Once Upon a Time Recap: Emma's Killer Is Revealed, Plus [Spoiler] 'Returns'

Once Upon a Time‘s midseason finale lifted the hood on the person that is fated to slay Emma, while the “return” of a familiar face wound up stranding two heroes in The Enchanted Forest (or a facsimile thereof) — until the show’s March 2017 return.

En route to Regina’s vault, hoping to divine intel about the sword that will be used to kill the Savior, Regina, Emma and Hook ran into the Evil Queen. When a scuffle ensued, Emma discovered that said sword can do damage to the Evil Queen — and at no cost to Regina! But when they next meet up with the sorcerer, she has gotten her mitts on Jasmine’s magic lamp, and summons the genie (aka Aladdin) to grant… Emma’s once-uttered wish, that she had never been the Savior. And Emma subsequently vanishes.

While David and Hook squabble over their next move, Regina confronts the Evil Queen, eventually deducing that she and her doppelgänger are”co-masters” of the genie. Regina thus wishes that she be sent to where Emma is, which is a “fake” version of The Enchanted Forest. There, Regina struggles to convince Emma, the Charmings et al of her non-evil identity, let alone Emma’s Savior destiny. Visiting her castle, she finds an imprisoned Rumplestiltskin, who suggests that she “queen it up” in order to force Emma’s hand, into remembering her Savior role. Alas, when a vamped-up Regina crashes Henry’s knighting ceremony (very much a la the series pilot’s royal wedding), Emma doesn’t swing into action but cower.

Even later, after Regina has abducted the Charmings, Emma shows up at the Evil Queen’s castle not to fight but meekly surrender the key to the kingdom — to which a disappointed Regina can only remark, “Seriously??” Nearly knighted Henry shows up, ready to slay the Evil Queen, but when he hurls his sword at her, Emma snaps out of it and “freezes” the action, sparing Regina as well as saving their son from making his first kill.

The next day, once-upon-a-time-robin-returnsRegina and Emma rendezvous with Rumplestilstkin, to get the magic bean that will transport them back to Storybrooke. Yet just as they summon the portal, arrows fwip! by — shot by Robin Hood! Smitten by the unexpected “resurrection” of her soul mate, Regina ignores the swirling portal as well as Emma’s urging to hurry along, until their trip home vanishes, leaving them stuck in the fake TEF.

Elsewhere in the midseason finale:

* Rumple led Belle to discover that in the midst of spiriting away their newborn son, the Blue Fairy got mugged by the Black Fairy, who proceeded to take Gideon to “a place of immense dark power,” where time works differently and such. Meaning…? Meaning, when the cloaked figure from Emma’s vision of the future arrives in Storybrooke via a portal, he ultimately arrives at the pawn shop to reveal himself as grown, glowering Gideon.

* Oh, before stopping at Dad’s store, Gideon turned the Evil Queen into a caged cobra.

* After Charming pretty much pissed away the lamp’s third wish, he declined the offer to use it to try to end the sleeping spell cast upon him and Snow. Instead, he returns the lamp to Jasmine, who wishes that Aladdin take the two of them away to save their woefully underwhelming storyline Agrabah.

What did you think of Once‘s midseason finale?

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. Val says:

    Disappointing winter finale.
    I expected more from seeing Emma in the au version and her parents, and so much more.

    Honestly been too much of Regina/EQ. and i do not really care for Robin Hood

  2. madhatter360 says:

    The Gideon plot line seems very similar to (12 year old spoilers) what happened on Angel.

  3. Matthew Lawler says:

    I love the fact that Regina made a comment upon seeing the fake snow and charming about how old they were I was seriously wondering whether or not they would actually age snow and David in the alternate reality where am I was never the Savior and I was glad they did Though I am questioning how Neil was still Henry’s father and dad yet Robin Hood is alive and well in this version also what bothered me was snow and David were aged in the fake enchanted Forest but none of the other characters were aged and wouldn’t of made sense that Ruby would’ve been there in this version

    • khakigothic says:

      You’re assuming they even tried to think things through to make them make sense. They don’t do that on this show.

