SUNDAYS 8|7c

10 Things to Know to Dive Into Once Upon a Time

By Lisa Weseman & Jim Donnelly | Sep 23rd, 2014

Winter comes early this year when Elsa comes to Once Upon A Time and Storybrooke is frozen over! But in this town, there's always more going on than meets the eye. So here are our top 10 things you need to know to dive into the Once Upon A Time season 4 premiere SUNDAY 8|7c.

1) One Story, Two Worlds

Fairy Tale Land was filled with magic, monsters and all of the characters we all know from stories growing up. It was real, and so were the people in it. But unlike the "happily ever after" you may have heard about, their stories continued, and The Evil Queen cast a dark curse over the land....

Storybrooke was a quiet little New England town filled with people who went about their everyday lives with no idea who they really are — the heroes and heroines of Fairy Tale Land. The Queen's Curse trapped them there with no real memories and no real hope, until the arrival of a mysterious outsider named Emma.

Fairy Tales Are Real|Prince Charming and Snow White's wedding is interrupted by the Evil Queen.|Prince Charming and Snow White's wedding is interrupted by the Evil Queen, who promises to destroy their kingdom forever. From Once Upon a Time Season 1 episode, "Pilot."

  Watch: Prince Charming and Snow White's wedding is interrupted by the Evil Queen.

 

2) Emma: A Reluctant Savior

Emma Swan's life had been anything but a fairytale. A 28-year-old bail bondsperson, she'd been taking care of herself since she was abandoned as a baby. But when Henry — the son she gave up 10 years ago — foundher, everything changed. Henry was desperate for his mom's help and thought that Emma was actually the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

Over time, Emma came to believe the stories were true and began to accept her destiny as the Savior. When she kissed her dying son Henry, it proved to be True Love's Kiss, and the curse was broken.

Emma Breaks the Curse|True Love's Kiss breaks the curse in a most unexpected way.|Emma tells a dying Henry that she loves him and kisses him on the forehead, which unexpectedly breaks the Evil Queen's curse. From Once Upon a Time Season 1 episode, "A Land Without Magic."

WATCH: Emma breaks the curse in the most unexpected way.

 

3) Reality and Myth Are Merged

Once the curse was lifted, reality and myth were merged as the fairy tale characters began awakening and remembering who they were. When they finally regained their identities, our heroes were dismayed to discover that they weren't transported back home to Fairy Tale Land.

To make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin — aka Mr. Gold — decided to escalate his power struggle with Regina/The Evil Queen by introducing magic into the town. But this was our world, and magic always has a tendency to yield unfathomable consequences.

Magic Comes to Storybrooke|In his quest for power, Rumple brings magic to Storybrooke.|In his quest for power, Rumple brings magic to Storybrooke. From Once Upon a Time Season 1 episode, "A Land Without Magic."

 WATCH: In his quest for power, Rumple brings magic to Storybrooke.

 

4) It's All Relative

Spanning across two worlds, the characters of Once have complicated relationships. Over time, Snow White, the Evil Queen and Emma were brought together by their shared love for Henry — who as it turns out, has at least six grandparents and claims to four different thrones. To rescue Henry from the dark forces of Never Land, the former foes joined forces, and Regina ultimately obliterated her original curse. 

The second curse erased Storybrooke from existence and whisked its residents back to Fairy Tale Land, leaving Emma and Henry together back in our world with pleasant memories — but with no memories of Storybrooke or its residents.

 

A Fractured Family Tree|Somehow everyone is related to each other in Storybrooke.|Spanning across two worlds, characters of Once Upon a Time have complicated relationships. Henry has at least six grandparents and claims to four different thrones.

  WATCH: The family relationships of Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forrest are complicated.

 

5) All Magic Comes with a Price

All was not well back in the Enchanted Forest, so Hook came calling to enlist Emma in an epic struggle to save a family she didn't even remember. Everyone she held dear was in danger as a new foe emerged — the Wicked Witch of the West, who was revealed to be Regina's half sister.

The Wicked Witch and Rumplestiltskin's struggle lead to the death of Neal, Rumple's beloved son, Emma's first love, and Henry's long-lost father. An epic battle took place, and in the end, Rumplestiltskin killed the Wicked Witch while setting forth the opening of a time portal.

