"Hat Trick" is the 17th episode of Once Upon a Time.
While searching for a missing Mary Margaret, Emma is kidnapped by a man whose affinity for hats has him teetering on the edge of madness. Meanwhile, viewers will be transported outside of the fairytale land that was for the first time when the Evil Queen persuades a skillful man of magic to come work for her one last time and travel to Wonderland in order to help her steal something from the Queen of Hearts.
Once upon a time, an Evil Queen banished every storybook character you've ever known...
We see the Evil Queen relish in her curse being enacted as the large flames swirl upwards. She looks at it with an evil smirk as it lights up her face. ("The Thing You Love Most") Queen Regina stares at her newly created Magic Mirror. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree") Belle is walking to the market and turns to see Queen Regina traveling down the road. ("Skin Deep") Snow White and Prince Charming look at each other endearingly on their wedding day. ("Pilot") Mary Margaret and David take a romantic stroll together. ("That Still Small Voice")
To our world...
Who knows the truth?
And who can break the spell?
Emma is seen with Henry at her side, opening her apartment door with one of Regina's skeleton keys. ("Heart of Darkness") August watches Emma from afar. ("Heart of Darkness") Henry and Emma are sitting on the former's "castle" as he tells his mother, "You don't play with the curse." ("Desperate Souls") The Evil Queen sends out a fireball. ("The Thing You Love Most") Emma is taking Mary Margaret's mug shot and Mary Margaret turns to her friend and exclaims, "Emma, this is a mistake, I did not kill Kathryn!" ("Heart of Darkness") Regina tells Emma that Mary Margaret has had her heart broken and that that can make a person do unspeakable things. ("Heart of Darkness") Emma uncovers a hunting knife in Mary Margaret's ventilation shaft. ("Heart of Darkness") In the woods, Ruby slams a jewelry box shut after finding a human heart inside it. ("Red-Handed") Emma hands Mary Margaret the same box and asks her if she's seen it before; Mary Margaret tells her that it's her jewelry box. ("Heart of Darkness") "The evidence is piling up by the hour," Emma says. ("Heart of Darkness") Emma tells Mary Margaret to hire a lawyer. ("Heart of Darkness") Mary Margaret discovers a skeleton key beneath her pillow in her cell. She stares at the lock of her cell. ("Heart of Darkness")
ONCE UPON A TIME
Mary Margaret's empty cell.
We are shown Mary Margaret's empty bed in the sheriff's station, and the shot slowly draws outwards to reveal that the cell itself is also empty, with the door having been unlocked and left open by its now former inhabitant.
We are then shown Mary Margaret running through the woods of Storybrooke at night, seeming in quite the hurry to get out of town. She then stops, clinging to a tree, in order to catch her breath. She exhales heavily, looks back, and then forward again, making the decision to abandon her problems entirely and run on.
Emma doesn't know her own plan.
Henry is reading from his storybook in the sheriff's station but seems uneasy; Emma then enters the premises, making her way down the hall, and soon notices her son sitting there, asking what he's doing. He explains that he came to congratulate her, but this only confuses Emma further while Mr. Gold walks up behind her, with her not knowing what she's done to be congratulated for. Henry reveals that he's impressed by her "genius plan", saying it in such a way that it seems obvious, and when Gold asks him to which plan he is referring, he looks down awkwardly, and the pawnbroker realizes that it isn't his place and leaves. Henry waits to make sure he's is gone before apologizing to his birth mother, having thought that Mr. Gold was "in on it" now that he's Miss Blanchard's lawyer. "In on what?" Emma demands, and now Henry is confused, mentioning the escape plan that he's assumed was devised by her. Before Emma is able to ask any further questions, she is summoned into the main room of the station by Gold.
Emma is horrified to discover that her friend is missing.
Emma, followed by Henry, enters the room to see that Mary Margaret's is vacant, having been opened. She is shocked, and Mr. Gold states that she's gone, leading Emma to question Henry on what he did. Henry assures his mother of his innocence in all this, explaining that Mary Margaret was gone when he got there, while Gold takes it upon himself to point out that his client's court date is the following day, causing Emma to realize that if she's not there then she's a fugitive; it won't matter if she's convicted for Kathryn or not, she'll be screwed. The Sheriff then says that she has to go and find her before someone notices she's missing, making her way towards her desk to gather supplies. Mr. Gold asks if she means Regina and Emma confirms it, certain that the Mayor will be there bright and early the next morning to claim her victory. Henry wonders how he can help, but Emma simply asks him to go home. He begins to warn his mother of what could happen if Mary Margaret leaves Storybrooke, but Emma makes it clear that now is not the time for curse talk as she ushers him out of the door. Mr. Gold reminds her that time is of the essence and that if Miss Blanchard doesn't return then her future is in jeopardy, and if Emma's caught helping her then so is hers. Emma stops and tells him that she doesn't care, for she'd rather lose her job than her friend, before leaving. Mr. Gold smiles wickedly at the empty cell once she's gone.
Emma makes a new friend.
