If you've been missing Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time Season 4, your wait for the Outlaw is over!
However, as we get some backstory with a Robin-centric hour on Once Upon a Time Season 4 Episode 18, what does that mean for the stalled romance between Robin and Regina?
This Sunday, Robin will be put to a task by Rumpelstiltskin that could send him back to his thieving ways - and it also could put him in grave danger since part of the task involves taking something from the Wicked Witch (that's right, Rebecca Mader is back, too!)
Sean Maguire, who brings Robin Hood to life in the series, talked to me earlier this week about what we'll see in the episode... how it is working with strong women like Mader and Lana Parrilla... and whether Outlaw Queen fans should keep the faith as to a reunion between Robin and Regina.
TV Fanatic: You’ve been missed this half of the season thus far! How was it to get back into the fold of things?
Sean Maguire: It’s been great. Obviously, I have been here with my cast and crew so I haven’t been missing as much as it would appear. Robin has been missing but it’s just great to have the character back and I’m really excited to not only come back but to come back with an episode that really revolves around Robin Hood and delves into his history and his past and also the dilemma that he is currently facing and what he is going to do.
Obviously we don’t know much as the actors until we read the scripts and when I read the script I was shock, surprised and delighted.
TVF: Since we are seeing more of his past, do you think the audience will look at Robin differently after this episode?
SM: Yeah, I hope so. I think most people understand what Robin has gone through. The fact that Robin was once in love then married to Maid Marion. She was the love of his life but sadly she died. He struggled to get over that and then tried to move on so he could be a good father. Then he met Regina and fell in love all over again and then what happened happened.
But he’s in a really difficult spot. As he has said, I’m in love with Regina but then Marion had a relapse so we know that he’s doing the right thing rather than what his heart is telling him to do. He’s an honorable guy. This episode, you see that he’s a good guy but he’s also very much a human being and human beings are sometimes driven by their hearts and emotions and not always by logic and reason over what the right thing to do is.
So we see a bit more of the origins of the character but we also delve into the mindset of what he does when he’s put in these difficult situations, which is, in my opinion, human and pretty decent.
TVF: I know that he’s doing a task for Rumpelstiltskin so is it safe to assume it’s not something he wants to do but has to?
SM: I think anybody that does anything for Rumpelstiltskin is doing it because they’re backed against the wall. He’s a dangerous man who can’t be trusted and he’s always double crossing. Robin, even in his earlier days before he becomes Robin Hood, knows enough that this guy is not to be trusted and so any deal with him is always going to be layered with doubt and worry. ‘Am I doing the right thing? Am I going to get killed or in trouble?’
It’s tricky but from the fan of the show’s perspective, it’s quite interesting to see Rumple and Robin and delving a little bit about their history, their past and the connection that they already share. There are quite a few a-ha moments in this episode where you’re like ‘Oh, right! That’s how that came to be.’ Some of it feels like a prequel to some extent.
TVF: Robin has to get something from the Wicked Witch and, like Rumple, she is also someone with a lot of tricks up her sleeve. How is their interaction? Safe to say it might be a bit nerve-wracking for Robin?
SM: Yes, that’s what is fun for me in this episode is that Robin gets to deal with Rumpelstiltskin, the Wicked Witch and then the Sheriff of Nottingham comes back and makes an appearance, which is quite important to the evolution of Robin and how he became Robin Hood but there’s also the fun side of it which is the beginning of his relationship with Will Scarlet. There’s a lot of ‘Oh, that’s how that came to be!’ I think that’s always satisfying for fans when we guess their path but this time we’ll see a little bit of how he became the guy he is today.
TVF: I know a lot of the episode is about the flashback but will we also see an impact on the present day in the show?
SM: Yes, it does. It sort of juxtaposed between flashback and where he’s at now and looking back, informing the decisions he has to make in looking back and thinking about how I got here and how that’s going to inform what he’s going to do next. It’s done in quite a clever fashion.
TVF: Tell me about working with Rebecca and Lana. They’re such strong women on the show. How has it been working with them?
SM: They’re both phenomenal. I have not had an awful lot of screen time with Rebecca but she and I have spent quite a bit of time together traveling and visiting conventions and things together so we’ve gotten to know each other quite well and we have that sort of brother and sister relationship so it’s great fun to work with her. She’s a terrific girl and a terrific actress.
And Lana, she’s become my scene partner. She’s the person that I have probably spent the most time with so we’ve just developed a really great friendship and a great working relationship. She’s a dream to work with. She’s brilliant and sweet and I couldn’t be happier.
TVF: I know Lana does a lot of research and thinking about her character’s motivations and things she’s done. Have you had the same opportunity to look at Robin, especially with an episode like this that really fills in a lot of questions about his past?
SM: Lana is one of those actors that really, really does the homework. Everybody has their own approach to it but I think Lana is probably more fastidious than most. She’s very, very dedicated. I obviously have my own approach to the character but I think when you’re opposite somebody constantly who is very good it always reminds you to keep your game up. You can’t phone it in when working with actors like Bobby Carlyle and Lana Parrilla. It’s just a constant pleasure and I’ve absolutely loved every minute of the show so far.
TVF: You mentioned we see some backstory with Robin and Will Scarlet. What is their friendship like in this episode?
SM: I think you can see, as you do in later episodes, that Robin and Will have a big brother/younger brother relationship and we see the origin of that and why Robin takes Will under his wing and why he wants to mentor him or be a big brother to him. Will is a good guy but he’s a bit like Robin; he’s a bit shifty. He’s a bit of a scoundrel but Robin knows that Will is a good guy at his core and we delve into that a little bit.
TVF: I know I hear from the Outlaw Queen fans a lot and I’m sure you do. How would you tease what is coming for Robin and Regina and whether we should keep hope alive?
SM: Well, I can’t obviously give away where we’re going with this but the show is about hope and about family and about love. I would say to think about the kind of show that it is. Most of the audience is rooting for Robin and Regina to be together so one would hope that they will find their way back to each other somehow.
Once Upon a Time Season 4 airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.