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People, Power, Plots: A Once Upon A Time Speculation Session

By on November 25, 2012
(ABC/JACK ROWAND) BARBARA HERSHEY

(ABC/JACK ROWAND) BARBARA HERSHEY

By: Eunice Braga (@cannonball_312)

Sunday November 25

The last time we saw an episode of Once Upon A Time Snow and Emma got sucked into a portal to the post-apocalyptic Fairytale Land, after Emma decided to save Regina from the wrath of the townspeople and Rumpelstiltskin wraith. This, of course, left the town of Storybrooke without a Sheriff and a potential replacement for their former Mayor, who is restraining herself from using magic because a) she only has it when Emma Swan is nearby/touching her, and so she is now in short supply, b) because her son, possibly the only thing left in her life, wants her to prove her love for him by showing him that she won’t use magic for evil, and c) at the end of the day, she doesn’t want to turn completely into Mommie Dearest.

In the meantime, Once revealed that yes, Dr. Whale is none other than Dr. Frankenstein—by the way, cookies for all those who guessed correctly—and brought Noah Bean to Storybrooke, leaving Evil Regals and Stable Queen fans in heartbreak and tears after an hour of “The Doctor.” Over at the post-apocalyptic Fairytale Land, Emma and Snow find themselves held captive by Mulan and Aurora, after they inadvertently cause the death of Prince Philip. Lancelot comes to their aid, only to reveal himself as none other than Regina’s Mommie Dearest, Cora, who is working with Killian Jones, an old nemesis of Rumpelstiltskin who also goes by the colorful moniker of Hook.

Back at Storybrooke, Charming’s adoptive Daddy, King George, decides that he doesn’t want the Law & Order life anymore, and makes a bid to take over his son’s mayor-sheriff combo position, by going after one of David’s closest allies, Ruby. In the process, he knocks over Granny, who as we know, is the only person who has the clarity of mind to carry a crossbow, and to fire it at erring royals. I hope she fires an arrow between King George’s eyes.

And that was just the first seven episodes.

The next few episodes promise exciting times ahead, with Rumple and Regina teaming up to help David bring Emma and Snow home, racing against time and against the Cora-Hook tag team to get to Storybrooke.

Upon hearing that this would be the storyline for the next two episodes, my first thought was: Don’t hold your breath for Emma and Snow to return soon. Kitsis and Horowitz being who they are, won’t make this easy for anyone—for our heroes or for us. It’s going to take a lot of work to bring them back, and when they do come back, I’m not so sure they’ll be who they say they are. Check out this behind the scenes image below showing Emma in her usual jacket, with her hair in what I’d like to call a princess braid.

Image © ABC Television Network

Kudos to FanPop for this shot, by the way.
According to the caption underneath the photo, in the same scene Charming and the Blue Fairy argue with Regina over using casting a spell at Emma.
Wait—what?

In “We Are Both” it was established that Regina was running low on magic, if not practically empty, and that she needed Emma’s help to jumpstart it in the first place. Even if she did use a spell on Emma, it would not be easy to do. Add to that the fact that she has been working with Archie to avoid using magic to win back Henry. Casting a spell on Emma would be detrimental to her in every way possible.

In addition to that, rumors persist of a “heated in-your-face argument” between Emma and Regina. Some suggest the actors have been substituting words to avoid leaking sensitive information to the crowds watching them film. Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin admitted to doing so last season, while filming the finale. What if the confrontation was about Emma being ‘fake’, given that we’ve already seen Cora do the same thing with Lancelot? Regina would know her mother best, and know if this was in her arsenal. My guess is that Regina will be the only person who will realize that ‘Emma’ and ‘Snow’ are not who they say they are, and will take on Henry’s role in the first season, trying to convince people that the Emma and Snow that came back are impostors.

The word is also out that Ruby is working with Regina, and those two have nothing in common except the fact that they know both Emma and Snow quite well. With Ruby’s hyper-sensitive senses working again, maybe she’s the first person to realize that Regina’s actually telling the truth?

This would certainly raise the stakes for everyone involved, and could be the final thing to cement Regina on the road to redemption. Out of all the demons she has had, we can all agree that no one has hurt her as much as Cora. Overcoming her, be it through magic, or by regaining the trust of other people, would be a great step towards her redemption. I think that at the end of the season, if not before, she would be able to fulfill Henry’s request from “Broken,” when he asked her to bring Emma and Mary Margaret back.

Not to mention that chucking a cliffhanger like this would be all in a day’s work for Kitsis and Horowitz.

