Emma and Regina team up in order to find a way to save Henry's life. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Prince Charming attempts to escape from the Evil Queen's clutches in order to reunite with Snow White who, unbeknownst to him, has already taken a bite of the Queen's poison apple.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Snow White and Prince Charming stand at the altar on their wedding day. ("Pilot") Queen Regina sends out a fireball. ("The Thing You Love Most") Prince Charming is forced into a cart by King George's men and taken away whilst calling out for Snow who is standing behind a tree. "I will find you!" she promises. ("Heart of Darkness") Snow takes a bite out of the Queen's poison apple and collapses, her apple then rolls down the hill and through a portal. ("An Apple Red as Blood") In his cell at her palace, Regina asks Charming if he thinks he'll be quite so incorruptible after his precious Snow is gone. ("An Apple Red as Blood") Regina bakes a poisoned apple turnover and hands it to Emma in a Tupperware box, "I do hope you like apples." ("An Apple Red as Blood") At her apartment, Henry tells Emma that the apple turnover is poisoned. He says that she may not believe in the curse but that he believes in her, before taking a bite of the turnover. Henry collapses and Emma calls out his name, panicking. ("An Apple Red as Blood")
All hope seems lost for Snow.
In his cell at the Queen's palace, Prince Charming is shown banging a rock against the lock. He attempts this several times, but to no avail, before giving up, turning around and sitting down within his cell, at a loss. "I will find you, Snow..." he says to himself, "I will always find you." Behind him, two of Regina's knights are seen approaching his cell, as one of them unlocks it, he tells Charming that it will be hard to do that without his head. The cell door is swung open and the two knights barge in, lifting Charming to his feet by his arms and telling him that the Queen's looking forward to his execution. They drag him out of his cell and into a hallway of the palace, his hands shackled. He is seen falling down out of exhaustion but one of the knights roughly grabs his neckline and orders him to get up to his feet. At this, Charming stands and begins to beat the knight, but is restrained by the other, he is dragged backwards as he manages to give the former knight a swift kick. He then quickly elbows the knight restraining him in the face and advances on the first knight who draws his sword. Charming grabs his sword arm and snaps it with ease, before proceeding to use the chains binding his hands to choke the knight. He continues to do this and leads the knight's head into the hallway wall, knocking him out. Charming takes his chains from around the knight's neck and begins to run through the hallway, dashing around a corner. However, he is met by a third knight who we see is drawing a bow and arrow, seemingly aiming for Charming. The prince halts and runs backwards, but is met by yet another knight, who tells the archer to shoot Charming.
Charming turns back to the archer knight who finally fires his arrow, however, it is the knight behind Charming who is hit with the arrow. The prince is confused and asks the archer knight who the hell he is, the knight then removes his helmet to reveal that he is in fact the Huntsman, telling Charming that he's "a friend". He places his bow on his back and takes out his keys, walking towards Charming who says he doesn't know him. The Huntsman tells the prince that he knows Snow White and Charming asks if she's okay, the Huntsman unlocks his handcuffs with his keys as he explains that the Queen was traveling to meet Snow and that her fate is in a precarious place. Charming's hands are freed and the Huntsman tells him to follow him, walking down the hall, assuring him that he can get him free. He says that he will stall the Queen but that the rest is up to Charming, before picking up the prince's sword and handing it to him, wishing him luck. Charming begins to walk but turns back when he realizes that the Huntsman is not following him, asking him if he's not coming with him. "I cannot," the Huntsman explains, "I gave up my heart so that the Queen may spare Snow's. Don't let my sacrifice be in vain. Find her," he requests. Charming nods before walking determinedly out of the door.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Henry is rushed through hospital.
At Storybrooke General Hospital, Henry Mills is seen being rushed through the hall on a gurney by Dr. Whale and a few other doctors and nurses. Emma Swan is also alongside them, shaking Henry and begging him to wake up. As the gurney is put into place next to several machines, Emma is asked to step back by a nurse, but she snaps that she is not going anywhere. Dr. Whale shines a torch into the kid's eyes and states that there is no pupil reaction, asking Emma what happened to him, suggesting that he may have fallen and hit his head. The blonde takes out a small plastic bag containing an apple turnover, telling Whale that Henry ate it and that she thinks it's poisoned. Whale shines his little torch next into Henry's mouth, saying that his airways are clear, thinking Emma is wrong. Emma exclaims that he took a bite of the turnover and then he just collapsed, ordering Whale to run the test for arsenic or bleach or drainer or whatever could have done this to him. Whale tells Emma that the boy is showing no symptoms that would suggest any toxins in his system, he grabs the turnover and says that whatever may have happened to him, it is not the culprit. Emma worriedly asks the doctor what else it could be, but Whale admits that he does not know and that that's what he's trying to find out. Emma wonders if Henry will be okay and Whale tells her that right now they just need to stabilize Henry because he's slipping away, asking the blonde if she remembers any other little detail. She reminds the doctor that she's already told him everything - "Do something!" she yells before storming over to Henry's backpack. Whale says that he understands her frustration but that he needs something to treat, and right now, there is no explanation. Emma ignores him, proceeding to pour the contents of Henry's backpack onto the table. One item in particular catches her eye - the book. "It's like..." Whale starts. Emma, who's staring at the book, finishes his sentence by saying, "Like magic." She picks it up and suddenly...
