Once Upon a Time Bosses Tease a 'Severely Intense' Finale (Featuring a Lost-Style 'Reset'?)

“All magic has a price,” a certain imperious imp has oft told us — but has Once Upon a Time‘s young Henry paid the ultimate one?

The Season 1 finale of ABC’s fantastical freshman drama airs this Sunday at 8/7c, presumably tackling the questions of the headstrong lad’s fate, his birth mom Emma’s belief in her role as the “savior” of a Maine burg where fairytale characters have been banished sans memories, and whether the dark curse levied by the Evil Queen aka Mayor Regina Mills will ever be lifted.

Here is what Once co-creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz shared with TVLine about the undoubtedly magical season-ender.

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TVLINE | What’s going on as the finale starts up? Are we in crisis mode?
EDWARD KITSIS | We are at DEFCON 1. Henry has fallen, and everything is culminating…. The entire finale is severely intense.
ADAM HOROWITZ | We hit the ground running and then pick up even more speed.

TVLINE | With Henry’s poisoning, does Emma’s belief level spike?
KITSIS | We’ve tried everything. We tried to show her a man turning into wood, we tried to show her weird anomalies in the town… Henry has taken the most extreme action he could, so she is definitely going to be faced with believing or not, because his life hangs in the balance.
HOROWITZ | The stakes have never been higher for her, in terms of her belief.

TVLINE | But obviously you’re not killing Henry. I mean, Jared Gilmore just won a Young Artist Award!
KITSIS | He did just win an award – and congrats, it’s much deserved. But you never know what might happen….

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TVLINE | Tell me about your choice in “poison apple delivery system.” I have to imagine there was some debate in the writers room over turnover versus fritter versus….
HOROWITZ | We actually did have a bit of a debate about that.
KITSIS | I think we went with a turnover because we liked the shape, and it felt contained. With a pie, what do you do with the extra pieces?
HOROWITZ | Also, it didn’t feel like there was enough apple to make a pie.
KITSIS | True, we had to be realistic about what you could make out of an apple with a bite out of it.

TVLINE | What other drama is going on in Storybrooke outside of the Henry thing?
KITSIS | All of the stories in Storybrooke are going to be stemming from Henry falling.
HOROWITZ | They all kind of converge around that pivot point. And the intensity does grow.

TVLINE | How is August doing? Is he flipping through termite control ads?
HOROWITZ | We do check in on August and his condition, and that does play a part in the finale. Everybody’s agendas – Regina’s, Gold’s, August’s – all sort of intertwine around this crisis point.

TVLINE | What is Mr. Gold’s particular take on the Henry situation?
KITSIS | We got his take in the last episode, where Regina says she came up with a sleeping curse, and he says, “All magic has a price.” So… magic has a price! It’s just a question of who pays it.

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TVLINE | We’ve kind of come full circle on the Snow White story – she’s bitten the apple, and in the pilot Prince Charming rescued her. Or will the fairytale land be subject to a finale twist of its own?
KITSIS | The finale will kind of tie up some loose ends to their story, and at the same time present a new avenue for Season 2. But…. Well….
HOROWITZ | “We don’t want to tell you,” is what it is. [Laughs]

TVLINE | I guess my bigger question here is: Should we prepare for some Lost-style “reset”? Will this be an instance of the playing field changing Sunday at 8:59 pm?
HOROWITZ | How the audience perceives it, we can’t anticipate, but for us it does change the playing field. We like to think what we’re doing is evolving the show so that it remains true to what it’s been this year, but it takes a step forward into something new.
KITSIS | I feel like the best way to experience the finale is to say, “What the hell are they going to do?”
HOROWITZ | And one of our other goals with the finale – you’ll tell us whether we succeed or not – is that at the end of it you say, “What the hell are they going to do next?”

TVLINE | Will the finale introduce any new players to the canvas?
KITSIS | It will introduce some new… story ideas. But as far as new characters, if you’re talking, like, Michelle Rodriguez showing up at the end of a Lost finale, no. That’s not to say there won’t be new characters next year; but this finale is about the characters we’ve introduced.
HOROWITZ | And there may be some old characters seen in a new way.

TVLINE | What gamut of emotions will viewers be going through during, say, the final 60 seconds?
KITSIS | All of them.
HOROWITZ | Our hope is that in those final moments, there is a combination of satisfaction and also intense surprise.
KITSIS | The emotion you’ll be feeling is, “Holy, holy, holy s—t.”