"New York City Serenade" is the 56th episode of Once Upon a Time.
After Rumplestiltskin sacrificed his life to stop Pan from enacting another curse, Regina obliterated her original curse, which erased Storybrooke from existence and whisked its residents back to the Enchanted Forest - leaving Emma and Henry back in our world with no memories of Storybrooke. But all is not well back in the Enchanted Forest, when Hook comes calling on Emma in New York City in an attempt to jog her memory so that she can once again help her fairy tale family and friends out of a desperate situation.
ONE YEAR AGO
The heroes return to the Enchanted Forest.
In the Enchanted Forest, a lone man rides on his horse through the foggy fields of the countryside in an apparent hurry. He gallops through vast amounts of land before finally arriving at a stone gazebo where Princess Aurora waits with a picnic. The man, Prince Phillip gets off his horse and walks towards her, but she tells him he's late. He states he came as quickly as he could and she smiles, telling him she's hungry and missed him. Phillip points out that she's always hungry as he rubs her pregnant belly, "And cranky" she adds. Aurora apologizes, understanding that there are royal responsibilities, but Phillip explains that none of them match his responsibilities to her and their family. As they lean in to kiss, they're interrupted by the loud sound of thunder. They turn and see a large purple cloud hurtling towards them, "What is that? Is it a storm?" a frightened Aurora asks as they both slightly step towards it. The cloud begins to zap with lightning, scaring the couple's horses away. Phillip points out that it's not a storm, but magic, before telling her to run to safety. They run back to the gazebo, but the cloud catches them anyway, so they cower on the ground. When the mist passes, Phillip and Aurora check if they're both alright. Aurora wonders what it is, but Phillip says he doesn't know. Suddenly, their attentions are caught when they spot Snow White, Prince Charming, Queen Regina and a bunch of other people from the Enchanted Forest stood in a group, in their fairytale clothes, watching them. They're shocked. Aurora asks Snow what happened, "We're back" she replies with a saddened tone.
ONCE UPON A TIME
ONE YEAR LATER
Emma goes on a date.
Emma Swan walks through the streets of New York City at night until she finally arrives at an expensive restaurant, where a man is waiting for her. He greets her and she apologizes for being late. He assumes she caught the man she was after, so she tells him he's optimistic, but he points out that if she didn't she'd have cancelled as she always gets her man. They both sit down at their small table and she is immediately met with a drink of wine. The man, Walsh, asks how Henry's volcano did at the science fair, so Emma explains that it was Pompeii all over again and then thanks him for his help. Walsh jokingly points out that he only convinced the boy not to use real lava; Emma says the teachers appreciated that. She then tells Walsh that they should eat as she's starving. They both look at their menus, and soon enough, their food has arrived. As she eats, Walsh asks if she's happy with it, so she states he is. Walsh gets a smile on his face and then he tenderly touches Emma's hand, "I'll be right back" he states before leaving to somewhere inside the restaurant. Emma begins looking at her phone, and when someone sits down at her table, assuming it's Walsh, she tells him to hang on as she needs to do something for work.
But it's interrupted by the dashing Captain Hook.
However, she's shocked to discover that it's Captain Hook, the man who kissed her at her house. He assures her that he can explain, but she calls him a stalker. Hook asks for her to hear him out as he's come to apologize, "For trying to kiss me?" she asks, picking up her knife. He says he was trying to jog her memory, but she tells him to go. Hook states her parents are in grave danger, but she says he has no idea what he's talking about. Hook asks if that's because she thinks she's an orphan before telling her everything she believes is wrong. Emma tells Hook that he doesn't know her, but he assures her that he knows her better than she knows herself. He tells her he's got proof before taking out a piece of paper from his coat, it has an address on it. He tells her if she wants to know who she really is and who her parents are then she should go to the address. Worried that Walsh will come back, Emma tells Hook to leave. Hook says they met a year ago but she doesn't remember, but Emma states that a year ago she was in Boston until a fire destroyed her apartment, "Regina really did a number on you" Hook says, almost impressed by the spell. Emma calls him a crazy person and a liar, but Hook states that he prefers dashing rapscallion or scoundrel. Emma asks for one good reason not to punch him in the face, so Hook tells her to use her "super power", "Yep, I know about that. Use it. See that I'm telling the truth" he tells her. Emma stares at Hook for a while and then when seeing he's telling the truth, explains that just because he believes something doesn't make it true. Hook points out that Emma knows something is off and then tells her to go to the address on the paper and when she wants to talk he'll be in Central Park near the entrance to the zoo. Hook tells Emma not to do it for him or herself, but her family as they need her. Hook then gets up and leaves, leaving Emma to think by herself.
