Once Upon a Time Midseason Finale Recap: The Never Land -- Plus: Mystery Villain Revealed!

Once Upon a Time Recap Emma Henry ForgetThis Sunday, in the midseason finale of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the Storybrooke heroes banded together in hopes of defeating Peter Pan — but what price might they ultimately need to pay to do so? Plus: Who’s the big bad for the second half of Season 3?

IN ASSORTED FLASHBACKS…. | We see how Hook and Tinker Bell first met cute, with her holding a knife to his throat in Neverland. There, it’s revealed that Hook only risks his life for two things: love (as he does later, for Emma) or Revenge revenge…. Outside school, when Henry laments to Mary Margaret that he feels like he doesn’t belong, she gifts him with a Once Upon a Time storybook that recently appeared in her closet “like magic.” For an instant afterwards, Henry sees his teacher as Snow White…. Belle finds Rumplestiltskin remembering lost Bae in his birthday…. And we get an encore of Emma birthing Henry but unwilling to look at or hold him.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time EPs Tease Fall Finale’s ‘Devastating’ Twist, ‘Compelling’ Spring Story Arc

IN STORYBROOKE…. | At the Storybrooke well, Pan (as Henry) explains to Felix how his plan to re-cast the Dark Curse upon Storybrooke will be a fate worse than death for their foes, since their identity-free “suffering will be eternal.” The only missing ingredient for the spell is the heart of the thing Pan loves most — which Felix assumes is Rumplestiltskin’s. But Pan corrects, “I never loved Rumple,” then explains how “love” can mean many things — including an appreciation of loyalty over the years. Pan thus plucks out Felix’s pumper, crushes it into the well, and a green smoke begins to bellow….

Elsewhere, Rumple explains to the gang how Pan’s plan can be stopped if they destroy the curse’s scroll, though doing so will come with “a steep price.” First step: Swap the boys’ bodies back, which requires the black fairy’s wand hidden at the convent where Blue is lying in state. Hook, Neal, Charming and Tink set out to procure the wand, but are confronted by Pan’s shadow. To trap him in the candle, Tink manages to make the pixie dust work and floats to the rafters, capturing the creature and then destroying it once and for all. Blue is in turn revived, and assures Tink that she has earned her wings back many times over.

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At his shop with wand in hand, Rumple explains how he will return Henry to his body, at which point the lad is to bring the scroll to them to be destroyed. (No one thinking for a minute what Felix, who for all they know is alive, would do upon realizing Pan was gone. But anyway….) After casting the spell, Rumple stays behind to tend to “unfinished business” with his father while the others seek out Henry. But when Pan comes to, he scoffs at Rumple’s attempt to mute his powers with Greg and Tamara’s cuff — which Pan aka Home Office himself designed and thus is immune to. Pan renders his son helpless by slapping the cuff on his wrist, and gives him a beating.

Once_FallFinale_GroupGranny, using her nose, leads the group to Henry, but the moment Regina lays hands on the scroll, she passes out. Upon coming to, she explains that she “saw what needs to be done” to pull off their plan — and then Pan pops up to snatch the scroll and gloat. Rumple winds up getting the best of his father by sneaking up on him, declaring, “I have a job to finish” and “a price I’m finally willing to pay.” After essentially saying goodbye to Bae and Belle, Rumple summons his shadow to bring the dagger he left behind in Neverland and plunges it into both Pan and himself. Pan briefly morphs back into Malcolm and futily pleads, “We can start over…,” but Rumple (“Villains don’t get happy endings!”) twists the dagger further, sending them both vanishing in a burst of light.

And then the waterworks begin. (In fact, the streets are suddenly rain-soaked…?) As Belle sobs over losing Rumple, and Neal acknowledges his estranged dad’s sacrifice, Regina reveals the big wrinkle in stopping the curse: “I have to say goodbye to the thing I love most. I can never see Henry again.” As she explains, breaking the curse will “wink” Storybrooke away as if it never existed, while returning everyone — save Henry, who was born in our realm — to The Enchanted Forest. But he won’t be left here alone. Emma, as the Savior, can escape the curse and be with him — though Emma at first suggests they travel with everyone else to Fairytale Land. Alas that’s not an option, because Regina must pay a price. “But I just found you,” Emma cries to Snow and Charming. “I’m not done” restoring happy endings. Snow explains that happy endings aren’t always what we expect them to be, plus now she and Henry can be a family. Even Regina is accepting of the arrangement, admitting, “All I’ve wanted was for you to get the hell away from my son. But really what I want is for Henry to be happy.”

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Season 3 Spoilers — Will Rumbelle’s Reunion Last?

Reconvening at the town line, Emma hugs her folks goodbye, while Henry laments to Regina, “This is all my fault,” having not recognized that his mother did love him and then seeking out Emma Once_FallFinale_Henry_Reginain the first place. But Regina takes all blame, saying, “It was my fault to cast a curse out of vengeance…. Villains don’t get happy endings.” But, Henry declares, “You’re not a villain. You’re my mom.”

