Once Upon a Time has a history of reinventing itself every year with fresh storylines and new characters taking us on brand new adventures each season, but the massive shake-up ahead of Season 7 is like a completely clean slate. The story of Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) has ended for now and instead it’s the turn of her son Henry (Jared Gilmore) to lead us into a brand new world of fairytale curses and magic.
And it was Henry who kick started the beginning of Emma’s story all the way back in Season 1 when he turned up on her doorstep in New York and led her back to his hometown of Storybrooke where all is not quite as it may seem. Henry, who Emma had given up as a baby, is convinced that his adopted mother Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) is the Evil Queen and that she has cursed everyone from the fantastical land of The Enchanted Forest to live blissfully unaware of their true identities under her rule as Mayor of Storybrooke. Not only does he believe the woman who raised him is a villainess from another land, but he also believes that the woman who birthed him is in fact the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. While Emma is reluctant to believe her son’s wild stories, soon enough she learns the truth and discovers Henry’s stories aren’t simply fairytales and that she, as the Saviour, is Storybrooke’s only hope.
Season One sees Emma battle with the truth while she struggles to accept that the family she always thought never wanted her are actually heroes from another land who only gave her up to save her life and their kingdom. As if that’s not enough Emma has to go head-to-head with Regina to break The Evil Queen’s Dark Curse that has befallen her family and their friends. That’s not to mention having to contend with the devious Mr Gold aka Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), who has been pulling the strings the whole time!
After battling Maleficent in order to save Henry’s life, the Dark Curse is broken when an act of true love breaks the sleeping curse that Regina inadvertently placed her son under. As the residents of Storybrooke begin to wake up to the truth they’re forced to adjust to their new lives in our realm, stuck in the confines of the town and cut off from the rest of world. As they attempt to find a way home the heroes continue to battle new foes as we are learn more about characters such as Regina, Rumple and the Charmings while also being introduced to new faces such as Captain Hook and Belle.
Over the coming years we learn Henry’s father Neal is actually Rumplestiltskin’s son Baelfire who escaped to our world as his father became more corrupted by the Dark One’s evil powers. Rumple’s father Malcolm causes mischief for the residents of Storybrooke as Peter Pan who himself casts his own Dark Curse that takes Emma, Regina and Gold uniting together to stop. But magic always comes a price and Regina has to say goodbye to Henry who goes to New York with Emma as the residents of Storybrooke are thrown back to The Enchanted Forest. The Saviour is called into action once again to save her family from Regina’s wicked sister Zelena aka The Wicked Witch of the West who has a curse of her very own in mind.
Regina teams up with Emma to try and find her very own happy ending after her true love Robin Hood is forced to leave Storybrooke after the Ice Queen, Aunt to Arendelle’s Elsa and Anna, curses Maid Marian’s heart. This leads our heroes to discover that Henry’s book that started their whole adventure is actually written by a mysterious and magical author. In a twist of fate Henry inherits the powers of the Author for himself and undoes the villainy of his predecessor saving his family. But in order to save Gold/Rumple’s heart, Emma must take on the mantle of the Dark One herself.
Emma uses the Dark One’s powers to erase the memories of her family and friends so that she could isolate herself from them and conceal the truth about her plans to rid the darkness from inside of her. However the truth eventually comes out and Hook, who Emma has fallen for, learns that he too is the Dark One and it was he not her who cast the Third Dark Curse. Both struggle to contend with the temptations that the Dark One’s power brings and eventually the two lovers are at odds with one another when Hook becomes consumed by the darkness but in a final act of love Hook sacrifices himself to save Emma and her family.
In order to bring Hook back from the dead, the heroes venture down to the Underworld and must battle Hades and Zelena in order to save him. Regina, Rumple and the Charmings become trapped in the Underworld as Hades takes over Storybrooke and when they escape Regina is left devastated when Robin Hood is caught in the crossfire as the two sisters face off against one another. Realising Hades is just using her, Zelena turns on him in order to save her sister.
As way of dealing with her grief, Regina decides to literally tear herself in two in order to rid herself of the evil that she believes will always stop her from getting her happy ending but the plan backfires when the Evil Queen escapes death and terrorises Regina and her family. However there is a much bigger villain at work as Gold and Belle’s son Gideon is kidnapped, raised and manipulated in to helping with her master plan by Gold’s mother the Black Fairy. With a Dark Curse of her very own the Black Fairy wants to eliminate good once and for all but Emma comes to the rescue for the final time sacrificing herself to save everyone. Her sacrifice is not in vein as Henry saves her with true loves kiss and our heroes are left to live their out happy ever afters…
But in the closing moments of last season a young girl appears outside an apartment in Seattle, clutching a book not too dissimilar to our Henry’s, looking for her father. A young man opens the door and the young girl asks “Are you Henry Mills? My names Lucy, I’m your daughter. Now come on, your family really needs you!”
Once Upon A Time returns to Netflix UK on 10 October 2017. Will you be watching? Let us know in the comments section.