This is it, the last episode before the series finale! With life returning to normal after Gothel’s defeat in the previous episode, it seemed like all the characters were finally getting their happy endings by being reunited with their loved ones. However, happy endings are never that easy to come by in Once Upon A Time with the final villain of the series, Wish Rumple lurking in the shadows scheming for who knew how long.
“Homecoming” focused on Wish Rumple trying to get the Dark One dagger for himself by forcing Henry to retrieve it after capturing both Ella and Lucy. This then leads Henry, Hook, Regina and our Rumple into Wish Realm to find the missing princesses. Along the way, the heroes run into Wish Realm versions of previous guest characters like Pan, Cruella, and even Ariel — who helps Hook out once more. All is going well in the rescuing until one to two things turn the advantage back to Wish Rumple, who happened to be one step ahead of everyone but our own Rumple.
Another side story was Alice, Robin, Tiana and Naveen all readjusting to life post-curse and trying to find a balance in their lives between the two personas they were. Alice, Robin and Naveen all got used to it super fast while Tiana was still conflicted by it. And in the only flashback of the episode, a younger Henry was approached by Wish Rumple, as the later tried to bargain with Henry about turning his luck around after failing to be a hero time and time again. This is actually a pivotal scene, since it comes back into play by the end of the episode.
This honestly felt like the older episodes of Once, like season two and three when everyone was free of the curse and we could finally get going on adventures set in the present time instead of flashbacks. We weren’t bogged down in having to explain a new character or some other random magical plot, instead “Homecoming” was the most straightforward Once has ever been! It was refreshing to also see a villainous Rumple again tormenting everyone just to get his ways and being way more darker then the Rumple we knew over the past seven years. My only two grips was how little screen time the guest characters like Pan and Ariel had in the episode; maybe they’ll have more time in the actual finale next week? And also that it seems like we’re finally done with Hyperion Heights with Tiana and Naveen staying behind as Alice and Robin drive off to save the others.
What I did like though was the differences Wish Rumple had in terms of his costume and even mannerisms compared to our Rumple. Also you gotta love the call back to tha one episode where it was revealed that Henry would be Rumple’s undoing, that finally paid off in this episode!
So next week’s “Leaving Storybrooke” is the series finale after seven long years. Hopefully they give the show a fitting conclusion and nicely tie up every loose thread possible. Can the show be revved later on in a different style? Most likely, we still need to find out whatever happened with Mulan’s journey. You can totally make a spin-off off that alone! I just hope the returning Snow, Charming, Emma, etc. get more screen time and that the final battle with Wish Rumple is worth it.