Once Upon A Time Should Be Going Home
Once Upon A Time’s Executive Producers Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis spoke with TVLine about their rationale going into Season 7…
TVLINE | When I first got wind that Andrew West would be playing Adult Henry opposite this 10-year-old girl, I entertained the possibility that this is where you’d go — have a little girl knocking on a grown-up Henry’s door. And to me that seemed like a really organic, logical way to continue the show. The word “reset” has been tossed around regarding Season 7, by myself included, and some people can read that as meaning “dismissive of” everything that came before. But in this case, it’s about a new story informed by everything that came before it.
KITSIS | That’s exactly right. That’s why Henry, who has the Heart of the True Believer, is leading the next chapter. This chapter of the book felt like it needed to be completed, but the idea of fairy tales in the real world, and the real world needing to have hope, and people needing to find that, is still very relevant and personal to us. So we felt like Henry was the perfect person to lead us into the new chapter.
However, I’m here to state my opinion that viewers don’t need a seventh season of Once Upon A Time. They don’t need a seventh season, because they didn’t need anything beyond the third mid-season finale, “Going Home.”
Episode 3×11, “Going Home,” ended with Emma and Henry accepting bitter sweet memory loss as a full circle condition of Regina’s ending the first curse, so everyone else could return to the Enchanted Forest. “Going Home” ended with Mr. Gold committing patricide and suicide in order to prevent his father from enacting a second curse and harming the family he’d worked to save. The characters had cycled through all the “relevant” and “personal” character development necessary to reach those points. Kitsis said, “This chapter of the book felt like it needed to be completed…” But, it already was, and “Henry was the perfect person to lead us into the new chapter” off-screen.
Instead, viewers were treated to episode 3×12, “New York City Serenade,” in which Hook’s and Henry’s roles were simply flipped, as Hook sought to return Emma’s memories to address the new unnecessary curse. Viewers then watched Emma rehash the same psychological issues the previous arc had allowed her to work through. Viewers heard endlessly about Emma’s “walls,” the walls that already came down by the time she bade her family farewell in “Going Home.”
Furthermore, Rumplestiltskin was resurrected from the death that saved the son who was central to his motivation. That very resurrection process then killed that son, which regressed Rumplestiltskin. That regression negated the karmic and thematic perfection of his sacrifice. Viewers spent years watching Mr. Gold get tortured and vacillate with half-assed drug addiction allegory. His entire arc after “Going Home” would’ve made much more sense prior to his heroic death, not following on from it. On top of that, Gold had to save a second son from his other evil parent.
Following “Going Home,” Horowitz and Kitsis reset Once Upon A Time by turning the show into repetitive fanfic of itself. They just periodically added new branded characters to suit Disney’s marketing needs. I saw nothing in the final scene of “The Final Battle” to give me “hope.” Lucy was knocking on Adult Henry’s door, dragging the same slightly tweaked baggage behind her that viewers have seen twice before. As much as I’ve enjoyed the performances on Once Upon A Time, I need to be going home.