Once Upon a Time Season Finale Recap: Dark Night — Who Got a Happy Ending? And Who Should Play [Spoiler]?

Once Upon a Time Season 5 Merlin King Arthur

The following recap, by the very definition of the word “recap,” contains major spoilers from Once Upon a Time‘s Season 4 finale.

Hey, remember that Once Upon a Time Season 4B promo from February that teased the possibility of a walk on “the dark side” for Emma?

Yeah, so…. They were not kidding. But more on that in a bit.

This finale took some risks, entrusting much of its opening thrust to young Jared Gilmore (who has never had nearly this much to do) and a quite new recurring character (in Patrick Fischler’s Isaac). But the storyline demanded it, and in my opinion it absolutely paid off, as optimistic-and-determined Henry hunted down and squared off against the best-selling author whose Heroes and Villains novel banished everyone in Storybrooke to a topsy-turvy Enchanted Forest.

Once in this alt-FTL, we got a variation on Season 1, where The Truest Believer struggled to convince his mother Regina, and then Hook, that they had been written into a new existence, removed from their actual lives — all while racing against the clock (i.e. Robin Hood and Zelena’s wedding bells) and avoiding the bloodthirst of Evil Snow White.

This set-up afforded the familiar cast new “roles” to play, such as Regina the plucky bandit, Rumple the do-right knight, Charming the guylinered henchman, Hook the goats milk-swilling deckhand, pissy Granny. And while that alone was pure entertainment — Lana Parrilla, for one, did a great job of changing up Regina’s disposition — the stakes were also very real, especially once Henry learned that his other mother, Emma, was being held captive in a remote castle, guarded by Dragon Lily.

One saving grace for Henry was that upon finding Emma (thanks to the trusty “Wookie prisoner gag”), she remembered him, because that was the very punishment handed down by Heroes and Villains dictator Rumple, that she know the truth but be powerless to act on it. Once Upon a Time Emma Dark OneWe then got to see Emma “meet” Hook as they bumped into each other (for an amusingly lingering amount of time), and then go on to help the poor guy out with his fencing skills, which will come in handy very soon.

Meanwhile, we visit with Rumple and Belle, who are happily together and doting over a newborn. But then Isaac shows up to state his case — by relating the actual fate of Baelfire, and Rumple’s none-too-noble role in it — and warn that Henry’s plan to unite Regina with Robin Hood must be stopped, lest they all lose everything. Rumple confides in Belle the vagaries of his moral dilemma, but she assures him that he is a “hero,” and as such always makes the right choice.

Upon making it back to land, Henry, Emma and Hook run into Evil Snow, who has been relishing the chance to kill the “boy.” Subscribing to the wild notion that the greater good will offset any (mortal) setback, Hook offers to fend off Charming while Emma gets Henry to safety, but his sacrifice comes all too quickly when he is run through with a sword, as devastated Emma looks on. Henry rushes Emma to “meet” Regina, who’s still not entirely on board with the lad’s story and the “need” to crash Robin’s wedding. But when Emma shares her fresh pain of seeing the man she loves (yet never said “I love you” to) die in front of her, Regina agrees to give “true love” a shot.

Once at the church, Regina inches close to pulling a Dustin Hoffman, while Emma faces off against Rumplestiltskin, who after a bit of parrying uses magic to lob Emma against a rock. Henry picks up his mom’s sword and readies to face Rumple himself. Regina’s focus darts back and forth from nearly wed Robin and the drama going on outside, and as Rumple goes to slay Henry, Once Upon a Time Emma Dark Oneshe steps in between the men and takes the fatal blow herself. And just as the church bells ring, signaling the end of the book and point of no return.

Or is there a last hope…?

Henry reaches for Isaac’s quill, which glows upon his touch — signaling him to be the new Author. But, Isaac scoffs: You have no ink, so you ain’t writin’ nuttin’. Henry thinks fast and reckons that whereas the blood of a dark Savior worked before, in this down-is-up reality, the blood of a light Savior should get the job done. And after dabbing the quill in hero Regina’s blood, Henry writes away Isaac’s interference, returning all to Storybrooke.

