Previously on Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin left Belle in charge of Storybrooke, ditched Charming and Co. since they weren’t being proactive enough, then paired up with Regina because bitches get stuff done.
We go back to the day Belle was left in Storybrooke to tearfully wave her hanky after the departing Jolly Roger. The other residents of Storybrooke come skipping over to her, overjoyed that they aren’t a heaping pile of ashes. Belle is less than thrilled. She tells them about the cloaking spell, and the “others” Rumple warned her were coming.
Cut to said “others” rolling into town in a red Corvette.
The townspeople rush to the mines and the Dwarves waste no time before hi-hoing some pixie dust out of a rock. Belle pours the spell over the magic rock and The Dome comes down over Storybrooke. The “others” put the pedal to the metal and make it over the town line just in time, though the bumper of the car got spliced, not unlike the cow in the original The Dome. Still intact (and important) is the teddy bear they have hanging from the rearview mirror.
On the shores of Neverland, Regina and Rumple give Ariel a bracelet, a mission, and a sand dollar that contains a message for Belle. Regina promises that if the little mermaid is successful, Regina will tell her how to find Eric. They send her off, reminding her she’ll turn into a pumpkin at midnight. No, wait. Wrong story. Her bracelet will only give her legs for 24 hours.
Back at Camp Lost Boy, Pan can sense that someone is leaving, but isn’t worried about it, because he still has a card up his sleeve…well, in a cage.
Team Storybrooke is having a meeting and Neal has a plan to capture Pan’s shadow. Since none of them has had much of a plan in their five days on the island, they go with it. Neal, Hook, and Emma go off to find the Shadowman, while Charming and Mary Margaret go to tell Tink their new plan.
In Storybrooke, the Dwarves are chatting about how peaceful it’s been without the Charmings flitting about. Grumpy isn’t as happy as Happy, and would rather things return to normal. Just then, Ariel surfaces, tail first, slaps on her bracelet, and strolls on up to Grumpy, asking to be pointed in the direction of a girl named Belle.
The newcomers to Storybrooke are spying on Ariel, because they have been sent to ensure the mermaid never leaves Storybrooke.
At Granny’s Diner, Belle is staring sadly at a burger because she misses Ruby. Jiminy tries to infuse some optimism in her, but before he succeeds, Grumpy storms in, Ariel and her message in tow. Granny makes a comment about her lack of footwear, but Grumpy reminds us of the glorious time when Ruby would strut around half-naked.
Ariel and Belle go to Gold’s shop, where they get the seashell to play a hologram message from Rumple, which Ariel points out is just as cryptic as the message he sent via mermaid. Belle is used to it, however, and starts looking around the shop, pumped that she gets to take on a hero role, because all she’s ever wanted was adventure in the great wide somewhere.
In Neverland, Mary Margaret is still stomping around, not speaking to Charming. Emma doesn’t like it when mommy and daddy are fighting, but Mary Margaret changes the subject to Emma’s twisted little love triangle, when she knows Emma’s hiding her true feelings for Regina. Emma points out that now is not the time for gossip, because her child is still in the hands of a psychopathic, pixie-faced, teenage maniac.
Speaking of Peter Pan, he’s busy promising Henry that he is not holding his family hostage, which is actually true, though misleading. Henry is still feeling ornery, though, so he storms saying he’ll get to the bottom of this.
Emma, Hook, and Neal arrive at young Baelfire’s cave, and Neal says they’re looking for his magic coconut. Emma says he should have mentioned that before they left the camp, because then she would have taken them there instead, and runs off to get the homemade star map they had found a few episodes ago. Hook takes this alone time to thank Neal for being so cool about the whole kiss thing, but Neal has no idea what he’s talking about, because he was too busy singing “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” while in the cage in the Cave of Secrets to hear Hook talking about it. This causes both men to puff out their chests and glare at each other menacingly.
In Gold’s shop, Belle is trying to figure out what object Rumple could be looking for. Ariel is trying to help, but she a) doesn’t know what they’re looking for and b) doesn’t know what half of these whoosits and whatsits even are. She’s asking questions about (and pocketing) thingamabobs when Belle notices Chip on the work table. She puts him back on his saucer in the cupboard, and a tiny trap door magically appears. Inside is a little box. But not just any box, Pandora’s Box. It contains the world’s darkest evil, and will destroy Peter Pan, surely without any other terrible consequences.
However, they don’t get far with Pandora’s Box, because the new kids in town bust in with guns and tie them up.