Once Upon a Time ends its fifth season with a two-part finale, “Only You” and “An Untold Story,” which takes some to a new land and others back to a familiar city and sees Regina struggle with the light and dark inside her.
No one has time to grieve Robin Hood’s death or celebrate Hook’s return when Rumplestiltskin decides that he needs more power than he already has and casts a spell to tether all of Storybrooke’s magic to the piece of the Olympian Crystal he has. But that’s just the beginning.
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Sure, Rumple wants to use the magic to wake Belle, but everyone knows he won’t stop there. However, Emma’s not so sure about Regina being part of this, especially since she’s concerned that the Evil Queen could make a reappearance, but Regina doesn’t want to be told what to do and instead declares that she’ll fix everything on her own.
Though Emma wants Henry to just go home and stay there, he instead texts Violet and has her meet him at Mr. Gold’s shop. Magic is awful, he tells her. Just look around the shop. Join him on a road trip to fix this, he offers, complete with a description of a bus that compares it to a horse with wheels and seats. And once he uses the pen to summon the Crystal to take it with them, he’s ready to go. He’s going to destroy magic, once and for all.
Here’s where I question Henry’s decision to text his mothers that he’s going to destroy the source of all their problems if he really wants to destroy magic because obviously they’re going to go after him. Sure, he has a head start and he has the Crystal, but with Rumple reminding them that the town was built with magic and giving them just enough to infer what destroying magic would mean, Emma and Regina are in a hurry to find him.
Thanks to a GPS app on his phone, they’re able to track that to Boston, but he outsmarted them by putting it on the bus. And once they realize that they still have their magic outside of Storybrooke — because Henry has the Crystal with magic with him — they know that means Rumple does too. They have to find him before the Dark One does. That’s where a locator spell and a drop of Emma’s blood come in, and they track him to New York … just as Rumple uses magic to get past a $15 toll into the city. (I can’t really blame him for that.)
But why New York? As Henry reveals to Violet, Neal was trying to find a way to protect himself in case his father found him, by destroying magic. Their best bet is to find his journal in his apartment. (Why hasn’t that apartment been rented to someone else?)
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Zelena summons a portal to send everyone back home since they’re all worried about what will happen to Storybrooke if magic is destroyed. However, with magic out of Storybrooke, Zelena can’t close the portal, and instead she, Snow White, David and Hook are sucked in and fall into an unknown land.
Zelena’s wand is broken in the fall, and she needs the right potions to fix it. But finding them won’t be easy since they don’t even know where they are. When they find the Groundsman, he tries to run, but Hook grabs him. Magic is dangerous, he says when they explain that they need some to get home to Storybrooke, and if he helps he’ll be punished. By who? That’s when the Orderly zaps them unconscious.
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When the four awaken, they’re in quite the cage, one with enchanted bars. The Warden then comes into the room, wanting to know why they’re really there. He thinks the Dark One sent them, and they get a taste of his strength when he grabs Hook around the throat and David can’t free him. They have a common enemy, Snow White insists, explaining that Rumple tried to steal magic from their town to wake the woman he loves who is carrying his child. Whatever grudge he has against him, they have nothing to do with it. But for the Warden, the only way to not have to worry about something is to keep it locked up, so he’s leaving them there.
In New York, Emma and Regina reach Neal’s apartment once Henry and Violet have already been there and left, but Emma can get the search history back on the computer. While waiting for that, Regina finds one of Robin’s books and a letter he wrote her while he was there. He wanted her to know how proud he was of her. But his letter can’t make her feel better; nothing can.
The Evil Queen is inside her, always trying to get out, Regina admits, and while Emma may have gone up to the precipice of darkness, she let herself be consumed by it. So now she’s at war with her instincts; for example, when she saw Hook again, she wanted to rip out his throat because it’s not fair that he’s alive and Robin isn’t, but she knows that’s wrong. Being good always leads to loss for her, but she knows the Evil Queen can’t return so that’s her life now. Choosing not to forgive Snow White all those years ago and what resulted because of it will always hang over her. She knows that if she reverts to being the Evil Queen she’ll lose everyone she loves, and if she remains good she’ll have to live with her past darkness and its well-deserved consequences. She’d rather suffer; that’s her fate.
