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Season 6
Once Upon a Time Season 6

No. of episodes

22

Original release

September 25, 2016 – May 14, 2017

Premiere

The Savior

Finale

The Final Battle

Previous

Season 5

Next

Season 7

The sixth season of the American ABC fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time was ordered on March 3, 2016. It debuted on September 25, 2016.

Existing fictional characters introduced to the series during the season include Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, the Count of Monte Cristo, Captain Nemo, Lady Tremaine, and Tiger Lily. Original new characters include Gideon, Mary Lydgate, and the Black Fairy. The show also reintroduced Jafar and Dr. Arthur Lydgate, who previously appeared in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Premise

Just when it looks like Storybrooke can enjoy some peace, once more it is threatened by dark forces. The malevolent Mr. Hyde, now separated from Dr. Jekyll, has arrived and brought his fellow inhabitants from the Land of Untold Stories. To make matters worse, Regina's dark half - the Evil Queen - continues to exist despite her heart being crushed; unburdened by a conscience, the Evil Queen has declared war on the heroes and separates Snow and David by placing a sleeping curse on their shared heart. Meanwhile, Aladdin's past as the previous Savior becomes a new factor in Emma's role as the current Savior, and is about to be pushed to the limits, which could lead her to a future that has no happy ending for her, while Gold must deal with trying to win Belle's heart again so they can be a family for their future child. Later on, the Black Fairy abducts Gideon, the son of Gold and Belle, which further complicates things for Storybrooke's residents. As Emma, Regina, and an alternate universe version of Robin Hood return to Storybrooke, Gideon arrives now a grown man, and is revealed to be the one fated to kill Emma. The events lead to the Black Fairy, the creator of the Dark Curse, who is also controlling Gideon with his heart, crossing over into Storybrooke, as the ongoing war between light and darkness ultimately leads to the final battle that was prophesied before the casting of the original Curse.

Cast and characters

Regular

Recurring

  • Beverley Elliott as Widow Lucas / Granny
  • Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket / Dr. Archie Hopper
  • Lee Arenberg as Grumpy / Leroy
  • David Paul Grove as Doc
  • Gabe Khouth as Sneezy / Mr. Clark
  • Faustino Di Bauda as Sleepy / Walter
  • Mig Macario as Bashful
  • Geoff Gustafson as Stealthy
  • Tony Amendola as Geppetto / Marco
  • Keegan Connor Tracy as the Blue Fairy / Mother Superior
  • Eion Bailey as Pinocchio / August Booth
  • David Anders as Victor Frankenstein / Dr. Whale
  • Jessy Schram as Cinderella / Ashley Boyd
  • Tim Phillipps as Prince Thomas / Sean Herman
  • Gabrielle Rose as Ruth
  • Alan Dale as King George / Albert Spencer
  • Jaime Murray as Fiona / the Black Fairy
  • Giles Matthey as Gideon / Morpheus
  • Sean Maguire as Robin Hood
  • Tony Perez as Prince Henry
  • Rose McIver as Tinker Bell
  • JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Ariel
  • Gil McKinney as Prince Eric
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Magic Mirror / Sidney Glass
  • Chris Gauthier as William Smee
  • Hank Harris as Dr. Henry Jekyll
  • Sam Witwer as Mr. Hyde
  • Deniz Akdeniz as Aladdin
  • Karen David as Princess Jasmine
  • Olivia Steele Falconer as Violet
  • Tzi Ma as the Dragon
  • Patrick Fischler as Isaac Heller
  • Sara Tomko as Tiger Lily
  • Wil Traval as the Sheriff of Nottingham / Keith

Guest

  • Oded Fehr as Jafar
  • Tarun Keram as Emir
  • Jordyn Ashley Olson as the Oracle
  • Craig Horner as Edmond Dantès / Count of Monte Cristo
  • Andrea Brooks as Charlotte
  • Andrew Kavadas as Baron Danglars
  • Lisa Banes as Lady Tremaine
  • Mekenna Melvin as Clorinda Tremaine
  • Goldie Hoffman as Tisbe Tremaine
  • Max Lloyd-Jones as Jacob
  • Jarod Joseph as Gus / Billy
  • Jonny Coyne as Dr. Arthur Lydgate
  • Elizabeth Blackmore as Mary Lydgate
  • Reilly Jacob as Tom Sawyer
  • Cedric De Souza as the Sultan
  • Kate Dion-Richard as Goldilocks
  • Faran Tahir as Captain Nemo
  • Nick Eversman as First Mate Liam Jones II
  • Paul Johansson as Gabriel / the Woodcutter
  • Nick Hunnings as Jack
  • Tammy Gillis as Jill
  • Mckenna Grace as young Emma
  • Rustin Gresiuk as teen August / Pinocchio
    • Jack Davies as young Pinocchio
  • David Cubitt as Robert
  • Tara Wilson as young Ruth
  • Luke Roessler as young David / young James
  • Brandon Spink as young Baelfire
  • Torstein Bjørklund as Beowulf
  • Zahf Paroo as Prince Achmed
  • Charles Mesure as Blackbeard
  • Anton Starkman as young Gideon
  • Grayson Gabriel as Roderick
    • Mason McKenzie as young Roderick
  • Isabella Blake-Thomas as young Zelena
  • Alex Désert as Stanum / Tin Man
    • Austin Obiajunwa as young Stanum
  • Stephen Lord as Malcolm
  • Andrew J. West as adult Henry Mills
  • Alison Fernandez as Lucy

Episodes

No. overall No. in season Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers (millions)
112 1 "The Savior" Eagle Egilsson Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz September 25, 2016 3.99
In the past, Aladdin, a "Savior", is taunted by Jafar over the inevitable downfall of all Saviors. In Storybrooke, refugees arrive from the Land of Untold Stories. Emma experiences tremors and visions; an arrested Hyde helps her receive an oracle's vision of a hooded figure killing her. Guided by Morpheus, Gold enters Belle's dreams to lift the sleeping curse; he tries to renew their love, but she rejects him. "Morpheus" reveals he is really their unborn son, and desired this outcome. Belle wakes and leaves Gold. Henry convinces Regina that Hades may have lied about Robin Hood's soul having been destroyed. Zelena moves in with Regina but, after learning her sister blames her for Robin Hood's death, moves out and is approached by the Evil Queen.
113 2 "A Bitter Draught" Ron Underwood Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan October 2, 2016 3.72
In the past in the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen offers to aid the revenge plot of Edmond Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo, if he kills Snow and David. When he falls in love with Snow's handmaiden, he reneges and flees with her to the Land of Untold Stories to save her from poison. In Storybrooke, the Evil Queen recruits Zelena and uses Edmond's heart to set him against Snow and David; Regina kills Edmond to save the others, and realizes she retains the capacity for darkness. The Evil Queen declares that the undesirable "untold stories" will be played out. She gives David evidence that his father's death was not accidental. Belle lives on Hook's ship; in a deal with Gold, the Evil Queen will not harm her or the baby. Emma tells Archie about her visions and notes that Regina isn't present in them and could be the hooded figure.
114 3 "The Other Shoe" Steve Pearlman Jane Espenson & Jerome Schwartz October 9, 2016 4.11
In the past in the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella meets Prince Thomas at the ball, but flees when she believes he loves her stepsister Clorinda; Clorinda actually plans to elope with Thomas' footman, Jacob, but her mother, Lady Tremaine, abducts her to the Land of Untold Stories after forcing Cinderella to betray Clorinda's location. In Storybrooke, Ashley hopes to reconcile with Clorinda. Aided by the Evil Queen, Tremaine lures Ashley into a trap for her and Jacob. Ashley protects Jacob; Clorinda reunites with him and forgives Cinderella, while Tremaine is arrested. Emma struggles to control her magic. Whale helps Jekyll recreate his serum, while the Evil Queen and Hyde form an alliance and she releases him. Snow White wants normality, but David secretly investigates his father's death; Gold provides information in exchange for David delivering a message to Belle.
115 4 "Strange Case" Alrick Riley David H. Goodman & Nelson Soler October 16, 2016 3.53
In the past in Victorian England, Jekyll petitions the Academy of Science for membership but Dr. Lydgate rejects him. Rumplestiltskin arrives and magically perfects Jekyll's serum; Jekyll transforms into Hyde, who blackmails Lydgate for Jekyll's membership. Mary is Lydgate's daughter and Jekyll's unrequited love; she and Hyde fall in love. Jekyll accidentally fatally defenestrates Mary; he frames Hyde. In Storybrooke, Gold imprisons Belle on the ship to protect her from Hyde; but it is Jekyll who tries to kill Belle in revenge for Rumplestiltskin's role in Mary's death. Hook saves Belle by killing Jekyll, and Hyde dies of identical wounds; Regina asks Emma to kill her if necessary to stop the Evil Queen. Gold warns Belle that their child will need his protection. Mary Margaret resumes teaching, and her assistant Shirin inspires her to draw on her life as Snow. Shirin is secretly Princess Jasmine, working with the Oracle to search for Aladdin.
116 5 "Street Rats" Norman Buckley Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz October 23, 2016 3.4
In the past in Agrabah, Aladdin seeks a magical weapon for Jasmine, to save the kingdom from Jafar; he is the weapon and a Savior. Jafar tempts Aladdin with magical shears that can sever him from his fate as the Savior and from his resulting death. Aladdin rejects Jafar and saves Jasmine. In Storybrooke, the Oracle is murdered. Emma helps Jasmine, hoping Aladdin's survival ensures her own. Having faked his death, Aladdin reveals himself to Emma and confesses that he doomed Agrabah by using the shears, which he gives to her; she asks Hook to dispose of them, but he secretly keeps them. The Evil Queen impersonates Archie to learn of Emma's visions, and convinces Zelena to turn Archie back into a cricket.
117 6 "Dark Waters" Robert Duncan Andrew Chambliss & Brigitte Hales October 30, 2016 3.06
During the Dark Curse, Captain Nemo abducts Hook and invites him to join the crew "family" of his submarine, Nautilus, in their quest for the "Mysterious Island", which is the Land of Untold Stories. Hook discovers the first mate is his half-brother, Liam, and decides to leave to avoid confrontation; but Liam attacks him, instead mortally wounding Nemo, who steps in. In the present, Archie is freed. Henry confronts Hook over lying about the shears, and Liam imprisons them on Nautilus. Hook opens up and Henry accepts him as family; they save each other and dispose of the shears. Modern medicine saves Nemo; he, Liam, and Hook make amends. Emma and Aladdin discuss being a Savior. Jasmine reveals that Agrabah vanished. Snow supports Belle at her ultrasound. The Evil Queen seduces Gold and offers the retrieved shears in exchange for help taking Snow's heart.
