Emma And Hook Get Married In Once Upon A Time: The Musical
The power of song helps Emma work through some abandonment issues in the run-up to the final battle.
It's A Hard-Knock Life
Sure, the opening scene is a fairly pointless throwaway -- and it's downright weird to be recommending viewing anything that takes place in early 1990s Minnesota that doesn't also involve Joshua Jackson -- but yeah, go ahead and watch young Emma get her hopes and dreams of being a singer crushed by her foster sister. The mental conflict adult Emma has later on won't make sense otherwise.
Say Yes To The Dress
Present day finds Emma at home, a day before her wedding, standing conflicted in front of two wedding dresses that she purchased, because, I guess, the show wants to make the point that Killian's been investing his pirate loot. Snow, who was supposedly overly involved in wedding planning, arrives with the sudden announcement that she had Belle search the back of Gold's shop to find her wedding dress; would Emma just want to wear that? Of course she would, because this weird parent dynamic hasn't met a sentimental cliché it didn't love. What joy.
Every Line Ends With a Rhyme
The musical party finally gets started with a flashback to a preggers Snow in her and Charming's castle; she's distressed over the Evil Queen's vow to terrorize the unborn Emma, so she makes a wish for a happy ending. What happens next is entirely predictable, made passable by the incorporated self-awareness. That's right, it's an expository song!
It's dumb, but adorable, and Charming looks pretty hot in those leather pants.
She's Evil, But She's Not An Evil Genius
Just as Snow's wedding dress is revealed to be a super-glam strapless number with a trendy feather skirt, the Black Fairy arrives to ruin the moment. It's a particularly dumb way to waste the element of surprise, given that she just wants to chat/threaten/literally tell the group what her first point of attack would be and not attack Emma, but que sera sera, I guess; no one ever said the villains were the brightest crayons in the box.
Immediately afterwards, Regina, Zelena, Snow, and Emma race to the clock tower, where they find a ball of black fairy dust, set to go off at 6 PM, a.k.a. the exact time of Emma's wedding. Regina decides to take responsibility for diffusing it, since she ruined Snow and Charming's wedding back in the day; it's the least she could do. This whole scene would seem important, in that it's supposed to be the official start of the final battle, but the episode doesn't treat it as such, so don't bother watching.
Mirror, Mirror Full Of Song
Just as Regina's owning up to of her past terrorizing of Snow and Charming, we flashback to when the Evil Queen is first hit by the singing curse. Predictably and hilariously, girlfriend is not having it.
The hints of OG songs from Snow White and Pinocchio are nice touches, but once again the leather pants are really what makes the whole thing work.
As Killian and David contemplate the horrors of all-white suits, Emma drops by to let them know that the Black Fairy's back. Killian realizes that Emma's claim of not wanting anyone around to help fight is really code for "goodbye, just in case," as though this show would ever actually kill off Emma Swan (for good, anyway. The whole magic thing leaves a lot of possibilities).
Where There's A Pirate, There's A Yo-Ho
Flashing back again, Snow and Charming turn up at a seedy tavern looking for Hook; they heard the Jolly Roger was the fastest ship around and -- emboldened by song -- they want to buy a ride to the Evil Queen's castle, where they hope to defeat her once and for good. But Hook's a pirate of principle and he's after something worth much more than gold; he wants a crocodile.
This being this show, though, of course Snow and Charming just happen to have the very one he's looking for.
In Which The Characters Do Dumb Things, Because Of Course They Do
Killian goes to the pawnshop to confront Gold, as though Gold doesn't always get the better of him/everyone else every single time they try this. Meanwhile, at the police station, Emma rummages through some photos to make sure that she's extra sentimental before battle and winds up having a heart-to-heart with Henry; he tells her she's doing the right thing and that he has faith she'll win. He also goes to play the tape recorder from the opening, which Emma has not only kept, but has brought to her place of work as though that's normal. Hearing the recording causes Emma's face to get all funny, even though she dismisses her reaction as "nothing." In the meantime, Regina and Zelena make a breakthrough in their quest to stop the looming ball of black fairy dust. Using some convoluted logic -- and stop me if this sounds familiar because it's literally the way the show began -- they realize that they need to brew a potion to stop time. No biggie, right?
