Once Upon a Time season finale recap: Now I'm a Believer

Big, awesome changes are coming to Storybrooke -- thanks to a certain savior and her eleventh-hour dragon battle
Ep. 22 | Aired May 13, 2012

A CHANGE IS GONNA COME And making goofy faces won't save you, Regina.

David Gray/ABC

It's go time for Emma and Regina. The queen/mayor/HBIC leads Ms. Swan to a mysterious room beneath the clock tower, where she reveals a Get Smart-esque apparatus that hides a manual elevator. She's going to stand at the top, working the lift's controls; Emma's must descend in it alone. Once she gets to the bottom, she finds herself face-to-enormous eye with one of Regina's old pals: Maleficent, who has been trapped beneath Storybrooke in her giant dragon form.

As Emma does battle with her new foe -- switching to her trusty pistol when Charming's sword doesn't seem like it'll do the trick -- we flash back and forth between her fight and her father's own duel with Maleficent. Rumpel has tasked James with hiding the potion (safely stored within a Triwizard Tournament-style golden egg) inside of the sorceress. Fairy tale logic: gotta love it. James manages to succeed by launching himself onto the dragon's back, tossing the egg within her, and then propelling himself straight out of a stained-glass window and into the lake below the witch's castle. Well, they say that the best solution is often the simplest.

Emma, meanwhile, finally ditches the gun and uses a fairy tale weapon to fulfill a fairy tale quest. She tosses the blade at the dragon's heart -- and it hits its target, reducing Maleficent to a pile of ashes. The only thing left is the golden egg she was so helpfully incubating.

After Charming drags himself to dry land, Rumpel hands over his reward: the prince's mother's engagement ring, which he's enchanted so that it will lead James to his one true love. After Rump Prince Ali's James some more fetching duds, Charming sets off in Snow's direction. There's a glass coffin; there's a final kiss; there's a miraculous resurrection. Hurrah, Twue Wuv wins! Charming steps things up after the rescue by proposing; Snow White does him one better, suggesting that they go ahead and take back their kingdom. Technically, I think they've got two kingdoms to conquer -- but something tells me these crazy kids just get it done.

As Emma's riding back up to the surface, the elevator abruptly stops. But when the sheriff calls up, it's not Regina who answers -- it's Gold, who claims that the mayor has abandoned Ms. Swan in the shaft. Since Emma can't climb while carrying the egg, he suggests that she throw it up to him, then shimmy out of this tight spot. Proving once again that her instincts are top-notch, Emma does as Gold says... and promptly discovers that she got played. Regina's been tied up outside the elevator; Gold is headed back to his shop with the stolen elixir.

There, Gold removes his prized Potion #9 from the golden egg. Before Gold can put the next phase of his plan into action, though, he faces a surprise visitor: Crazy Tangle-Haired Belle, who repeats the lines Jefferson fed her in the hospital. Gold is utterly shocked -- the lady is real! She's alive! She's still questionably Australian! Now he's got a buddy to bring along on the next phase of his plan.

NEXT: Sometimes I am frightened / But I'm ready to learn / Of the power... of looooove!

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