Back home, Emma seeks out Hook, fearing his death had perhaps stuck — but when she sees him alive and well, she tackles him on a bed and says at long last, “I… want to thank you for sacrificing yourself.” Elsewhere, however, the drama is far from over: Rumple again lay dying of a near-solid black heart, meaning it is not long until The Dark One roams free, untethered to a human soul. With Belle at his side, Rumple uses some of his last breaths to reflect on when they were in love in the other reality. “I was already in love,” she corrects. “Everything we had in the book… you could have had here…. I knew what I was getting, I wasn’t going to pull back.” Once Upon a Time Emma Dark OneLest there be any uncertainty about her feelings, she avows, “I don’t love Will… and I’m not letting you die alone.”

Belle rushes to Granny’s to bust up the latest “We Survived Another Cosmic Calamity” party and alert everyone to Rumple’s dire state. The Apprentice, having been extricated earlier from the Sorcerer’s hat, proposes they use the same magical gizmo to extract and capture all of the Darkness from Rumple’s heart. Alas, the hat isn’t able to contain the Darkness for long at all, and soon enough it escapes like a Spider-Man 3 symbiote and jumps into the Apprentice. Emma quickly uses her magic to rid the old man of the goo, after which the Darkness flies off, into town. Only one thing can stop the Darkness once and for all — “Find Merlin,” the Apprentice gasps.

But until then, Emma & Co. go hunting for the Darkness — but it finds them first, descending upon and swirling around and around Regina, gradually sucking the light from her. Robin makes a foolish attempt to free Regina from its grasp, to zero avail. Emma then declares that the Darkness needs to be tethered to a human host, lest it “destroy everything,” as the Apprentice foretold. So, despite pleas from Regina and Hook — to whom she finally says, “I love you” — and trusting that her loved ones can save her from darkness again, Emma uses the Dark One’s dagger to attract the cyclone of goo and invite it to attach itself to her. And after it blankets Emma and ultimately vanishes in a burst of light, all that is left behind is the dagger… now emblazoned with the name of the new Dark One:

Once Upon a Time Emma Dark One

Elsewhere in the two-hour finale:
* Props to TVLine reader A.D. for catching the date of Isaac’s flashback — namely, that December 1966 is when Walt Disney died, and the Apprentice said the previous Author had just passed.
* After Henry “closed the book” on Heroes and Villains, Regina made sure that pregnant Zelena was still locked up — and made clear that her sister will be no threat to her and Robin’s future together.
* After confirming that he can’t use his power as the Author to bring back his father, seeing as Neal died “in the real world” — and appreciating the temptation to tinker, as Isaac did — Henry snapped the quill in half.
* When the Charmings confronted Isaac about why he derailed their story all those years ago, he explained that it was because Charming reminded him of a “bad boss” he had :-|
* Lily revealed to Emma that her crescent-shaped necklace is actually part of the egg she was born in, and thus the only clue to who her father is. (Long story, but apparently dragons are morally casual.) Emma agrees that Lily should stay in town, and they’ll root around for her dad together. (Will Lily’s father turn out to also be Merlin? Regardless: Who should play the famous Sorcerer? What, did someone say Ioan Gruffudd is available?!)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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296 Comments
  1. Dave says:

    wow. just… wow

  2. Brenna says:

    Oh the “I love you” finally came!!!! But my captain swan heart is breaking right now. Great episode and happy for those great Rumbelle scenes!!

  3. Boiler says:

    Pretty amazing finale

  4. Dean says:

    The next four months are going to be torture. Can’t believe the sorcerer is Merlin.

    • laurelnev says:

      I can. It’s been the obvious choice all along. ;)

    • Lisa says:

      I guess in one sense, we shouldn’t be surprised that the sorcerer is Merlin. I agree 100% that it’s going to be torture waiting for next season. It always is.

    • Sepideh Prs says:

      It was obvious that the sorcerer was Merlin who else could it be? If it wasnt him the story didnt stick together but since the story line was always around Disney characters I never thought they will add Merlin story to their film writings. I love this character and I die to see it in this TV series It will be so coool They should choose a very cool actor for this important role I hope so

    • michal says:

      I was surprised that non of them thought Merlin was the sorcerer.
      my regret is that they wont have just a one day Once Upon a time marathon so we won’t have to wait for months and weeks for all the episodes.

