Put on your red leather jacket — because we're headed back to Storybrooke. After a three-month long hiatus, ABC's Once Upon A Time returned on Sunday night and it was as crazy as you thought. Emma and Henry are in New York living their own version of happily ever after, while the rest of their family and friends are trapped somewhere between their two worlds. And, yet again, Emma is the only one that can save them.
The episode opened where we left off, with a curse descending on both Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest that would send any inhabitants in the real world back to their fairytale lands. Prince Philip and Aurora were the first familiar faces we saw before Snow, Charming, and the rest of their crew popped back over to their home realm. All well and good, except for the fact that we kind of learn later in the episode that they apparently never left Storybrooke?
Sunday night's midseason premiere had two big moments — the first was Emma putting on her signature red leather jacket and the second was when she knocked on the door to Mary Margaret's old apartment in Storybrooke and David actually answered. So now, cue the theories about how the hell this whole thing happened. Did the curse just create doppelgängers or is there something a little more Wicked at play here?
After a painfully long while, Hook got Emma to drink the potion that would restore her memories and then they were on their merry way back to Storybrooke before you could say, "trust me, Love." But first, we had to learn that Emma's new, NYC love interest and almost-fiancé was actually a flying monkey — the most demonic and scary flying monkey we've ever seen. Meanwhile, back in the Enchanted Forest, the Wicked Witch of the West has taken over Snow/Regina's castle and is ruling the realm with fear via her monkeys. So things are/were pretty all-around crazy, which brings us to seeing double.
The midseason finale curse was supposed to return everyone to their former lives in the magical realm — and it did, with their memories in tact. Snow, Regina, Hook, Neal, and Charming all mention Emma or Henry upon their return, so the curse didn't wipe their memories after all?
When Emma talks to her "parents" in what's left of Storybrooke — they tell her that they can't remember the past year. (They only know it's been awhile because Snow is pregnant.) They told her that the last thing they remember is saying goodbye to her and that it feels like it was just yesterday. The first red flag went off when they were obviously magical duplicates of their actual selves, who are in the Enchanted Forest. Emma obviously doesn't know that, but it could very well be a trap. Just like her monkey of a boyfriend.
So here's the deal on OUAT's new, doppelgänger problem. (I can't believe I'm saying that about another show.) One of two things is going down — the Wicked Witch's power extends across multiple realms, allowing her to send flying monkeys over to the real world disguised as real people. So, Emma's "parents" are actually the Witch's minions doing her bidding in Storybrooke to keep Emma from getting to the Forest. The second situation is that the Curse somehow duplicated everyone it touched in Storybrooke — sending their storybook counterparts back where they belong and separating their real-world selves and leaving them behind.
It seems more likely that the former is the case because otherwise OUAT would be taking a seriously supernatural turn that I'm not sure I'm into. Also, because everyone that's returned to the Enchanted Forest has all of their memories in tact, it's not as if there were split down the middle into "storybook and other realm memories" and "Storybrooke normal life memories." It's very likely that it's a trap — but if so, where does this version of Hook come in? How does he know about what's happening in the Enchanted Forest if he never left the real world?
Needless to say, we're a little confused about where Once Upon A Time is going with creating doppelgängers for the majority of its ensemble cast. We can't even be sure whether or not their sinister and out to sabotage Emma's latest mission as the Savior. Good job, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, you've really upped your game and we're completely hooked back in on it.