Caralynn Lippo
December 05, 2016 1:57 pm
ABC

For a show about love and magic and hope and family, Once Upon a Time is brutal about killing off our favorites. Luckily, in the universe of the series, death isn’t necessarily the final goodbye. Robin Hood’s return on Once Upon a Time‘s winter finale is just the latest example of that.

Robin Hood’s Season 5 death was one of the most devastating events to occur in Once Upon a Time’s six year history. It was entirely unexpected. The murder of Regina’s true love at Hades’ hand was a shocking and heartbreaking moment in the rather lackluster Underworld arc. Robin left behind a son, Roland, a daughter, Robin, and a completely grief-stricken Regina. It was particularly tough on the former Evil Queen, who’d only recently learned to open up her heart again to anyone.

Fans of the couple – “Outlaw Queen” – were distressed that Regina’s happy ending had once again been ripped away. It was particularly crushing that it happened in such a sudden and unpredictable way. So when Robin Hood’s impending return was teased months ago, viewers were understandably thrilled – and a little bit confused, given that Robin’s death was said to be totally and completely final in no uncertain terms. Many theorized that he might appear in flashbacks, but the winter finale revealed the twist in his “return.”

The winter finale reintroduced Robin in the shocking final scene of the episode. Except it’s not exactly the Robin we’d all come to know and love – it’s a “fake” Robin.

If you say the complicated mix of emotions on Regina’s face in this moment didn’t break your heart in half – well, you’re a liar.

“Wish You Were Here” took place partially in a faux-wishverse, after the Evil Queen used genie-Aladdin to send Emma away to a reality in which she’d never become the Savior. The fake world was a paradise of sorts for Emma, given that she was a princess without a care in the world who’d been raised by Snow and Charming. Regina traveled to the alternate universe to bust Emma out – and she succeeded.

But on their way back home in the closing moments, Emma and Regina missed their portal back to Storybrooke when handsome as ever fake-Robin unexpectedly showed up to rob them. So convenient!

Unsurprisingly, Regina was stunned and oblivious to all else once she spotted faux-Robin. Sadly, he didn’t recognize her, given that the two weren’t acquainted in this reality. She completely ignored Emma begging for them to leave through the portal, and the portal closed. When the season picks up again in March, Emma and Regina will likely still be in the fake wish-world.

By all accounts, Sean Maguire’s return to the show isn’t permanent. This several-episode arc will most likely just be a sweet way for Regina to find closure. Her Robin – “real” Robin – died so suddenly that she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. We’re already crying over their inevitable final farewell, which the amazing Lana Parrilla will totally knock out of the park.

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