Once Upon a Time: Season 3 Questions and Theories


by Marianne Paluso (@Marianne _P81)

As we endure the hiatus for Once Upon a Time until the show returns on March 9th, let us contemplate some questions and theories we may have based on the promo for the second half of the season seen here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9OqlkNc0YM), episode titles that have been revealed, casting news, as well as discuss other things that have yet to be answered. MANY SPOILERS ahead.

One question pondered by the midseason finale: How exactly did Hook return to find Emma in New York? Regina’s curse said they would be prevented from ever returning to this world, so it bares the question of how Hook managed to. Has he been searching for a long time? My guess would be yes, as when Emma answers the door he says “At Last.” Of course that reaction could simple be because he desperately missed her. I wonder if we will get flashback scenes of Hook in the Enchanted Forest, looking sad, lonely, and heartbroken because he thinks he will never see Emma again. The happy look on his face when he found Emma in New York suggests that he surely felt that way while separated from her.

We must also wonder what kind of trouble Snow and Charming are in, as Hook’s urgency to help Emma remember is fervent. It is known that stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas are engaged and expecting a baby. Given Snow’s confession in the Echo Cave in episode 3×7 “Ariel” about wanting another child, writing in Goodwin’s pregnancy seems inevitable. Perhaps Snow and Charming’s unborn child is in danger or has been threatened.

We must also wonder what exactly happened to Rumplestiltskin. He disappeared but that does not necessarily mean death. His undoing could simply mean no longer being the Dark One. If he is alive (and let’s face it, how could they kill such a popular, dynamic character), where is he? In another land? Trapped somewhere? I want to see Belle and Neal go on a quest to discover what truly happened to him.

Another question would be when Regina goes back to the Enchanted Forest, will the wraith come after her soul? She was marked and the only way she was saved in the Season 2 premiere “Broken” was by sending it to another realm. But now they are in the same one. Will this be addressed? In the promo above we see a shot of Regina and Snow on the ground, looking up at something with a definite look of fright in their eyes. Could this be the wraith? I like the possibility of Robin Hood coming to the rescue. Robin and Regina are reportedly going to finally meet soon after the second half of the season starts, and love may be on the horizon. I also have a theory that Robin Hood is the person from another forest who taught Snow how to hunt.

Speaking of the wraith, will we ever see how Aurora and Mulan helped to restore Philip’s soul? Aurora and Philip are in the promo as well, so we will see them in some capacity again. And when everyone goes back to the Enchanted Forest will Archie be a cricket again, and will Sidney be stuck as a magic mirror once more?

With the new curse everyone was supposed to be sent back to where there came from. But Dr. Whale, aka Dr. Victor Frankenstein, was not from the Enchanted Forest. He was from the Land Without Color. Did he go back there or to the EF? In the promo we see him in Dr. Whale mode, so we will see what the deal is with this. This scene is quick and I am really wondering what is going on? Someone is hurt and we see both Robin Hood and Hook in the background.

It also appears in the promo that after being sent back to the Enchanted Forest they are somehow cursed again back to Storybrooke, as we see Belle and many others in modern clothing asking “Do you know who cursed us?” But what kind of curse is this? They seem to have their memories intact, so what else could be plaguing them? The second half of the third season is reportedly going to resemble Season 1, going back and forth between the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke. How this will play out on screen remains to be seen.

It is a safe bet that much of this has to do with the Wicked Witch seen in the promo. Is she the Wicked Witch of the West or the East? It is probably the former, as that is the one more are familiar with. How and whether we see anything of Oz will be interesting, as are her motivations. There have been plenty of Oz references in past episodes. There are quite a few in the episode 2×5 “The Doctor.” Jeffereson tells Rumplestiltskin he was unable to find “the Slippers,” and also gives him a crystal ball that resembles the one Professor Marvel uses in The Wizard of Oz film, not to mention that Victor is also referred to as “The Wizard.” Were these clues that either Rumple or Victor may end up being the famed leader? There have been additional Oz allusions peppered throughout the series. The pilot showed a page of Henry’s book with flying monkeys, while in episode 3×1 “The Heart of the Truest Believer” Neal says that “Ruby Slippers” can make a portal. We have also seen powder made from poppies that can put someone to sleep, much like the scene from Oz film when Dorothy falls asleep in the poppy field. I heartily look forward to how Oz is further incorporated in the Once canon.