Every story in this book actually happened. You should know more than anyone, because you're in this book.
...she sees flashes to herself crying as a child as Snow White and Prince Charming hold her in their arms. She then sees the couple forced to part ways with a kiss as Snow says, "Goodbye, Emma." The next flash shows Charming with Emma in his arms as he battles his way through Regina's knights before placing baby Emma in a wardrobe. "Find us," he whispers before closing the door. (see "Pilot")
The shot moves in on Emma's face, and for the first time, she believes. She believes in the curse, she believes in magic, and she believes in Henry. Regina is heard entering the ER and calls out for her son, at this, a look of pure anger comes across Emma's face, "You did this..." she says, referring to Regina before walking over and grabbing the mayor's arm, dragging her into a supply closet. As Emma opens the door, she throws Regina against a stack of shelves, exclaiming that she caused this. She advances on Regina and grabs her by the arms, the mayor asks what the hell Emma's doing as she attempts to fight back, pushing Emma over to the lockers. However, Emma quickly turns herself and Regina around, slamming Regina up against them instead. Regina begs Emma to stop but the blonde merely keeps her restrained, keeping one grip on her wrist and the other arm across her throat. She tells Regina that Henry's sick because of her as the apple turnover she gave her, he ate is. Regina is stunned, exclaiming that the turnover was meant for Emma.
Regina is attacked by an enraged Emma.
The blonde asks if "it's true", clearly referring to the curse, but Regina claims to have no idea what she's talking about. Emma asks again, this time more viciously, and Regina tearfully answers positively. Emma reminds Regina that she was leaving town, asking why she couldn't just leave things alone. The mayor explains that as long as Emma's around, Henry will never be hers. "He will never be anyone's unless you fix him. You wake him up!" Emma orders her, but Regina whines that she can't. The former asks if she has magic but the Queen shakes her head, telling Emma that the poisoned apple turnover was the last of it. The blonde unpins Regina from the lockers and steps back as the latter yells that it was supposed to put Emma to sleep. "What's it going to do to him?" Emma wonders. But Regina shakes her head, saying that she doesn't know as magic in this land is unpredictable. Emma asks if this means he could die, clearly panicking, and Regina tells her, also in a panic, that he could. The blonde wonders what they are to do and Regina steps away from the lockers, explaining that they need help and that there's one other person in town who knows about this, who knows about magic. Emma realizes that she's talking about Mr. Gold, but Regina looks up to her and says, "Actually, he goes by Rumplestiltskin."
The Huntsman has failed Regina.
The Evil Queen walks through her palace in a rage, the Huntsman soon enters the same room and Regina immediately asks where "he" is, meaning Charming. The Huntsman informs the Queen that he escaped, at this, she extends her arm forward and the Huntsman is magically pinned up the the wall. She advances on him as she exclaims that she has a palace full of guards and he let him escape. He assures her that he tried his best but she tells him he's failed, asking him if he knows what happens to people who fail her. The Huntsman assures Regina that he'll find Charming and that she needn't worry, requesting that she leave it to him. Regina's mirror glistens and she tells the Huntsman that that won't be necessary, walking over to the object on the wall and being able to see Prince Charming running through the Enchanted Forest on his way to find Snow White. The Queen states that he's hers before waving her hand. In the mirror, we see Charming disappear.
Prince Charming encounters Rumplestiltskin in the Infinite Forest.
Charming appears in another forest and falls to the floor, having been transported mid-jump. The prince gets to his feet and looks at his surroundings, confused. He sees nothing but forest but continues to run through it nonetheless. As he runs, the shot moves out to show that the forest Charming is now in is infinite. There is nothing but trees, trees and more trees. We are taken back to a running Charming who halts in a section of woods. "Lost, are we?" comes a voice, the prince quickly grips his sword and turns to see Rumplestiltskin sitting upon a large log that had been empty mere seconds later. Charming asks him what he's doing there and the Dark One assures him that he's just there to help. The prince assures him that he has no need to help as he'll be fine, but Rumple tells him that he doesn't think so, explaining that Charming is in the Infinite Forest and that there's no way out except "my way". Charming assures Rumple that he wants nothing from him, to which he replies, "Not even this?" revealing that he has Charming's mother's ring in his hand. The prince is enraged, saying that it was just in his pouch and demanding to know how Rumple got it.
The glowing ring.
He gets up from the log and explains that he got it the same way he does everything he wants: magic. The same magic that allows him to... he flips the ring in his hand and it glows. He tells Charming that the ring is now enchanted and the closer he gets to Snow White, the brighter it will glow. He asks him if he's interested and Charming demands that he give it to him, Rumple laughs and tells him that he's not giving him "something for nothing, dearie". He says that it's time to make a deal. Charming exclaims that he will be making no more deals before drawing his sword and attempting to strike Rumplestiltskin who leans backwards to avoid it, Charming then lunges his sword at the Dark One but he catches the blade in his hand with ease, giving off a shrill giggle. The prince angrily swipes his sword as to chop Rumple in half, however, he disappears. "Over here..." says Rumple who has now appeared behind Charming with a sword of his own. Charming runs at Rumple and the two blades clash, but Rumple pulls his disappearing act yet again and appears on the other side of the prince. Charming removes the weight of his satchel and crosses blades with Rumple once more, as the two battle, Rumple elbows Charming in the stomach and forces him backwards with magic.
