Once Upon A Time bid farewell to Emma Swan in last night’s episode, a Hook-centric hour titled “A Pirate’s Life.” The show runners had promised a happy ending for our former leading lady, and fans had been eagerly anticipating what that looked like for the woman they’d been following for six seasons.
And it turns out that Emma’s happy ending is starting a new family with the man she loves. Emma’s happy ending is getting the chance to be the mom she could never be to Henry. Emma’s happy ending is …family.
This seems, fitting, in a way. Even if we don’t all want kids, and our ideas of family might be different, might not even be made of people who share our blood, we all crave that love and acceptance. We all want to belong somewhere.
Plus – yes, in a way, it’s good that the Rogers we’re seeing is not really Hook, not the one we know and love. Because Emma went through pregnancy alone before, and what kind of a happy ending is it if she’s doing the exact same thing while her husband is trapped in a curse?
But then again – what kind of a happy ending is it without her son?
And that is, really, where it all derails. Even if I could have done the mental gymnastics to accept that Emma legit doesn’t care about Regina – who we were led to believe was her friend, or that no one even found Rumple’s disappearance odd, how can we make Emma’s happy ending – and Snow, Killian and Charming’s happy endings, for that matter, revolve around family – when their family is not complete?
Milwaukee my ass.
Henry didn’t just move to another part of the country – he’s trapped in a curse on another realm. And yes, Emma might not know that, but then again …she hasn’t really known anything about her son for years and that’s apparently, you know, fine. All part of growing up or whatever. I mean, it’s not like she’s ever had abandonment issues, right?
And Regina cares enough to be there, but what, Emma’s like, we’ll Facetime for Thanksgiving? It’s okay if you don’t call, I understand you’re a grown man and you need space? If you get caught in a curse, make sure you try TLK? You don’t have to introduce me to my granddaughter, we cool?
Does anyone in the Once Upon A Time writers room have kids?
Let’s be honest, not only does this make no earthly sense in like, the real world, it also goes against Emma’s character development, not to mention Hook’s, Snow’s AND Charming’s.
Because Emma aside, let’s remember Snow and Charming are the people who willingly walked into the Underworld to save their daughter’s boyfriend. Now their grandson is in another realm and they’re like new phone who dis?
You want to know the sad thing about this? The sad thing is – if this had happened in another context, I would have been really happy for Emma finding that happily ever after, the one that consists of having the quiet life that she always dreamed of, surrounded by the people she loved.
The sad thing is, if this had been introduced any other way, I would have genuinely enjoyed Cinderella and Henry, because it’s really hard to not enjoy Dania Ramirez and because I find Andrew J. West charming, despite very vivid memories of his The Walking Dead character.
If this had been a full reboot, I would have been here for all the new feelings, Once Upon A Time. I really would have. But it’s not – and I can’t let go of that. I can’t let go of the fact that you had to go against character development to bring us a story that you could have brought us without betraying your own characters.
And I really, really can’t let go of the fact that you act like your fans have no right to be mad.
So, farewell, Once Upon A Time. For me you ended yesterday. Or, better yet, you ended last season, this was just the extended ending we got with the DVD, kind of like a coda to Emma Swan’s journey. The other story you’re telling, that’s got nothing to do with the past six years – despite the fact that it does.
I refuse to see it as part of this tale. I refuse to accept that’s Henry. I refuse to accept that’s Regina. I don’t care enough about Rumple to refuse him, but if I did, I’d refuse him too.
That’s the only way I can move forward.
So thank you for the good. Thank you for Emma Swan, thank you for Captain Swan, thank you for the hope and the laughs and the lessons – good and bad. Thank you for this journey. May you enjoy the new one.
In the meantime, who’s got some good fanfic recs for me?