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|Once Upon a Time Season 3|
Promotional poster for the first half of the season
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original run||September 29, 2013– present|
|List of Once Upon a Time episodes|
|Once Upon a Time Season 3|
Promotional poster for the first half of the season
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original run||September 29, 2013– present|
|List of Once Upon a Time episodes|
The third season of the American ABC fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time was announced on May 10, 2013. Executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis also noted that the season would be split into two volumes, with the first premiering on September 29, 2013 throughout Autumn, and the second beginning March 9, 2014 through Spring.
The first volume's plot revolved around the main characters travelling to Neverland from Storybrooke to retrieve a kidnapped Henry Mills from the possession of Peter Pan. After successfully retrieving Henry, the characters returned to Storybrooke, only to be returned to their original worlds following Pan's new curse, leaving Emma Swan and Henry to escape to New York City. The second plot will follow the characters' past journey in the Enchanted Forest and how they were brought back to Storybrooke by the Wicked Witch of the West, while also documenting Emma's mission to break the new curse and save her family. New characters introduced in the season include the main antagonists of the two volumes: Peter Pan and the Wicked Witch of the West, in addition to Tinker Bell, Ariel, Prince Eric, Ursula, Medusa, Rapunzel, Lumiere, Flying Monkeys, Glinda the Good Witch, and Blackbeard.
The season premiere was watched by 8.52 million viewers, achieving an adult 18-49 rating/share of 2.6/7. The mid-season finale received critical acclaim from critics with many praising the episode's ending, Mr. Gold's fate, and the flash-forward technique used. The spring premiere brought in the highest viewing figures since the season's second episode and was met with positive reviews, with critics complimenting the unpredictable nature of the new story lines created by the writers and producers.
In Neverland, Henry Mills (Jared S. Gilmore) is taken by Greg Mendell (Ethan Embry) and Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) through the jungle, only for his capturers to be killed, leaving him to flee from the real Home Office - the Lost Boys. Henry teams up with a fellow runaway, who later reveals to Henry that he is in fact Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) and wants Henry as he owns the "heart of the truest believer". With help from the Lost Boys, Pan keeps Henry away from his family, playing games with them and attempting to brainwash Henry into believing that he is the only one to save magic in Neverland. Simultaneously, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), Mary Margaret Blanchard (Ginnifer Goodwin), David Nolan (Josh Dallas), Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla), Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), and Captain Killian "Hook" Jones (Colin O'Donoghue) successfully arrive in Neverland, though Gold leaves the party to search for Henry on the island himself. Emma elects to lead the crew on a direct assault route, declaring that they must believe in each other in order for them to succeed in Neverland. They later track down Tinker Bell (Rose McIver) who reluctantly agrees to help them, after making up with Regina following their past experiences. David keeps his secret of being struck by a Dreamshade infused arrow from the rest of the group, in order to stay focused on their mission to save Henry.
Meanwhile, Neal Cassidy (Michael Raymond-James) awakens in the Enchanted Forest, being tended to by Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger), Prince Phillip (Julian Morris), and Mulan (Jamie Chung). It is later revealed that Mulan has romantic feelings for Aurora, though she does not tell Aurora of her feelings, instead deciding to join Robin Hood (Sean Maguire)'s group of Merry Men when she reveals that she is expecting a baby with Phillip. With further assistance from Hood, Neal manages to use Pan's shadow to travel to Neverland and locate Emma, though he is captured by Pan. Emma, her parents and Hook later retrieve Neal from the Echo Caves upon revealing their darkest secrets; Hook reveals his true love for Emma, Mary Margaret confesses to wanting another baby once back in Storybrooke, David reveals his injury, and Emma tells Neal that she wished he was really dead as she did not want to revisit all of the pain she had been through of losing him again. The group then capture Pan's shadow in Dark Hollow, while Henry accepts Pan's challenge of saving magic at Skull Rock.