Moving on from the promo, let us look at the episode titles that series creator Adam Horowitz has teased us with on twitter, as well those who have been cast. Episode 3×12 is entitled “New York City Serenade” and will most likely focus on Hook and Emma in New York as he tries to restore her memories. Christopher Gorham has reportedly been cast as someone important in Emma’s life. Who could it be? Episode 3×13 will be called “Witch Hunt” with that surely referring to the Wicked Witch (Lost alum Rebecca Mader), while 3×14 is entitled “The Tower,” undoubtedly a reference to Rapunzel with Alexandra Metz cast in the role. The last episode title we know is 3×15, “Quiet Minds” which is reportedly a Belle-centric episode. That will certainly be most welcome as she was definitely underutilized during the Neverland arc.

The titles for episodes beyond this are unknown, as is what we may expect. But if we are going to judge by previous episodes and seasons, it is a safe bet we will see parallels to the past, and in this case we will most likely see mirroring and fulfilled foreshadowing from the first episode of the season and the midseason finale. Foreshadowing is nothing new to the show. Remember in 2×4 “The Crocodile” when Belle was almost pulled across Storybrooke’s town line which would cause her to lose her memories, only for that very thing to happen in 2×11 “The Outsider. ”There is also the significant example of Storybrooke nearly being destroyed in 2×22 “And Straight On ‘Til Morning” and it actually disappearing in 3×11 “Going Home.”

In season 3 some things have already come into fruition. Consider when we saw Pan in Henry’s clothes in 3×2 “Lost Girl,” which foreshadowed Pan and Henry switching bodies. Or when Pan told Emma she would end up an orphan again. While her parents are still alive, she now has no memory of them. Once Upon a Time is very well crafted, so expect things from past seasons to also come into play. We already saw Emma accepting what she truly felt like in “Lost Girl”- an orphan- something Hook could tell she felt like just by the look in her eyes. And this occurred all the way back in 2×6 “Tallahassee.” That’s an 18 episode gap! What did I tell you folks? This show is well crafted.

A theory many have been ruminating on for the end of Season 3 (which has been beautifully discussed by the lovely Sarah at http://OnceUponaMirror.tumblr.com) will be Emma having to take a “Leap of Faith”- to believe in something or someone without any physical proof. As far as Emma has come, faith is something she still struggles with. And remember that August asked Emma to take a leap of faith in episode 1×20 “The Stranger,” which she could not do, and that Rumplestiltskin told Emma in 3×1 “The Heart of the Truest Believer” that she has never taken a true leap of faith. Given the shows penchant for paralleling and foreshowing, I think Emma just may have to finally take that leap in the end. Why she will take this leap may be for love, or perhaps to save someone. She is the savior after all. Given the fact that her relationship with Hook has been built up so beautifully, and the fact that he attempted True Love’s kiss to restore her memories (which could not work with memory loss), I would like to see, and we just may, a successful True Love’s Kiss between them and a true leap of faith for Emma

Lastly, there are some definite questions that have yet to be answered.

We’ve learned a bit more about how Henry was adopted, but there are still some things up the air. It’s true that Mr. Gold helped to procure him for Regina, but at this point he was still cursed and without his memories. He could not have possibly known who Henry was, so the question is, how was it that the savior’s son, out of all the possible children, was adopted? I have a feeling August found out about Emma’s pregnancy and did something to make sure Henry would end up in Storybrooke. Following or finding her son would be a big motivation to arrive in Storybrooke and eventually break the curse. There is still much about August that remains a mystery.

Moreover, how did August know Neal was Baelfire? In the Season 1 episode, “The Return” he says a little fairy told him about Rumplestiltskin’s dagger. Is this the truth? Could this also answer how he knew Neal’s true identity? There is story here waiting to be discovered. It has been confirmed by actor Eion Bailey that we will see August again, and a flashback where these questions are answered is certainly due.

Mary-Margaret says the storybook just appeared in her closet one day, like magic. How did it get there? And for that matter who wrote it? I have a theory the fairies may have written it. The Blue Fairy tells Snow and Charming just before the curse hits that “one day when the time is right, our story will reveal itself to Emma,” so that greatly implies they may have been involved in creating the book. But that does not explain how it arrives in Mary Margaret’s closet. Did Blue and Rumple strike a deal that ensured the book would arrive someday?