Emma gets into her car, pulls out of her parking space, and drives away from the sheriff's station, proceeding to make her way down the rainy forest roads. She looks depressed as she continues to drive, crying and looking around, having gotten herself lost. Her car comes to a sudden halt when she notices a masculine figure in front of her, walking down the road, and she swerves to avoid him, causing him to roll down a hill and her to skid into madness. The car stops moving and Emma quickly rushes out of it to check on the man, apologizing profusely and asking if he's okay, explaining that she didn't see him. As she runs to help the man up the hill, he assures her that he's alright, but not so used to being on the road with cars so late. He realizes that she's the sheriff and Emma confirms it, leading him to ask what brings her out so far in the middle of the night. She assures him that it's nothing to worry about, lying in saying that she's looking for a "lost dog", and the man tells her that he hopes she finds it. Emma thanks him and he begins to limp away, forcing her to realize that he is hurt, despite him saying that he "just" twisted his ankle - he thinks - and that he lives only a mile down the road so he'll make it home okay. However, Emma insists on driving him home and he smiles, deciding to take her up on her offer. He goes to shake her hand, introducing himself as Jefferson, and she introduces herself by name in turn, reciprocating the hand shake as she does so. Jefferson proceeds to follow Emma into her car.
Jefferson and his daughter, Grace.
In the fairytale land that was, a man wearing an orange velvet robe is running speedily through the Enchanted Forest, and he is soon revealed to be the past version of Jefferson. He continues to run up a small hill and hides behind a thick tree which he uses to peek around the side of to see if anyone is behind him. No one is, and he sighs with relief, leaning up against the tree and exhaling. "Papa, I found you!" a young girl suddenly exclaims, and Jefferson smiles as emerges from behind the tree to greet his apparent daughter, with whom he was playing hide-and-seek. She walks up to him and he assures her that she certainly did, helping her up as he adds that she must be part bloodhound. The girl, Grace, says that it's now her turn to hide, and he can seek, but Jefferson sadly tells her that playtime is over. He says that she can still use that nose of hers to find enough mushrooms to sell at the market the following day, asking if she thins she can do that, and she nods. "Ready or not, here we come," he announces as the two of them begin to march prowl the woods.
Grace is wary about the Queen's unannounced visit.
Jefferson and Grace are later walking back from the forest with a basket full of mushrooms that they've collected. They come up to their house and hear a horse whinnying, leading Jefferson to tell his daughter to look at their cottage. She asks who owns the carriage that is outside of it, and Jefferson realizes that it's the Queen's. Grace is insulted that she's in their house, wondering if her father knows her, and he he says that of course he does, then telling her to listen carefully as he instructs her to stay hidden in the woods, just like in their game, for he's going to find out what Regina's doing there. He then ventures the final few feet toward his and Grace's house, but not before shining Grace a smile. He continues as his daughter runs off into the forest.
Regina stops by to say hi.
Jefferson walks in to see Queen Regina inside his house, inspecting his ornaments. He closes the door behind him and she says that she'd like to say he's looking well but she'd be lying, commenting that poverty doesn't suit him. He asks her what she's doing there and she says that she has a job for him, but as he hangs his coat he tells her that he doesn't do that anymore. She's aware that he hung up his hat and wonders why, picking up one of his daughter's dolls as she theorizes that it was because of his "sweet daughter Grace". Jefferson points out that, because of his work, Grace lost a mother, and he doesn't want her to lose a father too. Regina asks what kind of future his daughter has there, with him, assuring that if he does this one last favor for her then he can give her the life she deserves. Jefferson approaches the Queen and tells her that that's why he's staying put, because one can't abandon family; that's what she deserves. He then requests that she please leave but she tries pleading that all she needs is his special skills to get her somewhere - somewhere he's been before. If he does this then she can change his life. She hands him a map which he snatches from her and unfolds, asking her what business she could possibly have "there". "Something of mine was taken and found its way over there, I want it back," Regina explains, but Jefferson, handing the map back, tells her to find someone else to get it. She comments that hard-living must have strengthened his resolve and apologizes for not being able to convince him, adding that she understands - "There's nothing more important than family." She smiles and finally vacates, leaving Jefferson to gaze upon his old hat-making kit.
Emma is in awe of Jefferson's mansion.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma's car pulls into the driveway of Jefferson's mansion. The two of them step out of the car and Emma herself is amazed at the size of his house, commenting that it looks more like a hotel. She closes the car door as she attempts to take it in, noting that he must have a huge family, but Jefferson closes his own car door as he amends her, saying that it's just him. Emma begins to feel bad and tells him to wait while she fetches something in her car; she emerges a few seconds later with her keys, having taken them out of the ignition. She then walks into the mansion with him.
Jefferson takes Emma hostage, after drugging her tea.
