It’s a flashback to Fairyland (after the curse was broken but before the second curse – that weird limbo year) and Snow White wants to gather the whole kingdom to announce she’s pregnant. Regina thinks a) they have other problems and gathering everyone up is a risk and b) being pregnant isn’t exactly a novel and great achievement. Belle arrives to tell everyone of the win/win/lose situation with Rumple. They got him back (win), Neal sacrificed himself (win. Hush, I call it a win) and Zelina got the dagger (lose). It seems even more sensible to think that the pregnancy party isn’t the best plan yet but Snow White insist with sogginess and hope (which the kingdom really needs, apparently. Personally I think it needs an army, a large witch-seeking-missile and, preferably, the Dark One Dagger. But let’s go with hope).
Aurora finally breaks her silence and warns Snow that Zelena wants the Charming baby (in my headcanon I like to think she heard the Charmings were having a baby and said “WHAT?! The two soggiest people in the world have bred!? AGAIN? Surely we cannot dodge the bullet twice, this Wet Lettuce child must be stopped!” Of course my headcanon also has Aurora saying “a pregnancy party? Seriously? I never got no damn pregnancy party! Like hell is apple girl getting one.”)
In revenge for Phillip and Aurora revealing the big secret, Zelena swoops in on a broomstick (told you that missile would have been more useful than hope) and turns them both into winged monkeys. She freezes everyone and checks on pregnant Snow White – yes the baby is super duper special (and soggy).
Fast forward 8 months and Snow White despairs because she’s about to give birth and another evil sorceress is menacing her child. Regina objects – she only menaced Snow White, everyone else was collateral damage (Regina has the best lines). They come up with a stupid plan but for Snow’s child the Charmings will try it (Granny’s expression says it all. “It’s Stupid But We’ll Do it Anyway” should be on their coat of arms). Anyway, plan is to break into Rumple’s castle to consult him. Regina and Robin snark a little because Twu Lub
Speaking of – to the present and we have Robin and Regina kissing. The inevitable result when 2 characters of the opposite sex bicker on television. TV writers have an argument kink. Regina actually asks what Robin sees in her (her aura of indomitable awesomeness that overwhelms everyone, of course) and they discuss the limited emotional range that being heartless brings. Time for some angst – Henry blunders past and calls Regina “madame mayor” which, of course, cuts Regina pretty deeply.
Time for a boss meeting and Regina doesn’t quite hide her silly grin which Mary Margaret comments on – so Regina makes a pregnant-fat joke which is really beneath her. C’mon Regina, it’s Mary Margaret, Queen of Soggy, you have far too much material to resort to such. Brainstorm and finally the question is asked – how did Zelena cast the curse (since it requires the sacrifice of what you love most) and why – why did she want to bring them to Storybrooke? The ideas are that either she needed something from Earth to cast the time travel spell or that she needed to wipe everyone’s memories because they’d found the key to defeating her. Either way, breaking the curse will help – last time it was broken by Emma finally believing in magic… so this time round they need to get Henry to believe since he’s the only one who doesn’t.
Regina figures the best chance to achieve that is with the Storybook since it was the catalyst to both Emma and Henry believing (and yes, Emma still kind of wants to maintain Henry’s amnesia).
Over to the bad guys and Rumple has kidnapped Hook. Our leather clad pirate is all gagged and tied up… (no I’m not going there. I am above such considerations). Zelena threatens to kill Henry if Hook doesn’t use his cursed kiss to steal Emma’s magic.
Flashback! They infiltrate Rumple’s castle (more bickering between Regina and Robin) and find Rumple in a cage – dealing with the fact he has two minds with Neal inside him. Belle manages to reach him enough to ask how to stop Zelena and he says “light magic”, Glinda, Good Witch of the South who was banished to the north. Of course she was. There’s also a riddle about the “pure in heart” for them to follow.
Back to the present and they realise the book only appeared last time when Henry needed it because he was feeling depressed and lonely – so time to check again. Only this time Henry demands some answers, especially since they’re looking for the murderer of his father (did they also miss that Henry-approaching-puberty is going to be much less interested in the book than child Henry?) and Emma responds by invoking “I’m your mother, do as you’re told!” while Regina and Mary Margaret give her disapproving looks.
Like Henry’s going to let that stop him, he sneaks out, with Emma’s keys, and tries to take her car to leave – but Hook stops him; he has a “better way.”
Emma et al find the book (it only appears when Mary Margaret looks) and Mary Margaret notices Emma is troubled – she doesn’t want magic and conflict for Henry. Mary Margaret, for once, is a little less soggy over the idea of Emma deciding New York is home – a home she enjoyed because she forgot her family.
