Once Upon a Time Season 3 Review “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home”

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 21 & 22 Snow Drifts/There's No Place Like Home (4)

Last night’s two-hour season finale of Once Upon a Time rewarded Emma/Hook loyalists with some incredibly sweet scenes, but also dashed hopes that Regina will stay on the straight and narrow. I can’t say I blame the formerly evil queen. After traveling through Zelena’s time portal, Emma is able to help ensure her parents’ happily ever after, while simultaneously discovering how much her family means to her. Going back to the beginning of Charming and Snow’s relationship is a smart way to tie up an uneven season, but the last few moments gave me pause as to the direction of next season.

We start out with Emma being her typical, borderline irritatingly stubborn self. She’s determined to flee to New York with Henry to live some happy life. This makes no sense considering that Henry remembers his life in Storybrooke now and has another mother whose feelings should be considered. Like a child throwing a tantrum, Emma rushes out of the diner after Hook inadvertently breaks the news of her plan. He finds her on a bench, feeling sorry for herself and mumbling something about what “home” means. Her attention is diverted when she sees Zelena’s portal. Without thinking, as usual, Emma rushes to investigate. She gets pulled into the portal and Hook goes in after her.

It immediately rubbed me wrong that when they find themselves in the Enchanted Forest, Emma doesn’t try to apologize to Hook or thank him for coming after her. But, it’s a good thing he didn’t leave her be, otherwise we would’ve missed out on some great Hook one-liners. You can see that his lecherous charm is starting to work on Emma. He has a great time getting her into the period costumes and finally ditching the red leather. It’s a nice change of pace for Emma, who looks lovely in the princess and peasant dresses.

Things quickly go awry when they accidentally disrupt the first meeting of Snow and Charming. In order to set things right, they have to track Snow down and put her back in Charming’s path. They find her at the docks, trying to hitch a ride on a pirate boat. This leads to one of the best scenes of the episode. Emma and Hook come up with a plan to distract original Hook and use Emma as bait. It’s hilarious watching modern Hook give himself dirty looks for making out with Emma. It’s even better when he knocks himself out.

They ultimately manage to get Snow and Charming back on track for their eventual love story, but not until Emma lands in the Evil Queen’s crosshairs. After trying to help Snow escape, the Queen captures Emma and throws her in the dungeon. There, Emma meets another prisoner. When Emma makes a break for it, she brings the other woman with her. This isn’t a wise decision. Emma disregards the potential implications of messing with the time continuum. She also does so on the assumption that the woman will be executed. But, does she know that’s actually the case?

While Hook and Emma are otherwise occupied, Rumplestiltskin is in full-force as the Dark One and tries to recreate the time portal. When Emma first sees Mr. Gold in his darker incarnation, her reaction is great. You forget that she is one of the few characters who hasn’t come into contact with him in this form. She convinces him to help by explaining that if the curse and other events don’t change, he will get to see his son again. All of the little reunions between Emma and the Enchanted Forest characters were fun. I like when Belle comes in and Emma makes the offhanded comment about her eventual connection with Rumple.

Rumple eventually figures out that only someone who came through the portal can recast the spell. Since Emma doesn’t appear to have any magic, he decides the best solution is to send her, Hook, and their stowaway to a vault where the most evil things are stored safely away. While there, Hook helps Emma discovery her magic and recreate the portal. Rumple tries to stop Emma from leaving until she tells him Neal’s fate. She explains that Neal dies a hero and begs Rumple to let it stay that way. This is good news for us Hook/Emma fans. This says to me that there are no plans to bring Neal back.

When the trio comes back to Storybrooke, it looks like everything has worked out for the best. But, of course that is not the case. It turns out that Emma has saved Maid Marian, who is the one person that can obliterate Regina’s new relationship with Robin Hood. Regina is devastated and blames Emma. Emma gives her doe-eyed “whoopsy” look that is hardly comforting for poor Regina. I still don’t think that Regina would have killed Marian back in the Enchanted Forest. It’s such a bummer that Regina finally got some happiness, and it’s been ruined.

In the last few moments, the big twist is that something else traveled through time with Emma and Hook. An urn spills out a blue smoke that eventually forms Elsa, Disney’s most recent heroine from the movie, Frozen. This is a risky choice. First, Elsa isn’t a villain. Frozen made it very clear that she was a troubled girl who couldn’t control her powers and never meant to harm anyone. So, she can hardly by considered the next big bad. Because of the recentness of film, there is the potential of Elsa’s presence feeling a bit gimmicky. I know the little girls will probably love it, and Once Upon a Time may get a small surge in viewers. I’m just not sure how it will work out. Will Anna also make an appearance?

This season started out with some serious problems – the biggest of which was Henry. Now that his character has been marginalized, things feel like they’ve gotten back on track. The Wicked Witch story was great, and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Zelena. I also hope that we get to keep some of the Hook/Emma momentum we’ve built up in these last few episodes. He’s shown some serious dedication to her, and she needs to stop acting like a brat. I’m interested to see if we get any serious time jump for next season.

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