Is the grass always greener on the other side? Emma Swan is about to find out in Sunday’s winter finale of Once Upon a Time.
The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) uses Aladdin’s lamp to get Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to wish she’d never become the Saviour. As creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis tells Yahoo TV, it’s Emma’s opportunity to see what her life would’ve been like if she’d made a different choice.
The midseason finale is going to be a doozy, as Emma’s vision of her death is fully revealed and she learns who the killer under the hood is.
Horowitz and Kitsis give us the scoop on the coming showdown between the Evil Queen and Regina, a trip to Agrabah, and the return of some familiar faces.
What themes did you want to set up in this midseason finale for the back half of the season?
Horowitz: The themes of the back half of the season are a continuation of what we started in the first half of the season, which are: We’re still exploring what it means to be a Saviour, what the weight of this job has done to Emma, and what that’s going to mean for her going forward. And continuing to explore the idea of happy endings and what they are and are they possible.
In this episode, we get to see an alternate universe version of Emma, where she never becomes the Saviour. Why did you decide on exploring this angle?
Kitsis: I think it’s something as writers it’s something we’ve talked about, which was: What would’ve happened to Emma if she never became the Saviour? Who doesn’t say, “Oh, well, what if I did this in life?” or “What if I made this other choice?” The grass is always greener, and that’s what we’re going to explore. It’s a great punishment for the Evil Queen, but for Emma, to get something you always wondered is best for you, it’s a real chance to examine if the grass really was greener.
We’ve seen bits and pieces of Emma’s vision of her death. Will we get more clues?
Kitsis: We’re definitely going to get more clues about that and who is under the hood in that vision we saw in the premiere.
Will it be entirely revealed?
Kitsis: It will be entirely revealed.
Kitsis: That’s what you’re really saying. Am I going to get some answers? Yes. Answers are coming!
In the last episode, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) sent her baby away to protect him from Gold (Robert Carlyle). But we’ve seen before that children tend to find their way back to Storybrooke. So, what’s next for Belle and her baby?
Horowitz: There’s a lot coming up for Belle and her baby and for Gold. Sending off her child was the most difficult thing she’s ever done in her life. She did it with the full intention of being reunited with that child. We’re going to see that reunion happen, but I think it’s going to happen in a surprising way and create some new obstacles for Belle. There’s going to be some great danger surrounding the baby and her, and it’s actually going to, unexpectedly, unite Belle and Gold with common purpose and help them start to heal some of the wounds in their relationship.
Do you think Belle and Gold’s relationship has deteriorated to the point where they can’t get back together?
Horowitz: I think in last week’s episode, we saw Gold walk right up to the line of the most reprehensible thing you can do to someone, and he didn’t do it. Even though Belle, at the end of that episode, thinks he did, but ultimately she’s going to have to learn the truth. But what’s more important is that we saw that when really faced with it, Gold couldn’t do this terrible thing to her, and despite all of his addiction to magic and power, his love of Belle is huge and strong and overpowering within him.
So, last week, we also learned that the Black Fairy is Rumplestiltskin’s mother. Are we going to see her again?
Horowitz: It’s just the beginning of seeing the Black Fairy and learning about her past and Rumple’s past.
And what about his dad. Everyone always loves to see Pan.
Kitsis: Never say never, but there are no immediate plans for Pan to return.
This season has brought back the Evil Queen, and she and Regina have had this truce since killing one will kill the other. But the truce can’t last for long, right?
Horowitz: That’s exactly right. It can’t last forever so that means a showdown is a-coming in the second half of the season and it’s going to happen sooner than people think.
It seems like they aren’t even close to cracking that problem of how to defeat her.
Kitsis: I think in the winter finale, you’re going to see some big steps taken forward. Maybe there is a way to defeat her, maybe there is a way to deal with this seemingly insurmountable problem of the connection between them. Or there won’t be!
What about Aladdin? He’s put himself in the lamp now. What’s next for him and Jasmine?
Horowitz: We will definitely be seeing the other side of that when we return and we’ll be going to Agrabah and finding out the mysteries of what’s going on.
Kitsis: Let me ask you something: Do you like flying carpets? Because they’ve got them in Agrabah!
Will we meet new characters in Agrabah? And will we be seeing familiar faces in the second half of the season?
Kitsis: Yeah, we’re definitely going to see some old friends. We can tell you that Pinocchio will be coming back, Eion Bailey. We’ve announced that Sean Maguire, Robin Hood, will be doing a role. We always like to see old friends on the show. It’s part of the fun of the world.
How much do you monitor fan feedback to decide which characters to bring back?
Hororwitz and Kitsis: Zero!
Kitsis: The trouble with the Internet is that everyone has a different opinion. The truth of the matter is, Adam and I worked 12 really harsh years and a lot of passes to get this show on air. So at the end of the day, we’re just going to go with what we think is best. We can’t listen to every voice on the Internet. Obviously, we love our fans and we’re inspired by our fanbase, but the truth is, this week’s episode was filmed months ago. It really doesn’t work real-time.
Horowitz: What we like to say is, we hear our fans but we can’t listen to them. We’re very sensitive to our fans and we’re very sensitive that we’re making the show for the fans and we want them to love and enjoy it as much as we love and enjoy making it. But we can’t be taking requests.
Kitsis: TV is very interesting because it’s in your home and you see it once a week and fans have this sense of “I can change the course,” but they don’t apply that to any other art form. Nobody is trying to tell Adele what song to do.
Horowitz: Television is a unique form, because while Eddy and I created the show, it belongs to the fans. Our responsibility is to make the show to the best of our ability and hope the fans enjoy it.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of OUAT for free on Yahoo View.