Emma says bye to her guys, first hugging Neal, who asserts, “This isn’t over.” Hook, meanwhile, first goes for laughs — “It’s quite a vessel you captain there, Swan,” mocking her VW bug — then shares, “Not a day will go by when I don’t think of you.” “Good,” Emma very warmly smiles. (Did it just get hot in here…?!) Regina then drops a final bombshell, that because Storybrooke will have never existed, neither will Emma and Henry’s memories of their time there. To fill the void, Regina grants them “good memories,” a past where Emma never gave Henry up for adoption. “But that past won’t be real,” Emma comments. “But your future will,” Regina responds. And as Regina rips the scroll and zaps the encroaching smoke, Emma and Henry drive off, leaving nothing behind — and we see that in Emma’s revamped memory of childbirth, she did hold Henry.OnceUponaTime_WickedWitch

IN NEW YORK CITY, ONE YEAR LATER…. | The alarm clocks hits 8:15, Lou Reed’s “Charley’s Girl” (aka Neal’s intro song) is playing and Emma sits down for breakfast with Henry — but they’re interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s Hook. “Swan! At last. … Something terrible has happened. Your family is in trouble,” he reports, Doc Brown-like. But Emma, post-mind wipe, has no idea who this guylinered fella in leather is. To (hopefully) jog her memory, he goes in for a “true love’s” kiss, but is forcibly rebuffed. (“It was a long shot,” he admits. “Had to try.”) Poised to call the cops, Emma closes the door on this stranger as he beckons, “You have to remem–.”

THEN, IN THE MIDSEASON PROMO…. | It is revealed that come March 9, when Season 3B opens, Lost looker Rebecca Mader will be playing… the Wicked Witch of the West!

What did you think of Once‘s midseason finale? And how about some props for Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla in those final scenes? And what burning questions would you like me to seek answers to during the 12-week hiatus?

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. Ann says:

    So excited about the Hook/Emma scenes. Amazing. I loved them.

    :( Oh no Rumple! I got misty eyed. He will be back. Poor Belle!

    And the Regina, Emma, and Henry scenes! Oh my goodness so heartbreaking! The same thing with Emma, Charming, and Snow!

    She will remember soon. I just loved Emma’s “good” when Hook said he would think of her everyday. The looks they share! It is perfect.

  2. Michelle says:

    All I want to know if the people from fairy tale land remember everything that has happen

  3. Roni Iannello says:

    Awesome episode! So sad about the lost memory thing – really sad. So now that Regina had to enact a “reverse curse” everyone goes back to the enchanted forest pre- curse? Now since Emma kept henry is there still a need for a savior? My guess is yes- before it was henry who found emma- her son. Now it’s hook- a love who finds her to help save her parents- it seems like things did not go as planned. This episode left many questions and one if the greatest cliff hangers ever! One would think did the dark curse happened, we kniw emma was born and sent off- Neal – now what happened to him- emma did get pregnant – can’t wait till march !!!!!

  4. Lynn says:

    Loved the episode! I thought the whole thing was brilliant, everyone was just stellar Of course I have some questions but it wouldn’t be a good cliffhanger if I didn’t …I am most curious to see how they’ll tackle the Wicked Witch of the West’s little ‘water’ allergy though

  5. kike says:

    Emma and neal forever… I guess I am the only one not feeling hook…why did hook come back?… I wanted neal so badly

    • Michelle says:

      You are not alone! I hope Emma still remembers Neal and that’s how Emma and Henry go to save them

    • missvci says:

      I have nothing against Emma/Neal but you cannot deny that Hook and Emma have way more chemistry then her and Neal. The Goodbye from Neal I didn’t feel a thing, but they way Emma looked back at Hook I was like now there’s the chemistry that should have been with Neal.

      • Sheila says:

        That’s just because Neal has been written as furniture this season. Emma has repeatedly said she loves Neal, but they seem to have decided to ignore that and focus on Hook instead.

        • shandelle says:

          Um, but if Neal is written as such, isn’t that just canon truth of his character on the show? If Neal is written to be a plot device and speed bump to Emma/Hook or Emma/anyone else, doesn’t that just truthfully make him not her true love? I don’t really understand his being written a certain way having anything to do with the story the writers chose to tell us. Emma says she ‘loves Neal’ but hasn’t said she is IN LOVE with Neal. Because I don’t think she is or ever was. She was 16 years old when she met him (to his 24, which is technically statutory rape in a lot of places). She was young and impressionable with tons and tons of abandonment issues. Just because she became pregnant because of her time with Neal does not mean he is her true love or that she is in love with him. Nor does it mean he is the best man for her. I think this has to do with compatibility between a man and a women at the most simplistic level. From what I’ve seen of present day Emma, she is more compatible with Hook than Neal. Neal doesn’t seem to believe in her the way Hook does. He doesn’t seem to understand her the way Hook does. I think we’ve been provided many signs and hints about the intent of the writers. A lot of people just seem hung up on Neal because they want the show to retain a traditional nuclear family. But I don’t know that Henry would necessarily be ~omg so unhappy~ if Emma & Neal weren’t together. Neal isn’t going anywhere regardless, so he has his true father now. He has his biological mother and I believe he’ll be reunited with Regina in the back half of season 3.

