Previously on Once Upon A Time, the Author was released from his book jail and David and Mary Margaret realized they knew him from that one time they tried to kill a baby, and Regina found out Rumpelstiltskin wanted to turn Emma dark and Regina vowed to protect the Savior’s heart.
We begin with a little blonde girl running through the forest away from an angry dalmatian. Another one appears in her path and she finds herself surrounded. A woman arrives and calls off the dogs, demanding the girl to come home. It turns out this woman is her mother, and she intends on making a few changes now that little Cruella’s father is gone. She intends to lock her in her room like a dog in a cage.
Present day Cruella is confronted by Maleficent, who demands to know what happened to her child, since Cruella had lead her to believe the baby didn’t survive the trip from the Enchanted Forest. Cruella says oh yes I forgot to mention I sort of left your baby in the woods to die. Cruella and Ursula kept the dragon egg, which conveniently and randomly enough is the explanation for why they still look the same age after 30 years, but they left the kid. Angry, Maleficent turns into a dragon, and Cruella immediately puts her to sleep. Because apparently in the unspecified number of years they’ve known each other, that’s never happened before, not even as a joke. Cruella says she’s finally going to get her moment in the sun, now that the author is in Storybrooke.
Emma is fighting with her parents about them being horrible people when Regina comes in, exasperated. She tells Emma she’ll tell her about her horrible day later in bed, but for now she has to go to New York because Maid Marian has actually been Zelena all this time and for some reason she feels the need to save Robin Hood. (I would have felt better if she had said ‘and Roland’ at least once.) As for Gold, she has a plan for him.
Regina goes to Gold’s shop and warns Belle that Rumple is up to his old tricks again. Belle asks how she can help and Regina knows just the thing.
The Author tells Gold that his name is Isaac and Gold tells him of his plan to turn the Savior dark. When the Author asks why on earth he would want to do that, he says it will make everything else he wants fall into place. The Author weirdly sniffs Cruella’s coat and before he can spin a story about not knowing everyone from his stories, Rumple poofs away.
He poofed because Belle was calling for him by saying his name three times. She asks him what he’s up to, and he rips out his own heart and shows her how it’s mostly black now. There’s only a tiny glimmer of red left, and only the Author can fix it. Belle gives him a sob story about worrying that she threw out the chipped cup too soon, and Rumple kisses her. But then Belle says Will is a better kisser and calls him pathetic.
Rumple is confused because Belle would never talk to him that way, and then Regina skips out of the woods with Belle’s heart in her hand, enjoying being quasi-evil for the greater good. She sends Belle away and uses her heart as leverage, saying she’s about to go to New York to find Zelena, and Rumple better not try anything, because the second he crosses her, Belle’s heart is going to be crushed.
Cruella goes into Gold’s cabin and greets Isaac like she’s known him quite some time. She growls at him and demands he give back what she took, even threatens him with her dogs, but Isaac isn’t afraid, he knows he can’t hurt him. She appreciates his confidence, and tries the purring attempt instead. When that doesn’t work either, she threatens to skin him and leaves.
A young Cruella is in her hidey hole, listening to a song, when an old familiar tune starts to play.
Her mother bursts in and takes her radio away, demanding she stay in her room and obey the rules.
Isaac shows up at the door looking for a story, and Cruella’s mother is the best dog trainer there ever was. He notices portraits on the wall and she says they are of her late husbands and tells him to go write his own story instead of poaching them. On his way out the door, Cruella gets his attention from her window. Somehow, despite being stories away, she had heard the whole conversation and says she has a story for him if only he’ll break her out.
In Storybrooke, Henry sees Pongo on the sidewalk and talks to him like he’s people. When Pongo runs off, Henry follows him, but it was a trap laid by Cruella, and the boy is kidnapped. Who let him wander off on his own, I’ll never know. (Henry, not Pongo.)