  5. One of their best season finales! Great set up for next season. For me there’s only one Merlin, having just binge watched BBC’s – bring on Colin Morgan! Don’t care if he seems young…he’s the only one for me. Kinda wish Emma hadn’t become the dark one and that the evil had been spread around the town…seemed like that was the reason to find Merlin in the first place to eradicate it, but hopefully they’ll clear that up later.

    • SK says:

      I thought of Colin right away when he said Merlin! Glad I’m not the only one.

    • spp138 says:

      Ditto…I’m binge watching that right now, too. Colin Morgan would be an excellent choice. Again…glad I wasn’t the only one

    • Elle says:

      I hope they do pick Colin he was perfect in that role… And that we get to see Camelot next season as well!! (If they need any suggestions for Arthur I may have one…)

      • Nan says:

        Since Forever is canceled, I nominate Ioan Gruffudd as either Merlin or King Arthur. He’s Welsh, therefore perfect for it.

    • eva says:

      That would be the best kind of crossover. Not likely, though, is it?

    • Morgan Wilke says:

      The ending of BBC Merlin was a shocker when it happened and without them knowing it is like they set it up for this show. Remember where they bring Merlin to our world and our timeline and he hasn’t aged and he is just walking around with that backpack on seemingly looking for something. How perfect would it be if he were looking for the darkness that Morgana created. And hence for Morgana herself. Who as we know can be portrayed as immortal, slow aging and in some versions a time traveler. God there are so many applications that could be possible they just need to be creative. I would be okay if they got another actress to play Morgana but the set up for colin morgan to be Merlin just seems to perfect!

      I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the finale it seemed to be all over the place and like the whole build up to the author was completely wasted. I do like how they made Henry the next author, and I think that was a necessity and also the only thing that saved that awful story line. I do like what they did with Emma. Although I do think that we all knew as soon as they brought up a dark emma that the writers there just wouldn’t be able to resist seeing what happens when they play around with that idea. The thing I hate is that when writing a book you follow your fun ideas to their completion and then if they don’t work you erase them. The problem with tv shows seems to be once someone gets an idea that two people agree on they have to play with it until it’s reached a conclusion. Sometimes an idea can be fun but can also ruin a story. I just hope that doesn’t happen with this show. They seem to be incapable of stopping themselves from jumping around on this show like crazy, not all the jumps are good, and a lot of the jumps and twists are so predictable. It’s a little sad. I do think that if they follow through on this Merlin plotline that it could become very good if they don’t get so into trying to create a million twists per episode. Some of those twists aren’t necessary and having a simple plotline sometimes is a bit better than just throwing everything in that they have popped into their heads.

  6. S says:

    Lana is literally the only enjoyable part about this show anymore. Everything that happened was completely predictable.

    • Danielle says:

      Oh good, then you don’t have to watch next season and we don’t have to listen to you whine every Sunday. Win/win!

      • S says:

        Oh good, someone who kisses the ass of the writers even when the writing is subpar. How refreshing.

        • Lisa says:

          Hater’s gonna hate. SMH.

        • A.M says:

          Stop your complaining if the writing is not good for you…then stop watching, obviously this is beneath you.

          • Joey says:

            Because I guess you want to live in an echo chamber where you only hear your own opinions regurgitated back at you 24/7? Sorry, darling, you’re in the real world.

          • A.M says:

            There is no point in subjecting yourself to a show you feel is poorly written. There are tonnes of other shows to watch, unless if you are a masochist!
            If I don’t like a show, I don’t vent about it every single week, I do the normal thing and stop watching it! I’ve done it with TVD, The Mentalist, HoD, Grey’s, TBBT etc

    • Boiler says:

      So far you are the only who didn’t enjoy so please don’t watch next year

      • S says:

        The comments here to not speak for the entire fandom. I’m far from the only one unhappy with the finale. Also, being unhappy with certain aspects of the show does not mean I hate it and should therefore stop watching. I can have a critical eye while still being a fan overall. Grow up.

      • S says:

        PS – less people watching equals lower ratings which, in case you can’t work that out for yourself, leads to a higher chance of being cancelled ;)

      • Rebecca says:

        “Please don’t watch next year.” Okay, so everyone but CSers will stop watching and your mere ‘5 million viewers’ each week will drop to what…. 3 million? If OUAT gets much lower…. I can’t imagine ABC keeping it around any longer. Let’s just put this crap show down like a pet at the vet and let the actors find better gigs than this wannabe soap opera piece of crap.

