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[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Sunday’s midseason premiere.]
Wicked is coming on Once Upon a Time, but Emma (Jennifer Morrison) has a far more pressing matter.
One year after the curse was broken, Emma finds herself with the unenviable task of trying to persuade Henry (Jared Gilmore) that the year they spent in Manhattan wasn’t all it was cracked up to be — a revelation due in part to Captain Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) magic potion. And after finding out that her almost-fiance Walsh (Christopher Gorham) wasn’t all he was cracked up to be, things in the Once universe are getting ugly.
“Emma’s got a lot to deal with, in addition to [Hook and Neal]. You’ve seen how at the end of this episode, she’s drawn back into the newly cursed Storybrooke with a son who doesn’t have his memories. Her heart is kind of all over the place and her priorities are her family and saving them first,” executive producer Adam Horowitz said.
STORY: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Bosses on Glinda’s New Spin, Hook’s New Foe and Intro to Oz
“Emma started the season as she said she felt like an orphan, she didn’t want to have magic, she didn’t have this to be her life. And then we see New York, she kind of enjoyed that life,” added executive producer Eddy Kitsis, who told The Hollywood Reporter that “this next 11 [episodes] is a little lighter and more wicked. The second half of the season is really going to force Emma to make a decision about what she wants to do with her future. She can’t continue to hedge.”
Horowitz and Kitsis preview what’s to come following Sunday’s reset of sorts. (To find out more about Glinda the Good Witch, Oz, Wicked’s vengeance against the Evil Queen and more, go here.)
Will Henry’s memories return at some point? “That is something that’s important. He is the heart of the truest believer. To see Henry — the guy who started this whole thing by reading a book and believing it was real — not have his memories is something we’re going to play with,” Kitsis hinted. “Of course certain people would love for his memories, like Regina, to come back right away, but if you were maybe thinking you were happier in New York, maybe you’re not in such a rush to wake them up.” While Emma’s memories returned after she drank a potion given to her by Hook, Henry’s road to regaining his memories (if that happens) is more “complicated,” Horowitz said, with Kitsis adding that where Emma and Henry’s home is remains a question for the second half.
Neal is grieving: Suffice it to say, Neal (Michael Raymond-James) is not doing well over his “loss” of Emma and Henry. “He finds himself in a similar position that his father did, which is I’m stuck in a land and I need to get back to the people I love,” Kitsis said. “The question is: Will he follow the same path? Rumple was willing to curse everyone to get what he wanted, and Neal has, up until this point, been a moral center for his dad, and we’ll see what path he goes down.”
Q&A: ‘Once Upon a Time’ EPs on Emma’s Brief Bliss, Looming Danger and ‘Wicked’ Villain
Inside Snow’s family: “We’re going to see Snow White’s (Ginnifer Goodwin) family, the early years,” Horowitz teased. “We’ll see a little bit of King Leopold (Richard Schiff/Eric Lange) when he was younger, and we’re going to see some interactions with some of the other characters that you may or may not have expected him to interact with.” Kitsis added that Once will explore King Leopold “when he was a prince and his side of the family … a little more,” in addition to Snow’s mother, Horowitz added.
Robin Hood and Regina’s courtship begins: After establishing that the two were together for a better part of a year, Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) and Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) journey is just beginning. “You will see them meet very shortly — in fact, in the next episode,” Horowitz said. “Whether true love happens or works out or not, it’s going to be a hopefully very interesting road they travel on together.” But things won’t be smooth sailing. As Kitsis hinted, Regina “will see [Robin Hood’s] tattoo — and it will have an effect on her.”
Hook’s message a trap? In the midseason return, Hook mentioned that he received a message. “It could be a trap,” Kitsis said. “It could also have been sent from somebody different then he said or it could be sent from who he thought it said. That is a mystery we will actually spend an entire episode showing.” Horowitz added: “We’re going to learn what happened to Hook in that intervening year and what led to that message.”
Snow’s pregnancy is not a mystery: “It’s Charming’s [baby],” Horowitz said.
The return of Christopher Gorham? Who thought Emma’s boyfriend Walsh would suddenly turn into a flying monkey? In any case, producers hinted that Gorham — with whom they worked on The WB’s Popular — may “perhaps” be back.
Is Rumple still alive? The midseason return failed to answer whether Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is still breathing, but Kitsis and Horowitz promised that the question will be answered in episode 13, “Witch Hunt.” “There’s discussion of him in [episode] 12, but I’d say the discussion moves to another place in 13,” Horowitz said.
The mystery of Henry’s storybook continues: After Henry was given a new storybook, questions lingered about its origins. “We will see his book. It will come into play in the second half of the season,” Kitsis said. But not everything will be divulged. “Who wrote it will not be answered this season,” he added.
More origin stories: Viewers will be treated to backstories for young Cora (played by Rose McGowan) and a Zelena (aka the Wicked Witch, played by Rebecca Mader) hour in episode 16.
Belle’s piece is coming: Belle (Emilie de Ravin) will have a big arc later this season, and it will keep her closely tied to Neal. “There is a significant story that is being launched [with Sunday’s episode],” Horowitz said, revealing that “more iconography from Belle’s story” will also make their way to the universe, like Lumiere (“showing up very soon”). “You’re going to start seeing her come into her own by using her brain,” Kitsis said.
A Huntsman reappearance? While Jamie Dornan was filming Fifty Shades of Grey in Vancouver, the same city in which Once films, producers hoped he would be able to do a cameo. But schedules conflicted as Dornan had to start production on The Fall. When asked about the specifics of their plan, Kitsis was coy, “Ask us that when you watch the finale, and then we will tell you exactly what we wanted to do, and then you will be so bummed we didn’t get to do it.”
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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