The season 3 finale of ‘Once Upon a Time’ was amazing with major story twists for Emma and Hook, Regina and Robin Hood and Rumple and Belle, plus the twists for season 4 were revealed. We also learned the name of the newest Charming baby. If you haven’t watched the finale yet, be advised there are plenty of spoilers ahead. In Hypable’s May 11 recap, they even talked about all the familiar faces that made an appearance, including Red/Ruby, Katherine, King Midas and even Neal/Baelfire.
We started with a flashback to Emma’s childhood as she watches other kids from the orphanage drive off to new foster homes. The longing for a home of her own is the center piece of the entire finale. The celebration of the coronation of her little brother takes place at Granny’s Diner with less pomp and circumstance than would normally be customary but it’s a nice party. Red Riding Hood is there and so is Katherine. Henry shows Emma an ad for an apartment he’s found for them. Hook hints that Emma may not be staying in Storybrooke and everyone gets twitchy, especially Regina. Emma leaves to avoid having to discuss her decision and Hook follows her. Mary Margaret and Henry give him the book of fairy tales to help remind her of where she belongs.
Regina and Robin Hood share a cozy evening on the floor in front of a roaring fire. Deliriously happy, they both talk about how they never thought they’d find love or happiness again after losing their first loves. Regina tells Robin of Tink’s proclamation about the man with the lion tattoo being her destiny and he says things happen when they are meant too, that timing is everything.
While sitting in the diner, a stream of fire is spotted in the sky. It only takes a moment for everyone to figure out it is Zelena’s portal and they blame Rumple for carrying out Zelena’s plan. Everyone trots over to the police station to discover she is gone. When they play back the security tapes, what they see, through a slight of hand by Rumple, is Zelena apparently committing suicide. With Zelena dead, her magic is no longer tethered to this world and it activated the portal.
Hook finds Emma sitting on a bench and tries to convince her to stay with her family. She flips through the book and says she doesn’t see herself there. She doesn’t feel like she belongs. Running away is how she has always dealt with that feeling of not belonging. She spots the pillar of fire and they head off to investigate, ignoring the phone calls she is getting from David.
The portal pulls them in and Emma can’t hold on. Always chasing Emma, Hook lets go and follows her through the portal and they find themselves in the Enchanted Forest just before Snow White and Prince Charming meet. A quick glance at the fairy tale book shows nothing but blank pages after the point where the meeting should have been. They decide to seek Rumple and ask for help to get back home but before they can, a minor mistake sets off a ripple effect and prevents Snow from meeting Charming.
Realizing this could change everything they head for Rumple but he finds them first. When he learns of their predicament, he is curious about why he hasn’t killed Hook and whether or not he ever finds his son in the future. Convinced by Emma’s assurance that he does find Bae, he reveals Snow White’s location and promises to work on portal spell to get them home.
King Midas is hosting a ball for his daughter, Abigail and her fiancé, Prince James, aka Charming. Knowing Snow is now seeking passage out of the Enchanted Forest via pirate ship, Emma, now dressed in period garb which she hates, distracts past-Hook while present-Hook strikes a bargain with Snow. If she will sneak into the palace, steal James’s ring and return it to Hook, he will provide her safe passage and nor reveal her identity or whereabouts.
The 2 Hooks nearly come face to face but Emma distracts past-Hook by kissing him. This makes present-Hook crazy with jealousy and he punches his past self out!
Rumple uses magic to give the pair more appropriate duds and casts a spell so that everyone will see different faces and not recognize them in the future. Then he gives them an invitation to the ball so they can keep an eye on Snow. They introduce themselves as Prince Charles and Princess Leia. Hook knows his way around the dance floor and proves a delightful partner. Emma is all smiles for a change.
Snow climbs the palace wall, finds the ring and is about to escape when Prince James enters the room and sees her. Abigail follows him and alerts the guards to Snow’s presence. Emma helps Snow escape and finds the ring, which Snow dropped. Emma is arrested for helping Snow and taken to Regina’s dungeon. Another woman is there in the dungeon, familiar yet not and she tells Emma they will be executed in the morning.