Henry and Violet head to the Midtown Library since Neal’s journal said he had an appointment there in the rare reading room. There, they find more volumes of the storybook, with stories he’s never seen before (including a photo of where the others are).
The Groundsman finds the group trapped in the cage, and while he can’t open it because the Orderly keeps the key with him at all times, he can help them if they promise to take him with them when they leave. He was a doctor before the Warden took control and ruined everything and made him a prisoner. He can repair the wand in the hospital lab, but they have to give it to him. Not happening, obviously. But he wants to get away from the Warden as much as they do (if my suspicions are right, even more than they do and that’s not exactly possible) and it’s the only plan they have, so Zelena has no choice but to hand it over.
Violet realizes why Neal never finished his quest in the library; he’d never been to Camelot. There, her tutor showed her paintings of the Holy Grail, the source of all magic, and it looks just like a chalice in a cabinet. If the Grail was the beginning of all magic, this one might be the end of it. Just as they’re leaving with it in Henry’s bag, however, Rumple finds them, knocks them out and takes the Crystal.
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The Strange Case Of…
The Groundsman does repair the wand, but when the Orderly finds him, he doubts his claim that the Warden asked him to do so. He forces him to take a serum, and out comes the Warden. Yes, meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll could be on to something, Hyde realizes. Storybrooke could be the answer he’s looking for. It’s time they find a home so he’s going to let the doctor go through with his plan, but he won’t be the only one going to Storybrooke.
When Emma and Regina find Henry and Violet, he can’t believe they’re even asking why he’d try to destroy magic. Every time it looks like they can be happy, magic wrecks it. It’s already taken away his father (and Violet‘s mother); he doesn’t know what he’d do it if took away Emma or Regina. He doesn’t tell them what they found, only that Rumple has the Crystal. But when Regina tries to use his blood to find him, it doesn’t work. Her magic is gone; Rumple must’ve done something.
Just as Rumple has checked into a hotel room and sets the box with Belle inside on the bed, Hyde uses Zelena’s wand to open a portal to take something that will give him the power he needs. Upon realizing that a portal is opening up, Rumple immediately grabs the Crystal and can only watch as the box is sucked in and the portal closes. If the Dark One wishes to see his wife again, he’ll have to do as Hyde says.
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Dr. Jekyll comes to in a straitjacket, with the Orderly passed out next to him. The wand may be gone, but he takes his key to let the others out of the cage. He takes them outside, into the Land of Untold Stories. It’s a refuge for people forced to flee their problems. He brings them to where he lived when he was a doctor in the hospital and shows them the serum he created to separate the good from the evil in a person. They can use it to defeat the Warden, he says, as the good has been fighting to get out for a long time and couldn’t until now.
The last ingredient is the flower that he has been growing on his property. However, once he adds the ingredient, the Orderly comes in and forces the other serum down his throat to bring out Hyde as Jekyll tells the others to run. And since Zelena’s magic does nothing to Hyde, they do.
A giant storm cloud over the hotel acts as a beacon for where Rumple is, and inside he orders room service. But the food doesn’t matter; only the sterling silver tray does. (And don’t mind the crystal on the table with sigils and candles.) Once Emma gets a text from Granny about the portal that took the others, Regina wants to just storm in and introduce her fist to Rumple’s nose, but Emma stops her. They have to be smart about this.
And so Regina goes to Rumple’s door and claims that she’s ready to let the Evil Queen back out because she’s sick of losing everyone she cares about and Zelena’s in trouble, trapped in another realm. As Rumple is offering Regina a drink, Emma sneaks into the room to get the Crystal, but Rumple knows she’s there. Regina’s changed, he says. Losing one man isn’t going to push her back over the edge. He just let her in because he needed her hair to find Zelena and therefore Belle. However, Henry bursts in and uses the chalice to destroy magic.
