It feels like Once Upon A Time is building toward a standoff — a debate between residents who want to stay in Storybrooke and residents who want to reclaim their Enchanted Forest home. So far, this conversation has mainly taken place on a smaller scale between Mary Margaret/Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David Nolan/Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). The former is willing to stay in Storybrooke if it means keeping her family safe and together, while the latter sways toward returning home. Where do we think the other Storybrooke residents will fall?
It’s not that Mary Margaret doesn’t want to return to her home in the Enchanted Forest, it’s that she wants to ensure that her family stays together. She abandoned her daughter in The Land Without Magic once, and she has no intention of doing it again. If Emma (Jennifer Morrison) chooses to stay in Storybrooke, then we can’t imagine Mary Margaret choosing to leave.
...And we do think that Emma would want to stay in Storybrooke. Though she was technically born in the Enchanted Forest, it is not her home. She grew up in our world and is familiar with the way it works. She would want to stay in the place she feels best able to protect Henry (Jared Gilmore) and, right now, that is Storybrooke.
We think Emma might have Henry’s father on her side for this one, as well (which will be a bit awkward if Henry decides he wants to move to the Enchanted Forest, as predicted below). Neal/Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James) chose to leave his magical home when he was a young boy in an effort to save his father, Rumple, from the corruption of magic. It did not end well. We doubt Neal would want to return to the magical land that took his mother and father from him in different ways.
We’re also going to place Belle (Emilie de Ravin) firmly on Team Storybrooke. As of right now, she has no memories of her time in the Enchanted Forest as Belle and, instead, exists only as her Storybrooke counterpart, “Racy Lacey.” As wild as this Lacey seems, we doubt she’s going to want to relocate to a magical land of trolls, giants, and evil pirates.
Team Enchanted Forest
Team Enchanted Forest is composed of characters who face a specific fear. As evidenced by this clip, these characters don’t see Storybrooke as a safe haven, but as an outpost in enemy territory. The way Team Enchanted Forest sees it, there is a whole world of strangers just beyond Storybrooke’s borders that have never seen magic and might not react kindly to the use of it.
Team Storybrooke (i.e. Snow and Emma) disputes this argument by pointing out there is no reason to believe that anyone will come to Storybrooke, but Team Enchanted member Grumpy switches tactics: “That doesn’t change the fact that, while we may enjoy things like penicillin, we’re a bit homesick.” This seems to strike a chord with a lot of the Storybrooke residents in the room. After all, there’s no place like home.
So, who’s firmly on Team Enchanted Forest? Well, of course there is Team Captain David. According to TV Line, OUAT co-creator Edward Kitsis talked David’s desire to return home at the show’s PaleyFest panel: “As much as David likes electricity, he misses his sword and his castle and his horse. He wants to rebuild his land. That is something a lot of people will get on board for.”
We also think Henry would be on board with visiting the magical land. He is constantly talking about going on an adventure, about seeing the Enchanted Forest for himself, and we think if given the choice, he would ditch the Land Without Magic in a heartbeat to visit the world from his storybook.
Given their codependency on magic, we think both Rumple and Regina would also opt to return to the Enchanted Forest, though as quasi-villains, their motivations are more complicated than most. Perhaps the Enchanted Forest only reminds them of their darker times.
The residents of Storybrooke will not be able to put off a decision forever, and we can’t wait to see the dramatic tension it creates! How do you think the Storybrooke vs. Enchanted Forest debate will play out? Let us know your theories in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.