The storybook has officially closed after seven years, with the heroes of Once Upon a Time slaying their final dragon in the series finale “Leaving Storybrooke.”
In the Wish Realm, Henry, Hook, and Rumple are sucked into the snow globe where Ella and Lucy are trapped. Thankfully, Hook is able to break everyone out with a magical hook. Once free, they find Robin, Alice, and Zelena there to help after they gathered some of the heroes from Storybrooke.
Henry immediately breaks into the castle’s dungeon where Young Henry is holding Regina. While fighting off a guard, Henry is saved by the magical and bad ass couple that is Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). The moment is as magical as the series has been and the reunion even sweeter.
In the war room, Snow and Charming reveal The Dark One’s evil plan. He has crafted stories for every one of them to live out their lives alone and not happily ever after. Even though the books are complete, they’re not yet reality because Young Henry has yet to write them. The hero’s goal is to stop him before they become real life.
Regina goes to fight Young Henry and, in the middle of their battle, portals begin opening up to the worlds The Dark One has created for the others. Even though Henry has the chance to stab Regina in the heart to avenge his Wish Realm family, she reminds him he’s not alone. Instead, he spares her life. This closes the portals to the heroes’ doom.
In that moment, Hook begins to die after holding Alice’s hand so that she isn’t sucked into the portal. Because of their curse, this moment puts too much strain on his heart. So, to save Hook and defeat The Dark One for good, Rumple takes his black heart, which turns red, out of his chest and places it in Hook’s. Hook is immediately cured of his curse with Alice, but it leaves both Rumple and The Dark One gone for good.
Rumple’s death isn’t a moment of sadness, but satisfaction and peace. For seven years he has been battling his demon and the curse of being The Dark One, and in a poetic way, the beast saves everyone.
Regina tells Rumple’s lifeless body that he proved the darkness could always find the light. It is such a pure moment between two people who began this series as evil partners, and their arc has gone from rivals to family and now friends. It’s a beautiful scene that captures the entire essence of Once Upon a Time.
We also get a glimpse into Rumple’s afterlife where Belle (Emilie de Ravin) is waiting for him on the other side in the most iconic yellow ball gown. It just proves that no matter the bad deeds you’ve done in your life, if you find the good in the world and are willing to sacrifice for others, the universe will reward you with what you desire most. For Rumple, that was simply getting back to Belle.
After witnessing Rumple’s sacrifice, Regina decides to cast one more spell before leaving the Wish Realm. She makes it clear it’s not another curse, but a spell that would undo all the realms. Instead of keeping everyone separated, her spell brings every realm to Storybrooke, so that everyone can live happily ever after together in one location.
In a small time jump where the lands are all together, the magical characters from every story you can imagine have decided that Regina is no longer the Evil Queen, but THE queen of all the realms. Again, let me mention the incredible character arc.
Also in Emma (Jennifer Morrison) fashion, the moment Snow is about to crown Regina as the Good Queen, she bursts in wearing a ball gown and her red leather jacket. While it would have been nice to have given Emma a more prominent spot in the finale, her final interruption is true and perfect for her character.
In the end, Regina tells everyone this isn’t an ending because it means the story is done. She calls this a second chance for everyone to live out their days happily ever after.
And you know they do because the finale fading out with the “Leaving Storybrooke” sign is the best way to say goodbye to the magic that has been in our lives the last seven years.