      No one in the writer’s room has even remembered that Maleficient and her daughter are still in Storybrooke. This show just makes it up as they go and hope you won’t think anything through.

  4. Matthew Lawler says:

    The whole reveal of Gideon be in the hooded figure Destin to kill Emma I feel very confusing because at first when I saw the hooded figure showed up and turned the evil queen into a cage cobra hence getting what she deserved I thought it was a result of David’s wish but then That was the whole thing about Gideon being kidnapped by his grandmother the black fairy and take it to some dark disturbing place or time works funny I think it would’ve been better if it had simply been a result of David’s wish that he was ultimately responsible for conjuring the person that is destined to kill Emma throwing in this whole other subplot with Gideon of being kidnapped and turned evil by his grandmother who somehow is more dark and powerful than Rumpelstiltskin also well I enjoyed the twist of Robin Hood showing up in the alternate reality where Emma and Regina are we already know that ultimately they will end up back in Storeybrook because that is where Emma’s demise happens in her visions by the sword that she’s currently in possession of in that fake and chatted by the sword that she’s currently in possession of in that fake enchanted forest

    • Mary says:

      Well in a way her being turned into a snake was “getting what she deserved”. Just because it came from Gideon doesn’t mean it wasn’t the result of David’s wish.

    • I Thing it still was! She got what she deserved becaus ghe wished it! He wished that this would happen so i thing that becaus of that wish teh Black fairy could take Gideon to he rrealm and turne him dark to send him back to storybrook

    • A says:

      And because whatever happens to EQ happens to Regina and vice-versa, Regina also got what she deserved: a chance to be with Robin again. But magic always comes with a price, so she and Emma are stranded.

  5. Matthew Lawler says:

    And no your recap is incorrect Baell did give Gideon to the blue fairy the blue fairy was attacked by the black ferry and Gideon was taken from her

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      That part of the recap has been amended; in FF-ing commercials, I Blue right past the scene at the convent. Also, please employ more punctuation in your comments, as it would help your fellow sueprfans appreciate your insights.

  6. Matthew Lawler says:

    Case of Rumpelstiltskin is the child of the black fairy and peter pan a.k.a. the Pied Piper who both famously steel children so Rumpelstiltskin was carrying on the family business when he stole children but I’m confused on why the black fairy Who abandoned Rumpelstiltskin as a child turns around and steals her grandchild but then again Rumpelstiltskin was willing to kill his own grandson Henry when he thought Henry was going to be his undoing there’s not enough therapy in the world for this family

  7. laurelnev says:

    So “MomLand” is the exact OPPOSITE of “DadLand,” aka Neverland, and it instantly ages all who are brought there? Turning sweet, innocent babies into dark, hooded, magical villains?

    I’m thinking the rescue from the FEF (Fake Enchanted Forest) will be back to the OUAT we used to know and love; conversely, I think the RumBelleBabe storyline will be worse than Neverland and all of those other arcs a lot of fans will want to forget.

    And I agree with Matt that Jasmine and Aladdin are probablt glad to be out of their wasted trip to Storybrooke. I must admit, I half expected Jafar to be under the hood, especially when hr turned EQ into an asp. That might almost have been better.

    Yet they couldn’t find ANY room on the canvas for the Knave or the Red Queen, despite promising to wrap up their story in SB. (sigh). I’d rather have seen THAT than this aged baby story I’m so beginning to dread…

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Fun observation about Momland vs Dadland! And as much as I feel the 27 Wonderland viewers’ pain, I would have never put too much stock in that thread being picked up, especially after Knave quietly left show.

      • Anthony says:

        As one of those 27, thanks for the sympathy. ;-) I was hoping the lamp Aladdin found was Jafar’s (somehow transported to Storybrooke after OUATiW), now I hope we get even part of an episode in Agrabah/Wonderland just to wrap the darn storyline up.

        Then again, given how long we had to wait for any type of closer for Red’s storyline, I guess I’d better not hold my breath….

