In flashback Fairytale Land, Captain Hook breaks into Queen Regina’s fortress in order to retrieve Belle, believing she has information on Rumplestiltskin. However, she does not. So he tries to kill her but is stopped by the queen herself. Regina then enlists Hook’s help in defeating her mother. She tells him she is going to enact a curse upon the land that will render Rumple an ordinary man without power, thus easy to kill. She enchants his hook to be able to steal a heart and sends him to Wonderland, the land where Regina banished her mother.
Hook arrives in Wonderland and discovers the Queen of Hearts to be Cora. He attempts to steal her heart, but she laughs in his face and grips his until he tells her of her daughter’s plan. Rather than killing him, she recruits him to help her by telling him the curse would cause him to forget his identity and thus he could never exact revenge upon Rumple.
Hook takes Cora back to Fairytale Land and she pretends to be dead. Alone with her mother’s body, Regina tells her she had to kill her because she still loved her. And like Cora had told her, love is weakness. She couldn’t risk not being able to follow through with her plans. After leaving, Hook emerge. She takes him to another section of the Enchanted Forest and creates a shield against the curse. She explains that a savior will break the curse in 28 years. They will be frozen until that time, and then they will make their move.
In present day Fairytale Land, the women find Rumplestiltskin’s chamber and begin looking for the squid ink. However, all they find is an empty bottle and a scroll with Emma’s name written repeatedly. Suddenly Aurora closes the entrance to the chamber, locking in all of the women. Cora arrives will Hook and reveals she is in control of Aurora through her displaced heart. They steal back the compass and leave the ladies locked away. Snow realizes the scroll to have been written in squid ink and blows the words, opening the chamber. Aurora asks to be tied up and left behind since Cora has her heart. Mulan vows to return with it, then the three women set off.
They find Cora and Hook at Lake Nostos, having opened the portal using the restoration properties of the water to bring magic back to the wardrobe ashes. A battle ensues. Mulan retrieves Aurora’s heart and returns to her (and after placing the heart back in, they set off to find where the wraith has displaced Philip’s soul). Cora attempts to take Emma’s heart, but love is her magic and she is able to fend off Cora. Snow and Emma enter the portal back to Storybrooke.
Cora feels defeated, but Hook reminds her he has a petrified magic bean and the lake has restoration properties…
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Gold convinces Regina that they must block the portal from Fairytale Land because they can’t risk coming face to face with Cora. Regina lies to Henry saying she’s preparing for Snow and Emma’s arrival. Regina and Gold go into the mines and steal the magic that’s been mined.
The dwarves discover the theft and tell Ruby who in turn tells Henry. He realizes he’s been lied to and they go to the forest to confront Regina and Gold. However, the two have already used the magic to great a death portal, killing whoever passes through. Henry pleads with Regina to have faith that it’ll be Snow and Emma who emerge. Convinced, Regina absorbs the magic from the portal.
Snow and Emma soon appear through the portal and Emma thanks Regina. Ruby takes Snow to Charming and she awakens him from his sleeping curse. Henry thanks Regina, but he leaves with Emma and the rest of the crew. Regina is left with Gold, who in turn mocks her. As the group walks away, Hook’s ship is visible on the horizon.
What did you think? Honestly I was surprised to see Snow and Emma already back in Storybrooke. I thought this would be a season long struggle. But kudos for moving forward. So, Hook and Cora are arriving in Storybrooke. What can we expect? Will they terrorize the entire town or just their single targets? Will other villains emerge, join forces and create an epic battle? We shall see when Once returns in January! Leave your comments!