Previously on Once Upon A Time, Regina was wrongly accused of killing Archie, Emma owed Rumpelstiltskin a favor for helping Cinderella (where the hell did Ashley go, anyway?) and the town was afraid that outsiders would be able to get into Storybrooke now that the curse is broken.
We pick up where we last left Storybrooke, with a mind-erased Belle lying shot on the ground, and Hook also on his back after A ran under him with a car.
Then there’s some chaos. Rumpelstiltskin heals Belle with a magic ball of purple, Emma shows up in her sheriff’s car and the ambulance arrives, sirens blaring. Emma goes over to Hook, who is being smarmy despite the fact that he’s bleeding and broken. Their banter is interrupted, however, when Rumple attacks Hook, until he is reminded that this is the opposite of what Belle would want, even if she doesn’t remember it now.
Emma takes in the scene around her — Hook a bloody mess, Belle scared and confused, a stranger no one recognizes unconscious in his car — and, in her dramatically understated way, says, “The world just came to Storybrooke.”
A tinny voice in the hospital warns its employees that the ambulance will be arriving within seconds. Dr. Whale is beckoned to the ER, but the good doctor is sippin’ scotch in the backroom, having black-and-white flashbacks.
It’s Christmastime in the Frankenstein household, and Father Frankenstein is doling out presents. A younger, handsomer version of our doctor, clad in the same type of frilly-shouldered outfit Cinderella’s prince usually wears, gets his present first. It’s a pocket watch, handed down from his mother. Our friend Viktor, however, gets a one-way ticket far, far away. Apparently it’s a good opportunity, but not when he’s so close to actually raising the dead. Vik’s brother is supportive, but his father is decidedly not and insists he stop with this tomfoolery.
Back in Storybrooke, there is more chaos. This time, in the ER. Belle has been sedated, the Stranger wheeled off, Hook being treated. Mr. Gold goes in to visit his unconscious princess and resorts to the default way of trying to fix things in this town – he kisses her. But it seems crossing the border made her finally comes to her senses, and when she realizes what’s happening, she freaks the freak out.
Meanwhile, Emma goes to visit Hook to find out where his partner in crime is. When he continues to just make icky jokes and one too many references to his “member” instead of answering, Emma drops her voice an octave, possibly trying to impersonate Regina’s husky voice, and tries again. “Where’s Cora?”
Hook is, unsurprisingly, not cooperative, but Emma warns him that he’s not exactly winning popularity contests with the townspeople. In fact, she reckons he’s downright doomed.
In the hallway of the hospital, Team Charming is in a tizzy. Random strangers can come to Storybrooke after all this time, Ruby can’t sniff out Regina (wanky) and they’re scared of what us common folk will do to them if they find a town full of werewolves and magic and dwarves, oh my!
The Team snoops through the Stranger’s things and finds out his name is Greg. He likes to do touristy things alone, take selfies with landmarks and photo document his food choices…in other words, he’s one pretty cool dude.
Dr. Whale comes out and lets them know that Cool Greg is about to drown in his own blood. Just then, Mr. Gold comes limping out of Belle’s room and drops the bomb that the Stranger had seen him use magic, so it would probably be best to just let him die. But really he doesn’t give a damn because what should he care what Greg remembers when Belle doesn’t even know who he is?
Without hesitation, Snow White, always pure and good, insists they save Greg. The rest of Team Charming seems to be in agreement, except Grumpy. They argue a bit about it when, from Greg’s phone, comes nerdy proof that this Stranger does know other human beings who will indeed miss him if he disappears into the ether.
In another black and white flashback, Dr. Frankenstein has a visitor. His visitor his not black and white, however – he’s shiny gold and dressed in red and introduces himself as Rumpel Von Stiltskin. He’s curious about this magic they call “science” and offers him piles of gold coins in exchange for his knowledge.
Gold is back in his shop, sulking around, holding Chip and remembering the good old days when he held Belle hostage. Suddenly, Cora appears. She wants a trade — a child for a child, Regina for Baelfire. For proof she can help him, she offers up something that is part crystal ball, part globe and whatever it is makes Gold smile his mischievous smile and make it a deal.
Cora then calls him “master,” and while I gag and avert my eyes as they seal their truce with a kiss, I wonder which bad guys on this show WEREN’T the direct result of Rumpelstiltskin’s evil schemes.
Since Team Charming had officially decided that Stranger Greg should live, they go to check on Dr. Whale’s progress, but they can’t seem to find him — just his pager in the trash.
Charming fills Emma and Mary Margaret in on what Whale had been up to in their absence — the whole bringing Daniel back from the dead, getting his arm ripped off, etc. Emma has gotten better about finding out her casual pop-culture references are actual real people, though she does now worry that they’ll be sending back the Stranger with bolts in his neck. She makes Ruby sniff Whale’s coat (ew) and sends her off to find him.