    • Matthew Lawler says:

      The show has wasted so many opportunities and drop so many storylines over the years I was really hoping when the Dragon reappeared a couple of episodes ago it might mean that the riders had remembered maleficent and Lilly and the dragon would’ve turned out to be Lillys dad just like I got slightly confused when they brought the black ferry have a couple of episodes ago because I always thought that maleficent was a dark fairy

      • laurelnev says:

        Mal and Lily…2 other characters I miss. But then again, the ONLY part of the Elsa arc I loved was the friendship between Elsa and Emma; gawd forbid Emma have any friends other than Regina, like Lily, or anything. Friends have almost as high a recidivism rate as boyfriends in Emma’s world. ;)

    • Butch says:

      MomLand vs DadLand. Not quite the opposite as I understand it. To be the exact opposite, when in Neverland, the people there would think only a day has gone by but elsewhere 25 years have gone by. In Neverland they realize 25 years have passed, they just have not aged . In MomLand time moves at a different speed. Gideon lived 25 years when only a day passed in the rest of the universe. For it to be the opposite of Neverland for him only one day passed but he is 25 years older.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Laurelnev’s quip was A-OK as is.

        • laurelnev says:

          Thank you Matt! :D

          (I DO wish they had NOT wasted Michael Socha though! And the Red Queen could have easily filled the void as well as Zelena or anyone else when Regina went all good.)

    • Mary says:

      Oh, good call on the asp – Jafar guess. That would have been cool, and I’m very disappointed that the Aladdin/Jasmine storyline was made to sound like it was going to be this great story and all we got was 1 episode of their backstory. If the show is going to promote characters as much as they did with these two at least give us more than one backstory episode. Jafar was only in one episode, and part of another. I was even surprised they killed Jeckyll and Hyde off so quickly.

  8. Butch says:

    That was fantastic. I love how they tied all the stories together. Will Regina try to take Robin back to Storybrooke? Henry in the Enchanted Forest will be trying to kill Regina for killing his Grandparents. Yes Snow and David were the only ones who aged but that world is not real and created by Emma’s wish so their age would be how Emma wanted it. I am sure she would prefer parents who are not the same age as she is. Same thing with Bae being Henry’s father in fake Enchanted Forest. It is what Emma wanted. I am guessing the Evil Queen in Storybrooke story is over. There could be an Evil Queen on the fake Enchanted Forest since she was banished not killed. I guess the second half will be similar to Season 2 with Emma and Regina, it was Emma and Snow in Season 2, in the Enchanted Forest and everyone else in Storybrooke. Though in this case everyone except dead Snow and David can be in both places.

    • Matthew Lawler says:

      It’s just in so many ways the storyline seem to be repeating themselves lately I mean while there were some good aspects to tonight’s episode the whole Emma in the fake enchanted forest seems like a retread of when the Arthour rewrote everyones story

      • laurelnev says:

        I was thinking about the time they fell in the portal…and which time? Take your pick. Emma/Snow? Hook/Princess Leia? But I kind of like the “repeating” factor as those plots were the good old days of the show, imo.

    • Mel says:

      Emma wasn’t sent to her dreamland, but how to world would have been if the Evil Queen had not cast the spell

    • Nicky Aiuto says:

      On the contrary Butch, unlike the adventure with Emma and Snow, Emma and Regina’s thing will be over next episode. And I honestly enjoyed the journey between mother and daughter in 9 eps of season 2, and it would be nice to see that again, but maybe next time a little longer for Emma and Snow.

  9. steven says:

    Horrible final scene. I yelled at Regina to just go through the portal with Emma, and then it closes, and now we have to wait until March to see what happens next?

  10. Matthew Lawler says:

    They seem to play fast and loose with the laws of magic and how things work on the show in order to fit whatever current storyline they want to tell because what got me was why was Emma’s wish that she was never the Savior granted by putting her in an alternate reality yet everything in Storeybrook and everybody’s memories remain the same as though Emma Have been the Savior. if truly the wish had been granted and Emma had never became the Savior then the reality of Storeybrook would have ceased to exist

    • Butch says:

      I guess the wish should have been for Emma to experience what would be like if she was never the savior. They could have also called it a dream curse with Regina entering Emma’s dream to save her.