Rumple defeats Charming in battle.
The two approach each other, Charming having taken Rumple's sword but Rumple having conjured a second one and the battle continues. Rumple continues to overpower the prince and asks him if he's had enough, but Charming replies with a "never". He pushes Rumplestiltskin backwards and cuts his cheek with his sword. Rumple smiles and waves his hand across his face, and in a purple glow, his cut is healed. Charming runs at him again with his sword but Rumple uses his handle to hit the prince on the back of the head before causing him to fly into a tree, once again using magic. The prince falls from the tree and to the floor where Rumple places the Charming's sword to his throat, asking if he's "looking for this". He describes Charming as brave, gallant and pointless before telling him that bravery won't get him out of this forest, magic will, saying that this is a deal he wants to make because they both want the same thing. Charming asks what that is and Rumple takes out the glowing ring, saying that they both want he and his true love to be together "of course". Charming contemplates this.
Mary Margaret can't provide David with a reason to stay.
In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is seen walking to her car when she is approached by David. He tells her that he was wrong about her, about him, and about everything. He says that he didn't believe in her and wishes he had a good reason why, but he keeps making these wrong decisions and doesn't understand why they keep happening. Ever since he woke up from that coma he says that his life hasn't made a lick of sense, except for her, and what he's feeling is love. Mary Margaret asks David why he's there and he explains that Kathryn put a down-payment on an apartment in Boston, she's not going to use it, but he is, unless Mary Margaret gives him a reason to stay. The teacher utters his name before telling him that she can't, he nods as she proceeds to step into her car. A tear rolls down David's cheek as he closes his eyes before he walks away.
Charming is tasked with hiding true love.
In the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin is shown holding a potion filled with a sparkling pink liquid, asking Charming if he's interested in the most powerful magic of all - true love. Charming tries to take it from Rumple but the Dark One pulls the potion back, telling the prince to be careful as the potion is all he has left of it. Charming asks what Rumple knows of true love and the latter reveals that he knows not so much as Charming, perhaps, but not so little either as he might think. The prince is surprised to hear that Rumple loves someone and the Dark One explains that it was a brief flicker of life among an ocean of darkness. Charming wonders what happened and Rumple tells him that she died. (see "Skin Deep") He tells Charming that that's the thing about true love, it can slip through your fingers. It's the most powerful magic in the world, the only magic powerful enough to break any curse. It must be protected at all costs. The prince doesn't understand, asking Rumple what exactly it is he wants him to do. "I want you to help me protect it by putting it in a safe place for me," he tells him, conjuring up a golden egg in his hand, he opens it and places the true love potion inside, before snapping it shut again. Charming wonders where he's supposed to hide the potion and Rumple throws the egg to him, saying that it must be hidden within the belly of the beast. He then asks why he must hide it and Rumple tells him, "Let's just say I'm saving it for a rainy day."
Emma and Regina go to Mr. Gold for a solution.
Mr. Gold is shown within his pawn shop when Emma and Regina quickly enter, approaching him at the counter. He asks him if his eyes deceive him or if that's the look of a believer, referring to Emma. The blonde ignores this and tells Gold that she needs his help. He says he's sure she does as it seems quite the tragic ailment has fallen upon "our young friend", reminding them that magic comes at a price before looking directly at Regina. She tells him that Henry shouldn't have to pay it and Gold agrees, saying that she should, but alas, they are where they are. Emma asks the pawn broker if he can help them and he tells them that of course he can, going on to say that true love is the only magic powerful enough to transcend realms and break any curse, and luckily for her, he happens to have bottled some. Regina is surprised by this and he explains that he made the most powerful potion in all the realms from strands of Emma's parents' hairs, so powerful that when he created the Dark Curse, he dotted the parchment with a drop of the potion, just as a little safety valve. Emma realizes that that's why she's the savior and that's why she can break the curse (as it was her parents' hairs that were used to make the curse). Gold nods, saying that she is correct but Emma responds by telling him that she's not interested in breaking any curse, all she cares about is saving Henry.
Emma is stunned to be presented with her father's old sword.
He informs her that today is her lucky day as he didn't use all the potion, he saved some "for a rainy day". "Well it's storming like a bitch, where is it?" she demands. Gold explains that where it is isn't the problem, getting it is what she worry her. Regina requests that he stops with the riddles, asking what they are to do. Gold tells Regina that she is to do nothing, it has to be Miss Swan. The mayor reminds him that Henry is her son so it should be her, but he says in all due respect that he's Emma's son, so it has to be her. She's the product of the magic, she must be the one to find it. The blonde says that she can do it but Regina warns her not to trust him. Emma asks what choice they have. "That's right, dearie. What choice do you have?" Gold adds. Emma asks again where this magic is and Gold addresses Regina in wondering if their "friend" is still in the basement. The Queen calls Gold a twisted little imp, angered that he hid it with "her". Rumplestiltskin amends her in saying that he did not hide it with her, but in her, saying that he knew Regina couldn't resist bringing her over. Emma, confused, asks who "her" is and Gold informs her that it's someone she should be prepared for. He wipes the case upon his counter with a cloth before opening it, telling Emma that for where she's going, she'll need what's inside. Regina looks angrily at Gold but Emma asks him what it is, staring at the blade and holster within the case. "Your father's sword," he tells her, surprising the blonde.
Jefferson loses out on his deal.
At the hospital, Henry is seen hooked up to a bunch of machines, still sleeping. Emma's hand strokes his forehead as the shot moves up to reveal her holding the book at his bedside. She tells her son that he was right about the curse and that she should have believed him. Emma pauses, taking a deep breath before telling Henry that she's sorry. She carefully slips the book beneath his pillow, leans in towards him and whispers that it's for when he wakes up. Emma leaves the room as Regina enters and she tells the mayor to say what she's got to say and that she's got ten minutes to do so. Regina asks the blonde if she knows where to meet and Emma answers positively, ordering Regina not to be late before walking out of the room. Regina walks towards Henry in his bed and tells him that she's sorry, she begins to cry as the shot moves out to reveal someone is watching her. "Pity, isn't it?" says Jefferson who approaches Regina, saying that there's nothing worse than not knowing if you'll ever see your child again. The mayor assures him that now is not a good time, but he points out that this is only true for her and that for him, it is the perfect time. He explains that he's there to collect before asking Regina where his daughter is. "Emma was supposed to eat that apple and she didn't," Regina points out, "As far as I'm concerned, that makes our deal null and void." Jefferson leans in to her and says that he did what she asked, asking if she's going to screw him over again. Regina tells him to look at it however he wants but the fact is, she's done with him. However, he says that he's not done with her. She asks him what he's going to do, suggesting that he kill her. She says that she knows he wants to but also knows that he never will. "Do you?" he wonders. Regina smirks, telling Jefferson that he doesn't have it in him. A nurse comes by to check on Henry's machines and Regina says that, if Jefferson will excuse her, she has to go and save her son. The mayor walks away and Jefferson is left staring after her.
Emma cries over August's wooden corpse.
Emma is seen knocking on the door to a room in Granny's Bed and Breakfast, calling for August W. Booth and asking him to open up. The response from the other side of the door is that he can't, and Emma becomes confused. We see the view from the inside of the room as the shot moves across August, who's on his bed. The door is forced open and Emma barges in, shocked to discover that every part of August, besides his head, is made of wood. She asks him what's happening to him and, in a weak voice, he realizes that she can see it now and that she believes. Emma says that she does, walking over to August's bedside and asking him how she can stop this. He tells her to break the curse and she sits on his bed, telling him that she's trying but that she has to save Henry first and she needs his help. He assures her that she doesn't, but she then assures him that she does, saying that she just talked to the Evil Queen and Rumplestiltskin about a quest to find magic and she can't do it, no normal person can. August assures her that luckily for them, she's not normal. His neck is seen forming into wood. "You can save Henry," he says as the wood spreads across his face, "You can save all of-" he tries before his entire body reforms to the lifeless puppet he once was. Emma calls out for him, placing her flesh hand upon his wooden one and crying. She then looks up and appears more determined in what she must now do.
"He dies, so do you."
We are treated to a shot of the Storybrooke clock tower at night as it pans down to reveal Emma waiting outside the library with Prince Charming's sword leans up against a beam and Regina is approaching her from the adjacent sidewalk. Emma takes hold of the sword and Regina takes the key to the library and places it within the lock. From the inside, the door is seen opening and Regina enters, followed by Emma. The former turns on the light whereas the latter asks what this place is. Regina sarcastically asks her if she'd like a tour or if they should just get to it and Emma tells her to lead the way. The mayor walks over to a segment of wall containing a portrait made of mirrors, she presses her hand to it and the wall segment lifts to reveal elevator doors. Regina pulls a lever and the mechanism begins as cogs turn and chains move, causing the doors to eventually open. Regina tells a stunned Emma to get in, but the blonde is hesitant, saying that she will after Regina does. However, the mayor explains that it's a two-man-job, the elevator is hand-operated so she has to stay up there in order to lower Emma down. The blonde asks if she's just supposed to trust her but Regina tells her that she doesn't think she has much choice in the matter. "This battle I'm supposed to fight, who is it? What is down there?" Emma asks. Regina tells her that it's an "old friend" and so Emma wonders why Regina doesn't go and talk to them. "Because her punishment here was different than anyone else's. I trapped her... in a different form. She doesn't wanna hear from me. You have to trust me on that," she explains. Emma accepts this, saying that she will go down there - "But let's be clear on something, your majesty, the only reason you're not dead is because I need your help to save Henry. He dies, so do you." Regina requests that they get on to it before telling her "this is what you're going to have to do".
Soon, we see Emma traveling downwards in the elevator as she draws her father's sword, looking at it. The lift continues to descend.
Meet the beast a.k.a Maleficent.
In the land that was, a purple robe is seen traveling across the floor and the shot reveals the wearer to be none other than Maleficent who walks up the stairs of her empty palace and sits upon her throne, staff in hand. A blade is seen meeting her neck and she appears surprised. "Where is it?" Prince Charming, the owner of the sword, asks her. She remains silent and he walks to face her, still keeping the sword firmly pressed to her throat, asking where the beast that reigns over this castle resides. Maleficent smiles and lifts a hand, however, she waves it and Charming is violently pushed backwards by magic, landing on the floor at the foot of the steps. "That would be me, but... 'beast' is so harsh. I prefer 'Maleficent'," she tells him, standing up and walking a few steps closer. The prince looks at the golden egg containing the true love potion in his arm and comments that he's going to need a smaller one. Maleficent says that it's such a shame as he's so handsome but Charming gets to his feet and runs fiercely at the sorceress with his sword. However, Maleficent waves her hand and blows, causing every light and candle within the throne room to extinguish, plunging them into darkness. She disappears but Charming can still hear her menacing cackle, he starts swinging his sword around randomly, trying to follow the noise of her laughs. He tells the witch to show herself and suddenly, a beastly snarl is heard behind Charming. The prince turns to see a rather large, fearsome dragon stand where Maleficent had once sat. She growls and begins to chase Charming who breaks into a run, he dives into a pillar for cover as Maleficent breathes fire into his location, narrowly missing him.
Underneath Storybrooke, the elevator stops at the bottom of the shaft and Emma lifts the small metal gate, stepping out into the underground caves she has been brought to, sword in tow. She continues to explore the rocky tunnels and comes out at a large section of cave in which she's standing on a big cliff, the edges of which appear to go down to some sort of bottomless pit. She walks over to something that catches her eye: a glass coffin that once contained her mother, Snow White. It is dusty and has clearly been kept down there for a while, (see "That Still Small Voice") in awe of this, Emma steps backwards and leans her back against the wall, however, the "wall" opens a large, green eye. A befuddled Emma feels its scales and the "wall" begins to move, she steps forward and soon discovers that she had been leaning against the very creature she had been sent down there to slay - Maleficent, the dragon. The dragon stands and breathes fire into the air, Emma shields her eyes from the sudden brightness, keeping her sword firmly aimed at the beast. The dragon snarls and Emma is at a loss.
In the fairytale land that was, Maleficent in her dragon form continues to rage and breathe fire into the air as Charming hides behind a pillar, egg in one hand, sword in the other. Her head pokes between Charming's pillar and other and he scales around it in order to hide from her, he looks at the beast's head as she looks the opposite direction and notices the gills on the side of it which glow orange. He urns back and looks at his egg, clearly having an idea. He steps out from the pillar. "Come on!" he exclaims, gaining the dragon's attention. He runs as she snaps at him from behind the pillar.
In the caves, Emma is faced with a similar problem as she keeps Charming's sword aimed at the dragon. She looks at the beast to the sword and decides "to hell with this" before dropping the blade and proceeding to take out her gun. She fires a few shots at the dragon but absolutely no impact is made. Emma runs by the edge of the cliff, taking shelter behind a large rock shielding her from when the dragon breathes more fire.
Prince Charming runs up the stairs of Maleficent's palace and across a landing as the dragon rages.
Under Storybrooke, Emma runs behind another large rock as the dragon causes a segment of cliff to fall down into the bottomless pit and she breathes more fire.
Charming jumps off the landing and lands on the dragon's neck, clutching on as she waves her head around. She starts moving from side to side, Charming clearly irritating her neck, breathing fire and destroying parts of her palace.
Emma looks out at the dragon from behind her rock as she stands on a part of the cliff that collapses, causing her to fall down the cliff, the ground beneath being too far down to see.
Charming continues to clutch Maleficent's neck and shoves the golden egg into one of her fiery gills, the dragon writhes her head around, causing Charming to fall to the floor. She snaps her jaw.
Emma looks down the edge of the cliff to see nothing but mist, she presumes the dragon died in the fall, however, it cannot be seen.
The dragon looks evilly at Charming and begins to chase him, the prince runs up the stairs and past Maleficent's throne as she breathes fire in his direction. Suddenly, Charming smashes through the witch's window and jumps out of it, landing in the lake beneath the palace. He pokes his head out of the water and maintains a swim, he looks up to the castle and the dragon pokes her head out of the smashed window. She breathes more fire but Charming merely smiles at her failure.
Emma stares down the cliff edge, hoping the beast is dead, however, the dragon flies out from the misty depths and the speed of it knocks Emma over. It lands on the cliff edge and advances on the floored blonde who stares in fear at the beast before her.
Mary Margaret reads to Henry a familiar tale.
