Once Upon A Time returns to ABC Sunday, September 27th, and with it returns all of our favorite fairy tale characters to the not-so-sleepy-hollow of Storybrooke. All the usual fairy tale suspects return including Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, the Evil Queen, Hook, and Rumplestiltskin, and this year the Disney gang learns to deal with Emma’s shift to the dark side while everyone begins the search for Merlin!!! There’s never a dull moment in good old Storybrooke thanks to the dark curse that banished all the heroes and villains of fairy tale-dom to the tiny Maine town. And all those heroes and villains together in one place creates for plenty of drama and plenty of epic standoffs. To get you prepped for a whole new season of fairy tales, YE compiled a list of some of Storybrooke’s most fantastical standoffs yet!!!
1. Regina and Emma Swan
Back in the first season of OUAT, everyone was still figuring each other out and trying to discover the hidden pieces of their pasts. Newcomer to town Emma Swan gets the fairy tale ball rolling as she befriends young Henry who has a real interesting theory about Emma’s bio parents–interesting in that includes a book of fairy tales, Snow White, and Prince Charming. Emma ruffles some feathers, not the least of which belong to Regina aka The Evil Queen. To rid herself of the meddling Emma, Regina devises a plan to poison Emma Snow White-style with a poison apple…turnover. Much drama ensues, but in the end Emma is left unscathed as it’s poor little Henry who eats the turnover. Regina-0, Emma-0.
2. Regina and Rumplestiltskin
Let’s be honest: Regina is the Evil Queen, so basically she’s got beef with everybody. In the case of Rumple/Mr. Gold, the two have an ongoing rivalry. As Regina’s former teacher, the two are constantly letting petty jealousies from the past cause rifts and skirmishes. These two are always at odds about something or other, truly the best of “frenemies.”
3. Snow and Cora
In season 2 of OUAT, Mr. Gold brings magic back to Storybrooke, and the curse being broken opens up the veil between the fairy tale world and the real world allowing our fairy tale characters to remember their old lives, fully intertwining the 2 worlds. Emma and Mary Margaret/Snow venture back to the Enchanted Forest of the other world, and in their journeys they discover Cora (Barbara Hershey), Regina’s mother, who has some skeletons in her closet. Turns out, Cora is responsible for offing Snow’s mother, and the previously pure Snow White turns dark fast. After some drama, Snow tricks Regina into killing her own mother, and afterward her purity and conscience pay the price.
4. Pan vs. Pretty Much Everyone
The first half of season 3 of OUAT is known as the era of Neverland. Through some trickery, Peter Pan has succeeded in capturing human Henry from Storybrooke after discovering Henry has the purest “heart of the truest believer.” Cue pretty much the whole Storybrooke crew traipsing through Neverland in search of Henry, including a humbled Captain Hook who develops a thing for Emma. Emma, Snow, Regina, Charming, and Hook fight to take Henry back from Pan, but it’s Rumplestiltskin who ultimately succeeds inadvertently in trapping Pan in Pandora’s Box and freeing Henry…or does he? Upon returning to Storybrooke, the crew discovers that Pan had switched places with Henry, but never fear, the wrong was righted, and all was peaceful in Storybrook…for about 5 seconds before an old face from OZ returned to the scene…
5. Snow and Regina vs. Zelena, The Wicked Witch of The West
With all of the fairy tale characters back in the Enchanted Forest in the second half of season 3 after their adventures in Neverland, they all settle back into their lives pre-Storybrooke. Regina returns to her old castle breathless after a new sort of romance with Robin Hood, only to discover she’s got a squatter–her half sister Zelena, daughter of Cora, and better known as the Wicked Witch of the West. Zelena’s got evil designs for Snow and Charming’s unborn baby, amongst a slew of other badness brewing. Snow and Charming recruit Glenda the Good Witch to help with some light magic, and ultimately after various sacrifices from the residents of the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke, Regina ends up thwarting Zelena’s plans to take off with the new baby.
6. The Snow Queen vs. Emma, Elsa, and Regina
Season 4 brings some very new faces from the Disney universe to Storybrooke. The world of Frozen takes over with the arrival Elsa and a mystery snow queen. This dark Snow Queen immediately conjures up designs for wreaking havoc on the town and its citizens. Her machinations include framing Elsa for a freezing incident and tricking Elsa, Emma, and Regina into a trap. But the three ladies fight back, with Elsa overcoming her fears and destroying the chains, and Emma and Regina combining their powers to overcome the Queen’s icy minion. They escape, but not before The Snow Queen also escapes after acquiring the services of Sidney and taking possession of a magic mirror.
7. Maleficent vs. Pretty Much All of Storybrooke
Once Maleficent is resurrected during season 4, she will stop and nothing to find her long-lost daughter. This includes putting the whole town under a sleeping spell, colluding with Regina, and in general creating chaos that turns friends in to foes and vice versa. The identity of Maleficent’s daughter is eventually revealed…but more about that later…
8. Regina and Maid Marian
During seasons 3 and 4, Regina and Robin Hood started getting real cozy, unaware that they are both each other’s “true” loves. And just when things start to get serious, Robin Hood’s ex reappears (isn’t’ that always how it happens?). Maid Marian returns, expect she’s not a maid anymore because apparently she’s knocked up with Hood’s baby. Trying to do the right thing, Regina backs off, though she’s heartbroken. Her heartbreak turns to rage when it’s discovered that her hateful half-sister Zelena had been posing as a pregnant Maid Marian to destroy the relationship between Regina and Robin and to spite Mr. Gold. Ah, sisters. Can’t live with them, can’t melt them with water or crush them with a house, or you’ll never hear the end of it. Chaos ensues, and tough choices have to be made in order to save Robin from one of Zelena’s schemes.
9. Emma and Cruella
Cruella de Vil appears in the Storybrooke world around the same time Maleficent does, and she’s determined to get revenge on the Author. Her plan is to kidnap Henry in order to force Emma and Regina into killing the Author. It’s prophesied that this ruckus with Cruella will cause a break in Emma, a break so intense that it will turn Emma “dark.” Gold tries to warn her, but events transpire such that Emma ends up killing Cruella to save Henry, a dark choice that changes Emma.
10. Lily vs. Emma and Snow
Back to Maleficent’s daughter. Turns out, the daughter Maleficent was looking for is a girl from Emma’s non-Storybrooke past, a girl named Lily who did some shady stuff to Emma when the two were orphans living in foster care. Reunited with her baddie mom, Lily wants revenge for Maleficent. She targets Snow and Charming, leading to a showdown involving Emma. Regina intervenes just in time to stop Emma from “going dark” and doing things she’d regret. Eventually, Lily’s quest for vengeance leads to her turning into a dragon to destroy Snow and Charming. But Maleficent of all people talks some sense into her and calms her down.
Which brings us to the end of season 4, where, with the apprentice wounded, there’s only one sorcerer who can save the characters from impending darkness…and thus the hunt for Merlin begins!! Check out the search beginning Sunday, September 27th!!!
Check out Emma “The Dark Swan” from Season 5 below!