Once Upon a Time Returns With a 'Whodunnit Mystery' That's Quite Wicked, Even a Bit 'Creepy'

Once Upon a Time Season 3 SpoilersIt’s Valentine’s Day on the set of Once Upon a Time, but there isn’t a whole lotta love in the air — if only because of dire circumstance.

When TVLine visited one of the ABC drama’s Vancouver location shoots, a small clutch of characters was gathered at a familiar location (well, familiar to all but one of them) to solve a life-threatening riddle — namely, to find out what has happened to them and at whose (possibly green?) hand. “Maybe Belle will have more luck…,” one character muses. “There has to be something that can help us.”

The second half of Season 3, premiering Sunday at 8/7c, “is much more of, in a broad term, a whodunnit mystery. In a lot of ways,” says Eddy Kitsis, who created Once with Adam Horowitz. And the nature of said puzzle is unsettling, to say the least. “It’s kind of creepy, but a good creepy — a little like a horror film,” Ginnifer Goodwin posits. Jennifer Morrison concurs with her TV mom and longtime friend, adding: “It’s supernatural in a different, adult way.”

PHOTOS | Once Upon a Time Spring Preview: Addled Emma, MIA Neal and Other Burning Qs Answered

As ABC’s third-year drama entered its long winter break, the vanquishing of Peter Pan and his curse upon Storybrooke came with a price: Rumplestiltskin seemingly perished, while everyone else — save for Emma and Henry, now sapped of their Storybrooke memories and living in New York City — was transported back to the Enchanted Forest. The fracturing of families (Emma torn from the parents she never knew, Regina sacrificing a future with her son) would seem indefinite, so all parties must for the time being get on with their lives, as somewhat false as they may be.

HOME AGAINOnce Upon a Time Season3B Spoilers | Upon being returned to Fairytale Land, “Everyone has a different agenda,” says Lana Parrilla. The Charmings, for example, think it prudent to make camp somewhere, even if it means crashing at the Evil Queen’s castle. “Do we rebuild? How do we rebuild? What’s the state of Fairytale Land? Those are the questions,” says Josh Dallas. “It’s a very different place compared to 28 years ago, so there’s a lot to be done. But of course, some things are going to get in the way of that.”

But not everyone is content to play house. Captain Hook’s priority is a very pirate-like one, while Neal is resolved to not just confirm his father’s fate (for better or for worse) but also to reunite with Emma. Alas on that second front, he gets little back-up from his true love’s folks. “Because Mary Margaret and David never could be the parents they wanted to be for Emma, it was their chance at the end of the [midseason] finale to let her go and be happy,” Dallas explains. “So when they see that Neal is determined to find her, they try to say, ‘Look, this is where we live now and that‘s where she and Henry are. We have to let them go.'” LANA PARRILLALuckily, the erstwhile Baelfire finds at least one ally. “Most of us stick together,” Goodwin reports, “but Belle does go on an adventure with Neal.”

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Scoop on Neal’s Agenda

And then there’s Regina, who having sacrificed a future with Henry “is not the same Evil Queen that we once knew,” Parrilla acknowledges. “She made a very brave choice, for the betterment of her son, and for Emma, knowing that the consequences were probably not going to be positive. So when we see her again, she’s a different woman.” The discovery of a new foe, however, could raise the cackler’s hackles. “The second part of this season is pretty much about building up the Wicked Witch (Lost‘s Rebecca Mader) versus the Evil Queen,” Parrilla affirms. (And just what differentiates Evil from Wicked? “The Evil Queen’s main focus was revenge — she wanted to hurt others because of what they did to her — while the Wicked Witch is about envy, wanting things that she never had,” Parrilla explains.)

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Season 3 Spoilers — How Regina Meets Her Soul Mate

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES…? | Things are a bit less wicked in New York City, where for a year now Emma has “been very content. She has a real life for the first time ever,” Morrison reports. Embedded with a tweaked memory in which she never gave Henry up for adoption (yet still feels betrayed by baby daddy Neal), “She has memories of raising her child, feeling like she made the right choice and was there for him.” What’s more, Emma’s dating a great guy named Walsh (played by Covert Affairs‘ Christopher Gorham). And while the bail bondswoman will always guard her own heart — a lasting after-effect of her upbringing as an orphan, Morrison notes — “She’s definitely JENNIFER MORRISON, COLIN O'DONOGHUEinterested in the idea of Henry having a father.”

As such, one can’t blame the blonde beauty for casting a very wary eye on the guylinered, leather-clad gent who in the winter finale stormed into her life trying to convince her that she’s living an idyllic lie — and tried to smooch her, to boot. “It’s just weird enough that he shows up at my door dressed as Captain Hook. That alone would be enough to raise some concern,” Morrison notes with a laugh. (So, why didn’t NYC-savvy Neal, the other fella from Emma’s past, make this bold trek instead? “The answer to that is a little complicated…,” Colin O’Donoghue teases, “so the task fell upon Hook.”)

