This article contains episode summaries for the third season of Once Upon a Time.
In the U.S., original episodes of season three start airing on Sunday, September 29, 2013. The 22-episode season will be divided into two blocks of 11 episodes, one airing in the fall/winter of 2013, with the winter finale airing on December 8, 2013. The season will then resume on March 9, 2014, with the season finale airing on May 18, 2014. A special recap episode aired before the season premiere on September 29, 2013, and another one aired before the mid season premiere on March 9, 2014.
After Greg and Tamara take Henry to Neverland, Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Gold and Hook use the last magic bean available to them to follow the villains with the intent of saving the young man. But Neverland is a much darker place than we remember, and in order for our heroes to accomplish their mission, they'll have to face a foe more powerful than the Dark One himself. What does Peter Pan want with Henry? Can our heroes put aside their differences and work together? Will Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip be able to nurse Neal back to health and reunite him with his family? New fairytale characters will be revealed and old acquaintances will be revisited. So think of a wonderful thought... because this Neverland's going to be a fever dream that just won't break.
For a breakdown of the characters' appearances, checkhere.
1Also featured in archive footage in 3.12 and 3.15, accounting for 10 appearances.
2Also featured in archive footage in 3.09, accounting for 7 appearances.
3Also featured in archive footage in 3.12, accounting for 6 appearances.
4Also featured in archive footage in 3.12, accounting for 5 appearances.
Plot Synopsis: As Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Mr. Gold and Hook enter Neverland to search for a kidnapped Henry, they're greeted by a school of not-too-friendly mermaids who threaten to end their search before it begins. Meanwhile, Henry finds himself on the run from the Lost Boys with another escapee from Peter Pan's encampment, and Neal, recovering from his wounds, travels through the Enchanted Forest with Mulan in an attempt to learn the fates of Emma and Henry.
Plot Synopsis: While Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Hook continue their search for Henry in Neverland, Peter Pan appears before a startled Emma and offers her a map that will reveal her son's whereabouts... but the only way to make the map appear is for Emma to stop denying who she really is and come to grips with her true feelings about her identity. In the meantime, Mr. Gold receives some unexpected advice from a friend that could lead him to understand his life's journey while in Neverland. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, when the Evil Queen presents Snow White with an offer to live her life with Charming in peace - with the caveat that she give up her claim to the throne - Charming makes it his mission to ensure that Snow doesn't take the offer.
Plot Synopsis: 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.
Plot Synopsis: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.
Plot Synopsis: With the deadly Dreamshade coursing through David's body and him being 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.
Plot Synopsis: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.
Plot Synopsis: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 and company find themselves directly on a path to Pan in an effort to save Henry. Meanwhile, back in the Enchanted Forest 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.
Plot Synopsis: 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 the 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.
Plot Synopsis: 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.
Plot Synopsis: 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 the Enchanted Forest - 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.
Plot Synopsis:Emma arrives in Storybrooke with Henry and reunites with her friends and family, only to discover that no one remembers how they were transported back - or the past year they had spent back in the Enchanted Forest. But Emma is sure that someone in town is responsible for this new curse and teams up with Regina in an attempt to uncover their identity. Meanwhile, in the fairytale 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 Zelena.
Plot Synopsis: While Emma, David, Regina and Hook continue their search for the Wicked Witch, she, in turn, is planning a dark surprise for David, and Zelena's prisoner is powerless under her watch as she plots her next course of action against the townspeople. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was in the previous year, Prince Charming stumbles upon Rapunzel, who is trapped inside a tower, and must help her confront her fears in order for her to be free.
Plot Synopsis:Neal finds himself back in Storybrooke and yearns for a way to reconnect with his son Henry, whose memories of his father are gone, while also trying to find his own father, Rumplestiltskin, whom he has just learned is alive but missing, and Regina discovers a possible connection with Robin Hood. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was over the past year, agonizing over the death of his father, Neal - with the help of Belle and enchanted candelabrum Lumière - attempts to find a magical solution to bring back Rumplestiltskin from the dead.
Plot Synopsis: With Rumplestiltskin as her slave, Zelena challenges Regina to a fight to the death and shocks the Evil Queen with the reveal of their familial connection, and the town lays Neal to rest. Meanwhile, back in the past in the land of Oz, a jealous Zelena asks the Wizard to send her to the Enchanted Forest after discovering that she has a sister, and that Rumplestiltskin is training her to become a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Plot Synopsis:Ariel returns to Storybrooke and pleads with Hook to help her find Prince Eric, who never returned to the town when the new curse was invoked. Emma agrees to let Regina teach her how to use magic so that she can help defeat Zelena, and Mary Margaret and David try to prove that they can be just as much fun as Hook is with Henry, who thinks they are boring. Meanwhile, during the past year, an angry Ariel confronts Hook over her missing lover, who she presumes was kidnapped and possibly killed by the swarthy pirate. But when Hook confesses that the Jolly Roger has been stolen and Eric is most likely the thief's prisoner, Ariel unknowingly provides him with a clue as to who the culprit is, and they go off in search of his ship.
Plot Synopsis: After Zelena steals Regina's heart, the latter casts a spell so that she can speak across the realms to her dead mother, Cora, in order to discover the truth about why she abandoned her first born, and Belle stumbles across what the Wicked Witch's ultimate end game is. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, young Cora is duped by a man claiming to be a prince and finds herself alone and pregnant, but a chance meeting with a real prince could lead her to the royal life she's always craved. However, she must keep her pregnancy a secret or risk losing everything.
Plot Synopsis: While things begin to heat up between Regina and Robin Hood, Zelena threatens to kill Henry if Hook - whose lips have been cursed by her - doesn't proceed with kissing Emma, an act that would drain all of her magical powers away. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was during the past year, Snow and Charming go in search of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, to see if she can help them defeat Zelena, and the curse that will ultimately send the fairytale characters back to Storybrooke is cast... but from an unlikely source.