Previously on Once Upon A Time, Mary Margaret ditched her ‘pure as snow’ shtick and killed Cora, Regina vowed to make her pay, and I started putting up Lost Wolf posters for Ruby.
Since this episode took place entirely in Storybrooke, but at two different times, I’m just going to call it like I see it to hopefully keep everything where it belongs. Wish me luck.
THE PAST (1983, to be exact.)
We open on a boy learning to make a knot with his dad in the woods. Papa bear even gives his little cub a key chain he made when he was a kid himself. It’s cute and sweet and therefore I immediately fear for their lives. Sure enough, a purple cloud descends upon them and they take cover. Fortunately, they were safe in their tent, but their surroundings were pretty much obliterated, including their truck. They start heading towards the highway when they come across a small town. Stranger Dad is totally thrown because he’s quite certain this was nothing but woods the night before.
Out of a police car steps none other than good ol’ Sheriff Graham who welcomes them to the tiny town – Storybrooke.
The Evil Queen wakes up in her brand new town bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to be Mayor.
She’s pretty impressed with the wardrobe collection she gave herself and struts around town, checking out her loyal subjects in the new roles she created for them. I won’t lie, I was checking some of them out myself.
When Regina pops into Granny’s for a bit, Stranger Dad is there. His name is Kurt and he asks for a hotel room, since they’re far from their home in New Jersey (also home of The Boss). Regina is confused and demanding answers from Graham as if he would somehow know more than her. The whole unknown-ness of these two is really throwing Regina for a loop.
Regina is at her mother’s coffin…again. Gold comes to pay his respects and try to convince Regina to give up this vengeance bit, telling her that it will cost her Henry. She’s not moved by his plea, however. She wants to have her cake and eat it too.
Mary Margaret is having the biggest pity party ever. She made her bed and now she refuses to do anything but lie in it. Henry’s wondering why Grandma is so weepy, and Emma tries to explain it to Henry but he doesn’t understand – Snow White couldn’t have had a hand in someone’s death, that wasn’t in his book.
After breakfast, Gold comes a-knockin’ and is told to GET OUT and also to GET IN HERE AND HELP US all within thirty seconds.
The next day in Granny’s Diner, Regina tries to kick Stranger Child out of “her” seat. He refuses, but as soon as they get up to leave, she Sheldon Coopers her way back onto her stool. Stranger Child gives her a key chain he made and she seems struck by his innocence and sweetness.
Regina tires of the Groundhog Day routine pretty quickly. Even though I would not hate seeing Ruby in those shorts every morning, the tedium is starting driving her a little insane. When she bumps into Mary Margaret again and she realizes that she sucked all the fight out of her arch nemesis, she goes to Gold’s shop to complain about the caveats to the curse.
Rumple plays dumb and pretends to not remember life before the curse, asking her what’s so bad about being the Mayor. Regina doesn’t want people to just obey her because they have no other choice. She wants them to want to worship her because they want to.
Regina pulls a full-on Santana Lopez and rifles through her mother’s things until she finds what appears to be a super fancy fortune from a fortune cookie. Soon after, David and Gold head down to the tomb, Gold realizes some ingredients are missing and that it seems to be just what you need to create the Curse of the Empty Hearted, which will make someone love you.
Emma’s confused (as per usual). She’s pretty sure that, in Aladdin, the Genie made it very clear that making someone fall in love with you is a big magic no-no. Gold explains that it just makes the object of the curse THINK they love the person casting it, and that it’s enough for some people.
Henry is, unsurprisingly, eavesdropping and thinks Regina is going to use this curse on him. He’s calling Emma and Regina by their first names, until Gold points out that Regina will need Snow’s heart and suggests the only way to stop the Queen is to kill her. Emma hopes aloud that there is another way and Henry is offended that his heroes are even talking about killing his mom. He says so, and storms out of the Loft in a dramatic flourish.