I realize I haven’t written a lot about Once Upon a Time lately, but I wanted to go ahead and say something about the series finale. Yes, series finale. After seven wild seasons, the heroes finally got their happily ever afters (in theory, anyway–I didn’t entirely agree with what the writers thought constituted a happy ending). From what I’ve heard, this finale was far better than the one Lost fans got, and I’m truly grateful that Once Upon a Time actually got to have a finale instead of being canceled outright (the ignominious fate of Resurrection, Houdini & Doyle, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and Galavant among others). Yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel that season six had the better “happily ever after” wrap-up.
You see, season six was supposed to be the last season because the writers hadn’t heard if the show was being renewed or not. After hearing that ABC wanted to renew it after all, they didn’t do the smart thing and say, “Sorry, but we’ve already wrapped up the story lines; the show is effectively over.” No, they went scrounging in the bottom of the plot barrel and slapped together the show’s worst season. The plots were recycled; there were some questionable casting decisions (tried to like the new Cinderella but didn’t really feel much of a connection between her and Henry), and remaining story lines were hastily and untidily resolved (we never did get a decent backstory on Facilier, and I really wanted to know how he met Regina in the first place).
It may sound like I’m dumping on the finale, but I’m really not trying to. I guess I was just disappointed at how a show that started out great declined so much. One thing I did admire about tonight’s episode, though, was Rumple’s sacrifice, proving just how far his character has come. It also furthers my suspicions that he was the true Savior all along–we learned in season six that he was supposed to be the Savior, but the Black Fairy used the Golden Shears to change that destiny. Yet it was prophesied that she would meet her doom at the hands of the Savior, and it was Rumple and not Emma who delivered the killing blow. Combining that with the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen Rumple sacrifice himself for everyone else, I’m really starting to believe Rumple was the real Savior all along–kind of like how Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One all along but took a very lengthy detour through Sithdom.
I’ve often pondered the question of how many fans are going to pretend season seven never happened, but I’m not sure of the answer. Towards the end the show began to exhibit some of its old magic. But whether you choose to accept this season or not, I think the important thing is that, like all good stories, it will live in us forever. We will always remember the best of Once Upon a Time.