Gepetto’s parents were turned into little wooden dolls. Archie still feels guilty about this. We still saw them in Mr. Gold’s shop. Will they ever be restored to their human selves? It’s sad to think they won’t even if this is a third string story at this point in the show.

Will Grumpy and Nova ever find true love together? The season 2 DVD bonus feature “Welcome to Storybrooke” had a nice little scene with them where there clearly still love each other, but Nova says she still has to be a fairy. But will we see anything in the regular storyline?

Maleficent was in some sort of immortal form in Storybrooke? What about now? And was she the Black Fairy that was exiled, referenced in 3×11 “Going Home”?

There are a lot of characters that we have not seen in a while and I wonder if we ever will. These include Jefferson/The Mad Hatter, Kathryn/Abigail and Frederick, Ashley/Cinderella and Sean/Prince Thomas. Granted their storylines are pretty much tied up but it’d be nice to see them again.

Who were Hook’s parents? He says his father abandoned him, and I believe him. From what I gathered from his back story his older brother Liam looked after him. But what about their mother?

Who was Rumplestiltskin’s mother? What happened to her? Did she abandon her family or did she die, obviously when Rumple was still a small child?

We will have to wait until March to see how and if many of these questions will be addressed. One thing is for sure, if the second half of Once Upon a Time’s third season is anything like the first, we will be rejoicing in its happy moments, crying over its sad ones, and be desperately wanting to see what is on the next page of these captivating fairy tales.


  1. MarissaJanuary 14th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    These are the exact same questions and theories I’ve been thinking about!

    I have thought about who Hook’s parents could possibly be. As we’ve seen, anything is possible in the Enchanted Forest and that world. What if Ariel and Prince Eric are Hook’s parents? It’s an “out-there” theory, but still possible.

    I’m still unsure as to who I’d love to see Emma with, after she remembers, of course. I love Neal, but I love Hook and somehow she works so well with both of them! You can tell she really loves Neal, but you can also tell that Hook really loves her.

    As much as I love the Wizard of Oz, I hope they somehow incorporate Wicked too. I think it would be interesting to mix those together somehow.

    I really hope Rumple isn’t gone forever because I’ve grown to love him, and it would be wrong for Belle to be alone. She’s such a kind soul in the story.

    I’m so happy to see Rapunzel being introduced! (I secretly hope Flynn makes an appearance in the form of Zac Levi, haha, one can dream) … I love seeing how many Disney and fairy tale characters can be intertwined. The creators are evil masterminds!

    I could go on and on with all the theories out there, but I’ve already written a short story, so I’ll leave it at that!

  2. jsbJanuary 14th, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    rumple had his memories. he revealed he knew who he was prior to the curse breaking. i want to know how regina left storybrook to go pick him up if no one is allowed to leave. did she get a day pass b/c she’s the queen/curse caster?

  3. BenJanuary 14th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Another thing that doesn’t add up: Henry didn’t get to back to the Enchanted Forest because he was born in the “real” world, neither did Emma, since she was born and sent away before the curse struck. But what about Neal/Baelfire? Why did he have to go back as well? Wasn’t he transported far away before the curse hit? He could have just as easily stayed with Emma and Henry. Of course, Emma probably *could* have gone back, but Henry would have been left all alone.

  4. MarianneJanuary 14th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Great questions guys and I believe I can answer them. Rumple actually did not have his memories until Emma arrived in Storybrooke. Hearing Emma’s name is what woke him up. I do not recall, where but I remember the creators saying this. And I think becasue Regina enacted the curse she was the only one who could leave town. As far as why Bae/Neal had to be sent back to the Enchanted Forest- the way I understood the curse is that “everyone will be sent back to where they are from.” Since Bae is from there he goes back. Henry was born in our world so he is not from there, and becasue Emma is the savior she is the only one who could have stayed with him. Keep the discussion going. I love it 🙂

  5. bansheeJanuary 15th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I think after everyone is cursed back to Storeybrooke, Hook is the only one that can leave the town to find Emma without losing his memories (since he has no alternate memories).

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