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Ready for Once Upon a Time‘s Season Finale? Join Blogcritics for a Live Chat Event!

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Who’s anticipating Sunday’s Once Upon a Time season finale? Join Blogcritics for a season finale party! We’ll chat during the the commercials, ooh and ah during the action and continue to conversation after it’s all over.  

When last we left Storybrooke in “An Apple Red as Blood,” Henry (Jared Gilmore) had taken a bite of the poison apple turnover meant for Emma (Jennifer Morrison), falling to the floor, barely alive.

The apple turnover, made of The Evil Queen/Mayor Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) poison apple—the one with which she had dosed Snow White back in Fairy Tale Land—had been intended to knock Emma out of the picture. It hadn’t been meant to kill her, because killing her would immediately break the curse (as Mr. Gold points out), which would be bad for Regina (and us, since it would mean the end of the series!).

So little Henry, desperate to show Emma that the curse is real (and the apple turnover is poisoned), tries to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Phew!

How will the poison affect Henry?

True love’s kiss awakened Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), so I’m wondering if Henry is hoping that Emma will try that as a last ditch effort to save him, believing that nothing else but her belief—and that kiss—will save him. It’s a huge risk, but Henry is pretty desperate.

Even if Henry is awakened by Emma’s kiss, what exactly will that mean—and how will it set up next season (the series has just been officially renewed by ABC!)? Does Emma’s belief alone break the curse, or is that but the first step, like some elaborate video game? What’s the next challenge in the quest? Emma’s presence in Storybrooke, alone, has begun to unravel the queen’s evil magic—even her tree is dying. So can the curse’s end even be undone at this point?

What if it’s not Emma’s kiss that would wake Henry? After all, Emma is relatively new in Henry’s life—is her love yet deep enough to awaken him? Is that, in fact, the next challenge? Or could it be that Regina loves Henry—she has been his mother, after all? Is it Regina’s kiss that must awaken him? If that’s so, her kiss would prove to Emma that the curse is real—so will Regina take the risk?

And where does Mr. Gold/Rumple (Robert Carlyle) fit into all this? It’s his curse, of course. But he refuses to help Regina in her efforts to ensure it stays in place. But his motives have never been to simply do evil; his motives in designing the curse were purely personal.

Presenting the curse like catnip to the vindictive Regina, he knew she would use it, allowing him, then entrance into the world into which his Baelfire (Dylan Schmid) had slipped. But now, he wants the curse broken, never having found his son Storybrooke. He must be somewhere else—perhaps in Earth’s realm, or in some other. But until the curse is broken, Rumple cannot continue his personal quest to find Bae; he’s trapped like everyone else. As Gold tells Regina, he’s planning a trip—presumably to continue his search.

But Bae might not be his only motive in opposing Regina. Yes, they’ve been associates for a long time—two magical power brokers in a land where magic rules over all. But they come at their magical abilities from two distinct points of view: Regina’s magic has come from a place of doing evil; Rumple’s from a desire to do good. But with the power of the dark one resident deep within his being, evil prevails too often within him. It’s not where he started; remember he wanted only the power to protect his son—and to stop the Ogre War, which had been essentially a massacre of peasant children. Regina’s magic has always been vengeful. How could it not—look where it originated? Her mother—an evil sorceress in her own right! But Regina isn’t only driven by revenge; she’s also driven by loss and grief over the murder of her lover!

Anyway, getting back to Rumple. (I have to confess that his story is the one that most fascinates me.) Regina has an Ace up her sleeve—and I don’t mean the Mad Hatter/Jefferson. She has Belle (Emilie deRavin). And, according to ABC’s press release, deRavin is scheduled to guest star in Sunday’s season finale. Hmm.

Will she use Belle as bait to assure Rumple’s cooperation? Will she confess after all these years that Belle is still alive—and in Storybrooke, offering to release her? Or will she prove to Gold that she has Belle only to threaten to murder her if he doesn’t cooperate?

Playing the “Belle card” will put Gold in a terrible dilemma: he wants the curse broke in order to continue to search for Baelfire; but unless he helps Regina, Belle might be lost to him forever. The two people Rumple/Gold loves, and he has to choose: one or the other.

Of course this is all speculation on my part. How do you think season one will end? Take your best guess below then come back for the finale Sunday night at 8:00 ET.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.