When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.
Want proof? Well, last night I spotted a shower of sparks shooting over Manhattan. After squinting to make sure it wasn't, say, a flaming bag filled with something icky, I squeezed my eyes shut and made a few wishes: Please let Emma finally drop her Scully act and start believing in the curse. Find a way to restore Storybrooke's citizens' memories. If you can, bring back Kristin Bauer van Straten's sexily malevolent Maleficent -- and Sheriff Skinnyjeans for good measure. And most of all, please find a way to make Storybrooke's story lines as absorbing as Once Upon a Time's fairybacks.
Okay, fine, one more thing: It'd be really cool if Prince Charming could take over my viEWer duties for just one night.
Lo and behold, earlier this evening I found that all my deepest desires had been granted. As executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz promised, "A Land Without Magic" was a total game-changer -- and Once will be an even stronger show next season, thanks to its revelations. For several episodes, it's seemed like this series was rejecting forward momentum on principle; tonight, though, our master plot took a great leap forward. And it's all thanks to the power of Twue Wuv.
As the finale begins, Charming is doing his darndest to escape Regina's dungeon. Though he manages to take down a few masked guards, he soon finds himself outnumbered -- until one lackey shoots his supposed comrade with an arrow. Who is this masked man? Why, it's our dearly departed Huntsman -- and he's happy to do whatever it takes to help James find Snow. Aww, good dog! Have a biscuit.
Meanwhile, a puzzled Dr. Whale is examining Henry in Storybrooke's one hospital room. (Seriously, isn't that the same set where David once languished in his coma?) The kid's totally still and unresponsive, but he has no symptoms suggesting a neurotoxin. It's almost like his catatonia was caused by... "magic," finishes Emma. Then she picks up Henry's story book... and suddenly, she finds herself believing in the crazy tales he's been spinning. Does this mean Emma actually remembers her own exodus from Fairy Land, or simply that she no longer thinks Henry is cuckoo bananas? Who knows -- either way, Emma is onto Regina. And she. Is. Pissed.
As soon as the Evil Queen shows up at the hospital, Emma drags her into a storage closet and roughs her up a little while revealing that 1) she's worked past her skepticism and 2) Henry ate The Apple Turnover of Doom. Regina is horrified about what's happened, but has an idea about what to do next: It's time for a trip to Gold's pawn shop.
NEXT: Battle Magicale