Flashback! The fairy tale lot head through the Dark Forest to find Glinda the good and Regina gives Charming and Snow White a quality glare for them exchanging flowers at a time like this. They find the pure-in-heart door which, of course, Snow White and Charming can go through but not Regina ( oh the precious purity!) The super-duper pure-and-soggy Charmings now get to speak to Glinda, the witch of the south-north. (Regina’s just too vengeful. Look Glinda, you spend a few hours with Snow White and we’ll see how vengeful you become). They learn that Glinda gave Zelena her necklace to help focus her power – and now if you remove it, Zelena will lose her magic. But removing it requires super powerful, fluffy-pure-love-based magic (Light Magic). Since Emma is the product of True Love (which is apparently rare because the Charmings have super duper special love) and the Saviour that means her magic is the one that will defeat the Saviour.
Of course, to get to her in this flashback time, they need to return to Storybrooke – so they need the curse. They go out and ask Regina (oh now you want dark magic, your purenesses?) who points out that it needs the heart of the one you love most – which for her is Henry, who is out of reach. No dice – Charming wants Snow to cast it – and use his heart (oh please please please please please please please please please).
To the present and everyone notices Henry is missing. Hook has taken him to the dock to try and get Smee to sail him to New York – and away from Zelena. When winged monkeys attack. Well who needs a storybook to show Henry magic is real? Hook shoots a couple and Henry is saved when Emma & co show up (every monkey they kill is technically a Storybrooke person, aren’t they?) And Regina throws fireballs – really why did anyone think they needed a BOOK to convince Henry magic was real?
But no, Emma gives him the book and asks him to believe in magic (hello? Fireballs? Ability to teleport? Regina is right there with CONCRETE EVIDENCE of magic. And what about Hook? He has the magical clothes of “I’ve worn this leather for 2 solid seasons and apparently don’t stink!”) Merely touching the book restores all of Henry’s memories.
Henry greets Emma as “mom”… and Regina. Regina runs and hugs him. Just as Emma leans to kiss Henry and break the curse – Zelena appears and teleports Henry into her hands. Zelena knocks Regina back and begins to slowly strangle Henry (because villains always have to kill people slowly, it’s a rule) and Emma responds with a searing beam of light magic, forcing Zelena to let go and retreat. But Regina is badly injured by Zelena’s attack, and doesn’t get up when Henry calls her
Flashback! Regina prepares the curse for the Charmings – there’s a long very touching goodbye scene with Snow and Charming which I’d be more invested in if I didn’t want both characters to be eaten by flying monkeys and there was a chance in hell of Charming ever actually dying on this show. Snow White crushes Charming’s heart into the potion, he falls (apparently dead) and Zelena flies in to add a flaw to their plans – a forgetting potion in the curse.
To the present where Regina wakes up and is alive! (Yay) And Charming is as well (boooo!). Regina promises Henry she’ll never let him go away again (so watch it Emma). She kisses him – and it breaks the curse. Everyone remembers everything – and Mary Margaret remembers that they cast the curse, not Zelena. So if they cast the curse, how did Charming live?
Flashback! Snow White says that since they’re of one heart Regina can just rip Snow’s in two and it will beat for both of them! (In Once Upon a Time land, the heart doesn’t do anything so mundane as pump blood). My gods, that is a solution that is so saccharinely sappy (even for Snow White) that it needs its own diabetes warning. Of course it works.
And people blame Regina for cursing these two?
Anyway, Regina and Henry have a full year to catch up on and Henry wants to know about his mother dating Robin Hood.
Emma confronts Hook about the whole kidnapping Henry thing and he confesses about his cursed lips. Regardless, Emma is hella pissed by his lie and now wonders if she can trust him. Especially since the Soggy Charmings reveal they never sent Hook a memory potion or a message as he claimed. He protests someone did… who could that be?
Flashback! To get through the curse, Zelena makes memory potions for herself and Rumple so they don’t lose their memories as well. But when she leaves Rumple for him to take his, Neal rips himself out of Rumple and sends the potion to Emma via Hook so Emma can save them.
In the present Emma takes Henry to his father’s grave – and Mary Margaret goes into labour.
Can I say again that of all the monsters out there, the winged monkey is really really really lacking in menace? It’s a monkey. With wings. This cast has fought dragons and ogres – mutant simians seem rather… lacking.
Regina’s true love kiss of Henry broke the curse! YES AT LAST THANK YOU! This almost makes up for making Regina’s magic so useless this season while charging up Emma
I still don’t forgive teasing me with Charming’s death. That’s just cruel.