Once Upon A Time Wakes From Its Sleeping Curse

The new season of the fairy tale mash-up hints at more fantasy characters than ever, plus at least two scenery-chewing villains, and some familiar names with new faces. You might want to take notes.

  • Previously

    The show doesn't tell us (well, they did one of those hour-long specials but who has time for that?), but here's a quick refresher: Everyone went to the Underworld to retrieve Killian, which was successful, but Hades romanced Zelena and followed them back, killing Robin Hood before being killed himself. Belle put herself under a sleeping curse to protect her and Gold's unborn child, and Gold put her in a box because Emilie de Ravin was hugely pregnant for easier transport. Half the crew ended up in the Land of Untold Stories, where they met Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who separated from each other and also returned to Storybrooke, which Rumple "gave" to Hyde in exchange for information.

    NOT previously? Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. Nope, never happened. Hey, look over there!

  • Meeting Time

    Prince Ali, Yes It Is He, But Not As You Know Him

    Who called the meeting? Some guy riding a horse through the plains of Canada in summer desert, who's being chased by another guy on a flying carpet. He barges into the CGI middle eastern hut of a man he calls "my Prince" and "the Savior." The Savior, you say?

    What's it about? Initially, how horse guy needs help because his kingdom is in danger, but a young woman wants tells him "he's not seeing anyone today," and the Savior doesn't look in great shape. The topic changes quickly enough, though.

    How'd it go? Depends who you ask. Not so great for for horseback guy, because obviously it didn't take long for carpet guy to catch up and turn him to dust. This is, of course, Jafar. He spares the Savior's companion but knocks her out so he can taunt him in private. "Pathetic. The great Savior hiding. This is a sad day indeed." This is -- you guessed it -- Aladdin. Jafar says he's not going to kill Aladdin because wants to savor it (sigh, of course; villains really need to take a class on not doing this) and points out the irony that Aladdin had honor when he was a common thief, but "completely fell apart" when he became a hero. "That's what always happens to Saviors, isn't it?" He compares Aladdin to The Giving Tree and leaves. So, great meeting for Jafar, not so hot for Al, and that first guy learned an important lesson about not bothering recluses.

  • That Quote
    "You give, and give, and give, and for what? They pick the fruits, they cut the branches, and all that's left is this shaky stump. Always. That's why you never ever hear these words about a Savior: They lived happily ever after."
    - Jafar -
  • Alert!

    Oh, The Humanity

    Alert Type: Dirigible Alert.

    Issue: Emma and Killian make out in the living room and are clearly about to do sex (he tells her to leave the leather jacket on) even though any number of people could walk in on them there. Way to share space, guys! But they don't get very far because a giant zeppelin-y thing arrives. I'm not sure why that would cause the ground to shake, but it gets everyone's attention, and Jekyll recognizes it as being from the Land of Untold Stories.

    Complicating Factors: Hyde, whose accent seems to have migrated several continents since last season, shows up and reminds everyone that Gold gave Storybrooke to him. "Do be careful. Nothing more dangerous than an untold story. And the people who don't want them told."

    Resolution: The dirigible crash-lands in the woods, but by the time Emma and the gang arrive its occupants have run away. Jekyll thinks he may be able to scavenge something from the dirigible with which to make a weapon.

    Spoiler: Triggered by the sound of clanging metal at the crash site, Emma has a vision of clashing swords and starts to shake just like Aladdin did in the flagraback (flashbagrabah?). It won't be her last.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Emma, et. al. vs. Hyde

    Jekyll was, in fact, able to make a weapon similar to the Orderly's zappy thing (steampunkers work fast), so Regina, Emma, Snow, and David use him as bait to draw Jekyll out of the Town Hall. Regina throws a fireball to get things started, but they already know that won't be enough and it's only meant as a distraction. But when Emma tries to use the weapon she has the vision again and hesitates, giving Hyde time to choke Regina. Emma finally pulls herself together and fires, sending Hyde flying through the air. David and Jekyll get Hyde into some specially made cuffs, as he taunts Emma about her tremors. He knows something.

