‘Once Upon A Time’: A new chapter begins in Season 7 premiere

‘Once Upon A Time’: A new chapter begins in Season 7 premiere

A grown-up Henry Mills (Andrew J. West) meets a new version of Cinderella in the Enchanted Forest.


ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” returned Friday in a new time slot with new stories and an almost entirely new cast.

The season 7 premiere – the first without the majority of Once’s legacy cast – introduced us to the inhabitants of Hyperion Heights and a grown-up Henry Mills.

The episode begins as Henry (still played by Jared S. Gilmore) bids farewell to Regina (Lana Parrilla) after graduation. Despite Regina’s pleas, Henry opens a portal with a magic bean and heads off on a motorcycle into the Enchanted Forest. Henry, still the Author, says there are still many stories to be told and so many variations of the characters they thought they knew.

“It’s time I figure out where I belong,” he said as he speeds into the distance.

We rejoin a much older Henry years later, now played by series regular Andrew J. West, riding his bike through the Enchanted Forest. He’s on a collision course with a woman in a horse-drawn carriage, who we soon learn is Cinderella (Dania Ramirez). This feisty new princess is on her way to the castle, but not in search of true love. Instead, she plans to kill the prince for taking her family away and steals Henry’s bike to complete the mission.

Cinderella changes her mind about murdering the prince only to see him stabbed from behind by … Lady Tremaine (Gabrielle Anwar) her evil stepmother, of course. Tremaine frames Cinderella, but with Henry’s help, she escapes with promises to meet him. When Henry arrives at the meet-up location, only Cinderella’s slipper behind. This naturally sets up his quest to find her and so begins their love story.

Meanwhile, we revisit where we left the Season 6 finale, with Lucy (Alison Hernandez) trying to convince Henry his past really happened and that she is, in fact, his daughter. It of course draws parallels to the pilot of “Once” in which a young Henry has to convince his birth mother, Emma Swan, that she’s the Savior.

Like Emma, Henry doesn’t remember his past, Lucy or her mother – Cinderella – whose Hyperion Heights counterpart is Jacinda, a struggling single mom working in a chicken restaurant. Henry published “Once Upon a Time,” as a novel reselling the first six seasons, but it didn’t sell. To him the stories are simply what they appear to be – fairy tales. He has no recollection of his time in Storybrooke, Regina, Emma, Snow, Charming, Hook or any of their adventures.

Lucy says her step-grandmother, Tremaine’s alter-ego Victoria Belfrey, wants all the fairy tale characters to move out of Hyperion Heights. In a desperate bid to jog his memory, Lucy leaves a note leading Henry to Roni’s, a neighborhood bar. Henry arrives and comes face-to-face with Regina, known in this world as proprietor Roni. She plans to sell her bar to Belfrey.

Regina (Lana Parrilla) is known as bar owner Roni in Hyperion Heights.

Jacinda and Henry cross paths in the bar, but have not recollection of one another under this new curse. After Belfrey demands Lucy live with her permanently, Jacinda tries to skip town. Lucy, still determined to make Henry believe again, casts a wish in a well where  a garden once grew. Roni, inspired by Jacinda’s refusal to bow down refuses to part with her establishment.

Henry also comes in contact with Hook’s Hyperion Heights persona, a detective named Rogers (Colin O’Donoghue). Rogers tries to help Henry locate his stolen car, and using Henry’s tip, also tracks down Jacinda and Lucy. Lucy gives Henry’s book to Hook, who is later seen staring at a drawing of Emma.

Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) is a detective in this new world.

Meanwhile, Rumplestiltskin is also lurking in this new world as we see him introduced as Rogers’ new partner, Det. Weaver (Robert Carlyle). Rumple seems back to his dark ways, who enlists the help of a new Alice (Rose Reynolds). Alice also drugs Henry at the ball in the Enchanted Forest, insinuating bad things happen to those involved in someone else’s story.

The episode was reminscent of the early days of “Once” when Operation Cobra was in its infancy. There are many unswered questions in this new world without magic.

  • Who cast this new curse and why? Victoria Belfrey seems to have all the power in town? Is she, like Regina during the First Curse, immune to its effects?
  • Why have Regina, Hook and Rumple been transported to this land? How did they fall under this curse and where are Storybrooke’s other inhabitants?
  • Does Rumple still have magic in Hyperion Heights?
  • How did Henry Mills, who has the Heart of the Truest Believer, lose his way?

Episode 2 will feature the much anticipated return of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), so this should shed light on Hook’s current situation.

“Once Upon A Time”airs at 8 p.m. Fridays on ABC.