Over at Storybrooke General Hospital, Mary Margaret is seen reading to a sleeping Henry from his book, "'And yes, she was beyond hope, beyond saving, this was her end. When Prince Charming saw his beloved Snow White in her glass coffin, he knew all that was left was to say goodbye. He had to give her one last kiss, and when he did, true love proved more powerful than any curse. A pulse of pure love shuttered out and engulfed the land, waking up Snow White and bringing light to the darkness.'" Mary Margaret closes the book and looks at Henry, saddened. She takes his hand and tells him that when she gave him this book it was because she knows life doesn't always have a happy ending, "But I thought-" she starts before the machines Henry is hooked up to begin bleeping madly. Mary Margaret is startled and calls out for Dr. Whale and the monitor bleeps faster. She tearfully asks him what's wrong as he and a few nurses rush in to attend to Henry. The doctor orders a nurse to get Mary Margaret out of there and the teacher is restrained and taken away as a nurse begins to pound down on Henry's heart and they perform CPR.
Jefferson frees Belle.
As the hospital continues to become hectic, we are shown a presumable doctor holding a coffee cup walk through an exit after entering a code on the door. He walks down the stairs and gives the nurse sitting at the desk her tea. She thanks him before asking what all the commotion is upstairs and sipping her tea. He tells her that there's a sick boy who took a turn for the worse, she comments on how tragic this is and begins to ask if there is any hope for him when the tea sets in and she quickly passes out. Jefferson tells her that it's doubtful before taking her keys, grabbing a coat and continuing down the hall. He walks past a janitor who is mopping outside a room marked "S. Glass", making a "shush" gesture by putting his finger to his lips and proceeding to unlock the adjacent cell. He opens the cell door and walks inside to see Belle sleeping on her bed, waking up to Jefferson standing before her. He extends an arm and tells her to come with him, she takes his hand and stands up, asking him who he is and why he's doing this. "My name is Jefferson and I need your help to do something that I can't. There's a man, his name is Mr. Gold, find him. All you have to do is tell him where you've been and that Regina locked you up. Belle is confused and Jefferson goes on to tell her that it's very important and that Mr. Gold's going to protect her but she has to tell him that Regina locked her up, he will know what to do. Jefferson asks Belle if she understands and the prisoner nods, saying that she does. She says she has to find Mr. Gold.
Charming is readied for his big moment.
Prince Charming walks out of the lake beneath Maleficent's palace and onto shore where he meets Rumplestiltskin, who tells him he just accomplished something impressive. He tells him to come and warm himself, gesturing the fire beside him. Charming reminds the Dark One that he has done what he's asked before requesting that he get his ring back. "Of course, you're in a bit of a rush, How rude of me," he says, taking out Charming's mother's ring, telling him that with it, he will find her. The prince takes the ring and it glows with magic, he thanks Rumple and begins to walk away. However, Rumple turns to him and tells him that something's missing, Charming turns back to him and Rumple waves his hands. In a flurry of purple smoke, Prince Charming's clothes are changed from wet leather to a gallant red suit and cape. Charming looks at his new outfit as Rumple tells him that he's now ready for his big moment. The prince asks why Rumple wants the together, wondering what he gets out of it. "I'm a fan of true love, dearie. And more importantly, what it creates," Rumple explains.
Emma retrieves the golden egg after having slain Maleficent.
Emma fires her gun at the dragon a few times more but it still has no impact, she gets to her feet and runs behind a rock as Maleficent breathes fire. Emma fires even more bullets at the dragon before staying behind her shelter. The blonde then spots something nearby - Prince Charming's sword which she had earlier discarded. Emma runs away from her rock, narrowly avoiding a cloud of the dragon's fire. She runs across a series of rocks before grabbing the sword and aiming it at the dragon who draws nearer. "Hey!" she yells, making the dragon turn to her. At that moment, as the dragon lifts her head to roar, Emma lunges and throws her sword. The blade flies through the air and stabs the beast in the glowing area of her chest. At this, the entire beast glows brightly and disintegrates. Emma shields herself from the falling parts of dragon and looks up to see the beast is gone. She stands and notices a golden egg a few feet away. She approaches it slowly before kneeling down to dust it off, she lifts the egg up in her hands and hugs it, keeping it close to her chest.
Prince Charming gives Snow White true love's kiss.
Prince Charming is shown riding his horse in a hurry along a lakeside, he enters the woods and checks his mother's ring which is growing brightly. He speeds up and soon dismounts his horse, approaching the seven dwarfs who are all crowded around a glass coffin. They turn to him and Doc says that he's too late before revealing Snow White to be the one lying within the coffin. Charming is saddened and runs to it, staring at his true love through the glass. He looks up the the dwarfs with a tear in his eye and asks that they let him at least say goodbye. Happy, Grumpy and Bashful proceed to lift the lid from the glass coffin and Charming leans in towards Snow, before kissing her. When he does this, a pulse of pure love is seen engulfing the land, bringing light to the darkness. Snow White's eyes open and she inhales, awake. Charming looks down at her and smiles as she places a hand upon his face. "You found me..." she says. He strokes her arm before asking, "Did you ever doubt I would?" (see "Pilot")
"Let's take back the kingdom..."
