During the first half of season four, Oncers were introduced to Lily (Nicole Munoz), Emma’s childhood bestie and partner in juvenile crime. Emma eventually walked away from the short-lived friendship after discovering that Lily had lied about her status as as orphan when her adoptive father showed up. Since the show in question is Once Upon a Time, Lily’s appearance immediately caused speculation about her connection to existing characters. (Rule number one of Once: everyone is related. Everyone.)
When Maleficent (Kristin Bauer Van Straten) was revealed as not just a vengeful villain, but a grieving mother in search of her child, the speculation picked up steam. Finally, in the latest episode “Best Laid Plans”, all the suspicions were completely confirmed: Lily was Maleficent’s missing daughter.Whisked away via portal to the Land Without Magic (our world) by the sorcerer’s apprentice following an uncharacteristically bad decision by Snow and Charming to magically transfer their unborn child’s potential for darkness into Maleficent’s unborn child, Lily was promptly adopted and later befriended Emma in her teenage years. Now that Maleficent had discovered that her child is alive and in this world, it’s only a matter of time before the hunt for Lily begins, a hunt that will lead to the adult Lily in the April 26th episode aptly titled “Lily.”
Agnes Bruckner has been cast in the role, and her part in events to come is still a mystery. How will she react to finding out that her mother is Maleficent (Mom, there are so many movies about you!)? How will she react to seeing Emma again? And how did she and Emma just stumble across each other in the first place? Of course, there is the question of whether or not Lily is evil, considering she was given a double dose of “potential for darkness” before she was even born…
Concerning the question of Lily and Emma’s chance meeting, OUAT co-creator Edward Kitsis had this to say in a recent interview: “Episode 16 does show their connection, which is [Lily’s] carrying around Emma’s darkness and Emma is carrying around her lightness. Even in that moment when the parents take her away, they’ve connected them forever.”
He went on to discuss whether Lily would turn out as a hero or a villain. “When we met Lily, she didn’t seem like a bad person, but she was lying to Emma. Lying came second nature to her. What we’re going to see is: We’re all faced with choices and it’s the choices you make. What happened to Lily and how she grew up is something we’re going to really explore.”
In a season that has dealt heavily with whether hero or villain status is a choice, it will be interesting to see how Lily’s story is presented. I’m hoping for some compelling story exploring Lily as a character and not just as a plot point. Mostly, however, I’m hoping for resolution to the Queens of Darkness storyline and the critical Author and Sorcerer storylines. I suspect that if the Sorcerer would just show up, he could clear up this entire mess with a little exposition. But then, simplicity has never been Once’s strong suit.
Once Upon a Time will return Sunday, April 12th at 8pm on ABC.