now-fixed wand to summon a portal. He reaches through said portal and takes Pandora’s box from Rumple. Hyde knows the box contains the Dark One’s pregnant wife and he believes he can use Belle as leverage to get Rumple to give him what he wants.

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Regina Tries to Fool Rumple

After Belle is taken, Rumple starts using magic in the real world and this allows Henry and his moms to track Rumple down. But Emma gets a message from Granny that Hook, Zelena and her parents have been taken through a portal. Regina knows the only way to save them is to get the magic back from Rumple. Regina then goes to Rumple and pretends that she is ready to let the Evil Queen out again. Regina tells Rumple about Zelena’s plight and they agree to help each other. While Regina distracts Rumple, Emma sneaks into his hotel room to steal the crystal. Sadly for Emma and Regina, Rumple is onto their plan and he stops them from getting the crystal back.

Jekyll Battles Hyde

Jekyll, unaware that Hyde knows all about his plan, releases the Storybrooke gang. He breaks the news to them that he lost the wand to the warden, but he knows of a way to defeat the warden. As the heroes look around at the land, Jekyll explains that the realm they are in is a safe haven for those forced to flee their own lands. They call it “The Land of Untold Stories.” Jekyll then cooks up a serum he says will separate the good from the evil in someone. He intends to use this serum to defeat Hyde. But before he can, Jekyll transforms into Hyde. Hyde then injects himself with the serum Jekyll created. It separates them into two distinct individuals. Hyde tries to kill Jekyll, but the Storybrooke gang saves him.

Henry Destroys Magic

Henry arrives in Rumple’s hotel room just as Rumple is threatening Emma and Regina. Henry uses the Grail’s twin to destroy the magic in the crystal, as well as strip Rumple of his magic. Unfortunately, this means they cannot create a portal to get to Belle and the others. Regina and Emma then split up, with Emma looking after Henry while Regina goes off with Rumple. During their time together, Rumple tells Regina that keeping the Evil Queen locked inside of her will only make her suffer. Rumple then takes Regina to see The Dragon, aka someone in the real world who has magic. The Dragon refuses to aid Rumple, but he agrees to help Regina because he sees the goodness in her.

Henry Saves Magic

OUAT 5x23 Henry Magic.jpgThe Dragon tries to open a portal to the realm the others are trapped in, but he cannot accomplish that. The Dragon then explains that even though this land is called The Land Without Magic, there is actually magic everywhere. They just have to look for it. Emma remembers what August once told her — that you have to believe. Henry takes them all to a fountain. He once threw a coin in the fountain and made a wish that their family would be complete. A few days later, Hook arrived in New York and took them back to Storybrooke. Henry believes they simply have to make a wish and they can get their family back. Everyone makes a wish and the crystal starts to glow with magic. Henry realizes that they need more magic so he makes a plea to the people of New York. He tells these random strangers that magic is real and they just need to believe in it. Somehow, Henry’s speech is enough to convince these people to make a wish and this fills the crystal with enough magic to create a portal. Zelena, Jekyll, Hook and the Charmings are pulled through the portal and everyone is reunited. While the heroes are distracted, Rumple travels through the portal to Hyde’s land.

Regina Destroys the Evil Queen

Regina and Snow discuss Regina’s options in regards to her inner darkness. Regina admits that she tried to wish the Evil Queen away so she can be free of the things she did. Snow says that they have all forgiven her for what she did as the Evil Queen, but Regina says that doesn’t matter as long as the darkness is still within her. Snow thinks she knows of a way for Regina to get a fresh start. She tells Regina about the serum Jekyll created. If Regina takes the serum, it will separate her from the Evil Queen and then Regina can get rid of her. With Emma and Snow watching on, Regina takes the serum and the Evil Queen emerges. Emma traps the Evil Queen with magic and tells Regina to destroy her. The Evil Queen taunts Regina, trying to convince her that she needs her. Regina doesn’t fall for it. She rips out the Evil Queen’s heart, seemingly destroying her inner darkness.

Hyde Takes Control

OUAT 5x23 Hyde Control.jpgEveryone returns to Storybrooke and things appear to be getting back to normal. Henry and Regina then set off to return magic to the town. Regina releases the magic from the crystal, essentially destroying it in the process. Before they can celebrate, Regina and Henry are confronted by Mr. Hyde. Hyde tells Regina that he made a deal with Rumple. He gave Rumple information on how to wake Belle from the sleeping curse, and in return, Rumple gave him control over Storybrooke. Hyde also says he brought along some “friends” from his land so they can play out their untold stories. (I’m confused as to how Rumple could “give” Storybrooke to Hyde. Storybrooke is Regina’s creation so if it belongs to anyone, it would be her. How exactly does Hyde plan to rule over the town?)

The Evil Queen Lives

OUAT 5x23 EQ Lives.jpgAlas, Regina’s destruction of the Evil Queen was not as successful as she thought. The Evil Queen shows up in The Dragon’s shop and rips out his heart. Though Regina won their first battle, the war between good and evil has just begun. So “the Queen is back” and apparently gearing up to fight Regina. I’m glad that the writers found a way to bring the Evil Queen back without undoing all the amazing character development Regina has gone through over the past several seasons. That was certainly an excellent cliffhanger and I’m excited to see what the Evil Queen gets up to next season.

Once Upon a Time will return to ABC with season 6.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV