By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated March 09, 2012 at 05:54 PM EST
FX

Hello from the road, Roomies!

Of course, I’m not actually typing while driving in Los Angeles — that would be scary. But I am currently enjoying the sunshine in L.A. while covering PaleyFest and having a lovely time. The best part of it all? I get to bring all the fun straight to you. If you haven’t checked it out, make sure you bookmark EW’s PaleyFest hub and follow me on Twitter as we head into the final stretch of panel fun. Today I’m headed to Castle, with Vampire Diaries and Revenge to follow this weekend.

But enough from me, here’s what you came for: Fresh scoop straight from the red carpet and some fun bits from my time on set at NCIS, HIMYM, and Grey’s Anatomy. (More to come from all these, too!)

Follow @EWSandraG

‘ONCE UPON A TIME’: ANSWERS AND APPLES ‘RED AS BLOOD’

The magical first season of Once Upon a Time is set to wrap up in May, but don’t ask for the last episode’s title. “We’re debating it,” said co-executive producer Adam Horowitz. “We’ve run out — that’s it. We can’t think of a title now,” fellow co-EP Edward Kitsis joked.

But the penultimate episode is a different story. I’ll let you theorize exactly what the title “Apple Red as Blood,” means, but I can tell you that it’s part of a final arc that will focus heavily on the major players rather than stand-alone stories — like the heartwarming one we saw this week with Grumpy. “Next week is who the big bad wolf is. And then we just take off,” said Kitsis. “You’re gonna find out why the evil queen hates Snow White, what happened to Rumple’s son. You’re gonna find out who the stranger is. You’re gonna find out what happened to Kathryn and her disappearance, and it’s just gonna go crazy now.” Crazy, indeed — especially with Mary Margaret and David, Josh Dallas said.

Mr. Gold will act as Mary Margaret’s lawyer after she becomes implicated in Kathryn’s disappearance (and, possibly, murder, Kitsis teased!), and, says Dallas, “Lots of things go down. [David] feels very responsible,” he says. And it will all lead up to the epic season-ender. “All I can say is I just got the script for episode 21 and it is going to go someplace that the audience will not expect it ever to go,” he said.

ON THE SET AT ‘NCIS’: A PREVIEW

You may have seen my Tweets about roaming on the NCIS set, and indeed, I’ve come back from my travels with a nugget of scoop for you! (There’s a lot more where this came from, so stay tuned!) But until then, executive producer Gary Glasberg opened up to me about the episode they were filming on the day I was on set, which will introduce us to a longtime friend of Ziva’s, played by Karina Lombard (Rescue Me, The L Word), who becomes involved in a case being worked on by the team.

“We established in the season opener that she has this friend who she was going to talk to and see,” says Glasberg. “In this episode, we’re actually going to meet this woman, who is a friend of Ziva’s who shares a bit of big sister relationship with her.”

The episode ends up taking the gang to Colombia (erm, Long Beach), where they go to investigate the case of a missing Navy chaplain. “She participates with us and helps us figure it out. Along the way, you get an understanding of the relationship [between Ziva and her friend],” he said. All this, he adds, is just a piece of the character-centric puzzle they’re putting together that will come into play heavily in the season finale. “[Ziva] is realizing that she’s made decisions along the way. She has to decide how important a relationship is to her and what she really wants from her life too,” he says. “It’s nice to be nine and a half seasons into a show and feel like the characters are still figuring out who they are. I feel like there’s a long way to go. It is realistic.”

NEXT: New Girl, Shameless, HIMYM, and more!

‘NEW GIRL’: A NICK TWIST?!

New Girl’s first season finale isn’t nailed down yet, but creator Liz Meriwether isn’t worried. “We’re not making Lost,” she joked while on the red carpet before the show’s panel at PaleyFest. But that’s not to say the finale won’t be fun. “We do have, hopefully, a really fun episode planned for the end that would just focus on all of them together,” she said.

