[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday's midseason premiere of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk.]
Once Upon a Time's Evil Queen, it seems, is not so evil after all. When Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge) turned up dead — gasp! — all the evidence pointed to Regina (Lana Parrilla) as the culprit. It was actually her shape-shifting mother who did the deed, but — gasp! — Jiminy's not dead! Cora (Barbara Hershey) murdered a random resident of Storybrooke and changed his appearance to frame Regina. So, who really died? And can Regina ever win back Henry's (Jared Gilmore) trust? TVGuide.com turned to executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis to get the scoop on what's in store for the second half of Season 2, including Emma's (Jennifer Morrison) exploration of magic and more!
Who actually died in place of Jiminy? Is that something we'll come to find out?
Adam Horowitz: It's sort of the explanation at the end, which is that it was Cora's first day in town and she doesn't know who she killed.
Edward Kitsis: Honestly, she killed a faceless, nameless person and it was really more to highlight her coldness — that she doesn't care who she killed; she just needed a body.
Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) and Cora were not part of the curse, so can they leave Storybrooke? Would magic still work for Cora outside of Storybrooke?
Kitsis: Obviously they can leave because they weren't under the curse. As far as using magic outside the line, we're definitely going to explore that. I would strongly suspect that magic ends at the town line.
That might make it interesting for Hook in his quest to skin an alligator.
How will Emma, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) treat Regina now?
Kitsis: I think the tragedy, obviously, is that Regina was telling the truth. At the moment things got hairy, no one believed in Regina, which just shows to Regina that these people will really never forgive her. I think that makes her susceptible to her mom. I would say watch out.
That begs the question of whether Regina could ever find happiness. Can she ultimately survive the story of Once Upon a Time?
Kitsis: That is the question of the series. That is Regina's character question. Will she find her happy ending? Unfortunately, she hasn't. Of all the characters, it's funny, she may have inflicted the most harm, and yet she has had the most harm inflicted to her.
What will we see for the confrontation between Henry and Regina?
Kitsis: The question is when do people find out? The first few episodes are going to explain all of this. Where does Regina go? What happens to her? When do they find out Archie is alive? A lot of those things are going to be played out in the next batch of episodes.
It seems like Emma is going to continue to discover her magical abilities and it looks like Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is very interested in helping her.
Horowitz: We're going to see that the magic within Emma becomes something that's really important to her on her journey of self-discovery this season. And it's definitely something that interests Rumple.
Kitsis: I think there's something about Mr. Gold, which is he's never one to miss an opportunity.
He looked at Emma like he looked at Regina before she knew how to harness her magic. Was that on purpose?
Kitsis: Yes. His wheels were spinning there. He realized that Emma has magic at the end of Episode 9 and he tests her in this episode. When it holds true, I think he thinks, "Ahhh!" It's like looking at someone with whole new eyes.
Magic always comes with a price. Is it a different kind of price because Emma is the savior?
Kitsis: What's interesting this season is we brought magic in the beginning and we know it comes with a price, so as the season goes on, you start to see the price of magic. For instance, in Episode 10, the price is Henry. Emma has to tell Henry that his stepmom killed his shrink. You see how hard it is for Regina to kick magic and you see how magic has come between Rumple and Belle (Emilie de Ravin). I think that is an issue that will be explored all throughout the season. It can come with a price, and sometimes, when it's good magic and it's used for the good of people, the price is different. But magic always comes with a price.
Can you talk about the parallel of Emma discovering how to be a parent to Henry, as well as Snow and Charming being parents to her?
Horowitz: What we're going to see is a family struggling to figure out what exactly it is. It's interesting to us that there are those parallels. Two sets of parents and two sets of kids who have not had the interaction that one normally associates with family. In addition to that, you add in the relationship between Snow, Emma and David — they're the same age. It's going to be a challenge for all of them to sort out.
Speaking of family, how will Regina act towards her mother? Will she seek her mother's affection or will she figure out Cora concocted the fake murder of Jiminy?
Kitsis: I would have to say keep watching. That is an interesting question and it really is, how persuasive is Cora? And how receptive is Regina? But deep down, every child wants their parent's love, and deep down, everyone wants their parent's respect and approval. Unfortunately, she has a hard choice because she wants her mother to love her, but in the same respect, she fears her mother and wanted her [to go] away. She wants to be with Henry and wants to go straight.
Will Cora and Hook be in the shadows for a long time or will others begin to figure out they're there?
Kitsis: Obviously we're not going to keep them secret for the entire season. I would say in short order we find out their plans. But we don't want to spoil when each of them are revealed.
Horowitz: The mayhem they're causing continues at an exponential rate.
Kitsis: A frenetic pace.
What horrors will Jiminy face in the coming weeks?
Kitsis: For Jiminy, he is going to be facing the old patient-doctor confidentiality issue. A lot of these people are his patients, and Cora and Hook are going to be very interested in the secrets of Mr. Gold and Regina, and it's really how long can Archie hold up?
Everyone expects that Hook is going to use Belle against Rumple. What will surprise us about how that goes down?
Horowitz: We hope that the Rumple-Hook-Belle of it all happens in a surprising way. There's clearly a confrontation brewing and it's coming soon. I think you should be worried about everyone. You've got Cora and Hook in town!
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.