This article contains episode summaries for the second season of Once Upon a Time.
In the U.S., original episodes of season two started airing on Sunday, September 30, 2012. The 22-episode season concluded its original broadcast on Sunday, May 12, 2013. A special recap episode aired before the season premiere, and another one aired before episode 2.19.
Emma Swan began to see through the cracks of the curse, believed that the stories were true and was finally able to break it. Reality and myth merged as the fairytale characters began awakening once the curse was lifted and remembered who they were. But to their dismay, they weren't transported back to fairytale land. To make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin - a.k.a. Mr. Gold - decided to gain the upper hand in his power struggle with Regina and introduced magic into the town. But this is our world, and magic has a tendency to have unfathomable implications.
For a breakdown of the characters' appearances, checkhere.
Plot Synopsis: Reality and myth begin to merge as the fairytale characters awaken from Evil Queen Regina's broken curse and remember who they were. But to their dismay, they aren't transported back to fairytale land. To make matters worse, Rumplestiltskin (a.k.a. Mr. Gold), in an effort to gain the upper hand in his power struggle with Regina, has introduced magic into the town. In fairytales magic has its place, but in our world it can have unfathomable consequences. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land, Prince Phillip awakens his sleeping beauty, Aurora, but discovers that he and his traveling companion, Mulan, will soon have to face a deadly foe.
Plot Synopsis: While Regina continues to find a way to regain her magical powers, David continues his quest to uncover the whereabouts of Mary Margaret and Emma, and the seven dwarves discover what happens when any of the townspeople try to step past the city limits of Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, as her wedding day to King Leopold approaches, Regina is confronted by a man of magic who promises to help her become independent and break free from her mother Cora's clutches.
Plot Synopsis: The dwarfs pick up their axes and try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine, and Belle's disgust over Mr. Gold's continuing thirst for power comes to a head, and she threatens to leave him if he can't change his evil ways, but a reunion with an old acquaintance could prove to be Belle's undoing. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin attempts to save his wife, Milah, from being kidnapped by a band of cutthroat pirates.
Plot Synopsis: While Regina continues to try and stop using her magic in an attempt to win back Henry's affections, she begins seeing what she believes is a ghost from her past. Meanwhile, when Mary Margaret and Emma discover a lone survivor from an ogre massacre, Emma begins to question whether or not he's telling the truth. And in the fairytale land that was, Regina finds herself failing at learning the dark arts from a dark master because something from her past is preventing her from using her magic for evil.
Plot Synopsis: With the hopes of finding a magical compass that could help her and Mary Margaret get back to Storybrooke, Emma takes a journey with a not-too-trustworthy Captain Hook up a treacherous beanstalk, in an attempt to steal the item from a murderous giant. Meanwhile, Emma's past is revealed to be anything but magical when she meets up with a fellow thief who wants to make an honest woman out of her.
Plot Synopsis: Ruby's fear about turning into a wolf during the first curse-free Storybrooke full moon is confirmed when one of the town's residents is viciously murdered, and Ruby is the prime suspect. Albert Spencer - a.k.a. King George - threatens to expose David as a shepherd, not a prince, and not fit to run the town as sheriff, and Leroy stumbles upon some treasure in the Storybrooke mine that could help bring Mary Margaret and Emma back into our world. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Red Riding Hood finds a kindred spirit in Anita, a charismatic and mysterious leader of a pack of humans who, like Red, turn out to be wolves.
Plot Synopsis: Cora does everything in her power to steal the compass away from Mary Margaret and Emma in her quest to find the entrance to Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in order to protect Henry from further danger, Regina and Mr. Gold must put David's life in jeopardy in an attempt to put him in contact with Mary Margaret across the lands to give her vital information that could help her and Emma return through the portal back to Storybrooke.
Plot Synopsis: Cora and Hook face off with Mary Margaret and Emma in a race to secure the compass, which will point its holder to the portal into Storybrooke. But back on the other side, Regina and Mr. Gold, desperate to keep Cora out, put a plan into action that would kill anyone entering the portal - placing Mary Margaret's and Emma's lives in danger as well. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Captain Hook travels to Wonderland and meets up with a vengeful Queen of Hearts.
Plot Synopsis: Regina is accused of murdering one of the town's most beloved fairytale characters, and only Emma senses that she may be innocent. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, after capturing the Evil Queen, Snow White and Prince Charming set about planning her public execution in order to rid the land of her murderous tyranny.
