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Once Upon A Time 422-423: Operation Mongoose



It’s the two-hour season finale, folks! Let’s see what those crazy writers have in store for us this week.

Part 1—Henry Does The Heavy Lifting

In Mad Men-ish times, our Author was a TV salesman. Even then he was very talky. His manager notices, and is not pleased. Awwww, no one understands his artistic point of view. But wait! A letter! From a publishing company! They want to meet him ASAP!

The fact that the letter isn’t signed by a person, but rather “Star Publishing†is not a red flag for him. The fact that Star Publishing’s offices are almost completely empty is also not a red flag for him. The fact that the publishing guy (who’s the Apprentice in a Mad Men suit) has him play a game of “pick a pen†doesn’t bother him either. And he picks the magic quill y’all!! This makes him the new Author. (Does anyone else think that this is an awfully random method for filling this important position? I wonder what would happen if he chose poorly. I’m having Raiders of the Lost Ark flashbacks.)

The Apprentice opens a portal to a land of magic so that the Author can go through and begin writing. Does the Author have no family in Mad Men-ville? No friends? (Well, what with the mind-numbing chattiness I guess I can see that.) Still, maybe you don’t want to go to an unknown world with the creepy, cryptic, straggly looking guy, Isaac. But Isaac doesn’t listen.

In Storybrooke present, August tells our “heroes†the Apprentice can help them stop the Author. Hook mentions how he trapped the Apprentice in the hatbox of doom. Now that they know where he is, Blue releases him. The Apprentice side-eyes Hook and says he can re-trap the Author with the page and key.

In Gold’s shop, a dying Gold sits in front of a case full of crystal as he and the Author discuss happiness and dissatisfaction. The Author wants to give villains happy endings. Gold explains that his happy ending means having memories of doing right by his son and having Baelfire see his father as a hero.

In town, our “heroes†walk with purpose—Emma, Regina and the Apprentice march across Main Street to Gold’s. Hook, Henry and the Charmings go to MM’s apartment to find the page. Too late! The Author writes “The End†and this cues the weird, “magic-is-happening†music and lights.

In Mary Margaret’s apartment, Henry wakes up utterly alone. It appears that there’s no one left in town. He goes to Gold’s where a phonograph is spinning. This is getting creepy, people. But I suppose not for Henry, since he’s so used to being entirely unsupervised. He drives into a nearby non-Storybrooke town (his driving skills have much improved) looking for his family and friends. No luck with that, but he does find a copy of the Author’s book, Heroes and Villains.

We cut to New York where the Author, now famous, is having a reading in front of a group of cos-playing fans. But Henry found him!! (I knew that kid was more productive and intelligent on his own than with his wacky family.) Speaking of which, Henry wants to know what the Author did with them and threatens to trap Isaac back in the book. Isaac explains that he’s re-written everyone’s story except for Emma’s. His story didn’t need a Savior. The Author says he has no power to change his stories because he’s broken the rules by writing himself a happy ending and the quill no longer works.

Henry magics them both to the alternate EF (AEF) but quickly discovers this is no fairytale when the Author knocks him out. Isaac ties Henry up so he can’t change the story and leaves him helpless as an ogre stomps into town. But don’t worry, Henry is saved by Hero Rumplestiltskin! I know I’ve praised Robert Carlyle’s acting talents many times, but I’m just not buying him here as the hero. Perhaps it’s because the writers (not the Author) want us to think the Author (not the writers) is not very good at his craft. Still with me?

Henry makes his way through the AEF using the book as a guide when he’s stopped by Bandit Regina! Henry keeps calling her “mom†which does not amuse Bandit Regina who thinks Henry’s crazy. He shows her the Heroes and Villains book. It freaks Regina out and she burns it. Henry tells Regina that the only way out of the book is True Love’s Kiss so they have to find Robin Hood. (Gag. Also, why doesn’t Henry kiss Regina. They have a True Love’s Kiss. It’s worked before.) Regina explains that she hates Robin because he’s her competition. But what’s really important in this scene is the re-playing of the “The Queen wants me dead because I ruined her life†conversation. Henry asks “Did you?†Regina replies, “yes.†See? Alternate Universe symmetry.

Isaac searches for Henry but gets caught in a trap THAT HE WROTE ABOUT by the now-evil dwarves THAT HE WROTE ABOUT. The dwarves find a cos-play fan’s Long-Live Regina button on him and assume that Isaac is a traitor to the AEF queen, Snow.

At the castle, Snow sidles around in an Evil Queen outfit. (I love Ginnifer Goodwin, but she can’t pull this off, not with that sweet baby face of hers.) She intends to kills Isaac until he rats out Henry. And here comes Guyliner Charming!! Snow’s got his heart so she controls him. They’re doing a Regina/Graham thing. More symmetry!

