Once Upon a Time’s Finale Was Everything We Loved About an Imperfect ShowHenry Screws Everything Up Again on Once Upon a Time Stay on target This is the kind of episode I’ve been waiting for Once Upon a Time to get back to. After a couple weeks of not a whole lot going on, it finally decided it was time to get the story moving again. Particularly regarding Hook and Alice, who’ve been forced into a holding pattern in recent episodes. That’s over now. In the flashback scenes, Alice is having the saddest birthday ever, as she reenacts the tea party with stuffed animals and a single, solitary cupcake. It’s so sad; it comes as a relief when a giant breaks the tower open and offers her a way out. I like that they made the Fremont troll a character in this season. Gotta say, I wasn’t expecting that. Still not entirely sure why there is a whole road and neighborhood behind the troll instead of a wall. And a lake. Also, why it looks a lot smaller and thinner than the real one. Whatever. It’s magic!It’s not explained why the troll was able to break the curse, but hey, it gets us out of the tower. She gets caught in a cage trap, and that’s how she meets Robin. We can already see the flames of young love starting to spark. Or contempt. Honestly, it’s hard to tell sometimes. Their first point of contention: the troll. It may have helped Alice, but he’s also trampled a few towns. And Robin is determined to kill him. Alice isn’t about to let that happen though, and tags along.Her troll-defending ways get both girls in trouble when they come across a group of men who plan to hunt the thing down. Even though Robin wants to kill the troll too, she’s thrown in a jail cell as well for even associating with Alice. It gives the pair some time to bond and understand each other, though. The show took its time with this scene, letting their friendship and admiration build naturally. It was really sweet and well executed. Then Robin broke out with a hairpin, leaving Alice behind. Once again though, Alice is right behind her. She had a second hairpin. And once again, Alice’s troll-loving ways get her and Robin in trouble again. This time, though, Robin is more sympathetic. She realizes that the man running the troll hunt is a bully, and stands up to him.(Photo via ABC)Even so, they’re outnumbered. As the girls are surrounded by scary dudes wielding swords, Alice wishes for an escape. And she gets one, in the form of a familiar yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Yay! See, it turns out that Alice has some magic in her. It was her who summoned the troll just by wishing for an escape. She also summoned the Beetle, which the troll picks up and holds just like he does in the real life statue. As a native Seattle kid, I love how this episode went all in on inventing some lore for one of my favorite sculptures in the city. I grew up climbing on that thing, and seeing Alice have a deep, personal connection to it warms my grey, overcast heart. The whole magic wishing thing… Well, on its own, it comes out of nowhere. Like the worst uses of magic on this show, it arrives as a deus ex machina and is never explained. It does pay off in a satisfying way for the modern world, though.In the present, things are finally moving along at a decent pace. Lucy and Regina are in full Henry-style operation mode, and Regina even breaks out the walkie-talkies for old time’s sake. Lucy doesn’t even know what they are. She suggests texting instead. Kids these days, right? Their plan involves Dr. Facilier. His magic just might be able to save Henry. They just need to know whose side he’s on first. With a lunch date and a secret piece of tape, Regina distracts Facilier while Lucy performs a little breaking and entering. Unfortunately, Zelena shows up and breaks up the date. Facilier gives the two sisters some space, which is bad news for Lucy. She’s still in his apartment, and worse, she’s not picking up her phone.(Photo via ABC)The show lets this scene build to a great, tense moment when Lucy gets the messages just in time to hide and escape. Unfortunately, she leaves her hat behind, and Facilier figures out what’s really been going on. This storyline served only to set up another conflict to play out in the episodes to come. Facilier readily admits to Regina what he wants. He’s after the Dark One’s dagger. Regina’s not about to let that happen, but she also can’t deny that she does have romantic feelings for Facilier. He tells her to take a page from what she learned in Storybrooke: Find a way to have it all. So that’s where her journey is going for the next few episodes. This mini-arc was fun enough, but it didn’t push the story forward like I was hoping. Instead, the real meat of the episode was happening elsewhere in Hyperion Heights.Ivy is trying to make things right with everybody, and it leads to a really good scene. Henry convinces Ivy to make amends with her sister, suggesting a genuine, sincere apology. She surprises Henry and all of us by giving him one as well. Ivy really is changing. By the end of this season, she might end up being the hero. Or at least one of many. We don’t get to see her journey to find Anastasia, though. Instead, Henry’s night is interrupted once more by another visitor. That’s where the episode really gets going. Rogers shows up looking for a place to stash Tilly away while he tries to prove her innocence. Henry agrees to help, and they leave her there while they try to find an alibi for her.Rose Reynolds and Tiera Skovbye (Photo via ABC)She has about as much patience as any fantasy adventure protagonist and leaves the safe house immediately. There is a nice moment where she’s inexplicably drawn to a book about Robin Hood. D’awwww. But she remembers where she must have gone, and heads out on her own to see if anyone remembers seeing her. The problem is, nobody remembers her at all. Even people who usually do, like the guy at the deli counter who makes her a marmalade sandwich every day. For some reason, she may as well be invisible. I say, magic is afoot! Henry and Rogers catch up to her when she finds evidence that she thinks may exonerate her. Her missing backpack is in a dumpster by the grocery story. Unfortunately, inside someone has planted strands of hair that are probably from the murder victims. Someone really wants Tilly out of the way.We don’t find out exactly who or how in this episode. That will probably come later. But this is the point where the flashback and modern scenes line up for a neat little conclusion. I still love it every time this show can pull that trick off. It’s an indication that it managed to pull off two engaging stories and bring them both to a satisfying conclusion. Once Upon a Time isn’t always able to accomplish that but when it does, it’s very good. Seemingly out of hope, Tilly runs to the troll to say goodbye. For some reason, she’s always felt like it was looking after her. As she says goodbye, she runs into Alice, who’s finally returned to face her mother. The two meet for the second time, and that connection is still there. And Robin carries around an Alice in Wonderland book with her. That’s adorable.Rose Reynolds and Tiera Skovbye (Photo via ABC)Once again, the troll saves Alice/Tilly when she needs it the most. Henry and Rogers show up just as Alice remembers that she was at the troll at the time of the murder. And as luck would have it, the city had recently installed a security camera in the troll’s eye. OK, that’s a little on the nose even for Seattle. And not gonna lie, the idea that the city would turn a piece of community art that’s brought me and many other Seattlites so much joy over the years into a tool of the surveillance state is a little offensive to me. I love the idea of building a whole fantasy lore around it, but don’t infect it with how much the real world sucks. Oh well, it serves the story’s purpose at least. It clearly shows that Alice was at the troll at the time the woman was murdered in the hospital. She’s off the hook. And Rogers offers her a place to stay with him. Father and daughter are back together, and that makes me happy at least. It was a sweet ending to an exciting, story-packed entry of Once Upon a Time. The show could use more like this. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.