Old friends catch up.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, one year ago, everyone is under the stone gazebo catching up. Snow asks Aurora how things have been since they left so Aurora explains that the ogres have been defeated and they're now restoring their land and lives. Snow congratulates Aurora, looking at her belly, so Aurora asks if it's that obvious. Phillip states that they have much to celebrate and assures everyone that they're all welcome in their kingdom and if they need anything then they're at their service. Charming is grateful but simply asks for horses as they have their own kingdom and castle, however, Snow points out that it was destroyed in the curse. Hook sarcastically congratulates Regina for laying waste to everything. Aurora explains that not everything is gone as Regina's castle still stands, to which Regina explains that she protected it. Charming points out that it's Snow castle as it belonged to her first, but Regina reminds them that she married into it. Snow understands this but states they're taking it back together. She explains that everyone out there is scared and confused, so returning united is best. Charming thanks Phillip and Aurora for their hospitality before making their way to Regina's castle. As they walk away, Aurora and Phillip step to the side and the former states that they can't pretend this didn't happen, stating that they have to tell "her" they've returned. Phillip says they can't as they know what will happen to them, but Aurora tells him if she found out they hid this then she'd take it out on their child. She repeats that they must tell her and they'll have to trust they can take care of themselves, stating it's not up to them to save their friends.
Walsh proposes to Emma.
Back in New York, Walsh returns to the table to find Emma with a concerned look on her face, so he asks her what's wrong. She assures him it's nothing just as dessert arrives, stating she couldn't eat any more. Walsh asks if she remembers their first date, reminding her that he brought her to this restaurant for lunch and she wanted an ice cream sundae, which wasn't on the menu, so he bribed the chef to make one up. She tells him she was nervous then but now she's full. He asks her to at least look at the dessert, spinning it around to reveal a ring on the plate. She is speechless. He tells her he couldn't wait any longer as he loves her, Henry and their lives together, adding he wants a future with her. He then gets onto his knee beside her and asks if she'll marry him. She doesn't reply, just gives him a scared look.
Emma tells Walsh she isn't ready.
We see Emma walking out of the restaurant with a nervous look on her face. She is soon followed by Walsh, who states the worst he thought could happen was her saying "no" to his proposal, but it was in fact her walking out on the bill. She tries to explain herself, but he states he was just kidding. She struggles to speak, but eventually tells him that he took her by surprise. He says that was part of the plan, but knows now it wasn't a good idea. She asks him if it seems to fast because they've only been together eight months before asking how they know it's right. Walsh tells Emma that he's known it was right since the moment she walked into his furniture shop. She assures Walsh that she loves him and he understands, stating he loves her too. Emma says she's not too good at fast; Walsh understands again, stating he knew who he was proposing to. He tells her that he doesn't mind waiting to get married because all he wants is to spend the rest of his life with her. She asks for some time to think, so he allows her as much time as she needs, assuring her he'll be there when she's ready.
Henry the wise gives Emma some advice.
A while later, Emma returns to her apartment and once inside, she locks the door and takes a sigh of relief that the stressful situation is over. She enters the living room and tells Henry, who is playing Diablo 3, that his babysitter said he was quiet; he tells her he's concentrating as he finally reached level 23 on his game. Emma seems impressed. She asks if a level 5 wizard joins him before grabbing the other controller and playing with him. As they play the game together, Henry asks his mother what she said to Walsh. A confused Emma asks how he knew he'd propose, so the boy explains that it was obvious. He asks again what she said, but when she doesn't reply, he takes this to mean a no, calling Walsh a "poor guy". Emma tells him that she didn't say no, but Henry tells her if she didn't say yes then he stands by his comment. She tells her son that she needs some time to think about it as it's a big step, stating they have a good thing going. Henry tells Emma that they'd still have a good thing going if it were the three of them, so Emma asks if he thinks Walsh is worthy of joining their little family, "He's okay" Henry tells her. The boy then pauses the game and turns to his mother with a serious face. He assures her that not every man is like his father and leave. Emma states his father didn't just leave, but her set her up for his crime and got her sent to jail. Henry tells his mother that Walsh isn't that guy as he wants to be with her and he wants them to be his home, stating he knows she likes him. Emma wonders how, so Henry explains that Walsh is the first man she's dated that he's met. Emma is shocked at her child, and as they continue playing the game, asks when he got so wise, "Somewhere after level 16 when I became a knight" Henry responds. We see a cinematic of the game they're playing showing a knight.
