The penultimate episode of season two of ABC’s Once Upon A Time introduced a couple of new, more sinister elements than you may have been expecting for a show where good is supposed to triumph over evil. Though Once Upon A Time has not been without its share of darker obstacles from the start– from Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Gold’s (Robert Carlyle) curse to the contingency built into it that Storybrooke could be wiped off the map, in the end (at least of this season), the greatest threats are not coming from within Storybrooke but instead from the outsiders who have their own ideas about magic and what should be done with it. Greg Mendel (Ethan Embry) is one piece of that puzzle, but it’s hard to fault him too much for being anti-magic, when it’s the reason he lost his dad so many years ago (although, we must point out that we’d much rather learn our father had died back then if the alternative was abandonment by choice). There’s Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green), too, who’s reasons are still unknown. But now there’s also a “Home Office” behind it all– something that reeks of corporation, the most evil thing in our real world.
“You will find out who the Home Office is, you will find out what they want, but you won’t find out all the whys. And since we’ve all been trained with Initiatives…we are hoping to lead you down a different path. One that makes you go ‘Oh, okay, it’s not that,'” series executive producer Eddy Kitsis said during a special pre-finale Q&A in Los Angeles.
“Tamara and Greg are obviously going to be wrapped up in this problem. They’re here for a mission, and whether or not they succeed in this mission will be in the finale. More about them and their motivations and their backgrounds will be revealed, and it will all be kind of tied into what’s the end run.”
Though both Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were emphatic that the Home Office “wasn’t what you think,” admittedly, we didn’t sit down and carve out our personal theories so there is always a chance someone out there has guessed it correctly. “Anything is possible” is a motto they are fond of when answering questions digging for details, especially about who else in Storybrooke may be aiding Greg and Tamara.
“By the end of this season, you will know a lot more about what Greg and Tamara are trying to achieve, who they’re working for, and what that means for everyone in Storybrooke,” Kitsis said.
But really, the Home Office is just one piece of the season finale puzzle. Neverland, as briefly seen in the penultimate episode, is not what Disney fairytales and childhood bedtime stories (or even Steven Spielberg’s version) told us it would be, either. As Kitsis noted: “Here’s the story, and here’s what really happened!” The Shadow was sinister, stealing only boys and never letting them leave, and Bae ultimately sacrificed himself to save the Darling family. But he wiggled out of the Shadow’s grasp over the water, unwilling to be doomed to Neverland, and ended up on Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) ship. This means the season finale will be very “Hook-centric” as the flashback story continues Bae’s journey in Neverland.
“Emma reminds him of Wendy, so what happens with Emma, and Wendy, and the Darling family is the emotional touchstone of what these last two hours are, so it hopefully is to inform who he is as a character but to also set up another land, which isn’t what you’d think,” Kitsis said.
And with Bae dropping out of the Shadow’s grasp, who’s to say that it didn’t go back to the Darling house and reneg on its deal with Bae to leave the family alone if he went with him?
“I would be disappointed if…we introduced [Wendy] and never showed what happened,” Kitsis said.
While Kitsis confirmed we won’t officially meet Peter Pan until season three, though, the final two episodes of season two have clearly set up how Bae takes a time out from any real world to step into those tights (so to speak). Living in the land of the Lost Boys, where children never grow up, also explains how he crash-landed in Victorian England after losing grip on his father in the fairytale land portal and yet is Emma’s age in present day.
And of course every good genre show season finale has to come with a cliffhanger of the world potentially being altered forever. Last year it was the curse being lifted and the magic returning. This season has the “trigger” of the black jewel that Regina was planning to use to eliminate Storybrooke after fleeing with Henry (Jared Gilmore) back to the fairytale land– something now in the hands of the two “real world” characters who have it in their heads that all magic is terribly evil. They may not know what the “device” does– yet— but with all of the technology (and shocking amount of knowledge) at their disposal, it seems only a matter of minutes before they figure it out and probably assume it would be to their advantage to use it.
“As always in a curse, there’s a self-destruct button because that’s just the way big curses work,” Kitsis said.
“The device is an erase button that returns Storybrooke to what it once was, and everyone in it will die. Unfortunately for Regina…the two people who have it seem to be hell-bent on getting rid of this town.”
Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), and David (Josh Dallas) saved Regina from Greg’s torture table, and Regina confided in them that this item A) exists, and B) has fallen into hands even worse than her own. There are only three magic beans left– would that be enough to get all of our beloved characters back to their land if Greg and Tamara plan to light up Storybrooke!?
Something to consider is that this second season opened and closed by introducing a new world (New York and then Neverland). So season three could launch somewhere completely, uniquely different, too.
Once Upon A Time airs on ABC on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Its second season finale “…And Straight On Til Morning” airs on May 12 2013.
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