Guest Review by Panda
Well, that was a crowd pleaser.
I really, really liked it most of it. It felt like it could have so easily wrapped up the entire series, save a few plot details here and there. I was originally going to review these episodes separately, but they formed such a singular story in the end so I changed my mind.
It’s odd that it was so disconnected from the Wicked heavy arc that drove the last nine episodes. Though with Zelena’s death in Kansas it was pretty much a given that the finale would explore less Oz related material. It’s a decision that gave us more time to focus on the characters; not just Snow and Charming, but Emma and Hook as well.
They had so many great moments together and making them the centre of both parts of the finale gave it energy and injected fun and excitement into what could have been a half assed clip show.
We already know all about how Snow and Charming met and fell in love, but Emma seeing it firsthand, and thinking she lost them again, helped her get over silly desire to run back to New York, despite all the people she has in Storybrooke. I know we’ve seen her embrace her part in the family, then disconnect from them…and then rejoin them all over again, but something about her turn here felt more solid.
She also fell right into life in the Enchanted Forest. We’ve seen her in that world before, but not in the same way she was here, playing princess and interacting with her parents in their pre-gag-inducing-lovey-doveyness stage.
Of course, it wasn’t just about Snow and Charming. Emma and Hook were just as important to this two-parter as the former two were. I loved all their scenes together, especially Emma seducing past Hook to get him away from his ship, and I even more so Hook telling Emma he sold his ship to bring her back home.
Her decision to stick by her family puts her directly in Regina’s line of fire. I really, really hope that we don’t see Regina fall apart and go back to her old ways to get back at Emma for taking Robin from her. Her blaming Emma and Snows’ mistakes on lack of foresight was silly (Emma didn’t bring Robin’s dead wife back on purpose, and Snow didn’t kill Daniel), and I can only hope that with everyone now on her side, Regina can see sense this time around…Please let her see sense…
There’s No Place Like Home gave the show a clean break from this past season. I’m glad to be rid of anything Neverland related, and though I enjoyed Zelena infinitely more than I did Pan, I’m happy that the series is going to try something new again. I just hope that it’s a direction that is necessary.
The Disney stamp has never been more obvious than it was in those final few seconds, and I’ve read countless of outcries from fans about Elsa’s arrival, with most shouting “cash grab!” or worse. I’m not sure what to feel about it yet. I think everyone should reserve judgment for fall time when we see what the creators will actually do with her. Horowitz and Kitsis have been very outspoken about why they chose to bring her onboard, and the exploration of a wrongly accused villain does fit right in alongside a lot of the character arcs going on right now.
“Prince Charles” and “Princess Leia”. That was a highlight of the finale, for sure.
I also really got a kick out of all the familiar faces popping up. I assume now that Intelligence is dunzo that Meaghan Ory can come back again?
I loved how simple and sweet Rumple and Belle’s wedding was. I hope that what Rumple did doesn’t rip them apart again. It so will, though.
It was nice to see Neal again. I like that Emma’s idea of home comes from him.
The time traveling was a hoot here, but I don’t want to see it revisited, at least not for a while. It can get stale and tedious, not to mention confusing.
Emma has her powers back! I’d like to see her get more creative with them next season.
He Said, She Said
Emma: “[Neal] died to save all of us. Don’t let that be in vain.”
This scene between Emma and Rumple was actually incredible, even though it blew up out of nowhere.
Hook: “Let’s just say we bury the hatchet.”
Rumple: “Yes, but why not in your skull.”
The direction that season four will actually take is anyone’s guess. We could see old habits re-surface (Regina going after Emma, Rumple being sneaky) or we could see these characters doing something new and more interesting. For the sake of the show I really hope it’s the latter, because it served them so well these past few weeks. A trip down memory lane was all well and good here, but a more permanent one wouldn’t go over well. I have faith in this show now, though, in way that I didn’t this time last year, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be pleasantly surprised come September.
Previously posted at PandaTV.