Rumplestiltskin summons his own shadow in an effort to bury his dagger and hide it from others. An illusion of Belle (Emilie de Ravin) regularly visits him in the jungle, though it is later revealed she is Pan's shadow in disguise attempting to steer Rumplestiltskin from his mission. He then collaborates with Regina, summoning the mermaid Ariel (Joanna García Swisher) to retrieve Pandora's Box from Gold's shop in Storybrooke. After Belle protects Storybrooke with a barrier spell, she successfully sends Ariel back with the item, following their misunderstanding with John (Matt Kane) and Michael Darling (James Immekus), who were enlisted by Pan to do everything he says, otherwise he will harm their sister Wendy (Freya Tingley). Rumplestiltskin and Regina later rejoin the rest of the group, though they doubt his true intentions after he reveals the prophecy of Henry being his undoing. To prove himself, Rumplestiltskin travels to Skull Rock to confront Pan, who is shown to be a younger version of his father Malcolm who abandoned him in Neverland years ago. Instead of capturing Pan in Pandora's Box, Rumplestiltskin is placed inside by Pan, who then tricks Henry into giving him his heart from his body. The group then set about to save him, with Regina retrieving his heart from Pan's body and resurrecting him. Rumplestiltskin is released from the box by Neal, then trapping Pan inside instead after he discovers him attempting to rip Henry's shadow from his body. The residents of Neverland all aboard the Jolly Roger and travel home to Storybrooke, using Pan's shadow to fly the ship. However, Pan has secretly inhabited Henry's body after switching before being trapped.
With help from Lost Boy Felix, Pan (acting as Henry) plays his games with the residents, temporarily killing Mother Superior (Keegan Connor Tracy) unleashing his shadow. Rumplestiltskin gives David an antidote to his poisoning which successfully cures him. After Emma believes that Henry is not himself, she demands that Gold opens Pandora's Box to confront "Pan". After sharing intimate details of their relationship, Henry is welcomed by his family once more, while Pan places a potion on Regina in her vault that knocks her unconcious. She is revived by the rest of the group, who discover that Pan has stolen Regina's original curse scroll that would be impossible to stop if enacted. Pan unleashes his curse, using Felix's heart and the residents prepare to fight back. Tinker Bell successfully destroys Pan's shadow, reviving Mother Superior, who gives them the Black Fairy's wand to return Pan and Henry to their correct bodies. Rumplestiltskin confronts Pan, whilst Henry is reunited with the others. Regina again falls unconcious upon touching the curse's scroll and seeing what needs to be done. Pan awakens and removes Rumplestiltskin's magic, seeking out the town's residents to kill them. However, Rumplestiltskin confronts Pan and summons his own shadow from Neverland with his dagger. He reveals he is finally ready for redemption, stabbing both himself and Pan, sacrificing them to prevent Pan's curse. The distraught others are then informed by Regina that she must undo her original curse that will return everyone to their original worlds. In order to do so, she must give Henry up as he was born in the real world. She selflessly enlists Emma to take care of him, giving the two new memories that erase the events that following the curse's enactment. As the two bid farewell, the curse takes hold and engulfs the town, while Emma and Henry flee. One year later, the two are shown living a happy life in New York City. However, Hook arrives at their apartment to the confusion of Emma who does not remember him. He attempts to make Emma believe, insisting that her family is in grave danger, though she at first ignores him.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|45||1||"The Heart of the Truest Believer"||Ralph Hemecker||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz||September 29, 2013||8.52|
|Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Mr. Gold and Hook travel to Neverland, in hopes of rescuing Henry, who was kidnapped by Greg Mendell and Tamara, before Peter Pan can get his hands on him. While doing so, the characters must learn to co-operate during a dangerous storm. Meanwhile, Neal tries to find a way out of the Enchanted Forest in order to save Emma from the dangers that lie ahead for her.|
|46||2||"Lost Girl"||Ron Underwood||Andrew Chambliss & Kalinda Vazquez||October 6, 2013||8.00|
|While Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Hook continue their search for Henry in Neverland, Peter Pan offers Emma a map that will reveal her son’s whereabouts if she stops denying who she really is, and Mr. Gold receives some unexpected advice from a friend that could lead him to understand his life’s journey. Meanwhile, in the Fairy Tale Land that was, when the Evil Queen presents Snow White with an offer to live her life with Charming in peace, Charming makes it his mission to ensure that Snow doesn’t take the offer.|
|47||3||"Quite a Common Fairy"||Alex Zakrzewski||Jane Espenson||October 13, 2013||7.53|
