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‘Once Upon A Time’ Winter Finale Review: Queen of Hearts

‘Once Upon A Time’ Winter Finale Review: Queen of Hearts


Wow! Talk about an epic winter finale of Once Upon A Time! After being led in every direction possible, leaving us with countless questions, and having shippers everywhere sob… Once Upon A Time delivered a crazy closer that should have left everyone satisfied. I, for one, was extremely pleased at how they tied in all of the loose pieces. Honestly, I was worried about how this would go. There were so many questions, so little time. Yet, the writers managed to provide us with everything the audience could have asked for.

“Good always defeats evil.” -Henry (Jared Gilmore)

The Enchanted Forest:

It’s a fight to the finish! Who will reach Storybrooke first? Well, it seems Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Mulan (Jamie Chung), and Aurora (Sarah Bolger) aren’t really on the right track. What with losing the magical compass and being locked inside Rumple’s (Robert Carlyle) dungeon by none other than Cora (Barbara Hershey) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). It’s not looking good, but thanks to the clever mind of Snow, the gang soon figure out the secret to escaping. After finding a very creepy note written by Rumple, reciting Emma’s name over and over again, Snow realizes that the note was written in squid ink. This revelation leads them to break out of the seemingly unbreakable dungeon, and head on their way to beat Cora and Hook. Sadly, with Aurora’s heart being in the hands of Cora, she sacrifices herself, and asks the others to go on without her. At first, I hated Aurora, because I felt she lacked dynamic, but the writers did an excellent job of turning her from a spoiled princess, to someone who cares about the well-being of others. I’m actually interested to see where her story goes now.

Meanwhile with Snow, Emma, and Mulan… They reach the portal, just as Cora and Hook are about to make their way in. Cue epic fight scene! Hearts fly, magic is used, and a demonstration of how love is certainly not weakness is displayed! In the end, good conquers evil, and Emma and Snow make their way back to Storybrooke!

Sadly, it’s never just a happy ending in this show. A good villain always has a backup plan!

The Fairytale World (Past):

We come to find the connection between Hook, Cora, and Regina (Lana Parrilla). Many questions are finally answered. One being, what did Regina mean when she told Mr. Gold about “seeing Cora’s body?” Well, it all comes down to Hook. After breaking into Belle’s (Emilie de Ravin) dungeon, Hook comes face to face with Regina. She strikes him a deal, telling him that if he kills Cora for her, she will give him the chance to kill Rumple in return. Knowing his backstory, of course he accepts. This is where things really get interesting. We first see the Queen of Hearts back when the Mad Hatter was trapped in Wonderland. Since then, I have wondered who she was. Turns out it was Cora! (Which makes sense, seeing as she takes countless hearts.) Being the evil mastermind she is, she convinces Hook to team up with her to stop Regina from unleashing the infamous curse. Cora pretends to be dead in the presence of Regina, and has every intention of ripping her heart out (literally), but changes her mind after hearing Regina’s speech about love and weakness.

This sets into motion a plan that has gone back further than anyone could have guessed. Cora shields a part of the Enchanted Forest so that the curse wouldn’t affect them… Answering our question as to why some stayed, and others didn’t.


Henry is hopeful of the return of Emma and Snow. He instills his trust in Regina, thinking that she has every intention of making sure his mother and Snow return home safely. Should have known better. After being manipulated by Rumple, Regina ends up trying to to kill whoever comes through the portal, whether it be Cora, or Snow and Emma. This part was actually really predictable, because it’s obvious that the writers wouldn’t kill off Snow or Emma this soon. Instead, Regina redeems herself and ‘saves’ Emma and Snow, after much convincing from Henry. It was foreshadowed throughout the episode that Emma and Snow would be the ones to make it to Storybrooke first, and they did! Lucky for all the Snowing shippers, the first task of being back was waking Prince Charming! Happy endings for everyone… Just kidding.

After seeing Regina left all alone in the end, I have a feeling that her ‘good’ phase is going to end soon. Plus, Cora and Hook making their way to Storybrooke after all? Can it be January yet?!

I think it’s quite obvious how I felt about this episode. During the last five minutes, I was literally jumping out of my seat! The Once Upon A Time writers truly know how to make an audience root for someone. By the mid-season finale, I have actually fallen in love with every single character. I’m ecstatic of the fact that we’ll be seeing more Cora and Hook. I’m also excited to see where Mulan and Aurora’s storyline leads. Honestly, this winter finale was epic. Absolutely loved it, and I cannot wait until January!



  • Did you feel sorry for Regina?
  • Thoughts on Cora and Hook making their way to Storybrooke?
  • Emma’s inability to have her heart ripped out? Discuss!
Dhalyn Warren Dhalyn is a contributing writer for FanBolt. She lives for writing, TV, fashion, and social media, as well as traveling the world. With that said, Dhalyn tries greatly to infuse her passion and interests into what she posts on the site. Currently for FanBolt, Dhalyn is writing reviews, updating on celebrity news, interviewing, etc.


  1. Equally loved each character more than ever, and the set-ups for next year with Aurora and Mulan seeking the soul, Hook and Cora’s arrival by ship, and esp. Regina’s disappointment after acting out of love and the preview for Gold asking Emma’s help to find Bae. BUT the writers are taking the convenient way out, causing too many story inconsistencies. For a big example, why do dwarves waste their lives in the mines when all it takes to get fairy magic is a wave of a fairy godmother’s wand to suck out the magic? And why did Gold say he needed Regina to block the portal, when again, all he did was wave the wand? Fans pay attention to details, Adam and Eddy!

  2. I enjoyed the episode and also loved each of the characters. I am really glad that the story is moving back to Storybrooke, and I think the stories ae set up well for when it returns.


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