Elsa (Georgina Haig), the Ice Queen, and her sister Anna (Elizabeth Lail) are back to Arendelle now that the “Frozen” storyline has wrapped up on “Once Upon a Time.” And just as the residents of Storybrooke are returning to their everyday lives, the town is invaded by more evil than ever before when the Queens of Darkness — Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Ursula (Merrin Dungey), and Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) — descend on the magical town at the behest of Mr. Gold/The Dark One (Robert Carlyle), who wants them to team up to get their happy endings.
“What we wanted was for Gold to take a lesson from the heroes, who always worked together, and realize he needed to work together with the villains,” co-creator Eddy Kitsis told reporters after a recent screening of the first two episodes of the second half of the season. “So we loved the idea of the Team of Evil.”
And the new additions aren’t the only ones who have the potential for evil this season. There is the shocking discovery that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) has the potential for more evil than even Regina (Lana Parrilla), the Evil Queen.
“One of the big themes for the second half of the season is what makes someone a hero and what makes someone a villain and what the differences are, and what the common ground is,” co-creator Adam Horowitz says. “Emma has spent a long time in the series being told she’s a savior and being told she’s a hero. And now she’s going to have to face that it’s not as black and white as that. I think going into the second half of the season, all of our characters are going to be wrestling with this idea of good and evil. Not just in terms of what they’re facing as an external threat, but internally within themselves.”
Of course, the hope is that Emma will be able to fend off any stirrings that would take her to the dark side because Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) seems finally making inroads into her affections.
“As far as Emma and Hook, she’s beginning to open her heart up,” Kitsis said. “So, for us, it is watching Emma open her heart up, even though she’s about to find out some really bad information. For Hook, we are going to realize that he’s got some things going on in his head that he’s concerned about.”
With a common enemy, Emma and Regina will have to join forces to combat the Queens of Darkness. But what Emma doesn’t know is that Regina is in league with Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Lucas) and they are keeping a secret from her.
“In the premiere this year, Regina knocked on the door and said ‘I want to be your friend, and I want to get your happy ending as well,’ and then she joined up in Operation Mongoose,” Kitsis added. “Regina was ‘that’s great, but I like your mom more.’ Regina hasn’t been that open to Emma’s friendship, but I think we’re going to see that change a little bit, and I think that the natural evolution of their growth is kind of fun for us. Regina and Emma are a huge part of the show. It started with her trying to get her out of town, and they fought together, and they fought against each other, so now I think whether or not they can be friends, we’re going to see in this second half.”
“Once Upon a Time” returns with a two-hour opener for the second half of Season 4 on Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. on ABC.