If the mid-season finale came off as bittersweet, this one is the happily ever after we were searching for. It’s Back to the Future meets Once Upon A Time (complete with Marty McFly reference), as Emma and Hook get sucked into Zelena’s time portal and have to figure out how to get back without setting off dire consequences in the timeline, and Emma has to figure out what exactly “home” is. Spoiler alert: only one of these 2 goals is accomplished. That ending! But first, remember the very sweet and fresh story of how Snow White and Prince Charming met in the first season? Well unfortunately, some of those details are about to get rearranged in a giant Captain Swan fan-service episode. Payoff is a lovely thing.
Every now and then, Once likes to remind us that it’s a family-friendly show by inserting a whole bunch of sexual references instead of stating it outright, and somehow that comes off a lot dirtier. The story of Zelena’s birth is revealed, and it is an unsurprisingly simple barhopping story of: boy meets girl, boy wants to sleep with girl so pretends he’s a prince, gets girl pregnant and then wants to blackmail her. Oldest trick in the book; no true love here. Also, the family tree becomes even more disturbing. But Regina and Snow finally address the giant elephant in the room of Cora’s death, somewhat glossed over last season after the duo who shall not be named joined the plot. But at least one of the ships this season moves forward, while the other is stuck in limbo.
Yo ho, yo ho, it’s an episode starring our favorite dashing rapscallion swashbuckling resident pirate Captain Hook. Ariel appears in Storybrooke suddenly, trying to find the whereabouts of her missing Prince Eric, while we flashback to Hook and Ariel’s adventure in the Enchanted Forest and Hook’s quest to reclaim his ship from the pirate Blackbeard, who like Rapunzel, is more of a cameo appearance for a fantasy historical character. Emma becomes Regina’s padawan in learning magic, and in a ridiculous minor plotline, Charming and Snow try to prove to Henry that they are as cool a babysitter as Hook is. But we have a major heartbreaking twist by the end with something that would have already been important if it happened becomes even more important.