 

Neal's Sacrifice|Neal makes a choice to save his family.|Neal sacrifices himself to save the ones he loves from The Wicked Witch. From Once Upon a Time's Season 3 episode, "Quiet Minds."

 Watch: Neal sacrifices himself to save his love ones from The Wicked Witch. 

 

6) Anything Can Happen

The time portal pulled Emma and Hook into the Enchanted Forest of the past, and they accidentally thwarted the initial meeting of Snow White and Prince Charming. After successfully getting her parents back on track, Emma tapped into her magic to return back to present day Storybrooke with Hook and a helpful stranger who'd been held prisoner by The Evil Queen.

Emma soon learned that the prisoner was none other than Robin Hood's wife, Marian, who was presumed dead in the previous timeline. In Storybrooke, Regina and Robin Hood had begun to fall madly in love with one another, but with Marian's return, their relationship could be in danger. 

 

A Shocking Revelation Enrages Regina|The identity of Emma's time travel companion shocks Regina.|Regina discovers a dangerous consequence of time travel when the identity of Emma's travel companion is revealed. From Once Upon a Time's Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home."

  WATCH: Regina discovers Emma's travel companion is Robin Hood's wife.


7) #OnceIsFrozen

Marian wasn't the only thing brought forth by the time portal....a familiar glistening, icy figure also emerged and left the ground beneath her frozen. What does Elsa, the Queen of Arendelle, have in store for Storybrooke?

Elsa Comes to Storybrooke|A mysterious woman emerges from the portal that Emma used to return home.|A glistening, icy figure emerges from the time portal that Emma used to return to Storybooke. The woman stretches out her arm to create icicles around her, and as she walks away, she leaves the ground beneath her frozen. From Once Upon a Time Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home."

 WATCH: Elsa of Arendelle is brought to Storybrooke via a time portal.

 

8) Once Women Kick Ass

Like Elsa and Anna in Frozen, the women of Once Upon a Time reinvent the role of traditional fairy tale females. Snow White is a bandit, Emma is a fighter, and Regina is a complex, powerful force who we alternately love and love to hate. 

Women of Once Upon a Time|Women can kick ass in fairy tales.|Snow White is a bandit, Emma is a fighter, and Regina is...well, Regina. Traditional gender roles are switched and reinvented in Once Upon a Time.

 WATCH: From Snow White to Mulan, the women of Once Upon a Time upend the idea of damsels in distress.

 

9) You never give up on the people you love...

Love has always been the driving force in both Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke. After being killed by The Evil Queen's poison apple, Snow White was brought back to life with True Love's kiss from her Prince Charming. Later, the dark curse was broken when their daughter Emma, the product of True Love, accepted her love for a dying Henry and kissed him on the forehead. Even sinister forces have been redeemed by True Love, with Regina giving up Henry and Rumple sacrificing himself for Baelfire, all in the name of love.

 

Regina Says Goodbye to Henry|To stop the curse, Regina must say goodbye to the thing she loves the most.|To stop Pan's curse, Regina must say goodbye to the thing she loves the most: her son, Henry. From Once Upon a Time Season 1 episode, "Going Home."

 WATCH: To stop Pan's curse, Regina must say goodbye to the thing she loves most: her son, Henry.

 

10) ...but love is always a little bit complicated.

Just as Regina finally found love with Robin Hood, his late wife Marian returned. Will a broken heart return Regina to her old, evil ways?  Emma and Hook seem on the verge of a real relationship. But can their damaged souls actually commit? Newlyweds Belle and Rumplestiltskin are deeply in love, but Rumple is hiding the dagger that calls upon him to be the Dark One. Will he come clean before the truth destroys their love? 

 

Belle and Rumplestiltskin Get Married|Romance is in the air for everyone in Storybrooke.|As Belle and Rumplestiltskin get married, romance is in the air for everyone in Storybrooke. From Once Upon a Time's Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home."

 WATCH: Despite his secret, Rumple exchanges tender wedding vows with Belle.

 

Tune in to Once Upon a Time's thrilling season premiere SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28  8|7c when #OnceIsFrozen! 

 

MORE SNOW DAY FUN: 

6 Key Episodes to Catch Up on Once Upon a Time 

5 Frozen Moments from Once Upon a Time's Archives

Season Premiere Extended Sneak Preview: Elsa's Chilly Entrance 

10 Things to Know to Dive Into Once Upon a Time 

 

 

 

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