    • jj says:

      the way genies grant wishes is never straightforward and logical

  11. Seriously, of all the Buffyverse plots to re-use they go with CONNOR’S KIDNAPPING?!? I understand that they all wrote for Buffy/Angel once upon a time (heh) but that’s just lazy.
    Also do they think that by putting Belle in the place of Wes, they’ll make her more likable (something she hasn’t been in well over a season)?
    The reason people love Wes post Connor is because they made him super hard-core around that time. I really doubt that they’ll do that with Belle. (Though it would be awesome.)
    And does anyone else find it odd that they put Rumple in the role of Angel? (Who, as annoying as he was was the hero and the wronged party in this scenario.)

  12. Matthew Lawler says:

    So has the Black Fairy been in Storeybrook all this time? has she been sharing a place with Aladdin?

  13. A says:

    Stopped watch OUAT a few episodes into this season. Watching Librarians now Sundays at 8. It’s magical and way more fun than OUTA

  14. Butch says:

    So is Baby Neal still 3 months old and able to take care of himself as there doesn’t seem to be anyone else caring for him.

    • Matthew Lawler says:

      Well in the first episode after the sleeping curse tape hey token attention to baby Neil but no most of the time they seem to forget that he exist

  15. Matthew Lawler says:

    probably my biggest issue with this episode is even if Emma had never became the Savior; because the dark curse was never cast, she would still be the daughter of snow White and Prince Charming. So why was her character in the alternate reality such a complete wimp who had zero fight in her? I mean seriously she literally handed over the key to her kingdom. even though I love Regina’s line about Emma being a singing princess; it was not worth how pathetic Emmas character was in the enchanted Forest. She literally put up no fight while she watched Regina literally crushed her parents hearts. it made no sense at the thing that made Emma snap out of it was Regina is willing Ness to let Henry kill her rather than harm Henry. It didn’t make logical sense.

  16. Matthew Lawler says:

    Somebody should really make a list of power rankings of once upon a time characters; because everybody fears Rumpelstiltskin a.k.a. the dark one is being this ultimate source of magic and evil. yet he routinely needs other magical objects to enhance his abilities. While talking about his mother to Baell he claims that she possesses darker magic than he does and mentions this realm of darkness were time works differently. I really truly need a scorecard to be able to keep up. It seems that whoever is the ultimate power/has the greater magic just depends on what the writers need for their current storyline.

    • Kyle Kneeland says:

      Yeah, I found it kind of weird that the Black Fairy would have access to/knowledge of darker magic than The Dark One… Shouldn’t he be the one who knows the most about such a place?

  17. DarkDefender says:

    I enjoyed the episode. Singing Emma was funny/strange. Henry looks better in the FEF than he does in Storybrooke. Even though I know Emma will survive for season 6B, I kinda wish Regina would be the savior that takes down Rumbelle Jr. Also, wouldn’t mind if Henry became the savior (due to the extended stay of Regina and Emma in the FEF – which I suspect leads to Henry getting knighted by Emma or the queen before they find thier way back to Storybrooke).
    I hope Robin is back for a few episodes, at least. I miss him and Regina being all cutesy in love.

  18. Chris Coburn says:

    I don’t think Charming wasted the third wish. But the FIRST wish instead. Yes, it was the third wish in the episode, but when David brought Aladdin out of the lamp, Aladdin said something like, “Are you my master NOW?” Which implies a change of possession. And that leads to the thought of, “If Aladdin and Jasmine meet up with Regina/the Evil Queen, would there still be one wish left for them, no wishes, or a full complement of three wishes?”

  19. Mika says:

    This final was underwhelming.
    Nothing happened and no way Emma will be so weak..
    Hoping for more Savior mythology that we got. I really hope Aladdin will be back. So, done with the EQ she is just too campy. And not even that funny.
    Maybe, 6b will be better than this mess. What was the plot ?