Emma recalls a time when Neal showed her how to pick a padlock so they could enter an amusement park. They talk about their pasts and what home is. Neal says there is no way to get back to his past and even if he could, there is nothing there for him.
Emma picks the locks, and knowing this woman has a family, takes her with, disregarding any consequences her actions might bring.
Charming has now captured the thief, Snow White and the scene with her in the net plays out again. Only this time she doesn’t have the ring. Hook wanders into the scene and says his princess has it, locked in the dungeon and he needs their help. Snow knows the castle and get in. Charming will get his ring and Hook will get his princess then Snow can leave town.
Snow goes in first and Charming and Hook are left alone together. Charming tells Hook he admires the lengths he has gone to save his lady and believes any father would approve of him as a match for her. Hook jokes that he hopes James remembers that in the future.
Red arrives and leads them to the castle to meet up with Snow. Just as they are about to enter, Emma and her new friend emerge. Snow has crept off to deal with Regina. Hoping to use her dark fairy dust, Regina easily stops her and takes her to the courtyard to be burned at the stake as the other watch.
Emma is devastated by watching her mother die. Just then a bug begins to pester Emma and it turns out to be Snow, who used the dark fairy dust on herself to escape at the last minute. The Blue Fairy makes a brief appearance, just long enough to transform the bug back into Snow. Emma is overjoyed and hugs Snow, who is baffled by the stranger’s affections. Something in Emma has changed though.
Snow and Hook watch as James and Snow battle the trolls and continue their love story from where it left off. The book’s pages are now filled back in. The pair seeks Rumple again only to learn that he cannot help them. Only those who used a portal can make a new one. He banishes them to his vault where he stores all the powerful and truly dark magic. Without her light magic, they are doomed to stay there forever.
It is here that Emma tells Hook what she has learned. Watching her mother die broke Emma’s heart. Then when she hugged her and saw those empty, unrecognizing eyes, Emma realized she had been hurting her mother over and over since they were reunited. The one thing she now knows she wants more than anything is to be reunited with her family. She wants to stay in Storybrooke. Her “no place like home” speech reactivates her light magic and she is able to reopen the portal.
Hook carries the unconscious woman through. Just as Emma is about to leap, Rumple grabs her arm. He wants to know how things turn out with Baelfire. She is forced to tell him that they do reunite and Neal forgives Rumple but Neal dies saving everyone else and if Rumple doesn’t let her go and if doesn’t drink the forgetting potion, then Neal will be deprived that ending. He lets her go, drinks the potion and can’t remember why he came to the vault.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma and Hook rejoin the coronation party and it seems only a short time they were gone. Emma announces her plans to stay and Mary Margaret announces the name of the baby as being that of someone who has saved everyone there. His name is Prince Neal. Emma hugs her parents and for the first time, calls them Mom and Dad without choking on it.
Rumple and Belle have a private wedding ceremony in the woods. Though he feels guilty over the secret he is keeping from her, he is moved to tears by words of how they have overcome so much to be where they are and how she is so proud top love the good man he has become.
Emma finds Hook sitting in the outdoor seating area and asks him how he managed to escape the curse to find her in New York. He used his ship to outrun the curse and then traded his beloved ship away for a magic bean to make the portal to get to her. Realizing just how much he really does love her, Emma finally embraces the pirate and Takes him into her arms and her heart and they kissed.
Regina and Robin share a kiss outside the diner before entering with his son for the celebration. Inside, the stranger sees Regina and remembers her only as the Evil Queen. Emma tries to make things better and explains the situation to Regina, asking her to come talk to the woman. Just as the two women’s gazes meet, Robin spots the woman and calls out “Marion?” The boy cries out for his mother and the little threesome is reunited. Regina is cast out of the picture and she turns to Emma. “You are just like your mother,” she accuses. Things will never be good between them again.
While this is going down, the camera returns to the barn and it appears something else came through the portal from Rumple’s vault, a vase. It opens and a liquid pours out, then takes shape. A woman forms from the liquid and as she steps out of the barn, everything she touches…freezes. Looks like Arendelle will be meeting Storybrooke!