"Witch Hunt" is the 57th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma arrives in Storybrooke with Henry and reunites with her friends and family, only to discover that no one remembers how they were transported back - or the past year they had spent back in the Enchanted Forest. But Emma is sure that someone in town is responsible for this new curse and teams up with Regina in an attempt to uncover their identity. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was during the past year, Regina, with the aid of Robin Hood, attempts to break into her castle, which has been overtaken by Zelena.
In the Enchanted Forest, a year ago, the trinkets that Regina left behind in her Dark Palace after she enacted the curse sit on her old dresser, and a green hand reaches for them. The Wicked Witch of the West rummages through Regina's old belongings, the onyx, black pearl and diamond jewelry items, and comments on how a family could feed off what they're worth, yet the Evil Queen just left it all behind. As she moves around the chamber, she comments on the pretty things, as a winged monkey waits nearby, squawking. "Such pretty things... all wasted on her," she says, before opening the doors to Regina's wardrobe and pulling out several dresses before finally settling on one. As she walks away from the wardrobe holding the dress, she envelops herself in a cloud of green mist and once it dissipates we see that she is already wearing the dress she picked out. She admires herself in the mirror, and states that's how one wears a dress. The monkey appears to communicate with her, and she replies that she knows she looks lovely, before telling him to go find the Evil Queen. "And no," she adds, "There's no need to be gentle." Said and done, the monkey flies off into the air, searching for his target.
The Evil Queen in the flesh, Regina, stands in a considerable distance from the Dark Palace, where we last saw her, admiring her old home as it stands protected by a cloaking spell that she herself did not cast. She does not look pleased. Belle walks nearby, accompanied by the Merry Men, as do the rest of the group members. Little Roland, Robin Hood's son, is seen walking as well, and Snow White walks alongside Red Riding Hood, as the hooded beauty tells her old friend that it seems like old times, except running with Regina and not from her. Snow answers that the Queen has changed, and she has to believe in the better. Red says that, regardless, Regina doesn't look too good, and she would be worried hadn't the Queen tried to hurt them so many times. Snow says she'll talk to her and leaves Red's side to do so, leaving her friend looking not too confident.
Roland wins a prize.
Snow asks her stepmother if she's ready to make camp soon, and the Queen doesn't reply. Snow can tell that she is thinking about Henry, to which she responds that she is always thinking about him, but adds that she was also thinking that there are tunnels that run under the castle, and they may run beneath the spell. David deduces they can sneak an army inside. Regina answers that an army could be detected. Snow asks how the tunnels help them, and Regina answers that they can get her inside, and if she can get inside, then she can lower the shield and they can send their army. Charming nods. Their attention is caught by a loud shriek and they look to see the winged monkey that left after the Queen soaring in the sky above them. Baelfire screams "Incoming!" as Snow and Charming take out their weapons, and the monkey flies right over him, causing him to fall to the ground and roll over. A frightened Roland calls out for his dad, alarming Robin, and the monkey comes flying in the child's direction, but Regina manages to pick Roland up and get him out of the way. The monkey lands on the branch of a tree, shrieking loudly, and lunges itself at Regina again. "Not so fast," the Queen says, moving her hand to strike magic upon the beast, which is surrounded by a cloud of purple mist that falls on the ground, and reveals a cuddly stuffed monkey. Regina picks up, as Robin picks up his son, and she hands Roland the stuffed animal, telling him the monkey isn't so scary anymore and now he has a new toy. Roland takes it and Robin Hood thanks her. She smiles.
One Year Later
One year later, she's fat.
Storybrooke, Maine. Granny's Bed & Breakfast, at night. Emma, who is staying there with Henry, comes down into the lobby where David, Mary Margaret and Hook are, and tells her parents that her son is asleep upstairs, and if he wakes up, the two of them are helping her with her case. She asks them what happened as she sits down, and her very pregnant mother, sitting in a chair, claims that they don't know: they watched her drive over the town line with Henry, Regina started to cast her spell to take them all back to the Enchanted Forest and then everything went black. David continues, saying that the next thing they remember is waking up in their beds like it was any other morning in Storybrooke. Snow points out it clearly wasn't, referring to her pregnant belly. "Almost harvest time but you can't remember the planting. That's bad luck, mate," Hook tells Charming, annoying Mary Margaret. Emma notes that clearly a year has passed for she was in New York and knows it did, and her father says they don't know where they were, they don't even know if they left Storybrooke. Hook confirms that they did, for he was with them all. He recounts that Regina's spell brought them back, they spent a brief time with a Prince and Princess named Phillip and Aurora, but the pirate wasn't feeling the community spirit so he ventured off on his own, and the last he saw of them, they were making their way to Regina's castle. "And now you're cursed. Why doesn't that surprise me?" Emma comments, to which her mother claims that Regina seems as clueless as the rest of them, so she's not as sure her stepmother is involved in this. "So she says," Emma responds, and David turns to Hook and asks how he knew to find Emma and come to Storybrooke if he left them in the Enchanted Forest. The pirate explains that, as he was sailing the realms, a bird landed on his ship's wheel, with a note instructing him to retrieve Emma and bring her back there. There was a small vial with memory potion tied to its leg. Mary Margaret asks who sent it, to which he answers that he assumed she did. She looks stumped, and her husband tells her that a message via bird does sound like her.
Dwarfs are MIA.