    Winner: The good guys, barely.

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Archie Hopper


    Emma Swan


    Having let her defenses down (thanks to Henry, Killian, and her parents) after years of fighting, she's more vulnerable. Which is good! But it also makes her more open to being hurt. Which, since she's still fighting, is bad.


    There are no shortcuts.

    Talk therapy
    Let your conscience be your guide
    Wish upon a star

  • That Quote
    "Keep calling me 'girl' and see how that works out for you."
    - Emma -
  • Meeting Time

    I'd Like A Shortcut

    Who called the meeting? Emma.

    What's it about? She wants Hyde to tell her what he knows about her visions.

    How'd it go? He Hannibal Lecters that he'll need some quid pro quo. When she refuses, he teases that he can tell she was in prison once, and that he knows she's having visions of a battle. She counters that he's right about her having been in prison, and the worst part about it was the loneliness. It will be especially rough for him because he likes to talk so much. She'll leave him there and no one will ever come back for him. He attacks her, knowing his chains won't let him get her at the door but proving a point: She's afraid of him. He tells her that one of his people can help her. "Are you truly ready to face your own story?"

  • Family Matters

    Do You Wanna Kill A Snowman?

    Who's causing a family crisis? Regina.

    How? She's trying to forge the sisterly relationship with Zelena they never got to have before, even letting her and the baby stay at her house, but something's not right. At first she can't put her finger on it, thinking she's upset with Zelena for losing the feather Roland gave her to give to Regina, but later, in her office for the first time since the battle with Hades, she realizes she blames Zelena for Robin's death. She trusted Zelena about Hades and let him into Storybrooke.

    Which relatives have a problem with it? Zelena, for her part, is upset that Regina separated herself from the Evil Queen without even talking to her, her sister, which doesn't seem comparable or really make sense since they barely know or like each other, but then she says, "You ripped out the part of yourself that was most like me!" Regina's all sorry not sorry.

    Who's an unlikely ally? Snow, who has become Regina's friend so gradually and naturally, it's like they're from another show entirely. She basically teaches Regina how to feel feelings.

    Spoiler: Zelena may still get a chance to bond with the part of her sister she has things in common with after all.

  • Plot Lightning Round

    Just Like A Red-Winged Dove Sings A Song Sounds Like She's Singing


    David and Snow track the newbies in the woods, and wonder if they're running because they're scared. Snow calls to them, explaining that Hyde is locked up and they're on their side. She invites them to Granny's for food, and they leave, telling them to come when they're ready.


    Snow calls Emma to tell her she and Killian are relieved of searching duty, but Hyde had told her to "follow the red bird," she sees one just as they're about to head home. She tells Killian he can go on without her, and he knows something is up but also that it's pointless to fight with her. The bird leads her to a young woman -- the same one we saw tending to Aladdin -- who explains that the visions are the story of her future. Well duh.


    Henry walks in on Regina trying to do a locator spell for the feather, and calls her out for actually looking for Robin. Henry has faith that Hades was bullshitting about Robin's soul being obliterated, and that "when a hero's story is over, there's a special place for them." Which is all well and good when you haven't literally been to hell and watched a person's soul leave his body and die on its own but sure.


    The girl in the woods is an oracle. She cautions Emma that "seeing the future is a heavy burden" before showing her more of the vision. Emma fights with a cloaked figure on Main Street. The others arrive just in time to see her lose the fight. "You can change the path to the destination, but the destination is the same. On the day you saw, in the battle you saw, you will die." It's worth noting that a tremor seems to be what causes her to lose the fight, so if the shaking is being caused by her visions, this is some serious Aeschylus shit, and I don't think this is why he invented theatre.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between


    A Dream Is A Wish Your Uterus Makes

    Meanwhile, Gold has gone to the Temple of Morpheus, which Hyde told him about, to try to wake Belle. Here, there are sands that will allow him to enter Belle's dreams, Freddy Krueger-style, and from there he'll be able to wake her. The problem is that the only thing that can wake her is True Love's Kiss, and it's already been established that Belle no longer feels That Way about Gold.

