Load up your insulin folks, it’s an episode focusing on the Charmings, the sickliest of saccharine sappiness.
The Evil Queen (EQ) is wandering around looking amazing and reminding us how awesome Regina can be if you give her her deserved screen time. Alas she’s obsessed with the Sappy Duo, which means they get more screen time as well
Specifically she wants them to give up their hearts otherwise she’s going to douse the town in liberal amounts of rivery styx water which will be terribad awful. They have 12 hours to submit to heart ripping
See, this nonsense is why I have so little patience with villains. Seriously, you have this big vendetta against the Charmings you could just throw a fireball at them. Get a shotgun, stab them. And river styx water? Is cyanide not an option here?
In response to this over dramatic threat, the goodguys decide to find a Sapling of True Love
Of course they do.
This sapling was created by true love, is super rare and super magical with all its saccharine sappiness, is powerful enough to capture the EQ. Unlike the collected power of Emma, Regina, the Blue Fairy and Rumple (and don’t tell me they couldn’t persuade him, he has no loyalty with Regina. Even Zelena’s loyalty is dubious) – but we wouldn’t know that because they’ve not really tried.
They try to distract the bad guys by revealing the EQ having an affair with Rumple (Regina is duly uncomfortable with the idea) to Zelena to get her green skinned jealousy going. It doesn’t really work though as they’re not fools.
This ends up with Regina getting her hands on the Sappy Sapling and destroying it.
We also get the flashback of where this sapling grew. Basically back in the day when Snow White was marginally less sappy and running around the woods escaping assassins, her path happened to cross with David’s. They never actually each other but they managed to defeat the assassin together, she gave him her escape money to keep his farm while she decided not to escape and to become a bandit having rediscovered hope (a kind of vague, endlessly sappy hope follows Snow wherever she happens to be).
Despite never seeing each other or having any meaningful interaction beyond killing someone together, this moment managed to create the Sappy Sapling. Yes, a tree was born out of true love over Snow and Charming killing an assassin together with no idea who the other person was
That’s a really weird definition of love. Not even love at first sight, love at first murder. And they still make it sappy
Back to the present and having done very little to avoid it, Snow and David decide to accept their fate and give in to Regina (rather than, y’know, actually trying to do something) and let her take their hearts relying on fluffy fluffy hope and good wishes than practical planning. Of course they do
EQ being a villain doesn’t just kill them and instead decides it’s time to do something dramatic and ironic which they will eventually come back. Honestly, this is why evil loses – evil loses because it’s far too melodramatic that it can’t kill sappy good when it has the chance
So instead Snow White is put under a sleeping curse which can be cured with True Love’s kiss… but then gets transferred on to David. Only one sappy one can be awake at any one time
I’m supposed to be sad about this
Meanwhile Belle goes to Rumple to chew him out for planning on changing the fate of their son to make him love Rumple. As Belle points out, he has the potential to be a good man (which is why she’s angry at him rather than EQ who is, literally, an avatar of evil) if he chose to be. She hits on the very core of Rumple – he could be good, but he’s too weak (or too afraid) for it. He will always chose the path of least risk, the path that keeps him safest, the shortcut, the path to power.