Once Upon a Time Midseason Finale Post Mortem: Burning Questions Answered!

Once_FallFinale_SnowMa_300Warning: The following recap contains magically delicious spoilers from the Once Upon a Time midseason finale.

This Sunday, in the Once Upon a Time midseason finale, Hook found himself recruited by two evil queens, Emma worked a bit of magic and Storybrooke was approached by most unwelcome visitors. Read our full recap, then click to Page 2 for answers to some burning questions!

RELATED | Matt’s Inside Line Has Scoop on a Once Upon a Time Mystery

IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS| Captain Hook infiltrates evil Queen Regina’s castle to rescue Belle – until he realizes she has no intel on how to kill her boyfriend Rumplestiltskin. Before Hook can do in the damsel, Regina stops him and offers a deal: “I know who you are, why you came here from Neverland and about the ‘crocodile’ you wish to skin,” she says. Promising that the rules are about “to change – radically,” Regina speaks of the curse she is about to unleash, one that will send everyone to a land without magic, meaning the object of his vengeance will be powerless and thus disposable “with a flick of your wrist.” In trade for transit to this realm, Regina charges Hook with finding her mother Cora in Wonderland – for the purpose of killing the crone. Traveling through the hat portal with a dead goon in tow, Hook discovers that the Queen of Hearts is (as many predicted) in fact Cora, and because she doesn’t keep her heart “where everyone else does,” his bid to extract her ticker with his enchanted claw comes up empty. Instead, she clutches his coeur and they plot a counterattack. The plan: Hook will deliver a “dead” Cora to Regina, only so that she can get close enough to kill her daughter. But after Regina drops a bit of a bombshell while mourning her mere – that she loves the old bat regardless of their very complicated past, and as such couldn’t risk her traveling to Storybrooke, where she’d be a weakness to Regina – Cora changes strategy. She and Hook will wait out the 28-year curse, then make tracks for Storybrooke to “pick up the pieces” after Regina has “lost everything.”

IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT IS| Emma, Snow White, Mulan and Aurora-the-Spy arrive at Rumple’s old cell, but only an empty ink vial is to be found. Instead, all they turn up is a scroll of parchment with the name “Emma” scribbled over and over and over again. The spiked cell door then closes on the ladies, as Cora arrives and thanks Aurora for her unwitting assist. “Please don’t do this – my son needs me,” Emma pleads to Hook. His retort: “You should’ve thought about that before you abandoned me at the beanstalk…. The time for making deals is done.” Abandoned in the inescapable cell, Emma throws herself a pity party – “I’m not a good savior” – but Snow won’t go there. “Good always defeats evil,” Snow reminds, as she realizes (10 minutes after the rest of us) that the parchment contains the squid ink, which Snow uses to dissolve away the gate. Cora meanwhile leads Hook to the lake that restores things, conjuring up a geyser from dust to get things going. They then sprinkle in the wardrobe ash and are about to make the leap to Maine … when an arrow from Snow knocks the compass out of their hands! A pretty nifty melee ensues (Fun Fact: It was raining like crazy as they filmed it), with Emma slapping swords with Hook as Cora taunts Snow and Mulan. Along the way, Hook saves Aurora’s heart from destruction, then tosses it to Mulan so she can get her friend back — see, he ain’t all bad! Emma manages to best Hook, clocking him with the compass, only to then go head-to-head with Cora. When Emma lunges for the sorceress, Cora scoffs, “You foolish girl!” and goes to pluck out her pumper… yet can’t! Love is not weakness, Emma realizes — “It’s strength!” — as a blast of magical whatnot bursts from her bosom, KO-ing Cora. “What was that?!” Emma wonders. “That… is a great subject for discussion,” her mom says, “when we get home!” And on that note, they hold hands and leap into the swirling portal. Afterward, Cora and Hook realize they are not down for the count, seeing as he still has a dried up magic bean and she has a rejuvenating lake. “Perhaps it’s time we did some gardening….” (Oh, and after an oddly intimate moment where Mulan restores Aurora’s heart, the gal pals set out to reunite Phillip with his stolen soul.)