Immediately afterwards, Grumpy and Happy show up. Leroy says that they lost another one and are down to five now, but Happy promptly corrects him, saying it's four, because Bashful's not answering his phone. Emma, confused, asks what is going on, and Leroy is grateful she's back. Mary Margaret tells her daughter that it's not just their memories that are missing: ever since they woke up, people have begun disappearing. Leroy explains that whoever cursed them is picking them off one by one. Emma, shocked, asks who exactly is missing, and David replies that they're not sure aside from those dwarfs, because there's been a lot of confusion over the past few days, and it's been hard to keep track of everyone. Emma soon remembers Neal, and asks if he's there, drawing Hook's attention. Snow says they haven't found him yet, and Emma deduces that he might have been taken too. "Smart money's on 'yes'," Leroy says, which Mary Margaret frowns upon. Hook reassures Emma that Neal will turn up, as he always does. David tells her some folks are starting to set up camp on the edge of town and Neal might be there, and Snow theorizes he might not have gotten swept up in the curse at all. Emma stands up and tells them there's only one way they're gonna figure all this out: "We need to get your memories back." Her mother asks how they're going to do that, to which Emma answers, with a determined look on her face, "By figuring out who took them in the first place."
ONCE UPON A TIME
One year before, the Enchanted Forest gang is gathered together after the attack of the flying monkey, and Charming asks what that thing was, to which Snow tells him it's the same kind of monster that attacked her and Regina on their journey there. Robin Hood is still holding Roland as Grumpy points out that it looked a lot like a monkey. "A monkey with wings?" Charming asks, befuddled, and Regina confirms that that's exactly what it is. Bae is also confused, especially over the fact that she's acting like that's normal, and Belle jumps in, saying that it is, but not there; there's only one land that has creatures of the such, and she's read about it: Oz. Snow, having heard of the land, is surprised to learn it's a real place. Regina adds that the 'bookworm' is right, it's quite real, and if their simian friend is any indication, then she thinks they know exactly who's taking up residence in their castle: the Wicked Witch. Grumpy asks if they're talking East or West, to which Snow asks if it matters, for neither one sounds good. The dwarf explains that one you drop a house on, and the other you toss a bucket of water at, referring to the classic story. David asks Regina what she did to the Witch exactly, and the Queen answers that she didn't do anything for once, she's never even met her. Charming is surprised, ironically, that this isn't a personal vendetta. He then goes on to say that they stick to the original plan, arm up then attack, assuming Regina can get the shield down. The Queen tells him he doesn't need to worry about her. She starts to walk and her stepdaughter promptly says that she's coming with her, but Regina dismisses her, deeming it to be a one-woman job. Snow reminds her that she's going up against the Wicked Witch, who has flying monkeys and who knows what else. Regina retorts that she doesn't care if the Witch is protected by the Lollipop Guild, she can lower that shield on her own. Snow says they'll be waiting for her on the other side then, and Regina leaves without saying another word. Robin, still holding his son, doesn't seem at ease with letting her leave on her own.
Ruby the waitress plays it cool.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, over at Granny's Diner, Ruby puts down a hot cocoa before Henry and almost instinctively calls him by his first name but takes it back in time. Henry notices the cinnamon on top and asks her how she knew, to which she quickly responds, thinking on her feet, that it was a lucky guess and he has a cinnamon kind of face. Emma smiles, and her parents enter the establishment. Emma introduces them as David and Mary Margaret, and the young man asks them if they're helping his mom out with the case. The Charmings don't know exactly what to say, and Henry whispers to his mother, asking if they're the ones who jumped bail. Emma stands up and says that they're just old friends. Henry asks from where, and whereas Emma quickly says Storybrooke... Mary Margaret immediately says Phoenix. Emma's son is confused, for he thought his mother had only been in Phoenix when she was in jail, and Mary Margaret soon tells him she was Emma's cellmate. Henry asks her what she was in for, and his grandmother tells him, "Banditry." As the adults all sit down, Mary Margaret tells the boy that people make mistakes and the important thing is to find a way to keep moving on. Henry asks if they knew his dad. To avoid the awkwardness, David suggests that they order... but their attention is caught by the sound of something crashing on the floor.
Henry's two mothers have a talk.
Mayor Regina Mills stands next to the counter, having dropped whatever she was holding out of sheer shock from seeing her former foster child sitting there. Granny resumes her work, and Regina, eyes locking with Henry's, apologizes to him, saying she didn't mean to startle him, and Henry, somewhat uncomfortable and completely oblivious as to who she is, tells her that's okay. Emma gets up and tells Regina, whose eyes are still on her son, that they need to talk. The two of them get out of sight for a sidebar, and Regina, heartbroken, tells the blonde that he looked right through her. Emma explains that's because he doesn't remember her, to which Regina points out that the blonde clearly does, and asks what she's doing there. "Storybrooke, new curse, missing year. What do you think?" Regina meant to say how she knew to come back, being reminded that she gave her and Henry a new life, new memories. Emma explains that Hook found her, and gave her a potion that made her remember, but there wasn't enough for Henry. Regina, disappointed, says, sarcastically, that that's convenient. Regina tells her she didn't, and Emma immediately says the thought that she would have did cross her mind. Regina asks why she'd do this, erase an entire year of her life. Emma shrugs her shoulders, theorizing that maybe it was a bad year for her, and maybe this curse was her way of getting her to bring Henry back there. "With no memory of me?" Regina says, asking her if she thinks she'd put herself through this kind of torture if she wanted her son back. "I cast curses to hurt other people, not myself," Regina says, as though it's the most natural thing in the world. "Maybe so," Emma says, "But I need to start crossing people off the list." The Mayor wonders how, and taking a low blow at Emma's "superpower", and the bail bondsperson asks her if she has a better idea. Regina is left not knowing what to say.
Merry monkey bait.
