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Recap / Once Upon A Time S 7 E 22 Leaving Storybrooke

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Season 7, Episode 22:

Leaving Storybrooke

Wish Rumple’s evil plan is revealed and Regina realizes the only hope to stop him is by turning Wish Henry from his path for vengeance. Meanwhile, Tilly and Margot try to get help in Storybrooke. With his hope of ever being reunited with Belle fading, Weaver struggles to find a way to defeat his evil alter ego; and when Rogers’s life is threatened, he is faced with the ultimate sacrifice.


  • Arc Words:
    • For the last time, "We will always find each other" returns...only this time it's Snow and Charming telling all of their friends, loved ones, and allies that they believe this is true of everyone, not only themselves, and it is how they will win.
    • In a Call-Back to the ending of Season Six, Good Queen Regina tells Emma that this is not the ending of their stories ("because I hate endings") since she knows there will be many more adventures for them all. And Emma responds with, "So it's a happy beginning then?" (Regina qualifies this to "I like to think of it as a second chance.")
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  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Played with, since the ceremony is briefly interrupted by Emma and original Hook's late arrival, and because Snow also reveals it was an elected choice...but Regina does get a gorgeous new crown as she is made ruler of all the united realms.
  • Back for the Finale: Emma, prime realm Hook, Belle, Snow White and Prince Charming, the Blue Fairy, and Zelena return one last time. Robin Hood appears in a touching Dream Sequence with Regina. Granny, Archie, and the Dwarves get The Cameo at the start of the episode, while many others from throughout the show appear in the audience at the end.
  • Bigger on the Inside: While Regina had implied this was the case for Storybrooke before (so as to hold all the people of the various Enchanted Forest kingdoms), after all the realms are brought together there now, Storybrooke has become this writ large.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The series begins with Snow White declaring that Regina is no longer the Queen and Regina casting the Dark Curse. It ends with her being declared the Good Queen and casting the Light Curse.
    • It also ends with a ceremony in the castle chapel, just like it began, and Emma's line when she bursts in ("Sorry I'm late!") is the same as Regina's first line when she interrupted the Charmings' wedding in the pilot.
  • Call-Back:
    • Regina's dream where she gets to see Robin Hood one last time takes place in the tavern where they would have met, had she followed Tink's pixie dust; both she and the audience are made aware of his identity by the lion tattoo on his arm.
    • Just when it seems the Black Knights are going to kill Henry in the dungeon, another set of knights appears behind them and one of them shoots an arrow, saving his life (and freeing Regina from her cell in the bargain). When the helmets are removed, they turn out to be Snow White and Charming. A nearly-identical scenario occurred at the end of Season One, with Graham/the Huntsman—and to complete the parallel, it was Charming he saved.
    • Once again a dreamcatcher is used to view a sad and painful memory—only instead of Daniel's death or Emma taking Violet's heart, it's Rumple watching his marriage to Belle and crying in his belief that he will never see her again.
    • Again, Rumple sacrifices his life to save everyone, only this time it's by giving up his heart to save Wish Realm Hook, and to destroy Wish Realm Rumple rather than his father.
    • The first Dark One was created by taking a heart and murdering with it out of revenge; the last Dark One is defeated by willingly giving up a heart to save a life and allow the former target of his vengeance to have happiness.
    • When Rumple joins Belle on the other side, it's by the town wishing well where they wed at the end of Season Three; she's wearing the yellow dress from the Disney animated film, while he's wearing a mix of his leather Dark One outfit and his more open outfit, but looking as he did when he died.
    • A man close to Emma is made deputy sheriff of Storybrooke. This time it's Young Henry.
    • One of the tracking shots of the joined realms follows Tinker Bell as she swoops up toward the heights of a castle, just as in the Disney logo; this had also happened in the title card for Season Three's "Quite A Common Fairy", except with the show's title.
    • The show nearly ends where it began, with a great celebratory ceremony in the castle's wedding chapel.
    • The Montage of the best moments of the show's entire run ends with the shot of the curse mist flowing over Henry's bed and swallowing the storybook in the mid-season finale of Season Three.
    • Mary Margaret's first line in the pilot was "As we build our birdhouses, remember: you’re making a home. Not a cage." With Regina uniting all the realms in Storybrooke, that is what's finally been done with the enchanted town which once imprisoned them.
  • Can't Live Without You: Like Regina and the Evil Queen, Wish Realm Rumple's existence depends on Rumple; thus, it isn't just his powers at stake if Rumple were to give up the dagger, it's his life if Rumple's ends.