118 7 "Heartless" Ralph Hemecker Jane Espenson November 6, 2016 3.56
In the past, fugitive Snow and shepherd David separately travel to Longbourn; she to flee the kingdom and he to sell his struggling farm. Without ever seeing each other's faces, David saves Snow from a bounty hunter and she repays him with money to save the farm, deciding not to flee. Their hands touch and a magical sapling is created. In the present, the Evil Queen threatens to destroy Storybrooke with River of Lost Souls water unless Mary Margaret and David hand over their hearts. They learn the sapling could stop the Queen, who destroys it just after they find it. But it has shown them their previous meeting, and they conclude that their love can endure anything; they surrender themselves. The Queen casts a sleeping curse on their hearts; because they share Snow's heart, the curse affects them both; each can wake the other but immediately succumbs to the curse, so they can never be awake together. Regina uses Gold's relationship with the Queen to separate the latter from Zelena, who earns Gold's enmity by exposing his schemes to Belle.
119 8 "I'll Be Your Mirror" Jennifer Lynch Jerome Schwartz & Leah Fong November 13, 2016 3.40
Regina and Emma try to magically trap the Evil Queen in the World Behind the Mirror, but she traps them there, where the Dragon is already imprisoned. Henry prepares for a date with Violet; the Queen impersonates Regina and tries to manipulate him but he recognizes her. Emma and Regina discover Sidney was building a mirror portal out of the world and try and finish it, but the Evil Queen forces the Dragon to attack Emma and Regina, using his heart, and tries to make Henry kill the Dragon with the Hammer of Hephaestus; he instead uses it to free his mothers. Mary Margaret and David adjust to living in shifts. Belle asks Zelena to help her escape Storybrooke via magical portal, and they form an alliance with Aladdin and Jasmine. Aladdin steals the Genie's lamp and the Sorcerer's wand from Gold's shop, but Gold takes the wand back from Zelena and puts a magical tracking device on Belle. He asks the Queen to kill Zelena, as the connection between his and Zelena's hearts protects her from him.
120 9 "Changelings" Mairzee Almas David H. Goodman & Brian Ridings November 27, 2016 3.28
In the Enchanted Forest, while served by Belle, Rumplestiltskin abducts a baby to use as bait for the Black Fairy, the mother who abandoned him; she escapes without answering his questions. In the present, Belle receives advice from her unborn child while Gold becomes increasingly unhinged. Resenting Gold's order to attack Zelena, the Evil Queen accelerates Belle's pregnancy; Mother Superior delivers Belle's son, Gideon, and sends him into hiding; Gold vows to find him. As the Genie has been freed, Aladdin takes his place. Zelena and Regina continue to feud. Emma obtains the sword from her vision.
121 10 "Wish You Were Here" Ron Underwood Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz December 4, 2016 3.27
The Black Fairy abducts Gideon. Emma discovers the sword can kill the Evil Queen without hurting Regina. The Queen steals the lamp and wishes Emma to an alternate reality where she was never the Savior; Regina follows her. David and his allies take the lamp from the Queen, who is turned into a serpent by the hooded figure, revealed to be the adult Gideon. Jasmine wishes herself and Aladdin to Agrabah. In the "wish realm", Emma lives as a princess until Regina traumatically restores her memory. Regina frees Rumplestiltskin in exchange for a magic bean, but the portal to Storybrooke closes while Regina is distracted by the appearance of Robin Hood.
122 11 "Tougher Than the Rest" Billy Gierhart Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz March 5, 2017 3.03
In 1990 Minnesota, a young Emma is told by a teenager that she has the power to change her fate. In present day, after they miss their way out of the Wish realm, Emma and Regina find another option for escape when they come across August, who agrees to help create a new portal. Regina goes to find Robin Hood to see if he would've been better off without her. After Regina finds Robin, they're caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham and later by the Wish realm Rumple. Robin believes Regina when she tells him about their being in an alternate reality. Emma discovers that August was the teenager she met back in Minnesota and inspires him to complete the portal. Emma, Regina, and Robin return to Storybrooke, where Gideon explains to Gold and Belle his intention to kill Emma so that he can acquire her savior powers and kill the Black Fairy, a move that has David furious and Belle concerned. Emma and Gideon finally meet for the battle, but Emma survives, choosing her own fate. Gideon retreats, proclaiming this far from over. Gold and Belle decide to work together for the good of their son.
123 12 "Murder Most Foul" Morgan Beggs Jerome Schwartz & Jane Espenson March 12, 2017 3.06
The events of how Robert, the father of David and James, was murdered are detailed in a flashback, in which Robert learns what happened to James after he ran away from King George. With help from Rumple, he tracks him to Pleasure Island, but their reunion is cut short by King George, who orders Robert's execution. His death affects David in the present day after he sees visions of Robert and asks Hook to help him, despite his being reformed. When Hook becomes concerned that David is taking this investigation too far by going after Albert, he intervenes and brings David back to sanity. Hook is also worried about whether David will give him his blessing to marry Emma, but David does. Meanwhile, Regina tries to get the Wish Realm Robin assimilated into Storybrooke, but soon questions why he agreed to follow her, as it turns out that he had something else planned after he steals a chest from the vault. The truth as to who really murdered Robert is revealed when August gives Hook missing pages he took from Henry's book. When Hook sees an illustration of David's dad, he recognizes him and recalls murdering him during a robbery in the Enchanted Forest so that there was no witness to his crime.