Later, Snow White and Prince Charming are seen taking a stroll along the same lakeside that he rode his horse along. Snow asks her love how he did it and the prince takes out his ring, saying he used it. Snow is confused and he tells her that it belonged to his mother and it got him back to her. He then moves to face her, telling her that he never wants it off her finger before gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. Snow White puts out her left hand and Charming places the ring upon her finger. She looks at it on her hand before turning back to the prince and asking him what he thinks. Charming stands up and joyously kisses his fiancée, but when they pull away, she doesn't appear happy. He asks her what's wrong and she reminds him that there's the little matter of his father and her stepmother. "Ah, that..." he says before telling her that he's open to suggestions. "Here's one," she says, turning to the castle across the lake, "Let's take back the kingdom." He asks her how and she replies by telling him that they'll do it like they shall do everything: together.
Back in Storybrooke, Maine, David walks over to his truck and places the last of his luggage into the back. He opens the door and looks up at the clock tower before stepping in, closing the door, and driving away.
Beneath the town, Emma is still clutching the golden egg containing the potion of true love but whilst traveling up in the elevator that leads into the library. Suddenly, the elevator halts, stunning Emma who grabs onto the walls to stabilize herself. She looks up and calls out for Regina, asking her what the hell just happened. The entrance is visible as she is close to the top and Mr. Gold pokes his head out of the frame where the elevator door would be if it where at the top. He sees that she has the egg but the blonde is more concerned with what he's doing there. He tells her that he's come to check on her and is glad he did as Regina's abandoned her and sabotaged the elevator. Emma is shocked and begins to climb out of the elevator, telling Gold that she's coming up. The pawnbroker points out that she can't possibly scale the wall and carry the egg, but she tells him she can try. She climbs into the roof of the lift and picks the egg up, he tells her to toss it up, promising that it will be fine. She tells him to hold on to it as she'll be right up, throwing the egg up to Gold who catches it before walking away. Emma calls out for him as she continues to scale up the elevator cable. She is soon seen climbing into the library only to find Regina, tied to a chair with duct tape over her mouth, presumably the work of Mr. Gold. Emma runs over to her, ripping the duct tape off her mouth and beginning to untie her. Regina tells the blonde that Gold tricked her, asking her how she could give him the egg. Emma asks where he is and Regina says that he's gone before going on to realize that he manipulated all of this. Emma says that he can't be that far, setting Regina free and getting to her feet. As they are about to leave, Emma's cell phone rings, as does Regina's. The blonde turns around to the mayor and tells her that it's from the hospital.
Emma is too late to save Henry.
Emma and Regina are next seen running up the stairwell of the hospital and through its halls, arriving at Henry's room where Dr. Whale and Mother Superior step out. Whale assures the mothers that they did everything they could, before Mother Superior gives an all sincere "I'm sorry", but telling them that they're too late. Emma walks into her son's room as Regina watches through the glass. The blonde approaches Henry as the nurse switches off his monitors and removes the breathing mask from his face. As Henry's body is seen lying there, Regina takes a sigh of depression and Emma continues to stare at her dead son, before doing the same.
Mr. Gold is reunited with his true love.
At his pawn shop, Mr. Gold places the golden egg containing the true love potion upon his counter. He opens a drawer from a miniature stack of shelves and retrieves a small key before proceeding to place it into the lock contained to the egg. He unlocks it and the egg opens and Mr. Gold takes out the vial of sparkling pink liquid that is true love. He lifts it up to inspect it before hearing the bell of his door sound, signifying that someone is entering the shop and so he quickly places the potion in his pocket and the egg in a box behind him. A female voice behind him asks if he's Mr. Gold, Gold confirms that he is, but tells her that the shop is closed. However, when he turns round he is shocked to discover who the female voice belongs to: his one true love, Belle. She tells him that she was told to find him and tell him that Regina locked her up. Gold steps out from behind his counter as Belle asks him if that means anything to him. He is speechless and merely walks closer before extending his arm and touching her shoulder, confirming to himself that she's real and that she's alive. She looks at him, confused, as he repeats that Regina did this to her. Belle says that she was told he would protect her and Gold begins to cry before hugging her, assuring her that, yes, he'll protect her. When the hug ends, she asks him if she knows him. A tearful Mr. Gold tells her that she doesn't, but that she will, confusing Belle further.
"I love you, Henry..."
Back at the hospital, Regina looks at Henry's dead body, crying before turning to Whale for comfort. Emma stands staring at him, also teary-eyed, advancing to his bedside, placing her hand upon his. As she cries, she brushes the hair away from Henry's forehead with her spare hand. She leans her head in so that her lips almost touch his forehead, saying, "I love you, Henry..." before kissing the area that she had brushed hair out of, sending out a pulse of pure, true love. Regina is shocked by this as she is hit by it, as are the others in the room, and Henry's eyes open. He inhales heavily, awake, as Emma becomes overjoyed. She touches his face and he turns to her, telling her, "I love you, too." He says that she saved her and Regina, from behind them, tells Emma that she did it.
The pulse of love is seen spreading across all of Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is suddenly hit by it, remembering who she is. Ruby and Granny are suddenly hit by it, remembering who they are. Archie Hopper is suddenly hit by it, remembering who he is. David, who is leaving town, is suddenly hit by it, remembering who he is and halting his truck. Prince Charming looks at the sign saying "Leaving Storybrooke" and then to the road behind him.
Regina assures Henry of her love.