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Toss a Penny If You Believe
Hyde uses Jekyll’s new serum to separate them, and he’s ready to kill the doctor — until the others intervene, saving Jekyll and hurrying from there.
Though Henry thinks that he’s stopped Rumple from hurting anyone, the others fill him in on everyone being trapped in another realm and them having no way to save them now. That’s on Rumple, Henry insists, walking out, and Emma goes after him while Regina joins Rumple in tracking down the only person who still has magic.
Emma finds Henry at the wishing fountain where he’d go when he was upset when they lived in New York; she’d give him a penny and tell him to wish his problems away. They were happy when they were here, he explains, when they didn’t know magic existed, and he just wanted to make it so everyone could be happy like that.
Rumple offers Regina some advice: it’s not an either/or. Darkness is as much who he is as the light is, and that’s something she needs to understand. Deep down, the Evil Queen is who she is. He takes her to see the Dragon, who wants nothing to do with Rumple. However, he’ll help Regina because he sees the battle deep in her soul between light and dark. It’s imperative she wins for all of them.
The Dragon has enough magic left to show them the other land where the others are, but he’s not strong enough to open a portal. But just because Henry destroyed Storybrooke’s magic doesn’t mean there’s none in this world. There’s magic everywhere if they’re willing to see it. They just have to believe.
How can they do that? At the wishing fountain. The last time Emma took him there, he could tell she was lonely and he wished for their family to be complete. A few days later, Hook showed up. They just need to wish the others back. “I wish we were reunited with our family,” Henry says to kick it off and throws a penny into the fountain. As the others join in, the Crystal begins to glow. But they need more.
So Henry turns to the people gathered on the street for their help to save his family with magic. It’s real, he tells them, but they have to believe and make a wish. As everyone surprisingly does (instead of, say, walking off like I would), the Crystal continues to glow and a portal opens just as Hyde finds Snow, David, Zelena, Hook and Jekyll. Through the portal they go, and it closes before Hyde can follow. As everyone is reunited, however, Henry realizes that the crowd thought it was just an act. (But really, Henry? What else would they think? The world wasn’t suddenly going to believe in magic.)
Regina vs. the Evil Queen
As Hyde rages in his lab, Rumple showed up. Yes, he went through the portal. He’s ready to force Hyde to hand over the box, but Hyde offers him something better: a deal in exchange for information to wake Belle.
Regina opens up to Snow White about her feelings regarding the Evil Queen inside her, admitting that she even wished her away at the fountain. As long as she’s inside her, it doesn’t matter if the others forgive her. But Snow White has an idea that could work: Jekyll’s serum. He has one more dose. Regina wants the Evil Queen gone, so she’s willing to give it a try.
Regina takes the serum and out comes the Evil Queen, who taunts her. She doesn’t have what it takes to destroy her, she laughs. “You’re weak.” No matter what she does, she can’t destroy the darkness, and deep down she knows she needs her. “No, I don’t,” Regina says and rips out her black heart and crushes it. Goodbye, Evil Queen.
Back in Storybrooke, Violet reveals that her father’s not even from Camelot. He’s from Connecticut, so he didn’t go through the portal when everyone else did. As Emma and Regina watch, Henry kisses her. And speaking of romance, Emma takes a moment to tell Hook she loves him when things are just normal.
But they’re not done yet. They still have to untether the magic from the Crystal. Regina, feeling “free” now that she’s destroyed the Evil Queen, does just that. But right after she does, Hyde reveals himself. He’d hate to be trapped in the town without magic, he says, thanking her. Regina realizes he made a deal with Rumple. So what did Hyde get? Storybrooke. The town is his now, and he brought some friends. Though she tells him that she knows how his story ends and he loses, he disagrees. Darkness isn’t as easy to snuff out as she might believe.
And he’s right because the Evil Queen materializes in the Dragon’s store. Regina never should have let her out to play, she warns him. He was right. There is a battle raging inside Regina, and while she may have won the fight this is a war that has just begun. “The Queen is back,” she declares after ripping out his heart.
Once Upon a Time will be back for a sixth season on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)