'Once Upon a Time' Season 6 Finale Recap: Can Emma Save Storybrooke One More Time?
'Once Upon a Time' Season 6 Finale Recap: Can Emma Save Storybrooke One More Time?
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The final battle is finally here on Once Upon a Time. Throughout all of season 6, we've been waiting for the final battle. And, boy, the Black Fairy has really set out to tear everyone apart and destroy Storybrooke. As her curse is released in "The Final Battle Part 1 and 2," Henry finds himself trying to convince Emma, who is in a mental hospital, that her memories are real and not just a fantasy. Meanwhile, the rest of Emma's family is trapped in a crumbling Enchanted Forest, hoping that Emma will believe again to save them.

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Back to the Beginning

After Henry wakes up on the roof where Emma's wedding was held, he searches through Storybrooke for his family, who is nowhere to be found. He runs into Archie on the street, who tells him that Emma is where she has been for the past two years: a mental hospital.

Henry goes to visit Emma, who believes she's been in the hospital since Henry ate a poison apple turnover years ago, when they first arrived in Storybrooke. Basically, she thinks that all of the "stories" they've lived for the past few years aren't true. In fact, she doesn't remember anything. She even urges Henry to stop reliving them, as it could reverse all of the progress she's made.

Then Emma reveals that Henry's mother is Fiona, the mayor of Storybrooke. Yes, the Black Fairy's curse has taken Emma's family away by erasing her memory of them and making herself mayor of Storybrooke so that Emma will never remember ever again.

Before Henry leaves the hospital, he tells Emma to not do anything Fiona asks. Later, Fiona sits down with Emma and Archie. She tells Emma that she could get out of the hospital soon and even back to Boston. In order to make real progress, though, Fiona says Emma must destroy the storybook so that Henry can stop his delusions too. Emma refuses to do that to him, much to Fiona's disappointment.

As she thinks of another way to get Emma to destroy the storybook, Fiona goes to visit Gold and Gideon at their shop. It's revealed that Belle left them, so Fiona is coming to see how they are making out on the anniversary of the day she left. After she leaves, Gold tries to discuss Belle to Gideon, who doesn't want to hear it.

Destroying Memories

Henry goes back to the hospital to break Emma out. He brings her to the roof where she and Hook got married, and she has a brief memory of it but shakes it off. She tells Henry that she just wants to leave. She adds that even if she remembers, Fiona will end up locking her up anyway. So Henry agrees to help her leave. He heads to Archie's to get her car keys and finds the storybook that Fiona is hiding. However, Fiona gets wind that Emma is out of the hospital, so she tracks Henry down. She pushes him down the stairs, as a way to get Emma to finally give up any lasting memories of her fairy tale past as a Savior.

In the hospital, she convinces Emma that Henry is lashing out to get her to believe his stories that just aren't true. Fiona then tells Emma that she must destroy the storybook to get rid of the stories once and for all, for Henry's sake. And then Emma burns the book, even as she looks fondly at a photo of Hook.

A Crumbling Storybrooke

While the curse has erased Emma's memory and belief, it sends Snow, David, Regina and Hook back to the Enchanted Forest. They immediately vow to find a way to defeat the Black Fairy, when Zelena shows up with a Mad Hatter hat. She uses it to show them that Oz was crumbling around her as she left. However, as she opens the door to her realm, it's not there. They realize that as Emma's belief in the stories fades, each of the realms is destroyed, and eventually they will be destroyed with the realms.

Regina and Zelena start to work on a spell to try and get to Emma and Henry in Storybrooke, while Hook and David climb a beanstalk to try and find a magic bean. As Regina and Zelena work, they run into the Evil Queen, who has made her way back to the Enchanted Forest and her castle. She promises to help them try and defeat the Black Fairy. Meanwhile, Hook and David find a magic bean at the top of the stalk.

As everyone works to try and get to Emma, who no longer believes, a huge curse starts to overtake the Enchanted Forest and destroy it. Hook brings the magic bean back to Regina, but it turns black as the magic fades. Everyone tries feverishly to figure out a way to get back to Storybrooke, but there isn't enough time. The Evil Queen even sacrifices herself to hold off the curse for a little bit so Regina can figure out something, but it doesn't help as the castle crumbles around them. However, it stops suddenly.

