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Season 2
Once Upon a Time Season 2

No. of episodes

22

Original release

September 30, 2012 – May 12, 2013

Premiere

Broken

Finale

And Straight On 'til Morning

Previous

Season 1

Next

Season 3

The second season of the ABC television series Once Upon a Time was announced on May 10, 2012. It premiered on September 30, 2012 and concluded on May 12, 2013.

The season's plot follows the introduction of magic by Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold into Storybrooke, leaving the fate of both the real world and the Fairytale Land that was, intertwined, resulting in new threats emerging. Furthermore, Rumplestiltskin locates his son, only to find he is Henry Mills' father, and outsiders Greg Mendell and a woman named Tamara arrive in Storybrooke with the intention to remove magic and the town. They eventually fail to destroy Storybrooke, though they kidnap Henry and take him to Neverland to the unknown Peter Pan, leading the main characters to follow them to retrieve him, setting the premise for the third season. New characters introduced in the season include Baelfire (the son of Rumpelstiltskin) under his new alias Neal Cassidy - who is also the father of Henry Mills - Captain Killian "Hook" Jones, Princess Aurora, Mulan, Prince Phillip, Robin Hood, and the Darling Family.

The season premiere was watched by 11.36 million viewers, achieving an adult 18-49 rating/share of 3.9/10.0. These numbers sunk to a low of 7.08 million viewers in February 2013, but remained stable above 7 million throughout the remainder of the season with, a season finale viewership of 7.33 million and a 2.3/7 adult 18–49 rating/share.

Plot

Following the curse being broken by Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the purple smoke that brought magic to Storybrooke by Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) clears, and the residents reunite as their fairy tale selves. In the fairytale world, Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger) is awakened by her betrothed Prince Phillip (Julian Morris), but Phillip and his warrior companion Mulan (Jamie Chung) must face the deadly wraith. They manage to entrap it, but at the cost of Philip's life. Emma, Snow White/Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Prince Charming/David (Josh Dallas) try to stop the wraith from taking Regina's soul after she is marked by Gold. However, Emma and Mary Margaret are sent through the Mad Hatter's hat and are transported to a part of the Enchanted Forest, whose inhabitants were spared from the Curse. The two later form a bond with Aurora and Mulan, who agree to assist them in finding a way back to Storybrooke. On their journey, they meet Cora (Barbara Hershey), the mother of The Evil Queen/Regina (Lana Parrilla). She forms an alliance with Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) to also find a way to travel to Storybrooke.

In the meantime, back in Storybrooke, Regina promises to not use magic to become a better person to her adopted son, Henry Mills (Jared S. Gilmore). David becomes the town's sheriff, whilst simultaneously trying to find a way to be reunited with Snow and Emma. He eventually puts himself under a sleeping curse to communicate with Mary Margaret in her dreams. He is later awakened by true love's kiss when Mary Margaret and Emma return from the Enchanted Forest through a magical portal. However, Cora and Hook follow them and successfully arrive in Storybrooke in an effort to ruin Regina's life, and to kill Rumplestiltskin. Cora imitates Regina to frame her for Dr. Archie Hopper's (Raphael Sbarge) false murder. After being cast out by the townspeople, Regina meets with her mother again, and together, they plan to get Henry back.

Emma's backstory growing up is revealed, presenting her as a teenage criminal who begins a relationship with fellow law-breaker Neal Cassidy (Michael Raymond-James). The two plan to flee to Tallahassee, though Neal is later persuaded by August Booth (Eion Bailey) to leave Emma protecting her destiny as the savior of Storybrooke. Emma later gives birth to their presumed son, Henry, in prison.

After Cora gives Mr. Gold an enchanted globe that reveals that his son Baelfire is in Manhattan, he enlists Emma and Henry to accompany him on his mission. However, when Emma finds him, she finds that he is actually Neal, Henry's father. He bonds with Henry and reluctantly reunites with his father when Captain Hook stabs Mr. Gold with his poisoned hook. The group travels back to Storybrooke to find a cure for Gold. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret vows to kill Cora after it is revealed that she killed her mother when Snow was a child. Regina and Cora obtain The Dark One's dagger in attempt to kill their enemies through the use of Rumplestiltskin, to leave Regina innocent in Henry's eyes. As the two attempt to get to Mr. Gold who returns to Storybrooke, Mary Margaret finds that the only way to save him is to kill Cora by burning the very same candle that Cora used to poison her mother. In a moment of weakness, Mary Margaret tricks Regina into restoring Cora's heart, killing her. Mary Margaret finds it hard to deal with what she has done and begs for Regina to kill her. Instead, Regina rips her heart out and shows her that it is blackening before re-inserting it.

The seven dwarves learn that if someone steps out of Storybrooke they lose their entire memory of who they actually are. Mr. Gold later finds a spell that allows him to cross the line, but when Belle sees him off, Hook shoots her, making her cross the border and forget her memories. Before Mr. Gold can retaliate, a car from outside Storybrooke crashes into Hook. The driver is later revealed to be Greg Mendell, an older version of Owen Flynn, a boy Regina befriended at the very beginning of the curse in 1983. He was separated from his father after Regina had him arrested, after he realized the magic within the town. Greg communicates with an unknown female, later shown to be Tamara, Neal's fiancée. She is invited to Storybrooke by Neal, though in a secret relationship with Greg. She mortally wounds August, though he is later restored to a boy puppet Pinocchio.

The backstory of Baelfire (Rumplestiltskin's son) after his father abandons him to travel through a portal alone is also revealed. A young Baelfire finds himself back in 19th century London and is taken in by the Darling family. He befriends their daughter, Wendy. He protects the family by sacrificing himself to be taken by a mysterious being The Shadow to Neverland. After Bae escapes, Captain Hook welcomes him aboard the Jolly Roger and forms a bond with him, learning that he is Rumplestiltskin's son. However, after Bae finds out that Hook split apart his family, Hook gives him to the Lost Boys, who pass him on to an unwanted collection of other boys. The wanted boy in the picture is in fact Henry.

With the aid of Hook, Regina attempts to put a plan in motion that will help transport herself and Henry back to the Enchanted Forest. Her plan revolves around a fail-safe that was planted within the curse, which if triggered could wipe Storybrooke off the map and kill all of its inhabitants. Regina tricks Hook, and it is revealed that Hook was double-crossing her in collaboration with Greg and Tamara when the latter two kidnap her. Against Neal's protests, Emma believes that Tamara had something to do with Regina's disappearance. She is later proven to be correct when Mary Margaret and David find Regina being tortured by the pair. Tamara then shoots Neal, sending him through a portal to the remaining part of the Enchanted Forest, after Neal reveals to Emma that he still loves her. Greg and Tamara begin the trigger to destroy the town, though it is stopped by Regina and Emma. However, Greg and Tamara then kidnap Henry and take him to Neverland. Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Mr. Gold join Hook on his ship with his magic bean to follow them to Neverland and save Henry. The season ends with the revelation from Mr. Gold that Greg and Tamara are merely pawns in a larger game, and that their boss is none other than Peter Pan.

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