124 13 "Ill-Boding Patterns" Ron Underwood Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan March 19, 2017 2.71
During the First Ogres War, Beowulf leads a fearsome charge on the battlefield in the Enchanted Forest of old. After every last soldier had been slain, Beowulf surrenders to death just as Rumplestiltskin intervenes, killing all the ogres. Hailed as a hero in the village, Beowulf is irked by Rumple's new title. He creates a ruse to lead Rumple to his demise. Fearing he would not be able to follow through on protecting the villagers without Dark Magic, Rumple bestows his dagger upon Baelfire as an insurance policy. Following a turbulent exchange and threat to frame Rumplestiltskin as a murderer, Beowulf retreats. Feeling the pressure of his threat, Bae commands his father to kill him. Rumple later doses Bae with a memory potion to erase the ordeal from his mind and restore his innocence. In Storybrooke, Rumple recognizes a familiar pattern in Gideon, who makes strides in his quest to kill Emma Swan at the cost of The Blue Fairy's vitality. Hook worries about the repercussions of telling Emma his newly unveiled secret. Meanwhile, Emma unknowingly forces a proposal after happening upon Hook's engagement ring. Robin of Locksley attempts to flee the town, but to no avail. The Evil Queen escapes her reptilian confinement and indoctrinates Robin.
125 14 "Page 23" Kate Woods David H. Goodman & Brigitte Hales March 26, 2017 2.85
In the Enchanted Forest, The Evil Queen is in search of a spell that will help her end Snow White for good, but her father has love in mind for his daughter and leads her on a quest to Cupid's Arrow. However, The Evil Queen rebrands the arrow to follow hatred and discovers that the person she despises the most is herself. In Storybrooke, The Evil Queen and Regina face off in a final confrontation. Just when Regina wins the upper hand, she remembers the Evil Queen's self-loating and evenly splits the light and the darkness in their hearts, to share their love and hate and allow the Evil Queen to reform. After Emma calls off the engagement, Hook decides to board the Nautilus with Captain Nemo. Hook later changes his mind following a conversation with Snow but, before he can return, Gideon hijacks the vessel and sends it out of Storybrooke.
126 15 "A Wondrous Place" Steve Pearlman Jane Espenson & Jerome Schwartz April 2, 2017 2.80
At a loss for hope, Regina suggests a "girls' night out" for Emma with her and Snow. While at the bar, she confides in the mixologist and sheds a tear. Meanwhile, the Nautilus is transported to the Enchanted Forest, where Aladdin and Jasmine board. They have yet to locate Agrabah and are growing weary. After Hook and Jasmine confide in one another, the vessel is irrevocably damaged and Jasmine uses a genie wish to relocate the group to the island where Jafar is located. They discover a cabana belonging to Ariel and Prince Eric. Ariel has collected a genie lamp that houses Jafar. Jasmine is able to sway him into divulging the location of the hidden Agrabah before defeating him with magic dust. Through true love's kiss, Aladdin and Jasmine, along with Hook and Ariel, are transported to the restored city and Aladdin's genie curse is broken. Ariel supplies Hook with a means to reach Emma. Emma receives the message and Gideon, no longer masquerading as the mixologist, threatens that he will use her tears to keep Hook from returning to Storybrooke unless she helps him kill the Black Fairy. Flashbacks to Ariel and Jasmine's first meeting show the princess falter under Jafar's trickery.
127 16 "Mother's Little Helper" Billy Gierhart Story by : Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Teleplay by : Paul Karp
April 9, 2017 2.60
In Storybrooke, Gold reveals to Emma and Snow that the Black Fairy is his mother and that the Dark Curse Regina cast was created by the Black Fairy. Emma agrees to help Gideon kill the Black Fairy, but is double-crossed by Gideon and left to die at the hands of a giant spider. Gideon opens a portal with the sword, allowing the Black Fairy to slip through into Storybrooke. Meanwhile in the Enchanted Forest, Hook wagers the Jolly Roger for a magic bean in a game of cards with Blackbeard. As Blackbeard and Hook go through the portal, it malfunctions thanks to Gideon and the duo ends up in Neverland, on the run from the remnants of Peter Pan's Lost Boys. Back in Storybrooke, Henry experiences a disorienting shift in his Author powers, so he and Regina seek help from the only person who can aid them: the previous Author, Isaac. Isaac reveals to Regina and Henry that they are nearing the end of the story in which the savior must fight the Final Battle. Flashbacks reveal the abuses the Black Fairy inflicted on Gideon and that the Black Fairy ripped out Gideon's heart and is controlling him to kill Emma.
128 17 "Awake" Sharat Raju Andrew Chambliss & Leah Fong April 16, 2017 2.51