It's the pirate's life for me.
In the Enchanted Forest, we see Prince Charming putting his sword in a sheath as the dwarfs celebrate being back to normal and handsome again. As they celebrate, Jiminy Cricket, in cricket form, lands on Grumpy's shoulder and begins chirping to the dwarf. Grumpy listens intensely, and once he's finished listening, he alerts Charming that fifty people from Storybrooke landed nearby, explaining that they're popping back all over the place. Charming is pleased that they'll have the whole kingdom back in no time. The prince then tells Grumpy and the dwarfs to find the newcomers and send them to the Queen's castle. They do as they're told and then Charming walks away, spotting Hook readying a horse. He notes that there's a lot of supplies on the horse, so Hook explains that he's preparing. Charming tells the pirate not to overload his horse as the castle is less than a day's ride away and they'll have everything they need once they arrive. Hook explains that he's not going to the castle as he intends to find his home, the Jolly Roger. Charming tries to tell Hook that he doesn't even know if the ship is here, but the pirate tells the prince that Regina told him all items return as well. Charming asks what will happen if he can't find the ship, so Hook tells him that he'll just take another because it's what pirates do. As the pirate climbs onto the horse, Charming states his disappointment in him.
Never give up hope...except for now.
Snow rushes to the two men and asks if he's just going to go back to being a pirate after losing Emma, but Hook explains that he's always been a pirate. He then rides off, leaving the prince and princess behind. Once he's gone, Baelfire approaches the royal couple asking if what Hook said about belongings being returned being true. Charming wonders what Bae is looking for, so he explains that he wanted to stop by his father's place on the way to the castle. Charming understands that Bae is hurting but explains to him that his father is gone. Bae says this may be true, but adds that it may not be and he could help him get back to Emma. Snow tells Bae that it's impossible to do so as the price of their return was a complete reset, stating that this is their realm for good and there are no more portals or ways to cross over without another curse. Bae seems disappointed. Charming tells Neal that they must move on as this is their home now, because even if they could find a way to get to Emma then she wouldn't remember them. He says the best thing they can do for Emma and Henry is let them be and give them their best chance. He pats Neal on the back and then the disappointed man walks away, leaving the royal couple.
Henry tells Emma to accept the good in her life.
Emma and Henry are in their New York apartment as the latter prepares for school. As he looks through his bag, he asks his mother if she has his permission slip for a museum trip. Emma takes out numerous pieces of paper and hands the slip to her son. Noticing his mother seems off, he asks if something is wrong as she's worrying. Emma assures him that she's not worrying, just thinking. Henry wonders if she's thinking about Walsh, Emma almost tells him she isn't but instead tells him she is, asking if he can blame her for thinking over a life changing decision. She tells him she's making sure nothing is wrong, but Henry points out that she's always looking for something that might be wrong before saying she doesn't need to do that and it's okay to accept things that are good. The two then say goodbye as Henry heads off to school. Once the child is gone, Emma takes out the piece of paper Captain Hook gave her with an address on it, revealing that she was in fact thinking about that. She looks curiously at the paper and then takes a deep breath.
Emma makes a shocking discovery.
A short while later, we see a door being unlocked using a pick. When the door opens, it's revealed to be Emma who unlocked it. She's arrived at the address that Captain Hook gave to her. She enters the clearly abandoned apartment and looks around it with fear and confusion, unsure what she's going to find. The moment she enters she notices a golden dream catcher hanging on the window. Sensing something is off, she approaches it and examines it. She recognizes it as belonging to Neal, her ex. She then realizes that she's in Neal's apartment. She then looks at some letters which have been left on a coffee table and looks at them, seeing they've been sent to Neal Cassidy; this confirms her theory. She continues to examine the room until something catches her eye, a camera with a strap attached to it. She picks up the strap and is shocked to see the name "Henry" on it. "That's not possible" she gasps before giving a look of horror and confusion.
