How can you solve a problem like Tamara…and Greg?
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle.
This episode wastes no time getting straight to it, and it almost feels that way for the entire instalment. Throughout this week’s tale, there is the ever-present threat of impending doom, from the moment Tamara and Greg set off the fail safe until it is, finally (and somewhat inevitably) shut off. In between that, the writers manage to make this seem like a truly apocalyptic event, and amidst all of the action, they also spare some time for some key emotional scenes.
This week’s fairytale flashback is rather touching, as we see Hook open his heart to Baelfire. No doubt another memory of Milah, we see Hook and Bae bond on the fact that both of their fathers have abandoned them in the past. It’s easy to see the parental affection Hook holds for the boy, so it’s all the more heartbreaking when Hook turns Bae over to Peter Pan. It’s still somewhat ambiguous as to why Hook has done this, but his relationship with Bae was pretty shattered once Bae had worked out that Hook was the pirate Rumple had told him about. Even though Hook protested that he and Milah had been in love, the chain reaction effect on Bae’s life was simply too much to repair that broken bond. The Lost Ones are also portrayed as delightfully dark and creepy, with features masked by hoods: a far cry from the rambunctious and playful creations that graced Disney screens in Peter Pan.
In Storybrooke, the storyline rockets along nicely, from the first scene where Tamara and Greg enact the fail safe device. It’s then a mad race against time for the heroes to stop it from destroying Storybrooke and erasing all non-Earth natives from existence. It isn’t without its emotional moments, however.
Firstly, we have the revelation that Regina is deciding to stay behind in Storybrooke to slow down the device, to enable the rest of the citizens to escape using the magic bean. It’s a wonderful character moment for her, as a person who has consistently flip flopped in her commitment towards good and evil, so this is a great turn in her redemption tale. Her message conveyed to Henry, that she finally did the right thing, is truly touching.
Elsewhere, Gold’s reaction to Neal’s death is quite touching, as is his and Belle’s reunion once he’s finally restored her memories.
The conclusion to the destruction of Storybrooke, with Emma stepping in to use her magic in concert with Regina’s was (admittedly) highly predictable, and was probably screamed at the screen by many a viewer, but was satisfying nonetheless. Emma’s embrace with her parents when they believed all to be lost, finally calling them, “Mom” and “Dad” was emotional, as was Emma’s insistence that she didn’t want Henry to grow up as she did. Some wounds just can’t heal, guys. (Those wounds are generally called scars, but it’s a less captivating phrase.)
Ultimately, the end of this episode sets us up brilliantly for a third season, and we have a much clearer idea of where the series is going compared to when the first season concluded. Henry has been kidnapped by Tamara and Greg and taken to Neverland, as Pan needs him for some, as yet, unknown reason. Our heroes – namely, Gold, Regina, Hook, Emma, Snow and Charming – are travelling after them on the Jolly Roger, while Neal has been discovered by Aurora, Mulan and Phillip in the Enchanted Forest. Poor, screentimeless Belle (and even more screentimeless Ruby) are left behind in Storybrooke. Whether we will see or hear anything from them for the next part of the season is unknown.
This episode is not without its frustrations, however. The revelation that somehow Tamara and Greg stole Henry without anybody hearing them somewhat beggars belief, and we know that kid is hardly quiet. Moreover, Emma trusting Hook to return the magic bean was entirely out of character, though perhaps she was overwhelmed at the stakes of the emergency. Additionally, the Blue Fairy’s timely discovery of a memory cure was a little bit too convenient, even if it finally eliminated the least favourite character in creation, Lacey (who thought that was a good idea? Anyone?). The fail safe switch was also ridiculously slow, so if Regina had wanted to pull the trigger on Storybrooke, she would have been sadly disappointed. It serves the purpose, however, and it does not wholly detract from the spectacular finale.
- Hook and Bae bond on the Jolly Roger, before Hook makes a deal with Pan and hands Bae over.
- The heroes decide to escape Storybrooke using the magic beans to avoid the fail safe device.
- Hook steals the solitary bean.
- Regina and Emma stop the fail safe using their combined magic./
- Tamara and Greg kidnap Henry, and travel through a portal with him.
- Hook returns, and Gold, Charming, Snow, Regina, Emma and Hook travel through another portal on board the Jolly Roger.
- Personally, if I were programming a fail safe into a curse (not that I frequently curse people, but it would be nice to have the option) I probably would just have a little button to push that would immediately destroy the entire thing. It would make for terrible TV, but surely the logic of a fail safe would be to just reverse everything to how it was before the curse. Otherwise, Regina was essentially just killing herself and anybody for little gain. I know that she only went after the fail safe once she had the assurance of magic beans so that she could escape, but it still begs the question as to who exactly made it that way in the first place.
- A still outstanding and intriguing plot point is what exactly Rumple knows about Peter Pan. He seemed pretty sure that that’s who was behind the situation.
- I was screaming at Rumple when he decided that the entire town could die just because he felt guilty over Neal’s death. Literally, he’s spent the entire rest of the season talking about how he can change and be good, and then the first thing that he does afterwards (not to mention almost killing Henry) is just decide that everyone – including the love of his life – can just die. Very selfish.
- I’m somewhat frustrated that Belle didn’t come along to Neverland. Clearly the writers have a very clear understanding of the stories that they want to tell over there, and it would be appropriate to presume that Belle doesn’t factor into those ideas. Still, it’s slightly out of character for Belle to just let Rumple go, considering she now knows the prophecy about Henry being Rumple’s downfall. Surely she should be at least slightly worried about the idea of him just deciding to kill Henry. Also, if anybody is to stay behind and lead Storybrooke and help them out, why Belle? A much more viable option would be Ruby, but she hasn’t actually been present on screens at all for a couple of episodes, so I’m not sure what’s happened there.
- Lacey had poor survival skills. Gold poured something in her drink and she just drank it. No questions asked, just shrugged and put it back. I mean, you could at least try to find out what it was so he had the opportunity to lie. It could have been poisoning. It could have been a suicide pact scenario, and then where would you be? I mean, it wasn’t, but that’s entirely not the point I’m trying to make. For a very intelligent woman, her cursed counterpart was anything but.
A breathtaking and spectacular finale, pushing us bodily forwards into Season 3.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.