Taking Matters into His Own Hands

After Fiona shows Henry the burned-up pages of the storybook, he finds Emma, who is leaving Storybrooke for Boston, despite his pleas to stay. Then he goes to find Gold. Even though Gold has been acting as if he's under the Black Fairy's curse, Henry knows better. Gold tells Henry that he's been pretending because he knows that the Black Fairy is keeping Belle close by as leverage, and he plans to find her. Henry asks for Gold's help, but he tells him that Belle is more important. So instead, Henry asks him for a magic mirror, so he can communicate with the Enchanted Forest, and the sword, so he can defeat the Black Fairy himself.

In Boston, Emma finds a book that Henry wrote himself. It's the story of her life. It impacts her enough that she heads back to Storybrooke to help Henry battle the Black Fairy. And it's at this moment that the Enchanted Forest stops crumbling, when Emma starts to believe.

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Breaking the Curse

Rumple heads to find Belle, who is in a home outside of Storybrooke, where the Black Fairy is keeping her. She's scared of Rumple, and he tries to explain what happened. She doesn't want to hear it.

Back at his shop, the Black Fairy comes in looking for her wand so she can decipher the scribbles that Henry wrote. She controls Gideon to get the wand. Later, Rumple comes in and reveals that he's awake. The Black Fairy tries to convince him to side with her. She tells him that when Gideon kills the Savior, she will have magic so powerful that he can have anything he wants, even his dead son, Baelfire. He doesn't trust her at all, and eventually he uses her wand to kill her. As he kills her, her curse is lifted. Emma remembers everything, Belle comes rushing back to Rumple, and everyone in the Enchanted Forest is returned to their proper realms, including Storybrooke.

The Final Battle

Despite killing the Black Fairy, her final order to Gideon is to kill Emma. Rumple knows that he has to get Gideon's heart back to him so that the Black Fairy will no longer control him. He and Belle head to the underground to find the heart. There, he's confronted with a version of himself that wants him to let Gideon defeat Emma so that darkness will win. Rumple won't give in, however; the heart turns black, as part of the Black Fairy's curse. Rumple feels as if he's failed Belle and his family by doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Storybrooke, the battle is beginning. Regina realizes that darkness will win either way, if Emma is killed or if Gideon is killed. She has confidence that Emma will find a third way to save everyone.

Gideon and Emma then battle. Eventually, she throws her sword to the ground, saying she is hope. Gideon apologizes, saying he had hoped she'd save them both, and then he stabs her. Her light is released, and it looks as if she's dead. However, Henry rushes to her side and kisses her. This breaks the curse once and for all. Emma wakes up, and Gideon is transformed back to a baby.

Another Beginning

Everything goes back to normal in Storybrooke. Snow is teaching again. Emma and Hook are doing police work around town. Belle and Rumple are raising their son the way they were supposed to. All of the realms are returned to normal. And even the Evil Queen gets engaged to Robin in the Enchanted Forest. Life is pretty good for our favorite fairy tale characters as they get their happy ending.

Meanwhile, all throughout the episode, a little girl is protecting the storybook. Her father gets chased in a village, where he tells her to protect the book. As she goes to find her father, she encounters Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily tells her that she must keep protecting the book. She adds that she has to bring it to her mother. When the little girl asks where her father is, Tiger Lily assures her that she will see her father again but that she needs to learn the lessons in the book -- never give up hope.

Years later, in Seattle, the little girl is riding a train. She is reading the book and gets to the end where everyone is happy at Granny's. After she gets off the train, she goes to an apartment. A man opens the door. She asks if he's Henry Mills. She then says that her name is Lucy, she's his daughter and his family needs him.

A Reboot

It looks as if season 7 is all set up to be a clean reboot of the series. With the core group of original cast members not returning, the writers have found a way to breathe new life into Once Upon a Time. And it seems like they will be starting over with a new curse, but this time an adult Henry will probably be the Savior. I have to say, that's a pretty good twist that I didn't see coming. I had my doubts that the series could even continue, with so many characters leaving, but this looks promising.

I'm happy that no one got killed either, well, besides the very evil Black Fairy. But good always wins. I'm pleased that Rumple finally did the right thing. Love prevailed, and his true form as a Savior came through. I like the idea of a happy beginning, instead of a happy ending too. And now I'm eager to find out how the series will go moving forward.


Did you like the season 6 finale of Once Upon a Time? Do you think the main characters of Emma, Snow, Charming and Henry will be missed? Do you like how season 7 is set up with an adult Henry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)