Emma Doherty ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Once Upon A Time has returned from its winter hiatus, and the season 3B premiere was well worth the wait. When we saw the characters last, they had recently returned to Storybrooke from Neverland. When they got back to their enchanted town in Maine they thought the worst was over. Little did they know, the worst had yet to come.
When Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) switched bodies and stole Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) curse, he enacted it by taking the heart of the thing he loves the most. Everyone came together to try to get Pan and Henry (Jared Gilmore) switched back, but it was too late. Henry brings the curse to Regina, who then faints when she holds it and is overcome with the realization of what she must do to stop it. She has to undo the curse by making it so the first one never happened.
This means that everyone will return to the Enchanted Forest—except for Henry, because he wasn’t born there. What happens next is probably one of the most significant moments on the show, and one that displays an incredible amount of character growth. Regina tells Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to stay behind, and that she would give both Emma and Henry memories of a happy life together where Emma never gave Henry up. The midseason finale ends with Emma and Henry driving away, and viewers catch a small glimpse of their happy life together in New York City.
Last night’s episode continues exactly where it left off in December. Viewers get to see Emma and Henry’s new life together in the city, which seems as normal as ever. The two are pretty wealthy and live in an upscale apartment. However, Emma and Henry are not alone in this new life, and viewers find out that Emma has been in a relationship for eight months with a guy named Walsh (Christopher Gorham). Despite him seeming like a perfectly nice guy, it is easy to see that something is off. When he proposes to Emma, you can tell that something is not quite right. Meanwhile, Emma has been visited by Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) twice and goes to visit him for a third time.
It was great to see that they used Neal’s (Michael Raymond-James) apartment as a trigger for Emma and her memories, but it isn’t until she bails Hook out of prison and takes the potion he offered her that she fully gets her memories back. This was definitely an interesting way to get her to remember. It would be nice to see in a future episode how Hook obtained the potion and just how he got to Emma from the Enchanted Forest.
Meanwhile, when all this is going on, the rest of the characters return to the Enchanted Forest and are in for an unfortunate surprise. Everyone is together, and they are all planning their next move. They decide that the best thing to do is return to Regina’s castle together. Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) suggests that she, Regina, and Charming (Josh Dallas) should band together to prove that they are one and can lead as one. Again we see a huge amount of character growth, both from Regina and Snow. The fact that Snow is willing to accept that Regina should lead just as much and she as Charming should is remarkable, but not as much as Regina’s willingness to accept this new arrangement.
The trend of Snow and Regina teaming up continues later on into the episode in a scene that is, without a doubt, the most moving of the entire episode. Snow finds Regina in the woods, burying her heart, and Regina reveals that she can’t handle the pain of not being with Henry and knowing that he isn’t even aware she exists. We see here just how much love Regina has and how strong each of her emotions are. It was no small shock that the person she has hated the most in the past is the one to help her. Snow tells her that she is going through the same thing, and that she just has to trust and have faith that they will get through it. It was heartbreaking to see the rush of emotions on Regina’s face when she decided to put her heart back in.
This scene was spectacular because of how much Lana Parrilla dives into her character and displays how deep her emotions and love for Henry is. But this also reveals just how different Regina’s and Snow’s parenting styles are. Sure, Snow has lost Emma in the past, so she thinks she knows what it’s like to lose a child, but her experience with children is not the same as Regina’s. Regina had Henry his entire life and was very noble in her reasons for giving him up. Snow’s reasoning for carrying on and just having hope truly shows how she is not as developed as a parent as Regina is.
The two continued to work together, and Snow even risked her life to pull Regina away from what appeared to be a flying monkey. The gang realizes that there is someone occupying the castle, and that person definitely has something to do with these strange new creatures flying around. Not only are we introduced to new characters, but people from the past also make an appearance.
Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) shows up just in time to help the two women escape the flying beast and shoots it with an arrow. Now, of course, we remember that Hood is supposedly Regina’s “true love” so their first interaction was a highly anticipated scene. It did not disappoint, and Regina was just as sassy as ever, saying she did not ask to be helped when Hood offered his hand to help her up. Regina must not have been that convincing with her mask of disdain, because Snow asks if Regina thought he was cute, which prompts Regina’s reaction: “He smells like forest!”
Back in New York City, Hook and Emma are catching up and talking about what’s in store for her future. When Walsh stops by to talk to Emma about the proposal and she turns him down, we find out why his character seems a little off: he promptly turns into a flying monkey and tries to kill Emma. But being the badass bounty hunter she is, she takes him down with little effort. She realizes that she was never safe in this life and takes Henry and Hook back to Storybrooke, but not before making sure she has her signature red leather jacket.
If you thought the story couldn’t get any more complex, then you don’t know Once Upon A Time. When Emma arrives in Storybrooke, she goes back to her parents’ home and is greeted by a very happy David, who remembers her. We then see that Snow is pregnant and also remembers Emma. The two reveal that they have no memory of the past year and have absolutely no idea how they returned to Storybrooke. We know the Wicked Witch had something to do with this… but how? It will be interesting to see the show cover the lives of the characters in the year they were in the Enchanted Forest, and their lives once again back in Storybrooke. One week is definitely too long to wait for the next episode!
Overall Episode Grade: A-
Make sure to tune in to Once Upon A Time Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.