“And Straight On Til Morning” concludes season two of Once Upon A Time, managing to unearth several puzzling conundrums which I’m sure will take an entire season to unravel. I’m already looking forward to it.
Part Two of the finale, “And Straight On Til Morning” begins in the past, when Hook realizes who Baelfire really is: Rumpelstiltskin’s son. His plan for revenge for the demise of Melah, Rumpelstiltskin’s wife and Hook’s lover, is taking shape.
In the present, Rumpelstiltskin is contemplating his grandson, remembering the prophecy. Rumpelstiltskin learns about Bae’s disappearance into a portal, resulting in his resolve to destroy Storybrooke; magic has yet again taken away his son. He activates the failsafe, making “And Straight On Til Morning” the most high stakes episode to date.
Hook appears at Snow White’s apartment after flatly negating Tamara’s plea to die for the cause. The gang comes up with a plan to retrieve the magic beans and find a way out together. Mother Superior, meanwhile, has discovered a cure for the memory loss curse, which Grumpy takes to Rumpelstiltskin for Belle.
In Neverland, Hook spends some time with Bae and learns that both of them were abandoned by their fathers. This changes how he sees Bae and despite the fact that he learns how the Dark One can be killed, Hook is reluctant to part with Bae. “And Straight On Til Morning” is the first time we see a sympathetic side of Hook.
In the present, Hook and Prince Charming fight Greg for the magic beans. They manage to get one, which Hook pockets. Regina goes to slow down the destruction of Storybrooke long enough for everyone to get to safety. Everyone, that is, except her. She realizes that they all, including Henry, still see her as the Evil Queen. She’s told Henry she loves him and is prepared to give all to prevent any more death. This magic has come with the highest price of all, her life.
At Granny’s Diner, Henry learns that Regina isn’t coming with them and decides there must be a way to save everyone. A suggestion is made to send the failsafe into a portal. Snow White must convince Emma that saving Regina is the right thing. Emma reminds her that letting Cora die was the right thing, but Snow White disagrees. “I did it because it was easy,” she laments. Hook leaves, secretly taking the magic bean with him, sailing away from Storybrooke.
We return to the land of “And Straight On Til Morning” as Bae finds out why Captain Hook fished him out of the water in the first place. Bae now despises the pirate and wishes to leave. He begs Bae to stay, promising, “I can change!” but Bae, who has already been betrayed by one father figure, spits out, “You’re just like him.”
The Charmings go to save Regina, who is almost at the end of her strength. Just in time, Emma joins her and together they disengage the failsafe. When everyone has breathed a sigh of relief, they notice that Henry is gone. Tamara and Greg have kidnapped him. “We’ve found something more important than defeating magic,” shouts Greg as he throws a bean into the sea. “You.” They jump into the portal.
The good guys arrive at the dock, and Rumpelstiltskin tells them there’s no way to follow without a magic bean. Enter Captain Hook, experiencing his first Han Solo moment. He gives the bean to Emma, and Rumpelstiltskin volunteers to track Henry using a magical globe. They board after a goodbye to Belle, whose memory is restored. She will stay behind to guard Storybrooke, which is still in danger from the unknown boss for whom Greg and Tamara were working. She kisses Rumpelstiltskin goodbye, knowing that he believes he will never see her again. “The future isn’t always what it seems. I will see you again,” she says. The magical globe alerts the crew to Henry’s location: Neverland.
At the end of “And Straight On Til Morning”, Neil, unconscious, is found by Aurora and Mulan in the fairytale realm. In Neverland, the Lost Ones are searching for the boy The Shadow has been looking for, giving us a glimpse at the sketch they are using to search for him. It’s a picture of Henry.
“Straight On Til Morning” wrapped up the question asked about the villains all season. Will they or won’t they do the right thing? Regina had to give up her power to save the town. Hook, although originally joining the good guys to save his own skin, had a change of heart and came back to Storybrooke. And Rumpelstiltskin lays aside his feud with Hook to search for his grandson, even though it might mean his own undoing.
None of them, however, could have done so without the love and faith of others. Regina became a hero because of Henry’s faith in her. Hook decided to help due to his connection with Bae. And Rumpelstiltskin did the right thing in the end because of Belle. The lesson we glean from this is that we are stronger and better together, that villains can learn to be heroes if they are loved and understood, and together we can conquer anything. Or at least, that’s how it appears for now.
Once Upon A Time returns this fall.