Cora is the Queen of Hearts. Last season, Jefferson got his head chopped off at Wonderland by the Queen of Hearts, who had a veil over her face. This season, episode 9 is called “The Queen of Hearts,” and heavily features Regina’s mother Cora, who originated the whole vault of hearts trick that the Evil Queen has down pat.

From one reveal to another, I think the showrunners will be using this episode to confirm another fan theory—that the Queen of Hearts we saw last season was a decoy and that Regina’s momma is the real deal. After getting pushed through the looking glass, it would only be on point if Cora followed her own advice and built her own kingdom, adding considerable weight to her power.

When she confronts Regina, I don’t think it’s going to be just about that. She now knows that Henry exists, and that he means so much to Charming, Snow, Emma, and Regina. Even Rumple has a soft spot for him. Just as she did with Daniel, she’s going to go after him. I see this happening at the stables, actually, and it will definitely lead to the mother of all confrontations, pun intended.

Oh, Regina might want to start brushing up on those spells.

Speaking of the Queen of Hearts, Once might be slowly bringing out the rest of the band. We already met Jefferson/The Mad Hatter last season, and while Alice seems to be a long way from our screens, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the gang isn’t already here. Take for example, the White Rabbit. In most of the versions of the classic work, the White Rabbit is the bridge between the real world and Wonderland. Given that Jefferson has been shown to have the ability to travel through worlds, it would make sense if the White Rabbit had the same power.

Could Neal, Emma’s erstwhile boyfriend, be the White rabbit? After all, he is responsible for stealing a collection of watches. Also,  August was able to easily convinced him to let go of Emma so she can fulfill her destiny in “Tallahassee,” and in “Broken”he had a collection of clocks, a monocle, and a “Cleaner and Hatters” sign in his apartment.

Also, there’s his tendency to make a run for it.

Michael Raymond James as Neal Cassidy. Image © ABC Television Network

If he’s not Bae—another popular fan theory—he might as well be the White Rabbit.

To leave Emma, he has to have been convinced of magic, and one of the ways he could have been easily swayed is if he turned out to be part of the book all along. August could’ve known who he was and reminded him through the item on the box. This definitely leads to more questions about who sent him that postcard in the season premiere, and why. Given the events of “A Land Without Magic” and “Broken,” August could not have sent the postcard, as he was shown opening his eyes in “We Are Both” unless of course that’s a flashback that we shouldn’t have noticed. There also exists the possibility that it might have been Jefferson who sent it, regardless of whether it was on August’s behalf, or because he knew about Neal’s true identity.

The Blue Fairy remains powerless. In a season filled with a couple of game changers, even early on—Cora’s still alive! Rumple has magic and Regina doesn’t! Emma is thrown into Fairtytale Land!—there is possibly no one who needs magic more than the Blue Fairy. Last we saw her, Blue, or Mother Superior, needed fairy dust and her magic wand to work and help Charming right the troubles of Storybrooke. She has one, but not the other, and I don’t think Storybrooke is going to make things easy, especially in light of the fact that it was Rumple who created the curse in the first place. I think it’s one of the hidden stipulations of the curse that she and the fairies remain powerless, in the same way that Regina did not regain her magic.

The favor Emma owes Rumple will have something to do with Belle or with Bae. In an alternate universe, or a fantasy crossover, Gold would be an enterprising Lannister, getting people in his debt because he has already paid his. Alas, no one has written that fanfic yet.

What has been written, however, is that Emma owes Rumple a favor for letting Ashley keep her child. As we have seen in “Broken,” Rumple has been looking to collect. While he has been giving away things for the last few episodes, it seems that at some point he will ask Emma for the favor she owes him, and a couple of things could happen: a) Charming cancels it out, saying that they’ve already helped with Belle before, or that b) Rumple actually gets to collect, in which case there are two scenarios.

Given the tenuous situation with the town line, Rumple can ask Emma to look for Bae for him, or to save Belle from Hook’s clutches. Either scenario is plausible, and it would surely affect Rumple’s relationship not just with Emma, but also with Belle. One thing is for sure, though. Captain Swan fans will be up for torture if Once goes with the latter, as I’m sure Gold would like to take another stab at hurting Hook. What better way to do that than through a girl he might at least admire, or feel something for?

One thing is for sure—tonight’s “Into the Deep” will definitely raise more questions than answers, while bringing us all back to characters and places we’ve come to know and love. The Rumple-Regina alliance will definitely be one to watch, as is the race in fairytale land between Snow, Emma, and co. and Cora and Hook.

Sound off on how you think the rest of the season will play out.