In last night's episode of Once Upon a Time (entitled "Ill-Boding Patterns"), Robin Hood (from the Wish universe) and Zelena try to use Regina's potions to break the protection spell around Storybrooke in order to leave the town and go to the outside world. They're unsuccessful, and Regina tells them "If I had the ingredients to break the protection spell, don't you think I would have tried to break it myself?" But she sees how badly Robin wants to leave, and she promises to continue working on it.
My question is, who cast this latest protection spell around Storybrooke? Until this episode I wasn't aware that Storybrooke was currently under a protection spell. It has of course been under such spells in the past:
- In Season 1 (under the first curse), if you tried to leave town you'd get into a car accident.
- In Season 2 (after Emma broke the first curse), if you left town you'd forget your memories of the Enchanted Forest, although Rumple developed a potion to allow a person to leave town with their memories intact.
- In Season 3B (under the second curse), if you tried to leave town you'd turn into a flying monkey.
- In Season 4 (under the Snow Queen's spell), if you left town you wouldn't be able to return, unless you used the Apprentice's scroll.
- In Season 5A (under Emma/Hook's curse), if you tried to leave Storybrooke you'd turn into a tree.
But after season 5A, it seems like people were freely able to leave Storybrooke; in the Season 5 finale Henry, Violet, Emma, Regina, and Gold all left Storybrooke and went to New York City.
So how is it that it's now impossible to leave Storybrooke? What changed between the Season 5 finale and last night's episode? My only thought is that the Evil Queen might have cast a spell around the town after coming to Storybrooke, but I don't think that was ever mentioned.