  20. Jon says:

    “Once Upon a Time Recap: Emma’s Killer Is Revealed, Plus [Spoiler] ‘Returns'”. Thanks for also spoiling that EMMA IS KILLED. Really appreciate that.

    • Matthew Lawler says:

      Emma’s killer being revealed pertain to the fact that it’s been an ongoing pot point but Emma has had premonitions of being murdered by a hooded figure all that happened tonight was we finally saw who is wearing the hooded robe and Emma’s vision so it is not a spoiler about Emma being killed relax and calm down

    • BM says:

      I find it amazing that after all this time there are still people who are complaing about spoiler reveals (and in this case it’s not even the case) on a site which writes about everything TV show. Shouldn’t everyone know by now that you stay away from sites like this if you absolutely don’t want to read any spoilers?!

    • Umm Emma doesn’t die in this episode.The ” killer” spoiler refers to her visions of her death which haven’t happened yet.Shes had visions for episodes of death so this isn’t really a spoiler.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Try again.

  21. Mark says:

    I enjoyed it. But to me the biggest surprise of the night was that he have to wait until March. I thought with the “no more split seasons” change at ABC that we’d get new episodes in January. Sigh. It’s going to be a long 3 months.

    • Matthew Lawler says:

      The powers that be that one’s only said that there would be one continuous storyline throughout the entire season instead of separate story lines for the 2/2 of the year no one ever stated that there wouldn’t be a winter break as usual

    • Butch says:

      Show does not do well in reruns. Viewers did not like it when they only showed one or two new episodes a month. Unless they delay the start of the season until January, which might not be a bad idea, we are going to get the long break.

  22. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband said, “I know what’s going on. The two [showrunners] want everyone to be as miserable as they are. I thought the fans wanted them to stop doing this. I guess they aren’t listening to the fans. ” It took me a while to figure out that he must read comments from this site while I peruse the computer, over my shoulder. I have no idea what he was talking about, but maybe the showrunners do.

  23. Mollymoo says:

    I sort of thought that Regina would actually tap into her alt-ego a little in dreamland and doing so would pull full-on evil queen back into Regina where she could be controlled and done with. Then I realized that make too much sense for this season. :-/ what happened to all the untold stories folks wandering around? Did Gideon and EQ just obsesses the heros so much they forgot they were helping folks find endings? surely those is some ignored fairy tale that could spark some excitement.

  24. iloonz says:

    Well i kinda have mixed feelings. I loved the episode, it was fun to watch and the cliffhanger(s) were great. But it just seems like a means to an end, like it wasnt really going somewhere. I did love the Emma vs Evil Queen connection, because Emma is Emma (i mean badass storybrook Emma, not ‘singing while picking flowers and crying on the floor” Emma) because of what the Evil Queen did! So for the Emma and Regina parts of the episode i had fun watching it (how cute was the hand holding at the portal?!)

    But back in storybrook.. O man, all sorts of stuff happened. The Evil Queen being a sexually frustrated (Alladin was grossed out, and so was i), Rumple and Belle actually getting a very tiny little bit closer, David screwing up and Hook keeping his calm for some reason, Gideon turning the Evil Queen into a snake (she did got what she deserved) and Aladdin and Jasmin poofing of to hopefully for them Agrabah.

    But for 6B, i need Ouat to explain more about the Dark Fairy, how Gideon grew up so fast, what the heck August is doing in the enchanted forest, if they are going to let the evil queen be a snake forever and why Gideon is after Emma. There was also something Rumple said about a land where time works differently? Need to know more about that too

    Usually its not a good thing for Ouat to keep raising questions, but i think in this case it just keeps people motivated to watch. This will always be my all time favorite show, but i understand why some people have doubts. So i think all these questions about certain cliffhangers, will keep them interested.

  25. hopemullinax says:

    You know who I feel bad for? Oded Fehr. They hyped up Jafar so much at Comic Con, and they barely used him. Poor guy.

