Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the midseason return of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!
Regina might have found her second chance at love with Robin.
During Once Upon a Time‘s midseason premiere, Regina (Lana Parrilla) was reunited with her late love Robin (Sean Maguire) in the Wish Realm — but this version of Robin is not the leader of a merry band of thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor. No, this is Robin of Locksley, who basically just steals for his own benefit.
However, Regina still jumps at the chance to bring Robin back to Storybrooke, with the duo safely touching down at the end of the hour. “He gives her a feather, and that for her represents hope,” Parrilla tells EW. “There’s something sort of real about him. She doesn’t really think he’s going to make it through the wardrobe, but he does, and that gives her a lot of faith and hope that maybe there is another chance, or maybe this is her second chance, at love with him.”
Introducing Robin into this new world won’t be easy for anyone involved. For example, he’ll experience difficulty “learning how to use a light switch and a microwave,” Parrilla says with a laugh. “He’s kind of back to the Robin that we knew, which all these characters that came into our modern world didn’t really know how things worked. When you’ve seen them come into Storybrooke, they really don’t know how things operate, and how things work, so she’s dealing with that.”
But it certainly goes into much more emotional territory, too. “Every time she sees him, he looks just like her Robin Hood, but he’s not, and so she’s a little confused on, how far does she go with this?” Parrilla says.
As difficult as it is for Regina, it’s also a challenge for Robin to face his legacy in this realm, with executive producer Edward Kitsis likening Robin’s feelings to what Regina dealt with when she believed everyone in the Wish Realm was better off without her. “Robin is looking for a fresh start,” Kitsis says. “We know that his life in the Wish Realm wasn’t as desirable as he let on, but it is very hard to go to a new place where you’re constantly reminded of a better version of you.”
“In the same respect, Regina is a character who often lets the past get in the way of her future,” Kitsis continues. “When the whole Daniel thing happened, she decided to become the Evil Queen to get back at Snow [Ginnifer Goodwin]. She separated herself from the darkness because she didn’t want the weight of that around her, and she wanted to embrace the future. Bringing a bizarro version of Robin back, some of them — at least Snow White — are going to be very concerned that maybe this isn’t the best thing for her. That is a journey she has to go on.”
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Read our postmortem with Jennifer Morrison and executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Emma surviving the prophecy here, and read our postmortem with Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue about Wish Realm Hook here.