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‘Once Upon A Time’ closes out Neverland chapter in tonight’s midseason finale

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The appeal of a show like ‘Once Upon A Time’ is watching a number of major legendary fairy tale characters cross paths in unique ways. Tonight’s midseason finale is no different as the ranks of those characters have grown considerably over the show’s first half but as audiences have learned in the past, everything comes with a price.

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This season the action shifted from the fictional town of Storybrooke to the iconic world of Neverland. The change in scenery not only gave the fantasy series an infusion of new characters, but an interesting dynamic to play with now that the action has again shifted back home.

While some of the characters are good and some are evil, the show’s clever creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, have consistently kept things interesting in unique ways. For one, the pair flipped the script on viewers by making the notoriously evil Captain Hook a charming underdog and the well-known Peter Pan, a dastardly villain.

While it’s been weird watching Pan played as the bad guy, it’s also set up a series of fun twists that should come to a head in tonight’s episode. Robbie Kay, who plays Pan, even teased on Friday to The Hollywood Reporter that even though his character is master strategist, this is foreign territory even to him.

The ball's not in his court anymore because he's outside of an environment he's familiar with. You see a different sort of attitude when it comes to how he handles situations.

As viewers saw last week, Pan’s goal is to turn Storybrooke into a Neverland clone where he can once again have immortality; however that goal may not be as easy as he initially thought. The strategy of sending all of the show’s major characters to a new world for the majority of the new season has actually made them all stronger. This is a different group of people than when they left for the island to track down the kidnapped Henry (Jared Gilmore).

In the world of fairytales though everything comes with a price and in this case it was asking the audience to go outside their comfort zone and re-imagine the fairytales that are so ingrained in their upbringing. The success of “Once” lies within its talented ensemble headed up by Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle. It’s because of how they play these (mostly) well-known characters that audiences can relate to them every week and accept this new variation.

While “Once’s’ spin-off “Once Upon A Time In Wonderland” isn’t getting the same magical reception, it’s nice to see the original hasn’t suffered because of it. Creatively “Once” is still very much a fun ride and viewers are excited to see how tonight’s finale sets up the back half of the season which will debut in Spring 2014.

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