  • Central Theme: What Kitsis and Horowitz always said was the reason they created Once Upon a Time in the first place is restated by Regina at the ending, both in her final lesson learned from Rumple and in her Rousing Speech to all her subjects—that no matter what happens, no matter the hardships and adventures and loss, darkness can become light and everyone can find happiness...if they just believe in and never let go of what fairy tales stand for: hope. And to further emphasize this, that's the name Emma and Hook gave their baby.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember Maui's fish hook, that Wish Realm Hook never got to use on either Wish Realm Rumple's prison or Alice's tower, and which could break a person free from any prison? Alice is able to wish it into the snow globe so that everyone can escape.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Once again, Regina's swordfighting skill comes up when she has to duel Wish Realm Henry for her life and everyone else's.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • For the last time, the Storybrooke Clock Tower reads 8:15 AM when Alice and Robin arrive in town.
    • The Dwarves are whistling "Heigh-Ho" as they go to get their lunches from Granny's.
    • It was the blood of a dark Savior needed for the Author to create his Alternate Universe, and the blood of a light Savior (Regina) which Henry used to restore everything. This time, it's again Regina's blood (the blood of the one Wish Realm Henry hated and wanted revenge on the most) which enabled Wish Realm Rumple's spell to trap all the heroes in the storybooks.
    • Wish Realm Henry first confronts Regina in the wedding chapel, and gets her to admit to threatening to cast the Dark Curse at his grandparents' wedding, way back when.
    • The war room where we saw Snow, Charming, and the Council of Good all throughout the first and second seasons returns as the heroes plan their actions against Wish Realm Henry and Wish Realm Rumple.
    • After Regina is visited by Robin Hood in her dreams, she awakens holding a fletching from his arrow, just like when the one that Roland gave Zelena at the end of Season Five, and which she lost at the start of Season Six, later appeared in Regina's hand while she and Snow were talking about Robin.
    • The spell to allow the now-magicless Rumple to take his alter ego's heart would seem to be the same one Regina and Cora used to allow Hook to take a heart with his hook back in Season Two.
    • By facing down his wish counterpart, and then destroying him when he gives his heart to save Rogers's life, Rumple finally fulfills his original destiny as revealed in Season Six.
    • When Wish Realm Rumple disappears, it's with the same dissolve-into-sand effect as when Rumple killed Fiona.
    • We finally get to learn who Lily's father is; see What Happened to the Mouse?.
    • Once, back in Season Two's flashbacks, Regina had declared that after getting rid of Snow, the people would see her kindness and she would be a beloved queen for them. Now it has finally happened (by their choice rather than hers), thanks to her willingness to sacrifice herself and then bringing all of them together again.
    • Cora wanted her daughter to be a queen. Now at last it has come fully true, but in a way she could never have imagined or desired.
    • When Emma and Original Hook show up at the coronation, it's with their newborn baby we learned was on the way in "A Pirate's Life."
    • At the coronation ceremony, Charming is dressed as he was for his wedding, while Regina's dress has a lot in common with her wedding gown for Leopold.
  • Cutting the Knot: So the day is saved, everyone is freed, Rogers's heart is healed, Wish Realm Rumple is defeated, and Rumple gets to pass on and be with Belle. But...Regina, Henry, Ella, Lucy, Zelena, Rogers, Alice, Snow, Charming, and Robin are all trapped in the Wish Realm (having used the only magic beans they had on them to get there), the rest of the Alternate Enchanted Forest's people are still stuck in Hyperion Heights, and there's still the matter of the time differential with Storybrooke and the many split realms. All of this is resolved by the casting of yet another curse...except this time, by reuniting rather than separating and being cast out of love rather than hate and revenge, it's more of a blessing.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • Subverted twice.
      • The ability for the Dark Curse to be reversed (as opposed to being undone) has never once been stated as even possible in the show, considering it was created by combining multiple fairy spells together for the express purpose of separating mothers from their children, and so would seem to only have an evil intent. However, there were plenty of hints and foreshadowing based on both the nature of the curse itself and statements made about it throughout the show. note  And if such a reversal were to exist, it makes perfect sense that it would involve the opposite emotions, intentions, and results as the Dark Curse. So it's a perfect way to resolve both the dilemma the characters were in and some of the long-standing logistical and temporal problems between the realms that the fans have often struggled with.