The Author promises to get Snow a happy ending with her so-called True Love, former evil-David-twin James in return for Snow killing Henry and Regina. Snow meets Regina in the AEF and tries to kill her but Robin Hood comes to the rescue. And he wants Regina to become the new CEO of the Merry Men because he’s getting married …..to Zelena!! She is gracious and invites Regina to the wedding. Regina politely declines. Henry insists that Robin is Regina’s true love. (She’s NOT, I say!) Henry says they have to stop the wedding. Then they discuss Emma. Turns out Regina has heard of her. Snow trapped her in a tower. And this would be our cliffhanger.

Except it’s not because this evening we are treated to……

….Part 2—Do-Over

Hero Rumplestiltskin comes home to find the Author hanging out with his wife, Belle. Hero Rumple doesn’t know who the Author is, but he does know something strange is afoot. The Author warns Hero Rumple that a boy wants to take away his happy ending. Isaac tells Hero Rumple that his life isn’t real; that instead he, the Author, wrote it. (Then that would imply that the first set of stories wasn’t real either, so what’s the point of any of this? So confusing.) The Author says Hero Rumple has to kill Regina and Henry.

Ooh, Henry’s on the Jolly Roger! He wants Hook to sail him to the prison where Emma is being held. We discover that, in this story, Hook is a lowly pirate and Blackbeard is the captain. Blackbeard challenges Hook to a duel for a reason I missed. Hook declines because he’s kind of a nerd in the AEF. Henry once again proves that his lifetime of neglect has made him resourceful. He knocks Blackbeard out using a sail weight.

Henry and Nerd Hook sail the Jolly Roger to Emma’s prison and fake out the guard (thanks, once again, to Henry) to get inside. Henry goes to Emma’s cell and surprise! She remembers him! Emma says it’s part of Gold’s plan—that she be punished by knowing the truth but being powerless to do anything about it. She has no magic here. There is an interesting meet-cute when Emma (literally) runs into Nerd Hook and he has no idea who she is.

On the Jolly Roger, Emma explains that the knight Henry knocked out is Lilly which is a problem because…. Well, it becomes self-evident as a dragon chases them down. They manage to get a cannonball in Lilly and celebrate over what appears to be some rum. Alas, in this story, our normally perky pirate is a bit of a wet noodle. It’s goat’s milk in the flask because Nerd Hook is allergic to rum.

At Evil Snow’s palace, Snow is pissed that Regina and Henry aren’t dead. She kills one of the dwarves (Doc?) to incentivize her team.

In town, Emma teaches Nerd Hook how to use a sword. (Double entendre, no?) Lilly approaches. Guess that cannonball didn’t kill her after all. Lilly is followed by the Not-So-Charmings. Emma tries to convince them that they are her parents. In the background, Nerd Hook picks up the sword and is laughably bad with it. A swordfight ensues and Nerd Hook does pretty well but in the end is killed by Evil David. Oh nooooooees!!!

In Belle and Hero Gold’s cottage, Hero Gold tells Belle there’s a threat to their happiness that he has to fix. She says he can do it because she is a sap. Also he chips a teacup. She’s not upset about that, either.

Meanwhile, Emma meets Bandit Regina. Regina is not receptive when Emma tells her she has to stop Robin Hood’s wedding. Emma tells her sad story of losing Hook before she could tell him she loved him, but if Regina stops the wedding she has a chance of getting Hook back. Regina grows misty at this tale of woe.

Emma, Regina, and Henry race to the chapel where Robin and Zelena’s wedding is taking place. But before they can make their move, Gold steps in to stop them. Henry and Emma fight while Regina goes into the chapel. Robin sees her, but Regina clams up and the wedding goes on as scheduled.

Regina runs outside just in time to take the sword blow that was meant for Henry. It looks like a fatal wound. Oh noooeees!! The church bells chime meaning this is the end of the story. It can’t be changed anymore. Oh noooooeees again!!

The happy newlyweds come outside. Robin notices the blood-soaked Regina. Zelena goes bridezilla. It’s their first fight—that didn’t take long. Zelena starts to turn green and runs away.

Emma punches the Author who is not the Author anymore. Who is, you ask? It’s Henry!!! Yay! He re-writes the ending of the story using Regina’s blood as ink. (Unsanitary!) But it works! Our “heroes†end up back in Storybrooke. Regina is fine. There’s some question about Hook for a minute, because Emma can’t find him at first. Then she does!!! He’s fine! Our pretty pirate is fine!! My teen daughter is thrilled. And I am pleased as well. Also, this is the first time we see these two anywhere near a bed. But there are no sexy times since Emma comes thisclose to telling Hook she loves him, but then doesn’t. Hook looks so disappointed. Well, that whole experience has taught her nothing.