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Season 3 — Hook Versus Blackbeard?!

What will it take to for the semi-good captain to make Emma remember her past? In short, “A lot of persistence,” Morrison answers. Adds O’Donoghue: “Hook thought that true love’s kiss might work.” But since it didn’t, “He has to figure out another way to jog her memory. Because his whole purpose is to get her to come back to Storybrooke to help save her family.”

Wait — come back to Storybrooke? Didn’t the town blink out of existence when Regina stopped Pan’s curse?

THE YEAR OF LIVING MYSTERIOUSLY | This is where the “whodunnit” comes into play, because the Charmings, Regina and others have somehow been deposited back in the sleepy Maine burg, this time aware of their fantastical identities yet conspicuously wiped of their memory of the past year spent in FTL. As such, they can only wonder: Why? And to what end? “It’s almost like there hasn’t been time for us to be terrified about what happened, because we’re still ‘on the first page,’ gathering everyone,” says Goodwin. “There’s not enough puzzle pieces at this point to even begin to figure it out.” Adds the actress’ TV/real-life love Dallas: “There are a lot of questions.”

Once Upon a Time Wicked WitchMaybe the “new” gal in town, Zelena, can conjure up a clue? Or… maybe not. Because part and parcel with everyone’s bout of selective amnesia, the genial ginger’s true identity — as the Wicked Witch — is a well-kept secret. “All we know is that she’s something of a kindred spirit to Snow White, and she seems so genuinely kind, which I think is really the core of what makes her so wicked,” Goodwin remarks. “She’s just so damn likable! Rebecca called her ‘Mary Poppins.'”

RELATED | What Makes Once Upon a Time‘s Witch So Wicked? And Who’s Dorothy In this Story?

Again plucked from their enchanted home, and unwittingly held prisoner by an unknown entity who’s quite possibly milling among them? It sounds like Fairytale Land’s finest might need their Savior again, and soon, to help lead a campaign to unravel this twisted reality.

“Just as in the [Neverland] part of the season, we see characters that normally wouldn’t work together do just that, for the greater good,” Parrilla previews. “The characters are constantly surprising one another, and I think that’s pretty magical.”

Want even more scoop on Once Upon a Time, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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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136 Comments
  1. iMember says:

    Looking forward to its return this Sunday along with REVENGEEEEE!!

  2. Ashley says:

    Can’t wait, so excited!! This episode is going to be amazing.

  3. I’m not a fan of the idea of returning Storybrooke to the real world. I was keen on the idea of Storybrooke becoming its own place in Fairytale Land, like its own kingdom.

    • Alex Neeley says:

      Personally, I was looking forward to the idea of no more Storybrooke, period, and just having the characters interact with one another in their home realms. And of course, having Emma and Henry eventually coming to join the others in the Enchanted Forest. Having the Wicked Witch dump them all back in Storybrooke seems just like rehashing more of the exact same thing to me instead of going forward with something new and different. And why is the Wicked Witch re-using someone else’s curse anyway? What does she want so badly that only Regina/Rumple’s curse can provide? Can’t she get what she wants in the Enchanted Forest or Oz or one of the realms with magic? What does she even have against the Enchanted Forest’s inhabitants? Shouldn’t she be chasing after Dorothy Gale or something? All I can say is that 1) Kitsis and Horowitz better know what they’re doing with this seeming rehash of plot devices and 2) Season 3 should end with everyone (including Emma and Henry this time) back in the Enchanted Forest for good, or else I’ll probably lose interest in this show.

  4. spindae2 says:

    I almost died waiting for season 3 to continue. This is from my pov the most anticipated midseason premier ever. I just hope they dig a bit into Emma’s magic they forgot a little about it.

  5. Kari says:

    Hook can still be Emma’s true love. TLK will not work if one can’t remember the other. Meanwhile we pretty much have it known that Neal is gonna die. So Once’s brace yourselves.

    • Stormy says:

      I so hope you are right about Neal.

      • Jackie says:

        It is correct, we pretty much have confirmation from multiple sources. So Neal fans sorry but you better brace yourselves.

        • Rebecca says:

          I don’t buy any ‘sources’ that claim that. I won’t believe anything till the death airs. CSers can keep claiming that Neal dies all they want, but I live by the motto ‘show don’t tell’. Not the ‘sources’ BSing their rumors around the fandom.

          • HeatherC says:

            You’re not alone in that thinking. I hate commenting to OUAT articles online anymore because I always get shot down and ridiculed but I prefer to watch the actual show and see what happens on it before I believe any ‘sources’ or rumors about anything.

          • Jackie says:

            Oh is it BS that MRJ hasn’t been seen on set since episode 16 which as we know is the episode with the funeral? Also MRJ has left Vancouver last Friday after shooting re-shoots for OUAT and then has not returned since then.

            Vancity yesterday said that Colin was away from set because he was on his way to NYC to prepare to market the show on two shows tomorrow. Meanwhile when they asked about MRJ they said nospoilers but prepare yourself.

