That didn’t take long for “Once Upon a Time” to reveal why the Wicked Witch was so intent on cursing the Fairy Tale Land residents: She’s Regina’s half-sister, and was jealous that Rumpelstiltskin chose Regina over her to cast his curse the first time around, just as Cora chose Regina to be raised by her instead of Zelena. That’s why Zelena was able to break all of Regina’s blood magic spells — they’re related.
Fairy Tale Land, one year ago
Ruby’s back! She notes to Snow that the Queen doesn’t look good, but it turns out that she’s actually just hatching a plan to use the tunnels underneath the castle to get inside and lower the shield so Charming can lead his troops in. It’s smart, and it’s for the greater good. Regina’s making some great strides this season. And when a flying monkey attacks and almost kills Robin Hood’s son, Regina saves him with magic, turning the creature into a stuffed animal. Are sparks a-flying between these two fated loves?
The rest of the troops powwow and Belle reveals that she’s read about flying monkeys from a land called Oz, and everyone seems shocked that it’s a real place. Kind of meta, no? And that means the person taking up residence in the castle is the Wicked Witch. Regina haughtily claims she’s never met the Wicked Witch and Charming is shocked that this isn’t a personal vendetta. Everyone’s on their A-game with snark right now!
Regina’s plan gets the go-ahead from everyone, and Robin Hood tags along, probably to make sure she doesn’t screw them all over. Regina reveals she’s planning on giving herself a sleeping curse once she lowers the shield for Snow and Charming. She doesn’t want to live anymore without Henry, despite all of Robin’s attempts to help her find a new reason to live. She lowers the shield as promises, but before she can prick her own finger the Wicked Witch confronts her. She takes her time trying to provoke Regina before revealing they’re half-sisters!
After that awkward family reunion, Zelena tells Regina she’s going to make her suffer and take everything away from her. That’s pretty much her whole plan. But instead of scaring Regina, it gives her something to live for: A new person she can destroy. Evil vs. Wicked is on!
Storybrooke, present day
While trying to figure out who cursed them all, Hook reveals that he received a message via a bird instructing him to get Emma and bring her back to Storybrooke, along with a vial of memory potion. He assumed Snow sent it (because sending a message by bird sounds like her) but since they all have no memory of the last year, they can’t be sure it was her. Was that just a part of Zelena’s plan? Also, people in Storybrooke have started going missing in the past few days. What is going on?
Now that Henry’s back in town, everyone has to pretend like they don’t know him since he still doesn’t remember their true identities. Watching Regina realize that Henry’s back in town but has no idea of who she is is just downright heartwrenching. As if that woman hasn’t been through enough already. But she has a point when Emma accuses her of casting the new spell: Regina only casts curses to hurt other people, not herself, and this new existence does nothing but hurt her.
When Robin Hood and his men are out hunting, Little John crosses the town line and a flying monkey grabs him and flies away. They find him dropped some ways away, bitten and unconscious. When they get him to the hospital, he turns into a flying monkey and flies away. Is that where all the other missing townspeople are? Getting turned into flying monkeys?
Another new returning player is the despicable Dr. Whale, and he’s still up to his jerk ways when he practically incites a riot against Regina during the town meeting about the new curse. She gets tired of the accusations and claims that if everyone wants her to be the Evil Queen, then that’s what she’ll be … but it was all a ruse. She and Emma planned it all to get the town to believe that Regina was still evil to smoke out the real mastermind behind the curse.
At Granny’s diner, Zelena’s hiding in plain sight. She overhears the pregnant Snow complaining about all the problems she’s been reading about in baby books, and tells her she can help her out as she was a midwife back in Fairy Tale Land. And notice how she doesn’t give Snow a straight answer about exactly who she was. We should be worried that Zelena is going to pretty much have Snow’s baby’s life in her hands, right?
When Emma and Regina try to draw out the person who cursed them, they corner the hooded person in Regina’s office, but they disappoear in a cloud of green smoke. That plus the flying monkeys make them all realize they’re dealing with the Wicked Witch of the West, but they still don’t know the reason why she cursed them — even though the audience does now.
Besides the fact that Regina and Zelena are half-sisters, there was one other big reveal of the night: Zelena brought Rumpel back from Fairy Tale Land to Storybrooke! She’s keeping him hostage in a cage somewhere and he’s clearly gone a little mad. He’s much more like Fairy Tale Rumpel than human, Storybrooke Rumpel. What does she have planned for her old mentor?
Another notable fact to mention: Emma brings up Neal quite a bit in Storybrooke, inquiring about where he is, or if the new curse brought him back. Each time she says his name, Hook looks pained. But they still don’t know if Neal came back too.
What did you think of “Witch Hunt?” Were you surprised by Zelena’s confession to Regina? What do you think is going to happen to Rumpel? Why are people getting turned into flying monkeys? Where’s Neal?
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.