It’s been a long time coming, but the moment has arrived. Once Upon a Time‘s resident heroine Emma, has finally accepted the truth. Sure, it took Henry falling into a magic-induced coma, but it worked. Storybrooke’s savior tackled her fate in the season finale, “A Land Without Magic.”

Check out our review…

The Players:

Director: Dean White
Writer: Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Jared S. Gilmore, Robert Carlyle

Episode Title: “A Land Without Magic”

Henry’s rushed to the hospital, where the truth about Regina’s apple turnover is revealed. His coma is caused by magic, and Regina’s forced to confess that the curse is real. She also admits that she’s fresh out of magic and takes Emma to the one person who can help: Mr. Gold. Back in Fairytale Land, Charming must deposit a vile with the essence of true love in the belly of a beast for Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a feat easier said than done.

The Good:

  • Returning Characters: The return of beloved fan favorites like The Huntsman and Belle (but let’s be serious, especially the Huntsman) made this a fun trip down memory lane. Plus, Belle’s Storybrooke counterpart was released by Jefferson, which is sure to stir the pot next season.
  • Gold’s Trick: Just when you think Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is going soft, he tricks Emma out of the last bit of magic (that will save Henry) and skips out. He would have gotten a bonus if he’d killed Regina, instead of just gagging her, but a little evil goes a long way.
  • Belle and Gold’s Reunion: When crazy Storybrooke Belle wanders into Mr. Gold’s shop looking all kinds of disheveled, it takes you aback. It’s hard not to be in awe of his love for her.
  • Storybrooke Remembers: When Emma confesses her love for her son, a fairytale bomb hits all of Storybrooke. Suddenly, all the town’s residents remember who they really are. Meanwhile, Rumpelstiltskin changes the game by unleashing a cloud of magic.

The So-So:

  • The Parallel Dragon Battle: Once Upon a Time isn’t exactly known for its stellar CGI, but this week’s dragon needed some help. The battles between the fire-breather and Charming (in Fairytale Land) and Emma (in Storybrooke) were underwhelming.

The Bad:

  • Emma’s Revelation: It’s great that Emma’s finally on board the Hogwarts Express, but after months of disbelief, her big conversion was a little anti-climactic. Her kid was in a coma, and they tried to up the stakes with a quick line from Regina about magic being unpredictable here. We needed more.
  • Emma’s Endless Bullets: During her battle with the beast, Emma decided to drop the sword and pick up a gun. She seems to have borrowed one of Brendan Fraser‘s pistols from The Mummy, based on the improbable number of rounds she was able to let off.

Overall:

This episode got off to a weak start, but picked up steam as it continued. We would have loved to see more Huntsman or meaningful parallels between Emma and Charming’s battles, but overall the episode delivered. It gave payoff to the season’s build-up, while setting up a new conflict for next year.

Rating: 7/10

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this week’s episode?