Back in Henry's hospital room, he sits up as Emma looks confused at how all the people are acting. She asks her son what's going on and Regina seems confused as well. "The curse," Henry says, "I think you broke it." The Blue Fairy walks towards them and tells them that she gave him true love's kiss. Regina appears extremely displeased by this and Mother Superior turns to her and says, "If I were you, your majesty, I'd find a place to hide." Regina walks towards Henry and tells him that no matter what he thinks and no matter what anyone tells him, she does love him. Henry says nothing and the Evil Queen proceeds to leave the room, running out of the hospital.
In the town, Charming is walking along the sidewalk when he sees Snow White walking along the other side of the street. "Snow!" he calls out, alerting her. She turns to him and whispers, "Charming..." before the two of them run into each others arms. Snow, almost speechless, tells Charming that he found her, and he asks her if she ever doubted he would. At this, the prince and the princess share a kiss.
Regina is back at her house, in Henry's bedroom, and sits down on the boy's bed, still teary-eyed. She reaches down and clutches his pillow before bringing it to her face and hugging it, weeping miserably.
Rumplestiltskin works a little magic.
In the woods of Storybrooke, Mr. Gold approaches the town well with Belle not far behind. She asks him to wait but he says that they're very close now, walking a little closer to the well. She does not move, saying, "Rumplestiltskin, wait." Rumple then stops and turns around to Belle who runs toward her true love, telling him that she remembers and she loves him. Belle and Rumple share a hug and he says that he loves her too. He then ends the hug and tells Belle that there'll be time for that and there'll be time for everything, but first, there is something he must do. Rumple walks up the the town well as a confused Belle follows, asking him what it is. He tells her that it's a very special place as the waters that run below are said to have the power to return what one has lost. Rumple steps up to the well, as does Belle, and takes the true love potion from out of his suit pocket. He hovers the vial over the well before dropping it into the water below. Belle and Rumple look into the well as, suddenly, a fumble of purple mist rises from it, delicately dropping to the floor but expanding and spreading out.
At the hospital, Emma turns to Henry and asks him what's going on here. Wondering why, if the curse is broken, they didn't go back. Henry tells his mother that he doesn't know, before a nurse drops a tray onto the floor. Emma asks her if she's okay as Henry stands up and walks beside her too. The nurse doesn't respond, merely stares out the window, as do Emma and Henry. They are shocked by what they see.
In Henry's bedroom, Regina sees something out the window. She stands up and walks over to it only to see that a sheet of purple smoke is enveloping the entire town, and heading towards her.
At the hospital, Emma and Henry are staring at the same thing, and Emma asks what it is. The shot moves in on Henry who tells her, "Something bad..."
Back in the woods, Belle and Rumple are still witnessing the purple mist exit the well and spread. Belle says that she doesn't understand and Rumple explains that they're in a land without magic and he's bringing it. "Magic is coming," he assures her. Belle proceeds to ask him why, and Rumple turns to her and says, "Because magic is power." The purple mist continues to rise.
Magic is coming...
Regina looks at the purple sheet as it draws nearer and smiles menacingly at it, realizing what it is.
Snow and Charming view the purple smoke as it draws nearer, they clearly don't know what it is but it's about to envelop them and so Charming hugs Snow tight as the two of them are engulfed by the mist. The shot moves up to the clock tower as the mist swirls up and around it. The arms of the clock move to read 8:15 as the face of the town landmark is covered by the purple smoke.
- The title card features the Dark Curse.
- It is possible that the smoke featured is the purple mist that spreads over town at the end of this episode.
- This is the first title card not to be accompanied by the usual opening music.
- This is the first episode to feature a teaser.
- This episode marks the return of former main castmember Jamie Dornan (Sheriff Graham/Huntsman). His credit is timed to appear as soon as the Huntsman removes his helmet, thus revealing his presence.
- This marks the seventh writing credit for both Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who also serves as the show's creators. It also marks the sixth directing credit for Dean White.
The finale saw the series post its best numbers ever from the previous outing, scoring a 3.3/10 among 18-49s with 9.66 million viewers tuning in. The show won its time slot for the fifth week in a row and helped ABC win that night, despite being up against the first half of the Survivor: One World finale on CBS (which had its lowest-rated outing ever).
In Canada, the episode finished in eighteenth place for the week with an estimated 1.532 million viewers, a decrease from the 1.601 million of the previous episode.
The season finale was well received by critics.
- Entertainment Weekly's Hilary Busis stated that "Lo and behold, earlier this evening I found that all my deepest desires had been granted (Busis made a quote about wanting to see Bauer and Dornan return and for Emma to drop the Scully routine). As executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz promised, "'A Land Without Magic' was a total game-changer—and Once will be an even stronger show next season, thanks to its revelations. For several episodes, it's seemed like this series was rejecting forward momentum on principle; tonight, though, our master plot took a great leap forward. And it's all thanks to the power of Twue Wuv."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' season finale recap: Now I'm a Believer" by Hilary Busis, from Entertainment Weekly (May 13, 2012)
- ↑ Revenge, Madeleine Stowe | TV Season Finale Awards: YOUR 2012 Winners! | Photo 1 of 20 by Mandi Bierly, from Entertainment Weekly (August 14, 2012)