Previously on Once Upon A Time, Maid Marian got frozen by the Snow Queen and Regina took it upon herself to save her, Emma thinks the Snow Queen and her are connected somehow and wants to know why, and also there’s still no sign of Ruby or Mulan so I’ve officially decided that they met up and have been mourning the loss of their respective lovers to stupid boys by hitting up all the lesbian pubs in the Enchanted Forest.
We open this week on Madame Scoops being shady and carving a human out of a block of ice, because why not.
In the Sheriff’s office, Elsa is frustrated that all they’re doing is reading files and probably also a little uncomfortable in her sparkly gown. She tells Emma that she wants to go out there and fight, but Emma says they should do their research first; Emma is sure her memories have been stolen, and doesn’t want to go into this fight unprepared.
Will Scarlet is still in the cell, so Emma gives him some water and a Pop-Tart, kind of enjoying actually being able to be a little sheriff-y for once and tell him she’s not letting him out yet. Elsa finds a stack of pictures and Emma recognizes them as the ones Regina had taken when Emma first arrived in Storybrooke. They find one photo in the stack of Emma talking to Sarah Fisher in the ice cream shop, but Emma has zero recollection of this either, so she decides to go to Regina for answers.
“Regina used her power as mayor to take pictures of you? I ship it.”
Speak of the devil, Regina is asking her magic mirror where the Snow Queen is. Glass sasses her about how she’s always looking for this woman or that, but she tells him to shut up and find her most recent target.
Sidebar: the Charmings were to this episode what Aria was to the first three seasons of Pretty Little Liars; eating pie while everyone else was getting axe-murdered. Their storyline in a nutshell: Mary Margaret was worried about leaving their baby with Belle, David convinced her, they chased the escaped Will Scarlet, Mary Margaret pardoned him because she thought David orchestrated it for her benefit, he hadn’t, the end. The only good part was when Will Scarlet thought Mary Margaret was married to Emma for a second because Emma pinged even his gaydar.
Emma and Elsa drive to Regina’s place, and Emma remembers when those pictures were taken, a time when her and Regina hated each other, and that one time Regina pinned her against a wall. She says she wants to fix things between her and Regina, they had gotten to a good place, and she wants to go back there. Elsa saw the way Emma talking about Regina steamed up the car a little, so she says that Emma should go in to talk to Regina alone; she’d wait in the buggy. Far be it from her to get in the way of true love.
Emma says she’s worried that things are ruined forever, and when Elsa asks why, we’re hurtled into a flashback.
We flash back to a teenage Emma, flannel shirt and leather jacket, trying to lift a box of PopTarts by sticking it under her coat instead of into her giant backpack. Just when she’s about to get busted for her crappy shoplifting skills, a girl around her age covers for her and offers to buy her the Pop-Tarts; she says lifting credit cards is the only way to go. Outside, Lily spots a man in a car and tells Emma to run, which they do. Emma pulls them into an alley, narrowly avoiding being caught. The new girl thanks her, and says her name is Lily. Emma says, “You’ve got my back, I’ve got yours.”
Ah, to be young and in love again.
Emma goes into Regina’s vault and Regina is none too pleased to see her. She says she’s a little busy trying to save her “true love’s wife” but she says it in a way you mention your current fling to the ex you really care about to try to hit them where it hurts. Emma shows Regina the pictures, who feigns ignorance about the whole thing. Emma says that she would ask Sydney Glass about it herself, but she’s just now noticed that no one has seen him in quite some time, excellent sheriff that she is. When she realizes Regina has no more information for her, she asks about the progress on the whole Marian problem. Then she literally offered her services in case Regina wanted “some extra juice.” Those were literally her words. When Regina asks why she would help her, Emma says the same thing she said to Lily, “You’ve had my back, I have yours.” Regina scoffs; of course Emma would be on her—oh, right, she HAS her back. Okay. But Regina still turns her away.
Regina, stop playing hard to get. Okay keep doing it, I like your angry voice.
Outside in the buggy, Elsa hears her sister’s voice calling out to her and heads into the graveyard after it. When Emma finds the buggy empty, she follows Elsa into the darkness.
Inside the vault, Sydney Glass returns to the mirror to tell Regina he has found the Snow Queen’s lair. He tries to blackmail her into freeing him for the information, but she literally laughs in his face and reminds him how much power she holds over him, so he agrees to lead her to the Snow Queen.