Until he sees the finale in front of him, Jake Johnson is in the dark about what’s in store for Nick (and Nick and Jess, for that matter). He teased, however, that the episodes leading up to the closer will have some shockers in store for Nick. How so? “At the end of season 1, things are getting really interesting for Nick. I’m just reading the script and it’s surprising me,” he said. “A love interest comes in the picture for Nick that was really shocking for me.” And I don’t think he was talking about Nick’s man-crush on Dermot Mulroney (who will pop up soon as a love interest for Jess).

Where does that leave comedy’s newest ‘shipper-friendly pair? In the friend-zone most likely, especially considering Meriwether said the finale would “cement their friendship in a really cool way.” Well, good things come to those who wait, friends. Also, there’s fanfiction. (Do NOT even give me that look.)

Watch:

SIDE DISHES

Hi Sandra! My husband and I are big fans of Shameless and we think it is not getting the credit it deserves! So can you give it a plug and also give my husband and I some news about what will happen in the rest of season 2? Thanks! — Shameless-ly Addicted (a.k.a. Crystal)

The upcoming Thanksgiving-centered episode (airing March 25) is an emotional roller-coaster that, I think, could turn even non-fans into regular watchers. (Suggestion: Have a shameless viewing party! Erm, I mean, Shameless.) And it’s probably my favorite Lip episode to date. He may be a fractured, foul-mouthed person, but at his core, he’s a pretty sensitive guy. You’ll see this come to the surface as the birth of his baby draws near. How? He prepares a video for the little tyke that he plans to give the adoptive parents. But be warned, the end of this hour, in which you’ll see Karen (graphically) give birth, will not end how you expect on many levels.

It’s ridic that HIMYM didn’t get a PaleyFest panel this year! Sandra, make that happen next year. K? How about some scoop to make us feel better? — Deena

I’ll do what I can! (Read: I can’t do anything about it, but I agree. Ha.) Buuuuuuut, I can tell you that I was on set yesterday when they were filming the penultimate episode. (See my stupid, ridiculously happy grin here.) It’s a half hour that you might already know something about if you regularly read Spoiler Room, and while it’s incredible in so many ways, I can’t reveal much quite yet. But here’s what I did learn while trolling around set: The full name of Marshall and Lily’s baby. And, honestly, it’s perfect in every way. Guesses?

Sandra, I don’t know about you but I’m going through Leverage withdrawal to the point that I’m growling like Eliot and my co-workers are sounding suspiciously like Chaos and Hardison. Any clues as to what may be in store for us this next season? Thanks! — Brandy

As you wish.

Thank you for your Office scoop, but what about Daryl and Val?! They’re my new Jim and Pam! — Cameron

I love them, too! But that’s exactly why I was troubled to hear that Brandon (Val’s boyfriend) would be back for the finale, which will be written and directed by B.J. Novak, to “have it out” with Darryl! “I think it’s fun to see Darryl want something — to see Darryl care about something, to see Darryl not get something he wants so easily, to see him in a rivalry with someone,” says Novak. “And Jerry Minor, the actor who plays Brandon, has done a lot of stage work with Craig [Robinson]. You should see it on YouTube, it’s very not safe for work but it’s extremely funny. But it’s really about getting more sides of Craig: romance, comedy, character.”

Have fun at the Bones panel! Bring back something juicy! — Karen

I did have a blast! (Full report here.) And I even brought back a present: Scoop on those four stand-alone Bones episodes! While they don’t have airdates yet, creator Hart Hanson tells me that they “took some creative chances” with this batch. “If they would have been in the normal season, maybe the network may have [been apprehensive],” he said. “But we got a little poetic license.” One of them? A 9/11-centric episode that brings all the interns together in a creative way, another that is from the point of view of the murder victim, one that deals with identical twins, and another that finds the remains glued to a living person.

