Just when we thought happily ever after is within reach, someone just has to step in and ruin it all.
The original curse may be gone, but Rumpel’s not about to give up the fight. Now that everyone has their memory back, they can’t return to the Enchanted Forest. Plus, anyone who crosses the town line will forget their fairy-tale identity.
And because she wanted to protect Rumpelstiltskin, Belle accidentally crosses over the line and forgets who she is.
Even worse? Henry is in Neverland after being kidnapped by Greg and Tamara, who are working for Peter Pan (who is apparently evil).
Warning: The main purpose of this post is to serve as a guide when watching the series or to spark interest into watching the series, so yes, there WILL be spoilers. Lots of them.
In Which They Introduce a Brand-New Way to Drive Their Viewers Nuts
Season 3 is the first time that the show is divided into two story arcs. This works to the series’ advantage in terms of telling more stories and including more characters. This also works in the viewers’ favor. Instead of waiting two months for a resolution after a nail-biting mid-season finale, an arc introduced at the start of the season is closed. In the mid-season finale, a new arc is introduced. This way, the season is also a lot easier to catch up on.
The downside? Sometimes it feels like the story’s become way too convoluted, or it seems a little rushed. There’s also the fact that your feels are doubled.
For the third season, the first arc focuses on the story of Peter Pan. On the second arc, the Wicked Witch of the West takes center stage.
In the first arc, Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Mr. Gold, and Captain Killian “Hook” Jones all travel to Neverland to rescue Henry, who is being held hostage by none other than Peter Pan. Pan is after the “heart of the truest believer,” which a prophecy foretold belongs to Henry.
Upon entering the island, Mr. Gold leaves the team to search by himself. The rest of the team manage to track down Tinker Bell, who reluctantly agrees to help.
Neal, on the other hand, is in the Enchanted Forest. There, he meets Robin Hood, who helps him get to Neverland by traveling via Pan’s shadow. Unfortunately, he also gets captured by Pan. Neal is then rescued by Emma’s party, and together, they look for Henry.
Emma learns from Wendy what Pan’s intentions with Henry were. The race is on to save him. If Henry gives his heart, he will die, and Pan will become immortal. The group goes to Skull’s Rock, where Pan is slowly absorbing Henry’s heart. Emma, Regina, and Mary Margaret attack Pan and manage to save Henry. Unbeknownst to them, Pan is in Henry’s body.
Oh, and one more thing, Pan is actually Rumpelstiltskin’s father.
Arc 2 begins with Emma and Henry living in New York. For all they know, they’ve lived in the city for ten years, but a distraught Hook comes knocking at their door, pleading for them to return to Storybrooke. By the time they get there and regain their memories, the town has already been taken over by a woman named Zelena. Even Rumpel is under her command. Zelena now has the Dark One’s dagger and is able to control Rumpel. It is also revealed that Mary Margaret is pregnant and that Zelena is after her baby.
Zelena is revealed as the Wicked Witch, green skin included, but that’s not all. She’s also Regina’s half sister. The parallels between her and Regina’s life are shown through a series of flashbacks. Rumpel even taught Zelena how to wield her magic. Back in Storybrooke, Emma agrees to let Regina teach her magic after seeing Zelena’s strength.
Emma and Hook make their way to the Enchanted Forest through the same portal Zelena used to look for Glinda the Good Witch to find out how to defeat Zelena. While looking for a way back to Storybrooke, they accidentally intercept Snow and Charming on their first meeting, which causes a big setback as they have to correct the situation. Emma manages to use her magic to reopen the portal. Zelena is defeated, captured, and imprisoned, and the whole town celebrates the birth of Mary Margaret and David’s son.
With the new storytelling style, season 3 managed to highlight characters and their stories more than they have others.
Peter Pan We all know who Peter Pan is—the boy who never grows old. In the series, his story takes a dark turn as Pan kidnaps children to extend his life. In this season, we also see more of Captain Hook and meet Tinker Bell.
The Little Mermaid Although Ariel doesn’t appear a lot this season, it’s great that she was still incorporated in the story somewhat.
The Wicked Witch of the West This character appears as an antagonist in Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here, the Wicked Witch seems to challenge Regina in terms of influence and, above all, magic.
Read more Once upon a Time series recaps and reviews here:
Disclaimer: Images are not ours. Credit to the owner.