Once Upon A Time: New York City Serenade (3×12)

Summary: After Rumplestiltskin sacrificed his life to stop Pan from enacting another curse, Regina obliterated her original curse, which erased Storybrooke from existence and whisked its residents back to Fairy Tale Land – leaving Emma and Henry back in our world with no memories of Storybrooke. But all is not well back in the Enchanted Forest when Hook comes calling on Emma in New York City in an attempt to jog her memory so that she can once again help her fairy tale family and friends out of a desperate situation

Rating: ★★

“New York City Serenade” brings us right back to where we started, killing any hope that we would be seeing a newer, fresher, and more energized Once Upon A Time. I want this show to use all of these fairy tales and fables to its full potential, but it seems much more interested in recycling the same storylines over and over again and giving us the bare minimum. That said, I didn’t completely dislike this episode – but I’m not a fan of the storyline it’s setting up.

once upon a time

One Year Ago: We start with a friendly reminder that Aurora is still pregnant with Phillip’s baby, which – if you recall – put the final nail in the coffin of Aurora and Mulan’s one-sided, mostly nonexistent romance. Guys, if Aurora and Mulan actually became a thing, this show would go up much higher in my estimation.

While Aurora and Phillip are being perfectly boring together, the purple smoke monster magic cloud comes in, bringing all of the (relevant) Storybrooke people back to Fairy Tale Land.

One Year Later: Emma is having dinner with Walsh (guest star Christopher Gorham), her boyfriend. They talk about Henry, the obligatory lava project he had to do for school, and then Walsh excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Hook, who’s been stalking Emma this entire time apparently, takes that as an opportunity to talk to her about her parents. He tries to convince her that she lost her memory by telling her to use her lie detecting “superpower,” which quite frankly sucks. But Emma still doesn’t trust him. So Hook gives her a note with an address on it and tells her to go check it out.

Back in Fairy Tale Land, Aurora lets the Storybrooke crew know that the ogres are gone. Snow and Charming decide to take back the castle, and Snow tells Regina that she’s coming with them. Meanwhile, a worried Aurora takes Phillip aside and says that they need to tell “her” that the Storybrooke crew is back otherwise something bad will happen to their unborn child.

In the real world, Walsh springs an engagement proposal on Emma. Emma points out that they’ve only been going out for 8 months. Whoa. Slow your roll, dude. We also learn that Walsh owns a furniture shop. In this economy? Stay away, Emma.

Walsh is understanding about Emma’s hesitance (maybe a little too understanding) and tells her to think on it. Emma comes home to Henry whose voice has gotten way deeper and is fully on board with Emma marrying Walsh.

Back in Fairy Tale World, Charming is annoyed that Hook wants to go back to being a pirate after all the character development he’s had. Hook responds with, “I’ve always been a pirate.” Charming is also unconcerned about Neal’s feelings regarding his dad dying. And he tells Neal to forget about Emma and Henry. That’s cold.

In the real world, Emma is still worried about the whole Walsh situation. She decides to go to the address that Hook gave her. It turns out to be Neal’s apartment. She finds a camera with Henry’s name on it, which rattles her, and so she confronts Hook about sending her to Neal’s place. Tired of dealing with Hook’s bullshit, she gets the police to arrest Hook for assaulting her.

In Fairy Tale World, Belle is surprisingly cheerful for someone whose “true love” just died. She talks to Neal about getting Rumplestilskin back.

Elsewhere, Regina decides to bury her heart because she misses Henry so much and can’t deal with all the sadness. Snow gives her a pep talk and reassures her that she will find happiness again. That’s when a flying monkey attacks them and Robin Hood, who’s been hinted at for being Regina’s “true love,” comes to the rescue. Regina sasses Little John about his weight and feigns annoyance at Robin Hood’s presence when she’s clearly got the hots for him.

In the real world, Emma sees the photos of her and Henry on Neal’s camera – proving that Hook was telling the truth. She bails him out of jail and he finally convinces her to drink the potion that will bring all of her memories back.

Back in Fairy Tale Land, Robin Hood, Belle, and Neal finally notice each other and have a mini-reunion. Regina asks Snow if she trusts Robin. She does. She also says he’s kind of cute, which is just another obvious way of pushing Regina and Robin together. The group comes across a green force field blocking them from getting to the castle. Apparently, someone has taken seize of the castle and Regina starts to feel murderous at whoever is sitting in her chair.

Hook is making sexy eyes at Emma, who’s just regained her memories, in her apartment and gives a whole speech about her being the savior. Walsh comes over and Emma takes him up to the roof so she can break the news that she won’t marry him. That’s when Walsh, Emma’s boyfriend of 8 months, turns into a flying monkey. Okay, then. Emma manages to fight him off. She comes to the realization that her life is a lie and she’ll never be safe.

Okay, so what even was the point of Emma losing her memories when she got it all back in one episode after drinking a potion?

Anyway, the next morning Emma tells Henry that they’re going to Maine. Henry is surprisingly okay with Emma uprooting their lives. Hook arrives and Henry calls him out on his wardrobe choices.

Speaking of which, Emma goes back to her signature look by putting on the red leather jacket. Symbolism, people. Although that jacket has got to be so faded and smelly by now…

The trio arrive in Storybrooke where Emma reunites with her father, who still remembers Emma. He just can’t remember what happened during the past year. Then a heavily pregnant Ginnifer Goodwin, I mean Snow, comes downstairs.


In Fairy Tale Land, we find out who’s been sitting in Regina’s chair – it’s a very green-looking Wicked Witch (guest star Rebecca Mader). The flying monkey who attacked Regina and Snow was sent to steal Regina’s blood, which the Witch is using to make a revenge potion. Who wants to take bets that the Wicket Witch is Regina’s sister?

Final Thoughts: There’s nothing interesting or special about this new plot development. Wicked’s curse isn’t much different from Regina’s, even though she makes an attempt at convincing us that she’s going to be way worse: “The queen may be evil but I’m wicked and wicked always wins.” Next week’s promo doesn’t make episode 13 seem all that promising, either, but we shall see.


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