        • aurat22 says:

          Colin/Hook got very few scenes this arc. So the argument that the ratings drop is some how his fault doesn’t hold weight.

          • Mer says:

            There are alot of reasons why the ratings have dropped and it can’t all fall on Colin. However, the switch of the focus of the show from family dynamics to largely just shipping as contributed to the downfall. And Captain Swan is the large part of that. But also bad writing.

    • Kinda disagree says:

      I’ve actually thought her acting is very bad lately.

      • Maria says:

        Agreed. I’ve felt that she’s been weak for awhile now. I really noticed it in the Malicifent flashback.

    • kirads09 says:

      I actually agree with S. Lana and Robert Carlyle make this show. The rest left me feeling a bit meh to be honest.

    • prish says:

      Ha Ha…fairytale type stories being predictable is what the genre is all about!

    • TAB says:

      I’ll agree with you that everything that happened was completely predictable. A week ago I said to my husband that Henry would be the next author and that Emma would probably become the dark one in the “new storybook” – it didn’t exactly go the way I said, but yeah. We have both thought that Merlin would be the sorcerer for a long time. A very predictable finale for anyone that’s been watching the show and adding the pieces together.

  7. Jaime says:

    Well if they need a young Merlin, I hear Colin Morgan’s pretty good at that part.

    • SK says:

      Yes! Totally agree! I miss him on my tv.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ha, I almost suggested him! But my mind went to “recently cancelled shows” instead. Plus: Too young for Mal?

    • Matthew B Lawler says:

      How can people be shipping Merlin and malificent they are characters from two unrelated stories and one is good and the other evil plus Lilly stated malificent had no clue who Lilly’s father was

      • A says:

        And Regina and Robin Hood aren’t from two different stories in which one is evil and the other good? This is OUAT. Anything can happen.

        • Matthew B Lawler says:

          My point was someone claimed people have been shipping Merlin and malificent for decades which is completely impossible

  8. Kay says:

    Thought Lana did amazing as the alternative regina and Yes to Ioan playing the sorcerer! And did anyone else get Spider-Man 3 flashbacks on the “darkness” scene at the end….?

    • laurelnev says:

      Yeah…I either have to think that Ginny was just playing Snow playing dark, but I must say, Lana plays both sides of the coin much better. I couldn’t help but admire Lana’s range in the alternate world.

      • laurelnev says:

        ^^ That makes no sense…meant to say Ginny was playing Snow (badly) playing evil, or Ginny just doesn’t do evil queen as well as Lana. Lana showed incredible range in this ep.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          It’s not a contest; you can commend one actor without putting down another.

          • laurelnev says:

            Wasn’t trying to put down Ginny, but rather to point out the interesting choice she made as an actor. And to commend Lana. Not everyone can play all things equally well; that doesn’t make them bad actors at all. In fact, character actors may not be cast as leads, but they will always be the finest and most underappreciated in the biz.

          • Lisa says:

            I agree about character actors.

      • MaryC says:

        Totally agree with you re Lana’s range of acting vs Ginny playing snow playing evil snow

  9. KH says:

    I would love to see Colin Morgan play Merlin again.

  10. SK says:

    Colin Morgan for Merlin! I miss him as Merlin.

  11. S.uddenly says:

    Finally, ONCE back to what makes it great and no Ice Princess appeared in the finale. Loved it! And “coward” Hook was such a cutie – my god what will it take for the producers to get this man out of his shirt!

  12. laurelnev says:

    Great as a stand-alone type ep, similar to the Princess Leia thing, but at about 920, I was readdy for them to get back to Storeybrooke! Then…WOW! What a twist! So now, we have the Savior as the Dark One and a powerless Rumple? Next season should be fun!

    And I guess we know what happened to the Smoke Monster! Glad to see he FINALLY got off the Island! ;)

  13. Danielle says:

    Holy. Frak.

  14. A. D. says:

    Clearly the previous author was Walt Disney as the opening took place in December 1966 and that’s when Disney died. The sorcerer’s apprentice mentioned the previous author just died.

  15. a.c. says:

    Yum, Ioan Gruffud….please!! Also, have we seen Merlin here? Also, December 16, 1966, anyone??