Inside Jefferson's mansion, Emma is looking around the fireplace when Jefferson himself walks in, dropping off a tea tray and telling the Sheriff that she may need to warm up a bit for her search. She replies that that is kind of him, but she thinks she should get back to it just as he pours her a cup of tea and hands it to her. Emma takes it and he says that he knows, hence he brought "this", referring to a rolled up map. He unfurls it atop his piano, revealing it to be a huge map of Storybrooke. Emma sips her tea from behind as she approaches to gaze upon it, with him telling her that maybe this will help her track down her dog. He then asks the dog's name and Emma makes up that it's called Spot. He comments upon the cuteness of this before cleaning up his tea tray; Emma inspects the map in the meanwhile, finding it helpful. However, she takes another sip of her tea and jolts suddenly: something's wrong. She tries to talk but seems pretty out of it, and Jefferson asks if something's wrong. Emma tries to explain but is too tired, and she faints into Jefferson's arms. She blurts out that she's dizzy and Jefferson drags her over to the couch, lying her down and beginning to walk away. Emma asks what happened to his limp, realizing that he's no longer walking with one, and he utters, "Oh, that... I guess you caught me." He stands over her tired self as she finally drops the cup of tea and passes out. Jefferson lets out an eerie smile.
"Where's the fun in that?"
Back in the fairytale land that was, we are shown the marketplace, presumably where Jefferson normally sells his mushrooms; today, however, he and Grace are out shopping and, when a certain something catches her eye, the latter runs toward a particular stall. The certain something is a stuffed white rabbit, and the young girl points out to her father that he would make a perfect guest for their tea parties as she cradles the thing and asks if she can have it. Jefferson smiles and turns to the old hag running the stall, wondering how much the rabbit costs. She tells him it costs five silvers, but all he has is coppers, which the hag refuses to accept, unable to take less that one silver. Jefferson seems disappointed and the old woman snatches the rabbit from Grace's arms, which she tells her father is okay, then suggesting that the leave because people are waiting. However, Jefferson will not take "no" for an answer, despite Grace telling him to stop and that she doesn't need the rabbit. Jefferson ponders this and then tells his daughter to come along, walking away from the stall with her in tow. The old hag walks round to her carriage where her Magic Mirror begins to speak: "Well, that was awfully cruel, you could have at least have the little girl have her toy," he says. "Where's the fun in that?" asks the voice of Queen Regina coming from the old woman's body; her face flashes from the old hag, to Regina, and back to the hag, revealing that it's the Queen in disguise. She cackles.
Emma cleverly escapes.
In Storybrooke, Emma awakens in Jefferson's living room with a gag in her mouth, lying on his couch. She is alone and her hands are tied behind her back. As she regains full consciousness, she notices her dropped teacup on the floor and so she lifts a cushion as best she can with her teeth and drops it onto the fragile container, then managing to sit up and stomp on the cushion with her feet, which are duct taped together. The cup smashes under the impact, but the cushion successfully muffles the sound. Emma checks to make sure no one's watching as she hops off of the sofa after kicking the cushion away. She squats over the smashed cup and uses a shard of it to cut the duct tape which binds her hands. She then removes the duct tape from her feet manually and takes the gag from out of her mouth, finally able to stand up and look around. She walks over to the window but is unable to open it; she tries the next one along but to no avail. Her attention is then drawn to the telescope in the room, and she gazes through it and sees it's pointed at the sheriff's station where she works - he's been watching her. Emma hears something stirring in the next room and cautiously approaches the door. Slowly, she opens it a crack and sees Jefferson sharpening some sort of weapon. She soon realizes it's a rather large pair of scissors and grows deeply worried.
Jefferson retrieves an old possession.
In the Enchanted Forest, Jefferson snips the final thread from the waistcoat of a homemade white rabbit, which he then sits down at Grace's small tea party which she has set up, before sitting opposite her. When he apologizes for the new rabbit not being the same as the one in the market, she assures her father that she loves it, making him smile. She thanks him and grabs a tiny teapot, pouring the contents into her cup from which she takes a sip, saying it's really good and asking her stuffed tortoise if he agrees. She asks her father if he likes his tea and he pauses, telling Grace that he wants her to go to the neighbors for the rest of the day, for there's work he has to do. She seems disappointed and asks why she can't come with him, because she likes being in the forest, but he tells her as he shakes his head that he's not going to the forest. She realizes that this has to do with the Queen's visit and orders him not to do whatever she wants him to do, but Jefferson walks over to her and tells her that he has to so that she can get what she needs. Grace assures that all she needs is him, begging him to stay, but he lifts his daughter up and hugs her while carrying her in the kitchen, putting her down and reiterating that she has to go. "Just promise me you'll come back. You have to promise!" Grace exclaims as Jefferson grabs her coat, and he tells her, "Of course." "For our tea party, promise?" she asks, and again he tells her, "Promise." He looks into her eyes and assures that he wouldn't miss it for the world, then kissing her forehead before he opens the door and sends her off to the neighbors. She seems depressed as she leaves and Jefferson watches as she runs off to the couple next door, who welcome her gladly. He then takes the covering off of a chest and places a key into it, opening it and taking out a hatbox which he carries into the center of the room. The shot zooms in on it.
At Jefferson's mansion in Storybrooke, he continues to sharpen his scissors as Emma watches. Emma then quietly steps out into the hall and closes the door, proceeding to creep down the hall as Jefferson checks his scissors are ready. Unfortunately, Emma hits a creaky floorboard, suddenly alerting her captor. She rushes into the nearest room and closes the door behind her as quickly and as quietly as she's able. The room's contents shocks her to the core: Mary Margaret, tied up to a chair and gagged. She seems extremely distressed and Emma is utterly overwhelmed.
