There's No Place Like Home (Once Upon a Time)
|"There's No Place Like Home"|
|Once Upon a Time episode|
|Directed by||Ralph Hemecker|
|Written by||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz|
|Original air date||May 11, 2014|
"There's No Place Like Home" is episode twenty-two of the third season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 66th episode overall, which aired on May 11, 2014. The episode serves as the conclusion of a two-part season finale with "Snow Drifts", written by series creators Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Ralph Hemecker.
Commentators responded positively to the episode, commenting mainly on Jennifer Morrison's role, the time-travel storyline as a whole, and the introduction of a central character for the fourth season.
A new set of graphics highlights the "O" as a mirror, and features a swan in the forest.
In the Characters' Past
In 2001 Portland, Oregon, Emma Swan and Neal Cassidy are on a date at an amusement park after hours, where Neal picks a lock and the two sneak in to sit down on a swing ride. Neal then opens up to Emma about his past, and about home, telling her it is a place that you cannot shake, and that you just miss.
In the Enchanted Forest's New Past
As the story continues from the previous episode, Emma sees the woman across from her in the cell as the same woman who was arrested for helping Snow, and learns that they are both due to be executed immediately the next day. Using her tricks from the night Neal broke into the amusement park, Emma remembers she knows how to break a lock by using two spoons, and it works. Later on, Charming catches Snow in the rope trap, although the timeline of their introduction is thrown off, until Hook shows up to say that another woman (Emma) has his ring. Charming looks at Snow's fairy dust pendant while she tells him her backstory (another timeline that was thrown off), and comes up with a plan to break into Regina’s castle first, then rescue Emma and steal back the ring. Snow tells them to wait, which gives Hook and Charming time to talk about love. Moments later, Red Riding Hood shows up, revealing herself as a friend of Snow's, and who can get them into the castle. As they reach the place, Red, who transformed into a wolf, scares a guard into running away, but the escape plan goes awry when they run into Emma and her fellow inmate, prompting Hook to tell Emma that she deprived him of a dashing rescue. Seconds later, Snow and Regina prepare to face off, with Snow throwing her dark fairy dust, but Regina uses her magic to stop it in midair. Snow tries telling her that what happened to Daniel (when she told Cora) was a mistake, saying that she was only a child, but an unforgiving Regina talks about consequences and sets up a stake to burn her. Regina throws a fireball at the helpless Snow White, who appears to die. Her death causes Red to howl as a wolf and Emma to cry over her mother's death.
Hook tries to comfort Emma by telling her that when his brother died all he could do was live in the moment. But Emma wonders how she can be still alive if Snow died. All of a sudden, a ladybug buzzes around Hook and just as he is about to kill the insect, Charming shouts “wait!” Charming takes the ladybug, places it on his hand and it is transformed back into Snow White by the Blue Fairy, thanks to a special form of fairy dust. The Blue Fairy is also aware that Emma wasn't Leia all along, but says it’s all right, her secrets can be hers. Snow is startled when Emma hugs her with tears in her eyes, shouting, “You’re alive.” Snow and Charming seem to be warming up to each other, causing a slight restoration in the timeline. Emma looks at the prisoner and suggests that she and Hook take her with them back to Storybrooke, but the woman is not happy about that idea, prompting Emma to knock her out to kidnap her. As Emma, Hook, and their additional guest go their separate ways, both Snow and Charming reach the troll bridge, but thanks to the altered timeline Snow doesn’t have her dust as a weapon to defeat the trolls, so she goes towards them and bluffs. They drop their weapons and take off. The timeline is back on track as Charming is now smitten with Snow before they go their separate ways, with Snow holding on to the ring and trying it on. Emma watches from a distance and gets weepy. Hook says, “It’s ok, Swan. Not everyone gets a chance to watch their parents fall in love.” Emma opens the book, and discovers a picture of Snow and Charming getting married, and as expected Regina still seeking vengeance on Snow, resulting in the timeline being restored, only this time Regina turns the trolls into bugs with the dark magic and squashes them.
Emma, Hook and their guest return to see Rumplestiltskin in the hopes that he can open the time portal, but instead he tells them that only they can re-open it because only the people who came through the portal can re-open it, but they need to wield magic. Rumple gives Emma a wand and tells her to open the portal if she has magic, but she doesn't think she can. Rumple decides he’d rather forget everything he’s learned so as not to alter his future, then he sends Emma and Hook to a dark vault where he keeps dangerous and unpredictable magic, where their Storybrooke outfits are restored. Hook says that Emma still has some magic in her and after seeing what happened to her parents and realizing everything Henry did to bring her to Storybrooke, she's ready to return home. Hook and Emma then notice the wand lights up with magic and open up the portal, allowing Hook and the woman to escape first. Before she can leave, Rumple holds on to Emma and demands to know what happened to Baelfire/Neal. Emma tells him what happened, then she begs him not to take away the fact he died a hero. Rumplestiltskin drinks the forgetting potion and lets go of Emma where she is pulled into the portal, which sends her, Hook, and the woman back to Storybrooke.
As Emma and Hook return to the present day, Emma admits that her home is in Storybrooke and that she has been treating her parents like acquaintances for too long. Emma returns home and gives them a big hug and calls them mom and dad for the second time. Mary Margaret and David tell her that they are naming their new son Prince Neal in honor of Emma's first love and Gold's son who saved them all from Zelena. That evening, Hook tells Emma that he traded the Jolly Roger for a magic bean so he could bring her back to Storybrooke. Realizing this is the ultimate expression of Hook's feelings, Emma finally gives him a passionate kiss. Also that night, Gold and Belle are officially married, watched over by Belle's father Moe French and ordained minister Archie Hopper.