  16. Christina says:

    Definitely not expecting that!

  17. Paz says:

    Man, Emma can NOT catch a break!!
    I so absolutely loved this finale so much! Can’t wait to September!
    Excellent work writers, actors and crew!!!

  18. Jimmy says:

    The “Merlin” NEEDS to be Colin Morgan from the Merlin series (BBC). Those ratings would be through the roof OMGOSH! I would so do this if I were the creators!

  19. Lisa says:

    Ioan Gruffud??? Oooooh, I so love the idea since Forever is cancelled (booooooo). Of course, if they are going to add him, they really need to make him a regular. :)

  20. LenJ says:

    Wow the finale
    Emma is a hero. I am proud of her. Hook has to find her – season 5 has to be about finding her.

    Fantastic moments with Snow and Charming lol. And mostly Emma and Hook – that was adorable. And finally that I love you.

    Henry leading the way was great.

    • Brenna says:

      Yes, I hoping for some great captain swan stuff. True loves kiss!!

      • LenJ says:

        We got some great moments. And it was just adorable how they met again. This is their 4th meeting <3

        Enchanted Forest
        New York
        Enchanted Forest
        Enchanted Forest AU

    • Lisa says:

      Well, I assume it’s like with Rumple. If they call her name with the dagger in hand, she will come.

      • rebecca says:

        yeah same didnt think she was missing just assumed one of them needs to grab the dagger and she needs to do what they say so they can find her and stop her doing anything dark?

        • Lisa says:

          Well, they could have always gone after the dagger with Rumple. He kept it locked up safe. Of course, if they get the dagger and keep her under complete control, it won’t make for a very interesting show, however I’m sure there will be a fight for that dagger like none before. Rumple always had an inner battle between good and bad, but he also had no magic of his own, whereas Emma is quite powerful. It will be intriguing to see the effects of the Dark One on someone so powerful.

    • aurat22 says:

      Watched it this a.m. Thought I was going to hate it but I didn’t. I am happy we got the I love you! It gives me hope for next season that Emma will be saved. Crossing my fingers it’s a combination of Hook’s love, her parents love, Henry’s love and her own inner strength that does free her. That and Merlin of course.It’s about time the Charming family gets some time back in the spotlight.

      Not saying I want the others to just disappear but be more focused on their own stories and only be background support in the potential “saving” of Emma.

      I will be upset though if they leave Emma the Dark One for more than half a season. I’d hate to think they are going to leave it with the message that the reward for doing the heroic thing is an eternity of suffering and and darkness.

  21. kate says:

    He would be excellent though I think it would be funny if the kid who played him on the BBC show got cast. They sort of need someone in his age group besides Will. And well he needs a friend if he is sticking around.

  22. Gerald Christie says:

    Terry O’Quinn should play the sorcerer.

  23. Bryant says:

    As a Back to the Future fan, couldn’t help but notice the extreme parallel’s between the season 3 Finale (go back in time, screw up your parents meeting, get them to fall in love again) with BTTF 1. Now this ‘alternate story” finale with BTTF 2, can we expect and Old West finale in season 5? :P

  24. the girl says:

    I KNEW Emma was going to become the new Dark One. I just didn’t know how that was going to happen. But I’m really excited about it. Yes.

  25. Skittles&Bits says:

    I don’t why anyone would think it would be a good idea for someone as powerful as Emma to become the new dark one. She supposed to be this paragon of good that I somehow get the feeling her turn to the dark side will be really, really dark and freakishly powerful. Rumple was a mere man (and a cowardly one at that) when he took on the mantle of dark one but Emma is the product of the most purely good thing, true love. If the writers handle it well, the next season should be one of the best.

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, but keep in mind, she’s able to be controlled with the dagger now.

      • Skittles&Bits says:

        True, but knowing the folks in Storybrooke, someone is sure to bumble some grandiose plan and wind up practically giving the dagger to Dark Swan.

        • Lisa says:

          True, but I’m sure by the winter finale, they’ll also find Merlin, and free Emma.

          • Joao Marinho says:

            I’m not sure if Emma can be completely controlled by the dagger. Rumple was an ordinary man as well as Zoso. They were powerless and gained all of their power by the dagger. However, Emma already had magic, a light magic. Either the Darkness will absorb all of it or Emma will “add” the second magic, maybe with enough power to release herself from the dagger, in the way Rumple tried to do with the hat.