A slight dilemma...
Still in the room, Mary Margaret lets out a terrified moan, and Emma, who has just discovered this scene, whispers to herself, "What is going on?" as she walks over to her friend to untie her. Emma removes the gag from Mary Margaret's mouth and the teacher is ever-grateful that her friend found her, crying and scared. As she unties her feet, Emma asks her roommate what she's doing there, and Mary Margaret explains that she was in the woods trying to get away when this man appeared out of nowhere and grabbed her. She then ass Emma what she's doing there and Emma explains that she was trying to find her, reminding her that she escaped as she moves up to untie her friend's hands. She wonders how she got out and Mary Margaret reveals that there was a key in her cell beneath her pillow that someone must have put there. When Emma asks who, Mary Margaret, finally able to stand up out of the chair, assures that she doesn't know and that she'd like to know just as much as she. Emma cautiously opens the door and takes a peek down the hallway; it's empty and she tells Mary Margaret to follow her. They both step out of the room and Emma closes the door behind them before beginning to guide her disorientated friend through the hall. A gun is heard clicking, however, and Jefferson exclaims, "I see you found Spot!" as he faces Emma and Mary Margaret, pistol in tow. Emma tells him that they've already called for backup, who'll be there any second, but Jefferson is well-aware that they've not called anybody for the same reason that she didn't tell him that she was actually looking for a woman: she does't want anybody to know she's there, which means that nobody does. "So now tie her back up," he orders.
Emma reassures her friend.
Soon, Emma is applying Mary Margaret's gag, having just tied her back up per Jefferson's request. Jefferson himself is standing watch at the doorway, and Mary Margaret utters her friend's name. Emma assures her that it's going to be alright as the teacher bites down on the gag that the Sheriff is applying to her mouth. Emma stands up and addresses Jefferson, "The telescope, you were watching me. Why?" "I need you to do something," he reveals, grabbing Emma by the arm and pulling her out of the room. Mary Margaret screams at Jefferson but her gag makes it unclear; she is begging him not to hurt Emma.
Regina and Jefferson jump through the hat.
Jefferson is seen carrying his hatbox back in time as he makes his way through Regina's palace, accompanied by two of her guards. He makes it to the Queen herself who greets him, commenting that it's good to see him looking more like himself and assuming that he's there because he's reconsidered her earlier offer. He says he wants her guarantee that if he does what she asks then his daughter will want for nothing. The Queen bows and tells him that he has her word, then ordering him to open his box and see what its contents can do. Jefferson removes the lid from his hatbox and takes out a rather tattered-looking top hat which he carries delicately. Regina laughs and claps in a cheering manner, joking that she does so like a man who dresses for the occasion as Jefferson places the hat onto the ground and gives it a hefty spin. The hat begins to swirl rapidly and Jefferson and Regina take a step back as a haze of purple magic begins to emanate from the magical head-wear, which grows to ginormous size. The hat becomes the eye of a spinning purple storm contained within the room and the shot moves in and out of it as it flies into the air, creating a portal. "After you!" Jefferson exclaims. "Together!" Regina says, reaching out her hand which he takes. Jefferson tells her to hold on as the two of them jump into the large portal; into the hat.
Jefferson likes hats. Go figure.
Back at Jefferson's mansion, he pushes Emma into a room and she tells him that she doesn't know what he thinks he's doing, but she swears to God that if he hurts her friend then she will make him regret it. Jefferson slams the door shut, questioning why she thinks he would hurt her when he's saving her life, then advancing on Emma who asks how he figures that. She walks backwards as he walks forwards, next to a set of shelves filled with top hats. He orders her not to play stupid, for they both know what happens when you leave Storybrooke. Emma asks him what he's talking about and he tells her about the curse, causing her to become taken aback. "The one keeping us all trapped," he iterates, "Except you." Emma asks if he's been reading Henry's book and he asks if she means the Queen's father; however, she says she's talking about the Mayor's adopted kid, and he tells her, "Oh. Your Henry. And his book of stories. The ones you choose to ignore. Maybe if you knew what I know, you wouldn't."
Jefferson wants Emma to make his hat work.
Emma quickly changes the subject by asking Jefferson why he's been spying on her, but he doesn't answer, merely walking about her and extending his gun arm, aiming at her head. He retracts the pistol and walks around the center table, saying that for the last 28 years, he's been stuck in his house, day after day, always the same, until she showed up and the clock ticked and things began to change. "You see... I know what you refuse to acknowledge, Emma," he tells her, "You're special." He goes on to say that she's magic but she pauses, calling him out as insane. He asks if this is because he speaks the truth but she says it's because he's talking about magic. He assures that he's talking about what he's seen and that perhaps she's the one that's mad. Emma doesn't think so but Jefferson walks up to her and tells her to open her eyes; look around and wake up. He asks her if it's about time and Emma asks him in turn what he wants. "I want you to get it to work," he tells her, grabbing her shoulder and sitting her down in a chair. Emma doesn't now what he means and he stares at the hat on the table, informing her that she's the only one who can do it. "You're gonna get it to work."
