‘Once Upon A Time’ Recap: Did Emma & Snow Return To Storybrooke?

Sun, December 2, 2012 9:55pm EST by 11 Comments
Once Upon A Time Season 2 Episode 9
Courtesy of ABC

Let’s discuss the Queen of Hearts’ identity, Emma’s personal discovery & all of the other mind-blowing revelations from the winter finale!

Well, that was exhausting. The Dec. 2 episode of Once Upon A Time finally delivered the reunion fans have been waiting for, as Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) returned to Storybrooke — but they didn’t make the journey alone, and life in the real world is about to get real.

This was the most jam-packed episode to date, so let’s digest it revelation-by-revelation, shall we?

Who is the Queen of Hearts?

Much to the surprise of absolutely no one, Cora (Barbara Hershey) was revealed to be the face behind the mask on Wonderland’s throne. It turns out Regina (Lana Parrilla) sent Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) to steal her heart many years ago in exchange for a free ride to Storybrooke, but when Cora informed him that Regina’s curse would also erase his memory, he agreed to double-cross her.

Instead, Cora formed a protective barrier around their corner of the enchanted world — that explains why Mulan (Jamie Chung) and the others were “frozen” and didn’t know why — and she chilled with Hook for 28 years, waiting for Emma to be born and for the curse to be broken.

Does Emma have magic powers?

Why yes, she does! During the girls’ epic battle with Cora and Hook, Cora attempted to steal Snow’s heart, and Emma jumped in the way to save her. But rather than pull out Emma’s heart, Cora was knocked back by a mysterious force that came from within our golden-haired savior.

I think I speak for all fans when I say I’m stoked about this development, and really excited to see what Emma’s magic is capable of. I figured there had to be more to Emma than what we’d been shown so far, and I think they picked the perfect time to reveal it. Bravo, writers. Bravo!

Is Regina one of the good guys?

I’m hesitant to say Regina is good — promos for the show’s January return reveal she’s still very much a heinous anus — but to her credit, she really came through for Snow and Emma this week, seemingly using her own magic to pull them through the portal back to Storybrooke.

Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) was convinced — or at least we thought he was convinced — that Cora would win the fight and enter the portal to Storybrooke, but Regina listened to Henry (Jared Gilmore) and allowed the girls’ to make it through. She did it to prove she was becoming a better mother to Henry, but it kind of bit her in the ass when he lovingly addressed Emma as “mom,” and commenced an extremely gif-able group hug with Snow.

WTF is going to happen next?

The final moments of the episode revealed at least two story lines that will surely make fans anxious for the show’s Jan. 6 return: For starters, Aurora (Sarah Bolger) told Mulan that Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) is actually alive, and his soul is merely trapped in another dimension. So… let the questing commence!

(And can we talk about Mulan and Aurora for a hot second? That last scene, when Mulan cautiously inserted Aurora’s heart back into her body, had to have been written purely to send #Mulora fans into a frenzy. They can go looking for Phillip all they want; we know these two princesses are meant for each other.)

Last but certainly not least, Hook revealed he still had one more trick up his sleeve — and by “trick,” I mean “portal-opening bean” — so the episode ended with him and Cora sailing into the Storybrooke harbor! Did I say the real-world was about to get real? Because I meant it’s about to get rrrruuuullll.

Oncers, what was your favorite part of the insane winter finale? Was it Emma using her powers for the first time? Snow waking Charming up with true love’s kiss? Cora and Hook’s unparalleled badass-ery? Drop me a comment with your thoughts on the episode, and your predictions for January. (Together, we can survive the hiatus!)

— Andy Swift

More Once Upon A Time on HollywoodLife.com:

  1. ‘Once Upon A Time’ Recap: Snow & Charming Reunite — And It’s Hot
  2. ‘Once Upon A Time’: Are Sparks Flying Between Charming & Ruby?
  3. ‘Once Upon A Time’ Recap: Ruby Loses Control & Someone Dies

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Posted at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2013  

Each participant observed advantages all through the review.

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Katrina Poravich

Posted at 7:26 PM on February 23, 2013  

If this show goes gay with Milan and Aurora I will stop watching. And NO they are not made for each other. I am so sick of people’s good works (fairy tales) being changed and for someone else’s agenda. That is total abuse on the author who is dead and can’t sue for it. It is also really immature.

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Posted at 1:06 PM on December 8, 2012  

I’m still hoping we discover the identitiy of Baelfire. I’m thinking he is Peter Pan/Baelfire/Henry’s Father. This is my theory. He went to the land without magic. He was an orphan, a lost boy, found by Tinker Bell and brought to Neverland. In Neverland, he retained his youthfulness. Then finally returned to the real world grew up, met Emma, fathered Henry, runs into Pinnochio/August and leaves Emma. Now he has received the postcard and is on his way to Storybrooke.

Also, Cora is going to convince Regina she needs magic to win back Henry. Looking forward to the Hook/Rumple fight. Also can Hook/Cora leave Storybrooke, since they were not a part of the original curse?

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Posted at 11:35 AM on December 3, 2012  

Wow, what an amazing episode! It seems like everything this season was leading to this episode, I can’t wait to see what happens when the people from both worlds collide. The confrontations set to occur are going to be monumental, Cora and Regina is particular. A coworker at DISH thinks that Cora may try to push Regina to the dark side. But I think that Regina does have some good in her, so she will resist. I am so glad that with everything that happened in the finale, I didn’t miss anything with my DISH Hopper. The PrimeTime Anytime function automatically records the four major networks during primetime, giving me time to catch up. I also love that the function lets me watch everything commercial free, which helps with how impatient I am. It was nice to finally understand what happened to make Regina think her mother was dead. I am anxious to see how she will handle the reunion, I am sure it will not end very happy for either party.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 12:16 PM on December 3, 2012  

I feel like Cora could join forces with Emma. It looks like Regina will be going against Emma, so Cora and Emma have a common enemy. ;)

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Posted at 8:41 AM on December 3, 2012  

It was no surprise that Cora is the queen of hearts but I was so excited about the revelation! Also what is the deal with Hook, one minute he takes a heart and the next he is giving it back, I don’t understand what is his deal.

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Andy Swift

Posted at 11:02 AM on December 3, 2012  

I think he’s just looking out for himself. Teaming up with Emma made sense at the time, but now it’s in his best interest to side with Cora. Whoever can guarantee access to Rumpelstiltskin, I guess…

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Catherine Dove (@notthistwilight)

Posted at 10:40 PM on December 2, 2012  

Coming out as a BOOK next year!! Stephenie Meyer and her Army of Desperate Housewives: The Twilight Saga Exposed – How many OLDER Twihards became MORE obsessed than YOUNGER ones and RUINED this pretty fairytale for them! Blame Stephenie Meyer’s publisher and production company for their professional negligence in accepting and presenting Twilight SO IRRESPONSIBLY with SUCH an addictive, amateur “writing style” AND storyline. PETITION!! Search “research twilight breaking dawn” for blogspot called: explaintwilightbreakingdawnending.

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Posted at 8:42 AM on December 3, 2012  

What does this have to do with Once upon a time?

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Andy Swift

Posted at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2012  

How dare you?

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Posted at 6:00 PM on December 23, 2012  

Lol funny, twilight fans will do anything for more views, anyway this site is for once upon a time lovers, like myself :) amazed with the winter season can not wait to see the next part!!!!!

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