1. We want to see Regina and Emma on the same side — oh and find out who might've been murdered On the January 6, Episode 10, "The Cricket Game," the synopsis says that "Regina is accused of murdering one of the town's most beloved fairytale characters — but only Emma senses that she may be innocent." We don't want anyone to die, but considering the episode's title, we're a little bit worried for Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket (Raphael Sbarge). But would they really give that much of a spoiler away in the title and synopsis? It's more likely Cora set her daughter up in some way.
Still, Regina/The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) on the same side sounds fun. Regina could use a friend, especially now that her mom is coming to town — and she's piiiiisssseed! It’s hard not to root for the underdog, and at this point that's our Evil (but not as much as her mom) Queen. If Regina joins with Emma and Team Storybrooke, maybe they can defeat Cora.
3. We want to see Neal meet Henry and reunite with Emma … and August, if possible Now that we know Neal is Henry's father, we need to know the rest. How did August Booth/Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) convince him about magic — is it because he is also magical himself? (Bae, is that you?) He got that "Broken" card on the premiere, so how is he going to follow that up? Has he been trying to get to Storybrooke since that point? Spoilers suggest Emma tracks Neal down herself, so that opens up interesting doors, too. How does she know where to find him? What's that reunion going to be like? There's so much ground to cover with this group, especially since Regina wants to be part of her adopted son's life but now he'll have both of his biological parents in the mix. Eek.
4. We want to see a Bae/Rumple reunion It's possible Neal is Bae. If not, we still need to know where Bae's been and when he's going to reunite with his dad. Rumple is looking for his son, so when/where will he find him, and in what emotional state, since he's been on his own for years? Will Bae arrive in time to help Rumple deal with Hook, who is ready to exact his revenge? Bae can’t be a big fan of the guy who stole his mother away from the family. Can Bae help Rumple love again, leading him back into a solid relationship with Belle (Emilie de Ravin)? Or will Belle have to play mediator between the two guys? Bae isn’t likely to just run back into his father’s arms, especially since Dad has been doing all kinds of magical misdeeds since they parted, and that sort of power tripping is the reason Bae left in the first place. Bae and Belle actually have a lot in common. Maybe they should hook up instead. (Kidding!)
5. We want to see more of the core characters and fewer newbies There are too many new supporting characters popping up on OUAT, only to be immediately killed off before we care about them or benched for so long we can barely remember they were ever around. (Cinderella, what have you been doing since the curse was lifted?) We want to focus on the core characters we’ve cared about since Season 1, and just a couple of other key people who’ve emerged as important in the big picture. For example, it sounds like Episode 12, "In the Name of the Brother," will be about Dr. Whale/Frankenstein (David Anders) and family, since both his father and brother have been cast for that episode. That should be a good one — we’ve been waiting for more Whale news since Episode 5. We’re also pumped to see Rose McGowan cast as young Cora, which suggests some kind of Cora origin story is coming. Cora’s story is directly linked to Regina and Rumple, so when we learn more about her, we learn more about them. That’s the kind of supporting character we love.
Once Upon a Time Season 2 returns on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.