We’re not sure a midseason premiere has ever been as packed full of plot as Sunday’s (March 5) “Once Upon a Time” — but that just means there’s more amazing stuff to unpack.
First off, Robin (Sean Maguire) is very real and now officially a resident of Storybrooke. Whether or not that means Outlaw Queen lives again is still a mystery — but at least we know that Regina (Lana Parrilla) will have Robin back in her life, which is a step up from the heartbreak of last season.
Gideon (Giles Matthey) has also returned to Storybrooke, and he’s surprisingly not as evil as we expected. It turns out he’s actually on a noble quest of his own, he’s just got some pretty messed up ideas about how to become a Savior — namely, killing Emma (Jennifer Morrison). Here’s hoping Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) can shake some sense into their baby boy before he does something that will turn him truly dark.
We spoke to showrunners Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis to get the details on Robin’s return, how Rumple and Belle will deal with Gideon, and that elusive engagement ring we spotted back in December…
What can you say about Robin’s role in Season 6, now that he’s back in Storybrooke with Regina?
Horowitz: Well, we have him for a number of episodes. There’s an arc that’s going to play out, and I think that this Robin is going to struggle with being in this new world, and Regina is going to struggle with him struggling to be in this world. It’s going to be not easy, but hopefully dramatic and interesting and fun to watch.
Kitsis: I think it’s going to ask both of them to look inward and question about themselves. Robin came here for a fresh start but is constantly being reminded of a dead guy who appears to be better than he is. Regina has been trying to hard to move forward ever since she cut the darkness out of her, and yet she’s always tested. I think that’s kind of what’s going to go on.
Grandpa Killian was hilarious. Why made you guys decide to make him so comical in this wish world?
Kitsis: One of the things we love about the show is … we always look at it as a ride. There’s going to be danger, there’s going to be things that make you cry, but there have to be things that are fun and make you laugh. We saw Charming and Snow, who had aged, and we thought, “Well, what would have happened to Hook?” He never got revenge on Rumple, so he just let himself go, but doesn’t know it. He looks in a mirror and still sees perfection. We just loved that idea, and then Colin just ran with it. He embraced it wholeheartedly. It’s fun because literally in dailies there are just takes where Jennifer and Eion — they can’t even get through it, and Colin doesn’t break character. Old, drunk Hook is our favorite.
As it turns out, Gideon isn’t just a cold-blooded killer — he’s got his own noble quest. What can you tell us about his personality and his mission?
Kitsis: I think we’ve always said in the show that evil isn’t born, it’s made… Whether they’re villains or whether they’re heroes — everybody thinks they’re doing it for the right reasons. For Gideon, we wanted people to understand that he’s more complicated than you think …
Are we going to get to see the Black Fairy’s realm and how she made Gideon what he is today?
Kitsis: We’re going to have two flashbacks. One is Gideon and the Black Fairy, and how he went from a baby to a 28-year-old in one episode, and we’re also going to tell you the origin story of the Black Fairy: What’s her deal, and why she gave up Rumple. So we’re looking to explore all aspects of that realm — and all the questions that we hope the audience is asking, we’re going to answer.
How will Gideon’s appearance affect Belle and Rumple’s relationship?
Kitsis: Belle and Rumple have been fighting for a long time now, but it seems that they both want the same thing. They don’t want Gideon to kill Emma, they don’t want him to damage himself. I think that’s it’s going to bring them together in a way that we didn’t think.
What sort of affect will Gideon have on Rumple? Could having his son back redeem him? Or lead him down an even darker path?
Kitsis: He is a guy who has always chosen power over love, and he always seems to make the right decision — and then absolutely make the wrong decision. We should always be worried about Rumple, right up to the very last second.
How can we expect Snow and Charming’s sleeping curse to play into the rest of the season?
Horowitz: It plays in right away. For the rest of the season, we’re going to have both Snow and Charming dealing with it separately, because they’re now separated in a way that they’ve never been separated before. Their true love is kind of where this show started, and this storyline is a test of that love and what they can overcome. Along the way, we’re going to get another Snow and Charming flashback.
Kitsis: To be honest, we’re going to get a couple Snow and Charming flashbacks.
Horowitz: Yeah, there’s a couple of them coming up in the second half, which we’re really excited about.
Can you tease anything about the musical episode?
Horowitz: We’re trying to preserve some surprise, but what we can say is that it an integral part of the storytelling of the season. It’s not a standalone episode, it’s not a “outside the continuity” episode. It plays into a lot of the percolating stories that we’ll be seeing as we head towards the end of the season.
We did see that shot of an engagement ring in the midseason promo. Should we expect an engagement, or even a wedding this season?
Kitsis: I can tease that we saw a ring, it looked like an engagement ring, and everyone should wonder who it belongs to and who it will be given to.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.