Monday, May 16, 2016

Once Upon A Time 5x22/5x23 Review: "Only You & "An Untold Story" (Welcome to New York) [Contributor: Julia Siegel]

“Only You" & "An Untold Story"
Original Airdate: May 15, 2016

With typically great writing, fantastic costumes, and amazing stories, expectations for every Once Upon A Time episode are set very high, especially with season finales. In the past, we have been subjected to some crazy twists and curveballs to the main story that have left us wondering what’s next. After a few less than stellar episodes in a row, OUAT was due to have a big finale. So imagine my disappointment when it failed to even reach “good” quality. Do NOT continue reading unless you have watched the two-hour finale. Below is the short version of the events of the episode.


The beginning of the two-part episode shows the characters being split into three storylines. First, Henry teams up with his crush Violet to find a way to destroy magic, which is his genius idea of making his family happy again. With Robin’s death, Regina’s instability, and Rumple tethering Storybrooke’s magic to the Olympian Crystal, Henry doesn’t know what else to do. And what could possibly go wrong with that plan? Also, if you don’t remember Violet (as I suspect many do not), she’s the girl Henry met back in Camelot and hasn’t mentioned once in the second half of the season. The two travel to New York City to continue Neal’s hidden work and bring the Olympian Crystal with them. After seeing that Henry is gone, Regina and Emma team up go after him, while Rumple goes after the kids on his own. Emma uses a tracker she put on Henry’s phone to find him, which falsely leads them to Boston. They finally get on the right path and race against time to find Henry before Rumple does.

Back in Storybrooke, Zelena uses the Sorcerer’s wand to summon a portal back to the Enchanted Forest. The Merry Men, residents of Camelot, and Merida all go through the portal to go home. As she tries to close the portal, things go incredibly wrong and end with Zelena, Hook, David, and Snow being sucked in. The portal brings them to a mysterious new land, which is unknown to both the characters and the audience. This new land introduces us to a gardener, warden, and orderly in some sort of old mansion. I have to say, this one really stumped me until they revealed who the new characters were. They did a good job of concealing some identities and locations at first.


After a while of being stuck in a cell in the mysterious new land, Zelena, Hook, David, and Snow try to come up with a plan to escape. They know that the only way to return home is to summon another portal with the wand, but it broke upon arriving at their current location. The wacky gardener eventually comes to aid them in the repair of the wand in exchange for passage to Storybrooke. He says he must take it to his lab to fix it, but he can’t let the warden find out. The first clue to his identity is revealed when he mentions that he was a doctor before being a prisoner in wherever they are.

The doctor goes to a chemistry lab, where he easily fixes the wand. As it’s completed, the orderly stops him and forces him to drink a blue serum that transforms the doctor into the monster warden, making these two none other than Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. What doesn’t make sense is why they are even a part of this story or the show in general. What can they possibly add in the future?

Eventually, Dr. Jekyll makes his return and, with the help of the heroes, finishes a serum that he thinks will split him from his alter-ego once and for all. The serum works a bit differently than expected and literally makes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde into two separate people. Mr. Hyde has his own agenda now, which includes controlling Rumple by using the wand to bring Pandora’s Box, with Belle still inside, to him. How he is aware of Rumple’s existence is not made clear, so the rest of this plot makes little sense.

Somewhere in the mix, Henry and Violet find a way to destroy magic forever and use it to take all the magic out of the Olympian Crystal. Emma, Regina, and Rumple then tell Henry, after it’s too late, that the other half of his family is trapped in a different realm with no way to escape now. With a plan that could never, ever work in NYC, Henry gets some magic back in the crystal by getting random people to believe in magic and make wishes on pennies they throw into a wishing well. The new magic makes the wishing well into a portal, which then brings Zelena, Hook, David, Snow, and Dr. Jekyll to NYC. Rumple takes a chance and jumps through the portal while no one is looking in hopes of finding Belle. I live fairly close to NYC, so I know exactly how people who live in the city act. If you haven’t had the pleasure of going to NYC, let me be the first to tell you that the events of this episode could never happen there for obvious reasons.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde aren’t the only split personalities to make an appearance in the finale. Throughout the two hours, Regina internally battles with the desire to give in to the darkness of the Evil Queen. Dr. Jekyll brings some more of his new serum with him to NYC and gives it to the heroes as a thank you for helping him get there. Snow and Regina have a heart-to-heart conversation about the struggle between good and evil. Regina is looking for a way to overcome her demons, and the simple solution would be to forgive Snow for telling her secret, which gave birth to the Evil Queen.

Instead of taking the simple route, Snow gives Regina the serum for her to be free of the Evil Queen once and for all. Successful again, the serum tears the Evil Queen from Regina, making them two separate people. Thinking that she can easily rid herself of the darkness, Regina pulls the Evil Queen’s heart out and crushes it, which turns her to dust. Little does Regina know, darkness is not easily destroyed. And by the end of the episode, the Evil Queen is back.

Before the end, we also see Rumple making acquaintances with Mr. Hyde, who claims that he knows a way to wake Belle up. In exchange for the information, Rumple brings Mr. Hyde and some of his friends back to Storybrooke with him. Mr. Hyde claims that he now owns Storybrooke, which is a disappointing start to the next season.


With lackluster plots, irrelevant stories, and no true direction, Once Upon A Time's season five finale was disappointing on many levels. Thankfully, there weren’t any flashbacks to complicate the matters, but the multiple storylines were enough to keep the episode as jumpy as ever. My main problem with the finale is that it didn’t feel like it amounted to anything. In the past, the writers have graced us with life-changing cliffhangers for our favorite characters. By the conclusion of this episode, I didn’t feel the same threat level as years prior. Sure, it will be extremely fun to watch Lana Parrilla play both Regina and the Evil Queen next season, but why do we need Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

OUAT has done a decent job at sticking to using characters from fairytales, mainly ones that Disney has turned into films. Bringing in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an anomaly because their story truly doesn’t relate in any way to the characters on OUAT, nor is it a fairytale. This pairing makes no sense at all, and it’s going to be a huge stretch to sell the idea that Mr. Hyde somehow magically knows all about the Dark One and his family. Assuming their alternate realm takes place in the same century that the novel did, how would Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde know anything about Rumple or magic in general? It didn’t appear that they had traveled between realms prior to this episode, so the logic is flawed, creating a big plot hole.

The biggest surprise of the finale was that Belle’s fate still hasn’t been determined. After being mentioned several times, I thought we would finally either see Belle be awoken or at least have an idea of how her storyline would wrap up for the season. Unfortunately, she still remains in Pandora’s Box until next season, which doesn’t really add anything to the main plot. Keeping this subplot going seems useless, except as a motivator to keep Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the show.

With the latest darkness to defeat coming from possible unknown friends of Mr. Hyde, season six is a complete mystery, yet not getting off to an exciting start. I’m not as pumped for what’s to come as I have been because the show is going off on a tangent again. Every time the show strays from its main path, things start to get really weird and don’t connect as well. I fear that this might happen again next season. However, this is just a hunch, and we won’t really know until the fall premiere.


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