          • shandelle says:

            Sorry, I don’t really understand how him being written a certain way is anything but deliberate on the writers’ part. He’s a main character and I think he has been written exactly how they intend for him to be written. If they intended to focus on Neal/Emma, that’s just how it would have been written. Someone made a really good reply on page 1 of the comments about why we saw Hook show up at her door instead of Neal. I believe this person said the long answer is it will be fleshed out further next year. The short answer: This is what the writers decided to do. I guess you can chalk that up to ‘bad writing’ all you want. But I think it was deliberate.

          • Joey says:

            If you think it’s deliberate that he was written that way so far this season, it /could/ simply mean that the time in which he ends up with Emma isn’t meant to be /now/. Granted, they should be skilled enough writers to find more for him to do in the meantime until they want that to happen, but just because he’s furniture now doesn’t mean he’ll be furniture to Emma forever.

          • sararnoldi says:

            In my opinion they are both not compatible with Emma so at this point I prefer she chooses Neal as I liked very much Bae’s storyline.

          • Steph says:

            Yes, thank you!! 9 times out of 10, Neal fans say they should be together for Henry. What a grossly outdated notion. If Emma and Neal were True Love, she wouldn’t be so hesitant and unsure. She loves him, much the way anyone would love the father of their child and their first love. But he has betrayed her and let her down repeatedly. Love does not automatically equal true love. She said it herself – she wished he really had died so she didn’t have to face the pain he caused her. I can see this type of relationship happening in our world. But as a fairy tale epic true love romance? No way. Neal let his fear of his father ruin any chance they had. He knew the curse was breaking and chose to start a relationship with and get engaged to Tamara. He chose not to go and apologize to Emma for their past even though she had fulfilled her destiny and he wouldn’t be interfering with her saviour duties. None of this fits with the “I will always find you”, always find a way, go to the ends of the earth kind of true love that is the heart of this show. Emma had her fairy tale princess life stolen from her and to stick her with a very real world, painful love story would just be sad. She deserves the kind of love her parents have and she’s not going to get that from the man who sent her to jail “for her own good” and never looked back (until he found out about Henry).

      • Joey says:

        I’ll deny that Emma and Hook have any sort of chemistry until my dying day. I /don’t/ see it at all. All I see when I look at Hook is someone gross and skeevy.

        • Steph says:

          Same. It feels so forced, I remember reading so many interviews in Season 2, everyone kept saying “they connect! They have a spark!” and I watched and watched and watched and all I could see as poor writing and barely-there character chemistry.

          • Joey says:

            Plus, as I saw someone say on the previous page of comments (it may have even been you), Hook’s feelings for Emma translated way too fast from really bad pick-up lines to OMG I’ll DIE FOR YOU I’M SO IN LOVE WITH YOU for it to be believable to anyone except for rabid 12 year old girls who spend their lives on twitter (or people who think like them).

            If it had been done in a conceivably believable way, I wouldn’t be so vehemently against it.

          • Steph says:

            Yeah, I think it’s super funny too because I shipped it for a bit in Season 2. They announced Hook and I was excited and they started talking about the spark, and Hook was a bad guy, but I was okay with that. Then they came onscreen and even with the very limited number of scenes they shared, I saw nothing there. I just started to hope Emma’s backstory would be explored, and when the end of season 2 rolled around, I was super excited to see how the Hook and Baelfire story would evolved. Season 3 and the Hook/Bae story is dropped and despite being antagonists Hook all of a sudden was Emma’s puppy, Milah was forgotten, his intentions for Bae forgotten, a random brother was introduced that didn’t fit into Hook’s continuity… So in Season 3, everything they were building up for Hook was forgotten, and his feelings for Emma were fast forwarded and I’m expected to not think it’s garbage? It just doesn’t make sense. I find the ship to be an injustice to both characters, and it certainly doesn’t help that some fans are using Emma as a self-insert to play out their own Hook/Colin fantasies. It just rubs me the wrong way.

          • Joey says:

            “it certainly doesn’t help that some fans are using Emma as a self-insert to play out their own Hook/Colin fantasies”

            Yes yes a million times yes. We get it, Colin is good-looking. But just because he’s attractive, it doesn’t mean that it’s true love whenever he flirts with someone. Just because if you were that person, you’d swoon immediately doesn’t mean that anyone else would.

      • Zelda says:

        *sigh* Why is it so hard for some of you to accept that it IS possible to have different opinions. Not saying I ship Emma Neal, but whenever I see someone you say “you can’t deny” I can’t help but roll my eyes, sorry.

      • Cass says:

        Uh, yes, it is possible to deny. People are allowed to have different opinions that don’t mesh with the CS hive mind.

    • Joey says:

      Someone did point this out upthread, and it does make sense. So Henry and Emma’s memories were changed…it looks like the biggest change happened when she gave birth to Henry. So basically, the stuff that happened before that still happened in Emma’s mind…so basically the last thing she would remember about Neal is that he /supposedly/ set her up to get arrested. I don’t think seeing him right away would be the best thing to get her to come to the Enchanted Forest.