On the outskirts of Storybrooke, we see the all-too-familiar green sign reading "Entering Storybrooke", and Robin Hood and his Merry Men, all dressed in modern clothes, having clearly been swept up in the new curse as well, stand together, as they all admire the bow that Little John has acquired. Friar Tuck comments that he's never seen a bow like that, and John tells him that its aim is truer than any he's seen without magic. Tuck asks where he got it, to which John simply says he got it at the store. Robin Hood asks what he procured it with, and when John doesn't answer, the prince of thieves can instantly tell he stole it. John claims that the proprietor looked rich, and they're poor in that town, but they have to eat. They hear a turkey gobbling nearby, and John prepares to shoot it, claiming that he sees dinner. He wonders how fast the wild turkeys are in that land, and he fires the bow. The arrow hits a tree trunk right above the unfazed turkey. The Merry Men chuckle, entertained, with Robin commenting that he only missed by a feather's length, so it seems that bow has improved his aim. John, bemused and determined, rushes after the bird, with the other men following after him. John comes into a road and sees the turkey approaching the city's limit. He dashes after it, but as soon as he follows the wild bird over the orange spray-painted line marking the end of town, he is grabbed by the shoulders by a winged monkey. He screams with utter fright and his brethren look on with shock and Robin calls out for his partner as he is taken into the sky by the flying beast.
The Sheriff is called to investigate.
Storybrooke city limit. Emma and her "squad" have been called over by Robin Hood, who frantically informs them that this is the spot where Little John was taken. Emma is quick to warn him not to step over that line, which confuses the prince of thieves, who asks if she thinks John was taken because he attempted to cross that line. David comments that it makes sense, because the dwarfs were out checking that line to see if anyone was coming and going when they themselves disappeared. He asks what exactly took Little John, and Robin answers that they didn't get a good look, some beast with wings. Emma answers that it sounds a lot like the monster that attacked her in New York, to which Hook sarcastically asks if she means the monster she was gonna marry. This surprises David, who asks his daughter about it, and Hook asks him if he missed the part where he said "monster". Robin insists that they need to find Little John, and Emma tells them it may lead them to find everyone else who's gone missing. She tells David to take Robin and the rest of his... "Merry Men," Robin finishes. "Right, them," Emma says; she goes on to tell her father to run a search grid and see if they can find any sign of the missing guy. Hook asks if she's not joining them, which she says she isn't yet, because Regina was right, she's not gonna figure out who's behind this curse by talking to people one by one. David asks what she's gonna do, to which she answers, as she walks past them, that she's gonna talk to everybody.
Emma holds a town meeting.
Some time later, Emma is seen standing in the Town Hall, with the townspeople arguing anxiously amongst themselves, discussing the latest curse and its effects, and the Sheriff calls for their attention. Archie asks her if it's true, if there's some kind of monster keeping them from leaving town, and Leroy promptly asks if that's what happened to his brothers. Emma confirms this, claiming that they believe the people are being abducted as they approach the town line. As she says this, Mayor Mills makes herself appear. Granny deduces that they're trapped there again, and Emma simply states that it's no different than the last time in response to her. Leroy reminds her that last time they lost their memories, but this time they get dragged into the woods. Belle asks Emma if she knows who cursed them, and why they wants us there. Emma tells her she's working on it, but it's hard to figure out who cast a curse when no one remembers the last year. An outraged and rash-thinking Leroy stands up and asks if it isn't obvious who did it. Emma asks if he remembers something, but the dwarf goes on to accuse Regina, the person who cast the last curse, who knows how to use it, who is the only one who ever did anything like this before. The townspeople all side with him, turning on their Mayor.
Regina swears she didn't cast the curse.
Regina assures them that, for once, she's just as clueless as the rest of them. From the sitting crowd, Dr. Whale asks her if she expects them to believe that, and Regina says it's the truth. Granny tells her that this curse has her fingerprints all over it, and Belle reminds her that she did take away their memories once before; Granny adds that she still has her big house, and Regina responds by asking if she thinks the Queen cares about her house, or her job or any of these things. Archie begs her to tell them the truth and they'll understand. "Speak for yourself," Granny says, coldly. Regina insists that she is telling the truth, that if she had done this there's one thing she would have already: her son. Emma tells her she's not getting anywhere near him until she gets to the bottom of what's going on there. Regina asks her if she's siding with the rabble now, and the scenario becomes Queen versus Savior. Regina says she thought they'd been through this, and she's innocent. Emma reminds her that that's what she said before, but now she's wondering if she believes her. The townspeople all start to get up and look on at their Mayor, and Regina holds out her hands and forbids them from coming any closer. Emma asks if she remembers who she's dealing with, and Regina, looking disgruntled, tells them that if they all want her to be the Evil Queen, that's exactly who they'll get. She reaches her hands out again and works her dark magic to make the hall rumble. The people are shaken and the Town Hall's sign collapses right before Regina makes herself disappear in a cloud of purple smoke. "I knew she did it!" Leroy says, more convinced now than ever. As Emma rushes out of the hall, Whale tells her they can't the Queen get away, and Emma says she won't. Sitting in the crowd is a familiar-looking red-headed woman who smiles...