      • Rumple's plan to defeat his alter ego similarly seems to come out of nowhere; but even aside from the fact we've seen examples before of two versions of the same character be inextricably connected (Jekyll and Hyde; Regina and the Evil Queen), we just learned in the previous episode that Rumple giving up his dagger to the Guardian would also cost Wish Realm Rumple his powers. So it stands to reason the wish versions of the characters would actually depend on their real counterparts for their existences. We also knew magic users could take their own hearts (Cora, Rumple, Regina), and of course we've seen Rumple sacrifice himself once before as well to save everyone.
    • The only straight example would be the appearance of Maui's fishhook just in time for those in the snow globe to break their way free, for while the hook and its powers were established some time ago, it never got used onscreen (and this was attempted some time before Drizella cast her curse) and it hasn't been seen since. And considering it's them getting free which enables everything above to occur (particularly Rumple's last gambit), this would seem to be the writers' way of getting characters out of a corner they'd been boxed into. Except...while the Author's pen took away Alice's Guardian powers, nothing was said about her regular wish-based magic she'd received as Gothel's daughter. So as soon as Zelena and her magic bean enabled them to get to the Wish Realm and the globe...
  • Died Happily Ever After: Rumple's sacrifice, which he intended merely to save Rogers's life (allowing him and his daughter to be together) and end the life of Wish Realm Rumple, turns into this when he and Belle are happily reunited in the afterlife.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Wish Realm Rumple has planned for all the heroes—by using the Evil Queen's blood and the darkness in Wish Realm Henry's vengeful heart, he will bring to life the storybooks he created, sucking each hero through a portal to a bleak and desolate realm...where they will be completely alone, separated from everyone and everything they love, forever. Zelena's understatement of "Well, this is bloody disturbing," doesn't even cut it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look very closely in the final scene, Alice has a ring on her hand, meaning she accepted Robin's proposal.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Rumple is finally and completely and most definitely on the side of "good". This results in him dying and being reunited with his wife, at last.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Regina at first refuses to even fight Wish Realm Henry, and after he disarms her and has her throat at swordpoint, she willingly offers to let him kill her if it will make him happy and save him by showing him that there are those who love him no matter what and will do anything for him.
    • Rumplestiltskin gives up his heart and by extension, his life, so Rogers can live and Wish Realm Rumplestiltskin can be stopped.
  • The High Queen: By universal acclaim, the united realms in Storybrooke choose Regina to be this at the end. They even style her as the Good Queen, to parallel her previous villainous identity.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Regina attempts this on Wish Realm Henry by appealing to the goodness, kindness, and willingness to always do the right thing she knows is inside him. This time it works, and saves the day.
  • It Has Been an Honor: While trying futilely to break free of the snow globe, Weaver and Rogers have a conversation like this; Weaver first praises Hook's determination and refusal to give up, then admits that the reason he never killed Hook in the past when he could is that, between how Not So Different they were and the many ties holding them together, he was the closest thing he had to a friend. Later, when Rumple sacrifices his heart to save Rogers, the pirate in turn expresses his sincere gratitude for his fallen friend.
  • Loophole Abuse: Just as occurred when Charming could willingly give up his heart and Snow's could be split to sustain them both, and as occurred when everyone in town could take the Sleeping Curse potion to break the Evil Queen's spell on Snow and Charming, everyone willingly giving up a tiny piece of their hearts enables Regina to cast the Light Curse that will bring all people and realms together in Storybrooke.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Although the phrase isn't uttered this time, Wish Realm Rumple again makes it clear how he believes Rumple to be weak and cowardly because love led him to his current powerless predicament. But Rumple defies it when he calls out his counterpart as the true weak one and coward.
  • Montage: A whole slew of them appear at the end—first, as Regina speaks of everyone's pasts and the future that lies ahead, there are montages of friendship and family, True Love's Kisses and many romantic couples, deaths and losses, and some of the other most memorable moments throughout the show. Then at the very end the viewer is treated to one last montage of the united realms and of Storybrooke itself, including such well-loved places and items as Granny's Diner, the yellow VW, the mechanic's shop, the pawnshop, the Clock Tower, David and Kathryn's windmill, and Emma and Hook's house, ending with the "Leaving Storybrooke" sign.
  • No Body Left Behind: Wish Realm Rumple dissolves into sand when he dies.
  • Operation: [Blank]: When Regina comes up with her plan to cast a Light Curse to bring everyone and every realm back together again in Storybrooke, Henry calls it "Operation: We are Both". Then, when Henry and Zelena are bringing Regina to the coronation, Zelena keeps her sister from prying (or Henry from giving it away too soon) by calling it "Operation: Shut Your Trap."
