‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 6 premiere recap: So many stories yet to be told
Season 6 of “Once Upon A Time” opens “many years ago” in a desert with a man on horseback frantically trying to outrun a rider on a magic carpet casting magic beams of destructive light.
[The following recap contains spoilers for those who haven’t seen the episode]
The man rushes into a building seeking help from the Savior, who is crouched on the floor with his hands trembling, tired, worn from giving all he had to give. A young lady tells him the Savior isn’t seeing anyone, just before the other man who we learn is Jafar (Oded Fehron) slithers in. He evaporates the man, vanishing him into dust and confronts the Savior Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) telling him that Saviors never live happily ever after.
We return to present-day Storybrooke
where the Swan-Mills-Charming families literally just made their return from the pits of hell. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) are getting some much-needed alone time when the house begins to shake. They scramble, rushing outside to see a blimp similar to ones seen last season in The Land of Untold Stories. All of the townspeople venture out to the landing scene, where they are hastily accosted by Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer) who tells them it’s just a few of his friends coming to town and that stories that are yet to be told are often the most dangerous — especially if the subjects don’t want them told. Emma coaxes Regina (Lana Parrilla), who is reluctant to use magic amid her split from the Evil Queen, to fight back against Hyde. He easily deflects their seemingly weak attack.
They go to investigate the blimp wreckage and when a shield is thrown, Emma begins having visions in a fierce sword battle with a hooded figure. Like Aladdin, she begins having hand tremors and shakes it off when Hook asks her what’s wrong. It turns out that Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), who is now again Dark One, gave Hyde Storybrooke in exchange for the knowledge of how to extract a pregnant Belle (Emilie de Ravin) from Pandora’s Box. The plan requires Rumple going to the Temple of Morpheus and entering Belle’s dream world, where he meets the mysterious Morpheus (Giles Matthey), the ancient Greek god of dreams.
Back at Regina’s, we see the house in disarray as an out-of-place Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and her baby (with Robin Hood) moves in with her newly reconciled sister. She tells Regina that Robin’s son, Roland, gave her a gift for Regina — a feather from one of his arrows — but she’s somehow misplaced it. Regina, still reeling from Robin’s death, is angry that Zelena could lose something so meaningful. She goes to her office, and is overcome with emotion since it’s her first time back since Hades destroyed the very soul of Robin. Zelena follows her and offers to comfort her, saying that she knows how she feels since she lost Hades. Regina loses it, declaring that she blames Zelena for Robin’s death because she brought Hades to Storybrooke when she trusted her. Zelena poofs herself out of the office, resolving to move out, asserting that Regina chose others before her own flesh and blood.
The Heroes formulate a plan with Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) to immobilize Hyde using a taser device that the warden used in the Land of Untold Stories. Regina barters with Hyde using Jekyll as a bargaining piece and Emma stands by to zap him, but freezes when it’s time to strike due to more traumatic flashes of the sword fight. She finally comes to and the gang seizes Hyde, taking him to prison. Before he’s dragged away, he alludes to information on being the Savior and tells Emma to come see him if she wants to know more. Of course, she reluctantly does. After a back-and-forth about being prisoners, loneliness and an attempt to choke her, Hyde finally relinquishes the information.
Follow the red bird.
Back in Belle’s dreams, Rumple and Morpheus come upon his old castle, which Belle still sees as a desolate, dark place in which she is still a servant and he is still a beast. Morpheus tells him he has an hour to wake Belle or she will be lost to the sleeping curse. He resolves to make Belle fall in love with him all over again and recreates the emblematic dance sequence from Season 4.
Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) go into the woods in an effort to find the visitors from the Land of Untold Stories, telling them they have nothing to fear and food is available at Granny’s and accommodations are being arranged. Meanwhile, Hook continues to question Emma about her tremors, which she repeatedly denies should be of concern. She sees a red bird, which she cowers off to follow. She is lead to a young woman who tells her the visions are flashes of the future.
Regina attempts to find the missing feather by putting a locator spell on Robin’s quiver, but Henry (Jared Gilmore) comes in, telling Regina she knows why it’s not working — it’s seeking out Robin and he’s forever lost. He disputes what Hades said — that Robin’s soul was obliterated.
“Villains say whatever they can to hurt people,” Henry said. Henry believes that a hero’s soul lives on.
We return to Belle’s dream where she recognizes Rumple, rejecting any reconciliation after the years of lies and pain. Morpheus reveals that when Rumple sprinkled the powder, it also affected the couple’s unborn son who manifested himself as the Greek god in order to make sure that his mother didn’t fall for Rumple’s tricks anymore. He says that now that he knows that she sees through his tricks, he can wake his mother with True Love’s Kiss. He gently kisses her forehead and Belle awakens in the Temple of Morpheus. She informs Rumple that she’ll return to Storybrooke, but is heeding their unborn child’s advice and won’t be returning to be a part of Rumple’s home.
We rejoin Emma and the mysterious young girl, who tells her she was once an oracle and it would be wise to listen to her. Emma sees more of the vision, in which she is run through during the sword fight. The girl says that Emma can change the path to the destination, but the destination — Emma’s death — will remain the same.
“What you saw is a small piece of the end of your story, Savior,” the girl said.
Emma returns to see Hyde and demands to know how to stop whatever evil is coming to Storybrooke.
“That’s what the Saviors always say,” Hyde responds. Emma is shocked, not knowing there were Saviors before her. Hyde says wherever there is a Savior, there is a villain who brings them down, that’s how the Savior’s story always goes. He claims he doesn’t know who Emma’s villain is, they could have arrived on the blimp or already be in the town.
“I expect you’ll want to help them, Saviors always do. Is helping them exactly what causes your story to end?” Hyde challenges.
Regina apologizes to Snow for being a terrible stepmother, wondering how Snow maintained hope during those terrible times when the Evil Queen sought her wicked revenge.
“The only way I could stay alive was to never give up, you taught me how to have faith. You taught me that hope was a choice,” Snow said.
“I think Hades was wrong, Robin is at peace,” Regina responds.
“My life was never just one story. It was many stories, to some, a villain. I hurt people, in ways I can never make up for. To others, I’m a hero. They’ve seen my strength, my ability to do the hard things even when I thought I couldn’t. I want to start a new story, one where the Evil Queen doesn’t get a part. And I choose to believe that this story will have a better ending than my last.”
The episode ends with the Evil Queen waiting for Zelena, appealing to her the side of her that related to Regina’s dark side, telling her it’s time for sisterly bonding.
“Once Upon A Time”airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on ABC.