This Sunday's "Once Upon a Time" (March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC) will flashback 28 years as the show revisits the early days of the curse on Storybrooke -- which means that we get to see the fan-favorite Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan) again for the first time since the Season 1 finale.
In the present day, Regina (Lana Parrilla) tries to take her vengeance on Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) for the death of her mother Cora (Barbara Hershey) in last week's episode, while in the past, the Evil Queen discovers that a father and son have somehow found their way into her allegedly undetectable town as she and the fairytale characters deal with the effects of the newly cast curse.
The Huffington Post caught up with Dornan to find out what fans can expect from the March 17 episode, titled "Welcome to Storybrooke," and how it feels to return to the show after almost a year's absence.
It seems like Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis are constantly being asked when you might return to the show, by both press and fans, and now, here you are. How does it feel to know that you have such a loyal fanbase?
It’s pleasing, definitely. It’s cool to be considered someone that people want to see more of. It’s sort of unexpected for me, I guess as it is for everyone else. That’s the beauty of "Once Upon A Time": There’s no definite pattern to anything so the risk or reward of me coming back now and again is quite likely. I love it. It’s great. I’m very happy that Adam and Eddy want to keep doing it and that there’s demand for it. It’s a compliment.
Have you been able to keep up with the show while you've been away?
Not so much. It’s quite hard because I’m living in London so we are behind and actually we’re not even in the second season here yet, so it’s kind of tough. I try to basically grill Josh [Dallas], Ginny [Goodwin] and Jennifer [Morrison] -- I say, "Right. What’s happening? Fill me in as much as you can." Those guys are a bit fried as well; there’s just so much that is going on that it’s kind of hard to keep up. I try to know as much as I need to know to not make a fool of myself when I do come back.
I suppose it helps that all of your scenes are flashbacks this week, right?
Yeah, exactly. That’s manageable because you don’t need to be clearly aware of what’s going on in the future, I guess.
So what is Sheriff Graham doing in the early days of the curse?
He’s more under the thumb than we’ve ever seen him. It’s right at the start of the curse, so we see him completely controlled by Regina in every facet. It’s kind of hard to watch because she’s just using him for basically everything. I think it’s sad to see him like that. We saw him like that obviously in Season 1, but when you see it right from the start, it doesn’t seem fair. But she’s doing what she does best and she’s using him.
How does his story intersect with the father and son who somehow stumble upon the town?
I’m not allowed to say a huge amount about that, but in terms of future storylines it makes a lot of sense as something quite revealing that goes on with the father and son that come in. But it’s really bizarre when they do arrive, because no one comes to Storybrooke. Everyone’s a little bit confused, especially Graham, because I think there’s always a second where he allows himself to be bemused by something and then it immediately goes away. And through Regina forcing him, he has to act on something and take command and be the sheriff rather than to just question things. Definitely, without saying too much, there’s big revelations involving the father and son that come in.
Are you interacting with anyone else in the episode?
In terms of who Graham interacts with, there’s stuff with the father and son, mostly with Regina because I guess they wanted to show early on how much by her side Graham is and how in control and how much she needs him and uses him to get what she wants in Storybrooke. So there’s a few scenes where it’s certainly Graham and Regina and she’s calling the shots through quite interesting means, which you will see on Sunday.
What do you miss most about being on the show full-time?
I miss the guys; I miss the cast and crew. They’re great. It’s a very strange thing coming back after ... I obviously came back for the Season 1 finale and that was probably nine months ago, maybe a year, but honestly I didn’t feel like I’d missed one day of filming. It’s the same people and you’re still in the same spaces and you’re still in Vancouver and the weather’s the same in Vancouver. You just slip back into it and that’s a really lovely thing. It just feels really healthy and nice. It’s like a big family and because I was there from day one from the pilot, it doesn’t feel strange coming back. It just feels warm and lovely. I hope I get to do it again.
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
How do you think the father and son in the past tie into future storylines? Do you miss Sheriff Graham on the show? Weigh in below, and check out what the rest of the cast had to say about what's coming up in the next few episodes here.