Regina works feverishly to wake Snow and Charming from the Sleeping Curse. Gold comes face to face with the Black Fairy, the powerful enemy Emma must fight in the Final Battle. Hook, still in Neverland, meets up with Tiger Lily, who gives him a piece of an ancient fairy wand to aid Emma in defeating the Black Fairy. Gold confronts the Black Fairy over her manipulating Gideon with his heart and she maintains that Storybrooke would be destroyed if the two of them fought. A pixie flower allows Emma to open a doorway to Neverland and rescue Hook, who then re-proposes properly. The townsfolk gather around Emma's sleeping parents and each take small amounts of the Sleeping Curse unto themselves, diluting it and allowing Snow and David to finally reunite. In 1993, a pixie flower awakens Snow and Charming from their cursed selves, but an awakened Rumplestiltskin tells them they must make a difficult decision to ensure that Emma fulfills her destiny as the Savior.
129 18 "Where Bluebirds Fly" Michael Schultz David H. Goodman & Brigitte Hales April 23, 2017 2.69
In Zelena's past, her childhood friend Stanum asks for her help in finding the Crimson Heart, a magical artifact that would be able to restore his human form after having been cursed by the Wicked Witch of the North to slowly turn into tin. Zelena's refusal to give up her magic leads to her betraying Stanum, as she keeps the Heart and leaves him to become the Tin Man. In the Present, The Black Fairy tempts Zelena with an offer to join her, only to have Zelena oppose her instead. Regina is brought into the chaos by trying to stop her sister and they find the Black Fairy and Gideon in the crystal mines, with the Black Fairy tricking Zelena into utilizing her unstable Dark Magic to strengthen her for the Final Battle. Realizing that there is nothing left for her back in Oz, Zelena decides to help the residents fight back against the Black Fairy by using the Crimson Heart to give up her magic, thereby undoing the mess she made in the mines. Emma then uses her magic and one of the crystals to bring Mother Superior out of her coma with some help from Regina and Zelena.
130 19 "The Black Fairy" Alrick Riley Jerome Schwartz & Dana Horgan April 30, 2017 3.05
The origin of Rumplestiltskin's true destiny is revealed, as his mother Fiona learns from the Blue Fairy and Tiger Lily that he was destined to become The Savior. When Fiona fears for her son and chooses power over protecting Rumple, it results in her becoming the Black Fairy. In the present day, as everyone looks for the missing wand, Gold brings Gideon and Emma into the Dream World to search for Gideon's heart, where the events of the flashback unfold. Gold then confronts Fiona, but she reveals the real reason behind why he was abandoned. Gold later retrieves Gideon's heart and tells everyone that the Black Fairy is dead, paving the way for Emma and Hook's wedding. However, Gold and Fiona make a deal that will see the Final Battle go forward, with Emma being the Savior that will fight in it. Meanwhile, Regina helps Zelena adjust to life without her powers.
131 20 "The Song in Your Heart" Ron Underwood David H. Goodman & Andrew Chambliss May 7, 2017 2.87
In the past, Snow makes a wish that grants the entire Enchanted Forest the ability to use the gift of song as a strength, which also spreads to Oz as well. When Regina becomes affected by the wish, she finds a way to end it before the first curse takes place, but the Blue Fairy, who granted Snow the wish, tells Snow and David that the wish will be part of Emma's destiny. In Emma's past, her chance to make use of her talent is held back by being told she'll be alone. This would come back to taunt Emma in the present day, as Fiona returns to use that weakness to take Emma's heart before unleashing a new curse on her wedding day, with help from Gold's freezing her family. When Henry discovers the page in the book that reveals the song in Emma's heart will make her stronger, not only does it embolden Emma, it stops Fiona from crushing her heart, but Fiona still tells Emma that the battle will continue. On her wedding day, Emma and Hook finally marry, just in time for the dark clouds of the Black Fairy's curse to erupt from the clock tower and engulf them at 6:00 PM, setting up the final battle.
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"The Final Battle" Steve Pearlman
Ralph Hemecker
Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz May 14, 2017 2.95
Fiona's curse alters Storybrooke, institutionalizing Emma and leaving only Henry and Gold "awake," while sending Emma's other allies to their home realms. The Final Battle begins over Emma's belief; if she stops believing in the realms of story, they will be consumed by the Darkness and cease to exist. If all the realms are destroyed, Fiona would gain godlike powers and be able to break the Laws of Magic at will. In the Enchanted Forest, the banished characters gather at Regina's castle; David and Hook obtain a magic bean and the Evil Queen sacrifices herself, holding off the Darkness to delay the group's destruction. Fiona convinces Emma to destroy the book, but Henry hand-draws one that restores her belief in time to save the castle. Gold kills Fiona, who had hidden Belle and turned her into a coward; this breaks the Curse, which restores everyone's memories and reunites them in Storybrooke. However, Gideon is still under orders to kill Emma. Gold attempts to free Gideon's heart; however, a spell cast by the Black Fairy prevents him from doing so. Emma lays down her sword, allowing Gideon to impale her; this releases Emma's light magic and ends the battle. With both Gold and Emma having chosen good, Gideon is returned to infancy and the realms are restored, and those who died in the crisis are revived. The characters embark on their "happy beginnings." Many years later in the Enchanted Forest, an adult Henry vanishes while defending his daughter Lucy from an unidentified entity. Guided by Tiger Lily, Lucy travels to Seattle, where Henry no longer remembers her.

