OUAT: New York City Serenade (S3E13)

Henry: “Why are you dressed like that?”

Hook: “Why are you dressed like that?”

Well we waited 10 agonizing weeks and managed to get a new episode on Sunday night in between what was mostly a countdown to the premiere of Resurrection. (Get out of my head, theme song!) Now that we are finally back let’s take a look at what magic can do. It can unleash an evil curse. It can break an evil curse. Perhaps most unbelievably, it can make someone afford an incredibly large and posh apartment in NYC. We are exactly where we left off; Snow White and Co. are back in the Enchanted Forest – in almost the exact same clothes they were wearing when they were ripped out (Charming, fortunately, is not in a coma this time). Emma and Henry are enjoying a pretty sweet life in modern-day America. Although there is this dashing rapscallion in black leather who seems to be stalking them. Emma has an incredibly sweet and thoughtful boyfriend, so we know he will either be: 1) Evil or 2) An innocent who will suffer an undeserved fate. Let’s do this.

Prince Phillip and Aurora are out enjoying a picnic when they are interrupted by the billowing purple smoke cloud that we all know means the arrival of magic. The Storybrooke residents are back, and in the exact state as when they left. That explains why Prince Charming has a red slash through his shirt when he fought Regina’s guards getting Emma to safety. Snow White and Charming and their entourage plan to head to Regina’s castle (with Regina) in order to establish a new home there. Hook however leaves them with the excuse that he’s planning to find his ship the Jolly Roger, because all possessions also came back with the curse. So now that Emma’s gone he’s returning to being a pirate, Snow asks? No, Hook replies, he’s always been a pirate, and departs.

Baelfire/Neal overhears this and wants to stop by Rumpelstiltskin’s home, because the dagger must be somewhere in the Enchanted Forest then. Snow and Charming are not up for that, saying there is no way to ever return – no more portals, nothing they can do to get back, but later on Belle thinks they can find a way to bring Rumpelstiltskin back. I sense a rescue coming on later. Phillip and Aurora meanwhile have a brief hush-hush discussion about warning the rest of them about her, but decide against it.

Although Regina agrees to live with everyone in her previous castle as one big, happy dysfunctional family, she runs off to bury her heart in the middle of the woods so she doesn’t have to feel the pain of missing Henry. Snow interrupts her though, telling her that if she does so, Henry’s wish that she find happiness will never be fulfilled. It’s a nice moment between the two, and really how secure is burying your heart in a shallow pile of dirt? They get ambushed by a flying monkey who grabs Regina and attempts to drag her away, but they are saved by Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Yes, Regina’s “twoo luv” but she isn’t quite impressed by him. And doesn’t trust him because he’s a thief. Snow tells Regina that she’s a murderer/evil queen/dictator what does she think Robin Hood thinks of her? Touche, Snow. Also, Snow mentions, he is cute, isn’t he? He smells of forest, Regina complains.

Emma meanwhile is living a very nice life in NYC, with a very nice, thoughtful boyfriend named Walsh. To make up for the lack of leather jackets from Emma’s wardrobe this episode, she steps out in wicked heels and a full-on leather dress – because that can’t possibly be uncomfortable – to dinner with him. Hook is continuing his unrequited (for now) pining of Emma by stalking following her and jumping in while Walsh is away to give her the address that she needs to visit to help her regain her memories. Now you and I would probably find it difficult to believe a strange man in a leather duster that your whole life is a lie, but he, like Henry did many years ago, asks Emma to use her superpower of knowing when people are lying to see that he is telling the truth. And in another moment of parallelism and consistency, Emma tells him that just because he believes something is true doesn’t make it so.

When Walsh returns, Hook is gone, and we get to know some of the backstory of how Emma and Walsh met before a dessert plate with an engagement ring gets put on the table. Emma looks like she’s about to bolt, which she does, but Walsh is forgiving and tell her that it might have been too soon but that he’ll wait forever. (Okay now we know this guy is too good to be true). Back at the apartment, Henry is mastering Diablo (product placement!) and asks her how the proposal went. Then he tells her that not every man is going to be like Neal and let her take the fall for a crime and send her to prison. So not only does Henry know the truth about Neal (which I’m guessing will carry over after Henry regains his full memories), but Henry is profoundly not annoying this episode. He makes actual, rational sense, not like the time he apologized last episode to Regina for bringing Emma to break the curse in the first place. What a difference a year makes (along with losing your memories and getting fake ones planted instead).