Community has to come back, like, now. That’s all. — Kellie

Soon, my pet. Soon. Meanwhile, nosh on this from Danny Pudi, who teased me with some info about the upcoming Law & Order-themed episode that finds the gang investigating a crime that’s been committed against them. “The group goes on this hunt on campus, trying to figure out who’s the perp and how it’s going to effect the group. What I love about this episode in particular is that, like any episode of Law & Order — where they go around the whole city of New York and you meet people and there’s detours — the same thing happens to the world of Greendale. It’s a nice chance to get all the characters back. Like, all of them,” he said. (Everyone from Star-burns, to Vicki, to Fat Neil!) But my biggest burning question about the episode: Did they get to use the L&O sound effect?! “I don’t know yet,” he said, laughing. “I think it depends on whether or not there’s money. It’s probably more expensive than our show.”

NEXT: and more!

I’d love to know Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari’s reaction to Tom & Ann dating. Do they enjoy the pairing? — @TJSzychowicz

Ansari and Jones were among the non-attendees during Parks and Recreation‘s last-minute PaleyFest panel. (The cast graciously subbed for The Office after they fell through.) But executive producer Dan Goor and writer-producer Dean Holland told me that the pair has been a long time coming. If you’ll recall, Tom tried to pick up Ann during the very first public forum that was shown on the show. “He just felt like he should be hitting on her and set it off. And that has been a consistent theme, and there has also been a consistent theme that Ann finds him to be ridiculous and hilarious and annoying. But finding someone to be ridiculous and hilarious and annoying is just the other side of also kind of finding them cute and fun and annoying,” says Goor. “And so what we’re doing is we’re playing with that. Primarily, it’s a comedy relationship.” But is that something that can last until next season? Not necessarily, says Goor. “There’s an arc to it,” he says. “I don’t know if it’ll be around.” If not, there’s always a spin-off hope, the pair joked. “On the spin-off show, Tom and Ann, they’re married and have kids,” Holland laughed. Goor added: “They have an alien child!”

White Collar!! Yes, I know it just ended. But the withdrawal has already begun. Send help! (Preferably in the form of scoop.) — Jane

Scoops, ahoy! As you might have read this morning, Mekhi Phifer and Gregg Henry are among the faces you’ll see when the season starts. An added bit of scoop? Production is set to begin in a matter of days, and they’re not in New York. In fact, I hear the crew will set up in Puerto Rico! However, in the script, that’s not where Neal and Mozzi have jetted off to.

Are you going to the Castle panel at Paley? I’m so excited for it! — @gabeboyd

I am. See you there? If not, send your q’s, and I’ll get you answers! Also on tap this weekend? Vampire Diaries and Revenge! You know how to reach me: spoilerroom@ew.com

Ask Kurt Sutter if not killing off Clay was a cop-out. — @massagebyjodi

I think it was certainly the less expected path, which I can appreciate. And I appreciated it even more after speaking with Sutter this week. “I think Clay’s gonna start the season in a debilitated state, both physically and emotionally,” he said. “I think everyone has a different point of view about [Jax being at the head of the table]. I think there’s a lot of guys that are happy to see that, and I think there’s some people that will question his authority. But really sort of seeing right now where the loyalties are going to lead, where they’re going to lie and that will play out as the season progresses.” And some of these loyalties may not line up where you expect.

How is Opie going to receive Jax being President now? — @CandiceTanishaB

As covered in my wrap-up, Opie and Jax’s relationship will start the season fractured, according to Sutter. My worry? Opie could fall into the Not So Loyal group mentioned above. It’s too early to tell for sure, of course. But with Sutter at the helm, I prepare for everything. You should, too.

PLEASE tell me Grey’s was on your list of stops while traveling L.A. And if so, tell me you’ve got some juicy scoop! — Stephanie

It was. And while there, I ran into Switched at Birth star Vanessa Marano, too! It was a BIG day for me, clearly. More to come from all these interviews soon. What I can see in the meantime is that you’ll see Marano like you’ve never seen her before. (Like most things on Grey’s, it’s intense.)

April Daley, Marc Snetiker, and Michelle Profis contributed to this column.

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