          • Lisa says:

            It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.

  26. analog says:

    So will Maleficent and Lily be series regulars next season?

    • Me says:

      I kind of want them as guest stars, like grumpy. They gave Will season regular status and look what happened.

  27. Lulu says:

    Do they need a young Merlin or old Merlin? Would it be wrong if I said a certain Anthony Stewart Head needs to be cast?

  28. Jason says:

    Merlin=John Noble

    • AnnieM says:

      That would be awesome.

    • Nan says:

      Or
      John Light [Flambeau on Father Brown mysteries]
      Jonathan Firth [brother of Colin]
      Ioan Gruffudd [Horatio Hornblower]
      I’d rather they didn’t cast an older actor as Merlin. Not a boy, but not a senior either.

      • Lisa says:

        I wouldn’t mind having someone closer to my age, other than just Rumple. Although, I find Rumple to be attractive.

  29. Chris Cope says:

    i cried when she became the dark one

  30. foreverinshadow says:

    Good stuff. Loved the ending. It was all about the core characters….just what I was hoping for. Can’t wait for next season!

  31. Me says:

    Loved it!

  32. Lisa says:

    Of course, I do have a looming question now. I’m wondering what Rumple will be like without being the Dark One. Of course, we know he was a coward before so, I wonder how this will all play out next season with him and what repercussions will come as a result.

    • Jimmy says:

      Don’t you remember how WHITE his new heart was? He could possibly be telling into the old Emma role?!?!?

      • Lisa says:

        Interesting theory. I did notice that his heart was white and I was wondering what it meant. You definitely propose an interesting possibility.

  33. Cobra says:

    TO play Merlin…
    Donald Sutherland

  34. Becky says:

    I’m not very excited about a “Dark Emma” storyline. Hopefully it’s more complex than Belle’s personality shift in Season Two.

    • prish says:

      I expect a quick shift of the darkness back into Gold/Rumple. Carlyle is, just, too much fun as the dark one. It would be interesting if he takes it on, again, as a way to save someone. That way the darkness would be mixed with strength, maybe creating a new something or other. That could take a good three years.

      • Lisa says:

        He IS a lot of fun as the Dark One. lol

      • aurat22 says:

        Hoping this too. I love him as torn between good and evil! It makes his character so complex. I ‘m afraid good Rumple won’t be as interesting and he is one of my favorites on show.

  35. Janis says:

    While it was a great finale, does anyone else wonder if they’ll just pick the dagger up and control the new Dark One until they find Merlin? She may not be happy about it, but that’s my understanding of how it should work. Right?

    • Jimmy says:

      That would STINK! Surely she will get the knife back.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Sure, but obvi won’t be that easy. For example, Emma appears to Lily and says, “Yeah, so, I can use my cool new powers to find your Dad… IF you steal that knife from my parents, you little scalawag. Deal?”

  36. Beth Rodgers says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but if they have the dagger, can’t they control the Dark One (in this case, Emma)? It’s lying right there for the taking, so shouldn’t they take advantage of that and deal with her in that way? Am I missing/forgetting something that makes this implausible?

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, but will she try to stop them from grabbing the dagger, when they go for it? Quite possible.

      • Beth Rodgers says:

        Maybe – but if she doesn’t, couldn’t they grab it and then command her to have to stay in one of the cells in the hospital wing where Zelena is, and also where Rumple was when they first came to Storybrooke, before Emma realized who she really was? They could command her that she can’t have anyone, including herself, looking for the dagger, and she has to stay locked up until they solve this. None of this will happen, though, because then the storyline is shot, but I’m just thinking that an interim solution to a new “Dark One” seems possible…

  37. Kate says:

    And THAT is how Emma reacts to seeing the man she loves after thinking he might be dead. Such an awesome episode for the TL armada though (and I’m sure a very fun one to film for everyone involved!) Can’t wait for next season to see how it plays out! I have absolute faith in all 4 of the main couples. Guess it’s CS’s turn for a rough hiatus but I’m not a fair-weather fan or shipper so bring it on!

  38. Anna says:

    I would love to see John Glover as Merlin.

  39. Lynda Duke says:

    Would love a replica of the Magick Quill.

