'Once Upon a Time' Season 4 Finale Recap: 'Operation Mongoose'

'Once Upon a Time' Season 4 Finale Recap: 'Operation Mongoose'ABC Part One: Villains Rule, Heroes Drool

In a flashback to 1966, we finally see how Isaac becomes the author. He begins as a lowly television salesman, who longs to be a famous writer. Under the guise of being a publisher, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice seeks out Isaac and tests to see if he has what it takes to become the author. Just like Indiana Jones must choose the correct holy grail in The Last Crusade, Isaac must choose the correct pen. He chooses wisely.

In present day Storybrooke, Isaac completes Heroes and Villains, sending everyone into an alternate realm where villains are living their happy endings and heroes get their lives twisted upside down. Henry is the only town member left behind and instantly seeks out Isaac. Isaac is now a famous author, as Heroes and Villains is a bestseller, bringing him to J.K. Rowling status. Using a key, Henry transports himself into the book, in hopes of saving his family and friends. But Isaac has different plans, as he tries to kill Henry but leaving him as a snack for an ogre. Luckily, Henry is saved by a heroic “light one" - Rumple!

Henry finds Regina, who is now a Katniss-braided, fur-wearing vigilante a la Snow White. Henry urges her to find Robin Hood and share in true love’s kiss and all will be returned to normalcy. But there’s a catch – Regina cant stand him. So if Regina is in Snow’s role, than where is our favorite heroine? Well, in this realm, Snow White is the evil queen! With her flock of seagulls hairdo, Snow is a cold-hard biotch, who will stop at nothing to kill Regina. Snow also has the Seven Dwarves as her henchmen and Charming as her heartless man slave. Josh Dallas plays a great brooding Charming in this episode. It’s great to finally see him get a little edgy! Isaac goes to Snow and tells her that Emma and Henry are teaming up together to defeat her and must be stopped.

As Snow White and her henchmen prepare to kill Regina, she is saved by none other than the dashing Robin Hood. Seriously, how can she resist? As they become friendly over drinks at the local tavern, Robin admits that he would like to hang up his tights and pass on the role of the leader of his Merry Men to Regina. Why, you might ask? Because he’s about to get married – to Zelena! Hey, at least in this realm Marion doesn’t exist. She was super annoying.

Henry now knows that he must find his mother Emma, the Savior. Regina explains that the Queen had the Savior imprisoned long ago. When the camera finds Emma high away in her tower, she looks effing crazy! Emma, Interrupted.

Part Two: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

This realm, Rumple is known to be heroic and brave, unlike his past cowardly, crocodile ways. He is married to homemaker Belle and together they have a newborn son. His happiness is threatened, however, when Isaac visits and tells him that if he doesn’t defeat Emma and Henry, his secret of losing his son Baelfire will ruin his relationship with Belle.

Henry seeks passage aboard the Jolly Rodger to save his mom, but Hook is no longer Captain, Blackbeard is. In this realm, Hook is a codfish! He doesn’t know how to fight, is a coward, and prefers a cold sip of goat’s milk over rum (he’s allergic). Henry quickly knocks out Blackbeard and sails to rescue Emma. Henry was pretty ballsy this episode! Kudos to the Once Upon a Time writers for finally making Henry act more like a man than the little kid we met in season one. Henry and Hook reach the tower, defeat the guard, and reach Emma. Thankfully, Emma remembers everything! Apparently Rumple’s plan was for her to feel the pain of remembering everything and not being able to help, as well as having to be locked up wearing a hideous dress.

As the three flee, Emma knows that her guard will be after her. But it’s not just any guard, it’s Lily, and she’s quickly transformed into her dragon form. Ugh, Dragon Lily is back. Not to worry, Hook gains a little more courage (perhaps he’s trying to impress Emma), and shoots Dragon Lily out of the sky with a cannon. The chemistry between Emma and codfish Hook is palpable! Emma teaches Hook how to fight, which was so lame. How do you teach someone how to sword fight with like three swishes? Perhaps she was more concerned with the “muscle memory” portion of their lesson. Alas, Queen Snow breaks up this session, ready to kill them all. Hook bravely defends Emma and Henry, which ends up getting himself killed by Charming. Whoa! Evil Charming is no joke. Emma must watch the man that she loves die before her eyes. Tear. 

Emma and Henry find Regina, urging her to act upon the true feelings in her heart for Robin. Emma admits that she wishes that she could have told Hook that she loved him and doesn’t want Regina to make the same mistake. They have to act fast, as the wedding is just moments away. As Regina is about to pull a Benjamin Braddock and break up the wedding, the crew is stopped by Rumple. Rumple believes that he must kill Savior and Son in order to maintain his happiness at all costs. Emma first duels with Rumple, which leaves her on the floor. Next, Henry grabs a sword and prepares to fight. Regina quickly steps in front of him, resulting in her being fatally injured. As wedding guests leave the church, they are shocked to find a dying Regina. Robin rushes to her aid, however, his blushing bride is peeved she got blood on her dress. Zelena’s wickedness is revealed, and she flees as her skin begins to turn green. #Bridezilla

Isaac is no longer the author due to his selfish ways, and therefore cannot change what has been done. Nor would he want to. As Regina is dying, Henry takes the magic pen, using the true hero’s blood as ink, Regina’s. He writes their story anew, and everyone is transported back to their own realm of Storybrooke, alive and well. Issac's dream of becomes famous is no longer, as Snow reminds him that achieving happiness by hurting others makes you a villain. Gotta love when Snow White has her "The More You Know" moments.

Part Three: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

As everyone is reunited, Rumple’s heart and capacity to love is nearly lost. He shares one last moment with Belle, who admits that he could’ve had his happy ending all along, she has always loved him. Belle is such a chump this season! After all the things that Rumple put her through, it’s pretty dumb that she always takes him back. Girlfriend needs to sign the divorce papers, quit her job at the pawn shop, and move on with hottie Will Scarlett. Perhaps in season five she’ll learn, but we doubt it.

Belle knows that once Rumple is gone, the Dark One will be more powerful than ever. She enlists the help of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, who attempts to use magic to absorb all of the darkness into the Sorcerer’s Hat, leaving Rumple’s heart clean as a whistle. But you guys didn’t think it would be that easy, right? The darkness quickly escapes, killing the Apprentice. In his final words, he says that the Sorcerer himself must be found to defeat the darkness – Merlin. Hopefully this means there’ll be some Sword in the Stone references next season!

Now that the darkness doesn’t have a body to latch on to, it is free to wreak havoc onto the town. As it begins to take over Regina, Emma bravely volunteers herself to absorb the darkness. Regina has come too far to go dark again. As Emma tearfully says goodbye to her family and admits her love to Hook, she sacrifices herself and becomes…the Dark One.

Phew! What an episode! What a season! What did YOU think? And what do YOU predict will happen next? Share your thoughts and comments with us!