A year before, Queen Regina struts through the woods at night, headed for her castle, and stops next to a large rock on the ground. She grins and decides to practice her magic on it, by using her powers to lift up the rock and toss it in the air. Once she does, she notices Robin Hood standing by, holding up a lit torch; she is none too pleased. "No," is all she says as she sees him approaching her. "No what?" he asks. "You're not," she answers. "Not coming along?" he continues, "I do believe I am." He makes his way to her, saying that he can help. She tells him she didn't ask for help, and the thief tells her that doesn't mean she won't need. He says that the flying monkey that attacked them wasn't after his son, but rather after her. She asks what makes him think that, and he tells her the woods are his home, he's seen many a hunter stalk its prey, and that beast was coming for her - Roland just happened to be standing in between. She asks what his point is, to which he replies that that's the second time she's been attacked, so he concludes that the Wicked Witch wants her dead. "And what?" Regina asks, "You think you can stop her if she tries to hurt me." "Maybe," he says, "Maybe not. But I have to try." He goes on to explain that, despite the fact that neither of them likes it, he owes her a debt. She asks why, and he answers that even though the winged beast wasn't after Roland, it still could have hurt his son, but she saved him. Regina smiles. "Who knew a thief had honor?" she tells him; "Who knew an Evil Queen had a soft spot for children?" he says right back. Regina sighs, smiling, and then puts on a serious face and tells him to not get in her way. He tells her he wouldn't dream of it and bows slightly as she continues her march.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, Regina puts her gloves down on her desk, in her mayoral office, and Emma storms in. "An earthquake?" she asks. Their eyes meet, and we get a different vibration than the one they gave out during their earlier meeting. Regina explains that she had to make a statement, and points out that Emma is fine. They get closer and the Mayor asks the sheriff if she thinks they bought it. Emma says that she think they did. "Good," Regina tells her; "Nice work," the blonde says, "Now let's figure out who really cursed this town."
Mayor's office. Emma looks through the semi-open door to see if anyone might be watching, and she closes it. Inside, Regina is setting up her magic lab, and she asks the blonde how long she thinks they have. Emma answers that they have until whoever cast this curse realizes that she's not actually on the run from her, but until then no one is going to suspect they work together. Regina asks to see the vial of memory potion, which the sheriff hands to her, asking if it's enough. The Mayor claims it's not enough to use, but it might be enough to replicate. Emma says that this way they can start waking people up, figure out who sent everyone back there. Regina hopes to make Henry remember her. She then sighs and thanks Emma. The blonde asks what for, since they haven't done anything yet. The Mayor reminds her that she saw how quick the town was to blame her, but she believes the brunette didn't cast that curse. Regina acknowledges that it wasn't easy for her, but Emma responds that it was, because she knew the Mayor was telling the truth. The latter asks if she knew this in spite of how everything that has happened has put her right next to Henry, and throws around the hypothesis that maybe this was some super-complicated, ingenious plan of hers. Emma is insistent that it wasn't, explaining that her superpower might not be perfect, but she always knows when Regina is lying, and this time she's not - she didn't do it. "Even though you know I can't live without him," Regina says, to which Emma tells her, "There you go, telling the truth again." They smile at each other.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, in the "missing year", Regina and Robin make their way through the tunnels, and the thief asks the Queen where they're headed. Regina explains that there is a fire in the courtyard that powers the Witch's spell, and as long as it burns the shield will stay up. Robin theorizes that they only have to put it out then, to which Regina responds that she has to put it out... and he needs to stay out of her way. Robin sighs, and they make it to a path of grey stones on the ground. Regina stops, and tells the thief to step in between. He can see through the light of his torch that the stepping stones set up a booby trap of jagged spears coming from the walls of the tunnel. The Queen explains that they're to keep people like him out, thieves, which makes him chuckle lightly, and prompts him to explain that they aren't all bad. She chuckles again and says that might be so when one tells themselves they're stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and goes on to say that she may have done bad things in her life, but at least she owns it. Robin claims to own his mistakes too, and also tells her that he hopes she didn't let him come with her just so that she could walk him into one of those traps, for Roland has already lost his mother and he would hate for him to lose his father too. "Well, then you should have stayed with the others," Regina says, taunting him. They carry on walking, and she asks him what happened to Roland's mother, and he says that after their boy was born, he inadvertently put her in harm's way during a job. He says that it was his fault and reiterates that he owns his mistakes. They make it to an entrance that leads to a spiral staircase, and Regina is surprised, claiming that that's not possible. Robin asks what's wrong, and she comments that the door is open, to which he says that perhaps she left it unlocked. She reveals that she sealed it with blood magic, and is therefore the only one who can open it. "Clearly not," the man tells her, "It appears the Wicked Witch is a formidable foe." The two make their way to the entrance.
Regina in her old crypt.
Soon enough, they find themselves in one of Regina's hidden chambers, where she kept a casket. Robin asks what the place was, since it must have been important considering she sealed it by blood, and Regina answers that it's a crypt, asking if it isn't obvious. Robin says that he meant to ask who it was built for, and the Queen inhales deeply and says it was for her mother, adding that, like him, she's lost people she cares about, more than she'd like to admit. He asks if this includes a child, completely catching her attention, and she asks him what he knows about that. He is reminded of the way she grabbed Roland, and indicates that clearly she has the touch of a mother. She says she does and looks down. Robin does the same and, knowing the boy isn't with them on their trek, asks what happened to him. Regina immediately makes it clear that he's not dead, in case that was what Robin thought, he's just lost to her forever. Robin changes the topic, saying that if the Wicked Witch is powerful enough to break blood magic, perhaps they should reconsider their plan, but the Queen says she doesn't care how powerful this Witch is, she has to go through with the plan. She keeps walking.