  40. Steven says:

    I think it is more likely that Arthur PenDRAGON will be Lily’s dad.

  41. aurat22 says:

    I didn’t see it yet. Going to watch tomorrow! I read the recap first to make sure no one I really liked died. Real life can be depressing enough sometimes don’t want it from my entertainment fiction. So anyone care to speculate how long Emma will stay the Dark One? Do we know yet whether next season will be one arc or two?

  42. Bandslee Lee says:

    The darkness was the same flying black poo that Charmed used as the sorrows from Pandora’s box.

  43. Lisa M says:

    Dream Casting for Role of Merlin from Cast of Lost

    1. Terry O’Quinn
    2. Lance Reddick
    3. Harold Perrineau
    4. Jeff Fahey
    5. Nestor Carbonell

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ooh, I like the Lance idea — plus he’d have no beef with Vancouver. Nestor is still on BATES, plus there are laws about two guyliner guys on one show.

    • laurelnev says:

      I like Lance for Merlin, especially considering Lancelot was black, and Marian was non-white. IOW, they’ve kind of already established Camelot as an ethnic place…let’s go with that.

      • Lisa M says:

        I totally agree, but I’m kind of worried they might make Merlin Lily’s father so I don’t know how that could line up with my dream casting. I’m hoping that I’m wrong and Lily’s father is someone who has yet to be named.

        • laurelnev says:

          Lily’s dad is probably going to end up neing that dragon Charming slew when he 1st took over for his twin, giving Lily even MORE reason to hate the Charmings. ;)

          • SK says:

            I like your idea better than Merlin being the father since they did say that Mal was impregnated by another dragon.

          • laurelnev says:

            I was really being kind of snarky when I suggested that. Quite frankly, I’m not liking the whole idea of this anonymous dragon sex thingie. It’s a little too rapey for my liking. I’m hoping Mal isn’t being 100% honest when she said she had no idea who the father was.

          • Datya says:

            That would not work with the timeline, since Mal didn’t become pregnant until after Charming and Snow were together…

          • laurelnev says:

            Not working with a previously established timeline/story would not be unusual for OUAT these days (cough Cora/Zelena, cough.) ;)

    • Sepideh Prs says:

      If it could be from the movies featuring Merlin it was so great but the actors are old now the one that nailed the character in my idea was Sam Nail.

      • Winnie says:

        I did love Sam Neill as Merlin (and would love to see him in it again), but wow – many of the suggestions here have been great! When that knife dropped with the name “Emma Swan”/Merlin was mentioned, I gasped, then smiled wide. I’m rewatching the series finale of BBC’s Merlin (which also works as a fan of iZombie) just to refresh my memory on the ending. I love the character of Merlin and much of his [past] representation in TV, movies, and other forms of storytelling, so I hope Once Upon a Time does right by him!

  44. Alicia Gray says:

    I’ve had such a problem with this show all year. It was all over the place … the stories meandered in the second half….gah FROZEN (hated it) … But, this really made me a fan again! I can’t wait to see how they pay this off!

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve enjoyed the show from the very first episode of season 1. It always makes it nearly impossible to wait for the next season (even half season). The anticipation kills me every time.

    • abz says:

      I’m the opposite. I was a huge fan of the Frozen arc and QoDs weren’t bad especially Cruella, but I wasn’t really feeling the finale that much especially the first hour. However, it got really good in the last 20 minutes. Excited to see where this will take the show with Emma being the Dark One. We know they won’t be in possession of that dagger for long. Dark Emma is definitely going to find a way to get that dagger.

  45. Kidwynn says:

    I loved the finale. I am totally on the Colin Morgan playing Merlin and being on Once bandwagon. Since we are now seeing Bradley James on IZombie, we need to see Colin too. Ioan Gruffudd would be an option as well if they want to age Merlin slightly. The finale made up for a lot of the hiccups this season. The “Outlaw Queen” and “Captain Swan” scenes were great, but my favorite part was what Emma did for Regina. I have enjoyed how much Regina has grown as a character.

    • prish says:

      I, also, appreciate how they shifted from the adoptive mother being the big baddie! Thank you, suits, for doing something right.

    • Mer says:

      I’m shocked that more people aren’t talking about the HUGE sacrifice that Emma has done for Regina. I know people seem stuck on Emma’s little “I love you” Hook but that story really doesn’t have meat to it.