            If you want to still be in denial, that’s your fault. Neal’s dead and you need to get ready.

          • Lorena says:

            Well then Rebecca I feel sorry for you. When Neal does die, don’t say nobody tried to warn you.

          • Spotteddog says:

            I’m with you, Rebecca. Too many people on these sites quoting “sources” so as to appear to be “in the know”. As you say, I will believe Neal dies when Neal dies – or doesn’t. However….if someone is going to die I would ***guess*** Neal would be a pretty big possibility.

          • Ashley says:

            It’s not just people saying they have “sources.” There is a wealth of evidence that makes it pretty obvious.

          • Joey says:

            @Jackie, actually yes, everything you’ve said has already been proven to be BS, so I find you sticking by your biased opinion to be so hilarious.

          • Lily says:

            It is true… Colin, Jennifer, Lana, and Josh are currently in New York, to promote OUaT’s return. They are going to be on tomorrow’s episode of The View, and Good Morning America.

          • Joey says:

            @Lily: If it’s true that whoever isn’t on GMA tomorrow is getting killed off, then it looks like Henry, Neal, Snow, Belle and Rumple are all getting the ax. Don’t read too much into things.

          • Gina Slagle says:

            Oh my lord!!! I think Neal himself was right when he said it’s ridiculous to turn a speculation
            into a hard fact. All CS’rs do this yet other ships don’t wish for Hook to die.
            You can tell who a CS’er is. They are people who treat human’s like disposable trash.

          • Lily says:

            @Joey: Excuse me? Do not put words into my mouth. All I stated, is that it is true that Colin (along with Jen, Lana, and Josh) is in New York.

          • Joey says:

            @Lily: You popped into an argument about people claiming Neal is dying by saying which actors were appearing in New York to promote OUaT’s return. If that doesn’t say, “MRJ isn’t there so obviously Neal is dying”, then I don’t know what does.

          • LC says:

            @Gina Slagle Just as some non-CSers don’t want Hook to die, there are definitely CSers who like Neal and don’t want him to die. You’re the one who’s being rude by making generalizations about a group of people based on the behavior of a few.

        • Spotteddog says:

          Gee Jackie – what makes you trust these sources ?

          • Jackie says:

            They’ve proven their reliability in the past.

          • Mary says:

            Vancity reliable? Hahahahhahahahaha

          • Jackie says:

            Not Vancity, who said it was Vancity.

          • Joey says:

            @Jackie: “Not Vancity, who said it was Vancity.”
            *looks up at your above post*
            “Vancity yesterday said that Colin was away from set because he was on his way to NYC to prepare to market the show on two shows tomorrow. Meanwhile when they asked about MRJ they said nospoilers but prepare yourself. “

          • Lily says:

            @Joey: Colin, Jennifer, Lana, and Josh are all in New York to promote the shows return. They will be appearing on The View, and Good Morning America tomorrow. Perhaps, you should check your ABC listings. Last I checked, ABC was a reliable source…. not to mention, I live in New York.

  6. I can’t wait!!! I’m so excited for more Hook/Emma and hopefully for Ruby’s return and some Belle kicking ass :)

  7. Rebecca says:

    Thank you Matt. I appreciated this article not completely focusing on CS & Hook. I get tired of seeing that every damn day after 3 months.

    • Lauren says:

      …Did you see the sneak peek,lol?

    • Mel says:

      I agree. I’m so over Once Upon a Hook.

      • Mary says:

        Yeah. He was as much better character in the second season. They ruined him in the first half of season 3, making him pathetic and pushing a stupid love triangle.

      • Jackie says:

        Then stop watching. ;)

        • Rebecca says:

          Or how about YOU stop acting like an arrogant person just because we don’t like that the writers are butchering OUAT or Hook for your fan pandered, ridiculous ship? I’m tired of you CSers acting like self entitled brats.

          • Jackie says:

            Butchering in your opinion. Your insulting the writers by saying that BTW.

            You sound pressed though. What’s wrong, not happy that Hook a main character is being used on the show more than yours?

            Stop watching the show if it doesn’t make you happy.

          • Spotteddog says:

            Again Rebecca, I am with you. But for the life of me I can’t understand how people get so %$# excited over characters on a TV show.

          • Ashley says:

            “fan pandered, ridiculous ship” Let me guess, you ship an opposing ship? CS is not fan pandered just because you say it is. It’s been developing since 2×06.
            EMMA is the main character, so of course her love life is getting promotion. It’s similar to Season 1 when promotion was all about Snowing. Just because it happens to not be your preferred ship, don’t act like CS is some kind of fan service. There were popular ships that didn’t happen in the past, like Jefferson/Emma or Graham/Emma. They don’t go with popularity. Adam and Eddy have proven time and again they do what they want, not what fans dictate. Hook has not been butchered, the problem is you misinterpreted the character. Way back in Season 2 Adam and Eddy stated that Hook is “misunderstood” and could be a “hero in a villain’s body.” Hook’s character direction was pretty clear from the beginning when he showed up, that he would not remain a villain and would give up on revenge. But some people chose to ignore that and now are acting surprised when it turned out how it was obviously going to turn out from the start.

