This article contains episode summaries for the fourth season of Once Upon a Time.
In the U.S., original episodes of season four started airing on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The 22-episode season is divided into two blocks of 11 episodes, one airing in the fall/winter of 2014, with the winter finale airing on December 14, 2014. The season resumed on March 1, 2015, with the two-part season finale airing on May 10, 2015. A special recap episode aired before the season premiere on September 28, 2014, and another one aired before the mid season premiere on March 1, 2015.
The Storybrooke residents do not know what Elsa has in store for them. Back in the past, in Elsa's kingdom of Arendelle, we will discover what happened to her, her sister Anna and Kristoff, and how and why Elsa became a prisoner of Rumplestiltskin. And now that Emma has brought back Robin Hood's wife, Marian, and possibly sparked the end of Regina's relationship with him, will she return to her old, evil ways and do everything in her power to get even? As the season continues, new fairy tale characters will be revealed and old acquaintances will be revisited. But not everyone can be trusted.
Centric Character: Elsa Other Backstory Character: Anna
Plot Synopsis: A scared and confused Elsa finds herself in Storybrooke and, fearful of the intentions of its residents, creates a powerful snow monster for protection. With Robin Hood's wife, Marian, back in the picture, Regina wonders if her "happily ever after" with the former thief has been completely quashed; while on their honeymoon, Mr. Gold finds an intriguing object that makes him question whether or not he should officially give Belle control over the dagger that makes him the Dark One, and Hook is dismayed to discover that Emma seems to be avoiding him while she tries to help comfort Regina after being the one responsible for bringing Marian back from the past and into Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in Arendelle of the past, as Elsa's sister Anna's wedding to Kristoff nears, Anna discovers that their parents - who died on-ship during a violent storm - were heading to a mysterious destination in a quest that may have held the secret to containing Elsa's out-of-control ice powers. And against Elsa's wishes, Anna wants to finish their journey to find out what they were looking for.
Plot Synopsis: While desperately trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa is startled by Emma and accidentally traps them both inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing the Savior's life in peril. Regina, depressed over her likely breakup with Robin Hood, secludes herself away from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, she faces her first leadership task in trying to re-start a generator and restore the town's electricity after Elsa freezes and damages the power lines. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna tries to teach a meek David to fight Bo Peep, a brutal warlord who is threatening to take his and his mother's farm away if they don't pay her price.
Plot Synopsis: After Emma asks Hook out on a real first date, the latter visits Mr. Gold and asks for his hand to be reattached so that he can embrace her with both hands... but magic always comes with a price. Henry tries to offer hope to Regina when she becomes frustrated over not being able to find a cure to save a frozen Marian, and Will Scarlet attempts to break into the Storybrookelibrary to find a special book. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin is after a magical box that the Sorcerer's Apprentice is guarding, and he may use Elsa's sister Anna to help him get it.
Plot Synopsis: Regina reluctantly teams up with Emma to search for the Snow Queen after Sidney, who is once again Regina's prisoner in the mirror, discovers her whereabouts and agrees to lead her to the location. With Belle babysitting baby Neal, a nervous Mary Margaret and David prepare for their first date night away from their child and find themselves on a mission to track down Will Scarlet, who has escaped from the town jail, and Elsa sees Anna in the Storybrooke woods. Meanwhile, back in the past, young Emma finds herself a kindred spirit when she befriends a girl who, like her, is a runaway orphan.
Centric Character: Belle Other Backstory Character: Anna
Plot Synopsis: The race is on to track down the elusive Snow Queen, once a foster mother to a young Emma, whose memories of this event have been erased, in order to discover what her ultimate end game is for Elsa and the residents of Storybrooke. Unaware that she does not possess the real blade that controls the Dark One, Belle attempts to use it to get her reluctant husband to show her where the Snow Queen is hiding. Meanwhile, back in the past, Belle travels to Arendelle, and, with Anna's help, seeks out Grand Pabbie to help her regain her lost memories in order to discover the fate of her mother.
Plot Synopsis: Emma captures the Snow Queen and interrogates her at the sheriff's station, but the latter uses her prior knowledge of Emma to try and persuade her into thinking that they are more alike than she could possibly imagine. Regina and Robin Hood's relationship grows increasingly complex as they struggle to find a way to save his dying wife, Emma begins to see what she missed out on by not growing up and being a family with Snow and Charming when she sees how involved Mary Margaret is in baby Neal's life, and Henry begins his after school job in Gold'sshop while trying to help Regina find a clue to the identity of the author of the storybook. Meanwhile, in Arendelle of the past, we learn about the origin of the Snow Queen and her familial connection to Elsa and Anna, as we see her discover her spectacular yet deadly ice powers.
Centric Characters: N/A Other Backstory Character: Anna, Elsa & Ingrid
Plot Synopsis: In Arendelle, when the Snow Queen tries to pit Elsa and Anna against each other and it proves more difficult than she anticipates, she takes drastic measures. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma's powers are out of control and her fear of hurting loved ones pushes her away from everyone she cares about. In her confusion, Emma turns to Gold for help getting her powers under control, and he tells her about a way to get rid of her powers altogether, which Hook tries to put a stop to. Regina struggles with her plan to find the author of the storybook until her quest takes an unexpected turn, and Robin Hood recruits Will Scarlet to assist him on a mission, while Mary Margaret and David search for their daughter.