|In their continuing quest to find Peter Pan's hideout and save Henry, Hook suggests tracking down Tinker Bell in the hope that she will lead them straight to his camp. Pan reveals to Henry why he has brought him to Neverland and in the Enchanted Forest, Neal has a plan that could transport him to Emma, but it would involve using one of Robin Hood's most precious possessions. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale Land that was, Tinker Bell offers to help Regina improve her life.|
|48||4||"Nasty Habits"||David Boyd||David H. Goodman & Robert Hull||October 20, 2013||7.05|
|Mr. Gold makes a decision to confront Pan, but will he go there to save Henry or give in to the prophecy that the boy will be his undoing? Neal finds himself back in Neverland and in the custody of one of Pan’s most loyal Lost Boys. And David struggles for his life as the poison continues to take its toll on him. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale Land that was, Rumplestiltskin goes in search of a missing Bae, who has followed a mysterious figure who steals away children with his music.|
|49||5||"Good Form"||Jon Amiel||Christine Boylan & Daniel T. Thomsen||October 27, 2013||7.23|
|With the deadly Dreamshade coursing through David's body and close to death, Hook takes him on one last journey to find a sextant that could help them decipher a map that would lead them off Neverland. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale Land that was, Killian Jones – aka Hook – and his brother, Captain Liam, sail off under orders of the King to find a powerful indigenous plant on an uncharted land that could help heal any injury.|
|50||6||"Ariel"||Ciaran Donnelly||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz||November 3, 2013||7.55|
|Back in the Fairy Tale Land that was, when Ariel saves Snow White from drowning in the ocean's depths, Snow returns the favor by helping her new friend get acquainted with Prince Eric, with whom she has fallen madly in love with. Meanwhile, Emma, Mary Margaret, David and Hook attempt to save Neal, who is imprisoned in one of Pan's encampments, and Regina and Mr. Gold begrudgingly team up to find a way to take down Pan.|
|51||7||"Dark Hollow"||Guy Ferland||Kalinda Vazquez & Andrew Chambliss||November 10, 2013||6.71|
|Mr. Gold and Regina send Ariel back to Storybrooke with an item that will allow Belle to locate a hidden artifact that could help take down Pan. But unbeknownst to them, two men have broken into the town with the intent to stop them – at all costs. Meanwhile, Emma, Neal and Hook attempt to find Dark Hollow, where Peter Pan’s shadow dwells, in order to capture it, and Mary Margaret is upset with David for keeping his poisoning a secret from her.|
|52||8||"Think Lovely Thoughts"||David Solomon||David H. Goodman & Robert Hull||November 17, 2013||6.66|
|Pan leads Henry to a secret cave, where he has convinced the boy that he alone can save magic and Neverland itself. But a showdown between good and evil is about to go down as Emma, Neal, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Mr. Gold, Tinker Bell and Hook find themselves directly on a path to Pan in an effort to save Henry. Meanwhile, back in the Fairytale Land that was, young Rumplestiltskin is given a magical item that could help him make a fresh start with his father -- who has been anything but a good dad.|
|53||9||"Save Henry"||Andy Goddard||Christine Boylan & Daniel T. Thomsen||December 1, 2013||6.64|
|While Henry's life hangs in the balance, the race is on to stop Pan from gaining full magical powers from the heart of the truest believer. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke of the past, Regina decides to fill a void in her life and, with Mr. Gold's help, sets out to adopt a baby.|
|54||10||"The New Neverland"||Ron Underwood||Andrew Chambliss||December 8, 2013||6.94|
|The residents of Storybrooke are overjoyed upon the return of Henry and our heroes from Neverland. But unbeknownst to them, a plan is secretly being put into place by a well-hidden Pan that will shake up the very lives of the townspeople. Meanwhile, in the Fairytale Land that was, Snow White and Prince Charming’s honeymoon turns out to be anything but romantic when they go in search of a mythical being that could stop Regina cold in her tracks.|
|55||11||"Going Home"||Ralph Hemecker||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz||December 15, 2013||6.44|
|The race is on to stop Pan from enacting another curse on the residents of Storybrooke, which could kill every living soul in town.|
|56||12||"New York City Serenade"||Billy Gierhart||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz||March 9, 2014||7.66|
|After Rumplestiltskin sacrificed his life to stop Pan from enacting another curse, Regina obliterated her original curse, which erased Storybrooke from existence and whisked its residents back to Fairy Tale Land – leaving Emma and Henry back in our world with no memories of Storybrooke. But all is not well back in the Enchanted Forest when Hook comes calling on Emma in New York City in an attempt to jog her memory so that she can once again help her fairy tale family and friends out of a desperate situation.|
|57||13||"Witch Hunt"||Guy Ferland||Jane Espenson||March 16, 2014|
