As you all know, Once Upon A Time is ending this season. Now, I’m of the opinion it should have ended last season, and I haven’t exactly kept up with what’s happened in Season 7 – but I do know one thing, now that the show is slated to end, there’s only one ending that really and truly makes sense.
Hint: it involves Storybrooke, and the woman whose journey we followed for six seasons.
Shows usually start as one thing and evolve as the seasons go on. We meet new characters we fall in love with, find that interactions we never thought we were going to like become our favorites. TV is not a medium that should ever remain static – and yet, that doesn’t mean that a show can and should forget what, at its core, made it successful, especially not as it nears the end.
Once Upon A Time was always about hope, yes, about believing in the possibility of a happy ending and the power that existed in just that belief. This idea is universal, and it’s not tied to one character in particular. But we don’t fall in love with ideas; we fall in love with people, with characters that represent those ideas.
And, back in Season 1 of Once Upon A Time, we fell in love with Emma Swan, with her struggles, with her story, with her search for a happy ending. We fell in love with Snow and Charming, with their love, with their family. And now, as the show gets ready to wrap up it sounds almost impossible that we could get an ending that doesn’t involve them.
Sure, there’s Regina, and Rumple, and a version of Hook – two characters that have been with us from the beginning, and one that sort of looks like the character a lot of people fell in love with in Season 2, a character sometimes we forget wasn’t there from the beginning.
Plus, there’s Henry, a new, grown-up Henry, but Henry nonetheless, the little boy who started this journey with Emma and Snow and Charming and is now a grown man with a life and a journey of his own.
Why shouldn’t they get to wrap up this story, you ask? They are an integral part of it. And I don’t disagree; I just don’t know how we can close off the story of a family in a satisfying way without all the members of a family.
Because the thing is, at the end of Season 6, like it or not, these people were family. They went through a lot together, they fought and they loved and they triumphed together, and they were a unit. Stronger together, and all that.
Can the story end without seeing how Emma is doing, what life is like for Snow and Charming as they finally get to live, as a couple, as a family? Yes, of course it can. Should it? The answer to that is pretty clear.
This family includes not just Regina, Rumple and Henry, this family includes the original Hook – the one in Storybrooke with Emma, and their child – Henry’s brother or sister – this family includes Snow and Charming and Baby Charming (the show could end and be wiped from existence and yet I will never use his real name), and this family, of course includes Emma Swan. The Savior. The character we followed and rooted for.
So, bring back the people we love, Once Upon A Time. All of them, not just Zelena and Robin. Give us the happy ending that your premise dictated we’d get. Show us a glimpse of that world where the EQ and Robin live happy, together. Show us Captain Swan and their family. Show us Snow and Charming and theirs. Give us one, final look, at all the people we loved, at the family we created.
And give the people who’re still around – Henry, Rumple, Regina and Wish!Hook their own happy ending.
Give the show we fell in love with, once upon a time, the ending it deserves. Do it for the fans, but mostly, do it for you. This is, after all, how you’ll be remembered.
End it right.
Once Upon A Time airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC.