Once Upon a Time Round Table: "Going Home"

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Storybrooke may be gone for good - and Oz could be on the horizon - as we wait out this winter break after Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 11.

Our TV Fanatics, Robin Harry, Michelle Carlbert, Jim Garner and Carla Day are joined below by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to debate the role of the savior and who was the biggest hero and whether our villains have been redeemed.

And in case you missed it or want to see it again, you can always watch Once Upon a Time online here at TV Fanatic.


If Storybrooke is truly gone, will you miss it?

Robin: A bit, yes. Storybrooke was almost insignificant this entire season, but it was fun if just for a break from the costumes and sometimes questionable CGI. 

Gareth: Yes and No. It is such a huge part of the series but I also like the fact that they are prepared to move the show into new territories. It keeps it fresh. I am looking forward to seeing what they do with Oz. Storybrooke is nice to revisit at times though so I hope it isn't gone completely.

Michelle: I too feel conflicted. On the one hand it's nice to see the characters in different worlds. but Storybrooke was their home and I truly hope it's not gone forever. I just can't see everyone living out the rest of their days in fairy tale land, no matter how much fun it is to visit there from time to time. 

Jim: Absolutely! Then again, I don't think it's gone forever. First, as others have said, it's the heart of the story. Second, even the preview at the end said something about Storybrooke facing true evil. How could if face it, if it's gone? 

Carla:  Not particularly. Storybrooke wasn't unique in the same way as Fairy Tale Land, Neverland or Wonderland. It was just a small town. The show was more about the characters than the town of Storybrooke when they were there. If anything, it felt temporary, so it makes sense for it to disappear.

Once Upon a Time RT - depreciated -

Emma was born in the Fairy Tale world. Is being able to stay in the real world because she's the savior a cop out? 

Robin: It does make sense that she's able to escape the curse since she did the first time, but the explanation they offered was weak. I found the whole "black fairy" thing an even worse cop-out. Even if they're setting up another villain, that was way too convenient with no previous mention. 

Gareth: I'm totally confused by how all that worked. I need to rewatch. I was left with the impression that Regina's gift to Emma was the ability to stay in the real world with a new set of memories. Be interesting to see whether this is the correct timeline or some kind of alternate universe that has been created for her?

Michelle: Yeah, I kind of had that thought when it all happened. But I think it had to be done. The alternative would be to leave Henry all alone and that wouldn't really work for the story. So while it was a bit of a cop out, I let them have it. 

Jim: It was only in the sense that Neal had to go back. Given that Neal wasn't brought here by the curse, he should have been able to get in the car and leave with Emma and Henry too.

Carla:  I didn't have a problem with Emma being able to stay because she wasn't affected by the original curse. It made sense that she wouldn't be returned to Fairy Tale Land (FTL) when the curse was reversed. The problem I had was that Neal wasn't also left behind. He wasn't in FTL when Regina cast the curse. Why did he go back? That makes no sense. Though, Tinkerbell and Hook were sent back presumably to FTL and neither of them were affected by the spell originally either. 

Who was the biggest hero of the episode?

Robin: Rumpelstiltskin, hands down. His love for his family superseded his fear, and he sacrificed his life for those he loved. Greater love hath no man than this. 

Gareth: Rumple's moment of sacrifice was fantastic. Stripped of all magic and making a stand as a human, with all the frailty that goes with it. Robert Carlyle was just amazing.

Michelle: Is there even any question? Rumple's sacrifice proved once and for all that he no longer puts power before love. 

Jim: It was a tie for me. Rumple, followed closely by Regina. It was beautifully poetic that the two biggest villians of the show were the two who sacrificed the most to save everyone. 

Carla:  Rumple. He finally killed the Dark One within him. I'm not sure how directly the prophecy that Henry would be his undoing applied, but Henry did lead him to his father and ultimately "undoing" his evil side. He sacrificed himself for those that he loved.

Captain Hook was the last to say goodbye to Emma and the first to appear in the real world. Is the show pushing for a Captain Swan hook up and are you on board if they are?

Robin: I think that's where they're heading.  Her goodbye with Hook was much more "charged" than with Neal, and now Hook gets a head-start with Emma 2.0, misguided-but-awesome kiss included. I'm absolutely cool with that. Hook challenges Emma in a way that Neal can't. 

Gareth: I have been adamant throughout this season that Neal and Emma are end game. Now I'm honestly not sure. Hook and Emma have much more chemistry. Neal's goodbye was a bit lacklustre while Hook and Emma just smolder. I've been flying the flag of SwanFire but CaptainSwan is winning me over.

Michelle: I really love Neal, but after watching Hook and Emma together, I definitely think I'm learning more toward a Captain Swan pairing. Emma and Neal will always be bonded because of Henry but I think she's such a different person than she was when they first met and now Hook is more the man for her. Swan hook up and are you on board if they are?

Jim: I like the new and improved Captain. I wouldn't mind Emma getting "Hooked" on him for a bit :) Yep, I went there.

Carla:  I also always thought that Emma and Neal were destined to be together, but now I'm not so sure. The chemistry between Emma and Hook is undeniable. They sizzle unlike any other couple on the show. Though, it's also that Hook is naturally charismatic while Neal is more reserved and low key. I think Hook would have chemistry with a wall if he wanted. I'll wait and see what happens when they all get back together again. Hook's kiss didn't break the memory spell....

Are Rumpel and Regina still considered villains? Have they been redeemed?

Robin: Yes and Yes. These two have come so far, and their redemption means more in the face of their past villainry. They both finally learned how to let love guide their actions rather than fear or vengeance, and the sacrifices they've made have redeemed them. 

Gareth: I think their redemption story arcs have been well covered now. I would hate to see the emotional development in their characters lost and have them reset to season one. I think that is why new villains with new agendas are being introduced. It gives Regina and Rumple somebody to fight against.

Michelle: I also say Yes and Yes. I think they both did things in this episode that will redeem them for their past wrongs. But at the same time, I think there will always be a part of them that is a villain. But I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I think that it's the sort of thing that will help them to fight enemies harder and in ways that maybe the "good" people can't. 

Jim: I'm not sure one good act completely redeems them, at the same time, I'm not sure I would fully consider them villains anymore either. I'm really torn, I love them both so much now, I would be crushed to see them go back to evil. 

Carla: They have redeemed themselves in the eyes of their family, but I'm not sure that's enough for when they get back to FTL. They are still feared there and will have much to overcome. Will they fall back into their old habits to resolve problems? Will Regina bow down to Snow and Charming as the rightful King and Queen? She's lost Henry, so what is there for her now? Rumple at least has Belle to help him get through the transition. Perhaps, Regina will get second chance with her true love, Robin Hood!

Do you think Rumpelstiltskin is truly dead?

Robin: Oh, heaven, I hope not. Robert Carlyle is my favourite thing about this show.  I have no idea how they can/will bring Rumpel back, but they absolutely need to!

Gareth: Hell No! Rumple will be back but I do think he will be transformed. The dagger has been used in an act of self sacrifice and I think that will have profound effects for Rumple. A new version of Rumplestiltskin will arise.

Michelle: Not a chance. Or if he is truly dead, then they will find a way to revive him. It felt like the Blue Fairy was barely dead five minutes before she was back giving them the wand. Death is relative on this show and Rumpel will be back again. I have no doubt about it. 

Jim: I pray he's not. The Blue Fairy was back from the dead awfully quick. 

Carla:  No. The spell that reversed the curse will somehow save him.

What was your favorite scene from this Once Upon a Time Season 3 episode?

Robin: For me, nothing even comes close to watching Rumpelstiltskin twist that dagger, then kiss his estranged father as they faded away. What a powerful scene. There was so much in that scene; pain, triumph, forgiveness, love. Darn it, I'm getting teary again.

Gareth: The moment Rumple sacrificed himself. Everything about that scene was fantastic. The way he kissed his father and embraced him as the light enveloped them, it just gave me chills.

Michelle: It's a hard choice because I felt equally heartbroken during the long goodbye scene at the end, but I have to say that Rumpel's sacrifice is my favorite. I loved when Rumpel stabbed him that Pan turned back into the old man he was. It was fitting that he died in that form. 

Jim: Regina explaining her gift to Henry and Emma. Heart warming and tear invoking all rolled into one! 

Carla:  When the show jumped forward a year and Hook showed up at Emma's door. It gave hope of what's to come in the second half of the season. I'm excited to see what happens next. How will Emma and Henry get to FTL? And what's happened in the time that's passed?

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


"i think hook would have chemistry with a wall if he wanted" He already has chemistry with floor!! Captain Floor is real guys.

Drea xoxo
@ wholocked

LMAO!! this line is hilar!! and so true! the writers are forcing the triangle on us


I'm not really a shipper but I rather see Hook with Tinkerbell because they had some major chemistry best scene is when Rumpe gave up his life for love not power and I don't think Rumple is dead and the writers has said that Storybrook is not gone because in the promo you see the town hall also see Robin Hood Hook and Dr. Whale at the hospital abd I think in episode 12 Hook going to give Emma a potion to remember if you look at the pictures for episode 12 I think Regina and Rumple are both redeem but I don't think they are going to lose their evil ways because now they can use it for good instead of evil and even though Hook Tinkerbell and Nealfire wasn't under the first curse Regina said everyone who was born in enchanted forest will return so Nealfire had to return and reason Emma didn't have to return because she the Savior and she wasn't under the first curse I love that when Snow gave Henry the book it made him see their truesevles and I believe the Blue Fairy wrote the book and they have reference the dark fairy because in season one when Snow first met Charming she had dark fairy dust that she was going to use on Regina

@ Aleana


Drea xoxo
@ Sara

@sara Petty comment that! @aleana i agree, there is more connection with Hook and tinkerbell then swann IMO! i hope rumple is still alive! still don't see why neil couldn't escape the curse sigh


If the curse is reversed, doesn't Regina become bitter and evil all over again?

@ Mark

the curse just made everyone go back were they belong... Emma is the only one who forgot everything...and Henry...


I usually like reading these round table discussions but after this one, I'm just tired of the media types putting their own agendas into their articles. If you were truly on the SwanFire train, you wouldn't have jumped off after one episode. Passion, chemistry, electricity...those things ALL fade over time and cannot be the basis for any real relationship. Emma has a bigger connection to Neal that goes much deeper than that stuff and good gracious, Neal has had more crap happen to him than any other character on the show and he has NOT cried because he's not a crier. He's always kept it all inside and you can easily tell on his face how broken up he is over losing his family. The theme of the whole episode was hope and he was the only one to not say goodbye to Henry & Emma because he has hope that their story isn't over yet. There may be some CS stuff coming up but I still believe that she and Neal will end up together in the end. Sorry if I offend anyone w/this but I feel like Neal and SF shippers get crapped on all the time and I just had to say something today. #HopeforSwanFire

@ Heather

Er. Going to have to agree with Amy. These are just the opinions of the people at the table. They don't have to be devoted to a ship. They can ship Swanfire or they can ship Captain Swan if they chose. I don't know what you mean when you say that there is only passion in the CS relationship either. The whole of season 3 so far has shown Hook putting Emma's happiness above all. Neal and Emma have a lot of issues, and they aren't going to just poof away. Emma has told him she loves him, but with a huge caveat - i agree with Amy again that there is no way they're aiming for a SF endgame....

@ Heather

Wtf? I don't really ship either but these are the opinions of the people at this round table. They clearly think the show is gunning for a CaptainSwan endgame (which is clearly obviously is imho). The point isn't whether the chemistry/passion isn't there - the point is that's what the writers are trying to show us. I also completely disagree with you that Neal and Emma have a "connection". Emma understands Neal yes, but there is no connection. Emma and Hook understand each other. That much is obvious. Like i said, i don't ship either, but if you think Swanfire have a chance... you're in for a huge disappointment.


1. Yes - I hated the Pan storyline, and while I like fairytale land, it needs to be balanced with the real world.
2. I guess, because Neil, Hook and Tink should have been able to stay too.
3. Rumple, I guess.
4. I have mixed emotions about that. I agree that Hook and Emma have more chemistry than Emma and Neil at this point, but I thought it sad that Hook tried "True Love's Kiss" to break the new curse and get Emma to remember because I don't think they're at that stage.
5. I'm sure he'll pop up in fairytale land. He built the curse so I'm sure he can survive it.
6. My favorite part was seeing Emma's "new" apartment and watching her and Henry live together.