          • Amanda says:

            Ashley and Jackie…please stop…lol
            You’re both are taking this WAY too seriously, it’s a show, what if CS don’t really happen? I’m scared for you both, it’s ok to like it, but you both like it so much, I think people are going to disagree with you just to get an reaction.

        • Cass says:

          Thanks, I have. Along with 3 million other viewers.

          • Rebecca says:

            3 million so far…. Judging from the non-CS obsessed fandom. Everyone else seems close to jumping ship on OUAT as well. Ratings won’t be good for S3B either I predict.

          • Jackie says:

            Good then go away? What’s the point of commenting on an article for a show you don’t watch. Go do something worth your time.

            Please give me a break Rebecca you have no idea what the ratings are gonna be like. In fact FYI it’s still the number one scripted show on it’s air date and it’s ratings are great when including DVR and +3 days. You probably don’t even know what I’m talking about though.

          • crysania4 says:

            And you can barely go by ratings these days because many people watch on the internet or download it from itunes and watch it later, and others will DVR and watch it later. So basically, ratings don’t say much these days.

          • Joey says:

            @Jackie: “Good then go away”? So that OUaT can go the same route as Glee after having become Blee? When a show (or its showrunners) pander to the fan’s of one particular character or pairing over /everything/ else, it ruins a show. It did it for Glee, and it’s doing it now for OUaT.

          • Cass says:

            @Jackie “FYI it’s the number one scripted show”…I’m sure you mean network show (where its only competition is two cartoons, The Good Wife, Revenge, and The Mentalist, all of which are also struggling). In contrast to OUAT’s 1.9 rating for the 3A finale, the Walking Dead midseason premiere had 8.2 in the demo. Downton Abbey’s finale had 8.5 million viewers (can’t find the demo); its season premiere had 10.2 million. Even Game of Thrones, on a pay network, got 5.4 million for its last season finale. Season 3A’s DVR+7 numbers barely matched last season’s day-of ratings. And I’m very sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    • Cass says:

      That was was relief. And yet…

  8. Mel says:

    Why are Charming & Snow so quick to let Emma go? Weird.

    • Mary says:

      They know how hard it’s been on her and not really having time for herself. She talked about it while they were waiting for Rumple to bring down the spell over the Mills’ family crypt. So they think that it’s best that she be allowed her chance at happiness with Henry.

    • Cass says:

      Well, it’s certainly not because they’re being written out of character to facilitate Hook/Emma. That would be ridiculous!

      • Helga says:

        You sound bitter,lol. Someone doesn’t like that Hook/Emma has overtaken their favorite ship. Oh well.

        • Rebecca says:

          Oh look…. Another CS bully. Your parents must be so proud of how much of a jerk you’ve become. Here’s an idea/shocker…. Maybe there are people out there that just hate CS b/c it’s horribly written and rushed? Not b/c it gets in the way of ST or whatever? But let’s be real here, if Neal wasn’t such a REAL threat to your precious CS. You all wouldn’t be insisting that it’s Neal who dies.

        • Cass says:

          Actually my favorite ship is Rumbelle, but don’t let facts get in the way of your snark. :) So you think it’s totally in character for Snow and David “I will always find you/Hope is a very powerful thing” Charming to say “Eh, you win some, you lose some” when it comes to their daughter and grandson…?

          • Mel says:

            That’s my issue!! It’s crazy for Snowing to say that, and totally OOC. I’m so confused. And trying to convince Neal of the same thing? Kinda Deja-vu, yet totally unrealistic this time around.

          • abz says:

            @Me: If Snowing were saying this in the first season I would agree that it was OOC, but this far into the show, I don’t see it OOC at all. They’ve been torn a part so much over the past two seasons and have been fighting non-stop against so many obstacles, that the fact that Snowing want Emma to finally happy and they are tired of trying to be together with so many things getting in their way is not unrealistic at all.

          • abz says:

            @Mel***

          • Lily says:

            @Mel: It is not out of character for Snow and Charming, to say that. Emma is an adult, and has her own child to think about. They could never be her parents, only her friends. They just want their daughter to be happy, and finally live a normal live.

      • Mel says:

        Should I be grateful that it’s across the board on this show? Everybody sacrificed in the name of CS! Good grief.

    • Meg says:

      Because the choices were to have them be cursed again, but this time without any sort of savior to break it and they would all be lost from each other forever or they could let their daughter live a better, happy life with her child. They chose what was best for their daughter.

  9. Crysania says:

    I am so ridiculously excited about the Belle/Neal adventure. And for someone finally acknowledging that Belle is pretty smart and may be the one to help figure things out.

    • Lily says:

      The strange thing about Belle, is she is smart, but does incredibly stupid things. She said it herself, most of her plans backfire on her.

