Once Upon a Time, ABC, Fridays 8pm
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Well, after six seasons on Sunday, the show moved to Friday for its seventh (and final) season. It's set several years after the end of season six, although I'm not entirely sure how that works... I mean, I always figured that the parts of the series that were set in "our" world were in more or less the present, but I also assume the same thing about this season. So... it really doesn't make sense. But I'm not sure any season has ever specifically mentioned the year, and I suppose things don't change so quickly that a jump of however many years (probably not more than fifteen) would necessarily be obvious. Anyway, it's not important. (But seriously, between all the different realms we see this season, time seems to move at different paces for each individual character, practically.)
So, when Henry turned 18, he left Storybrooke, to "find his own story," or whatever. In this season's "present," he's somewhere between his late 20s and mid 30s (played by 33-34 year old Andrew J. West). He's currently living in Seattle, as seen in the sixth season finale. A young girl named Lucy showed up at his door claiming to be his daughter, just as Henry had done with Emma at the start of season one. But his memories had been erased by a new curse, and he didn't believe her. (In fact, for part of season seven, I wasn't entirely sure Lucy was even right about that, since her memories had been erased, too.) Anyway, some time ago Henry had written a book, "Once Upon a Time," which contained true stories of things that had happened in the first six seasons of the show, although now he believes those stories to be simply fiction he made up. Well, when this season begins, Lucy steals his laptop, to get him to come to Hyperion Heights (a neighborhood of Seattle that I guess had been created by the new curse), so that he could get it back. But of course, she just wants him to meet her mother, Jacinda, as well as other people they had known before the curse. And I need to mention that before 18-year-old Henry had left Storybrooke, he had discovered other storybooks in the Sorcerer's mansion, which told of various other magical realms that were unknown to anyone from the few realms already seen in the first six seasons. And in some of those realms, there could be alternate versions of fairy tale characters we've already met. The prime example of this is that Jacinda is actually Cinderella, but not the same one who'd been seen in seasons one and six. (And of course that means the other characters from her story were not the same ones we'd seen in season six.) I kind of like to think this makes some kind of sense just because of Disney's recent trend of making live-action reboots of old animated films, such as the new Cinderella, although of course the story being told on this show is definitely different from either movie version. Throughout this season, we'll see flashbacks to Henry meeting Cinderella and other new characters, prior to the curse.
Well, of course Jacinda doesn't know Henry, though the two of them do soon become friends. There is a complication to Lucy's belief about Henry being her father, because Jacinda actually has an ex, whom she believes to be Lucy's father (and we'll eventually meet him in both Hyperion Heights and the "new Enchanted Forest," or whatever that realm is called). Meanwhile, Jacinda has a very strained relationship with her stepmother, Victoria Belfrey (Gabrielle Anwar), who in the other realm was Lady Tremaine. Victoria is very powerful in Hyperion Heights, and she wants to get custody of Lucy, claiming Jacinda is an unfit mother. Also, Victoria has two daughters of her own. One is Ivy (Adelaide Kane, whom I knew from Reign, though somehow I totally failed to recognize her until reading online that it was her; maybe because I'm not used to seeing her dressed for the 21st century rather than the 16th). She works for Victoria, but is very poorly treated by her mother. In the other realm, Ivy was Drizella. Victoria's other daughter, Anastasia, is in a coma... which was actually caused by magic in the other realm. Also in the other realm, Drizella learns to use magic, herself.
Another resident of Hyperion Heights is Jacinda's best friend, Sabine, who was Tiana in the other realm. And there's a bar owner named Roni, who is actually Regina Mills. And a police detective named Weaver (Rumplestiltskin). And a cop who has just been promoted to detective and became Weaver's new partner, Rogers (Hook), though he doesn't much trust Weaver. Of course, none of the characters we already know remember who they really are... with the possible exception of Weaver, though that's unclear. Weaver often does favors for Victoria, though only when it suits him. And there's a girl named Tilly, who apparently lives on the streets, and is an occasional informant to both Weaver and Rogers. It seems as if in another realm she was Alice (of "Wonderland" fame), though obviously not the same Alice or the same Wonderland as previously seen in the spin-off "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland." Meanwhile, Rogers is obsessed with finding a missing girl named Eloise Gardener. And Victoria has a mysterious woman locked up in a secret level of her office building, Belfrey Towers. And Henry, Roni, and Rogers form a secret(ish) alliance against Victoria, even though they still don't believe the truth. However, Roni eventually does get her memory back, but for reasons I won't spoil, it's necessary for her to refrain from trying to break the curse. And that means she'll have to try to keep Henry and Jacinda from falling in love.
There's an episode where we learn that the Wish Realm version of Hook has a daughter he's been searching for. And another episode where we learn how he came to have this daughter. I don't want to spoil the details, but it involves Rapunzel and Gothel. Anyway, Hook names his daughter Alice. So it seems that Tilly is actually his daughter, though of course "Rogers" doesn't know that. (Oh, and Rogers is the Wish Realm Hook, not the main Hook, who is still in Storybrooke with Emma.) And at some point between Alice's birth and the present, a curse was placed on Hook and Alice to prevent them from being together. Meanwhile, in Hyperion Heights, Rogers finds and frees the woman Victoria has been holding hostage, believing her to be Eloise Gardener. However, she's actually Gothel, who has her own nefarious plans. And she's part of a group of witches called the Coven of the Eight, though for now we don't learn much about them. Victoria goes to jail for kidnapping "Eloise," but is later released by Weaver. She then gives full custody of Lucy to Jacinda. Victoria later uses one of Lucy's tears to awaken Anastasia (who remains 14 years old, having not aged in all the years since the sleeping spell was placed on her). But her revival causes Lucy to fall into a coma. Subsequently, Gothel gains control of Anastasia. Meanwhile, Regina goes to San Francisco to enlist the help of "Roni's" estranged sister, Kelly (who is actually Zelena). Regina manages to restore Zelena's memory, and they return to Seattle together. (However, Zelena says that "Kelly" is engaged to someone we don't meet yet.)
Well, that pretty much brings us up to the midseason break. I have left out a ton of details, many which I felt would be too spoilery, and others just because I'm not sure how important they are. But I will say this: there are lots of plot twists. It's all kind of crazy and somewhat hard to follow all the stuff that goes on, this season. But it's fun, nevertheless. And I look forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.