    Morpheus himself greets Gold, and leads him to a version of his own castle, where Belle is dreaming of her own past as his captive servant. In the mirror, Gold sees himself as the beastly Rumple. Morpheus tells him he only has an hour to wake her, or she will return to "the red room of the sleeping curse, a most horrid, fiery fate."

    Rumple thinks he can recreate the moment he and Belle fell in love, and make her love him again. Morpheus points out that this would be a lie, just a trick in the dream. but Rumple tries anyway, stopping Belle from serving him and asking her to dance to "Beauty and the Beast" on the gramophone. As they dance, the decor of the room brightens. He magically gives her the classic Belle hair and dress.

    Rumple tells Belle about his son who left because he was too afraid to change for him when he gave into the darkness. Belle asks if he would change now if he could. "For you? I would be the best any man could be." She kisses him and there's magic in it, but it's not True Love's Kiss, it just brings her back to the present, still in the dream. "Years of promises. I can't do this again." Since she at least knows who and when she is now, Rumple urges her to wake up for the sake of her child. "Our child will be better off waiting with me than being in debt to you."

    Morpheus enters and says he was hoping she'd say that. "I'm so sorry that I put you through all of this. I just had to be sure that you wouldn't fall for his lies again. Now I can wake you up." How, you ask, if the only thing that can wake her is True Love's Kiss? "You've loved me since the moment I was conceived." That's right, this isn't Morpheus at all, it's Belle and Rumple's unborn child dreaming in the womb grosssssssssss. Since they share a body they also share dreams? And so the magic sand affected them both? And he also shares Belle's memories somehow? And is still a zygote but is smart enough to construct this whole thing and knows who Morpheus is? Sure, why not! Anyway, this was all a test to make sure Belle could stand up to Rumple. "I'm here to warn you: Do not let him destroy us like he did his last family."

    Morfetus kisses Belle (on the forehead, thank god) and she and Gold both wake back at the temple. She tells him they are never ever ever getting back together and heads through the portal he made alone. Rumple sulks, but he really should be psyched to have fathered two hot sons given that he is literally a beast.

  • That Quote
    "If you ever let true love wake you up then maybe you wouldn't keep losing."
    - Belle -
  • Wrap It Up

    Emma asks Hyde what's coming and how to stop it. "Whatever's coming, I will defeat it."

    "That's funny, that's what the Saviors always say.... Wherever there's a Savior, there's a villain who brings them down. That's how the Savior's story always goes." In every generation, there is a chosen, wait, wrong show. Hyde doesn't know who Emma's villain is, but he cautions her: "Is helping them exactly what causes your story to end?"


    Emma finds Killian drinking alone at Granny's. She lies that she's been to see Archie and she's feeling much better now.


    Regina tells Snow about her Robin/Zelena realization. She adds: "I was an awful stepmother." (Some might say wicked?) She asks Snow how she stayed hopeful back then. Snow says she realized that the only way she could stay alive was to never give up, so in a way, the Evil Queen taught her to have faith. "You were the one who taught me that hope is a choice." Regina has made that choice too and thinks Robin is at peace. Sure, why not?

    Regina has also realized that she has something in common with the new arrivals. They were "hiding in some horrible land so their stories don't have to play out" (is that what the Land of Untold Stories is supposed to be?), and she used to do that too. The only story she heard was the one she told herself: That she was the Evil Queen. She forgot that her life was actually many stories; she's a villain to some, and rightly so, but to others she's a hero. Now she wants to start a new story. determined to have a better ending.


    Zelena returns to her old place with the baby to find the Evil Queen waiting for her with two appletinis. Hee. "Isn't life deliciously ironic? All you ever wanted was a sister. And when you finally get that wish it's the wrong one." Zelena doesn't look thrilled, but Regina passes her a drink and says "it's time for some sisterly bonding." Well this should be fun!

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