      • Cass says:

        Which of her “plans” backfire? Other than that time when she made Rumple spare the life of a guy who immediately shot her in the back.

  10. Louise says:

    Very excited for Regina’s journey in the second half of the season, Emma’s return to Storybrooke and the introduction of Zelena/Wicked Witch. I’m glad it sounds like Belle is going to get a story too.

  11. Schmacky says:

    This is a wonderful article! It mentions all of the major characters, doesn’t rely on the author’s opinions but truly questions what will happen in the show. This is the first piece of media that has me excited for the return of OUAT. Thank you!

  12. Caitie says:

    “Alas on that second front, he gets little back-up from his true love’s folks.”

    Nothing and no one has confirmed who Emma’s True Love is yet. It could be Neal, it could be Hook, or it could be someone we haven’t met yet. But since nothing has been explicitly confirmed, you shouldn’t refer to Neal as being Emma’s True Love, or vice versa, because no one knows for sure. Except for the writers/creators, probably.

    • Lauren says:

      Wouldn’t worry much Neal’s gonna die and Matt doesn’t say he’s Emma’s true love. He says Emma is his true love, which isn’t confirmed but I’m sure we can guess.

      She’s Hook’s true love as well hence why Hook tried true loves kiss. True love won’t work though on someone with no memory this was confirmed by the writers.

    • Jackie says:

      He’s talking about Emma being Neal’s true love, not Neal being Emma’s.

    • Mary says:

      Emma’s true love better not be Hook. She can do so much better than a guy who has hit her and Belle, as well as shooting Belle just to hurt Rumple, and makes no apologies for it. Oh wait. of course. He only has to say he’s going to change and that’s good enough as long as he is interested in Emma. Who cares if they’ve already ruined Hook and are going to ruin Emma as a character just so long as the CS shippers (after all they don’t care what he’s done in the past because all that matters is Colin is hot, has an accent, and wears leather) are happy. Forget the rest of the people who don’t want to see it.

      • Helga says:

        The fact that you think the only reason CS shippers like Hook/Emma is because Colin’s hot and wears leather is proof that you have a very narrow mind and are not worth anybodies time because you clearly see things the way YOU want to see them.

        For me I ship Hook and Emma for many reasons. They understand one another, they’re kindred spirits, he thought of her every day, he transcended realms to find her, he does what’s right for her regardless of what it’s gonna do to him like how he backed off for Henry’s sake or told Emma that Neal was alive.

        Hook being hot has absolutely nothing to do with it though they have amazing chemistry that just comes with the storyline.

        Stop being shallow and naive Mary.

        • Rebecca says:

          So….. Say OUAT HAD cast an older, not very attractive actor as Hook. (Like Dustin Hoffman or Jason Issacs played) and he had the long curly hair & mustache like the book Hook was…. And say the writing had been exactly the same. Are you telling me that you’d be hardcore shipping CS like you are now? Because I highly doubt that. Sure you can say that, but in your head when you type your reply to this. You’re probably thinking “Ew, gross no.” But you’ll probably say yes to try and shut me up. But guess what…. Hook is my favorite literary villain of all time. I grew up on the books and movies. And OUAT has completely butchered his character in favor of an unrealistic & rushed ship.

          • Er says:

            “So….. Say OUAT HAD cast an older, not very attractive actor as Hook.”

            What, like Robert Carlyle for example? Yeah, a ship containing an older, not particularly conventionally attractive actor would never be popular in OUAT fandom. Oh, wait…

          • Lily says:

            I am with @Er, on this one…. Robert Carlyle is not attractive, yet most fans love Rumbelle.

            @Rebecca: Jason Issacs was able to pull off the curly wig and mustache, in 2003’s Peter Pan, just fine. I for one, thought he looked gorgeous. OUaT’s Hook was always going to be younger, than in the book. He was also always intended to be an anti-hero…. it is called a twist to the tale, for a reason!

        • Mary says:

          Actually a lot do, so it’s not my narrow mind dear.

          Hook backed off for Henry’s sake? Sure he did that’s why he waited until Henry was safe before he started pursuing Emma, oh wait, no he didn’t. Hook is selfish.

          I’m not being shallow or naive.

        • Mary says:

          Guess you haven’t seen the comments from CS fans where they talk about how he’s so hot and how they’re so hot together.

      • Lily says:

        @Mary…. then David should dump Mary Margaret. If memory serves correctly…. Snow White hit Prince Charming in the head with a rock, and shock him with an arrow.

        • Cass says:

          Goodness, you’re right! That is so exactly the same as leaving him for dead.

        • Mary says:

          She hit him because she was trying to get away, not knowing who might turn her over to the queen who wants her dead. Not the same as Hook slamming Emma into a wall head first so he could stab Rumplestiltskin or leaving her for dead.

          Snow wasn’t trying to shoot Charming with an arrow. He jumped into the arrow’s path to stop her from killing Regina.

