The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 22: A Land Without Magic

Emma embraces her destiny, while Charming struggles to rescue Snow White.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Jared S. Gilmore, Raphael Sbarge, and Robert Carlyle

Season 1
Episode 22: A Land Without Magic

The Enchanted Forest

As two guards haul Prince Charming off for execution, Charming manages to slip away, where he is rescued by the Huntsman. While travelling towards Snow, the Evil Queen uses her magic to transport him to an infinite forest. Rumple appears to offer help, but Charming refuses. After a short fight, Rumple offers Charming a deal: he will enchant Charming’s mother’s ring to help him find Snow White, provided Charming put a golden egg containing the true love potion inside “the belly of the beast”.

Charming goes to Maleficent’s castle and demands to know the location of the beast. In response, she turns into a dragon and attacks Charming. He manages to push the egg into Maleficent’s gills and escapes through the window into the water below. Rumple then gives Charming the enchanted ring. Charming is then free to race through the forest towards Snow’s coffin, where he breaks the curse using true love’s kiss. Walking afterwards, Charming proposes and Snow accepts. They then start planning how to take their respective kingdoms back from King George and the Evil Queen respectively.


Emma rushes Henry to hospital, but Dr Whale tells her that Henry is not showing any symptoms of being poisoned, as she suspects. Emma is then convinced that magic is responsible, and looks in the storybook, magically giving her memories of the night the curse began. As Regina enters the room to check on Henry, Emma violently confronts her, forcing Regina to reveal that the turnover was meant for Emma, and that the curse is real. The two visit Mr Gold, as he is the only one who is able to help them save Henry. He reveals the true love can break any curse, and as he used the true love potion he got from Snow and Prince Charming on the parchment used to write the curse, only Emma can stop it, as she is a product of that true love. It is up to Emma to retrieve the rest of that potion from its hiding place. To achieve this, Mr Gold gifts her Charming’s sword. Meanwhile, David announces to Mary Margaret that he is moving to Boston unless she gives him a reason to stay. Mary Margaret cannot find it within herself to forgive him, and he leaves.

Before going to retrieve the rest of the true love potion, Emma visits August and discovers him turning to wood – her new-found belief allowing her to see his affliction. He manages to encourage her before he completely turns into a wooden puppet. When Regina refuses to follow through on her promise to Jefferson, as the apple did not have its intended effect, Jefferson sneaks into the underground asylum and releases Belle, telling her to find Mr Gold and let him know that Regina had incarcerated her there.

Regina takes Emma inside the clock tower and Emma descends in the lift. When Emma gets to the bottom, she discovers Snow White’s glass coffin, and then runs into Maleficent’s dragon form. She starts fighting with the dragon, first using the sword but then resorting to the gun. She realises that the sword is the only thing that has any effect and hurls this as the dragon, resulting in it exploding it and the golden egg containing the love potion being released.

The lift stops working on the return journey, and Mr Gold tells Emma that Regina has abandoned them, and that she should throw up the egg and then climb up herself. She throws the egg, but discovers that Regina is tied up and gagged and Mr Gold has disappeared. As they prepare to pursue Gold, both Regina and Emma receive calls from the hospital about Henry. When they arrive at the hospital, they discover that he has died.

Gold prepares with the potion, when Belle enters to inform him what Regina had done to her. Gold is stunned to see Belle alive, believing that she had died in the Enchanted Forest long ago. The two set off into the woods, as he is eager to enact his plan involving the True Love potion.

Emma goes to Henry’s body, whispers to him that she loves him and kisses him on the forehead. The kiss results in a shockwave just like when Charming kissed Snow. This act has broken the curse, restoring Henry to life and causing everybody in Storybrooke to have their Enchanted Forest memories restored. The Blue Fairy warns Regina to find somewhere to hide, and Regina does run away, but not before telling Henry that she truly does love him, regardless of what others may tell him. Returning to her mansion, she sobs at having lost what is truly important to her: Henry.

David, just about to exit town, remembers his past and drives back into town. Seeing Mary Margaret across the street, he shouts across to her, calling her “Snow!”. She responds, “Charming!”, and the two run towards each other, finally embracing and rejoicing that they have found each other once more.

