By Hillary Busis
Updated December 20, 2019 at 07:37 AM EST

[Warning: Do not read if you haven’t seen tonight’s Once Upon a Time finale yet. Here be dragons, and also spoilers, and also spoilers about dragons. Seriously, do yourself a favor and watch the episode first. Do we have a deal?]

Well, so much for a land without magic. Once‘s first finale blew the lid off of the show’s entire premise — and set up a Season 2 in which a) the Dark Curse is no more and b) the residents of Storybrooke have had their magic restored. And even if Kristin Bauer van Straten had to die to make it happen — RIP, Maleficent! We hardly knew you! — I just can’t wait four months to find out what happens next.

I nearly cheered out loud when Emma became a believer in the episode’s first few moments; I was convinced that we’d have to wait until the eleventh hour to see her finally embrace her destiny. Fortunately, I was wrong — and Emma’s acceptance of Storybrooke’s true nature set us up for a brisk, action-packed finale that featured not one but two battles with a dragon, as well as a surplus of twists and snappy lines. (Gold says he’s saving the True Love potion for a rainy day. Emma’s response: “Well, it’s storming like a bitch. Where is it?”)

It seemed obvious that Gold wanted to secure the elixir so that he could finally get to work on finding his long-lost son, Baelfire. But instead, Gold used his Love Potion #9 to bring magic into the so-called real world — which means that as of Season 2, he’ll officially be the Dark One again. (It also means that we can officially ditch the Storybrooke names altogether, which might make distinguishing between present-day action and Fairybacks difficult.)

Regina, of course, will also be an incredibly powerful witch once more. And the nuns are going to find themselves sprouting wings pretty soon. And Red will once again g0 through some hairy changes when that time of the month hits. In short, Once has found a way to finally make its Storybrooke plots as interesting as its Fairy Land flashbacks — thus solving one of the series’ most pervasive problems.

Shortly after the west coast feed of Once finishes airing, I’ll have a full recap ready for your perusal. (UPDATE: Click to read Hillary’s full Once Upon a Time season finale recap.) In the meantime, though, use this space to discuss tonight’s finale. Are you as jazzed about it as I am? What was your favorite moment — Emma fighting the Maleficent dragon, Rumpel reuniting with Belle, August/Pinocchio’s sad transformation back into a little wooden boy, seeing the purple smoke monster fog enveloping the town, or something else altogether? And what are you looking forward to seeing in Season 2?

Read more:

‘Once Upon a Time’ finale: Replay our live chat with Josh Dallas

Episode Recaps


Once Upon a Time

Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.

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  • ABC
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