|Emma arrives in Storybrooke with Henry, only to discover that no one remembers how they were transported back – or the past year they had spent back in fairy tale land. Emma teams up with Regina in an attempt to uncover who created the new curse. Meanwhile, in the fairy tale land that was during the past year, Regina, with the aid of Robin Hood, attempts to break into her castle, which has been overtaken by the Wicked Witch.|
|58||14||"The Tower"||Robert Hull||March 23, 2014|
|59||15||"Quiet Minds"||Kalinda Vazquez||March 30, 2014|
|60||16||"It's Not Easy Being Green"||Mario Van Peebles||Andrew Chambliss|
|61||17||"The Jolly Roger"||Ernest Dickerson||David H. Goodman|
|62||18||"Bleeding Through"||Jane Espenson & Daniel T. Thomsen|
|63||19||"A Curious Thing"||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz|
|64||20||"Kansas"||Andrew Chambliss & Kalinda Vazquez|
On May 10, 2013, ABC renewed Once Upon a Time for a third season, which premiered on September 29, 2013. The same month, it was revealed that the season will feature crossover episodes connecting with the upcoming spin-off series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. In August 2013, it was announced that the season would be split into two parts, with the first eleven episodes premiering from September 29 to December 2013, while the second half would broadcast from March 9 to May 2014.
The first eleven episodes will be set primarily in Neverland; co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis spoke about the setting of the third season stating, "Neverland is a land of belief, a land of imagination, and a land where all our main characters are being stripped down to their core. It’s really allowing us, as writers, to dig deep into who they are and to push them forward to new places. I think being in Neverland is going to have a profound effect on each of the characters. It’s really fun to see these characters and dig deep this year and explore what it’s like for Emma to [be with] her parents. Neverland is really a place where we can sit down and think about that." The two also noted that Peter Pan will feature in the season but will be a more "complicated" version of the character, with Kitsis saying, "We have not yet met Peter Pan and we have not yet seen Neverland, and that is where we're going!" In a further interview, Horowitz stated, "Well for us, Neverland is kind of a place that makes you confront your past. It's sort of the heart of darkness and to be a 200 year-old person, you know because you don't grow up there, you have to keep yourself amused. However long Peter Pan has been there and for whatever reason he has been there, we intend to reveal our take on that and on the legend of Peter Pan. We have a way that it intertwines with our Once Upon a Time mythology that we're really excited to unveil." At Disney's D23 Expo event, the creators hinted at romantic sparks between Emma Swan and Captain Hook, and revelations about how Hook became a pirate.
On March 10, 2014, the producers threw out hints that they might look ahead at incorporating characters from Brave and Frozen in future episodes, possibly towards the end of the third season if they get the green light from Disney.
In May 2013, it was revealed that season two regular Meghan Ory (Red Riding Hood/Ruby) would be departing the show to star in CBS's upcoming sci-fi drama Intelligence. However, Ory stated that she is still open for more episodes on Once Upon a Time as a guest member. The same month, it was announced that Michael Raymond-James (Baelfire/Neal Cassidy) had been promoted from a recurring cast member to a series regular for the season. In July 2013, it was reported that Giancarlo Esposito (The Genie/Magic Mirror/Sidney Glass) would be returning to the series, following his absence from season two. In the same month, it was announced that the role of Robin Hood had been recast from Tom Ellis to Sean Maguire. Adam Horowitz stated, "Although we love Tom Ellis, unfortunately he wasn’t available. We remain huge fans of his, but because we have an arc planned for the character, we had to move forward." British actor Robbie Kay played the role of the first half of the season's villain Peter Pan. On July 29, it was reported that Rose McIver had been cast as Tinker Bell. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis teased an unexpected introduction for the well-known character, saying, "It's taking the icon and putting our spin on it. How we introduce her, and who she is, is hopefully going to be surprising because we're going to find she has a surprising connection to someone." Joanna Garcia was cast as Ariel from The Little Mermaid. On September 3, 2013, Gil McKinney was cast in the recurring role of Prince Eric. On October 18, 2013, it was revealed that the American musician Marilyn Manson would voice the character of The Shadow. On October 21, British actor Stephen Lord was announced to be playing Rumplestiltskin's father, Malcolm. He featured in the eighth and eleventh episodes of the season. For episode five, Bernard Curry played a guest role as Captain Hook's brother Liam, while a member of the Lost Boys called Devin was portrayed by Skyler Gisondo.
For the second half of the season, Alexandra Metz has been reportedly cast as Rapunzel, who Prince Charming will come to the rescue of. Rose McGowan will return as a young Cora for the season's eighteenth episode. Later in January, it was confirmed that episode eighteen will also feature the introduction of a young King Leopold as a Prince played by Eric Lange, and the return of Princess Eva, played by Eva Bourne. Charles Mesure was cast as Blackbeard in January 2014, to appear in one episode as an enemy of Captain Hook. In February 2014, a casting call was opened for an actress in her mid to late twenties to recur as Glinda the Good Witch, who is described as elegant, warm and benevolent, as well as wise, clever and shrewd. However, years of isolation have made her lonely and cautious — though at her core, she is a steadfastly filled with optimism. It was later announced that Sunny Mabrey was cast as Glinda. 
On September 12, 2013, ABC released the original cast promotional photos for the season. However, due to fan backlash, the photos were removed. Instead, new photos were promoted via social networking outlets with the tag-line '#SaveHenry'.
Set in Neverland, filming of the first half of season three was shot in a versatile set inside a Vancouver soundstage, re-dressed to represent up to twelve different tropical locales, including the camps of Peter Pan, Mr. Gold and the other residents of Storybrooke. The expensive set took a month to construct and was inspired by both Disney's animated Peter Pan movie and the Ewok village from Return of the Jedi. Foliage wrangler Sarah McCulloch spoke of the set-up saying, "It took us five days to assemble all the plants. We have 200 real plants that have to be watered and pruned every day and heated at night, 30 actual tree stumps and 450 fake branches" to which silk leaves were added. The Storybrooke scenes were again shot in Steveston, British Columbia, Canada.
|Live + 7 Day (DVR) Ratings|
|18-49 rating increase||Viewers increase (millions)||Total 18-49||Total viewers (millions)|
|45 (3-01)||"The Heart of the Truest Believer"||September 29, 2013||2.6/7||8.52||#24||1.2||2.54||3.8||11.06|
|46 (3-02)||"Lost Girl"||October 6, 2013||2.6/7||8.00||#25||1.2||N/A||3.8||N/A|
|47 (3-03)||"Quite a Common Fairy"||October 13, 2013||2.4/6||7.53||#23||1.1||N/A||3.5||N/A|
|48 (3-04)||"Nasty Habits"||October 20, 2013||2.1/5||7.05||N/A||1.3||2.55||3.4||9.60|
|49 (3-05)||"Good Form"||October 27, 2013||2.2/6||7.23||N/A||1.2||N/A||3.4||N/A|
|50 (3-06)||"Ariel"||November 3, 2013||2.3/6||7.55||#22||1.2||2.70||3.5||10.25|
|51 (3-07)||"Dark Hollow"||November 10, 2013||2.1/5||6.71||N/A||1.3||2.68||3.4||9.39|
|52 (3-08)||"Think Lovely Thoughts"||November 17, 2013||1.9/5||6.66||N/A||1.2||2.59||3.1||9.25|
|53 (3-09)||"Save Henry"||December 1, 2013||1.9/5||6.64||TBA||1.3||2.59||3.2||9.22|
|54 (3-10)||"The New Neverland"||December 8, 2013||2.1/5||6.94||TBA||1.1||2.44||3.3||9.38|
|55 (3-11)||"Going Home"||December 15, 2013||1.9/5||6.44||TBA||1.2||2.50||3.1||8.94|
|56 (3-12)||"New York City Serenade"||March 9, 2014||2.4/7||7.66||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|57 (3-13)||"Witch Hunt"||March 16, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|58 (3-14)||"The Tower"||March 23, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|59 (3-15)||"Quiet Minds"||March 30, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|