As ABC’s Once Upon a Time resumed Season 3, Emma’s idyllic New York City life was intruded upon by a pirate; Regina and the Charmings (and a new friend who “smells like forest”) made a shocking discovery; and a green witch began casting her wicked spell.
IN NEW YORK CITY…. | One year into her aprés-Storybrooke life, Emma’s romantic date with Walsh, her beau of eight months, takes two interesting turns — first, when Hook appears across the table from her to again try to convince her that she’s living a lie, and that her family is in danger and needs her. To that end, he slips her an address to check out, if she wants to know the truth about herself and her parents. The second twist happens when Walsh surprises Emma with a very “rich” dessert — an ice cream sundae accompanied by an engagement ring. Explaining that she doesn’t do “fast,” Emma asks for time to make her decision, and Walsh, to his credit, doesn’t go bananas.
Checking out the address, Emma is led to baby daddy Neal’s dusty digs, where she spies his dreamcatcher, a bloodied rag (nice continuity!) and a camera with a monogrammed “HENRY” strap (hmm, not ringing a bell). But how could that be, if Neal never knew of Henry, if they’d never been there before? A spooked Emma meets up with Hook at Central Park, where he sounds even more like a “mad man,” alluding to her fantastical origins. He then proffers a potion that will restore her MIA memories (“Drink the thing the crazy guy just offered me? No thank you”), but she defers and instead sics the cops on the man who assaulted her. (“‘Twas a kiss!”)
But later, when Emma comes across photos from her Storybrooke past, she springs Hook from the “barbaric” NYPD “brig” (and its offerings of “bologna”!) and kicks back the potion. And one whiz-bang Seasons 1-3A montage later, she remembers it all. As Hook catches her up some back at her place, Walsh comes knocking, so Emma brings her beau to the roof to give him the hook. “I wish you hadn’t drank that potion,” he grumbles, before going ape. Or, more accurately, flying monkey. (“Really?”) Emma fends off the vicious winged primate with a steel pipe, sending him tumbling to the pavement far below, where he disappears with a poof of smoke.
The next morning Emma (“suiting up” in her red jacket), Henry (still sapped of his Storybrooke memories) and her oddly garbed friend “Killian” (“Lend him a hand”) make tracks for Maine, so that bail bondswoman Emma can work on a new “case.”
IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND OF ONE YEAR AGO… | Aurora and
Mulan’s Phillip’s romantic picnic is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Snow White, Prince Charming, Regina, the Dwarfs, Ruby (!) et al, returned home by the anti-curse. Aurora bring the gang somewhat up to speed on today’s Enchanted Forest, yet withhold a seemingly ominous detail. In private, Aurora insists to her prince that they must tell “her” that everyone is back, lest “she” take it out on their unborn baby.
When Snow suggests that the people of Fairytale Land could benefit from seeing onetime enemies form a united front, Regina agrees to let everyone crash at her castle. Hook, though, has his own agenda — to find his home, the Jolly Roger (or steal another’s ship, as a pirate will do), which disappoints the Charmings. But as he argues, the hero thing “didn’t take,” and he’s “always been a pirate.” Neal meanwhile has it in his head that at his father’s place there might be means to bring back Rumple and/or get Neal back to Emma. Snow states that there’s no more portal-hopping, while Charming points out that Emma is now happy, but Belle has some ideas, noting that they never saw Rumple’s dagger after he vanished.
En route to the castle, Snow catches Regina burying her heart. Regina explains that with Henry gone, this is the only way she can feel anywhere close to nothing about her loss. Snow coaxes her frenemy to plop her pumper back in, saying that she owes it to Henry to leave herself open to the thing he always wanted for her: happiness. Moments later, Snow and Regina are attacked by a flying monkey, but saved by Robin Hood. The thief and his merry men don’t make much of a first impression on her majesty, but Snow (“He’s kind of cute, huh?”) seems determined to play wingman for Regina.
Arriving at the castle, Regina discovers that her protection spell has been hacked and thus is impenetrable, though no one knows whose wicked handiwork this is. But Regina is resolved to find out who’s eating her porridge and possibly even (gasp!) sitting in her chair!
IN STORYBROOKE…. | Emma’s yellow bug pulls into town at night, with Henry asleep in the back. She remarks to Hook that Storybrooke looks as cursed as ever, then she sets out to find her folks. When Charming opens the door, there’s a moment where he can’t believe what he’s seeing, and Emma is worried everyone lost their memories again — but then father and daughter joyously reunite. Charming explains that the only thing no one can remember is the past year, that it’s as if they never left Storybrooke after bidding Emma and Henry adieu at the town line. So how do they know it’s been about a year? Because Snow is very pregnant, as revealed when Emma’s mom comes downstairs. But who would cast this strange new curse, and why…?
The hour closes with a return to Fairytale Land of One Year Ago, where the monkey that attacked Regina deposits a drop of the Evil Queen’s blood into a vial held by a green hand. We then meet our new big bad, who purrs to her henchmonkey, “The queen may be evil, but I’m wicked. And wicked always wins.”