Jefferson and the Queen stand within the hall of doors.
In the past, Jefferson and Regina are in the Hall of Doors, a shiny circular room filled with many brightly colored doors. The Queen tells Jefferson that she forgot how magnificent he is, but he says he's not there to relive his past; he's there for his daughter. He leads her over to a door that resembles a large mirror and tells her that it is the entrance, adding that, from this point on, they should stick together, for the same amount of people who go through the hat have to go back. No more. No less. It's the hat's rule; not his. Regina's black gloved hand strokes the border of the looking glass and she says that she understands. Jefferson reaches his hand through the doorway, causing it to ripple, and then walks through completely. Regina hesitantly follows.
"I hate Wonderland."
Jefferson and Regina walk out of the mirror door at the other side of the looking glass; they are surrounded by large, bright green grass and big, colorful toadstools. We are shown the crisp blue sky and a large Caterpillar sitting on a nearby mushroom. The two of them stand there, taking it in. They begin to walk down the pathway with walls of grass. The giant Caterpillar suddenly turns to them, with his many gloves, monocle, fez, and the hookah he's smoking. "Who are you?" he asks in a deep voice, blowing puffs of circular smoke with every syllable. "Who... who?" he asks. Regina comes face to face with a ring of smoke which dissipates in front of her. "I hate Wonderland," Jefferson comments as he and Regina move further into it.
Emma is completely at a loss.
Many hat-making tools, consisting primarily of scissors, have been placed on the table in front of Emma, who seems not to have any idea what to do with them. Jefferson walks over to her and drops a hat on the table next to her, ordering that she make him one like that. She seems flabbergasted that he wants her to make a hat, wondering if he doesn't have enough based on the amount she can see within the room, and he explains that none of them work, and if they did then she wouldn't be there. He tells her to make a hat and get it to work, sitting opposite as she looks at the tools, confused. He adds that she has magic and can do it, but she is silent, staring at the tea set on one side of the room and then once again noticing all the hats on shelves. "The hats. The tea. Your psychotic behavior. You think you're the Mad Hatter," Emma figures out, but he says that his name's Jefferson. After a pause, Emma says "okay" before moving a sheet of velvet and some scissors; she assumes he's climbed into what her kid Henry's got, trying to tell him that they're just stories and that the Mad Hatter is in Alice in Wonderland. A book. A book she actually read. Jefferson refutes her attempt at an explanation; "Stories? Stories. What's a story? When you were in high school, did you learn about the civil war?" he asks; Emma says she did. Jefferson asks her if she read about it in a book, and asks her how that's any different from any other book. She says that history books are based on history and he asks her where she thinks the imagination for a storybook comes from, for it has to come from somewhere.
Jefferson orders Emma to make him a hat.
"You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution for their problems, and everyone refuses to believe in magic," Jefferson points out, aiming his gun lazily in Emma's direction as he tells her to get the hat to work. "Here's the thing, Jefferson. This is it. This is the real world," Emma assures, but he corrects her in saying that it's a real world, before standing up and leaning in towards her, asking how arrogant she must be to think that hers is the only one. "There are infinite more. You have to open your mind. They touch one another. Turn up in a long line of lands. Each just as real as the last, all have there own rules, some have magic, some don't. And some need magic... like this one." He stands back up and points his pistol towards Emma again, adding that that's where she comes in. He exclaims that she and her friend are not leaving until she makes his hat, handing her a large pair of scissors. He throws them in front of her and sits back down, gun still in tow, and Emma takes the scissors and begins to make some cuts in the fabric. "And then what?" she asks. Jefferson pauses but comes out with, "Then I go home."
"The walls should stay away from me!"
Back in Wonderland, Jefferson and Regina are at the hedge-trimmed gate to a maze, and the former seems surprised that the Queen wants to go in there. She tells him that what she wants is a short walk through; we are shown that the entrance has a heart and crowns trimmed into it, and Jefferson asks her if she knows to whom this land belongs. Regina turns to him, frustrated, "The Queen of Hearts," she says, looking at the heart-shaped rose in the hedge, "She's not one for subtlety." Jefferson reminds her that this wasn't part of their deal, asking Regina if she knows what the other Queen does to those who cross her, and Regina assures that she does indeed, better than most, before walking on into the vast maze garden. Jefferson doesn't budge but Regina reminds him that he can't leave Wonderland without her, saying that two go through and two go back. She asks him if he's going to let the Queen of Hearts stop him from seeing his daughter, convincing him to begin walking with her, in response to this, adding that that's what she thought. He stops her from proceeding by extending an arm, telling her to wait. He picks a stick up off the ground and throws it at one of the hedge walls; the leaves reach out, grab the stick, and swallow it. "Stay away from the walls," he tells her, but she replies, "I got a better idea. The walls should stay away from me!" She waves an arm and, with her magic, she sends a ball of fire through the maze, burning large holes in the walls and creating a clear path for them straight through the would-be labyrinth. Jefferson takes Regina's arm and they walk through it together.
