Television Recap & Review - Once Upon A Time (Episode 312 - New York City Serenade)

I'm one again exploring formats for my reviews.  So, let me know what you think of this one where I clearly divide the recap and review.  In both cases, please note that there are SPOILERS.  So, if you don't want to know what happens, please do not read unless you've watched the episode.

THE RECAP
The episode begins with Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) riding to meet Aurora (Sarah Bolger).  The two of them seem happy and are expecting a family.  Suddenly, the storm clouds come in and, before you know it, all the inhabitants of Storybrooke have returned to the Enchanted Forest.  Although, they do not look happy.

We then return to the "Real World" with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) meeting her date with her boyfriend Walsh (Christopher Goram).  Emma seems happy and enjoying herself.  Her boyfriend excuses himself for a moment and, instantly, Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) comes by and startles Emma.  He tries to convince her that her family is in danger.  He hands her an address and urges her to go there to see he's telling the truth.  He also tells her to use her "super power" if she doesn't believe him.

Photo: ABC
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas) and Regina (Lana Parilla) are debriefing Phillip and Aurora as to what has happened.  Phillip tells them they are welcome to their kingdom.  Snow and the gang decide to take back her kingdom and to take Regina with them. As they prepare, Aurora and Phillip talk in confidence and that they have to kill "her" now that they've returned.

Back in the "Real World," Walsh comes back with a ring and proposes marriage.  Emma is unsure and walks out.  Walsh stops her and Emma tells her that she feels it's all going so fast.  He tells her that they can take it slow and don't have to get married right away.  Emma returns home to Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and Henry asks what she said to Walsh.  Emma is surprised that he knew.  Henry seems to be content with Walsh joining the family and tells Emma that not everybody is like his father.  We learn Emma's only memory of Neal is him setting her up to take the fall for his crime.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Jiminy Cricket arrives and tells Grumpy (Lee Arenberg) that other inhabitants of Storybrooke are popping up all over.  Charming sees Hook getting his horse ready.  Hook tells Charming that he's going to go return to his ship.  Both Charming and Snow are disappointed by his decision.  As Hook leaves, Neal (Micheal Raymond-James) says he's heard about others showing up and hopes that his father might be one of them.

Photo: ABC
Back in the "Real World," Henry asks Emma if something is wrong.  He says it seems like she's always looking for something to be wrong and that it's okay to be happy.  But, Emma clearly has the address Hook sent her on her mind.  She goes to the address and it is Neal's old apartment.  She then discovers a camera with a strap that says "Henry."  She then goes to meet Hook and questions him.  She wants to know why there was a camera with her son's name on it and Hook says it's proof that he's telling the truth as Henry must have left it in the apartment before the spell.  Hook tries to give Emma a potion to help her remember, but she ends up having him arrested for assaulting her.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) talks with Neal and tells her that she thinks they can get Rumplestiltskin back.  The inhabitants of Storybrooke approach Snow White's kingdom when Grumpy informs Snow that Regina is missing.  Snow finds Regina burying a heart.  It's Regina's heart.  She's trying to bury the pain of losing Henry.  Snow White tries to tell her she knows how she feels having lost her daughter twice.  She tells her things will get better and reminded her that Henry wanted her to be happy.  Regina then takes her heart back and rejoins the group.  As Snow and Regina walk back, Snow hears something in a bush.  It's a flying monkey trying to take them away, but Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) and his Merry Men come to help.

Back in the "Real World," Emma tells Henry that maybe it's time for her to start looking forward.  Henry is excited about the prospect of his mom finding happiness with Walsh.  Henry goes upstairs and Emma looks at some photos that she had developed off of Henry's camera.  She is shocked and goes to see Hook again who she's had released.  She doesn't understand what's happening in the photos that have never happened before.  Hook again tells her that it's further proof he's telling the truth.  He tells her to trust what's in her gut, which is something Henry also tells her.  She decides to take the potion Hook offered her earlier and her memories return.  She recognizes Hook!

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Robin Hood recognizes Neal and Belle.  Regina asks what Emma thinks about Robin, him being a thief and all.  Snow tells her to think of it from his perspective and how he thinks he looks at her.  Regina says, "Point taken."  As they walk along, they discover the castle is surrounded by a protection spell.  But, who?  Regina is upset about something taking her castle and wants to storm it.  Charming, though, thinks they should keep their people protected and Robin Hook offers up his camp.

Photo: ABC
Back in the "Real World," Emma has a drink with Hook who tells her he came back to save her.  Emma doesn't know how to tell Henry about all this.  She doesn't know how to explain this to Walsh either and goes to talk with him.  Emma tells Walsh she can't marry him and that she needs to go home to take care of some things.  Walsh suddenly tells her that he wished she'd never drank the potion.  She realizes Walsh isn't who he says he is and reveals himself to also be a flying monkey.  He attacks Emma, but she manages to get rid of it.  She then tells Hook she realizes she was never safe there and that they'll leave in the morning.

In the morning, Emma tries to figure out how to tell Henry.  She asks him if he believes in magic.  He says he does, but in a joking way.  She then tells Emma that they're going to go on a trip.  Henry is excited about this, but puzzled that they're going so soon.  She introduces Hook to him as "Killian" and says they're going.  But, before they do, she puts on her familiar red jacket.  And, off they go to Storybrooke.

In Storybrooke, Emma asks Hook to watch Henry while he's asleep in the car.  She goes up to her parents' apartment and discovers them there.  They explain that they've returned through some curse and that an entire year has been wiped out.  They can't remember anything...including Snow White's pregnancy.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, we see a figure in back talking to a flying monkey.  The monkey has brought her some of Regina's blood and the figure says that she can finally extract her revenge on the queen.  She reveals herself to be the Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) from Oz.

Photo: ABC
THE REVIEW
Anyway, after several months on hiatus, Once Upon A Time is back!  And, when I say "back," I mean BACK...IN STORYBROOKE!  While I enjoyed the earlier part of the season and the trip to Never Land, I was a little worried that the curse during the mid-season finale would continue to take the characters out of the Storybrooke.  One of the things that makes the show fun and special is that we're seeing fairy tale characters living in the "Real World."  Yes, we get to see their former lives in the Enchanted Forest in flashbacks, but, the heart of the stories take place in Storybrooke.

This episode was mainly a bridge from the events of the mid-season finale in which the curse brings the inhabitants of Storybrooke back to the Enchanted Forest to the next episode which will start answering some of the questions as to how they returned.  But, it was a fun episode nonetheless, including the whole plot line in which Emma almost marries a flying monkey!

The twist is an interesting one with a curse placed on them where they forgot what happened between the time they left Emma and Henry to the point where Emma returns to Storybrooke.  The end of the episode leaves us with so many questions.  Not only do we wonder what happened in that year and how Snow White is pregnant, but how Hook ended up there seemingly with some memories and what Henry will do considering he has no memories of his fairy tale family.

It will also interesting to see how some of the characters will change.  I'm mainly referring to our villainous characters who have been moving toward redemption.  During the mid-season finale, we saw Rumplestiltskin sacrifice himself for his family.  Hook is now playing a central part in helping Emma save her family and save herself.  And, we see Regina becoming chummy with the eternally optimistic Snow White.

And, to do this, we are giving our villains some villains of their own.  To say that I'm excited about Oz coming to Once Upon A Time is an understatement.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Oz stories.  Although, it's interesting with the Oz stories being American fairy tales that they'd cast the Wicked Witch with an actress with a British accent.  LOL!

So, it will be interesting to see how wicked and evil differ and I, for one, am in for the ride!

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