Once Upon a Time Season Finale Review: Emma’s Final Battle

Emma Swan survived a curse and a trip to the mental hospital on Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 21 and Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 22 in order to fight the final battle.

Naturally the savior won, and everyone lived happily ever after…

At least until the time jump.

We’ll get back to that time jump later. Because as big of an impact as it will have on Once Upon a Time Season 7, I want to focus on how the characters made it to those happy endings.

The Black Fairy’s curse was nothing new or special. It sent Emma’s family back to the Enchanted Forest while Emma and Henry remained in Storybrooke.

Except this time, Fiona cast herself in the role of mayor. And as Henry’s adopted mother. This made little sense.

I understood the parallel to Regina’s version of the Dark Curse. But how did Henry keep his memories? What’s the point of being his mother if he knows the truth?

Unless Henry wasn’t supposed to keep his memory. It was never spelled out how the curse should have affected him. I’m probably being nitpicky about a tiny plot point.

Especially since I know the underlying reason was to make sure Henry, the truest believer, remained the hero of Operation Cuckoo’s Nest.

And I’m good with that because it provided lovely scenes with Henry and Emma.

Henry: You married Captain Hook right here.Emma: Captain Hook? Who officiated it? Tinkerbell?Henry: No. Jiminey Cricket.

  • Permalink: No. Jiminey Cricket.

But more than that, Henry keeping his memory allowed him to show off how much he’s grown since Once Upon a Time Season 1.

This wasn’t only about jogging his mother’s belief. It was a reminder that Henry’s not a kid anymore. Yes, he would have loved to make Emma believe right off the bat. But when he couldn’t, he went to Plan B.

He was going to fight the final battle on his own with his grandpa’s sword in hand.

Of course, Emma came around before that was necessary. Because no one saves Emma Swan but Emma Swan.

Although, she did get an unexpected assist from Rumple. The Dark One finally made the right choice for his family, not once, but twice.

This is what we’ve been waiting for after all those times Rumple disappointed us (and Belle) by choosing his powers over love. Not only did he kill his mother, he did right by his son.

While it’s a little weird that killing Fiona had the same effect as a True Love’s Kiss when it broke the curse, it was still a defining moment for Rumple.

He could have rolled the dice. Erased Belle and Gideon’s memories and started from scratch once his mother was out of the way.

Part of me expected him to at least think about it for more than a minute. I’m so happy he made the right choice. It hurt when he had to tell Belle that he failed.

Except he hadn’t. He learned that sometimes making the hard choice pays off. Not only did Gideon survive, he somehow was turned back into a baby.

I’m not going to argue about whether this should give Rumple a clean slate. Belle seems to think it does given how happy the two looked when they danced and when they joined the family dinner at Granny’s.

That’s good enough for me.

Curses have never stopped us before. Today will be no different. We’ll get Emma and Henry back. Wherever they may be.

  • Permalink: Curses have never stopped us before. Today will be no different. We’ll get Emma and Henry…

Henry and Rumple were not the only heroes in Emma’s corner.

Like the Black Fairy choosing to make herself Henry’s mother, I’m not sure the idea that Emma’s lack of belief leading to realms being destroyed makes sense.

Those realms existed before Emma was born. But I’m not going to dwell on the specifics too much. I assume it was somehow included in the curse since the Black Fairy hated everyone and everything.

And the why doesn’t matter as much as the effort put forth by the extended Charming-Mills-Jones family as they did everything they could to get back to Emma and Henry.

Snow’s always the beacon of hope, even more than Henry, but I’m not sure anyone was going to fight harder than Killian to get back to his wife.

I loved that he went back to the beanstalk, the site of their first adventure on Once Upon A Time Season 2 Episode 6. Even better, David followed his son-in-law, and declared his confidence in him.

In another beautiful throwback, Snow rescued her husband with a kiss. Their love started this entire story, and it’s never wavered, even in the darkest of circumstances. That’s the kind of hope that’s kept us tuning in all these years.

Killian: Do you trust her?Regina: Of course I do. She’s me. And Henry’s her son, too.

  • Permalink: Of course I do. She’s me. And Henry’s her son, too.

And while I did enjoy the Evil Queen being selfless, I wish we would have seen more of Regina and Zelena’s bond rather than Regina and Regina. I understand the significance since both halves loved Henry.

But I would have liked to have seen Zelena have more to do. Especially since we knew going in that it would be Rebecca Mader’s final episode as a series regular.

It is nice knowing the no-longer Evil Queen and Robin Hood did get the happy ending promised on the infamous Page 23.

Speaking of happy endings, is anyone more deserving of one than Emma Swan?

She went into the final battle with her head held high, her family by her side, and final words of encouragement from Regina. Like Henry, his two mothers have come very far since they first met.

I loved Regina being the one to remind Emma that there’s always another way. Not everything is black and white. Regina’s learned that lesson the hard way and come out stronger than ever on the other side.

So has Emma.

Instead of fighting Gideon, she chose to lay down her sword. She was willing to risk her life if it would keep those she loved safe.

For the tiniest of moments, I worried that would be the end. That she would die at Gideon’s hand. That would have been awful. And the exact opposite of everything we’ve been taught to believe.

In a lovely touch, it was Henry’s True Love’s Kiss that woke Emma. Just as hers woke him on Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 22. We’ve officially come full circle.

And this would have made for a great series finale. Emma and Killian could have their honeymoon. Emma and Regina would continue raising Henry together.

Snow and Charming had their house and their son. Rumple and Belle reunited and they had their son. Zelena had her baby. Everything was exactly how we imagined a fairy tale town would be once evil was defeated.

Which means it’s time to talk about that time jump.

Years into the future, Henry’s living in Seattle. A girl named Lucy knocks on his door, says she’s his daughter, and his family needs him.

Once again, this sounds familiar because that’s how we first met Henry and Emma on Once Upon A Time Season 1 Episode 1. As far as cliffhangers go, it’s a great one.

What happened to Henry? How does he not know he has a daughter? Is this a new curse? Did they live in the Enchanted Forest? Where’s the rest of his family?!

These are the questions we’re going to have to ponder over the next several months.

It’s going to take time to wrap our heads around the potential changes. To the story, to a new actor in the role of an older Henry. Is Lucy the savior now? Does Henry still believe?

I’m grateful we saw the original story reach its conclusion. I love that everyone got a unique version of their happy ending. And I’m curious to see what Once Upon A Time Season 7 will bring.

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts with us!

What did you think of “The Final Battle Parts 1 and 2?” Are you satisfied with Emma’s journey? Whose ending was the happiest? Which parallel touched you the most? What do you think about Henry and Lucy?

Remember, you can watch Once Upon a Time online anytime!

Mandy Treccia was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2017. Follow her on Twitter.