In fairy land Prince James is trying to escape from his prison cell with a rock which is, unsurprisingly, not very successful when guards arrive to take him to his execution. Of course, no guards stand a chance against a hero and he knocks them both out and he is helped by the Huntsman! Who had been enslaved by the Queen
The Queen spies the prince through the mirror and sends him to a vast, trackless forest; the infinite forest with no way out where he runs into Rumplestiltskin. He agrees to give a Snow White tracking ring to Prince James for a price. James refuses and tries to stab him which… doesn’t really work. Did I mention how awesome Rumplestiltskin is?
We have a fairy tale moment saying how wonderful True Love is – and he wants his last stock of purple True Love juice to be protected by putting it into the belly of a beast. Off he goes to a castle to find the beast –and it’s Pam! Sorry, Maleficent who then turns into a dragon. Wow, special effects budget, I like it. Epic fight scene time!
He deposits the potion and gets his ring from Rumplestiltskin and nifty new clothes and the ring leads him to Snow White in her glass coffin. Time for the kiss and happily ever after… except their step-parents still hold the thrones
In the real world, Henry is rushed into hospital having been brought low by Regina’s baked goods. The doctor doesn’t understand, no poison has this symptoms – it’s almost like magic. Revelation moment for Emma – who picks up The Book and has a flashback of Prince James and Snow White putting her, as a baby, in the cupboard. Emma loses it, drags her into a storage cupboard and tells Regina that Henry ate her apple turnover – and demands to know if it’s all true. Regina confirms it, in tears and that she tried to kill Emma because that’s the only way Henry would be hers – but she has used up the last of her magic. This is an amazing scene – and we finally get proof of Regina’s care for Henry. They need help from the other person in town who knows about magic – Mr. Gold who Regina reveals as Rumplstiltskin
To Gold! And he tells them True Love will break any curse – and he has bottled some from the strands of Emma’s parent’s hair (his purple potion). He put a single drop on the parchment that created the curse for Regina – and that drop is why Emma can break the curse – long awaited and excellent exposition time! Emma has to be the one who finds the magic to break the spell (I do not appreciate the denial of Regina’s motherhood though, the fact Emma is the product of the magic would have been enough). And I love how Gold slips into Rumplestiltskin’s word choices and patterns when the truth is out - his acting has been part of what made this show. The bottle was hidden inside someone who Regina has locked up – and Emma will need her father’s sword to get it.
Regina has a show down with Jefferson - refusing to fulfil her part of the bargain and reunite him with his daughter. And Emma finds August turning into wood while giving her a pep talk. Onwards to the Evil Queen bat-cave where the True Love Potion waits, among the detritus of old fairy tales – in the belly of Maleficent who is, surprise, still a dragon! Well if Emma didn’t believe before, this should do it. Time for another epic fight scene! (Though I love that Emma draws her gun first) and she gets the egg with the potion inside. But Gold tricks them out of it (well, Emma’s ridiculous trust does)
Mary and David meet up for some quality Wet Lettuce time. Later Mary goes and sees Henry in the hospital and reads the Snow White story to him – which is very narcissistic really. Then Henry starts crashing while Jefferson sneaks into the hospital to release Belle from her prison – to go to Mr. Gold and tell him Regina held her prisoner – he will, presumably, be upset.
Gold has his potion at the shop – and Belle arrive telling him that Regina locked her up. This does not make Gold happy.
Emma and Regina arrive at the hospital – but Henry has died. The grief that follows is very well acted. While Regina cries in the doctor’s arms, Emma kisses Henry on the forehead and tells him she loved him – and he wakes up! (what? True Love’s kiss isn’t specified as romantic love. Why shouldn’t parental love work?) And True Love’s kiss breaks all curses – as the energy surges out across Storybrook and everyone gets their memory back. Regina professes her love for Henry before running at the advice of the Mother Superior/Blue Fairy, returning home to cry
David/James runs back to town and finds Mary/Snow – calling her Snow. Belle with Gold calls him Rumplestiltskin and says she loves him – he drops his love potion in the wishing well (which Augustus told us returns that what was lost) and a purple cloud spreads over the land. They’re in a world without magic – and Gold/Rumplestiltskin is bringing the magic to the land.
Ok that was… epic. I didn’t expect the curse breaking to just restore their memories, I thought it’d restore them to Fairyland. But I did wonder how they’d get a second Season out of the show. The Story’s not over – and I’m really happy about that.
I have to say, when Once Upon a Time started, I didn’t expect to like it or be impressed. So very glad to be wrong, this has been a great series and one of the few I look forward to watching every week
And they really should know by now – do not trust Rumplestiltskin!