Hook gets hooked by Emma.
Emma is seen walking through Central Park in New York until she finally reaches Captain Hook, who is stood waiting for her. She angrily asks why he didn't say that was Neal's apartment, but he points out the tone of her voice answers that, stating she'd never have gone if he had. Emma asks what Neal is up to, wondering if he's trying to get into Henry's life - this causes her to question how he even knows about Henry. Hook states that he didn't come because of Neal, but because Emma's parents are in trouble as their entire kingdom has been cursed and ripped back to Storybrooke. Emma tells Hook that he sounds like a crazy man, but Hook insists that it's true. He wonders why she even came if she doesn't believe him, so Emma shows him the strap with Henry's name on it. Hook says that its proof of what he's saying as Henry must've left it when she was in New York last year. Emma tells him the proof isn't good enough and then demands answers. Hook gives pulls out a potion in a bottle and explains that if she drinks it she will. Emma scoffs at the idea of drinking the thing the "crazy guy" just offered her, but Hook tells her that it'll help her remember everything she has lost. He tells Emma to take a leap of faith, pointing out that if a tiny part of her believe him then she owes it to herself to find out. After a moment of looking at the bottle, Emma puts a handcuff around Hook's wrist and locks him to a bench to ensure he doesn't bother her again. She then gives a whistle and two cops approach them, Emma tells them that Hook is the guy that assaulted her. Hook says it was only a kiss, but Emma points out that that's his confession. As one of the cops reads Hook his rights, the pirate calls out to Emma, saying she's making a terrible mistake. However, the blonde ignores him and walks away.
Belle comforts Neal.
In the Enchanted Forest, one year ago, the group are walking through the forest, accompanied by guards. Neal walks alone but is suddenly approached by Belle, who assures him that he will see Emma and Henry again. Neal comments that he hopes he won't have to curse an entire kingdom to do so. Belle goes on to say that she heard him talking about Rumple, adding that they never saw his dagger so they may be able to get him back. Meanwhile, as they continue to walk, Snow announces that Regina's castle is not too far away, but Charming corrects her by saying it's their castle. Snow says it'll take some getting used to as the last time she was there was after her father's death, adding that she's always dreamed of returning but she never imagined Regina would be by her side. With that, Grumpy approaches the princess and reveals that the queen is missing. Snow gives a sigh of frustration.
Regina wants to bury her pain in the woods.
A short while later, Snow is walking through the forest when she finds Regina crouched on the ground, digging a hole in a hurry. She suspiciously asks the queen what she's doing, but Regina dodges this question and points out that Snow is now following her. Snow points out that they were worried and that they had a right to be before asking what she's burying. Regina tells her it's nothing that concerns her, but this leads Snow to believe it does before asking what she's done. The princess looks into the hole to see a red glow...coming from a heart, she's shocked. Regina proceeds to bury the heart and yells for Snow to go away. Snow realizes that it's Regina's heart, but Regina attempts to avoid the conversation. Snow tells Regina that she knows she misses Henry, but Regina tells her she misses him a lot more than when her heart was in her chest. Snow tries to persuade the queen that burying her pain in the woods isn't the answer, stating she won't feel better as she won't feel anything. Regina says that that's the point as she can't walk around knowing she'll never see Henry or that he doesn't even remember her.
Snow spots something in the sky.
Snow tells Regina that she knows how she's feeling as she just said goodbye to her daughter for the second time. She promises the queen that it will get better...but with her heart. She understands that right now her heart may make her feel pain, but soon enough it'll allow her to feel happiness. Regina claims she can't be happy without Henry, so Snow holds her new friend's arm comfortingly, telling her to find a way for Henry. Regina takes a deep sigh and realizes that the princess is right so she picks her heart out of the ground and places it back in her chest. All of the pain suddenly comes rushing back to her. Regina begins to walk back to the group, telling Snow, who follows behind, that they should get back to the castle. As the two women walk back to the main group, Snow hears something rustling in the bushes nearby and then flapping. She stops Regina to tell her something was there. Regina inspects the bush but finds nothing, so supposes whatever was there flew away. Snow begins to look around in the sky and then something horrifying catches her sight, "It did!" she screams as a flying creatures swoops down to attack her.
