Once Upon a Time 3.12 Review: ”New York City Serenade”

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Finally after over three long months, ABC’s Once Upon a Time is finally back for its second half of its third season and what a mid-season premiere it was!

We mentioned a lot in Season 3A (if we may use a Teen Wolf term here) that one of the reasons why it was so strong was because that they had a big overarching storyline instead of having several individual ones.

After almost three seasons, it was weird seeing Emma living a normal life, but surprisingly, that was one of the strongest parts of the episode. It’s so common these days in sci-fi or fantasy shows where we get to see the protagonist go back to a normal life for once before they go back to their lives of adventure.

Sometimes it’s intriguing and sometimes it’s not, but for a character like Emma, it worked and it was done so well. Even the revelation that she had been dating someone for several months was interesting to follow, until it was revealed that he was in fact a flying monkey.

It was even fun as well as weird to see Henry just being a regular kid instead of being involved with magic, a group of lost boys and other craziness. A funny moment in this episode was without doubt when Henry and Hook met each other and commented on the other person’s choice of clothing.

Despite the fact that we have over 10 episodes left of this season, was it really necessary to reveal that Walsh (Christopher Gorham) was a flying monkey so soon? Don’t get us wrong, we didn’t want it to last for over 5 episodes, but they could have kept that discovery until next week, at the very least.

Focusing a bit on what we saw of the characters that returned to the Enchanted Forest, we felt that this was almost like a re-introduction to that world. Even though visually nothing has changed, it felt so different for unknown reasons. The best scene out of all the scenes we got in the forest was between Regina and Snow.

Seeing the aftermath on Regina after she had to say goodbye forever to Henry was heartbreaking and once again proves how powerful Lana Parrilla is as an actress. While we didn’t learn as much as we had hoped in those flashbacks, it was just good to see them being back in our world which was a big surprise. We had always speculated before this episode that Emma was going to have to travel to the Enchanted Forest and save them there.

The only letdown (just a little one) was that we didn’t get a longer introduction to Rebecca Mader’s Wicked Witch of The West in the episode. From a writing perspective, we can understand why they didn’t introduce her in, for example, the middle of the episode. But it didn’t lower the quality of the episode by any means, we are still really excited to see Once’s take on Wicked and with someone as phenomenally talented as Mader, we are in for a treat. The make-up and costume design for her is absolutely amazing and it’s going to be interesting to see what this character will do to our characters.

We see in the final scene that she receives Regina’s blood and talks about being able to finally get revenge. Fans on the internet have speculated that perhaps Regina and Wicked are sisters or at least family in some form of fashion which would actually make sense as well as for a fascinating storyline.

Overall, “New York City Serenade” was a great mid-season premiere that is promising us a pretty Wicked (pun intended) season. Will we actually get to see Oz and if so, what will it be like?

Once Upon a Time airs on Sunday nights, 8/7c on ABC.

[Photo via Jack Rowand/ABC]

Andy has contributed to sites such as KSiteTV, Across the Airwaves, and It's Just Movies. He has always had a big passion for writing. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBehbakht
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