Over at Granny's Diner, in present-day Storybrooke, Mary Margaret resumes reading an old book she's been getting to lately. She gasps, showing surprise at a passage in the book, and she makes conversation with Henry, who is sitting right across from her playing a videogame, about something called "cradle cap", something babies get on their heads, a crusty, yellow, greasy, scaly skin rash. She exhales sharply, surprised at the book's actual usage of all of those words. Henry says that's gross, not showing much interest, as he keeps playing his game. Mary Margaret, attempting to re-bond with him, puts her book down and tells him that there is a library down the street, so they could pop in and get him something, if he'd rather. "I know how much you love reading," she says, which makes him wonder how she knows that. Caught off-guard, she tells him his mom said so... she thinks. Eyes still on the videogame, Henry says that's cool and that he'll be right down after getting his coat. He gets up to go get it, and Mary Margaret, clearly concerned with her pregnancy, gets back to the book below her, and says "Cradle cap..." lowly. "You know, it goes away," a sweet female voice says behind her, and the princess turns around to face a redheaded woman - none other than the cursed version of the Wicked Witch, who adds that the cradle cap doesn't hurt the baby.
Snow makes a new friend.
"It doesn't?" Snow asks, looking more relieved, and the woman tells her babies are stronger than she thinks. "You're Snow White, aren't you?" The pregnant woman answers that she's Mary Margaret there, actually, and presumes that this must be her first time in Storybrooke. The woman says that she missed the first curse, so everything in that world is still a bit new to her. This she says as she looks around the diner. Mary Margaret gives her a comforting smile and tells her not to worry, saying that she'll get used to it. She then asks who the redhead was back in their land, and the woman simply says that she wasn't anyone she'd remember, for not everyone was famous like she was. Snow laughs; "I don't know if I'd say famous," she says, to which the redhead points out that Snow was a princess, but others were just supporting players. The princess doesn't quite know how to react, but the woman, standing up, says it's okay, she loved who she was and what she did, revealing that she was a midwife. Mary Margaret is interested in this. The woman introduces herself as Zelena, and says that she has seen a lot of new mothers, so she tells her not to worry - she'll learn quickly. Mary Margaret suggests that maybe she could give her some advice, for the expectant mother has been turning the corner of every page of the book on which she has a question, and now she can't close the book, there are so many. Zelena smiles and says it would be an honor. Mary Margaret tells her, playfully, that once she has the baby she might not let Zelena leave her side. Zelena asks if she may touch her pregnant belly, and Mary Margaret allows it. She does so, and shows enthusiasm in helping Snow White with her baby, saying she can't think of anything that would make her happier. They smile at each other.
Prince Charming and Robin Hood look for Little John.
A search crew looks for Little John in the woods of Storybrooke, and David's attention is caught by something on the floor. He picks up some bloody leaves and calls the rest of the crew over. Robin Hood sees them and deduces that he was dragged. He looks at a trail on the ground, and then sees his old partner, pointing this out to them. They all rush to find Little John lying on the ground, badly injured in the shoulder, groaning with pain but almost unconscious. Hook asks if he's alive, to which Robin answers that he barely is. Hood tries to comfort John, and Hook comments on the bite the man's received, saying he's never seen one like it before. David comments that he hasn't either, and Robin tells them that they need to get John some help.
In the past, Regina and Robin make it to one of her chambers, and she tells the thief to make himself useful and keep watch. He stands on one end of the room as she makes it to her dresser and takes out a chest of magical items. Robin asks about it, and she tells him it's nothing that concerns him. Uneased and suspicious, Robin takes out an arrow and points it at the Queen, asking again what it is, making it clear it's the last time he will ask. Regina looks at him and is infuriated that he dares to threaten her in her own castle, and uses her magic to choke him from a distance. Robin explains to her that even if she chokes the life out of him, that arrow will still leave his bow, and he never misses. He asks what manner of dark potion she is making, and Regina, convinced, lets go of her hold over him, and he gasps for air. She tells him she's making a sleeping curse. He asks if she means the kind she used on Snow White, and Regina explains that that spell came from Maleficent, but she finally learned how to make one of her own. He deduces that the spell is why she wanted to come to the castle, to which Regina replies that ingredients like those are hard to come by... especially when one has Snow White breathing down their neck every second of the day. He asks if that was her plan, to use it on the Witch, but Regina brushes this off, claiming not to care about her. She finishes the potion, as the thief asks who she plans to use it on, and she tells him, "Don't worry. No one you'll miss." She sits down in front of her mirror, and finishes with, "No one anyone will miss." She takes out the pin from her hair and dips it in the potion, and Robin asks if this is about her son. He walks closer to her and says he can't let her do this, to which she tells him it's a good thing then that he doesn't have a say in the matter. With one wave of her hand, she glues his feet to the floor. He says he knows how she feels, which she claims to doubt, but he tells her, as she stands up, that when he lost his wife, he felt that there was no reason to go on, but then he found one: his son. Regina says that's where the two of them are different: she already lost Henry - she already lost the only thing she cares about. The man tells her that doesn't mean she won't find a new reason, for they all get a second chance, she just has to open her eyes to see it. "It's too bad mine will be closed," the Queen answers. Robin, worried for her, asks if that's it, if she just wants to give up, and she tells him this isn't an end, it's an eternal middle. The curse can be broken, by the only true love in her life, and the only reason she would even want to wake: her son. He begs that she listen to him, deeming this to be a mistake, and she tells him not to worry, that she'll keep her word and lower the protection spell so that Snow and Charming can be victorious - she says this rather sarcastically. "But then... then I go to sleep." She leaves. Robin tries to move but can't.