Queen Regina finds what she was looking for.
Regina and Jefferson are soon walking along a pathway that leads to a small building at the end of the maze. Regina removes the lock without touching it and the double doors to the building swing open. The Queen enters to see many, many drawers, one in particular shines to her; she opens it and removes the box within. Jefferson asks if she's got what she needs, then gesturing the pathway she created so as to say that he wants to go back through it; however, as they begin to head back, a group of guards owned by the Queen of Hearts spot them, calling them out as intruders. The two of them begin to run, Regina with the box under her arm. They make it past a corner in the maze and continue to speed through it as the Queen of Hearts' soldiers chase them. They run past a door in the gate and through it. When the guards come to it, it seals itself off with weeds; Jefferson and Regina come from another exit but are halted by more soldiers. There now seems to be one at every turning so Regina uses magic to blast a couple into the walls, causing them to be consumed like the stick from earlier. One attacks Jefferson from behind so Jefferson grabs the henchman's extremities and twirls him into the wall, making him sink into it too. As the soldier screams, Jefferson and Regina run back to the small building containing the drawers and back to the pathway Regina created before. They are told to stop but refuse, managing to run out of the maze in the nick of time. As they leave, Regina causes weeds to block the exit, defeating a group of soldiers when they unwittingly run into it. She giggles.
Jefferson is stranded in Wonderland.
Back at the looking glass, Regina and Jefferson are running towards it but the former stops to inspect a giant mushroom. He asks her what she's doing and she tells him that there's something she has to do first; "A little snack." She takes a piece of mushroom against Jefferson's advisement, for he asks her if she knows what the food in Wonderland does. She's aware, proceeding to set the stolen box down and open it. She places the piece of mushroom into it and stands up, quickly stepping back as purple smoke rises from within. Soon enough, Regina's father Henry is standing there, having been shrunken and trapped by the Queen of Hearts. Jefferson is shocked but Regina hugs her father, happy to see him. He realizes that what the Queen of Hearts took from Regina was her father, and Regina explains that she always saw her as a threat and so wanted some leverage; she got it back. Henry tells her that they must hurry as the Queen's soldiers are coming. "You knew only two could go through the hat," Jefferson realizes, "...which is why you didn't tell me about your father." Regina says it was the only way to make sure he'd help her. Jefferson tries to grab her but his feet are stuck to the ground thanks to Regina's magic. The ground tightens around his feet and Regina and her father walk closer to the looking glass. He begs them to wait because Grace is waiting for him, and he promised he'd be home for tea. Regina's face portrays genuine guilt... but only for a moment. She soon turns to Jefferson and yells at him that he has no broken his promise, pointing out that if he truly cared for his daughter then he never would have left in the first place. "You were right, Jefferson: you don't abandon family." Regina turns back to her father and the two of them walk through the looking glass. "NO!" Jefferson screams, now having no way out. The Queen's soldiers come up the hill and head for Jefferson they then seize his arms and drag him back to the palace, all the while he is in a state of shocked devastation.
Jefferson loses his head.
Jefferson is taken before the Queen of Hearts by the guards; everyone around him is wearing masquerade masks while the Queen herself has her faced covered by a red veil. She talks to the Knave of Hearts through a long pipe that contorts from her mouth to his ear and he listens to her mumbles, telling Jefferson that his majesty says she knows he's responsible for helping steal from her. Jefferson exclaims that the Queen tricked him, causing the Queen of Hearts to stomp her foot. The Knave exclaims that that woman's name is Regina, for there is only one Queen: the Queen of Hearts. Jefferson apologizes and the Queen is heard whispering something to the knave through her pipe. The Knave relays that the Queen wishes to know how Jefferson came to Wonderland, and Jefferson wonders if they will let him go home to his daughter if he tells them. The Knave and Queen both laugh, and the next thing the latter orders is quite audible: "Off with his head." Jefferson becomes very worried as a guard with a very large axe walks over to him; he grabs his hair and swings the axe, cleaning removing Jefferson's head from his shoulders. As Jefferson's head remains held up, his eyes are still open and his mouth is still moving. He is shocked to be alive and stares at his headless body down on the ground. The Knave tells him that if he wishes for his body back then he will tell them how he got there. Jefferson explains that he used his hat and the Queen, via the nave, asks where this hat is now. Jefferson reveals that Regina took it. "If all you require to make it to your homeland is this magic hat, then surely you can make another?" the Knave asks. "I can't. A hat without magic is just a hat. It won't work," he says. The knave tells him that that's his task: to get it to work.
Emma learns the truth about Paige.