The prisoner Emma rescued is revealed to be none other than Maid Marian,[note 1] who eagerly runs to embrace Robin Hood and Roland. A distraught Regina notes that Emma has done exactly what her mother did: unintentionally ruin her chance for happiness by naively trying to make things better. Reduced to tears, Regina ominously warns Emma that Marian had better be the only thing she brought back. Back at the barn, a container from Rumplestiltskin's vault (which Hook accidentally disturbed in the vault) is revealed to have fallen through the portal. The lid pops off and releases a blue liquid, which after a moment coalesces into none other than Elsa. She removes her gloves and unleashes an icy blast that destroys her former prison, before heading out of the barn, leaving a trail of frozen ground behind her.
- The episode title is a spoken phrase by Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
- Emma's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Princess Leia; a reference to one of the main protagonists of the original Star Wars trilogy.
- Hook's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Prince Charles; a reference to the current Prince of Wales, who is currently first-in-line to inherit the British throne.
It was hinted on March 10, 2014, that the producers may be looking ahead at incorporating characters from the films The Princess and the Frog, Brave, and Frozen in future episodes, possibly towards the end of the third season if they get the green light from Disney. This was evidenced by the final minutes in the episode, setting things up for a new arc based on Frozen in the fourth season. The utilization of characters from the former two films would come in season seven and season five respectively.
The episode, along with "Snow Drifts," pulled in respectable numbers, placing a 2.3/7 with 6.80 million viewers tuning in (as they were combined as a two-hour episode), winning in both the 8 pm and 9 pm timeslots. This marks an increase in the 18-49 demographic from the previous episode, but a decrease in overall viewership. It also matches the 18-49 rating of the second season finale; however, it also marked a decrease in overall viewers, as the second season finale was watched by 7.33 million viewers. The show placed first not only in its timeslot and for the night of broadcast, but it also placed eleventh for the week.
2.59 million viewers watched the episode via DVR, bringing the total to 9.39 million viewers, and bringing the total 18-49 rating to 3.5.
The season finale was met with positive reviews from critics.
Hillary Busis of Entertainment Weekly gave it a great review, saying "I mean. How am I supposed to discuss Once's two-hour finale -- an epic, fantastical take on Back to the Future complete with far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and a princess in disguise -- when all I can talk about, all I can think about, is that final shot, which may just be the most surprising moment in the history of OUAT?"
Gwen Ihnat — writing for The A.V. Club — gave the finale an A- grade, saying "This finale shows the best of OUAT: Rumple conjuring magic, Red turning into a wolf, and a lovely blend of magic and fairy tales mixed with real-life concepts like family and home. When Emma sees her mother torched by a fireball (something that would only happen in a place like the Enchanted Forest), she realizes for the first time what she’d be giving up by moving to New York. It’s a crazy family, to be sure, but it’s hers, and the finale ends with Emma, who still thought of herself as an orphan as recently as Neverland, finally finding a home."
Christine Orlado of TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.7 out of 5 stars, while Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave it a 8.9 out of 10, saying that "Once's season finale took a spirited trip into the past and introduced an exciting new villain" and gave Jennifer Morrison high marks for this latest outing.
Awards and nominations
Season Finale Awards
|Best Romantic Cliffhanger||Won|
|Funniest Moment in a Drama||Won|
|Dumbest Move By a Character Who Should Be Smarter||Won|
|Weakest/Most Divisive Twist||Nominated|
|Next Year's Season Pass is Now in Jeopardy||Nominated|
|Biggest Regret That I Didn't See It, I Just Heard or Read About It||Won|
- In "Episode 83: Heart of Gold", it is revealed that Rumplestiltskin's assassination attempt failed to kill Zelena. Instead, her spirit accompanied Hook and Emma when they went back in time, where Zelena killed Maid Marian, after they had rescued her. Zelena then used the Seven Leaf Clover of Oz to impersonate Marian, with Emma and Hook taking Zelena back to Storybrooke unwittingly.
- "Listings - ONCE UPON A TIME on ABC". thefutoncritic.com.
- "Here's our first #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler of season 4 -- hope to see ya this fall!". Twitter. July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (May 13, 2014). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'American Dad' & 'America's Funniet Home Videos' Adjusted Up; 'Revenge', 'Cosmos' & 'Dateline' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- This sequence can be seen only when the final two episodes are shown as one whole. When shown separately, this episode's sequence repeats the previous one's sequence.
- "Once Upon a Time Bosses Want to Do Frozen and Brave Princesses—and Here's Who Should Play Them" from E! Online (March 10, 2014)
- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 6, 2014). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', The Simpsons', 'Dateline' & 'Resurrection' Adjusted Up; 'The Good Wife' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 14, 2013). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Survivor', 'Once Upon a Time', 'The Simpsons' & 'Revenge' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: 'The Big Bang Theory' Tops Week 33 With Adults 18-49; 'NCIS' With Total Viewers - Ratings". TVbytheNumbers.
- Bibel, Sara (May 27, 2014). "Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' Has Biggest 18-49 Ratings & Viewership Gains, 'Nashville' Top Percentage Gains in Week 33". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Top Programs – Total Canada (English), May 5 - May 11, 2014" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 22, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Journey to the Past" from Entertainment Weekly (May 11, 2014)
- Ihnat, Gwen (May 11, 2014). "Once Upon A Time: "Snow Drifts"/"There's No Place Like Home"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Once Upon a Time Review: Chilling Consequences". TV Fanatic. May 11, 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
- "Once Upon a Time Review: All About Oz". IGN. May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- "Best (Presumed) Death or Exit - TV Season Finale Awards - YOUR 2014 Winners". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Season Finale Awards: 'Once Upon a Time' creators dish on Hook, Elsa". Entertainment Weekly.