Previously on Once Upon A Time, Emma and Regina did magic together, Red all but proposed to Snow White, Ruby almost kissed Belle but chained her up instead, and Mulan shoved her hand in Aurora’s chest to replace the heart she won back for her. Everything was gay and nothing hurt (until they didn’t invite Regina to dinner).
We open with the not-so-welcome reminder that Cora and Captain Eyeliner have docked in Storybrooke, their intentions less than pure. Hook wants to storm in, guns (swords?) blazing, but Cora gives the kind of speech a grandmother would give and tells him to cool his jets. A kindly fisherman comes and offers to open his tackle shop early for them, but Cora turns him into a fish. Poor soul never stood a chance.
The next day, somewhere else in Storybrooke, Henry and Emma return from a shopping trip to find David and Mary Margaret in bed together. Henry’s all “Are you taking a nap?” but Emma’s horrified expression indicates she knows what this Afternoon Delight is about. She then says something about tacos and my mind went to an inappropriate place.
Back in Fairytale Land, a sexy-armor-clad Queen Regina is riding around, hunting for Snow White. They end up in a clearing and Snow begs Regina to surrender. She refuses, however, and just before Regina strikes with magic of her own, she is frozen by a ball of fairy dust. The whole thing was a setup (except the chance to surrender) and now she’s a prisoner of Team Charming.
In present-day Storybrooke, everyone is partying at Granny’s, celebrating the return of our heroines. They toast to good fortune and turn as someone enters. When they realize it’s Regina, most of them freak the freak out.
Emma tells them to calm down though because—get this—SHE INVITED HER. She said it like it was the most natural thing in the world. Her parents even pulled her aside to ask her what she was thinking but she’s insistent that it was the right thing to do. She’s convinced Regina can change. She believes in her.
Emma is talking to Dr. Hopper and notices a sad, lonely Regina who had been eating by herself and is now trying to slink out the door. She chases after her and offers her cake. CAKE. Cakecakecakecake.
Then Regina and Emma have a pretty typical lovers’ quarrel. They’re polite at first, then Regina thanks Emma, then Regina gets snippy when Emma says she doesn’t think Henry should stay over her place yet, then Regina apologizes. Like a hundred times. I didn’t even know she was capable of apologizing so sincerely, but she does it so many times in this one scene. But then Emma let it slip that Dr. Hopper told her Regina’s trying to change. Emma told her in the spirit of second chances, but you can see a fire light behind Regina’s eyes and we all know Jiminy is in a heap-a-trouble.
Sure enough, Regina finds Hopper walking his dalmatian along the piers and confronts the heck out of him. She warns him that it is not wise to break her trust and he rightfully looks pretty frightened as she uses a slew of hilarious references to him being a bug. Ruby tries to break it up by blinding them with her beauty, but Jiminy’s a cricket and Regina only has eyes for Emma, so it’s to no avail.
Long ago in the Enchanted Forest, Team Charming is having a meeting of the knights of the round table and they vow to kill the queen. None of this is really entirely new information but it did give us a pretty awesome shot of Li’l Red looking all regal and important in her cloak.
Back to present-day, Regina struts her way into Dr. Hopper’s office. She seems a little off, like her rage has escalated for no reason. She grabs the good doctor by the throat, magically freezes Pongo (Pongo!) and kills poor Archie. Seems a pretty sharp turn from trying-to-be-better-for-Henry, right? RIGHT. BECAUSE IT WAS CORA DISGUISED AS REGINA. WHICH, QUITE FRANKLY, IS JUST RUDE.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Emma and Henry being adorable and having breakfast together. Emma is going to walk him to the bus, because she thinks that’s what good mothers should do, when Pongo comes bounding up to them. Ruby comes out because her wolfy senses were tingling. Archie’s pup goes all Lassie on them and Ruby’s like “What is it boy, is someone crawling out of the well again?” and he mind-messages NO IT’S JIMINY, so they all scurry off to his office. Where they find him, dead as a doornail. RIP Everyone’s conscience.
Flash back to somehow-still-sexy Prisoner Regina being tied to a stake and put up against a firing squad of arrows. Just as the arrows sail into the air, Snow has a change of heart. Luckily, the Blue Fairy is quick-on-her-wings, because otherwise it would have been too late. Snow is still convinced the Evil Queen can change her ways, despite the sociopathic grin on her face as the haul her back to her cell.