Emma looks on with amazement at the home magic lab that Regina has set up, with which she plans to replicate the memory potion that the blonde took. As the Mayor finishes the mixture, the sheriff asks if it worked, to which Regina says that there's only one way to find out. She drinks some of it and smiles, hopeful. Emma asks if she remembers, and Regina, annoyed, throws the vial at the wall of the office, causing it to shatter. Emma acknowledges that it didn't work, unless that wall did something to Regina in the past year. The brunette thinks that she must have missed an ingredient; Emma asks if they can try again, and the aggravated Mayor explains that she already used up what was left of the potion that Hook gave her, and there's nothing left to replicate. Frustrated, Regina says that she can't live in that town if Henry doesn't remember her, and comments that that's worse than any curse she ever could have cast. Emma gets an idea on how to still find the person who cursed them, and Regina asks if she hasn't been paying any attention, because she can't make any more potion. Emma says they don't have to make anything, they can still catch the person. Regina asks how, and Emma reminds her that they've been running a con, by making the potion in secret, but maybe they're running the wrong con. Regina claims that she's not well versed in cons, for unlike Emma she never spent any time in prison. The blonde says it's not something one learns in prison, it's an old bail bonds trick, to smoke out the perp by making them think you're on to them. Regina asks how that helps them, and Emma concludes that if the person who cast the curse thought they were about to make the potion... "They'd wanna stop us..." Regina finishes her thought. Emma adds that they set a trap for them when they do, they just need to get the word out that Regina is close to making all this work. Regina smiles and says she knows just who to tell.
"Big news, everybody!"
"Big news, everybody!" Leroy blurts out, with wide eyes, right after he enters Granny's Diner that night. He closes the door and addresses the entire clientele, telling them that Emma found Regina, who was holed up in her office working on a potion. Archie stands up and asks what kind of potion, and Mr. Clark, sitting on the counter between Walter and Happy, asks if the Mayor is going to hurt them. Leroy answers that it's a memory potion, and that Regina was gonna use it to prove that she didn't cast the curse. Granny makes it clear she wouldn't drink anything the Queen handed her, to which Leroy says that somebody will, and if they remember, they'll know exactly who did this to them. As the people in attendance start discussing the subject, Zelena, sitting in a booth, grows concerned, stands up and walks out.
Little John is carted through the halls of Storybrooke General Hospital by the medical personnel, his wound being made pressure on, and the search crew that found him follows the professional team. The nurse informs Dr. Whale that the man is bradycard and his blood pressure is dropping fast. Whale asks the crew what did this to John, and David answers that they don't know. John starts convulsing and the nurse says that he's going into shock, and Whale tells the nurse that they need to sedate him, and asks for fifteen milligrams of propofol. Whale tries to inject Little John, but the man screams out in horror and a grey tail springs out from under his back, whiplashing Whale back. Robin intervenes, as the tail knocks Friar Tuck and the nurse out, and then Robin. "Bloody hell!" Hook says, as he shields himself with his arm, and a male nurse is also thrown back. David ducks just in time to avoid getting hit by the tail, and the bespectacled audience looks on in terror as the man that was before them has now turned into a winged monkey, squawking. "Okay," David says, "I didn't see that coming." The monkey shrieks and gets away, crashing out through a window. David asks what that thing was, to which Whale tells him, "Don't look at me. I'm a doctor, not a vet."
Nighttime. We are shown a large view of the mayoral building. Regina and Emma sit and wait in the blonde's yellow buggy, and the Mayor asks if that's exactly what they just do: sit and wait. "Till the person who cast the curse makes a move on your office," Emma answers. Regina boldly asks her if this is really what she does for a living, and Emma answers, carefree, that she does, it's called a stakeout. The Mayor asks the sheriff if she doesn't get bored, and Emma tells her one finds ways to pass time, eat, talk, but mostly watch, which is what they should be doing. Emma takes a sip from her coffee cup. Regina asks her if Henry has friends, in New York, and Emma answers positively, saying he has a lot of friends, but no girlfriends yet, at least that she knows about. Smiling, but sadly, Regina asks if he's happy, and whether his life is good, hoping for confirmation but also dreading it. Emma answers positively again, and comments that she almost didn't come back because of that. Regina asks why she did, and she tells her Henry might not remember all of this, but she does, and she knows what he would say: "a hero would come back." Regina sighs slightly, smiling, acknowledging that he would say that. Emma reaches out to her, asking if she's sure she doesn't want to meet him, for they can just tell him she's an old friend, like Mary Margaret and David. Regina shakes her head, saying it would be too hard, and as Emma starts to say that she can't imagine what Regina must be going through - presumably - she is interrupted when her attention is caught by the figure moving inside Regina's office, seen through the window's curtains. Emma says they got them.
Emma and Regina miss their target.
Shortly afterwards, sheriff and Mayor are seen inside the building, ready to trap the suspect. Emma asks if Regina's sure that whoever is in there can't get out, to which the former Queen replies that she sealed the office with a blood lock, which can keep one out or keep them in, so she knows what she's doing. Regina works her magic on the door's keyhole and they enter the office, the Mayor holding a flashlight, which she points at the lab set, that has been destroyed, and the sheriff holding her gun. Emma spots the culprit and calls for Regina's attention. She yells at the person not to move, and Regina tells them there's nowhere for them to go. However, the hooded person is enveloped in a cloud of green mist, leaving the two women perplexed. Emma says she thought they couldn't do that, and Regina claims that no one can break through blood magic, no matter how powerful they are. "Then who are we dealing with?" Emma wonders.
One year before, Regina, holding the pin that she dipped in her homemade sleeping curse potion, walks towards the area of her castle from which the cloaking spell is being emanated. She ascends to the podium, holds up her right hand against the magic rays, the green fire that burns, and puts it out. She smiles.
Out in the woods, Grumpy, watching through his binoculars, witnesses the protection spell being taken down, and informs his troupe of precisely this. Charming tells everyone that they move on the castle at that moment, which they all prepare to do.