Damsels in distress.
High in the sky, the flying creature chases Snow and Regina through the forest.A panicky Snow says they need to find cover, but Regina stops, stating she doesn't run from monsters, "They run from me" she adds before creating a fireball in her hand. She throws the ball at the monster, but it dodges it and swoops down, grabbing Regina's arm with its clawed feet. Snow grabs onto Regina, pulling her back to the ground, but causing the monster to scratch her arm with its claws. As the monster hovers above them, Snow says its too fast, so Regina says she's open to suggestions. Suddenly, a male voice yells for the two royals to get down. They do so as the creature swoops at them, but it ends up being stopped when an arrow is shot into its neck. The creature flies away in pain, giving Snow and Regina a sigh of relief. The man who shot the arrow approaches the women and offers them a hand to their feet. It's Robin Hood.
Robin comes to the rescue.
He notices Regina is injured, but she assures him she's fine and tells him to address her by "your majesty". He says a simple thank you would suffice, but she points out that they didn't ask for his help. Snow takes his hand and says she's grateful for the assistance. Robin introduces himself and then as Friar Tuck and Little John join them, he introduces them as well. Snow introduces herself in return, so Robin jokingly mentions a time when their faces were both on wanted posters side by side. Little John suspiciously asks why she's with the Evil Queen if she's Snow White. Regina is offended by this comment and asks for some respect...or at least restrain at the buffet, insulting his weight. Robin asks for her to excuse Little John, as he and the Merry Men spent many a day before the curse on the run from her Black Knights. Regina says she's sure they deserved it and then asks what the creature was. Robin says he doesn't know as they've never encountered the likes of it before. They suddenly hear the creature let out a screech in the distance, so Snow directs them back to the group, stating they need to warn them.
Henry tells Emma to follow her gut.
Emma and Henry are walking silently through the streets of New York until the latter finally speaks, telling his mother that she wants to talk to him about Walsh. Emma wonders why he'd think that, so the boy points out that she bought him candy at the drug store. Emma reveals that Henry is right and explains that what happened in the past with his birth father might stop her from living her life now. She adds that it may be time for them both to start looking forward, leading Henry to ask if that means they're going to get married. Emma smiles, not knowing how to respond, making Henry believe that's a "yes". He asks how she's going to tell him, but before she can explain that she didn't confirm anything, he asks if she'll do it at dinner tonight. Confused, Emma points out that they weren't having dinner, so Henry reveals that he sent a text to Walsh asking him to come over. As they stop outside their apartment, Henry assures his mother that if her gut is telling her to marry him then she should trust it. Avoiding the subject, Emma tells Henry that she forgot to get something. She tells him to go inside and play video games until she returns. They part ways, and once the boy is gone, Emma takes out some photos she had developed from the camera she found. She looks at them with shock and horror.
Hook continues to persuade Emma.
A while later, Captain Hook emerges from a police station after being released. Once outside, he clips an artificial hand into his hook slot before being called over by Emma, who says they need to talk. Hook approaches Emma and says he knew she wouldn't let him rot in that cage, adding that it's the most barbaric he's come into contact with as they force fed him something called baloney. Emma shows the pirate the pictures she obtained, revealing it shows her and Henry in a town named Storybrooke. She asks him what they are, stating she never did any of the things in the photos. Hook asks if she believes him, but she points out that he could have photo shopped them. Hook doesn't understand what this means, so Emma explains that it means faked. Hook thus wonders that if she believes them to be forged then why would she release him from the "brig". Emma doesn't respond, so Hook tells her that deep down she knows he is right. Emma tells him it's not possible, asking how she could have forgotten all of this. He assures her that there is an explanation, but she adds that there isn't one that makes sense.
And she finally trusts him.