IN STORYBROOKE… | As David stays stuck in the sleep spell, Gold invites Regina to fret over the possibility that if a portal opens up, they will get an unwelcome guest instead of two friendlies – namely, her mother. “And neither of us wants that,” Regina nods. When Gold suggests they set a trap for whomever comes through, Regina reminds that it could be Emma and Snow. “Then it’s a win-win,” Gold shrugs. “Henry could hardly blame you for helping.” As Regina considers the plan, she eavesdrops as Henry reads to David the story of him waking Snow from a sleep spell. “It will happen the other way around this time,” Regina interjects with a smile. Knowing that she “promised to do better,” Regina says she must go help Gold prepare for the portal opening. “ Gee willikers Wow,” Henry remarks. “You really have changed.” In the name of setting their trap, Rumple appropriates all of the diamonds from the mine – a theft that later irks Leroy. (“Nobody steals from a dwarf!”) Gold leads Regina to the well that “restores things once lost to us,” and uses the diamond-loaded wand to “seal” the opening with scary/crackly lightning stuff. Arriving on the scene, Henry flips his little lid, shouting, “We have to turn it off! Emma and Mary Margaret are going to come through!” Seeing that his mom is being wishy-washy about it, Henry argues, “You said you wanted to change — this is how. Have faith in me.” And off the passionate lad’s words, Regina valiantly rips away the deadly shield, though at first all fear it was too late. Until, that is, Emma’s hand grabs the well ledge, and she clambers out followed by Mary Margaret. Cue the line of the night: “Your mom is a piece of work, you know.” “Indeed I do.” Mary Margaret races off to smooch David back to life. “You did it,” he exclaims after doing the ritual “I’m awake” gasp. “Did you ever doubt I would?” As MM/David and Emma/Henry have their happy reunions, Regina looks dejected. Uh-oh.

Later, Emma confronts Gold in his shop, saying that she knows he knew her fate since before she was born, that he could have escaped the cell whenever he wanted, that she has been his pawn every step of the way. He counters that all he did was “take advantage of what you are — the product of true love. Everything you are, you’ve done yourself.” So, she asks, “You knew?” That she can’t be killed by Cora? A somewhat startled Gold can only say, “I didn’t do that; you did.”

The hour closes with Emma, Henry, Mary Margaret, David et al marching down the main drag to a chimera-free dinner at Granny’s. All is well. Happy endings all around! (Save for Regina, whom Gold taunts might one day get invited to dinner with Henry.) We then cut to the harbor, where off in the distance Hook’s ship emerges from the fog, the captain and Cora setting sight on the shore before them. “There it is….” “Storybrooke!” [CLICK TO PAGE 2 FOR BURNING QUESTIONS, ANSWERED!]

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Josie says:

    I just want to know when August will be back and for how long? And where the hell is he anyway??? Why hasn’t his absence been mentioned at all?

    • Bmass says:

      Yes! Where is August?

    • Templar says:

      They can only cover so much in each episode. Where is Jefferson? Is Grace with him or with her foster family? Why hasn’t Grumpy found Nova? Where’s Kathryn? Does Gepetto know about August? If they answered these questions, people would complain that they weren’t moving the main plot line along.

  2. Princess says:

    Great winter finale! I want so see more of Mulan and Aurora’s quest to retrieve Philip’s soul. Maybe, Ariel can help them.

  3. Mike Q. says:

    The last scene — where they left Regina behind after everything she had become to David and Henry with MM and Emma in FTL and her sacrifice to bring them back — was simply stupid. Think about your own life: in the joy of reuniting she would have been invited along to “prove” that she had changed. They way they did it was lazy writing. That is a growing problem on this show.

  4. OUATFan465 says:

    It seems this episode got peoples’ minds off Neal…. but not for me; I’m still with the “Go to Storybrooke, meet up with your son, tell Emma you’re sorry and live happily ever after” Simple! XP

    • Templar says:

      Way to kill the show’s longevity. Shakespeare could have just written “two kids from opposing families fall in love and end up dead.”. Boy how he could run on about stuff, huh?

  5. shelly says:

    I would really like to know any info you have on rumpal’s son and when he will make an appearence. Is his name Neal by any chance???? Here’s to hoping

  6. John says:

    Season 2 and plots! Yes the writers have made an incredible improvement compared to the first season where it seemed more like they were gaining their footing. I am hooked! (No pun intended.)
    I enjoy the ‘good’ Regina, while seeing her character development. Introducing new villains was an excellent idea. I wonder where they are going with Swan’s magic.They need to be careful otherwise Henry will have two power-hungry moms.
    ..Also, how come there was no mention of the obvious romantically charged Mulan/Aurora interaction? The metaphor where Mulan is holding Aurora’s heart.
    Mulan is saving her again. Comments like “Have you ever done this before?” ..”No” and the gazing. I was almost sure that they were about to kiss.
    Phillip, I’m sorry but you are merely a plot device, because Sleeping Warrior has awoken.