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Just before the assault on Prince Henry's castle which is meant to distract his men so our Henry can rescue Regina from the dungeon, Robin appeals to Wish Realm Hook to make sure this won't happen, and that she has his blessing to marry Alice. Of course he consents, then she swears he'll still be there to walk his daughter down the aisle.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Aside from the Seer's prophecy about Henry being Rumple's undoing (because both versions of him have led to this whole confrontation), the prophecy which Fiona uncovered involving her son finally comes true as well—for not only is Wish Realm Rumple, as Snow says, the worst and most evil version of him they've ever faced, by having Wish Realm Henry use the Author's pen to strip Rumple of his powers, he is now the one with the power of all the Dark Ones and thus "the greatest evil ever known." So by facing him and dying in battle, Rumple has fulfilled his destiny as a Savior, and it's this as well as his Heroic Sacrifice for Wish Realm Hook and Alice that lets him reunite with Belle.
  • Running Gag: Once again, the Blue Fairy suffers a terrible fate—it's even being sucked into a portal again. Thankfully she is freed when Wish Realm Henry stops himself from killing Regina and Rumple kills both himself and his other half to save Wish Realm Hook.
  • Something Only They Would Say: How Robin convinces Zelena that she is who she says she is, by revealing not only her lack of magic at that time but also intimate knowledge of how she drives her car and that she has a magic bean in her cupboard.
  • Storming the Castle: In an inversion from the end of Season One, where Snow and her allies invaded George's castle to rescue Charming (and he later had to escape from Regina's), Robin, Wish Realm Hook, and their allies attack the guards at Wish Realm Henry's castle as a distraction so Henry can rescue Regina from the dungeon.
  • Taking You with Me: Part of the reason Rumple sacrifices himself—he knows his Wish Realm counterpart will die with him, saving everyone else's lives.
  • The Bus Came Back: Lots of characters from the series' earlier seasons return for this final episode, including the Charmings, Grumpy and some of the dwarves, Granny, Archie, The Blue Fairy, Belle and Emma. This last one is a big surprise, as Jennifer Morrison had previously said she'd only do one episode of the season, however, considering this was the show's finale, she made an exception.
  • Title Drop: A visual one which, fittingly, occurs at the end of the episode to conclude the series. The "Leaving Storybrooke" sign is also in the title card.
  • Together in Death: Rumplestiltskin is finally reunited with his wife Belle in the afterlife.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: A downplayed version, but when Robin and Alice try to appeal to Granny, Archie, and the Dwarves, the fact they're strangers (who in the past have usually been either evil magic users or dangerous outsiders) and are claiming Regina and a grown-up Henry need help (when they know Henry is away with Regina and Emma for his graduation) causes them to attack the girls and drive them into hiding. Although for Grumpy at least, it's as much the ruining of his lunch that sets him off as anything else.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Finally, after not a peep since the end of Season Four, we not only get to see Maleficent again (in dragon form) and hear of her and Lily's life together, but we find out who her unknown father was: Zorro, of all people, who is apparently a dragon too. (The implication is that he was in one of the other realms, perhaps the Land of Untold Stories.)
    • A number of plot points or situations from the past are left unresolved, but can be presumed to have been taken care of via the Light Curse—aside from the simple fact all the realms coming together means people who were previously separated now no longer are (like Ruby in Oz with Dorothy, away from both her grandmother and Snow), it can be presumed that Whale finally got to reunite with his brother (and hopefully put him to rest), that Will Scarlet and Anastasia are together again, Chad is there with Zelena, and so forth.
    • It's not made clear if the new curse fixed the timeline and continuity problems or not—i.e. did it bring the people from Hyperion Heights to the Storybrooke they were analogous to, or the present-day one?—and if so, what this means about the various duplicates: are there three Henrys (past, present, and Wish), are there four Reginas (past, present, Wish, and Evil Queen)? Presumably most of these wrinkles were ironed out, with past and present united and evil characters like the Wish Realm Evil Queen left out, but the final scenes don't quite make it all clear.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Regina gets to hear this speech one last time, from the dream version of her Robin Hood, as he reassures her that despite what Wish Realm Henry thinks, she is good, she proves that darkness can come back to the light, and that despite the help of people like himself and Emma, she still did the hard work on her own. In a sense, Rumple also gives this speech to his wish counterpart, except he's doing it to galvanize himself for the sacrifice he's about to make.

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