After 84 torturous days Once Upon a Time FINALLY returned with a whopper of an episode. There were curses, and potions, and flying monkeys, not to mention a whole lot of our resident one-handed pirate. The episode flip-flops between Emma’s life in present day NYC and the year Snow and the rest of the gang spent without her in the Enchanted Forest. In order to prevent whiplash, we’ll break down the episode one realm at a time.
The Enchanted Forest One-Year Ago:
The episode opens with Phillip and Aurora sharing a quiet picnic in the Enchanted Forest until purple smoke comes crashing down upon them. When the smoke clears the two find the Storybrooke gang has appeared, dressed as if they never left the Enchanted Forest. They catch Snow, Charming and the rest of the gang up on what has been going on in the Enchanted Forest. Snow suggests that they all go reclaim the Queen’s castle, together. Aurora and Phillip exchange a very fishy conversation. She mentions that since everyone has returned that they have to let “her” (the Wicked Witch I’m assuming at this point) know, other wise she’ll take it out on their child. Uh oh, Aurora…what exactly have you two been up to?
One member of the group isn’t too keen on playing happy family in the Queen’s castle. Hook informs Charming that he is off to find the Jolly Roger. The Enchanted Forest is not his home, his ship is. Definitely got the feeling that Hook was referring to more than the Jolly Roger when he mentions his “ship”(Captain Swan anyone?). If he can’t find his ship he’ll do what pirates do and take another one. Hook says he tried the hero thing but it didn’t take. Snow (and all of us) knows his brooding is because he’s lost Emma.
On their journey to the Queen’s castle Belle tells Neal that she thinks Rumple is still alive. Regina has ducked away into the woods to bury her heart in the woods. In a very sweet moment Snow convinces Regina that feeling something, even if it’s bad, is better than feeling nothing. Things turn less sentimental when a mysterious flying creature attacks them. Thankfully Robin Hood and his Merry Men swoop in and save the day. The always-chivalrous Robin Hood offers a hand to Regina who stubborn as ever insists she can get up fine on her own. I have been waiting for Robin and Regina to meet since we found out he is her happy ending back in the fall. Their encounter was everything I hoped for, sassy exchanges and slight loathing. Snow notices Regina is eyeing Robin. She says he’s kind of cute huh? And Regina responds that he smells like forest. When they reach the castle they realize that it is surrounded by a protection spell that wasn’t cast by Regina. Robin Hood offers them shelter at his camp until they figure out how to infiltrate the castle.
Present Day NYC:
Emma arrives for a date looking gorgeous in a black leather dress (wonder who that reminds me of…) Her date, Walsh, asks how Henry’s volcano did at the science fair. The savoir has settled in to her new life quite nicely. Never fear Captain Hook was near to try and make her realize she is living a lie. While Walsh is absent for a moment Hook swoops in and Emma immediately realizes this is the man who attacked her with kisses. Hook pleads with her to believe him. He gives Emma an address and tells her that if she wants to know who she really is she can find out by going there. Emma is still showing resistance to this “crazy person” or as he would rather be called “dashing rapscallion.” Hook asks Emma to use her superpower and in a nod to the pilot Emma tells him that just because he believes something doesn’t make it true. Before he makes his leave Hook tells Emma to meet him in Central Park. When Walsh returns he drops a major bombshell in the form of a fat rock on Emma’s dessert plate. Being the guarded woman she is Emma thinks things are moving just a bit too fast and asks for some time to think about it. When she returns home to Henry he asks if she said yes. He tells her that not every man is going to abandon her like his father.
The next morning Emma lets curiosity get the best of her and goes to the address. She immediately realizes whose apartment she is in when she sees the dream catcher in the window, Neal’s. As if knowing Neal lived in NYC didn’t scare her enough she finds a camera with Henry’s name on it. Emma does as Hook asked and meets him in Central Park. She asks why he would send her to Neal’s apartment, and asks how Neal even knows Henry exists. Hook tells her that everything will make sense if she drinks a potion he has. “Drink the thing the crazy guy just gave me, no thank you” Hook tells her to take a leap of faith, but what she does is the exact opposite. Much like when they climbed the beanstalk together Emma cuffs Hook to a park bench and then alerts the cops.
Later in the day Emma tells Henry that he is right and that she was letting what Neal did to keep her from moving forward with her life. Once Henry isn’t around Emma looks at the pictures on the camera and sees pictures of the two of them that she doesn’t remember taking. This leads her to spring Hook from the “brig” where they were force-feeding him bologna. Hook vs. the modern world is one of my favorite things about this episode. Emma is reluctant to take the memory potion because she has a good life. Hook tells her that perhaps there is a man she loves in her old life that she has forgotten about (in case you were wondering by this point I was in tears, oh Hook). Hook tells her to trust her gut. Emma decides to finally take that leap of faith because what Hook says is the same thing Henry always tells her to do.
With her memories restored Emma takes Hook back to her apartment. Over drinks he catches her up on what happened in the year she missed. A new curse has ripped everyone back to Storybrooke again and Emma is the only hope. Emma is taken back to find out that Hook came back to save her family, and he responds that he came to save her. Walsh shows up and Emma tells Hook she owes Walsh an explanation. Walsh doesn’t take the rejection very well because plot twist: he’s a flying monkey in disguise! When Hook finds her she tells him that they’re leaving in the morning.
The next day Emma tells Henry that they’re going on a trip to Maine for a case she’s working on. Hook arrives at the door and this time saunters in like he has been there all along. In a hilarious and sassy interaction Hook and Henry criticize each other’s clothing choices. Emma explains to Henry that Killian is a client that she is helping. Emma dons her signature red leather jacket and the tree hit the road. When they arrive in Storybrooke Emma leaves Henry with Hook while she goes to find her parents. When she gets to the loft David instantly recognizes her. The new curse has only wiped away their memories of the year without Emma. The only reason they know it has been a year is because Mary Margaret is massively pregnant.
To close the episode we are taken back to the Enchanted forest where we see that the Wicked Witch has taken residence in the Queen’s castle. She has acquired some of Regina’s blood from her monkey minion and now has all he needs to get her revenge, because she’s wicked and wicked always wins.
Here’s to the next 10 weeks of brand new episodes!
Facebook: Variety Radio Online
Tumblr: Variety Radio Online