Once Upon a Time’s Jennifer Morrison Teases Emma’s New Predicament

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Jennifer Morrison | Photo Credits: Jack Rowand/ABC

[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday’s episode of Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!]

Once Upon a Time wasted no time in restoring Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) memories. On the midseason premiere on Sunday, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) gave her a potion that came with some consequences: That boyfriend (Covert AffairsChristopher Gorham) Emma has been dating for the last several months? It turns out he’s one of the Wicked Witch’s (Rebecca Mader) flying monkeys sent to keep an eye on the savior. 

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The good news is that the potion afforded her a chance to reunite with her parents back in Storybrooke, though they — along with the rest of the fairy-tale characters in town — can’t remember the last year of their lives since they’ve been cursed. They only know time has passed since Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) is pregnant. So, how will Emma save our favorite fairy-tale characters this time? And when will Henry (Jared Gilmore) get his memories back? TVGuide.com caught up with Morrison to get the scoop:

Were you surprised that Emma got her memories back so quickly?
Jennifer Morrison:
I was a little surprised that her memories came back so quickly. I thought that it might take a couple episodes. I didn’t think it would be super long. Obviously, for the sake of the storytelling moving forward, she was going to need to get her memories back sooner rather than later. I also felt like the way they wrote it, it was very justified and that the point at which she gave in and let Hook give her the memory potion made sense.

Emma was the one character who didn’t have two sets of memories, so what is it like playing that now?
It’s really fun. I feel like it’s really added another layer to Emma in a way that I had been hoping for. She’s spent a year actually being a mom, and has memories of years that didn’t actually happen, but that year was real. She really did connect with Henry for that time and cooked numerous breakfasts, played video games and had play dates; the things that a parent would do with a child. It was a time in her life where things were much more stable than usual. She’s still Emma. She still had that rough childhood and rough upbringing and she’ll always have that tough exterior, but some of those edges have softened a bit. She’s tasted some of the finer things in life for the first time — meaning the love of her child and shared moments with people that she’s cared about without the threat of a witch, a giant or a monster — so she’s definitely got a new layer of gentleness to her that I don’t think she had before.

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Henry doesn’t have his memories back. Will Emma be trying to get him to believe?
Emma really wants to keep Henry from finding out. She’s actually trying to get in the way of that. She wants him to have a great life, and she feels like their life in New York was wonderful. She’s going to spend as long as she can keeping the truth from him because she wants him to be happy. It is very complicated at times. She hates that she’s keeping things from him and not being completely honest. She has moments of really hating herself for that, and then convincing herself that she’s doing it for the right reasons. Ultimately, she’s going to come to a crossroads and have to decide whether or not she’s going to let him remember his past.

She still cares deeply for Neal (Michael Raymond-James), so what’s the challenge like for her now being around Hook?
Neal and Hook are always a challenge for Emma because they’re both important in her life for very different reasons. No matter what, Neal is always going to be the father of her child. That’s always going to be a big deal. Hook is the first person who hasn’t let her down. Even though he’s done some bad things in his past, he’s never done anything bad to Emma. He’s always been good to her and shown up for her. That’s been her biggest issue with how many times she’s been abandoned and left behind, and Hook shows up for her. It is confusing and challenging for all of them because Neal and Hook like each other. They spent a lot of time in Neverland together. They respect each other. It’s not a catty love triangle. It’s three people who really respect each other. It makes it more heartbreaking to try to figure out what the right decision would be.

Emma also thought she was in love with Walsh (Gorham) and now realizes that he was planted there. How does she feel being duped by this guy?
In a weird way, what happens with Walsh is what she’s used to. Of course it’s always upsetting and devastating. You don’t want to be duped by someone. But she has a survival mechanism to get through that. It’s more that she’s pissed that Henry looked at him as a father figure and potential stability in their lives. If anything, it makes her guard go up higher because she wants to make sure she can protect Henry.

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How different is this Storybrooke? And how long before she realizes there’s this new woman in town interacting with those she loves?
The thing that’s so complicated about Storybrooke is that there are a lot of people who are theoretically always around that we just don’t see, which leaves room for stories like this. It’s different because they know who they are, so their memories haven’t been taken away in terms of their identity, but the last year of their life is missing, so there’s an eerie feel to the town. No one knows who cast this new curse. No one knows what their intentions are. It’s complicated for a while.

What’s Emma’s relationship like with her parents now?
Everything that we’ve gone through has informed them getting closer and closer. She’s also very excited for them to be having a child because she knows they never had a chance to raise her. She wants that for them. She’s being told she has something to do with breaking this new curse, so a lot of Emma’s motivation is that she wants to solve this so she can take Henry back to New York and keep him safe there.

Emma wouldn’t want to go back to the Enchanted Forest and enjoy a life with her family?
I don’t think that’s what she wants. I don’t think she’s there yet. The only thing she has to hang onto is that year in New York. That’s the first time she’s ever had a positive stretch of time in her life. When someone experiences something positive when they’ve never had something positive before, you’re going to cling onto it whether it’s right or wrong. She thinks this is how to keep Henry safe and have a good life.

You say that Emma is happy for her parents getting to have another child. Is there any part of her that’s a little bit jealous that this new baby gets the life that she didn’t get?
That’s a tough question. That sensation definitely has not come up in me as Emma in terms of the scenes that we’ve done that address the issue. I’ve looked to see if that was there at all, but it hasn’t instinctively come up. I do think part of that may be a self-defensive mechanism in her. She doesn’t know what she missed out on because she doesn’t know any different than what her life was. It’s hard to be jealous of what you don’t understand.

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Talk about what kind of foe the Wicked Witch is, especially compared to the villains we’ve seen on the show before.
She is complicated because for so long her intentions are not clear to us. It takes us a really long time to work out what she’s after and why she’s after it and what her motivations are. That keeps us all in the dark and guessing for a really long time. Oftentimes, with the previous villains, there’s been a sense of back and forth where they get ahead of us, and then we get ahead of them, etc. But with the Wicked Witch in particular, she stays ahead of us for a really long time, with us having no wins for a while. We just get pummeled for quite a while. It starts to look really impossible for us to triumph in the circumstances that we’re in. She becomes a really, really devastating presence.

Could the message that Hook got to retrieve Emma be a trap?
It is possible.

With Oz coming into play, there’s a running theory that Emma could be Dorothy.
That’s an excellent theory. [Laughs] Part of what’s interesting about the introduction of Oz in the storytelling is that, at certain times, more than one character represents people from Oz for different reasons. It’s not just like someone is playing Dorothy or the Cowardly Lion. There are times when people symbolically represent those characters along with times where people are actually playing those characters. There’s a bit of layering in terms of the metaphors that are implied once we’re dealing with Oz and those characters. 

We’ve heard there’s going to be a death this season. Can you say anything about that?
You never want anyone to die on shows that you have all these beloved characters. You get attached to all these people whether they’re good, bad, anything in between. I would be pretty worried.

Are you happy that Emma got her memories back so quickly? Do you think Henry should get his back, too? And are you Team Swanfire or Team CaptainSwan? Hit the comments!

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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