In “Once Upon a Time’s” midseason return, we learned that Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) have history with Cruella (Victoria Smurfit) and Ursula (Merrin Dungey) from their days in the Enchanted Forest, leading Storybrooke’s golden couple to share a midnight rendezvous with the dastardly duo in the closing minutes of “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Snow warned the pair that if they told anyone about what happened between the four of them pre-curse, she’d “rip out their hearts” herself — not a particularly heroic declaration.
To preview the March 8 episode, “Unforgiven,” Variety spoke to Dallas about the secret that Snow and Charming are harboring — especially from daughter Emma (Jennifer Morrison). “In this Sunday’s episode, we see what the terrible, very dark secret that they’re hiding is, [for] Emma’s benefit,” he previewed. “They don’t want Emma to know because it goes way back, before Emma was even born. And the consequences of [that secret] affect Emma’s life in totality, so it’s huge. It’s a big deal.”
As executive producer Eddy Kitsis previewed before the show returned from hiatus, “One of the big themes for the second half of the season that we want to deal with is, ‘What makes someone a hero and what makes someone a villain?’” Dallas reiterated that point, posing the question, “If you are a villain or you do something very bad, can you ever recover from it? Can you recover and become good again? That’s the question we’re gonna ask. We’re gonna see Snow and Charming’s relationships with the Trio of Darkness — Cruella, Ursula and Maleficent [Kristin Bauer van Straten] — and we’re gonna see what goes down.”
While Dallas admitted that he hasn’t been keeping up with social media’s reaction to last week’s bombshell — “I’ve been missing in action from Twitter because I’ve been busy changing diapers,” he laughed — he suspected that fans probably had plenty of guesses for what Snow and Charming were keeping hidden… and that the truth might cause viewers to change their perspective on the seemingly perfect couple. “I think it’s gonna make people look at them differently and reevaluate what they thought of them all this time. But let’s see if they can hopefully redeem themselves by the end, who knows?” he teased. “The audience can be the judge.”
“Once Upon a Time” has become known for its plot twists, and Dallas said he was “totally shocked” when he discovered what his character’s secret actually was: “It’s in the ‘Once Upon a Time’ realm to take these characters and constantly be changing them. In our universe, no one is 100 percent good and no one is 100 percent evil, so it’s just another facet to these characters, which I love; which is one of the great things about playing [them]. They’re evolving and it’s always character-driven, and that’s an exciting thing.”
As Snow’s threat in last week’s episode proved, the Charmings are prepared to go to great lengths to keep their past hidden. “This is a secret that they’ve been holding for a long time… and it’s coming to the surface now,” Dallas noted. “That’s going to force them to make some decisions, and whether those decisions are right or wrong, you’re gonna have to keep watching.”
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Come back to Variety after the episode for more from Dallas and the producers on the repercussions of Snow and Charming’s actions.
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