Oh, hello there, Oncers.
My name is Justin, and I am undertaking the recaps for Once Upon a Time this season. I tend to consider myself a bit of a Regina with Belle undertones, because I’m a hardworking lady with a penchant for inconvenient naps, but that’s just a little about me. In short, work with me, tell me your thoughts, and maybe we’ll all find our happy endings this season — probably not, but still. You didn’t come here for that; you came to see how our Heroes are going to bounce back from the tomfoolery of last season.
We open season 6 with a whole new world (don’t you dare close your eyes), a man riding a horse, and another man on a magic carpet who is not the greatest shot with his laser magic. The man goes to visit a new Savior (not Emma), but the Savior isn’t seeing anyone today. And that’s when our boy, Jafar, rolls in, kills our friend on the horse, and then throws a nice lady against a wall. That leaves the Savior, who stands up to confront Jafar, and of course, it’s none other than Aladdin. Jafar gives him a speech about being a Savior and we get a little insight into the role… After giving and giving and giving, it appears Saviors do not live happily ever after. He leaves Aladdin shaking in his nice burlap wrap.
Back in Storybrooke, Hook and Emma are having a TIME making out on the couch like a couple of kids. But they’re interrupted when the house begins to twitch (the roof to pitch?). Nope, instead it’s a giant ship/blimp floating through the sky, and the residents of Storybrooke come out to see the shlimp (?) from the Land of Untold Stories. Of course, that’s when Hyde announces it’s just a few of his friends coming into town. Emma and Regina try to fight him, but it’s of no use.
Once the shlimp lands, Hook and Emma go to explore with the other residents, but no one is there. The team begins to savage the wreckage, but when a shield is thrown, it sends Emma into some PTSD-like flashbacks and she, too, gets the Aladdin tremors…it’s concerning, to say the least. But how did Hyde and his friends even get here? That deal with Rumple. So Rumple turned over Storybrooke, got Pandora’s box, and in turn was revealed a place called the Temple of Morpheus, which will allow him to walk through Belle’s dreams and wake her. He goes all Inception into Belle’s dreams and meets Morpheus, who asks if he’d like to wake her up, NBD.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Regina heads home to find new bestie/roomie/sister-friend Zelena watching over the new baby. Zelena mentions she has a feather Robin left her, but she can’t find it. It’s a little funny, because I am 100-percent HERE for Zelena and Regina being roommates. Snow finds Regina in the graveyard, sealing off her tomb, and confronts her. Regina reveals the little roommate tiff. Snow’s sympathetic, but my go-to would have been, “Hey girl, you bummed that your sexy, altruistic bud Robin died? Yeah, me too.”
While important, they all understand the real issue is dealing with Hyde. So the Heroes head to Hyde’s place and offer up Jekyll, but Hyde reveals he’s not as scared of Regina as he was the Evil Queen. He grabs Regina as Emma has another tremor-laden flashback, nearly getting Regina choked out in the process. Fortunately, Emma jumps into action and foils Hyde, but in the meantime, Hyde reveals he might know some information about being the Savior that Emma would probably like to know. (Ugh, don’t you hate a passive-aggressive mad genius? Same.) Still reeling from the shakiness, Snow and David send Archie into the woods to check on Emma. When you look at the transition it takes to move from New York to a small town where you’re constantly saving humanity…that’s a lot on your shoulders.
Instead of taking a rest like Archie suggests, she heads over to where Hyde is being kept to have a chat. He immediately calls out that she knows what it’s like to be imprisoned, and she folds and sits down with him. But she gets the upper hand and says she remembers the loneliness, and he can either tell her what he knows or she’ll never come back. In classic Hyde fashion, he loses all chill and tries to choke her, but is stopped by his chains. He tells her to “follow the red bird.” Hold on to that, because it seems important…
Back in Belle’s dreams, Morpheus leads Rumple to a castle, where Belle is still a servant and Rumple is still a beast. If that’s not super frustrating, Morpheus reveals Rumple has one hour to wake Belle up, otherwise she won’t wake up ever. So Rumple takes on the challenge, planning to just make Belle fall in love with him again. Aw, Rumple… Don’t you love rooting for him when he’s not being AWFUL and trading Storybrooke to super-attractive lunatics? The problem is, the castle is much worse than it ever was when Belle and Rumple met, so he has his work cut out for him.
