Wow. Just wow. That was a pretty heavy episode of Once Upon a Time tonight. So let’s get to it, starting where the episode did – Enchanted Forest.
Our trip there focuses on a young Snow White. She is getting ready for a ball in honor of her birthday, and her mother wants to show her a tiara she is planning to give Snow to wear on her birthday for the first time. They go in to find Johanna, one of their servants, is trying it on. She immediately starts to apologize, but Snow is upset, demanding that the servant never touch it again. Snow’s mother, however, steps in and corrects Snow. They may be royal, but that’s no reason not to treat others well.
And just like that, her mother starts to get sick. They call the doctor, but the doctor can’t figure it out. And just like that, Johanna steps in as a mother figure to Snow. She mentions that Snow’s mother knows the Blue Fairy. Maybe the fairy can do something with magic.
So Snow sets out that night to meet with her, but even before Snow can summon her, she appears and confirms that Snow’s mother is dying. There is nothing that the fairy can do unless Snow uses dark magic. And it comes with a price (of course). Someone must die in order for Snow’s mother to live. And Snow must choose that person.
Snow can’t do it, and she tearfully runs back to her mother to confess all. Her mother praises her for making the right decision. And then she dies.
A tearful Snow presides over her mother’s funeral. But as Johanna leads her away, the Blue Fairy comes in. Only it’s really Cora, who confesses to killing The Queen with poison in order to make her daughter queen.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke….
It’s Mary Margaret’s birthday, a day she has always associated with her mother’s death so hasn’t celebrated in years. She is planning to keep that tradition going, but someone has left a package on her doorstep. It is her long lost tiara. And it’s from Johanna. Mary Margaret immediately sets out to find her, and the two reconnect. But Mary Margaret hears a noise in the woods, and she heads out to investigate. It’s Cora and Regina searching for the dagger where Hook told them it is buried. It’s not there, but they are sure they’ll find it.
Naturally, this worries Mary Margaret, she rushes to David (who was knocked out by Hook so Hook could steal back his hook and leave town). They send a message to Emma, but she’s not responding.
In the meantime, Mary Margaret decides to try to reason with Regina. They meet at Granny’s, but Regina wants nothing to do with Mary Margaret and the possibility of people maybe pretending to treat her nicely. She wants power, and that’s what the dagger will give her.
So, they need to find the dagger and find it fast. They enlist Mother Superior (aka the Blue Fairy), but she can’t seem to break the protection spell that Gold put on his shop before he left. Mary Margaret suggests they use dark magic like the fairy suggested all those years ago, but Mother Superior has no idea what Mary Margaret is talking about. Before they can pursue that, David gets a phone call. Emma has finally gotten his message and talked Gold into giving up the location of the dagger.
It’s in the clock tower – specifically hiding behind the minute hand. Mary Margaret and David race up there and get it, only to have Cora and Regina appear as soon as they do. When Mary Margaret refuses to hand it over, they reveal their captive – Johanna. Regina removes her heart and threatens to crush it unless Mary Margaret turns over the dagger. And she thinks about it, but in the end, Mary Margaret once again does the right thing and turns it over.
Cora then gives herself away. She repeats a line she said all those years ago, and Mary Margaret figures out it was Cora and not the Blue Fairy she asked to spare her mother’s life. Cora laughs and even agrees with Mary Margaret’s sudden realization that Cora killer her mother. And almost as an after thought today, Cora knocks Johanna out the clock face and onto the ground below, killing her. So Mary Margaret turning over the dagger was for naught.
Back in Regina office, Regina and Cora celebrate getting the dagger. And they discuss what exactly Cora did so Regina could become queen, including setting up Regina to rescue the young Snow. Regina asks if Cora has another motive now, but Cora denies it, claiming again she just wants to see Regina happy.
Our final scene in Storybrooke is at the graveside service of Johanna. But something inside Snow has snapped. She is tired of being good and doing the right thing. Heck, if she hadn’t stopped Regina’s execution all those years ago, they wouldn’t have had to suffer all of this. She is tired of the set backs and losses. She is ready for their happy ending. And she knows how to get it. She’s going to kill Cora.
So, let’s switch to New York, shall we?
Henry and Neal are bonding as Emma and Gold follow along behind. They grab some pizza, and when Emma asks him how he likes it, Henry replies, “It’s big, cheesy, and it doesn’t lie.” Yep, he’s still upset about that, not that I’m exactly blaming him. They decide to head back to Neal’s to grab a camera before going to a museum. Along the way, Emma talks to Neal about coming back to Storybrooke (Gold’s idea), but Neal says it’s complicated and there’s something they need to discuss. They’re interrupted before they can. You know that’s going to be painful.
So, they go back to the apartment building, and Neal and Henry head up to the apartment. While Emma and Gold are standing just inside the building’s entrance, Hook comes in and stabs Gold with his hook. Emma knocks Hook out and locks him in the basement, but Gold is seriously hurt.
In fact, Gold has been poisoned and there’s no antidote in our world. The only way to save him is to get back to Storybrooke where there is magic. Hook came on his ship, the fastest in any world. It’s cloaked, so that’s why no one noticed it. It’s their only hope, and fortunately Neal knows how to sail it. When asked how, he replies, “This wasn’t my first stop. If it were, I’d be a couple hundred years old.”
But they need a car to get Gold to the ship. And as Emma and Neal go to pick it up, they are greeted by a woman who seems to know Neal. In fact, it’s her car they are going to use. And this woman is what Neal wanted to talk to Emma about. This woman is Neal fiancee.
Okay, before we get any further, let’s discuss my nitpicks because I’ve got several. Please tell me there was a deleted scene that explains how they knew Hook came on his cloaked ship and how they plan to find it. Did I miss a line of dialogue? Or was it just glossed over. My guess is a deleted scene took care of it. It’s a minor point, but it did bug me.
My bigger nitpicks involved the time in Enchanted Forest. Where was Snow’s dad? Obviously, they had to write around not being able to use the actor, but he should have been there, for the funeral if nothing else. With as much as he loved his wife, he would have rushed back to her side the moment he heard. And they would have waited the funeral for him. He’s the king.
Also, there’s the matter of Bailee Madison. Now, don’t misunderstand, she was fabulous again as the young Snow. But she is quite obviously older than she was when we first saw her a year ago. And yet, Snow was supposed to be younger than she was then. That age thing kept bugging me, too.
Okay, got that out of my system.
Is there a character who has died of natural causes? Or is everyone murdered for some reason?
Mary Margaret, I’ve got some advice for you. Every time I get frustrated enough to act in ways I know are wrong, it always back fires. Trust me on this, you don’t want to change your tactics in this fight between good and evil.
Neal is engaged? I didn’t see that coming.
And they answered my concerns about how Neal hasn’t aged more than he has. Why didn’t I even consider that he was a Lost Boy for a couple hundred years? Makes absolutely perfect sense to me that he’s visited several realms.
The preview for next week has me very worried. Discuss theories on that spoiler/tease in the comments and anything else from this episode.
My recap next week will most likely be late since my parents will be in town for a visit. I’ll get it up as quickly as I can, I promise.
And in other Disney news, Wreck-It Ralph hits Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday. If you missed it (or if like me you are counting the days until you can watch it again), read my review to see why you should go out and buy it.