[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Sunday's Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!]
The winter finale of Once Upon a Time managed to uplift hearts and break them in the final moments with two major reveals. We'll start with the good news first!
Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) made his triumphant return, and as promised he wasn't just a vision coming to give Regina (Lana Parrilla) closure. Regina followed Emma (Jennifer Morrison) into the dream land where she was trapped, living out an alternate reality where she wasn't the savior. Regina was able to convince Emma that her real life awaited her and there were people that needed her to defeat the real Evil Queen -- but just as the two were ready to take a magic bean back to Storybrooke, the alternate reality Robin Hood appeared and Regina was unable to leave him behind.
Yes, that means that both Regina and Emma are stuck in an alternate reality Enchanted Forest, but if they can find another portal there's a chance that Robin Hood can follow them back to Storybrooke. Regina has done a magnificent job of letting Robin go, even if she hasn't been able to forgive Zelena (Rebecca Mader) for the events that lead to his death. Can you fault her for wanting a second chance with her soulmate? There is at least the hope that she could get her happy ending back.
However, the good news seems to stop there. The episode also dropped the bomb that Gideon (Giles Matthey) is the figure under the hood that kills Emma in the prophecy. Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) discovered that Rumple's mother, the Black Fairy, had kidnapped their son; and in the second half of the season fans will find out how Gideon has grown up to be someone that wants the Savior dead.
For the time being, Rumple and Belle have agreed to work together to try and save Gideon from whatever darkness the Black Fairy plans to rope him into, but if he's the one under the hood we may already know that it's too late. As of now, their son will grow up dark, which is the very thing that Belle was trying to avoid by sending him away in the first place.
This is Once Upon a Time though, and the theme of this show has always been hope. That means that just like Regina can have hope that she can be reunited with Robin Hood, Belle and Rumple can be hopeful that there's time to save their son from becoming the dark person the prophecy predicts he will become. It seems that Rumple and Belle are both on the same page when it comes to their son for maybe the first time since they found out Belle was pregnant. If the two of them can continue to work together, then anything is possible. They can not only save Gideon, but Emma as well and the rest of Storybrooke can live to see another day.
What was your favorite part of the winter finale?
Once Upon a Time Season 6 returns in March on ABC.