  7. Lori says:

    I LOVE Emma and Hook. Please say at some point we see Hook and Emma’s dad. I’d love to see how he reacts to the pirate always flirting with her. Actually any Emma/Hook scoop is appreciated.

  8. Dee says:

    Darn it! I’m in love with a pirate. And, he’s fiction. And, he’s Captain Hook. What’ll I do!!!!!

    • Templar says:

      Raise your standards. He’s a woman beating, shallow, sociopath.

      • Kath says:

        If Regina can be redeemed, can Hook also?

        • Templar says:

          I don’t personally believe in Regina’s redemption possibilities. Patricide kind of put paid to that in my eyes. I’d be more likely to believe in Gold’s prospects for redemption. What happened to him was caused by being enveloped in the evil shroud of The Dark One [not unlike “We were cursed”.]. The Dark One was evil and Rumpel killed him, and in so doing became him. So, if he somehow can shed that without dying himself, he might be saved [hopefully several seasons down the line]. Regina became who she is through bad judgement and the manipulations of Cora, not through magic. I see less chance for her to redeem herself.

  9. zaza says:

    Two things I’m curious about….1)how will the Fairytale land arc be used going forward. They didn’t really introduce us to other characters besides Mulan, Aurora and Phillip. I’m not sure their story is compelling enough to make flashovers to FTL worth the trouble.

    Also, 2) since magic works differently in our world, how will Cora’s magic be affected? It would be fun if she tries to do something and it backfires on her. Imagine her frustration, lol!

    • Templar says:

      There are still other worlds to visit. Neverland and Oz come to mind. Also there will have to be a consensus about them staying in our world or returning to the other realms.

  10. nick1372 says:

    I think that was Once’s bes episode EVER!!!!
    :D :D :D :)

  11. Blair says:

    Can we please start a campaign to stop MM/David to say ‘you did it’ or ‘you saved me’ ever again? Or at least for a few episodes, it’s so annoying. We know they’ll always find a way to save each other but is it really neccesary for them to say it all the time? We. Get. The. Point.

  12. Blair says:

    Can we please start a campaign to stop MM/David from saying ‘you did it’ or ‘you saved me’ ever again? Or at least for a few episodes, it’s so annoying. We know they’ll always find a way to save each other but is it really neccesary for them to say it all the time? We. Get. The. Point.

  13. Seuss4prez says:

    I had a thought: maybe David is Regina’s true love’s little brother and she loves Henry so much because he is related to him. She also seems to show genuine concern over David. I don’t know. Not the most solid of theories but just a thought.

    • Templar says:

      David’s only brother was an identical twin [James] who died and David replaced him as the King’s adopted son. Daniel [Regina’s true love] was a stable boy.

  14. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I keep thinking it would be interesting if they introduced a Prince Charming-like character and then introduced a fairy tale villain, and then really flipped their roles around a la Dr. Horrible.

  15. WhatNow? says:

    Is there any reason why the last scene, when Hook and Cora was looking towards the shore, that SB was in black and white?

  16. MaryAnn says:

    I really, REALLY want to see Regina continue on her path to redemption. I will be very disappointed if she backslides. And plotwise? It makes sense for her to battle the true baddie, Cora, and not be evil herself. I am truly rooting for Regina to let go of the evil path that her mother set her upon so long ago.

    That said, Henry is one of my favorite characters. Excellent acting, believable presentation. And I love his story lines. This kid is totally after my heart.

    Snow and Charming? Give them some peace. Let them be together for the remainder of the season, and let Sleeping Beauty’s search for HER true love be the one kept apart til the end of the season. My favorite scene of the series to date (tying with Regina listening to Henry and saving Snow and Emma) was Snow and Charming’s reunion.

    And Mr. Gold? He continues to disappoint me. He really does always show himself to be evil in a crunch. Regina had faith, but Mr. Gold showed that he just didn’t. In regard to him, I feel sorry for Belle and for Gold’s son. They will be nothing but disappointed.