Flashing back to the continuing adventures of Snow and Charming, the Evil Queen approaches a then-imprisoned Rumple to ask for his help. He rejects her, alluding to the fact that he should have chosen Zelena when he had the chance. Unbeknownst to either of them, Zelena's watching from Oz through a looking glass, like an obsessed Instagram stalker, and these developments have her giddy with schadenfreude. The entire thing is so gloriously unnecessary and petty that it becomes completely delightful.
In Which The Characters Do Dumb Things, Part 2
Regina turns up with the time-freezing potion, but then Rumple appears, takes the potion, and uses it to freeze everyone Emma cares about. Emma goes to confront the Black Fairy, gets shown her frozen family and played her humming before running back to the station crying. There, she tells Henry that the Black Fairy made her remember what it feels like to be alone, and explains the significance of the tape, which, tl;dr is that she used to run from big things, like having Henry in the first place. All of this talking somehow leads Emma to the genius idea of just giving the Black Fairy what she wants (Emma's heart) and calling it a day, her rationale being that at least it will free everyone else to take care of Henry. Sure? Because ruthless fairies are notorious for always leaving the families of defeated heroines completely untouched.
Blue Explains It All
Snow and Charming confront the Evil Queen in her castle via song, which is irritating, but it does appear to give them the advantage they hoped; she seems to be unable to hurl fireballs (not a euphemism) at them. But then: twist! She was just acting, buying time until she could maneuver them into a position from which she could open her magic box (thanks, Wicked Witch!) and steal their song. Literally, just their song. Their voices are fine. It doesn't make sense. Also not making sense? The fact that the Evil Queen then sends Snow and Charming packing back to their own castle, as if they're not enemies to be thrown into the dungeons.
Back on their own balcony, Blue arrives to debrief, basically saying that the point of all the singing wasn't to help Snow and Charming defeat the Evil Queen, but to give Emma a happy ending; one day, she'll have to face the final battle, but now she won't be along because she'll have the songs of the people who love her in her heart. Which is sentimental and all, but present-day Emma is so emotionally traumatized by her own humming that she's about to hand her heart over just so that she never has to hear her own recording again. But then: twist! Back in the present day, Henry's ruffling through books at the station when he becomes frustrated, tosses everything across the room, and inadvertently comes across the very image of Blue pointing her wand at Snow's pregnant stomach that we just saw.
Somehow, from that image alone, he's able to figure everything out. Which is impressive, not just because he's Henry and he's the worst, but because it's a pretty weak plot with a lot of gaps. Immediately, he goes to find Emma, who uses the knowledge to unfreeze her family.
The whole thing would make a lot more sense if Emma's humming and/or song related in any way to Snow and Charming's, but alas -- nothing in any of these timelines is ever that logical.
A Happy Beginning
Suddenly, it's wedding time, and Emma walks in, not in Snow's dress, but in a heretofore unseen fourth option. She and Killian exchange their vows and then there's more singing, which is so sickly sweet that rooting for the Black Fairy seems like the best thing to do.
Alas, she doesn't show, but the dust ball she left in the clocktower starts to wind its way through town like a multi-tentacled smoke monster. It's doomy and gloomy and spooky, and hopefully it will make someone pay for that toothache of a final number.
Despite the fact that the present-day scenes are an entire waste of time -- save, of course, for the part where Emma and Killian finally get hitched -- and the fact that the rest of the episode is a filled with songs for no real reason (almost like the producers didn't trust themselves to actually pull this whole thing off in the first place), this still ends up being a watch. It's cute and cheesy, and honestly a lot easier to follow than a lot of the other things that go on in Storybrooke and its adjacent realms. Plus: the dwarves form a conga line at Emma and Killian's reception, which is literally the most perfect way to wrap the party up before the smoke transports them all to next week's final battle.