      Emma in episode 1 season 4 told Regina that she will get her her happy ending. We saw Emma fight for Regina’s friendship, in 4.05. We later saw Regina/Emma being friends, Emma bringing Regina food (we never saw her do that for Hook), and Regina willing to die to save Emma.

      Emma/Regina working together in the EF. And Emma in turn does the same thing for Regina. Taking on the Dark Curse is no small feat. Ironically both characters said how the “don’t need men” and I just can’t. The season finales seems to always fall on Regina/Emma saving each other. I just don’t understand why the writers are making the choices they are making. If Captain Swan, Outlaw Queen are endgame, I don’t know why they don’t have these men making the grand heroic acts. I just don’t get it.

      • buttercupscarlett95 says:

        Um, Emma saved Regina, but she also saved everyone else. The black goo had already taken out the Apprentice. You think it would have stopped at killing Regina? It would have killed them all if Emma hadn’t stopped it.

        And “I don’t know why they don’t have these men making the grand heroic acts.” Really? What happened about 20 minutes earlier? Who sacrificed himself to save Emma and Henry in the AU? Who did Rumple write as a “coward” but turned out to be braver than Rumple’s fantasy knight could ever dream? And he did it for someone he just met but knew deep in his heart was his true love. Charming asked him, “Is she worth dying for, pirate,” and he said, “I’m willing to find out.” That was one of the most amazing, heroic acts I’ve seen yet on this show.

        Look, Emma and Regina are nothing more than friends. I don’t get why people try to force it into something else. It’s a nice friendship, but what we saw last night was confirmation of what the show has hinted at for a long time. Emma truly, deeply loves Killian and he loves her. No matter what realm they are in, they will always find each other and always fight for each other. It really is an amazing, epic love story.

      • aurat22 says:

        Love and need are two separate words in the dictionary for a reason. I think the reason why Emma and Regina said they don’t need a “man” for their happiness is because of knowing they are strong enough to survive and thrive as individuas on their own if need be. They’ve already proven that. Each person is responsible for their own happiness and it should never be dependent on another person no matter what their gender. Romantic love is a choice not a necessity, and that makes it even more special.

        I also agree Emma’s sacrifice was not solely to save Regina, but for the whole town including Hook, Henry, and her parents. Plus she is the “savior” so she saw it as her duty.

        Totally agree with you Buttercup on Hook being willing to give his life so Emma and Henry could escape was pretty darned heroic, as was Robin rushing towards Regina to try and pull her to safety even if it was unsuccessful.

        So it’s not that the writers don’t have the men doing heroic acts it’s just that your making the choice not to view them that way and that’s your prerogative.

  46. Melinda says:

    Well, Matt, you were right: fans of Captain Swan definitely cried!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Crazy night!

      • buttercupscarlett95 says:

        I really loved it! You teased the bed scene, and it was one of my favorites. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, though. The goat’s milk in the flask was a nice touch by Rumple.

  47. Hey, is there anyone other than Sir Ian McKellan (my first pick!) or former Doctor Who Matt Smith that could do the Merlin character justice? I think not!

  48. MaryC says:

    Loved it!
    – Regina was great as a bandit.
    – Snow (or Ginnifer Goodwin) was not “convincing” as an evil queen, sorry. It just seemed wrong, lol.
    – They didn’t have to make Hook so wimpy!!
    – Chip!
    – So Zelena still acted like an entitled brat in the “alt” universe – guess some things you really can’t change no matter what ;-)
    – Does this mean Rebecca Madee is back in season 5?
    -Glad Regina is facing the whole “my boyfriend is my sisters baby daddy” head on, good for her!
    -Emma = new dark one. So…will she wreak havoc on SB? Interesting…
    -Henry was Rumple’s downfall after all I guess..

    • Lisa says:

      Interesting catch about Henry being Rumple’s downfall. Perhaps not necessarily Rumple’s downfall as much as the Dark One’s downfall. I hadn’t thought about that in quite a while.

  49. ninamags says:

    “Guylinered henchman” Ha!!
    That was sort of random, wasn’t it?

    As far as Merlin: Sir Ian McKellan!!

    What? Go big or go home!! 😛

  50. Tom says:

    I think a good Merlin would be JOSEPH FIENNES.