Plot Synopsis: Mr. Gold finds an unwilling test subject to see if a spell he has concocted will allow him to cross the border of Storybrooke - without losing his memory - and go in search of his son, Bae. Belle stumbles upon a vengeful Hook in the Storybrooke harbor whose main goal is to eradicate Rumplestiltskin, and Mary Margaret and David go house hunting in search of a bigger place to live. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle meets Mulan as the two set out to slay a fearsome beast called the Yaoguai, who has been ravaging the land.
Plot Synopsis: Dr. Whale is tasked with mending Hook's wounds and performing surgery on the stranger whose car crashed upon entering Storybrooke. However, some of the townspeople fear that the stranger may have seen magic - which could expose their true identities to the world - and think that leaving him to die would be the best solution. Meanwhile, as Mr. Gold tries to reunite with a despondent Belle, Cora attempts to reunite with daughter Regina. In the time that was, Viktor desperately wants to prove to his disapproving father that he can indeed bring back the dead.
Plot Synopsis: Kidnapped and brought to Storybrooke by Cora, Anton the Giant unleashes his vengeance on the town when a case of mistaken identity leads him to try and settle an old score with David. Mr. Gold, accompanied by Emma and Henry, attempts to depart Storybrooke - hoping to keep his memory inact when he crosses the town line - and heads to the airport in search of his son Bae, while Greg questions Belle as to what she saw on the night of his car accident. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, and against his brothers' wishes, Anton climbs down the beanstalk and attempts to befriend some humans - whose intentions may not be so noble.
Plot Synopsis: While Mr. Gold, Emma and Henry go in search of Gold's son Bae in New York, Cora, Regina and Hook attempt to track down one of Rumplestiltskin's most treasured possessions. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin realizes his destiny while fighting in the Ogres War.
Plot Synopsis: Cora's desire to rid herself of Rumplestiltskin in order to take his place as The Dark One takes one step closer to becoming reality as she and Regina try to overpower a dying Mr. Gold, and Mary Margaret is once again tempted by dark magic. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin agrees to offer his services to a younger Cora - for a price - when the king calls her bluff and orders her to actually follow through on her boast of being able to spin straw into gold.
Plot Synopsis: Emma, David and Mr. Gold must protect Mary Margaret against Regina, who is out for revenge and has made it her mission to kill her old nemesis, and Henry, fed up with all of the feuding, devises a plan to put an end to magic. Meanwhile, Regina discovers that a father and son have somehow found their way into her allegedly undetectable town as she and the fairytale characters deal with the effects of the newly cast curse 28 years prior.
Plot Synopsis: While Mary Margaret goes off on her own in an attempt to come to grips with what she did to Cora and how her deed has affected her, she stumbles upon August, who has hidden himself away from the others, ashamed at the actions he has taken in life, and is completely made of wood. Meanwhile, Emma is shocked when Neal invites his fiancée, Tamara, to come to Storybrooke. In flashbacks, after the curse is cast, August is introduced to a man of magic who may be able to prevent him from turning back into wood... but at a steep price.
Plot Synopsis: Mr. Gold enlists the aid of David to help him try to jog Belle's now cursed memories and get her to love him again, and when it is revealed that the magic beans Anton and the dwarves have been harvesting have begun to grow and could possibly transport everybody home, Emma is torn over whether she would want to live in fairytale land or stay in our world. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin forces Belle to accompany him on a hunt to kill a thief, whom she had freed in the name of mercy.
Plot Synopsis: With the aid of Hook, Regina attempts to put a plan in motion that will help transport herself and Henry back to the Enchanted Forest... but her plan revolves around a fail-safe that was planted within the curse, which if triggered could wipe Storybrooke off the map - and kill all of its inhabitants; and Emma's suspicions about Tamara grow. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, the Evil Queen asks Rumplestiltskin to transform her into an unrecognizable peasant in order to kill an unsuspecting Snow White, with the twisted aim of earning the love and respect of her subjects.
Plot Synopsis: Emma, Mary Margaret and David go in search of Regina when they discover that she - along with some magic beans - have gone missing. But against Neal's protests, Emma still believes that Tamara had something to do with Regina's disappearance. Mr. Gold contemplates telling Lacey the truth about his ability to conjure magic. Meanwhile, after Rumplestiltskin abandons his son and lets him travel alone through a portal, young Bae finds himself back in 19th century London and is taken in by the Darling family - befriending their daughter Wendy.
Plot Synopsis: The inhabitants of Storybrooke brace themselves for the end when Greg and Tamara detonate the trigger Regina had placed within the curse, with the annihilation of the town and its residents imminent, and Mr. Gold mourns the loss of his son, Bae/Neal. Meanwhile, back in Neverland of the past, Hook discovers his connection to a young Bae after he rescues him from the sea and soon realizes that the Lost Boys are in hot pursuit of the boy.