Let’s look at Storybrooke where Emma is all shaky again about a terribad big bad future coming: the showdown between the Saviour and the Black Fairy. Emma’s hands are all shaky again, while Mary Margaret and David are all kind of angsty (in tag-team due to the curse) because they won’t be there to support Emma
Honestly I think going into the battle without the sappy ones would help immensely.
David is determined to be uncursed and pressures Regina to use her dangerous, untested cure on him and Snow. I approve of using untested dangerous chemicals on the Charmings. Yes yes I do.
Unsurprisingly this goes terribly wrong and when Zelena and Regina finish tinkering with their hearts it ends up with both of them cursed to sleep forever. Yaaaaaay! This cure is awesome!
This leads to some flashbacks to the Curse days when everyone lived mundane lives and it was all terrible and bleak (hey, does it say anything that the cursed existence of misery for everyone is basically our 9:00-5:00) and Mary Margaret tried to soggy her way through life and visiting David who is all sad and comatose. All is sad and everyone was miserable (this is trying to tell us that everyone is happier now with big evil menaces trying to destroy them all every 2 weeks).
Mary Margaret happens to blunder into a magical flower –because while the Charmings never ever ever do anything really to make things right but random chance yet again ensures goodness and happiness shines down on them. This magic flower wakes up David – several years early. With their memories restored they try to find Emma with convenient magical flower.
Except they do this by going via Rumplestiltskin whose memory is quickly restored for him to say that this is way too early, stop this at once before they run off to be with their daughter
Of course, without magic, he can’t stop them. But he relies on the sappiness of Snow White, who realises if they use the magical flower that means that they will be reunited with Emma and give her a happy childhood (well, with the curse and not a lot of experience with the real world) – but it also means Emma will never break the curse and that everyone else in Storybrooke will continue to suffer without interesting invasions by evil dark magic monsters every week.
They both drink a potion to erase their memories and make this bit of retcon go away
So what does this mean for the modern story? Well, those magic flowers are back in Storybrooke. These flowers only appear when big evil is around because Good is Stupid and needs Magic Good Flowers to provide Deus Ex Machinae to give them any damn chance of saving themselves because evil has a habit of having a clue. Luckily these flowers may be the key to reuniting lost loved ones – including cursed Charmings
Why are the goodness-saving evil flowers popping up? Because the Dark Fairy has arrived. She drops in to see her son, Rumplestiltskin who is very unpleased But she’s determined to have him on side – and even has the Rumplestiltskin dagger and Gideon’s apparent willing co-operation to force him.
With flowers everywhere it looks ominous, especially when the Black Fairy introduces herself to Emma with lots of ominousness (and why do the villains always dress so much better?) and has Gideon destroy all the Pixie flowers. Except one
One they can use to reunite the Charmings and keep them both awake.
Side plot! Killian!
Killian is running from the Lost Boys in Neverland and only the intervention of Tiger Lilly saves him. So she can kidnap him
She wants him to use whatever power/influence he has to deliver a chunk of wood to the Saviour. Which is convenient, really (do I have to have another side rant about how the forces of good in Once Upon a Time always have so much luck working out for them? How they constantly survive and succeed is based little on their own efforts and planning and always on things working out for them, chance coming in their favour).
This chunk of wood is going to be super important to the Saviour to take down the Black Fairy. To get it to Emma, Killian and Tiger Lilly raid the Lost Boy’s camp and free Pan’s living shadow: they send it to Emma complete with his Hook and the wood.
I like that Tiger Lilly I actually played by a Native American actress – but I also wish she had far more of a role than “hey, I have some magic wood, let me risk my life for you guys”. She needs so much more back story and development than this. We do learn Tiger Lily was a fairy – who gave up her wings when she failed to stop the Black Fairy’s descent into evil. So I really hope that snippet of knowledge is a preview to
Killian and Tiger Lilly are captured
Over to Emma, the Charmings ready to use the flower to reunite the sappy ones when the shadow arrives with the stick, the hook and no real explanation. Snow White realises this is another time for self-sacrifice (I would say that the Charmings are good at this but, again, everything always works out for them) – and gives the flower to Emma instead, so she can be reunited with Killian before they fall asleep
Yay sleeping Charmings are out of the fight!
Emma uses the flower dust and manages to rescue Killian from the Lost Boys (while Tiger Lilly runs off – so it looks like she’s not going to play a larger role in this series) and we have lots of reunions
Including with the Charmings –because Regina has an idea. Rather than breaking the curse they can dilute it – share that curse with a whole lot of people so rather than one person permanently asleep everyone’s, I don’t know, a little woozy? I need of an espresso. Of course everyone rallies round the Charmings and drink from the improbably deep cup…
Everyone falls asleep, both the Charmings wake up – and everyone else as well. Yay everyone is happy and no-one mentions that if it’d gone wrong the Charmings would be facing the Black Fairy alone.
Speaking off – she and Rumple have a conversation. He has his dagger back (since she assumes he’d join her willingly for the sake of Gideon) but he has realised she has Gideon’s heart and he’s being coerced. And that he’s resisting her: hence the single remaining flower (he puts this down to Belle – his real mother, rather than Black Fairy the evil step-mother). So that nicely simplifies things and It Is On between Rumple and Black Fairy
She points out that a war between then will destroy the town. Rumple is fine with that.