          • Cass says:

            You and your pesky context. Why do you have to be such a killjoy? (Note: I am just channeling typical Hook-propagandist response. Personally, I don’t think talking about things that happened on the show rather than in the rainbow-stickers world of fanfic is being a killjoy, but I’ve been told otherwise.)

  13. Ana says:

    Dear Matt – thank you so much for all the Once scoop. You’re VERY appreciated :) Though I gotta say, tweeting us just now that the sneak peak was cut off just before the best part? Man – that’s just cruel!! But we’re willing to wait it out – what’s 3 days when we’ve made it 3 months :)
    So excited for the return of Once and all its dearly beloved characters.
    Seeing Hook and Emma back on my screen made me realize how much I had missed them – those two have won my heart. Hook has become my all time favorite male character, and not just on ouat. His willingness to renounce part of his old ways is already pretty intruiging but the fact that his love knows no bounds is nothing short of astounding. There’s nothing he would not do for Emma and those he loves…and Emma sure deserves to be loved like that.
    Here’s to the dashing rapscallion who has won countless hearts and will hopefully win Emma’s too!

  14. tracy says:

    Finally an article that isn’t only about Hook and Captain Swan. I’m so excited for Evil vs. Wicked and Regina’s story in second half of the season. I love that Belle will finally get her own story too.

  15. Babybop says:

    Can’t wait!

  16. J. says:

    I can’t wait to see Belle and Neal go on their adventure together! Love them and was hoping they’d stick together.

  17. Linda says:

    So let me get this straight…we’ll be seeing 3 different dimensions – Emma in NY, everyone else in FTL…and then, a future scenario with the FTL people back in Storybrooke. Umm, me thinks the creators of Lost have returned. Definitely going to keep us on our toes!

    • Kay says:

      Yeah that seemed like a lot to me too. Will all of these stories be shown side-by-side? If they throw flashbacks in too we’re going to be in for quite a ride. I have a lot of faith in the writers, I’m just not sure I have much faith in my abilities to keep up! I’m guessing that Emma in NY will be short-lived, however- I doubt that will last more than an episode or two.

  18. Amanda says:

    I want to watch this show, I really do because it has soooooooo much promise. But if the show changes it focus from good vs evil to everyone is everyone’s true love, then I will pass next season. Season 1 and 2 were AWESOME! So much promise, I was fine with the Charmings true love, but now everyone getting loved and it’s annoying! Focus on the meat and potatoes of the series, the action. Season 3 ratings aren’t coming close to it’s prior seasons all because of this true love mess, STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!

  19. JC says:

    This actually sounds pretty good. I was so over Neverland and Pan by the time that arc was over, but this sounds like we might actually get back to the season one feel of the show. And ha! Chris Gorham’s character IS involved with Emma – I kind of suspected that might be the case. Everyone kept saying foster brother – don’t know where that rumor started.

  20. Cass says:

    Amaing, an OUAT article that finally mentions something other than Hook (thanks for that, Matt). And CSers still have to spam the comments with their “proof” that Neal dies.

    • Kylie says:

      Spamming would be spreading lies. That’s not what’s happening. Anyways believe what you want. Soon enough you will see, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        One (1) user name per IP address, thank you!

      • Cass says:

        No, “spamming” means the usual piling on with unrelated boilerplate testimonials as your fanbase so often does. The gloating and bullying is just gravy with you guys.

      • Louise says:

        It’s still unnecessary and also a tad unfair to those who don’t want to be spoiled beyond the season premiere.

  21. Mike R says:

    Little bummed about returning to storybrooke so soon, but other than FTL scenes seem interesting, but let bring Regina and co to New York to be with Emma as soon as possible. Looking forward to this half of the season, I hope they deliver.

  22. misscam says:

    Thanks for the write-up! Sounds really interesting. Very curious how this will all play out, and what the WW’s agenda is all about. I hope we get the Charming family reunited early in the season, and I’m looking forward to how they will deal with Snow’s pregnancy.

  23. Good article it cover lots of good plot points, I am very interesting in seeing Neal and Belle together :)
    And so excited for Regina VS Wicked witch!!

  24. Oh and last Regina and Snow scenes this is what I ma most looking forward in the premiere :D

  25. palo_89 says:

    I’m really happy and excited about it!! I love Captain Swan, they deserve a happy ending together, <3

  26. beeti says:

    Can’t wait! I love Emma and Hook and I’m really excited about their scenes <3

  27. Siema says:

    Thank you! Finally a good and professional article and not another Once Upon a Time (there was a parody of) Hook.

  28. Minoinia says:

    Honestly, I wish the writers would have had the guts to take them out of Storybrooke permanently. I would much rather see them struggling to re-acclimate to FTL after living for 28 years in modern society in Maine. Emma’s & Henry’s reactions to living in primitive quarters would have been fascinating as well.

  29. Marie says:

    I like how all these bitter people come to post on this article and then have the nerve to call CS fans bullies because they don’t ship Neal and Emma.

