“Once Upon A Time” recap: The Big Rotten Apple (2.14)

Previously on Once Upon A Time, Rumple did a lot of things, some good, some bad, some annoying. Regina and Cora are back in cahoots and Emma is in the big apple.

As I brace myself for another episode all about Mr. Gold, we’re gifted with a lovely sight to get us through. Helena is back, in all her glory.

Rumpelstiltskin has been called to “The Front,” which he’s pretty excited about. He wants to prove that he’s not the coward his father was and his wife sends him off on his brave way to fight in the Ogre’s war.

In Manhattan, Emma, Henry and Gold show up at an apartment Gold believes to be his son’s and Henry the Genius looks for “Baelfire” on the doorbells. Emma picks a doorbell she thinks would belong to someone in hiding and after she rings it, hears the tell-tale signs of someone scurrying down the fire escape. Gold begs her to run after him, and since she’s desperate to get out of his debt, she does so. She eventually tackles him on the cobblestone – which, ow – and looks up to find that it’s Neal! He looks pretty happy to see her, but she looks about as happy to see him as I am.

Emma starts putting two and two together and freaking the freak out that her human lie detector might be broken or maybe it was never her superpower to begin with. It’s like she hasn’t been paying attention to all the times she was wrong about people lying to her all season.

Neal wants to go somewhere private but she wants answers. In the end, she remembers her deal with Rumple and follows Baelfire into the bar. Neal tells Emma that he didn’t know who she was until August told him about the curse. Emma was quite affronted to find out she was in prison because of Pinocchio. Neal says that, despite how it ended, maybe something good came from them being together. Emma thought about how Henry talked non-stop on the flight to New York and agreed. She wants to leave and wants Neal to come with her – but he presents her with a choice. She can either get him to go with her and uphold her end of the deal, or lie and say she didn’t find him and be done with Neal Cassidy forever.

Meanwhile, Gold and Henry bond about abandonment – Henry says he dropped his mother like a hot coal when his birth mother reappeared, so surely Baelfire will accept him with open arms. Gold points out that throwing your kid into a vortex of possible doom and giving them up for adoption into a loving home are quite different. And to shut up and eat his hot dog. (That last one might have just been me.)

Flash back to The Front, where Rumpelstiltskin hears his name being eerily called out from a cage-wagon. The creepy voice turns out to belong to a terrifying child with her eyes sewn shut with scary black stitches and just when you thought she couldn’t get scarier, she reveals that she has EYEBALLS IN HER PALMS.

She tells Rumple that his wife is with child and that his actions the next day will leave him fatherless. He doesn’t believe her, but to prove it, she says that they would ride cows into battle. He writes her off as loony and heads off to war.

In an extremely sweet moment, Emma calls her mom for advice. It’s funny when things like this happen, because at first it feels like Emma calling her ex-roommate, and then when it hits you, it hits you, and it’s quite adorable. Emma is in full-blown panic mode and doesn’t want to tell Neal about Henry, or vice versa, but Snow thinks she should be honest, because of course she does. 

When Emma returns to her travel companions, she decides to lie (poorly) and say that Baelfire got away and that she most certainly did not have a beer with him nope, no siree bob.

Back in Storybrooke, the Evil Trio have concocted a plan – find the Dark One’s dagger. Hook has to linger in the doorway because no standard room can fit all three of them, their egos and ambitions in it at once.

Regina visits Belle, who is still in the hospital, and Belle faints upon seeing her extreme beauty in the flesh. Okay, really Regina just put a little spell on her, but really it could have gone either way. She then pulls a little higitus figitus and makes the things in Belle’s purse dance around until she finds something useful – there’s an index card with a number on it that looks an awful lot like a clue.

Regina, Cora and Hook follow this clue to the library, where Regina eventually masters the Dewey Decimal System, and they find where the index card leads. Cora is impressed with her daughter’s sleuthing skills, especially when she finds a piece of paper hidden where the book should have been. Hook recognizes the markings as a map, so he takes the helm in this treasure-hunt.

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