He pulls out the potion again and promises that if she drinks it then everything will make sense. A conflicted Emma looks at the bottle and points out that if what he's saying is true then she'd have to give up her life in New York. Hook tells her that it's based on lies, but Emma says its real and pretty good as she has Henry, a job and a guy she loves. Hurt by this comment, Hook supposes that there may be a man she loves in the life she lost. Once again, Hook tells Emma to drink the potion as she knows it's what is right in her gut. Emma tells the pirate that Henry always says that, so Hook tells her to listen to her boy if not him. A skeptical Emma finally takes the bottle and drinks from it, causing a sudden shock through her body. She is overwhelmed with images as all her memories from her real life come flooding back to her. When she opens her eyes, she looks at the man before her, stating "Hook" in a recognizing tone. "Did you miss me?" he asks, smiling. However, Emma has a look of concern on her face.
Old friends reunite.
In the Enchanted Forest, the main group have now joined with Robin Hood's Merry Men and together they make their way to the Dark Palace. Baelfire puts his hand on Robin's shoulder and tells him it's good to see him again. Hood returns the kind gesture. Suddenly, Belle coughs from behind, getting Hood's attention. She tells him they've come a long way and once he sees who she is, he gives her a hug, surprised to see her. The trio begin walking together and Hood tells Neal that he probably knows Belle treated him far better than he deserved; Neal comments that Belle does that a lot. Hood goes on to ask if Neal was able to find his son in Neverland; he confirms he did. A puzzled Hood asks where he is, but Neal simply tells him it's complicated, assuring the thief that he's safe and with his mother.
Regina and Snow discuss the thief.
Meanwhile, Regina watches the trio talking amongst each other from further up in the group. She turns back to Snow, who is walking beside her, and asks what she thinks of their new friend and if they can trust him, commenting that he is a thief. Snow tells Regina to look at it from his perspective and think what he thinks about her, "Point taken" then queen says. Snow smiles at Regina and tells her that Hood is cute, but a disgusted Regina says he smells like forest. With that,the group finally make it near the palace, as Prince Charming points out. Snow asks what happened to the palace, noticing a strange marking on the floor. Regina approaches it with intent of finding out, and when she reaches the marking in the floor, she slowly holds out her hand, moving it closer. Suddenly, it hits a magical barrier that glows bright green. She explains to the group that it's a protection spell and the entire castle is surrounded by it.
Someone hijacked the castle...
A confused Charming tells her if she did it then she should undo it, but Regina explains that she didn't...so someone hijacked it. Snow asks who is in the palace, but Regina admits she doesn't know...but she's going to find out. "Nobody sits in my chair! Nobody takes out castle" she says angrily. Charming explains to the queen that they have a lot of scared people with them so they should get them to safety first, but Regina points out that they'll be safe when whoever is inside the palace is dead. Snow tells Regina that rushing in is a bad plan and she knows it. Robin suddenly interrupts, explaining that he can offer safe harbor in Sherwood Forest adding that he has food and shelter. Charming asks if they have any weapons, but the thief awkwardly explains that they're lousy with them. A frustrated Regina tells him to lead the way, demanding that they come back and whoever is inside the palace will suffer. Snow assures the queen that it's their home and they'll make it safe again.
Hook and Emma discuss the last year.
In New York, Hook and Emma are in the latter's apartment as the former explains that once Snow and Regina settled their differences he got bored and left to get back to his pirate's life. As Emma pours drinks, she sarcastically comments that she's glad to see he hasn't changed. He points out that there was nothing for him to stay for and then goes on to explain that he got a message; a message that explained there was going to be a new curse and everyone would be returned to Storybrooke and the only hope was Emma. Emma asks if Hook came all the way back to save her family, but he corrects her by saying that he came back to save her. Emma sits silently for a moment before asking, "Who could've done this?". Hook explains that it's someone who is powerful enough to reach into this world, but when she asks for something more specific, he says he's clueless. Emma tells Hook that yesterday she was a mother...and until he arrived poking holes in everything, it felt real.
Emma wonders how she'll break the news to Walsh.
She says that drinking the potion felt like waking up from a dream...a really good dream. A guilty looking Hook points out that she had what matters most; her son. She says she'll have to find out how to explain this to him, but Hook explains that he only had enough for one memory potion. When she says she'll have to figure out what to tell Henry, there is a beep at the door. Hook asks who it is, so Emma explains that it's Walsh, remembering that Henry invited him. As Hook prepares to get up and get rid of the man, Emma stops him, explaining that although her memories aren't real, his are. As Emma goes to explain things to Walsh, Hook asks what she'll tell him. Clearly conflicted, she says she doesn't know, but adds that she cares for him too much to drag him into this. She tells Hook to wait where he is while she leaves to talk to Walsh. Once she's gone, Hook pours himself a glass of alcohol.
Emma breaks up with Walsh.
A short while later, Emma and Walsh make it to the roof of the former's apartment and she apologizes, stating that her place is a mess at the moment. Walsh, clearly not believe this, says she doesn't have to avoid a romantic gesture by passing it off as a housekeeping malfunction. An uncomfortable Emma announces that she can't marry Walsh. He puts on a brave face and says it's too soon, but Emma explains that she needs to go home and sort out a few things. Confused, Walsh points out that Emma said she was an orphan and all she had was Henry. She assures him that that's true...but there's a part of her life she's been blocking out and it'd be impossible for him to understand. He asks how she'd know that and then asks what changed over night. Emma explains that someone from her past showed up, so Walsh believes it to be Henry's father.
Walsh shows a darker side...
Emma says that it wasn't him, but who it truly was is more like a "ghost". Walsh seems to be slightly frustrated with this answer, asking how he's supposed to sleep at night knowing she traded him for a ghost. An upset Emma says that it kills her to have to make this decision and to leave her whole life behind. Walsh tries to persuade her that if she loves this life so much then she should just stay, however, she insist that she can't, wishing he could see things the way she does. Walsh nods, finally given up, and then with a cold expression states "I wish you hadn't drank that potion". As he paces away, Emma is left with a confused and scared look on her face. As he begins throwing chairs around, Emma asks what he's talking about. Once he stops, he tells her in a sinister tone that he actually kind of liked her. Confused, she asks who he is. However, he doesn't respond, his eyes simply glow red before he charges at her, ready to hurt her.
Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang.
She quickly dodges out the way, causing him to tumble off the roof. When she looks over the edge, she's horrified to see a winged creature flying up towards her. "Really?" she huffs, having seen it all before. The blonde turns around and notices a metal bar. When the fury creature reaches the roof, she grabs the metal bar and smashes it across its face. However, this doesn't shoo it off and it goes to attack her. Using the metal rod, she holds the beast off and manages to shove it off the edge of the roof, causing it to fall to the floor below and dissipate into a white dust. Once it's over, she looks down below and takes deep breaths of relief. Hook suddenly makes his way to the roof, asking what happened. Emma tells him it was a reminder that she was never safe and what she wants won't be possible for the savior. She tells Hook that they leave in the morning before walking away with a determined look on her face.
Emma reveals that they're going to Maine.
The next morning, Emma is in the kitchen whisking eggs as Henry calls out for her. She doesn't hear him the first time and she continues to whisk, so Henry calls out louder, and when he gets her attention he says she's hurting the eggs. She proceeds to pour the mixture into a frying pan before cautiously asking Henry is he believes in magic. Henry says he does, but then reveals that he was being sarcastic. It goes silent for a moment so Henry tells his mother that she's not sure if she made the right decision about Walsh, but she assures her son that she made the right decision. She points out that it's going to be the two of them for a while as she serves him his pancake. "As long as you're happy" Henry says comfortingly as he begins eating his pancakes. He suddenly stops when he notices the time and says he has to go or he'll be late for school. Emma stops him and explains that there's no school today, suggesting they go on a trip. Henry asks if she means a vacation, but she explains it's a new case in Maine and it may take her a while. Henry says that the idea of no school and a trip with her has sold him. Glad, Emma explains she's already packed. Henry asks when they leave, so Emma tells him that they're going now. With that, there is a bang on their door, causing Henry to ask if they're expecting someone. "Yeah..." she says softly.
She means business.
A short moment later, Emma opens the door to Captain Hook, who enters the apartment after waiting casually against the wall. He barges inside, asking if she's ready. Emma follows him inside and introduces Henry to Killian, stating that she's helping him with his case. Confused by the way he's dressed, Henry assumes he's one of the criminals and asks if he skipped bail. Emma explains that he's a client, so Henry asks why he's dressed the way he is. Offended, Hook asks Henry why he's dressed the way he is. Emma breaks the two up and tells Hook to make himself useful by taking the bags. A shocked Henry asks if they're really going, so she confirms that they are...but quietly adds that they need one last thing. She walks over to her coat closet and opens it, picking out her famous red leather jacket. She puts it on and then closes the doors, ready to start her adventure.
Home sweet home.
Later that day, it is now night time as Emma, Henry and Hook arrive in Storybrooke in Emma's yellow car. They drive through the main street and park outside Granny's Diner. Emma and Hook exit the car and the former stands in awe, surprised to see that the town is really back and so is she. Hook says it's as quiet and homely as she remembers, but she adds that it's as cursed as she remembers. Hook pulls out his metal hook and puts it into its slot on his arm, stating "That's more like it" with a smile. Unamused, Emma asks how he's going to explain that to Henry, who is sleeping inside the car. Hook supposes that it might jog his memory, but Emma adds that it might give him nightmares. Emma points out that the last curse took away everyone's memories before asking what this one did. Hook says they don't know what it did, causing Emma to say she'll find out. She tells Hook to stay and watch Henry without waking or scaring him. As she walks off, Hook asks where she's going. She tells him she's going to talk to her parents before continuing her walk.
A family reunited.
A while later, Emma arrives at her parents apartment complex and when she reaches their room, she knocks on the door without hesitation. David opens the door and looks at Emma with utter surprise and confusion on his face. Thinking he doesn't recognize her, she asks him not to close the door, but before she can tell him his name, he states it himself, revealing that he does remember her. The two hug, both confused that the other remembers. David asks what she's doing here, so Emma explains that Hook found her and brought her, explaining they were cursed. David explains that they're back...or they never left, stating they don't know what happened. He goes on to explain that they don't know who cast this curse or why. He says that all they know is their last year has been wiped away, as all they remember is saying goodbye to Emma, adding it feels like yesterday. Confused, Emma asks if it feels like yesterday then how do they know it's been a year. Before she can finish talking, Mary Margaret calls out her daughter's name, having heard her from upstairs. Mother and daughter hug and then David says that as they can see...a lot has happened. We then see that Mary Margaret is heavily pregnant. Mary Margaret adds that they don't know what has happened as the whole year has gone. A horrified Emma asks who would have done this.
Wicked always wins.
In the fairytale land that was, in the last year, we see a woman dressed in full black walking through the halls of Regina's Palace. She asks someone who is in the room with her if they got what she needs. With that, a winged monkey flies down to the floor, making noises at her. Clearly understanding what its saying, the woman asks it to show her what it got. The monkey holds out its finger, which is covered in blood, so the woman asks if it's Regina's blood. The monkey confirms this, pleasing the woman, who says it's lovely. She then grabs a small vial containing a liquid and then holds it towards the monkey with her green hands. The monkey holds its finger over the vial and a drop of blood falls into the liquid. The green woman happily states that now she'll get her revenge. The monkey begins to make noises at the woman, so she tells him "Of course I will", clearly conversing with him. She swirls the vial around, causing it to glow as she enchants it. "The queen may be evil...but I'm wicked. And wicked always wins" the green woman says as she turns to a mirror and looks at herself. She is the Wicked Witch of the West.
- The title card of this episode features New York City at night.
- Although credited, Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin) is absent from this episode.
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on November 14, 2013.
The episode proved to be a welcome relief after its hiatus and from its previous outing as it placed a 2.4/7 among 18-49s with 7.66 million American viewers tuning in, taking the top spot in the 8 to 9 p.m. hour in terms of ratings, even though The Amazing Race had more viewers during that hour.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave the episode a 9.1 out of 10, saying "The spring return of Once was creative and seemed to infuse the show with fresh energy. It even felt like the actors were more comfortable with each other. Hopefully the new curse and the introduction of the Wicked Witch keeps things lively." Though she did criticize the absurdity of Emma having been dating a flying monkey for eight months.
- Lily Sparks of TV.com gave the episode a positive review, saying "Good things happened: I’m super glad everyone is back in Storybrooke. It’s fantastic that Emma’s memory has been restored so quickly. It’s an interesting shift in dynamic that she will now be trying to convince Henry that all this stuff is real. The crazy train is pulling out of the station, and I'm getting on board. We'll know in a few more stops whether it's headed in the complete wrong direction".
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.