Production

Development

Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis announced that they were ending the half-season arc structure that was seen in seasons three through five, with Horowitz saying, "We’re also planning a 22-episode story as opposed to breaking it up into two halves this year. It has been really exciting and fun." Kitsis added: "We are changing around what we’re doing this year and going back to that season 1 mentality of small town stories and smaller arcs." This season will focus on Storybrooke as the main setting, but will also show new realms and there will be the exploration of the Savior's mythology. Kitsis and Horowitz hired two directors from their Freeform series Dead of Summer, Norman Buckley, Mairzee Almas, and Michael Schultz helm episodes of the season. Jennifer Lynch directed the eighth episode of the season, "I'll Be Your Mirror".

In January 2017, ABC president Channing Dungey had been the first to suggest that the current narrative of the show would end with season six, regardless of whether or not there is a season seven. Shortly after this news, Jennifer Morrison revealed that the contracts for the original main cast members were expiring in April, expressing uncertainty about the future of the show and her participation in it beyond the current season. Robert Carlyle also expressed that he'd have to make a decision about his future on the show by the end of that month. In March 2017, several sources had reported that four of the current main cast members in particular - Morrison, Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, and Colin O'Donoghue - were in negotiations to renew their contracts for a potential seventh season. In April 2017, Horowitz and Kitsis confirmed that a group of characters will indeed have their stories wrapped up by the end of the season in acknowledging the potential cast changes, saying: "We planned this finale from the beginning of the year, so whoever stays and whoever goes... all those questions have already been dealt with. The audience does not have to fear [anything feeling] incomplete." On May 8, Morrison confirmed that she had declined an offer to remain on the show and that the sixth season would be her last, signaling the end of Emma's time on the show as the main protagonist. On May 11, Rebecca Mader announced that she would also be leaving the show at the end of the season, citing creative decisions beyond her control. On May 12, season six was announced to be the last for four additional main actors: Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, and Emilie de Ravin. Thus, characters seeing their storylines wrapped up in the season six finale include Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, Belle, and Zelena. The season finale revealed that Henry Mills will remain a series protagonist, with the setting shifting to a later time period in which he is portrayed as an adult by Andrew J. West.

Musical episode

In January 2017, TV Line reported that the series would feature a musical episode later in the season. Creators Kitsis and Horowitz had spoken about the desire to do a musical installment previously, but didn't "even know where to begin." Kitsis and Horowitz confirmed the report in February. They have also since confirmed that the episode will feature 7 original songs, including solos by Jennifer Morrison and Rebecca Mader, as well as a "sing-off" musical number featuring the Evil Queen and the Charmings. Composers Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner will be writing the original numbers featured, with arrangements provided by the show's long-time composer Mark Isham. Kitsis and Hororwitz spoke about the nature of the episode saying, "It actually is a huge part of the mythology of the show and there are some big things that happen in the episode, frankly, it's been one of the challenges of doing the musical because we never wanted to do something where it was just like a to-the-side, one-off thing, and then get back to the main story. We want to see it part of the main story, which meant we had to really plan out this season with some great detail."

Casting

"Horowitz: There certainly are nods to the film that we all love so much, that we're peppering in throughout. We're, right now, focusing on (Aladdin, Jasmine, and Jafar). Kitsis: Obviously, I don't think we would touch the genie. I would like to see a monkey but I can't promise anything. I think, whereas some stories, like Frozen, we were very faithful to Frozen, I think you will see Aladdin will have its own Once twist." —Executive producers Kitsis and Horowitz on Once's interpretation of Aladdin.

Emilie de Ravin told fans that she will be returning for the sixth season. It was also announced later that Sam Witwer and Hank Harris have signed a contract to play two new recurring characters on the sixth season of the show. On March 29, 2016, Lana Parrilla confirmed she would be returning for the sixth season. Robert Carlyle was confirmed to be returning for the sixth season as Rumplestiltskin along with Rebecca Mader as Zelena and Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills.