      Although I can’t wait until Emma and Neal finally get back together. :D

      • Emily says:

        Me too! I also think that Hook and Emma are inappropriate. First he’s like 200 years older. Second, Hook was with Mila–Neal’s mom and now he wants to be with Neal’s baby mom! It’s kinda not cool.

        • shandelle says:

          Uhh you do realize that Neal is also hundreds of years old, as well, right? So your age argument holds no water. Neal spent many years in Neverland where he also did not age. All the characters from the Enchanted Forest are older than they look. The only characters that are the correct age for their physical appearance are Emma and Henry. And August was, too.

    • Emily says:

      I love Hook, but want it to be Neal. I think we got a hint, Neal is coming too and he will be her true love kiss. Or Regina and Robin?

  6. Ronnie says:

    Can anyone please explain to me why the only way for Pan to die was that Rumple died too? I know Pan said something like that in Neverland but it never got explained (or at least I don´t remember and that’s why I didn’t understand that scene). Thanks!

    • Deena says:

      Yeah, I’ve been racking my brain & can’t remember if this or how this was ever explained

    • abz says:

      I think it had to do with the prophecy. Not 100% sure though.

      • Stormy says:

        IDK but Rumpel isn’t dead because the Dark One can’t kill himself especially with his own dagger. That’s why the previous Dark One allowed Rumpel to kill and replace him.

        • abz says:

          Maybe the prophecy can overpower the Dark One rules? Who knows? There are many theories and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens. One thing for sure though I have a feeling that they will definitely find a way to bring Rumple back because he’s too big of a character on the show for him to just die.

  7. Ronnie says:

    What I thought wasn’t well done in this ep was the goodbye scenes, I mean, had I been there, I would have been crying my eyes out!!! But Regina, Snow, David, everyone else were hardly tearing up! Come on! You’re never going to see your daughter/son/grandson/whatever again, EVER, and you’re just standing there as if you’re taking them to the airport and saying goodbye knowing that you’re going to see them again once they return from their vacation! It didn’t make sense to me because, even when they are hopeless fools, they didn’t seem to expect to see each other again (except for Neal) so I don’t get why they weren’t crying the heck out! I was crying harder at home than all of those characters together! Emma was the closest one to breaking down but I think her reaction was the baseline reaction everyone should have had at that situation and according to their closeness to Emma/Henry the crying should only scalate, not being less than Emma’s crying. Does anyone agree with me?

    • shandelle says:

      I agree to an extent. I didn’t think the goodbyes really reflected that the characters believed it was goodbye. Maybe they’re just too accustomed to curses being broken and undone at this point that they truly don’t believe it’s the end. I mean, Neal seems to believe it isn’t goodbye forever and just temporary thing. The show is based on people having HOPE so maybe the writers were trying to convey that Snow, Charming, et al are so full of hope that they believe in some way they’ll find a way to overcome this and be reunited? Who knows.

  8. Chrs says:

    I’m honestly really surprised at the positive feedback Im finding for this episode here. I was ready to throw my drink at the tv screen by the end. I mean 1. They hit the restart button by reenacting the curse 2. They killed Pan AND Rumple (Supposedly I guess. There was no body) 3. They split the cast in between two worlds for a THIRD time and 4, the biggest misstep of all, they made the Emma the main character forget everything, throwing loads of character development out the window. I’ve loved this show since the beginning, but I’m not so sure I wanna come back in March.

    • missvci says:

      1. They didn’t the restart button, they went brought back to their land with their memories which is what they wanted since the curse broke.

      2. They didn’t kill Rumple, because it confirmed that Belle and him will be together in the second half of the season and further explore their relationship. it does suck they killed Pan, but that had to happen to end the story arc that many people for some reason hated.

      3. They have to keep the plot moving somehow and having characters chase after their happy ending has proven successful the last two seasons. And everything couldn’t be wrapped up hunky dorry or we as viewers be just as pissed.

      4. I don’t think it’s a misstep, as long as it doesn’t take the entire second half for her to regain them. And given that she’s had the love of Henry for the last 11(now 12) years, she be more willingly to believe in things.

      Personally I thought this was the best episode of Once hands down. And I’m so mad I have to wait to march to see everything resolve. It was so well paced and full of nice little moments. And ending with Hook coming to tell her she needs to still be the savior, I just love.

  9. Megs says:

    So…I didn’t think The Dark One could kill himself. If he could then the previous guy could have gotten his own dagger and killed himself rather than having to trick Rumple into killing him. Just a thought…and my hope since Rumple is a big part of why I watch this show!

  10. Julia says:

    Amazing episode !!!! March seems so far away.. One of the things I’ve been wondering is what’s the significance of Hook showing up at her door if it was Neal Emma would of known who he was and maybe it would of been easier to get her but, but it was Hook so that gives me hope. In the first episode it was Henry her son so it’s obvious why that got her to the town.. I’m hoping the fact that it was Hook plays a large significance in the story arc for the season.

  11. “the Wicked Witch of the West!” nice. surely they’ll change the rule about water being her achilles heel.

