At the close of the last Once Upon a Time, the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell) released the dreaded Spell of Shattered Sight, which will cause the town’s residents to turn on one another as they can only see the most ugly aspects of themselves and others around them. Sound familiar? That’s because the spell is adapted directly from “The Snow Queen,” the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale that Frozen is based on.
“It’s a big spell,” Mitchell tells EW from the Vancouver set of the ABC fairy tale drama, where just outside her character’s ice cream parlor, the Seven Dwarves are at each other’s throats as the spell takes hold. “What’s powerful about it is that it’s such deep magic. It doesn’t just affect one person, it affects everybody that it touches.”
Before the spell hits town, however, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) will set her sights on doing everything in her power to prevent the coming trouble—thanks to the yellow ribbons, Emma and Elsa (Georgina Haig) are actually immune. “We have to put a plan in place that’s going to keep everyone separated from the loved ones that they could potentially hurt during the curse and give [those immune] a chance to stop it,” Morrison says. “It’s going to be on us to find a solution for everyone else.”
However, their plan to protect everyone will lead to some heartbreaking farewells as the threat of the spell looms. “Once again, it feels like everything Emma’s fought to have and all the things that she’s made sacrifices in her life to have is coming to an end,” Morrison says. “Her parents aren’t going to be their true selves with her because of the curse, they’re not going to be their true selves with their new baby Neal because of the curse. Once again, the weight of the world is on her shoulders in terms of trying to find a solution. It does feel like a really scary goodbye, a very emotional goodbye and a very hectic goodbye because the curse is so close.”
The even scarier goodbye is with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), whose heart was recently ripped out by Rumplestilskin (Robert Carlyle). “Everybody thinks the goodbye is because of the spell and he’d have to chain himself to the docks so he doesn’t hurt her, but in actual fact in Hook’s mind, he’s going to be dead, Rumple’s going to kill him,” O’Donoghue says. “That’s his final goodbye. It’s heartbreaking for him because there’s so much that he wishes he could’ve experienced with Emma and told her. I’m sure he’s full of regret for all the wrong things that he’s done, but in that moment, it is simply just him saying goodbye to the woman he loves. She doesn’t quite fully know exactly how powerful that is for him because she thinks she’ll cure the spell and she’ll find him and it’ll all be fine, but in his mind, it won’t be.”
But the spell won’t be all doom and gloom. Once it hits, it will actually provide for a bit of levity, especially when it comes to seeing how Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) really feel about each other. “He’s nasty,” Dallas says. “He goes straight for the jugular. He doesn’t mince his words. Him and Snow White are pretty ruthless to each other. It’s just anything they can take and twist and they definitely do that.”
“It’s all a little reminiscent of the Snow-Regina cat fight on the ship in Neverland,” Goodwin adds. ” They’re going to hit below the belt. I do think their scenes together are straight up humorous and we need that every once in a while.” Ultimately, Goodwin admits, “Mary Margaret’s idea about how to protect herself and everyone else from this curse is, while logical, probably going to end up being ineffective.”
While the Charmings go toe-to-toe, Regina (Lana Parrilla) will be facing a very different threat: the Evil Queen. “She knows what [the curse] is going to do to her and what it’s going to bring out,” Parrilla says. “That’s the last thing she wants Henry [Jared Gilmore] to see and the last thing she wants Robin [Sean Maguire] to see is what she’s capable of. When the spell hits, she’s her worst self. When I think about the Evil Queen at her worst is when she killed her father. That’s the height of her evil. When you think about becoming your worst self, that’s terrifying.”
What’s more terrifying is that the town may not realize how powerful this spell really is. “It not only causes pain, but it causes death to everybody except for the people that she’s chosen,” Mitchell reveals.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.