In Storybrooke, Emma finishes her hat and throws it onto the table. She insists that she can't make it work and that what Jefferson is asking of her is impossible. However, he tells her it has to be because if it's not, he's never going home. He inspects the hat thoroughly, bemoaning as he does so that he'll be cursed to live in this house forever. Emma demands to know what is so cursed about his life, telling him to look at this place and saying that it's beautiful; doesn't seem cursed to her. Jefferson explains that it's cursed because what he loves has been ripped from him. Emma sighs. Jefferson, pointing at the telescope, tells her to take a look. Emma obliges and walks over to the looking device, seeing through it a young girl sitting at the table, having breakfast with her parents. "Her name is Grace. Here, it's Paige. But it's Grace," Jefferson tells her, "My Grace." He adds that Emma has no idea what it's like watching her day in and day out, happy with another family. The blonde seems sympathetic that Jefferson thinks that's his daughter, but he insists that he doesn't "think", he knows, telling Emma that he remembers. Emma nods sadly as Jefferson goes to sit on the corner of the table, lamenting that Paige has no idea who he is. He goes on to say that his curse is to remember her because he can never be with her. "What good is this house, these things, if I can't share them with her?" Jefferson puts forward.
"Crazy son of a bitch."
Emma asks him why he doesn't reach out to her and tell her, and he explains that it's because he doesn't want to destroy her reality; he's trapped by his knowledge and isn't so cruel as to inflict that awareness on his daughter, for it's hard enough to live in a land where you don't belong, but knowing it? Two conflicting realities inside your head would drive you mad. Emma asks if that's why he wants her to make the hat work, so he can take Grace home to his world, and he assures that there is only one world where they can be together and she'll remember who he is. Emma says that she knows what it's like to be separated from your kid, and he recalls that she does. She adds that it can make you feel like you're losing your mind. He demands that he's not losing his mind and that Grace is his. Emma seems willing to accept that maybe this is real for the first time. "You believe?" Jefferson asks her. "If what you say is true, that woman in the other room is my mother. And I wanna believe that more than anything in the world... So maybe you're right? Maybe I need to open myself up more. Maybe if I want magic, I have to start believing." Jefferson asks if she can now help him and get the hat to work, and she says she can try. Jefferson walks over to the hat but Emma picks up his telescope with both hands when his back is turned. With him in a moment of vulnerability, she slams the object around his head, causing him to collapse, "Crazy son of a bitch!" Emma exclaims before grabbing the pistol from his now unconscious and dashing out of the room.
A struggle ensues...
Emma runs through the halls of Jefferson's mansion, having successfully stolen his gun, and makes her way into the room in which Mary Margaret is tied up, startling her roommate. She assures her it's okay and removes her gag, going to untie her hands as she tells her that Jefferson cannot hurt her anymore. "EMMA, LOOK OUT!" Mary Margaret screeches, and Emma turns around to see that Jefferson is standing at the doorway, wearing the hat she made. He runs in and dives at Emma, knocking Mary Margaret and her chair across the room and tackling the Sheriff to the ground. Emma tries to crawl to the gun which is nearest to her but Jefferson keeps grabbing her limbs, pulling her back when she keeps trying to go for the pistol. Jefferson soon climbs on top of her, kneeling, and pulls her head up by the hair, causing her to call out in pain. Emma lifts her fist and punches Jefferson in the face, forcing him to be pushed back giving herself enough room to roll around. Across the room, Mary Margaret rids her hands of duct tape and uses her free limbs to untie her legs. Jefferson climbs on top of Emma again and begins to use his hands to apply pressure to her throat. She soon moves his hands off, restraining his chest with one arm and pushing on his chin with another, causing him pain. She uses all of her strength but it is not enough as he is able to pull her to her feet as he stands up by tugging on her shoulders.
"Off with his head..."
He tries to shake her off and succeeds, slamming her against the wall. Jefferson retrieves his gun, thumbs the hammer back and aims for Emma, retrieving his hat, which fell off during the struggle, and placing it upon his head in the process. He see that there is a scar on his neck, from where the Queen of Hearts ordered that it be severed. The Mad Hatter lets out another eerie smile. "Off with his head," he utters, preparing to shoot. Behind him, however, Mary Margaret silently picks up a croquet mallet, sneaks up on Jefferson and smacks him around the head with it, making him turn to her and drop his pistol. In a moment of pure banditry, the elementary school teacher then kicks Jefferson in the chest and he smashes through the window and falls from the building's upper story. Mary Margaret makes sure Emma's okay, which she is, and looks out the window to check on Jefferson. However, she and Emma see nothing but some broken glass... and a hat.
Emma and Mary Margaret search for Jefferson.
On the ground outside Jefferson's mansion, where Jefferson himself he should have fallen, Mary Margaret and Emma inspect the contents of the hat that was left behind. Mary Margaret picks it up as Emma states that there's no sign of him anywhere, and her roommate wonders who he was. Emma explains that he was a very lonely man, then asking her friend if she's been taking kickboxing lessons and not telling her. Mary Margaret assures her that she has no idea where that came from, then cautiously making her way around the front of the premises and looking around. She is closely followed by Emma, telling her to look. Emma sees that Mary Margaret is pointing out her car, which is under a tarp. Emma removes it and enters, happy to discover the keys are on the seat. She shows them to Mary Margaret who seems moderately happy. "So... Sheriff, I guess you'll be taking me back now," she realizes, but Emma tosses her the keys and tells her to go. Mary Margaret is taken aback, and Emma makes clear that she doesn't want her to run, but it's her choice. However, she lets her know that running isn't easy, for she's done her fair share of it, and once she goes there's no stopping. Mary Margaret reminds her that everybody thinks she killed Kathryn.
