Once Upon a Time Finale Recap: That's the Power of Love -- Plus: A Chilling Final Twist!

Once Upon a Time Finale RecapWarning: The following contains 1.21 gigawatts’ worth of spoilers from the Once Upon a Time Season 3 finale.

This Sunday in the Once Upon a Time Season 3 finale, Emma and Hook plotted to get back to the future after being sucked into Zelena’s time portal and transported to The Fairy Tale Lane That Was.

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Long story short: With a little help from old-school Rumplestiltskin (Emma’s reaction to his made-up look? Priceless!) plus the power of love (for home/family, which gave Emma her magical mojo back), the pair returned to Storybrooke, but they brought one stranger — and a stowaway — with them.

The unnamed woman (played by Arrow‘s Christie Lang), whom Emma rescued from execution at the Evil Queen’s hand, turned out to be Maid Marian aka Robin Hood’s “dead” wife. Suffice it to say, Regina is none too pleased with Emma, whom she scolds as being “exactly like” her consequences-forsaking mother, Snow White. IOW: It is once again on, like Donkey Kong.

The stowaway, meanwhile, was glimpsed in the final seconds — the top-secret final scene that Ginny Goodwin told us about. Emerging from an icy blue goo that spewed out of some urn that came through the time portal with Emma and Hook, the figure slipped a glove off one of her hands and revealed a magically frozen touch. Princess Queen Elsa, is that you? (Update: Yes, it could be the original Snow Queen, or possibly the White Witch. But they obviously went out of their way to evoke Elsa. The gown color, the effects, the gloves. Blatant misdirect? We shall see.)

OnceUponaTime_Elsa_FrozenREVIEW: I’ll be honest, I get skittish at finale time, for all of the shows I cover. There’s nothing more painful than not sticking the landing. But these two hours were a huge amount of fun, from head to toe. Yes, the exposition-loaded first scenes totally telegraphed the time portal/Back to the Future storyline/Maid Marian reveal, but once we landed in FTL with Emma and Hook, the pacing and the dialogue and the performances made it worth the trip. Emma’s first reactions to Rumple, to Belle, to the corset, to witnessing her parents’ first meetings and such? So much fun. Hook revealing to Emma why people have a ball at lavish balls? Sweet. Emma “distracting” the Other Hook so that Our Hook could sneak onto his ship? Highly entertaining. Emma getting her magical groove back? Thrilling. “Prince Neal”? OK, that was a little on the nose (and not very royal-sounding), but we’ll allow it. One also had to enjoy the warm moments throughout, as Emma declared Storybrooke her home and laid her hooks into Killian, as Regina and Robin Hood bonded (pre-Marian), as Rumple and Belle exchanged meaningful vows in a (too-)quaint ceremony in the woods. It was also sport to mind the weaving of old Snow/Charming footage with new, working around Goodwin’s baby bump and all. At times it reminded me of that Fringe line, “Stop staring at my younger ass.”

The Regina/Emma frenemyship has been revived, Regina also now has a new foe (growth is nice, yes, but they need to have someone for her to be Evil to, otherwise she’s just another character), Rumple is keeping a secret from his new wife, there’s a new bad in town…. Season 4 seems set up for a promising start.

What did you think of the season finale? Also: if you have questions for Adam and Eddy, please email InsideLine@tvline.com — thank you!