Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns:...
Knowing that the same guys who wrote for Lost are now helming Once Upon a Time, a theory of what’s really, really going on suddenly sprouted into my head:
Henry is Emma and Regina’s son, but instead of being ten, he’s actually older, in the middle or towards the end of his teens. As a young boy, he grew up with a loving family, but when he was ten, his mothers divorced.
(My personal reason is that Regina cheated on Emma, or they split because Regina’s ruthless ambition for politics/business led to a win-at-all-costs episode that ended in defeat, with the aftermath driving both Emma and Henry away.)
Emma leaves their house and Henry starts shuffling between homes, and while Regina feels guilt over how she has ruined her family, she has also appeared to accept that the relationship is ruined for good.
The divorce has a profound effect on him and on Emma, both of them carrying guilt and believing that they each had roles to play in the dissolution of their family, more so than Regina. At first Emma sees Henry infrequently, because of the pain she feels, but after a talk with Henry, she decides to visit more frequently and to deal with Regina.
Both Emma and Regina change—Regina drowns her guilt in work and continues put ambition above her family, and tries, to Henry’s dismay, to win him back by ‘buying’ his affection, when all he wants her to do is to get Emma back.
Meanwhile, Emma starts changing jobs frequently, trying nearly every novelty, in an attempt to become what she believes to be the woman Regina wants her to be. (Side note: This can be emotional damage inflicted not just by Regina but by Cora.)
Henry starts to engage in risky behavior, smoking, drinking, drugs, sex—the works. One night, he breaks his curfew to attend a friend’s party, and post the party, driving under the influence, gets into a car crash and a coma.
Basically, everything we see on screen is an allegory of Henry’s life. The Storybrooke life is a closer approximation of what his real, real life was like, and the fairy tale world is his way of coping, having people fall into stereotypes and/or predictable behavior, in order to steel himself—and by extension, Emma—from further disappointment.
(Side note#2: This could’ve been a way of bringing back happier times, when the three of them slept in the same bed after a bedtime story.)
The reason we see Henry at ten is because that is when everything changed for him, the major turning point (so far) of his life. Until then, everything had been so good. All the battles and events that have happened, are happening, and will happen at Storybrooke and in the fairy tale world are glimpses into Henry’s thoughts and of how things are progressing in his real, real world.
After the coma, or the breaking of the curse, we see Emma and Regina’s relationship further devolve, as each parent has a new war to fight with the other, and with themselves. Slowly but surely, with the help of Red, James, and Snow, they come to realize that they have to work together to save not just Henry but each other.
The series ends with Emma and Regina winning the war in both Storybrooke and in the fairy tale world, defeating Cora and Rumpelstiltskin once and for all.
The final scene has the older Henry opening his eyes, with a reconciled Emma and Regina running to his side, celebrating his recovery.
It cuts to black, as the immortal words write themselves onscreen:
And they all lived happily ever after.
As the credits roll, we see Emma and Regina having a faux argument, which ends with Emma grinning impishly and kissing the Queen. Regina is revealed to have retired from politics or business and is pursuing what she really loves—the culinary arts. Older Henry knocks on the door, and brings in older Ava or older Paige or another girl to introduce to them. The montage continues, showing how the rest of the characters have fared.