    I say if you don’t like the show then turn it off. Stop trying to bring down the excitement of the show just because you’re in denial of what’s happening.

    These are most likely the same people throwing their daily tantrums on twitter to Adam.

    • Cass says:

      CS fans aren’t bullies because they ship CS. You’re bullies because you throw around words like “bitter,” “go away,” “shallow,” and “naive” and because you’re determined to silence people’s (brrr) disagreement by taunting and gloating. It’s not what you ship; it’s your toxic way of shipping.

      • Marie says:

        No one cares if you disagree. It’s the way in which you do it. All y’all do is whine and complain about the show. You complain about Hook getting too much screentime then in the next breath you complain about him being a poorly written character. You get overly upset when someone mentions Neal in a negative way or that he might die. It’s all out of your hands and is up to Adam and Eddy on how they choose to write the show.

        • Cass says:

          Again, it’s comments like “whine” and “complain” that make people call you bullies.

          • Marie says:

            Well I’m sorry but that’s what your guilty of. Complain complain complain is all I’ve seen lately and it mostly revolves around how much promotion Colin receives. He’s being promoted because he’s Emmas love interest. It’s not hard to grasp. I can totally see being annoyed with a tv show but when you accuse pairings on the show of fan pandering you are insulting not only the fans that ship CS but also the writers. Think about that the next time you get upset with the fans you’ve just insulted.

          • Cass says:

            Well, if you ever wonder how your fanbase got its current charming reputation, you need only read over your own posts. Good form.

      • murley says:

        From the perspective of a fan of this show who reads the articles and has favorite characters (like everyone else) and who reads the comments but doesn’t get involved in any debates about shipping etc, neither side should really be accusing the other of poor etiquette. Both sides are equally guilty. Obviously there are fans of Hook and Emma or of Hook as a character who doesn’t act like spoilt children on the internet. The same goes for fans of Neil and Emma or people who don’t like the character of Hook. But those people are irrelevant in this (I fall into one of those categories). In terms of the people on either side of this who actually engage in these online debates: all of you conduct yourselves poorly. You all make assumptions, throw out insults, exaggerate to prove your point and in general make the comment sections unpleasant for the rest of us to read, as we scroll through looking for comments we can actually relate to. Stop slinging mud at each other for how “everyone in that fandom” behaves because you are just being hypocritical. Have your opinions, express them, but make it about what YOU think not about what everyone who disagrees with you thinks because a. You don’t actually know and b. it is obnoxious. No matter who is doing it. If you feel the other side should be more respectful, lead by example. Just my two cents.

    • Kay says:

      Oh please. The door swings both ways. This whole thing started because some shippers got their knickers in a twist over the “true love” quote in the article and had to bring Neal and the rumors about him dying into play. It’s always the same in these comment sections. Shippers verbally taking swings at each other like there’s nothing more to this show than who gets with whom.

      • Marie says:

        Yes, because it’s been pretty much confirmed that he’s the death. The real question is why does a fictional characters possible death upset people so much. It’s a television show. Whether it ends up being Neal or Hook I would like to believe that people could get on with their lives and not sit around moping all day. Just sayin.

        • Lily says:

          Some people live vicariously, through fictional characters…. sad, but true. I am all for people saying, they want to see Emma finally happy. However, that does not seem to be the case. All some people seem to do is complain. The writers have never pandered to the fans. It is their show, and they are entitled to write it as they see fit. Colin O’Donoghue was promoted to series regular before “The Crocodile” even aired. It was for storytelling purposes, as none of the fans had even seen him yet. Hook gets “more” screen time and promotion, because he is one of the six core characters…. Neal is not, same goes for Belle.

          • Cee says:

            Really? When did Kitsowitz announce that Hook was a core character? Even though he’s the only regular who isn’t part of the Charmillstilskin family and joined later than all the others? How nice of them to share this news with you!

          • Lily says:

            At ComicCon, they mentioned, that the story would be focused on the characters who were on the Jolly Roger. Last I checked, those were Emma, Regina, Snow White, Prince Charming, Rumplestiltskin, and Hook. Unlike most of the stories adapted, on the show, “Peter Pan” is not public domain. OUaT did not obtain the rights, until Season 2…. that is why Hook debuted later, than the rest.
            Belle is the only regular, the characters (save for Rumplestiltskin) do not care about. She has nothing to do with anyone, and her story lines are only tied to her rocky romance. Neal, unfortunately, has had no character development, other than how he affects other people…. the focus was always, on the other person.

  30. Sarah says:

    Woot! Exited about Neal and Belle! Thank you for getting Belle and Neal scoop even though the actors weren’t on set that day!

  31. Jess says:

    A character besides Rumple will acknowledge Belle’s existence and the fact that she’s smart? Yay!

    Super duper happy about Belle and Neal going off on an adventure!

    • Lily says:

      In defense of most of the characters, they do not know Belle very well. She is just Mr. Gold’s girlfriend, to them.