    So, I am guessing that the second half of the season will focus on the Storybrooke residents battling Cora and Aurora’s search to be reunited with her true love. Then there is Emma’s possibly developing magic (?!), Henry’s father, Gold’s son, and Pinocchio’s fate. You asked for questions for your spoiler articles. What else is coming that has not been hinted at and is totally out of the blue?

  17. Shuayb says:

    I liked this episode a lot! Finally Good had a win, albeit a short lived win considering that Hook and Cora are on their way but I was smiling ear to ear when i saw Emma and Snow come out of the well. So very happy about that.

    It was gratifying to learn Cora was the Queen of Hearts It made so much sense and fits so perfectly with the landscape that is Once Upon A Time.
    Hook seems to have been genuine about wanting to help Emma so I knew that would bite her in the ass but her right hook (pun intended) was amazing. The expression on his face was sheer shock. Perfect!

    I like that Henry tapped into Regina’s humanity, I just hope that it will be strong enough for when Cora is there otherwise she will go back to the dark side and there might not be any saving her this time… Edward and Adam have set up some great central stories .

    However I still feel that they seriously need to look at some of the other characters and start bringing them more into the show.

    Also happy about Mulan and Aurora’s story but they must just get one episode to sort their stuff out. We also need more about Mulan’s backstory already.

    • Templar says:

      Speaking only for myself, if I don’t see Mulan or Aurora ever again, good. I blame casting, because it would be difficult to imagine two less charismatic actresses. They have absolutely no vibrancy, personality or energy. Even Prince Phillip was bland. Whoever was in charge of rounding up that group failed miserably.

  18. millie says:

    Please give us some scoop on the gorgeous gown Regina was wearing when she met Hook!

  19. oncer4ever says:

    Will we see any more of the Emma/Henry mother/son relationship? :)

  20. Gail says:

    We still haven’t got the story of how Regina got Henry. He was born in a different state, Regina and Gold could not leave Storybrooke. Presumably August arranged the adaption since he was not cursed. Also what made Henry realize that the characters in a storybook given to him by his teacher were actually the people from his hometown. When did Henry realize he was the only one in town that was aging? All the other kids like Hansel and Gretel stay the same age but Henry went from a baby to a young boy.

    • Templar says:

      This is how I see it; Henry knew he was adopted [just asking about his father would provide that info]. The internet is in use in SB because Henry found Emma by searching on it and Kathryn applied to a school in Boston over it. So the adoption could be arranged online with a guardian ad litem delivering the child to SB. The book MM gave him presumably came from Gold’s shop since the 28 year curse was due to end and Gold is at the basis of the whole thing. Henry sees that he keeps outgrowing his classmates, and begins to notice the resemblance to the people in the book. Outsiders, not under the curse, can come and go because Henry took the bus to Boston. But none of the permanent residents change at all. He’s a smart kid and it was pre-ordained.

      • Gail says:

        In Season 1 Henry said that that no outsiders ever visited Storybrooke which is why everyone wondered who August was since he apparently was the first outsider who had visited Storybrooke. I wonder how Granny made a living running an Inn when there were no visitors in 28 years except Emma and August.

        • Templar says:

          This is pure speculation on my part, but I think Henry meant no one comes as tourists. Obviously the mail comes in and the bus must stop there or he wouldn’t have been able to board it. Commodities must be shipped in [gas, food, Apollo bars, etc.] Which makes me wonder why there would be a B&B [Granny’s] if no one stays over.

  21. jsmellerm says:

    Will we see Henry’s father in the upcoming episodes and will it be revealed why and what he saw in this box. Still hoping him to be Mr. Gold’s son though…

    • jsmellerm says:

      I forgot to ask the following:
      When the true love kiss happened you had this rainbow blast which got everyone their memory back and Sneezy lost it because he crossed the city lines. Now there was the MM/David rainbow blast. So did Sneezy get his memory back again?

  22. Samantha Mae says:

    are we going to see a reunion with emma and neil? will henry meet his dad?

  23. LS says:

    I’m also wondering… where are August, Sidney, Kathryn, Frederick, Ashley and Sean?

  24. Zoe says:

    I hate that they are doing Frankenstein. They should stick with fairy tales. I wanna see Aladdin+Jasmine and Ariel+prince Eric. Ariel-felicity day. Can’t think of the other actors.

  25. Chouquette says:

    I really want a thing to happen between Emma and Hook
    It would be very interrestin since they are both strong love-disapointed characters