It was announced that Giles Matthey was cast as Morpheus, who is slated to appear in the first episode of the season. On July 20, it was announced that Craig Horner would be portraying the Count of Monte Cristo, who was introduced in the second episode of the season. At the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International it was revealed that the season would see the introduction of Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz), and his story featuring the return of Jafar, now portrayed by Oded Fehr (the role had been previously played by Naveen Andrews on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland). Andrews was unavailable due to his previous commitment to Netflix's Sense8. It was also announced that Galavant's Karen David was cast as Princess Jasmine. She made her debut in the fourth episode of the season.

In early July, it was announced that Raphael Sbarge would be reprising his role as Jiminy Cricket / Dr. Archie Hopper in the season premiere. The character's last appearance was in the season 4 episode "Rocky Road." On July 20, it was announced that Jessy Schram would be reprising her role as Cinderella in the third episode of the season. The episode explored a connection that her character has to someone from the Land of Untold Stories, as well as the start of her friendship with Snow White. That same episode also introduced Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters. David Anders returned this season as Victor Frankenstein. The character has a connection with Jekyll and Hyde. On August 15, it was announced that Jonny Coyne would be reprising his role as Dr. Lydgate from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, in the fourth episode of the season. On August 26, it was announced that Faran Tahir was cast as Captain Nemo, and would have ties to Captain Hook. On September 22, it was announced that Tzi Ma would be reprising his role as the Dragon sometime in the season. Gabrielle Rose would also be returning as David's mother, Ruth, who appeared via flashback in episode 7. On September 27, it was announced that Sean Maguire would be returning as Robin Hood. The former main character, who died on-screen near the end of season 5, will not be brought back from the dead but would appear in a multi-episode arc in a different capacity.

For the second half of the season, Wil Traval would be returning for multiple episodes, starting in episode 11, as the Sheriff of Nottingham. On October 31, it was announced that Mckenna Grace would be returning as a younger version of Emma. On December 11, Robert Carlyle revealed that Brandon Spink would be portraying a young Baelfire in episode 13. On January 6, 2017, it was announced that JoAnna Garcia would be returning as Ariel. The story line involves a team-up between Ariel, Jasmine, and Hook. On January 7, Horowitz confirmed that Gil McKinney would also be returning as Prince Eric. Two days later, it was announced that Rose McIver would also be coming back as Tinker Bell. On January 20, it was revealed that Sara Tomko was cast as Tiger Lily. The recurring character appears in at least two episodes starting in episode 17. On January 23, Horowitz announced that Patrick Fischler would return as former author Isaac Heller at some point in the second half of the season. On March 14, it was announced that episode 18 would introduce the Tin Man, played by Alex Désert, and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz tale.

On February 16, TVLine released casting call descriptions for two characters who appear in the season 6 finale, with potential to continue into season 7 if the show is to be renewed. One is a man in his late 20s-early 30s who "was once optimistic and hopeful but now is a friendless, cynical recluse" but "still possesses a dormant, deep-seated spark of hope that waits for the right person to reignite it." The other is a 10-year-old girl who "comes from a broken home" but "those struggles have only made her stronger — something which will come in handy when darkness threatens everything she holds dear." On March 8, it was announced that Andrew J. West had been cast in the unidentified male role, later revealed in "The Final Battle" as an adult Henry Mills. On March 9, it was announced that Alison Fernandez had been cast in the unidentified female role, also revealed to be Henry's daughter, Lucy.

On May 8, 2017, Jennifer Morrison announced that she had declined an offer to remain on the show through season 7 and would not be returning to Once Upon a Time as a series regular in the event the series was renewed by ABC. However, Morrison noted that she had signed a contract to appear in one episode in season 7.

On May 12, 2017, showrunners Horowitz and Kitsis confirmed that five more cast members, in addition to Morrison, would not be returning to the show for a seventh season: Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore, Emilie de Ravin, and Rebecca Mader. In their personal goodbyes to fans, both de Ravin and Mader cited the show's decision to move forward in a new creative direction as the reason for their departures. Gilmore expressed similar sentiments. Meanwhile, Goodwin and Dallas had informed the showrunners a year prior that they intended to leave the show at the end of the sixth season.