In Gold’s shop, the Author runs out as Belle comes in. She has a reunion with the dying Gold where she explains that she won’t let him die alone because he’s dyyyyyying and he has a good heeaaart…….(you know, deep inside that black one) . Why, why, why???? Gold explains that once he dies, only the Dark One will remain, and the unbodied Dark One is super duper dangerous. Gold falls down dead.

MM and David stop the Author from leaving town. Good for you, guys, but where is baby Prince Neal? Where is Storybrooke DYFS when you need it?

In the mayor’s office, the Apprentice and Henry have a conversation which I really don’t understand. The AEF was not real, according to the Apprentice. It was a fictional universe created by the Author. But the first set of fairytales, also created by the Author (beginning in the 1960’s?) is the truth. I’m not going to dwell on it. It makes my mind hurt. Long story short, Henry passes his Authorship test and is the new Author.

At Granny’s, Robin takes Regina away from the “we-stopped-the-latest-curse†party—and also from her son who just saved everyone’s ass—to go “take a walk in the moonlight,†which I’m sure is code for shagging in the mausoleum.

Lilly wants to find her dragon dad. (Mal doesn’t know because dragons don’t take names, apparently.) Thank you, show! I’m waiting for that information.

At Gold’s the Apprentice poetically sucks the evil out of Gold, who’s not breathing. The Apprentice does a preservation spell on him so I’m guessing Robert Carlyle is back next season. Everyone’s relieved until the evil frees itself, swirls around the Apprentice, making his eyes go liquid black. Emma magics the evil stream out the letter slot.

The Apprentice explains that the darkness must be tethered to a human soul in order to keep it under control with the dagger. To overcome this darkness, our heroes must seek out the sorcerer, Merlin. I say just send Henry and call it a day.

Out on the street, the darkness swirls around Regina (who’s all aglow from her “walk in the moonlight.†Emma sacrifices herself and becomes the Dark One telling her parents that they saved her from evil once, they can do it again. Umm, Emma? That didn’t work out so well last time, remember? Before succumbing to Dark One-itis, Emma finally tells Hook she loves him.

Well, that was exciting, but I feel like the story is getting unwieldy. The sheer number of characters, stories, and interconnected plots are getting cumbersome and hard to follow. Magic seems to have different rules that can be broken or gotten around depending on the needs of the episode. What do you think? And which fairy tales do you think will make an appearance next season. Join us in the forum to discuss: http://www.freejinger.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13046&sid=f54738060e9229737ff750b53ec569dd&start=80


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  • Posts

    • JermajestyDuggar


      2 hours ago, Red Hair, Black Dress said:

      Much of Kendra's uber strict uber trad Catholicism is exactly the same as the fundies we follow.

      Kendra definitely believes she holier than the pope. Her hubris about this knows no bounds.

      She absolutely adored Pope Benedict (Best. Pope. Evah.).

      She seriously dislikes Pope Francis.  As I mentioned above, several years ago she wrote Pope Francis (and encouraged her readers to do the same,) because she said he was doing something/ said something wrong.

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      Just imagine being Catholic and thinking you are a better Catholic than the pope. 

    • Father Son Holy Goat


      On 5/20/2024 at 12:26 PM, SassyPants said:

      Do we know where Anna and the M’s are living?

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    • Bluebirdbluebell


      3 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

      This is only because the Christian books are absolute crap. There are so many terrible Christian books out out every week. Many are terrible quality, boring, or just plain bad. She thinks this proves she is an amazing book writer. No. She’s just mediocre in a sea of garbage. Plus it’s on sale right now.


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      • Upvote 1
    • Red Hair, Black Dress


      Please Rufus, don't let her write another book. Please please, pretty please. She's smug and self-satisfied and self-centered as it is

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      • Upvote 1
    • thoughtful

      Posted (edited)

      On 5/18/2024 at 7:42 PM, SisterCupcake said:

      On the KJ Bible College page...I'm still trying to figure out what it means: 


      Screenshot 2024-05-18 at 7.41.03 PM.png

      "Quit you like men" is KJV-speak for "behave like a man and meet your obligations." It's from 1 Corinthians, 16:13.

      KJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

      ESV and NIV: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

      I've heard it explained that "quit" is an old form of "acquit," in the sense usually given as the second definitiion:


      to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress

      The recruits acquitted themselves like veterans.

      I always want to punctuate it differently, just to aggravate them, when I hear these clods preaching against homosexuality:





      Edited by thoughtful

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