  26. Nesi says:

    Aladdin: hey there Charming, how about you use your wish to end the sleeping curse, so you can have your true love back?
    David: no thanks, I’ll pass. Now go away to another realm and leave me alone

  27. one thing that bothers me is how weak rumple is. “a place of immense darkness beyond my power blblabla” well he is the dark one. correction the darkest dark one a combination of all previous dark ones. we’d expect him to have more control over everything.

  28. JenE says:

    I am incredibly disappointed in that episode and not just because of the huge plotholes and missed opportunities, or because Hook and Emma were sidelined yet again (let me go bang my head against a wall some more on that one), but I am really mad at what they did to Emma. Just because she was raised by her loving parents she was a delicate flower? Would Bandit Snow and expert swordsman Prince Charming not teach their daughter how to be tough? Would they really raise such a wuss? I don’t think so. All this so that they could once again justify Regina’s choices. Why would Emma thank her, why is it better to have Emma growing up alone, why would our Emma be nonexistent because she grew up happy (again badass Bandit Snow is her mother!). Snow & Charming still had happy childhoods and grew up to be tough heroes but their daughter is weak, fearful and simpers at Regina’s feet (after she kills Emma’s parents). This episode was a huge insult to the character of Emma.

  29. DD says:

    Matt, doesn’t each master of the lamp get 3 wishes? David only wasted one of his.
    Are Jafar, Aladdin, and Jasmine slated to be in the rest of the season?
    Henry in the fake enchanted forest should have had a different name, since Regina didn’t name him after her father in this realm.
    Loved Emma humming “some day my prince will come” from the Disney movie!
    I like the thought that the Evil Queen got what she deserved from Gideon (David made the wish, and he had called her a snake), while Regina got Robin Hood.

  30. Misty says:

    Ugh. Disappointed that we have to wait until March to see what happens next. I always thought that Emma should have pushed Regina into the portal then proceed to tell her that Robin wasn’t real.

  31. Lori says:

    Really people? This is entertainment and does not need to make complete sense, as it is in a fairy tale world. I love the show and thought the finale was great. It was quite funny to see a wimpy Emma and a brave Henry. I can’t wait to see what March brings.

  32. Indio says:

    Once Upon A Time has been up and down for me Season 1 (7/10) Season 2 (6/10) Season 3 (9/10) Season 4 (7/10) Season 5 (5/10) and Season 6 so far (7/10).

    The show should bring back and keep August/Pinocchio. They should make Aladdin a savior again. Gideon does not kill Emma, he ends up killing his own father. The Dark Ones undoing wasn’t Henry (like said in Season 3) but his own son. The darkness ends up in Prince Charming causing a deep story line with the whole true love between Snow White and Prince Charming. Have Belle fall in love with August/Pinocchio, Regina moves on from Robin Hood and falls in love with Archie, yes give him more storyline along with Ruby, Granny, Geppetto and Tinker Bell.

    As for new characters/returning characters in Season 7
    1. New: Davy Jones, Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Captain Ahab (Moby Dick), Pocahontas, and John Smith

    2. Bring Back: Ariel, Mad Hatter, Dorothy, Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip.

  33. Indio Trozzo says:

    Once Upon A Time has been up and down for me Season 1 (7/10) Season 2 (6/10) Season 3 (9/10) Season 4 (7/10) Season 5 (5/10) and Season 6 so far (7/10).

    The show should bring back and keep August/Pinocchio. They should make Aladdin a savior again. Gideon does not kill Emma, he ends up killing his own father. The Dark Ones undoing wasn’t Henry (like said in Season 3) but his own son. The darkness ends up in Prince Charming causing a deep story line with the whole true love between Snow White and Prince Charming. Have Belle fall in love with August/Pinocchio, Regina moves on from Robin Hood and falls in love with Archie, yes give him more storyline along with Ruby, Granny, Geppetto and Tinker Bell.

    As for new characters/returning characters in Season 7
    1. New: Davy Jones, Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Captain Ahab (Moby Dick), Pocahontas, and John Smith

    2. Bring Back: Ariel, Mad Hatter, Dorothy, Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip.