Once Upon a Time Season Finale: "Operation Mongoose"

Once Upon a Time: “Operation Mongoose” Review

“These stories can never be erased, because they are more than stories. They are the truth.” – Magician’s Apprentice

Remember, dearie, all spoilers come at a price~

I feel like there were more plot developments in the last fifteen minutes of the season finale then there was in the entirety of Season 4b. Seriously.

So this season finale was dedicated to the villains having their happy endings. Which is fairly simple; just take all the stories from the Enchanted Forest and reverse them. Snow White as the Evil Queen, Charming as the Huntsman, Regina as the bandit, and Rumplestiltskin as the knight in shining armor. But of all the people in Storybrooke there were two who have no place in the story: Emma and Henry. While Emma gets sent into the Enchanted Forest and then locked away by Snow White for calling herself “The Savior,” Henry remains in the real world.

After doing some digging, Henry is able to find the Author at signing event for his bestselling novel “Heroes and Villains.” Turns out after writing the villains’ happy ending, he decided to write one of his own where he is a world-renowned author with a slew of fans. However, since he wrote his own happy ending he relinquished his power as the Author, making him unable to change anything. Of course, that is not good enough for Henry, who uses the key to the Author’s door to put himself and the former Author into the alternate Enchanted Forest.

Henry believes the only way to get things back to normal is through the power of true love’s kiss, so he focuses on helping Regina find Robin Hood. This is the version where Regina is not supposed to get her happy ending, so Robin Hood is engaged to Zelena. Meanwhile, the former Author is intent on keeping his happy ending, and warns Snow White about the threat Henry poses. So it turns into the classic tale of trying to beat the vows at a wedding so two lovers can be together.

What was not classic was the part where, instead of Regina stopping the wedding, she is slain by Rumplestiltskin, who wants to preserve his happy ending. In the chaos that ensues when someone dies at a non-Game of Thrones wedding, it is revealed that Henry is the new Author. With his newfound powers he is able to undo all the damage the former Author had done. Which also takes away Rumplestiltskin’s happy ending. So remember that prophecy from Season 3, about Henry being Rumplestiltskin’s undoing? Well, that came true. Just a bit differently than the audience expected.

When given the power of the Author’s pen, essentially the power to change reality, Henry refuses to accept it. Instead, he breaks the pen so that no person can ever hold that much power. So there goes away any possibility of future Authors messing with the story.

Oh, and the plot twists do not end there. With everything more or less returned to normal that also means that Rumplestiltskin’s humanity is still dying, so the Dark One could be released at any moment. Belle, who still possesses love for her Rumple, seeks help from the Magician’s Apprentice. He believes he can lock away all the darkness into the Magician’s Hat, ending the cycle of the Dark One. Though Rumplestiltskin is cleansed of all his darkness, the Hat is unable to contain it and the darkness escapes into the world.

The Apprentice reveals that the Magician was once faced with powerful darkness, but was able to cleanse it by tethering it to a human soul. Only the magician can destroy the darkness, so if anyone wants to be free they must track down Merlin. Of course this is the long-term solution, and does not help with the fact that the darkness is running amok in Storybrooke trying to snuff out the light in people’s hearts.

In an act of sacrifice to save the town Emma accepts the darkness and becomes the new Dark One, trusting that her parents and friends can save her as heroes.

And it just ends right there.

This episode went from the stereotypical “let’s go fix the thing” kind of fairytale story and just ripped the rug right out from under its viewers. And it was amazing. So a round of applause for the writers over at ABC, because you have me hooked for another season.

But where does it all go from here? Will Henry have new responsibilities as the Author? Will Rumplestiltskin be the same person after being cleansed of centuries worth of darkness? Will he and Belle get married again? Is Emma going to give fully into the darkness and truly become the Dark One? Will she wreak havoc in Storybrooke or will she be transported back to the Enchanted Forrest? And where has Merlin been this whole time?

There are just so many questions! Which will not be answered until fall… On the bright side, though, the fans have some promising material to work with during the hiatus.

Well, dearie, it certainly has been fun. I will see you next season.

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