  12. A.B. says:

    Ok so if they lose their memories of Storybrook what about their time in Neverland or Snow and Emma’s time in FTL? Do they forget about those or will they be all fuzzy images. Cause then they would be wondering what they were doing in Neverland running around the island with the dark one, Regina, a pirate, a strange man and a blond woman. And what about Mulan and Aurora? They had interaction with Snow and Emma. Robin Hood had interaction with Neal. And Neal learned about Henry in NYC, so dose he remember? Lots of open stories there.

    • shandelle says:

      From the promo, I didn’t get the impression the characters sent back to the enchanted forest forgot any of their memories at all. Only Emma and Henry would have forgotten all memories tied to Storybrooke and all the adventures that happened during that time period (Emma in FTL with Snow, Mulan, and Aurora and everything that took place in Neverland; Henry’s entire history thus far because now his storyline has been altered to reflect Emma having kept him instead of putting him up for adoption). Regina also said she could give Emma new memories even though they were fake.. but her and Henry could now make new real future memories. We have no clue what those fake memories are that Regina has given them. I think everyone in FTL will remember everything. Hook has been sent to the land without magic to find a way to make Emma (and thusly Henry) remember the true past. Which apparently includes her parents/family being in some type of peril.

  13. nate says:

    so whats coming on since this wont be back till March??

  14. Jojo says:

    So everyone who went back to the enchanted forest remembers everything right? Just not Emma and Henry?

    • shandelle says:

      Yes. The promo made it appear that everyone sent back to EF remembers everything. But because Storybrooke has been erased from our land (the land without magic), Emma and Henry have no memory of any of that nor the adventures that took place during its existence (Emma in FTL with Snow, everything in Neverland, and basically Henry’s entire life would be rewritten with the change that Emma kept him rather than put him up for adoption). Regina implanted both with fake past memories with the promise they could live as a family unit and make their own real memories moving forward.

  15. Ashley says:

    Gosh I wish that kiss worked. Also the kid who played Pan was AMAZING! I hope we see a lot more of him in the future staring in movies and such

  16. John 1138 says:

    The promo ‘s “invades Storybrooke” plus Belles “Were back”? Seems to me they’re not done with Maine quite yet.

    Looks like a fun ride is ahead.

    • shandelle says:

      Yes! My exact thoughts… did ABC totally just spoil that fact? I pointed that out to a friend earlier but hadn’t really noticed any comments anywhere about that fact.

  17. Patrick Maloney says:

    Anyone want to guess that the Wick Witch of the West is the Black Fairy in the show?

    • Joey says:

      I actually posited this to a friend of mine earlier tonight. I mean, she still could be from Oz, if they’re going to include that world in the show. She just would have come to the Enchanted Forest from there, and then, still in the past, the Blue Fairy sealed her away, but in the time since the curse was enacted, she broke out and is now wreaking havoc there? I guess we’ll find out.

    • sararnoldi says:

      I dont remember who this Black Fairy is… can anyone tell me that, please?

  18. Lisa says:

    Thank goodness I saw Rumple in the previews. I was very worried he was dead. I love the character.

    • Lisa says:

      He’s very multi-dimensional.

    • shandelle says:

      FYI the footage of Rumple/Gold were recycled footage from episode 10 when they arrived back in Storybrooke from NVL. So it’s still up in the air whether or not he survived. Let’s hope so! He is super intwined with virtually all the fairy tale stories at this point.

  19. greysfan says:

    I just thought of something. How did Henry be born if Neal didn’t exist outside of the land. Or does he still exist in the real world. See this is where i am confused. If she had relations with another guy then Henry isn’t Henry. Get my drift? So Neal has to exist outside right?

    • abz says:

      Wasn’t there two elements to Regina breaking Pan’s curse? One being that the people Regina brought to Storybrooke would return to the Enchanted Forest as if it never existed and the second being that Regina had the ability to create a certain story or life for any person she wanted. She said that she made the inhabitants of Storybrooke miserable, but they didn’t necessarily have to be which means that she can create parts of the curse to fit what she wants. So basically, regardless of Neal being from the Enchanted Forest and him not being affected by the curse the first time around, Regina gifted a life for Emma where she could be happy and that happiness included Henry. It sounds ridiculous and I’m probably wrong, but that’s what I initially thought. I may change my mind if I think about it more lol
      I’ll agree though that this curse 2.0 poses many questions particularly about why people who weren’t cursed (Hook, Neal, Tinkerbell, Ariel, Darlings) had to return to Enchanted Forest in the first place when Regina breaks Pan’s curse. We know why Emma and Henry don’t have to return to FTL, but maybe breaking the curse returns everyone who is “currently” in Storybrooke and who have some connection to the Enchanted Forest back to FTL because the whole idea of breaking it is to make Storybrooke disappear from existence. It’s confusing, but I can’t wait till it comes back to find out.