In the forest, Belle stops abruptly, telling Gold that she remembers everything. She tells Gold that she loves him, and he admits that he loves her too, but that there will be plenty of time to talk later, but they need to continue with the plan first. Arriving at the wishing well in the forest, Gold reveals that it is said that the waters that run below can return something that is lost. To that end, he drops the love potion into the wishing well, causing plumes of purple smoke to cascade out of the well and spread around the land. Belle asks Gold what is happening, and Gold responds that magic is being brought back to the world. Belle asks Gold why he is returning magic, he responds that magic is power. The smoke engulfs the entire town. Regina smiles sinisterly in her mansion as it approaches, safe in the knowledge that she will have her powers returned to her. Charming and Snow hold onto each other as the smoke engulfs them and the clock tower.

In Short

  • Charming escapes from the Evil Queen and wakes up Snow.
  • He also hides the true love potion inside Maleficent.
  • Emma retrieves the true love potion, which Gold uses to return magic to Storybrooke.
  • Emma breaks the Dark Curse by kissing Henry.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? He’s here! But does he do anything of consequence? Literally not. Literally never.
  • Goodness me guys! That was such a journey of an episode! So much happened! Emma is a believer now, and took on a dragon with her sword! The curse is broken! Magic is back! Belle is free! August is a puppet! My poor little brain is reeling!
  • I can’t help but feel that poor August turning back into a puppet was swept to one side in this episode. Hopefully there’ll be a follow up at the beginning of Season 2, as presumably Marco/Geppetto will want to know what’s become of him, but I really loved August as a character, and I feel like his death was just a small event in what could have been an emotional crux moment of the episode – especially since he is regular cast. In contrast to Archie who has contributed literally nothing.
  • I loved the cutting of the scenes with Charming and Emma fighting Maleficent. Wonderful to draw the similarities between those two characters. I feel like the relationship between Snow and Emma has been so prescient this whole series, especially with the two of them living together, and that link has been more emphasised through their sharing of scenes. It’s much easier to forget that she is also Charming’s daughter too, and that similarity was nice to observe here.
  • Regina was at rock bottom for a moment there, but with the advent of magic once again, it doesn’t seem like she will fare too badly in the aftermath of the curse being broken. After all, her magic will protect her against the others, even if they do gang up against her.
  • Gold releasing magic, as magic is power, is an interesting idea. I thought that he wanted the curse broken because he wanted to find Bae, but I’m confused as to why he would need magic to achieve that. I suppose he really hasn’t changed that much from his Enchanted Forest days. Power is still where it is at for him. I suppose it’s his protection mechanism, to make sure that what he’s built does not fall apart around him, not to mention that, as Rumple, he probably has quite a few enemies in Storybrooke who would love to take advantage of him if magic weren’t possible. And yet, considering the vulnerabilities that come along with the Dark One mantle, not to mention the position of power this also confers to Regina, it’s an interesting idea.
  • Snow and Charming embracing in Storybrooke, both of their lives merged together, is beautiful.
  • I am so frustrated that we don’t see Emma unite with Snow and Charming before the end of the episode.
  • I’m going to assume, since Gold said that the potion would only restore magic, that this doesn’t mean that Storybrooke is going to cease being. I think the series would get quite boring if they didn’t have that contrast in place, though now that the curse is broken, I would quite like to see the series stray a little bit more away from that formulaic level of storytelling. At least occasionally, it would be nice to see stories that are just told in one time period. Fingers crossed, with the curse broken and everyone’s memories in tact, that happens more moving forwards.
  • Belle is free! That’s so exciting to me, and I can’t wait to see what happens with her and Gold now, though I do worry that his quest for power will be a barrier within their relationship.
  • Henry deserves a cake, or five, for his continual warnings about this curse, and everybody ignoring him and brushing him off this entire series.
  • I am so brilliantly excited to see what they do this next series, and how Emma’s character continues to develop, especially in relation to getting to know her parents and finally understanding and coming to terms with those feelings of abandonment.

Well, thank you guys, for coming with me on this epic journey through the first season of Once Upon a Time. I feel like I’ve aged about a decade throughout this. Strangely, none of the character do seem to have aged, but I suppose there must be something in the water either in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest. I’m probably going to have a small break from Once, but I’ll be back with my recaps of season 2 as soon as I can. I hope that you enjoyed, and feel free to comment, share and follow if that tickles your fancy.

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