  32. Kay says:

    It’s interesting that the Wicked Witch acts like a friend towards Snow in Storybrooke. Good strategy. I wonder how long it will take until the others become suspicious of her. I can’t wait for the wicked vs. “evil” fight and I hope Rumplestiltskin can join in on that too. And I hope Henry and Regina will find a way to be together again. Their seperation at the end of the midseason finale was heartbreaking. Of course the same is true for Emma and her parents.

  33. liz says:

    Charming and Snow aren’t even gonna try to find a way to get Emma back? WTF. I guess “I will always find you” only applies to Snow and Charming when they are talking to each other. How Lovely :-/

    They better not try to find Emma only when they need her to save their butts ’cause that will just make them look even more self-absorbed (not that that’s difficult at this point). Must say, they kinda suck as parents. Maybe Emma is better off without them…

    • Schmacky says:

      Perhaps even if they know they’re in danger, they don’t want to find Emma out in the ‘real world’ because her happiness is more important than their own.

  34. John NYC says:

    Always look forward to and enjoy Belle. Though “Lacy” made me cringe…

    If he’s playing a version of “Augie” he’d be good for Emma.

  35. Jennifer says:

    Good, balanced article. Thanks, Matt. Love hearing from Lana and looking forward to seeing Regina/Snow scenes and can’t wait for Regina and Henry to reconnect.

  36. Jenn says:

    I am SO ready for Sunday! This has been the longest few months! I’ve already told everyone not to bother me Sunday night until after 9! Once is definitely my favorite show and am so looking forward to seeing where this goes, though the Wicked Witch has given me nightmares since I was a kid.. not sure how I’m going to deal with that!

  37. Name That Tune says:

    It feels like a year since OUAT has been gone.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    We are just 72 hours and 18 minutes away from “Wicked Is Coming”.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Can’t wait.

  38. Allie says:

    I cant wait for it!!! It is going to be amazing! I love that we got a little bit of everything from this article. Very well rounded. Can’t wait for the whole cast to interact again!!! Plus CaptainSwan, I’m in heaven! <3

  39. Lisa says:

    Looking forward to the Belle stuff. I hope this time she get a storyline for real and her adventure won’t be off-screen.

  40. @oncerinlove says:

    Really ppl? So many comments arguing about if Neal dies or not, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be concern bc frankly I want to know who goes away but we aren’t getting that till 3×16 so why enter in all this discussion. I’m a hardcore big CS fan, I believe they’re endgame, meant to be, kindred spirits, fact. But, can you notice that you want a little boy’s dad to die? Isn’t Henry the whole reason why Emma went to Storybrooke? Isn’t Henry this little boy we all have come to love and that we spend 11 eps trying to save? So when he finally gets his other mom and dad and has this big messed up not so always happy but yeah sometimes family, you want to take one of them away? Geez, chill ok? Can we just agree that who we want dead is idk, King George? Jk, anyway also take into consideration that Neal is the whole reason all of this happened because the curse wouldn’t have existed if Regina hadn’t cast it and she wouldn’t have have it if Rumple hadn’t gave it to her at some point and he wouldn’t had wanted to procure it and make everything in his power to see it happened (bc, you know, he couldn’t cast it himself) if Neal hadn’t go to the Land Without Magic in the bean portal. So, let’s just be excited because this huge big never ending hiatus is finally coming to an end and we’re getting our weekly dose of our fav show, Once Upon A Time. Finally, but not least, I just want to thank all the cast and crew and writers and producers and everyone that makes Ouat happen for this amazing show, for real, it means a lot. And to the media for all this spoilers, for driving us crazy and crying and tearing and sobbing and just killing us one pic and piece of new info at a time.

    • Lily says:

      Actually, Henry is the reason the curse happened. It was Peter Pan, not Rumplestiltskin, who was pulling the stings the whole time. Peter Pan needed the Heart of the Truest Believer, and manipulated his son and grandson, to obtain it.

      • Nat says:

        That makes no sense. Peter Pan had nothing to do with Rumple turning into the Dark One, which affected the relationship between father and son, led Bae to procure a magic bean from the Blue Fairy and culminated in them being seperated when Rumple couldn’t bring himself to go through the vortex with Bae. And this seperation is the very reason why Rumple came up with the curse.

        • Lily says:

          Rewatch “Nasty Habits”…. Peter Pan exploited Baelfire’s feelings, about Rumplestiltskin being the Dark One. If I understand correctly, Bae procured the magic bean, not too long after.

  41. Steve says:

    Im my opinion, Neal AND Hook are both possibilities to be be killed off. For those who want Neal to be killed off, why? You do realize that he is Rumple’s son AND Henry’s father. My guess is Hook dies trying to save Emma from the wicked witch leaving Neal alive to rebuild a relationship with his son whom he hasn’t seen for over a year in the season finale or earlier. But that’s my opinion.

  42. Kelly says:

    I love Neal. I hope they explore him with Rumple and Belle, with his son Henry, Henry’s other parent Regina and his friends Robin Hood and Mulan