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The Once Upon a Time season 6 finale sends viewers into a brand new realm– the west coast. Is it enough to make us come back?

Whether you’ve been watching Once Upon a Time since October 2011, binged it in 2014, or just stopped by in 2017, the season 6 finale will feel familiar. It is the show’s fourth two-hour finale. Nothing new for a series that loves to spend one hour wrapping up story and another laying the groundwork for a new beginning.

Knowing that the season 6 finale is the last time we will see some of the Once Upon a Time staples — Emma Swan, the Charmings, Belle — spending over an hour with the show’s must underdeveloped villain in the series was not the proper way to bid farewell.

The entirety of “The Final Battle” takes the series’ greatest hits and plays them once more. Emma Swan loses her belief with a snap of the Black Fairy’s magic and Henry must make her believe again. In a bit of role-reversal, Rumpel is betrayed by Belle. Hook and David are off in search of a magic bean up the beanstalk. And Regina tries to whip up a bit of magic before the realms disappear forever.

One hour and nothing new. The cliffhanger of Emma destroying the storybook works only if the show is picking up in a week. Instead we return in 30 seconds with yet another black cloud approaching the Enchanted Forest as the pages in the storybook burn.

As a fan of Once Upon a Time, I’ve let a lot of things go over the years. Or tried to. There are too many plot elements of convenience to count. More than enough messy family trees. And, let’s face it, Zelena raped Robin by pretending to be Marian to conceive his child.

Once Upon a Time is far from perfect. But at its best it is a delightful romp through the stories of your childhood. It is full of heart, hope, and heroes. It is a place where the good guys show and embrace their flaws. And a place where villains have a shot at a happy ending. Let’s not forget about true love — especially the true love that exists inside a family.

‘Darkness never wins. It just fools you into thinking it does.’

“The Final Battle” hit all the notes it needed to either send fans off with closure, or entice them to come back next season. If you are fan of the familiar story beats, it looks like Once Upon a Time season 7 will satisfy the non-believer story arc you’ll miss over the summer. But if you are truly done rehashing the same quests for magic beans and other portal entry points, you can walk away.

Let’s explore both paths.

Why it’s a good time to walk away

The final, yet highly illogical, seating around one side of the table at Granny’s shows everyone’s happy endings. Regina Mills feels respected instead of feared. Rumpel has his family and a another shot at raising his son. Emma and Hook are out and about stopping the criminals of Storybrooke in the yellow bug. And Henry, well, the grandson of the Charmings is still charming Violet.

There are no smoke monsters, no ice walls, and no threats from outside realms fighting for the Savior’s attention. Peace has come to Storybrooke.

This is a nice place to write in “The End.” But Henry’s story book is not ready to close the book on these characters. It is, after all, only just the beginning of their new enchanted lives.

The story must go on — at least for another season — and it will do so. But that leaves a ton of unanswered questions for your favorite characters. Although Once Upon a Time season 7 will not feature Emma Swan, the Charmings, Zelena, and Belle, you still have Henry Mills, albeit lacking the heart of the truest believer.

So what happened during all that time? Did your favorite character die in that time? Did they run off to live in the woods? Or is everyone still nestled in their tiny hamlet of Storybrooke and have no idea that Henry is missing?

If you don’t want the worst, we recommend cutting the cord here. Happily ever after isn’t such a bad thing!

Why you should stick around

If you want that answer, then you have to stick around! The season 7 reset may hit on a few familiar notes, but there are plenty of questions left to keep you glued to ABC next fall. Who is Lucy’s mother? How did Henry end up back in the Enchanted Forest? Does this whole thing have to do with the author? And what circumstances keep Hook and Regina around, but not Emma?

once upon a time hook and emma

So many questions! It’s a bit of a relief that after six seasons, the end of a season could spark that much intrigue. The previous two-part finales kicked off the upcoming season with an hour long prologue before debuting either the big bad or new hero. This season took the time to tie everyone’s story in a neat little bow.

However, in the final two minutes, they left one string loose enough to unravel the entire story. What stories are left to be told?

The answer to that all depends on if you are willing to pull that thread.

Will you return for ‘Once Upon a Time’ season 7?

Once Upon a Time season 7 returns to ABC later this year.

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