      • shandelle says:

        I totally agree with a lot you say here. When Regina broke the curse, it perhaps forced everyone tied to the Enchanted Forest in some way to be brought back there but they kept all their memories including those made during their time in Storybrooke. However, since SB existed in the land without magic, any that stayed behind there (Emma & Henry) would lose any memories tied to SB because it was as if it never existed. However, Regina could implant fake memories for them which resulted in them being able to have a “happy ending” as a family, which included Emma having kept Henry to begin with. I believe this would also mean that Henry’s entire timeline and ALL his memories would have been rewritten to accommodate that. Since Regina was able to manipulate those fake implanted memories, I’m wondering if she didn’t provide Emma (and thusly Henry) with entirely fake memories of who his father is/was. Such as, maybe when Emma initially lied to Henry in season 1 and told him his father died honorably fighting a fire (or whatever it was), Regina could make that memory a fake reality for them both. OR perhaps Emma still has memories of Neal intact how they were up until she gave birth, except now Regina changed it so Emma kept Henry. It’s hard to say. There are so many ways the writers can take this and I’m really excited to see where they go with it. We do know that Chris Gorham is being introduced early in the backhalf and we still don’t know who he is or why he’s important to Emma. I’ve read tons of theories, everything from a future adult version of Henry to someone Emma met during her time in the foster system… and now I’m even proposing if maybe Regina created a fake memory of someone else to be a biological father for Henry, that could be him. Or maybe he’s just Emma’s current boyfriend in her altered NYC life. Or maybe someone totally different than any of these!

        I definitely want to know why Neal and Hook (no sign of Tink/Ariel/The Darlings in the promo..) were sent back, though. Neal wasn’t in the EF during the initial curse and Hook’s background is still a total mystery. We don’t know where Hook was born (that is, if the reason Neal was brought back was due to having been born in the EF). And maybe everyone that originated in the EF now can’t leave that world same as the characters could not cross the SB town line… which might explain why Hook could be sent to find Emma and make her remember? I want to say A&E said somewhere Hook was not from the EF but I don’t recall exactly. So maybe Hook was taken away because he was within the town lines of SB as it was being erased from existence… but he can leave the EF where as Neal/Snow/Charming/Emma cannot and so he has to be the one to restore Emma’s real memories. There are just so many ways they could take this.. I hope they definitely answer these questions for us and that it legit makes sense, as the show is accused of having constant plot holes.

        • shandelle says:

          Ugh… I wish you could edit comments on this site.

          but he can leave the EF where as Neal/Snow/Charming/REGINA cannot and so he has to be the one to restore Emma’s real memories.

        • A.B. says:

          As to Chris Gorham, if he’s not her boyfriend or adopted brother I wonder if he will be Wizard of Oz related. Maybe the Wizard himself?

  20. Why wasn’t the Snow and David more heartbroken, they spend time with Emma, it should have been harder. It looked more like a friend goodbye than a parent ggodbye?

  21. James D says:

    decent mid-season finale. I must admit I hope Robert Carlyle will be back as he’s what made me watch this in the first place and continue to watch. I will keep tuning in for a while to see how things progress, but it won’t be the same without Rumple. I really liked Robbie Kay he should have a bright future.

  22. Jennifer says:

    The whole scene between Emma and Regina at the town border was beautiful and heartbreaking. Kudos to Jen and Lana indeed.

  23. Ram510 says:

    I thought to his was an excellent episode and a great way to hit the “reset” button to start again in March.
    The only thing I didn’t care for about this episode was that it was a little over dramatic (with reason I suppose) and the dramatics drug out for far too long, they could’ve wrapped that up in 20 minutes it didn’t take a full hour for such little action and story progression (which didn’t really occur until the end). Excited for March though!

  24. Kris says:

    I may be off base, but when pregnant Snow and Charming were in the FTL flashback, they seemed to be discussing how Emma would be able to figure everything out post curse. Wasn’t the plan at that time for Snow to escape the curse with Emma still in her tummy?

    • shandelle says:

      I just rewatched the scene several times and it’s kinda vague.. I also rewatched some scenes from episode 1. “How will she know what to do?” could have just been Snow not having faith in the wardrobe to safely transport them both. It does only take one after all, and she is technically TWO people.. with a bun in the oven. Like if something were to happen to Snow and the baby survive? I get what you’re saying, though. They probably should have worded the scene a little better to more seamlessly fit with the original scenes/plan in season 1.

  25. Christos says:

    I finished watching the episode two hours ago and I have been searching everywhere for any spoilers! I can’t wait until March! This was an AWESOME midseason finale. It could have worked as a season finale.

    What I still don’t understand is how all the stories (Snowhite, Red Riding Hood etc) came out to our world. The book was apparently created to lead Henry to Emma, but how do other people know about the stories, including Emma before she met them?

    Watching Regina sacrifice her love for Henry and giving Emma happy memories, was another step in her redemption road. Please, PLEASE, don’t make her totally evil again.

    • A.B. says:

      Maybe they somehow down the line mix in the Grimm Brothers and that somehow they knew or where in FTL. Could be interesting.

  26. neha says:

    I had pretty much given up on OUAT – spending half a season on finding Henry could not have been more boring. But, I LOVE this twist. Totally changes everything up, and I *think* it finally positions Regina as one “of the gang”, instead of a villain.

  27. Danny says:

    I’m glad Blue’s alive. No news on Ruby? Is she gone forever?

