Dr. Whale leads a mob of angry Storybrooke citizens who want revenge on Regina… (Jack Rowand / ABC )
"Once Upon a Time" is back, and apparently, so is magic. Viewers know that when we left Storybrooke last season, Emma Swan had saved her son Henry and broken the city's memory curse with true love's kiss. Also, Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, again using true love, released magic into the "real" world. With that, there were bound to be fireworks, right? Right?! Well ...
There were at least some romantic sparklers. Prince Philip found and awoke his sleeping beauty, Princess Aurora, with his warrior partner in tow -- Mulan! A great pairing of characters, and I'm sure we'll find out more about Mulan and Philip's relationship before he resumed his quest to find Aurora. It was sneaky of the writers/directors to have the prince say "I love you" without turning to look at either of the women before his soul was sucked out by a wraith (they're very much like the Dementors in the "Harry Potter" series). He did wake Princess Aurora with true love's kiss, so read into that what you will. And where was Eddie Murphy's dragon Mushu?
As evil as Queen Regina is, Mr. Gold's machinations put everyone else's to shame. He promises Belle that he won't kill Regina, but had no problem making her the target of a soul-stealing creature. Without her magic, Regina is powerless to stop it -- but Emma, Snow White and Prince Charming are not. They help fend off the wraith, and Emma even somehow activates Regina's powers by touching her. Here's where the two stories converge a bit as the wraith, Emma and Snow are pulled into another dimension, which is actually just the other side of the fairy tale land. Mulan and Aurora find Snow and Emma later, believing them to be the cause of the wraith trouble (which they are to an extent).
Henry is safe with Charming, the mob that Dr. Whale organized to get Regina has seemingly dispersed, and it seems everyone's adjusting. One of the interesting parts of this awakening was going to be seeing how magic and magical creatures would work in the real world. With magic working differently, and seemingly not accessible without Emma's help, that takes away those possibilities for a while. But it will be fun to see what Emma can do in the fairy tale land.
There won't be this many to list as the season goes on, but here's some questions to ponder:
- Who is Dr. Whale? Some may have figured it out, many have not. Even Charming questioned the doctor's identity, with no resolution.
- How will the family dynamic work among Snow, Charming and Emma? Emma is already pretty standoffish.
- Where's Pinocchio? The last we saw August the writer he was turning into an adult-sized wooden puppet. Obviously there are too many characters to spotlight every one each week, but it might've been nice to minimally update current characters before introducing new ones like Mulan and Princess Aurora. Then again, that's one of the reasons we keep coming back.
- Baelfire? Who knows.
- Who was the guy at the beginning? Walking around the city, he's visited by a white pigeon carrying the message that the curse is broken
- The medallion? Mr. Gold seemed to send the wraith after Regina, while the same creature was killing Prince Philip. The Aurora/Mulan/Philip story happened after Regina sent the wraith through the hat.
- Will Captain Hook be a major player? The fact that he was mentioned in the second season promo seems to indicate that.