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Witch Hunt
Season 3, Episode 13
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Airdate March 16, 2014
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Guy Ferland
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The Tower
Witch Hunt is the thirteenth episode of the third season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 57th episode overall, which aired on March 16, 2014.

In this episode, Emma Swan arrives in Storybrooke with Henry, only to discover that no one remembers how they were transported back – or the past year they had spent back in fairy tale land. Emma teams up with Regina in an attempt to uncover who created the new curse. Meanwhile, in the fairy tale land that was during the past year, Regina, with the aid of Robin Hood, attempts to break into her castle, which has been overtaken by the Wicked Witch. The episode also marked the return of Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) who was believed to be deceased after he sacrificed himself in the mid-season finale in December 2013.

"Witch Hunt" received mostly positive reviews from critics, with many complimenting the improvement and progression in the story lines. Upon airing, the episode was watched by 7.75 million viewers, attaining an 18-49 rating of 2.4. This figure was an increase of 0.09 million viewers from the spring premiere the previous week, whilst identical in terms of 18-49 rating.

View the Witch Hunt Gallery

Plot

Opening Sequence

The Wicked Witch of the West flies around the forest on her broomstick.

In the Enchanted Forest

Back in The Enchanted Forest in the past year, the characters are walking through the forest. Although Regina is still missing Henry, she also starts thinking a lot about the tunnels that run under the castle, which is interrupted by the arrival of a flying monkey that was sent by Zelena, who is planning to attack Regina. Regina uses her magic and turns it into a stuffed monkey, which she hands to Robin’s son Roland. Belle says she’s read about the only land that has winged monkeys, and believes that they might be from a place called Oz; and it is most likely that the one now occupying Regina's castle is none other than the Wicked Witch of the West, as she is the only one known to have such creatures under her employ, but a snarky Regina responds to that comment of who is doing the bidding or orders by saying “I don’t care if the lollypop guild is protecting her,” and she’s going to get in that castle by herself without any help. However, Robin decides he's going to tag along anyway as a way to thank Regina for saving Roland. Robin suspects that Regina still misses someone in her life, even after admitting to him that she does. In the tunnels under the castle, Regina explains she has to put out a fire in the courtyard that powers the spell, only to discover to find the door open when its supposed to be sealed with blood magic. The door leads to a crypt with the coffin of her mother, Cora. As they head to her drawer, Robin becomes suspicious when she take a vial out, then he starts pulling a bow on her.

It turns out that Regina is planning to put a sleeping spell on herself so Henry will find her one-day and embrace her again, after lowering the protection spell. Regina then freezes Robin so she can go through with it and does lower the protection spell, but just as she is about to take the spell, she is interrupted by Zelena, who then takes the potion pin from Regina and reveals to Regina that they both have one thing in common, besides magic and the fact that Rumplestiltskin trained them, that Cora is their mother and they are half-sisters. Zelena, who is furious that Cora gave Regina everything that she could never have, tells her younger sibling that she plans to take everything she had away from her as revenge. After Zelena flies off on her broom, Regina returns to the crypt and unfreezes Robin, where she tells him that she now has something to live for: someone to destroy.

In Storybrooke

In Storybrooke, Emma Swan and Captain Hook visit a very pregnant Mary Margaret and David at their home. Since everyone in town can not remember the previous year or how they came back to Storybrooke, Hook tells Mary Margaret he was with them for a short while in the Enchanted Forest the year before, then he left. While he was sailing, a bird brought him a note and the memory potion to inform him about what had happened and he thought Snow sent it. Leroy then arrives and announces that another dwarf is missing and the possibility that Neal might be also missing, so Emma decides they have to get their memories back, by figuring out who took them.

Meanwhile, over at Granny's, Ruby brings Henry cocoa with cinnamon when Emma arrives with David and Mary Margaret and passes them off as friends from Phoenix. When Regina sees Henry, she freaks out. Emma then approaches Regina to try to figure out how to find the person who cast the new curse that bought everyone back to Storybrooke. Around the same time, Little John, who, along with the merry men, are unsuccessfully turkey hunting, is snatched by a flying monkey. The disappearance prompts Emma, Hook, and David to investigate, leading them to the city limits where he was last seen. After Emma leaves, Hook and David search the area and find a mauled Little John in the forest and is taken to the hospital. After they arrived at the hospital, Little John goes into convulsions and is transformed into a flying monkey, and makes an escape into the forest.

Later on at the town hall meeting, Emma and Regina start an argument over who created the new curse (as the entire town is blaming Regina). She denies it and says she would have kept Henry, but Emma doesn't believes her. A furious Regina then disappears. A red-headed women with a green pendant looks suspicious. It is later revealed that back in the Mayor's office that Emma and Regina staged this performance together in an effort to distract the townspeople while they seek out the real source of the curse. It also turns out that Regina is trying to replicate the memory potion to get everyone's year-long memories back, but the chemistry experiment fails, so Emma suggests using an old bail bonds trick to expose the person by announcing that they have a memory potion almost done. Back at the cafe, Mary Margaret is freaking herself out reading a baby book, when a woman approaches and tells her that “cradle cap” goes away. She tells Mary Margaret that hasn’t been in Storybrooke long, saying that she wasn't anyone she’d remember back in The Enchanted Forest. “I was a midwife,” she says, and introduces herself to Mary Margaret as Zelena, who then feels Mary Margaret's stomach, hearing and feeling the unborn child, as if she had something planned in the works for The Charmings. Later that night, Leroy (under the premise that Emma gave him the message that she found Regina) makes the announcement about the potion and Zelena gets up and walks out. Around the same time, Regina and Emma stake out the Mayor's office, where after they bond over Henry, the two get the break they were looking for and as they attempt to capture the person, the caped individual that broke in the office suddenly disappears in a puff of green smoke.

Emma and Regina later return to the apartment, where Emma introduces Henry to Regina, but he doesn't remember her. David and Hook then arrive to tell the women about what happened to Little John. It appears that the missing residents are being turned into flying monkeys, and Regina believes that the only person who could be capable of doing this is The Wicked Witch of The West. Emma’s confused because they’re not in Kansas and is now learning that there is another character living among the residents. Unfortunately, at a farm house located outside Storybrooke, it is revealed that Zelena is actually The Wicked Witch of The West. She then brings a tray of food down into an underground cellar... where it is revealed that she is keeping a prisoner who has gone mad in a cage: Rumplestiltskin.

Cultural references

  • The farm house and cellar where Zelena resides resembles the farm house and cellar in the Wizard of Oz film.
  • Another notable reference from the story included Emma alluding to the quote "I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", made by Dorothy Gale, the main protagonist in the Oz series.
  • Emma and Henry's names mirror the first names of Dorothy's relatives, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, in the Wizard of Oz series. (Although Aunt Em was actually short for "Emily".)
  • Belle mentions Oz in explaining the flying monkeys, which is fitting given that Emilie de Ravin, who plays Belle, is from Australia, nicknamed "Oz" by the people who were born or raised in the country. Australia is also where Dorothy Gale's relatives, both distant through her Uncle Henry, are from in the Oz series.
  • After Little John is transformed into a flying monkey and flies off, Dr. Whale responds by saying "I'm a doctor, not a vet," echoing the catchphrase made famous by Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy from The Original Star Trek Series.
  • "Zelena" means "green" in various Slavic languages.

Trivia

  • This is the first time we hear Wicked Witch's name, Zelena. "Zelená" is czech word for "green".
  • When Dr. Whale / Dr. Frankenstein says "I'm a doctor not a vet" this pays homage to the old Star Trek series where Dr. McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) had a tag line where he would say "I'm a doctor not a ...."!
  • Mary Margaret reveals she is pregnant. The baby bump is real since the actress, Ginnifer Goodwin, was pregnant also.
  • Zelena's house in "our world" was the same house used in "Tin Man". This movie was also about "The Wizard of Oz". Billed as a retelling of the story made by the sci-fi channel in 2007. The house was DG's house in "our world" .
  • The object/animal/person in this episode is the Wicked Witch of the West on her broomstick.
  • The first episode to have the opening credit clock in at 5 minutes
  • The green and black dress that Zelena tries on is the same dress that Regina wears when she travels to Wonderland with Jefferson in the episode Hat Trick.
Episodes
Season 1
PilotThe Thing You Love MostSnow FallsThe Price of GoldThat Still Small VoiceThe ShepherdThe Heart Is a Lonely HunterDesperate SoulsTrue North7:15 A.M.Fruit of the Poisonous TreeSkin DeepWhat Happened to FrederickDreamyRed-HandedHeart of DarknessHat TrickThe Stable BoyThe ReturnThe StrangerAn Apple Red as BloodA Land Without Magic
Season 2
BrokenWe Are BothLady of the LakeThe CrocodileThe DoctorTallahasseeChild of the MoonInto the DeepQueen of HeartsThe Cricket GameThe OutsiderIn the Name of the BrotherTinyManhattanThe Queen Is DeadThe Miller's DaughterWelcome to StorybrookeSelfless, Brave and TrueLaceyThe Evil QueenSecond Star to the RightAnd Straight On 'til Morning
Season 3
The Heart of the Truest BelieverLost GirlQuite a Common FairyNasty HabitsGood FormAriel (Episode)Dark HollowThink Lovely ThoughtsSave HenryThe New NeverlandGoing HomeNew York City SerenadeWitch HuntThe TowerQuiet MindsIt's Not Easy Being GreenThe Jolly RogerBleeding ThroughA Curious ThingKansasSnow DriftsThere's No Place Like Home
Season 4
A Tale of Two SistersWhite OutRocky RoadThe ApprenticeBreaking GlassFamily BusinessThe Snow QueenSmash the MirrorFallShattered SightHeroes and VillainsDarkness on the Edge of TownUnforgivenEnter the DragonPoor Unfortunate SoulBest Laid PlansHeart of GoldSympathy for the De VilLilyMotherOperation Mongoose
Season 5
The Dark SwanThe PriceSiege PerilousThe Broken KingdomDreamcatcherThe Bear and the BowNimueBirthThe Bear KingBroken HeartSwan SongSouls of the DepartedLabor of LoveDevil's DueThe Brothers JonesOur DecayHer Handsome HeroRuby SlippersSistersFirebirdLast RitesOnly YouAn Untold Story
Season 6
The SaviorA Bitter DraughtThe Other ShoeStrange CaseStreet RatsDark WatersHeartlessI'll Be Your MirrorChangelingsWish You Were HereTougher Than the RestMurder Most FoulIll-Boding PatternsPage 23A Wondrous PlaceMother's Little HelperAwakeWhere Bluebirds FlyThe Black FairyThe Song in Your HeartThe Final Battle
Season 7
Hyperion HeightsA Pirate's LifeThe Garden of Forking PathsBeautyGreenbacksWake Up CallEloise GardenerPretty in BlueOne Little TearThe Eighth WitchSecret GardenA Taste of the HeightsKnightfallThe Girl in the TowerSisterhoodBreadcrumbsChosenThe GuardianFlower ChildIs This Henry Mills?HomecomingLeaving Storybrooke
Wonderland
Down the Rabbit HoleTrust MeForget Me NotThe SerpentHeart of StoneWho's AliceBad BloodHomeNothing to FearDirty Little SecretsHeart of the MatterTo Catch a ThiefAnd They Lived...
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