Enter the Witch.
Regina sits down on a bench, all by herself, and utters the words, "I'm sorry, Henry. Maybe one day you'll find me and wake me up. But until then..." She prepares to prick herself in her finger with the hair pin, but is interrupted by a female voice, asking her if she wasn't even going to say "hello" first. Regina turns around to face the famed Wicked Witch of the West, in all her green allure, adding that it's not exactly the welcome she was expecting. She asks what a witch has to do to get Regina's attention, and, this said, instantly materializes the pin from Regina's hand to her own. The Queen gasps, and the Witch asks her what the matter is, whether life got her down. Regina stands up and tells her that's none of her business. The Witch gives her a look of entertainment, and can tell that Regina really doesn't know who she is. Regina says she knows exactly who she is, the Wicked Witch. The Witch asks if that's all, and Regina claims that she's not that interested. Regina moves to take the pin back, and the Witch makes it disappear with a whooshing noise, and asks to be allowed to introduce herself: "You can call me Zelena." Regina notices the dress that she's wearing, and claims that it's hers, and Zelena, taunting her, says she had to take it in a little bit at the hips, but states that it looks better on her. Regina says she should have never left Oz. Zelena says she can have her castle back if she wants it that badly, she was just trying it on for size, and she's already seen everything worth seeing: Regina's closet, gardens, and crypt. Regina, curious, asks how she broke the blood lock, and Zelena says she didn't. Regina reminds her that the door was open, and says that no one is that powerful. "Cora really never told you?" Zelena asks. "Told me what?" Regina asks, surprised to hear her mother's name. "The truth about us, Regina." Regina chuckles and asks her what she's talking about, and how she knows her mother. "The same way you do," Zelena says, "I'm your sister."
Up, up and away?
Regina stands before Zelena with a surprised look on her face, and the green witch explains that they're actually half-sisters, but those are just details. Regina claims that that's not possible, for Zelena is green, to which the Witch replies that she's rude. The Witch goes on to say that Cora had her first, before she wormed her way into the dregs of royalty. She reminds Regina that she broke into the crypt, so she must be telling the truth. She goes on to say that their mother gave her up and sent her away, but she kept Regina, to whom she gave everything. "Everything she wanted," Regina says, adding that if what she is saying is true, then Zelena was lucky to escape Cora. Zelena tells her to stop with the martyr complex and consider growing up without a mother instead, and living in Oz, knowing no one thought she was good enough, not Cora, and not the only man that their paths both crossed... Rumplestiltskin. Regina, sitting on the bench, is entertained by the notion that Zelena knew Rumple, and Zelena asks if she thinks she was his only student. Regina, smirking, guesses that she's mad that he chose her to cast his curse. "Well, get over it," Regina says, "It wasn't everything it was cracked up to be." Zelena answers that anything would have been better than the life she had, but, despite her shortcomings, she made something of herself, and she didn't need Cora or Rumplestiltskin. Regina says it's too bad they're not around to see how well she turned out - they're both dead. Zelena looks surprised and disappointed, but she chuckles lightly, saying that's alright, for Regina is the only one she needs alive. Regina asks why, still entertained, and Zelena answers that she's going to take everything away from her. Regina tells her it's too late, she's already lost everything that matters, but Zelena denies this, saying she hasn't lost anything yet. Regina theorizes again that the Witch is going to kill her, which the green woman again denies, deeming it to be too easy. "For me to get what I want, I need you to suffer. You see, what's in store for me is all my dreams being realized. But for you? Well... it's a fate worse than death." Regina gets up from the beach, putting herself face to face with her sister, and tells her, "Go ahead. Bring it, greenie." "Indeed I will," Zelena answers. She holds up her hand and magicks up her broomstick with a whooshing sound. She tells her sis she'll see her soon and hops on the broomstick, cackling as she flies away. As she does, Regina looks on, amused.
Regina heads back to the chamber where she left Robin Hood glued to the floor, who can see she didn't go through with her plan. Regina moves her hand and releases him. As he regains his mobility and grunts, Regina goes through her possessions and tells him he was right, the sleeping curse wasn't the answer, she just needed to find something to live for. Robin, delighted, asks what she found, and she tells him it's the one thing she hasn't had in a very long time: "Someone to destroy." He looks confused. She looks excited.
Henry meets Mayor Mills.
In the present day, Emma and Regina stop outside of Mary Margaret and David's apartment, where Henry is staying, and the Mayor stops the blonde, telling her that maybe this isn't a good idea. Emma tells her to trust her that it's gonna be fine, and opens the door to let them in. She finds Henry sitting on the couch, playing a video game, and asks him how his day was, to which he stands up, as Regina closes the door behind her, and tells his birth mother that it was good, that Storybrooke is a weird but cool place. He asks her if she knew there's a library inside a clock tower, and the blonde says she did, she's been there before, and then brings him to meet Regina, introducing her as the Mayor of this town, who wanted to meet him. Regina looks at the young man, not sure of how to act, and Henry asks his mother if something is wrong, due to the Mayor being there, and Regina promptly assures him that nothing is wrong, as Mary Margaret looks down, feeling for Regina, who goes on to tell Henry that his mother simply told her a lot about him, including that he likes school and that he's good at English, something that comes off awkward. Henry wonders why Emma would tell her this, and Regina struggles to come up with a response, but ultimately says, "Because she couldn't be prouder of you." Emma smiles subtly. Regina inhales sharply and tells Henry that while he's in town she could maybe give him a tour sometime, show him around, and maybe they can even stop for ice cream. Henry chuckles lightly and tells her he'd like that, and says it was nice meeting her. Regina smiles and moves in for a hug, but Henry instinctively reaches out his hand to shake hers, which stops her cold on her track, and she takes off her glove and gives him the handshake. He then moves away, back to his video game, and Emma asks her how that was, and whether she's doing okay, and Regina simply says it was a start. David and Hook soon barge in, with the former telling his daughter that they need to talk, and Emma looks back at Henry and tells him, "Outside."