    • shandelle says:

      The actress who plays Ruby landed a lead on another show which explains her absence this season. However, the producers said that show also films in Vancouver so there is a chance we will get Ruby appearances down the road. I wish they would have at least given her some sort of send off or even had some dialogue to explain her absence, though.

  28. shandelle says:

    Am I the only one who was disappointed that “the heart of the thing I love most” for Pan was Felix? I was hoping that because Pan is so selfish he would have to kill himself in order to cast the curse successfully. Which would have played beautifully into the spoiler pics the past months of Rumple stabbing Pan with the Dark One dagger. I was hoping that THAT was how “the boy would be your undoing” and fulfill the prophecy. That Rumple would have to kill Pan in order to defeat him but that also fulfilled Pan’s curse requirement.. I don’t know. I just think it would have been a little more interesting than Pan taking Felix’s heart and saying it had to do with him loving Felix’s loyalty, support and adulation of him. I guess they needed a way to kill off Felix, being a minor character, but I thought it was kind of lame. They never gave us enough of an explanation of where The Darlings ended up either, neither upon landing in SB NOR after the new curse was enacted.

    • shandelle says:

      They also never explained why Felix could not appear to hear Pan’s music from his pied piper instrument. I thought we were told we’d find out why. Unless they’re trying to suggest that Felix felt “loved” by Pan or vice versa? Again, seems like a cop out. It seemed many hated the Neverland arc when I generally didn’t.. I just think it could have been vastly improved with way more flashbacks (like the Tink/Hook meeting flashback) and showing us more Hook backstory with Pan, Felix/Pan backstory, Darling/Pan backstory, etc. There was just so much lost potential here. ALSO I want to know where the heck all the Lost Boys they brought back ended up after last episode?! Are they just hanging around the Jolly Roger? Are they staying at Granny’s? And now that Pan’s new curse has been cast, where will they end up?? So many plot holes!!

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      What’s the old saying? “Those who live by the long-lens paparazzi spoiler pics die by the by the long-lens paparazzi spoiler pics”?

    • Stormy says:

      The Darlings presumably climbed into their Pontiac Parisienne and blew town before the curse.

      • shandelle says:

        LOL fair enough.. perhaps they whisked Wendy away to an American Apparel to update her painfully out of season Storybrooke bathrobe?? ;)

    • “I was hoping that because Pan is so selfish he would have to kill himself in order to cast the curse successfully” I said the exact same thing about Regina and the curse in season one.

    • Joey says:

      Shouldn’t we just be glad to finally be rid of Felix? :P

  29. Pat says:

    It was the first time for me, to actually feel sorry for Regina especially when she was saying goodbye to Henry. When Rumple used the dagger on his father and himself, tears started to well up in my eyes. Watching him disappear in a puff of black smoke, then seeing Belle crumple to her knees and Neal having that sad look on his face, that was heartbreaking. Then watching all of them saying goodbye to Emma and Henry at the edge of the town well, I just lost it. I cannot wait for March to see the return of this show. I just hope we will not be in for a long and bumpy ride when it does. My one ray of hope is that Hook remembers who Emma is so his memory has not been lost, so hopefully, Emma will have hers restored quickly and I think that Henry will be the one to do it!

    • Connie says:

      I think only Emma and Henry lost their memories because they’re staying in a land where magic didn’t exist and Storybrooke came into existence through magic. Plus, Hook knocked on Emma’s door at the end of the episode so he obviously remembers who Emma is.

  30. Jesse says:

    I’ve got to wonder at what point they end up back in Storybrooke (or something similar); the hospital scene has Robin Hood in normal clothing and he was never in Storybrooke to begin with, so something must be happen with that.

  31. Roni Iannello says:

    In the wake of the mid season episode I’m still sad but now feel a lack of hope- no memory for Emma and henry, memories for all the EF people, rumple gone? Is there still hope as the underlying force or storyline? The show gave me hope in my own life. Love OUAT.

  32. Jamie says:

    Can someone get hook to a banana republic, fast.

  33. Dearie says:

    Minor concern, but still: what happened to Henry’s book? When the curse smoke passed over it, I figured it was gone too, but Mary Margaret’s story (“It just appeared in my closet!”) means it might make a return. Maybe to help regain memories?

    • Joey says:

      I might be way off, but also didn’t it look like the smoke tried to “surround” the book rather than just come in from the window and cover it, like the book was somehow immune to the curse? I dunno, that’s just how it looked to me.

  34. I have another theory why Hook could showed up in NY. Remember the 5th episode. Hook is not originally fron Enchanted forest. He and his brother were from normal world. So maybe he returned to the country he came from but in this time.

    • magreeda says:

      I don’t think he’s from the regular (our) world. He and his brother got to Neverland via a sail made of some kind of magical feathers which they couldn’t do from the real world. Maybe he’s from another world but not the Enchanted Forest.

      • Stormy says:

        I thought Killian and his brother were part of the Royal Navy and escaped to Neveland with a sail made of feathers from Pegasus’ wings.

        • Joey says:

          Yes, well, how were they able to get the feathers? Did they magically drop in from another world? I would assume they’re from the same “world” as the Darlings.

  35. Ann says:

    What happened to Ruby/Little Red Riding Hood? She hasn’t appeared in Storybrooke all season, even though her grandma has. Has the actress left the show? Will she be back for the second half of the season. I’m just curious because she has been such an intergral part of Storybrooke since the beginning, yet she wasn’t out there with the gang trying to fight Peter Pan. It’s strange to see her grandma doing the fighting.

  36. K. says:

    Loved this episode, I hope I’m not the only one but I was hoping Tink and Neal would get together. I think their cute together and I don’t about Hook and Emma being together, maybe but I want her with someone other than Neal!

  37. A.B. says:

    What will be the price Regina has to pay? Will she be the only one to lose her memories or does she lose her power? Why else give Emma and Henry new memories if because there was no way of her getting her way back to him. If she did have magic one would assume she would just find another potion or semi-curse to get Henry. It’s actually a throw back to how she started the curse. She needed the heart of the one she truly loved and this time to destroy it she had to give up the one she truly loved. The only way I see Hook coming back is maybe he and Neal did look through Rumple’s closet and found the ruby slippers or something like that and Neal was hurt or in trouble with the rest of the former Storybrook folks and if Regina had no magic and Rumple is still presumed dead then it falls to Hook to bring Emma back and her magic.

    • abcde says:

      Regina already payed her price: Henry. As for ruby slippers, in episode 3X03, when Neal was looking for a way to Neverland, didn’t he say ruby slippers could create portals?

  38. Just Me says:

    Just one question – – – with Rumple being without a shadow, did he really die or does not having a shadow offer a question of doubt on his death? Pan’s shadow was burned in the church so I’m assuming he is long gone.

  39. kim says:

    Am confuse….should Henry be alive??? Would she had met Neal??? Or am I over thinking this???

    • Mari says:

      Neal was not in our world because of the curse. Emma would still have met Neal and he’d most likely still be Henry’s father – she just doesn’t know about his fairytale background.

    • John 1138 says:

      Memories were altered not the actual past. Regina and Emma actually talks about that with Emma saying the memories wouldn’t be real and Regina saying but their future would be.

  40. Cindy says:

    Love, Love this show……totally addicted…..can’t wait til March 9. Rumple better be back, Robert is an awesome actor, he is one of the main characters, the show would not be the same without him. Can’t wait to see what happens between Hook and Emma…..the remaining season 3 is going to be intense. Guess I will have to watch all of Season 1 and Season 2 again so I dont go through OUAT withdrawl…..lol

  41. So far to date, the fairy tale characters seen in Once Upon A Time have been based on the Disney versions (I think that Frankenstein is the only character shown so far that isn’t based on a Disney movie, but based on the literary counterpart. I may be wrong and there may be many others who just don’t come to mind).

    My question would be, will the iterations of the characters from OZ be based on the MGM musical, or will they be based on the Raimi movie, which came from Disney? I think using the Raimi movie would make the most sense.

    • Stormy says:

      I don’t think Sheriff Graham, Jefferson, Cora or Emma resemble any Disney interpretations. And Jack/Jackie certainly didn’t.

    • Jess says:

      Probably the Raimi movie because of Disney and the original book because that’s public domain. The MGM movie and Wicked are not public domain so if the show used parts from that, they’d get sued

  42. K. says:

    Just wondering if I’m the only that thinks Emmas old Volkswagen Beetle car is a nod to Herbie from the Disney movie The Love Bug!

  43. Matt says:

    Hey Matt, Love the site and your recaps! Can you PLEASE ask about plans for new gay character?? Aurora is great but this show needs more gay! In the male form that is.

  44. Ashley C says:

    Now that Regina has been sent back to the Enchanted Forest/Fairytale Land, any chance of seeing her run into Robin Hood?

  45. Addie says:

    Matt, I don’t even know if you’re still reading these comments (because of course you have nothing better to do, right?) but can I just say that I really appreciate your recaps. Everyone else who recaps this show (the people on EW, TWoP, etc) seem so obsessed with certain pairings and constantly bash other characters, so it’s refreshing to see your recaps that are just about what happened in the episode. I have no clue who your favorite/least favorite characters are or if you ship any pairing, and I like that!

  46. ian says:

    Anybody else getting This Website does not supply identity information warning in the address bar using Firefox when on this site.

  47. Gail says:

    So will the Black Fairy whose wand was used last night turn out to be the Wicked Witch of The West?

  48. Gail says:

    Anyone think perhaps Hook and Tinker Belle got cozy during the year jump?

    • Lynn says:

      Really? I mean would you want that for her? He loves Emma enough that he thinks True Loves kiss would work on her….I think Tink deserves better then a guy in love with another woman even if at the time he maybe thought he wouldn’t see Emma again a year later he was still in love with her.

  49. Gail says:

    Shouldn’t Greg be restored to life when Pan’s shadow was destroyed like the Blue Fairy was? If he was, he wouldn’t remember Storybrooke or have false memories like Emma. He wouldn’t remember what happened to his father.

  50. tracy says:

    Please tell me Carlyle is coming back. If I don’t get to see Rumple again, the show will have lost so much magic for me.

    Hook is great (really great) as is Emma. But Bobby’s acting really makes that show for me.