NEXT: Even if it’s just in your (son’s) wildest dreeeams…
Upon first opportunity, Rumple charms Belle and puts “Beauty and the Beast” on the record player, and I’m not crying. The windows open up, and the two start dancing. Rumple changes Belle’s dress into the iconic yellow number, and who knows what happened next because I was drowning in my own tears until Angela Lansbury came and pulled me out.
Over in Storybrooke, Zelena and Regina come back into the house, where Regina is having an exceptionally hard time dealing with Robin’s death. That’s when Regina reveals she blames Zelena for Robin’s death. And then Zelena throws some shade by saying how hurt she was Regina got rid of her evil side after chatting it up with Snow White. Why is that upsetting? Because Regina ripped out the part of herself that is most like Zelena. I get the premise, but it’s like saying, “I can’t believe you got rid of your pimple without telling me! Now I have a pimple alone.” OH ZELENA.
In the woods, Snow and David are looking for Hyde’s friends with Hook and Emma, but it appears they’re not having much luck. Snow offers up Granny’s place for food and shelter, but as we all know, scoundrels are in it for more than just snacks and pillows. Hook finally calls out Emma’s tremor, but she insists it’s nothing. She has to lose Hook for a while because a red bird flies up and per Hyde’s suggestion, she has to follow up. It leads her to a nice blonde in the woods who reveals those PTSD-like flashbacks aren’t flashbacks at all. They’re flash-forwards (I SEE YOU DAMON LINDELOF!) of what Emma’s bleak-looking future could become.
Equally devastating, Regina is trying to do a locator spell to find that poor feather Roland gave Zelena. Per usual, Henry rolls up with some wisdom, saying she has to have faith and listen to what’s most important…like family and friendship and love. And speaking of love, we go back and visit (Dream) Belle and Rumple, who tells Dream Belle how his son left because he wouldn’t change his ways. That’s not exactly how it happened, but sure, let’s call it that. Anyway, he promises Belle he would change his ways for her. They share a kiss, but it only reminds her of all the memories that come with Rumple…broken promises, sadness, a shady relationship. Anyway, Morpheus shows up and says, “It’s chill — proud of you for not believing Dad’s lies again.” Belle is super confused, and so am I, but then it’s revealed Morpheus is actually Belle and Rumple’s son and this is also his dream. He kisses his mom on the forehead and True Love’s Kiss wakes her up — and boy, when she does, she’s NOT ready to hang out with Rumple.
Back in the woods, Emma gets a little more insight into her future. She’s in a sword fight with a hooded figure who eventually sends a sword through her gut while she’s protecting her family. The girl in the woods reveals it’s a small part of her ending and that ultimately, she will die. She can change the path that leads her there, but she can’t change the ending. Emma runs back to Hyde and tells him she won’t give up, even with the visions. But Hyde lets her know she’s not the first Savior — basically, she stands no chance.
Needing a pick-me-up, Emma meets up with Hook to chat it out. She maintains her hand tremor was just due to stress, but we all know how that lie is going to fly. Out on the bench, Snow and Regina talk about how Regina has a long road to being happy again, but she can get there. Regina says she was a terrible stepmother and looks to Snow for advice on how to deal with it all…and that’s when Snow says she stayed alive by never giving up hope, even in the face of the Evil Queen trying to kill her.
When we reach the end of the episode, Regina starts spitting some serious truth: She says that in maintaining she was the Evil Queen, she forgot her story wasn’t just hers — it’s a story that plays a part in a number of other stories. It’s optimistic and hopeful, but y’all… It’s also the beginning of the season. A season where a red bird spells nothing more than trouble and where that red bird’s feather falls on a windowsill and the windowsill just happens to be the place where Zelena is staying… with the Evil Queen, who has created a couple of bright-green cocktails for the two to share. And just like that, we have an Evil Queen, a hot-and-bothered Hyde, and a red bird who means business… And it’s only episode one.