Hold on...someone mentioned this and I can't keep track of shipper names - is "Nelle" supposed to be Belle and Neal?!
I don't think that's gonna happen...Neal is not going to date his dead father's girlfriend, and Belle would never. Also, Ewww. :-)

Spindae 2o
@ Robin Harry

It was me. I have that odd felling the writers will try it out or at least tease it a bit. Just some feeling I have. ;)

@ Spindae 2.0

Hmmm...interesting. I don't see them going that route at all. I think Rumpel will be back (somehow) before either Belle or Neal have a chance to get over their lost loves.
We shall see, though :)


Okay why is the only Emma can leave so difficult to understand for everyone!! The true love potion made from Emma's parents was in the parchment of the curse making it part of it. Which is why Emma is the savior! and Which is why she can escape the curse. Everyone else who was in storybrooke and didn't belong in the Land without magic went back. Weather it was Hook who came on the jolly roger, Neal with a shadow, Ariel by swimming, or the lost boys. Everyone returned to their true lands. Its a easy explanation that requires zero handwaving

@ Peevesie

Except that Hook, Tink, and especially Neal did not arrive via the curse. They came magically...just like Emma! So it makes zero sense that they couldn't stay. Not that I mind this plot hole, it makes an excellent twist that I'm sure I'll enjoy. I just can't agree that it makes any damn sense in the storyline with the curse. But hey, maybe they'll explain it all in an interview sometime between now and freaking March. My favorite show and they have to go on a 3.5 month hiatus? UGH.

@ OUATfan

Not even those ones (which indeed don't make sense), but then there's Cinderella's (Ashley's) baby who was born in the Land Without Magic just like Henry. Soooooo, at the very least, Emma and Henry shoulda had a little bundle of baby joy with them, if not Hook, Tink, and Neal. bigtime plot hole that makes no sense.

@ OUATfan

all of them might not have come to storybrooke at the same time but they came as a consequence to the curse being enacted and later broken...if the curse had not been broken then hook might not ever get to storybrooke remember how cora also had to wait for the curse to be broken, so with tink if the the curse hasn't been broken then peter pan wouldn't have the chance to find henry-remember how john and michael cannot enter the town before the curse was broken. lastly, neal or baelfire wouldn't be in storybrooke as well if the curse wasn't broken-the curse was secretly made by rumplestilskin so that one day he would find him like he said. he orchestrated regina's turn from good to evil so that she'd enact the curse. just my thoughts

@ whiz

and yeah i agree with peevesie on what she pointed out that emma can escape because of the parchment...henry was born in our world so he cant remain.


True loves kiss doesn't work on memory loss or when it's rejected at first as we hAve seen multiple times, such as David kissing Mary Margaret, and rumple kissing belle, and I think there was one more time in the show.

@ Rel

I think when it didnt work, you were meant to think of Snowing and Rumbelle not working due to memory loss

@ Len1

Agreed. I also think they aren't "there" yet like someone else said.

@ OUATfan

Emma isnt there yet. And its Emma's journey here getting to it. The build up for Emma/Hook has been so well developed... this man has supported her and believes in her, faith in her. He's fallen in love with her, as we saw and Tink told us... he would risk all for Emma. Far as I can see Emma and Hook are it. Esp with the constant parallels


it was a very sad episode...bittersweet. rooting for Emma/Hook since day one...I mean...the way Hook believes in Emma is quite something!that is why is the one to contact her, to make her believe/remember again! March is so far away....why they need that long????


I think one thing we should be asking is whether or not Regina's redemption will even stick, because didn't she say that everybody will lose their memories because if the town never existed then the memories didn't happen either? if so then how is she possibly rendempted because she won't remember Henry, she won't remember anything else that happened and she won't remember all of her good deeds. It's the good things that she has done, combined with her love for Henry, that led to her redemption. Without any knowledge of those, I don't know who we are going to see after the jump.

@ TiffanyO

Only Emma and Henry lose their memories.

@ Sara

I don't think they were clear about that. But I hope you're right or we lose ALL that juicy and awesome character development with our favorite villains!

@ OUATfan

sorry, they were very clear!!! just Emma and Henry lose their memory!!! That's why Hook remmebers her! watch again and you'll see it !!!

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Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Blue Fairy: Have faith.
Snow: That's easy to say when you have magic wings and a wand.

Felix: Outwitting the Evil Queen in less than a day. That's impressive.
Peter Pan: She loves the boy. That makes her weak.