Once has returned from hiatus with Cora and Hook ready to seek vengeance on Storybrooke. In The Cricket Game, Emma invites Regina to their welcome home party. As expected, some feathers are ruffled and she certainly does not receive a warm welcome. Regina leaves but Emma follows her. They discuss spending time with Henry and Emma even reassures her that she knows she’s trying based on her conversations with Archie.
Regina confronts Archie about disclosing of her sessions to Emma. Ruby witnesses the encounter. Later Regina returns to his office and attacks him. Again Ruby witnesses Regina entering and exiting the building. In the alley it is revealed that Cora transformed into Regina.
Pongo, Archie’s dog, goes to Emma and they soon discover Archie to be dead. After questioning Regina, Emma believes her and lets her go. They all come to the conclusion that Rumplestiltskin is the only one capable of such. They go to his store and he pleads innocent, offering a magical dream catcher to search Pongo’s memory. In his memory they see Regina killing Archie.
They go to Regina to tell what they’ve seen, but she wants to tell Henry her side. The blue fairy tries to stop her, but is unsuccessful. Emma tells her Henry will never believe her again and she uses magic to vanish. When Emma goes to Henry, Regina is waiting in a car crying.
Meanwhile, Cora and Hook have returned to the boat with a bound and gagged Archie, hoping to exploit Storybrooke’s secrets and weaknesses.
In flashback Fairytale Land, the Evil Queen corners Snow White in the forest and Snow seeks to talk. But instead the Queen attacks and it is revealed to have been a trap. Charming sentences the Queen to death. At her execution she admits her only regret is not causing more destruction and killing Snow White. However, Snow cannot have her killed.
In one last attempt, Snow meets with the Queen to talk. She once again attacks and stabs her. But Rumple had cast a spell where the Queen could not harm Snow or Charming while in this land. The Queen is then banished and later Rumple reiterates that she cannot cause harm in THIS land…and so she sets out on her Storybrooke plan.
This week on Once’s The Outsider, we flashback to Belle where she learns of a monster, the Yaoguai, from local men at a tavern. Heeding Dreamy’s (aka Grumpy) advice, she asks to join the adventure. The men mock her for reading all the time, but she reveals she knows the location of the monster based on her books. After she tells them, they abandon her in the forest. But she lied and actually finds the monster on her own. When she approaches, the beast hears her and Mulan arrives to save her.
Mulan is angry Belle ruined her attempt to kill the monster and refuses her offer to help. Belle is confronted by the men in the village for lying to them, but Mulan steps in during the scuffle and is injured. She finally accepts Belle’s help to track the Yaoguai. When they find it, Belle must go to kill it because Mulan is too injured. After dousing it with water, it writes “Save me” in the sand. She sprinkles the fairy dust from Dreamy on him and he transforms into Prince Phillip. He explains Maleficent cursed him to separate him from Aurora. Belle asks him to help get Mulan medical attention for saving him and she sets out to return to Rumplestiltskin. But she is stopped by Regina and is taken prisoner.
In Storybrooke, Gold takes Smee to the town line. He places an enchanted hat on him and shoves him over the line. Smee does not lose his memory, thus Gold has found a way to leave Storybrooke. He tells Belle of the success and explains he must search for his son, Baelfire. He enchants a shawl that belonged to him and though Belle wants to go too, there is only enough magic for one object.
Archie is interrogated by Hook, who becomes increasingly angry from his lack of knowledge on the Dark One. He goes to the library to find Belle, but she evades him and informs Gold of Hook’s presence. When Belle and Gold arrive back at the store, they discover it ransacked and the shawl missing. Belle promises to go to the library while Gold searches for Hook.
In the library Belle discovers a piece of rope left by Hook. After researching, she identifies that it belongs to a ship. She leaves the library and discovers the invisible ship at the docks. She finds Archie and sends him to retrieve Gold while she searches for the shawl. Hook appears; he tells her that Gold killed his own wife when she left him for Hook. He nearly shoots her, but she escapes. He intercepts her again on the deck, but Gold shows up and beats him. Hook taunts him to kill him, but Belle convinces him not to do so because there is still good in him.
Belle and Gold go to the town line. He puts on the shawl and she wishes him well. But suddenly Hook shoots her and she falls across the line, forgetting her identity. Gold prepares to use magic against Hook, when suddenly a car with a Pennsylvania license plate crosses from out of town and hits him, crashing into the woods.
So, what did you think? Excited to have Once back from hiatus? I’ll admit, I’m missing the current Fairytale Land scenes…but I have a feeling we’ll be going back there soon enough. And who could this mystery car be? Tallahassee? Leave your comments!