Let's not mince words: Issac is the avatar of Adam and Eddy into their own fictional universe. When it came to the Author in this two part finale, everything felt incredibly self aware and so very meta. I mean, this might be the most meta I've ever seen on any show outside of Supernatural. Isaac actually said #NoSpoilers (and if you follow the writers on Twitter then you know why that's significant). I honestly expected Adam and Eddy to appear, walking merrily along, waving and grinning. It's...interesting. I'll give the writers that. Isaac's story is pretty remedial in the end: he was a bitter employee who didn't like being taken for granted and denied what he thought was his bright future. He had a mean dictatorial boss who wanted Isaac to do things a certain way (or else!) and Isaac had to kowtow until one day he was chosen by Star Publications and started crafting his own stories--with a magic quill that made everything come to life. I am going to say this as clearly as I can: this is the story of Adam, Eddy, and ABC. Writers are clever and as much as I harp on Adam and Eddy and their now tawdry, soap opera filled show, they were (are) clever. They know how to say something without really saying it. The Author has always been Adam and Eddy's insert into their own story but never more so than now when they wrote Isaac making villains heroes (AKA: season two of OUAT and onward) and the heroes villains (just look at what they did to Snow White and Prince Charming this season). The Author even has rabid fans who demand that their favorite character(s) get happy endings while dressing up in cosplay. But in his heart, the Author is bitter that he wrote stories that no one ever wanted to read--that what he originally had to say wasn't good enough. What Issac ended up writing was a book that took all his frustrations over being told that his original ideas weren't good enough and used them to get some of his own back a little. If you know anything about this fandom and its politics--or anything about TV as a business--then you know that rumors circulate (and to be fair I don't know if any of this is true) that ABC demanded that Adam and Eddy push certain story lines over others because of fandom, because of popularity, because of what the media consumed and reported on, even though it wasn't what Adam and Eddy had in mind. A lot of that played out, I thought, in Isaac's story.
--Obviously over the course of two hours, there was a lot of plot. So my notes will be more extensive than normal. Let's start with Henry. I love this kid. He has come so far and I wish the writers would give him more to do now that we've really seen his acting chops. Henry asking the Apprentice if he could use the pen to bring back Neal gave me a lot of complex feelings. On the one hand, I cried a lot because it’s about TIME Henry finally talked about how much he misses his dad. But on the other, it was rather heartless for the writers to bring up Hook’s non existent death in that moment and compare it. From a purely fandom perspective, that’s…going to create waves. People can talk about how Hook wasn’t really dead since it was in a book and thus doesn’t fall into “dead is dead” (and I get the argument) but, again, from a fandom perspective, it’s only going to make matters worse. And in a lot of ways, it felt like the final slap that we can’t let Neal’s sacrifice be in vain (to quote Emma last season) but Hook’s sacrifice can be reversed and Emma is even begging for it to happen. I’m not even asking for SF….sail on CS, go be true love. I’m asking for Henry to have his father back. And yes I am well aware of MRJ's commitments to another show and that he will never come back.
--EXCUSE ME BUT NEAL TAUGHT HENRY HOW TO SAIL A SHIP, NOT HOOK.
--Forgive me for what I'm about to say, 'shippers, but seeing Captain Hook die was one of the greatest joys I've ever gotten from TV.
--I am literally going to ignore everything about CaptainSwan for my own sanity.
--And now I have to talk about Rumple. Well. Here goes: I hate the way his arc was finished this season. Having all the darkness sucked out of him is *so egregiously* hand wavey, it's insane. You mean to tell me that Rumple couldn't have figured out a way to do that himself to save his own life? Really? So Rumple can raise hell for an entire season but all it takes is a magic sucking hat and now he's human again? They couldn't even give him the "beast" ending from Beauty and The Beast. Also, why do I get the feeling that he'll be in that coma for a good long while?
--What was the point of Will Scarlett this season? What. Was. The. Point.
--Mal doesn't know who Lily's father was cause it was done dragon style. I can't even. However, OUAT isn't exactly a deep story so it's obviously Merlin.
--While the dragon and black tornado were graphically good, the background towns of the Enchanted Forest continue to be cringe worthy.
--Are Snowing just going to throw Isaac in a jail cell and that is that? What happened to August? Can he be turned back into a boy? Does Blue know anything about Merlin? If Emma had all her darkness removed then why did the Chernabog chase her? Where was Mal during all this? Henry is still the Author but broke the pen, so is he the Author in name only?
--Overall Rating for S4B: B
Operation Mongoose Part 1
Sympathy For the De Vil
Darkness On the Edge of Town
Operation Mongoose Part 2
Best Laid Plans
Poor Unfortunate Soul
Enter the Dragon
Heart of Gold