"I cannot lose my family!"
"Mary Margaret, you have to believe me, you have to trust me. I know it seems impossible, but I can get you out of this!" Emma promises. Mary Margaret asks why it's so important to her, and the blonde rants, "Because when Regina framed me, and you bailed me out, I asked you why and you said you trusted me. And then when I wanted to leave Storybrooke because I thought it was best for Henry, you told me I needed to stay because that was best for him. I realized, all my life, I have been alone; walls up. Nobody's ever been there for me except for you. I can't lose that, I cannot lose my family!" "Family?" Mary Margaret smiles. "Friend.... whatever. You know what I mean," Emma amends herself, "Wouldn't you rather face this together than alone?" Mary Margaret passes Emma her car keys and Emma takes this as an opportunity to hold Mary Margaret's hand. Emma suddenly notices the time and realizes that Regina will be looking for Mary Margaret in her cell, and she won't be there.
Regina is shocked to see Mary Margaret.
At the sheriff's station, Emma's parking space is empty just as Regina pulls into the adjacent spot. She steps out of her car, happy to see the lack of Sheriff's vehicle, and continues into the building.
Inside, Regina is completely shocked by the sight she sees when looking at Mary Margaret's cell: Mary Margaret sitting inside of it, reading the paper. "Madam Mayor," Mary Margaret greets, noticing Regina. The Mayor bids her a good morning, but obviously doesn't mean it. She quickly adopts her much-needed facade when Mr. Gold tells her to excuse him, but his client is not having any visitors. "Of course not," Regina says, clearly fighting back her rage. Mr. Gold offers to see her out and Mary Margaret slowly closes her paper as Regina leaves the room.
Regina believes Gold to be breaking his deal.
Regina storms out into the hall followed by Mr. Gold, demanding to know what Mary Margaret is doing there. Gold reveals that she came back and Regina rages that he said this was going to work, that she'd take the key and go. Mr. Gold tells her that she did, but it seems Miss Swan is rather more resourceful than they thought. "Fear not, you majesty, Miss Blanchard's still on trial for murder. You may yet get what you want." Regina says that the only reason she made a deal with Gold is because she wanted results, and Mr. Gold assures her that results she will have. He tells her that he'll see her at the court date, and a seething Regina walks out of the station.
Emma sees some familiar faces.
At Henry's school, Henry is sitting at a picnic bench alone when Emma walks up to him, sitting behind her soon. She tells him that she found Mary Margaret and he asks he she is. Emma says that she's fine, other than being on trial for murder. Paige walks up to them and says hi to Henry before walking off. Emma asks who that was and Henry tells his mother the girl's name, explaining that she goes to school with him. Emma asks Henry if he has his storybook with him; he says he does and retrieves it from his bag, asking her why. "I'm just curious about something," she says as she receives the book. Emma rifles through the pages and sees a picture of the Mad Hatter talking to his daughter. On the next page, she sees a crazed version of him locked in a room. "What? What is it?" Henry asks. Emma assures him that it's nothing.
The Mad Hatter.
In Wonderland of the past, a crazed Jefferson has hat-making materials all around him as he is sewing together yet another hat, whispering and repeating that it's got to work. He smiles at a fabric and we see the many, many, many hats that surround him. He crazily puts things together and makes more and more and more hats. Hat after hat after hat, madly. He keeps telling it to work and the shot reveals the literally thousands, perhaps millions, of hats and hat-making fabrics and tools all around him as he finishes yet another. Jefferson has gone, and the Mad Hatter has come to take his place.
In Storybrooke, Emma is shocked at the book and Henry alerts her that he has to go to class. Emma asks him if she can hold onto the book and Henry happily obliges to her request. Emma watches Henry leave and looks back down at the book. She smirks it off - the fact that it looks so much like the real Jefferson and Paige - but soon becomes intrigued.
- The title card features the giant mushrooms from Wonderland.
- Although credited, Josh Dallas (David Nolan/Prince Charming), Eion Bailey (August W. Booth) and Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) are absent from this episode. However, Bailey was featured in promotional stills, so his scenes were probably cut.
- This marks the first writing credit for Vladimir Cvetko, and fourth writing credit for David H. Goodman. It also marks the second directing credit for Ralph Hemecker.
The episode's ratings and viewership was up slightly, but continued to remain steady, scoring an 18-49 rating of 2.9/8 and was watched by 8.82 million viewers, as well as winning its timeslot.
In Canada, the episode finished in nineteenth place for the week with an estimated 1.337 million viewers, an increase from the 1.254 million of the previous episode.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN wrote "Overall, it was the sort of episode I want to see more of. It was bizarre, it had unexpected twists, it moved the story forward, and it was still a little silly (the caterpillar in Wonderland comes to mind). I think keeping the touch of ridiculous is important because it is a show about fairytale characters after all; I wouldn't like if they did it completely straight all the time. Balancing that and grounding it in reality is the key. Besides the solid story, the actors hit every note. Let's hope the series does more of this in the future."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.