Plot Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Snow Queen'sspell, our heroes try to pick up the pieces while Regina has to make a difficult choice and Hook's fate hangs in the balance as Gold's quest for power threatens everything he holds dear. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, an intrusion during Belle's stay at Rumplestiltskin's dark castle will wreak havoc in both the past and the future.
Plot Synopsis: With Gold banished from town, the residents of Storybrooke attempt to resume their normal lives: Hook and Belle search for a way to release the fairies from the Sorcerer's hat, while Emma, Henry and Regina continue to look for clues that could lead them to the Author. But when a terrifying darkness descends on the town, Emma and Regina are forced to confront the true nature of evil. Meanwhile, in New York, Gold and Ursula enlist Cruella De Vil to join their cause.
Plot Synopsis: David and Mary Margaret suspect Cruella and Ursula have come to Storybrooke looking for something more than their own happy endings - something that threatens to reveal a secret they thought was long buried. Emma begins her own investigation of the two villainesses, but she can't shake the feeling that her friends and family are keeping something from her. Regina and Henry continue their search for the Author, turning to Marco and Pinocchio in the hope the latter might remember a clue that will help them. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Snow and Charming cross paths with the Queens of Darkness as the threat of the Evil Queen'sDark Curse hangs over all of them.
Plot Synopsis: In order to infiltrate the Queens of Darkness as a spy for the heroes, Regina must prove she's still willing to get her hands dirty. Meanwhile, Emma, David and Mary Margaret scramble to keep tabs on their undercover operative. Hook requests an unusual favor from Belle as Henry makes progress on his search for the Author. In flashbacks, Regina befriends Maleficent and helps her to rekindle her lost spark.
Plot Synopsis: Hook uses his complicated history with Ursula as leverage to find out what she knows about Gold's endgame while the other Queens of Darkness, along with Gold himself, torture August for information about the Author and Emma, Mary Margaret and David race to find them. Regina grows concerned for Robin Hood's safety as she struggles to maintain her cover with the villains, and, in an Enchanted Forest flashback, when a restless young Ursula enlists Hook's help to run away from home, she soon learns it isn't wise to trust a pirate.
Plot Synopsis: Hook tells Emma that Gold's plan puts her fate at stake while Regina leads the villains on a wild goose chase. Henry makes a breakthrough in his search for the Author, but Mary Margaret and David need a moment to reconsider the best course of action. In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Snow and Charming search for a way to ensure their child will grow up to be a hero; when a travelling peddler directs them to visit a kindly old hermit, the two valiant leaders are presented with a choice that could secure their child's goodness, but at a price that will haunt them for years to come.
Plot Synopsis: Emma is still reeling after learning the truth of her parents' history with Maleficent, but she must focus on finding the Author, who is running loose in Storybrooke, before the Dark One does. When Gold's quest for his happy ending grows more urgent, he blackmails Regina into helping him. In an Enchanted Forest flashback, Robin Hood learns what it means to be an honorable thief when he accepts a proposition by Rumplestiltskin to travel to Oz to steal a valuable magic elixir from the Wicked Witch.
Plot Synopsis: In a world resembling 1920sEngland, a young Cruella De Vil, whose oppressive mother uses her Dalmatians to terrorize her daughter, is introduced. She is confined to her mother's attic until a mysterious stranger arrives and empowers her to challenge her captor. In Storybrooke, Regina gains leverage over Gold to keep him from interfering with her plan to rescue Robin, but her trip to New York takes the backseat when she and Emma learn that Cruella has kidnapped Henry.
Plot Synopsis: The savior's potential for darkness is looming over everyone, but when she realizes that Maleficent's daughter is in fact Lily, her closest friend from her days in foster care, she resolves to find her and reunite her with her mother. Regina joins forces with Emma and together they set out to track Lily down as well as warn Robin about Zelena; however, neither of them is prepared for the harsh realities they'll encounter in the outside world, while Gold faces a crisis involving Belle back in Storybrooke. In a foster care flashback, things are looking up for young Emma with her new family until an appearance by Lily threatens to destabilize everything.
Plot Synopsis: Emma returns to Storybrooke wanting to reunite Lily with Maleficent, while Regina and Robin struggle to cope with the implications of Zelena's pregnancy. When Gold's health takes a turn for the worse, Isaac looks to a new ally for help procuring the magic ink he needs to re-write history, and in an Enchanted Forest flashback, Cora returns from Wonderland to beg Regina's forgiveness on the anniversary of Daniel's murder. The Queen of Hearts vows to help her daughter find true love, but Regina remains suspicious of her mother's true intentions.
Centric Characters: N/A Other Backstory Character: Isaac Heller
Plot Synopsis: The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma and her comrades scramble to stop them, but when the tables are turned on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned.
Plot Synopsis: With the Author having proven himself to be a formidable wild card in his alliance with Gold, the tables remain turned on heroes and villains alike, and the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry continues to learn that he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned. It's a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling.