Once Upon A Time 2.22 "And Straight On 'Til Morning" TV Review
Writer: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Director: Dean White
THE ONE WHERE In the past: Young Bae adjusts to life on the Jolly Roger, although he has no idea that Hook is the pirate his mum ran away with. Hook knows, however, and feels guilty enough about her death to bond with Bae. Unfortunately the kid finds out the secret, reacts badly and a rattled Hook turns him over to the Lost Ones, aka the Lost Boys, aka a bunch of scary-looking kids working for a scary-sounding Peter Pan... In the present: Regina's failsafe device is activated by Tamara and Greg and threatens to turn the town back into forest, killing everyone in it (apart from Henry, who was born in our world). Regina puts aside her evil ways and heroically tries to sacrifice her life to save everyone, but the others attempt to rescue her because that's what good guys do. Emma and Regina finally combine their magic and deactivate the device, but Tamara and Greg kidnap Henry and take him to Never Land. After having a change of heart, Hook decides to offer his ship to the others to rescue him. Meanwhile, we discover that Peter Pan is desperate to get his hands on Henry, too. What is it about this kid, eh? Oh, and an unconscious Neal is found on a beach by Prince Phillip, Aurora and Mulan. At least he's in safe hands.
VERDICT This is an energetic season finale that succeeds on almost every level, barring a few dodgy-looking CGI shots of the forest taking over Storybrooke (awww, we'll forgive them) and some silly plot holes. Well, maybe not plot holes as much as irrational behaviour, such as Tamara and Greg returning to their headquarters in the Cannery in broad daylight to empty out their belongings when everybody's hunting for them, or Emma failing to realise that Hook had swiped the magic bean from under her nose – come on, woman, you've spent enough time with the pirate to know he can't be trusted! But despite a few niggles like these, it's jolly good fun.
It's rather sad, too, with the action slowing enough every now and then to allow us to experience some real emotions over Neal's apparent death. While Emma and Henry are devastated, Gold takes it one step further by despondently declaring that he wants to die. His desire to spend his final hours with Belle rather than Lacey is understandable – and actually happens, thanks to an eleventh-hour deus ex machina from the Blue Fairy – and the reunion of the two lovers is remarkably touching.
As if that weren’t enough, Regina matter-of-factly decides to sacrifice herself to save Storybrooke, realising that the fate of the town is entirely her own fault. As I've pointed out over the last two reviews, this is the woman who killed an entire village full of people: it seems she's finally learnt her lesson and is turning away from the dark side towards the light. Good for her! Even better, she joins forces with Emma and they use their magic to defeat the device, which is something we never thought we'd see. Will these two become allies next year as they hunt for Henry? And will Regina and Snow get along like old pals? Blimey, will Once Upon A Time even be the same show if they did?
The flashbacks to Hook's ship meanwhile, are helped by a lovely chemistry between Bae and Hook – you can see why the pirate's gruff exterior melts when Bae tells him, “My papa abandoned me, too.” Their encounters with the Lost Ones are really rather scary; far from being the haphazard, fun-seeking Lost Boys we've seen in countless Peter Pan adaptations, they're hooded, haunted figures that the pirates seem genuinely scared of. Later, when they have Bae, they talk about Peter Pan as though he's some terrifying force to be reckoned with. It seems that this version of JM Barrie's story will be like no other version we've seen before – more of a horror film than a heartwarming tale of a boy who refused to grow up. We can't wait to see what this new Peter is like!
Additionally, what a magnificent ending to this show's enjoyable second year: sailing the Jolly Roger through a portal and into Never Land to face Peter Pan. This is what fantasy television is all about.
MACGUFFIN OF THE WEEK It doesn't seem that a lot of thought has gone into the diamond that threatens the whole of Storybrooke. For starters, activating it by hitting it with Happy's pickaxe seems, well, a bit silly, and it takes its own sweet time powering up to destroy the town (enough time, in fact, that everybody could have easily escaped using a magic bean). Oh well, it looks pretty.
DOWN IN ONE! Gold pours Lacey a glowy blue drink and she drinks it without a second thought, not even asking him what it is. Which is great for the plot – she turns into Belle again – but it could have been pure poison for all she knew! Then again, she did think it was the end of the world. Caution to the wind and all that.
SCARY LINE OF THE WEEK One of the Lost Ones on Peter Pan: “He rips your shadow right from your body. Riiiiiiip!” Blimey, this guy sounds like the Freddy Krueger of fairy tales... Talk about a build-up.
UNEXPECTED PUNCH OF THE WEEK Hook strolls casually into David's apartment and is decked by him before we can even process the fact he's there. Not only is this funny, but his outraged “Bloody hell!” straight afterwards is pure gold.
SNEAKY SNEAKERS OF THE WEEK Heaven only knows how, but Tamara and Greg sneak into the mine and kidnap Henry under everybody's noses without being knocked out by the spell undoing itself. Did they beam in or something?
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE A glimpse of Never Never Land through the forest.
Gold to Belle: “I'm sorry, I didn't want to wake you up to die. But I needed you.”
Regina: “Everyone looks at me as the Evil Queen, including my son. Let me die as Regina.”
• New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm
• Read our other Once Upon A Time reviews