Emma stops by the address Hook gave her, which turns out to be Neal’s apartment, where she finds the dreamcatcher from Tallahassee and a camera strap with Henry’s name on it. Impossible! She meets up with Hook in Central Park (how does Hook know how to get around Central Park already?) and wants to know why Neal is trying to get in contact with her after all these years. Hook says he has nothing to do with Neal, and asks that she drink from a tiny bottle to recover her memories. Yeah that goes about as well as we think it will, as Emma has set him up and handcuffs him to a park bench while 2 police officers come to arrest him. Just like in Tallahasse? Yes indeed, Hook even yells out “Swan” in a very similar manner in a little wink to loyal fans.

Later on Henry tells Emma to trust her gut regarding Walsh, and then Emma notices something suspicious in her package from the drug store, which includes photographs of her and Henry in Storybrooke. She meets up with Hook outside of jail and accuses him of Photoshopping the pictures. What’s Photoshop, Hook asks? He tells her to trust her gut, and those particular words that echo Henry’s advice convinces her to drink Hook’s potion. As stubborn as Emma is labeled to by other characters on this show, she sure took minimum convincing to drink a potion given to her by a complete stranger. All her memories come flooding back and she recognizes Hook again. “Did you miss me?” Hook asks. No hug? Denied!

Back at her place Emma and Hook are bonding over a bottle of rum, where Hook explains that there was nothing in the Enchanted Forest for him and that he came not to save Emma’s parents but to save her. And that he received a message (but we don’t know from whom) that she was the key to saving them all. Emma tells him that regaining her memories was like waking up from a dream – a really good dream – and Hook looks both empathetic and devastated that she doesn’t seem quite so happy to see him again. Then Walsh arrives and Emma tells him that she cares too much about Walsh to leave him without an explanation, so they go talk on the roof in private. Emma tells him that she needs to go home, and Walsh is very understanding until he laments that he wished she hadn’t drank that potion. Uh oh, looks like option 1 applies to Walsh. His eyes go red before he jumps off the roof… and flies back up with wings and a tail. He’s a flying monkey! Don’t think about that too deeply because I don’t want to get any mental pictures of how intimate they got during those 8 months. Emma is resourceful and sends him off flying (pun) with a pipe before he disappears in a puff of smoke on the sidewalk. Hook arrives just in time not to help her, and she tells him that Walsh was a reminder that any sort of normal life is not in the cards for “the savior,” and leaves Hook looking depressed. (If Emma doesn’t give him a hug, I will). She tells him they leave in the morning.

The next day Emma springs it on Henry that 1) She broke up with Walsh, 2) They’re taking a trip so he’s not going to school, and 3) A guy wearing all black leather and earrings is coming with them. Sure! Henry says. Seriously, where has this likeable kid been the past 1.5 seasons? Before they leave though Emma just needs one last thing – her red leather jacket. Now she means business. They arrive in Storybrooke soon enough at night, and Hook reattaches his, well, hook, and in another little wink at the audience, slightly touches her hair with it (like in Tallahasse!). He longingly watches Emma walk away as she goes to try and find her parents. David answers the door in shock, and Emma starts to explain who she is, but David remembers but tells her that he doesn’t remember the previous year. All he remembers is saying goodbye to her. Snow is not there so we know some big reveal is coming up. But how does David know that a year passed then? Snow finally comes down the stairs and is very much pregnant. So one day she woke up 8 months pregnant and they were back in Storybrooke and Emma and Henry were gone and they assumed a year had passed? That’s… logical I guess.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, one year ago, the flying monkey brings back Regina’s blood, and in the not-a-surprise at all category, the Wicked Witch takes the blood and puts it in a potion. She will have her revenge! Dun dun dun.

There was something a little off about this episode; I was actually pretty disappointed with how quickly and easily Emma recovered her memories. I think things should have been allowed to breathe a bit more in the pacing, more like an actual “serenade.” Charming and Snow didn’t seem devastated enough that they just lost their daughter all over again – with no hope this time. Emma also didn’t much seem like Emma, which might have been the point, but perhaps my high anticipation left me feeling disappointed in how conveniently things were wrapped up.

Let’s take a look at Emma’s love life at this point:

  1. Neal abandoned her and framed her to go to jail (albeit for “good” reasons)
  2. The moment Emma lets herself care about Graham, he gets his heart squeezed to death
  3. Emma loves Walsh, who then turns out to be a flying monkey (I believe this is the only time in tv history we will ever see this happen)

Let’s see what we need to resolve by the end of the season:

  • How did the Wicked Witch come to be?
  • What is Rumpelstiltskin’s fate?
  • How will Henry regain his memories?
  • Why does every villain love this blasted curse so much?
  • How did Hook find a way to reach Emma? Who sent him the message?


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