Soon enough, all the adults are gathered outside of the apartment, with Mary Margaret showing shock at the notion that the missing people are being turned into flying monkeys, which would explain why they haven't found any trace of the missing dwarfs. Emma asks about Neal, and David says there's no sign of him either, so it's possible. Emma comments that it wouldn't be the first flying monkey she's dated, which surprises her mother. Regina recaps that the person who escaped their trap disappeared in a cloud of green smoke, and now there are flying monkeys in the town, so she thinks they know exactly who cursed them. Emma sarcastically asks if it was the Wicked Witch of the West, and Regina just gives her a confirming look. Emma is surprised that the Witch is real too, to which Hook responds, "Says the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming." Emma is further confused because they are not in Kansas, so she wonders why the Wicked Witch of the West would want to come to Storybrooke.
"You feed the madness..."
Elsewhere, on the outskirts of Storybrooke, Zelena, the former midwife - or so she claims -, is seen holding up a tray with food and water as she walks towards her storm cellar. With one wave of her arm she opens the door with magic, and walks in, carefully coming down the steps and towards a cage in the middle of the darkened room. She asks if the captive is hungry and puts down the tray on the floor, when her arm is suddenly grabbed by the hand of the prisoner - none other than Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin. They are left face to face, and Gold, looking scruffy, tells her that she never should have brought him back. Zelena chuckles, amused, and stands up, kicking the tray recklessly under the door of the cage, splattering the water from its bowl. She tells him to eat up, for they've got work to do, and walks away, amused. Gold grabs the bowl of rice and plays with it in his hands, chanting, repeatedly, "You feed the madness and it feeds on you..." He then giggles maniacally and shoves a handful of rice into his mouth.
"Thank You Note"
Snow reads Regina's note.
Charming is tending to his horse in flashbacks before he heads toward Snow, who's sitting by a small campfire. He takes out a small sheet of paper and gets his wife's attention, saying that he found it in her saddle bag. Snow unfolds the paper and begins to read, and Charming wonders who wrote the note it bears. Snow reveals that it's from Regina: "'The day we met, I saved your life. Thank you for trying to save mine.'" Charming finds this odd and wonders what it means, and Snow realizes that she's thanking her for talking her out of burying her heart (see "New York City Serenade"). The prince wonders why she would do this in a note, as opposed to just saying it when she comes back, and Snow further realizes that her stepmother isn't planning on coming back.
- The title card of this episode features Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, flying through the woods on her broom.
- The dress that's stolen by Zelena during this episode has previously been seen sported by Regina in the season 1 episode, "Hat Trick".
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on November 24, 2013.
The episode fared extremely well in ratings, placing a 2.4/7 among 18-49s with 7.75 million American viewers tuning in, up 0.09 million viewers from the spring premiere the previous week. The increase in viewers made a change to the typically decreasing figures earlier from each episode in the season.
- Gwen Inhat, reviewing the episode for A.V. Club, gave the episode a "B", deeming it to be a great improvement over the previous installment, and giving particular praise to the performance of Lana Parrilla (Regina): I suspect Lana Parrilla would have chemistry with a glass of water, but she shone in “Witch Hunt” due to her ability to spark with some unlikely sources (...)"
- However, Hillary Busis, for EW, wasn't as enthusiastic about the episode, criticizing the fact that Zelena was also a member of the core family, and the fact that nothing much of note seemed to happen ("...this is the TL;DR version of the episode: Nothing else really happened."). However, she showed excitement over the return of Rumplestiltskin: "That's where she's keeping a resurrected, weirder-than-usual Rumpelstiltskin, who seems to have gone just a little bit nuts since last we saw him. Buckle up, dearies: I have a feeling that this is when season 3B really starts."
- IGN rated the episode a 9.2/10, saying, "This week's Once was packed with reveals and immensely satisfying". The reviewer, Amy Ratcliffe, gave the following verdict: "Overall, the episode almost had too many "what?!" moments, but it worked. While I hope to see more of why the Wicked Witch is taking out her anger on Regina, we've seen enough to know she's interesting and that their battle has the potential to be game-changing."
- For TV.com, Lily Sparks claimed to love the episode, also giving praise to Parrilla's performance (""Witch Hunt" was essentially a showcase for Lana Parrilla’s acting range and as such could be nothing less than stellar. To quote The Game: 'How you paint pictures you deserve Grammys and Oscars,' and Parrilla has been putting in 40 hours per week of Oscar-worthy performances since this show began out in the cold, cold woods and in front of green screens.").
- The overall appreciation of this episode by members of this wiki's community was positive.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon A Time', 'Resurrection', 'America's Funniest Home Videos', 'Cosmos', 'American Dad' & 'Believe' Adjusted Up", by Sara Bibel, TVBytheNumbers.com, March 18, 2014.
- ↑ 'Once Upon A Time "Witch Hunt" Season 3, Episode 13', by Gwen Inhat, AVClub.com, March 17, 2014.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: The 'Snare Witch' Project", by Hillary Busis, EW.com, March 16, 2014.
- ↑ "EVERYONE'S SEEING GREEN", by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN.com, March 16, 2014.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time "Witch Hunt" Review: A Mother's Touch", by Lily Sparks, TV.com, March 17, 2014.