It has come to my attention after that rather depressing mid-season finale of Once Upon a Time that some people are confused by the effects of undoing the curse. Does it mean the previous two seasons never happened? Does it mean Sheriff Graham/Cora/Maleficient/anyone else who died in the last two seasons is still alive? Does it mean we’ll find the Mad Hatter again–or that Cinderella will finally reappear? (Seriously, she was only in two episodes in the first season before falling off the face of Storybrooke. Where on Earth did she go?)
Before we get to these questions, however, let us take a moment to pause in silence and mourn the passing of the Dark One.
RIP, Rumpelstiltskin. You were one of the best characters on the show, and I hope they find a way to resurrect you in March.
Now as for the aftermath of undoing the curse–the most widespread misconception has been that the curse itself never happened because Emma and Henry have no memories of it, but that is not strictly true. From the fairytale characters’ point of view, the curse was very real; if you watch the promo for the spring premiere, you can see where Snow White observes, “We’re back.” So the curse did happen, but Storybrooke itself was wiped from Maine when they all went home–it hadn’t existed before the curse, so it would no longer exist with the curse undone. That part of Maine was restored to its original state, leaving Emma and Henry unable to remember Storybrooke because from our world’s point of view, it had never existed in the first place.
But just because Maine was restored to its previous state does not mean the same is true for the Enchanted Forest, so don’t expect to see any dearly departed favorites make a return.
If it’s still confusing, just chalk it up to wibbly wobbly, timey wimey. It can be extremely useful and applicable in non-Doctor Who situations.