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We open in fairy tale land as Hook seems to be rescuing Belle from Regina, the Evil Queen. He tells her that her father’s life is in danger from Rumplestiltskin then asks for her help in killing “The Dark One” aka Rumplestiltskin. He then asks her about the magic dagger that can kill “The Dark One” aka Rumplestiltskin. She tells Hook that she doesn’t know anything about the dagger, how to kill Rumplestiltskin and that she wouldn’t want to because “he’s not a monster.” Upon hearing this, Hook changes his mind about rescuing Belle and knocks her out instead. “So pretty and yet so useless,“ Hook says after knocking Belle out. Then, Regina appears, catching him in the act but instead of killing him, Regina makes Hook an offer. She will help him if he kills her mother.
Shoot back to Storybrooke. Regina watches as David sleeps. Gold is also there and asks Regina if there is any change in David’s condition. She replies that there isn’t and there won’t be until Mary-Margaret comes back and awakens him with True Love’s kiss. Gold makes note of Regina’s optimism since in order for Emma and Mary-Margaret to return to Storybrooke, they must find the squid ink and defeat Cora. Regina then reminds Gold that they sent that information through David by using the sleeping curse but Gold says that they don’t know if David successfully delivered the information to Mary-Margaret in the netherworld. Gold then adds that they have to take precautions because if “that portal opens it might not be his family that comes through, it might be Cora.” “And neither one of us wants that,” replies Regina. Gold then tells Regina that they have to find where the portal will open and destroy it. “But, whoever came through would die,” replies Regina. “Exactly. I’m confident that between the two of us, we can summon up enough magic to complete the task,” Gold says. Regina then asks Gold “What if we’re wrong? What if that portal opens and it’s not my mother? What if Emma and Mary-Margaret do defeat Cora and come through it?” Gold then replies that killing whoever comes through is a “win-win” for them because if Cora comes through, Regina will be “protected from your mother’s wrath and if Emma and Mary-Margaret come through, you’ll become the only mother in your son’s life. Magic is unpredictable in this world. If something unfortunate were to happen while you were attempting to help. Henry could hardly blame you for that, could he?” But, Regina tells Gold that she won’t lie to Henry, “I’m trying to be a better mother.” “You be a better anything if Cora comes through and if she does, she’ll be a threat to everyone, including your son. So, if you truly want to be a better mother to Henry, prove it,” Gold answers back.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land as Emma, Mary-Margaret, Mulan and Aurora, who remains under Cora’s control, enter Rumplestiltskin’s cell. As Mulan and Aurora search the cell for the squid ink, Mary-Margaret tells Emma that it was there that Rumplestiltskin told her and David that Emma was going to be the “savior.” Emma is surprised that he knew and Mary-Margaret tells her that “it was prophesized.” As they move to help the other two, they say that they have found nothing. Aurora then finds a hidden scroll. It has Emma’s name written about a million times by Rumplestiltskin.
Shoot back to Storybrooke as Henry is reading to a sleeping David from his storybook. Regina comes in and asks Henry to watch David for a little while. When Henry asks Regina where she’s going, she tells him that she and Gold have to prepare for Emma and Mary-Margaret’s return through the portal. Henry is surprised that Regina wants to help and she reminds him of her promise to him that she would do better “so I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that they come back safe.” Henry then replies, “You really have changed.” They smile at each other and then Regina leaves saying she’ll be back soon.
Shoot to Gold and Regina in the mines in Storybrooke. Gold tells her that he’s glad “you’ve come to your senses.” They find the diamonds and Regina asks Gold how much they need. He tells her, “All of it.” Regina then asks Gold how and he replies, “With a little help from a fairy. A dead one. Believe me, no one mourns her.” Gold then waves a dagger, purple smoke emanates from it and the smoke transports the diamonds into it.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land. Regina has now enchanted Hook’s hook. “It will enable you to rip out her heart. I believe you’ve seen it done before.” Hook replies somberly that he has. Regina continues saying, “The enchantment will only allow you to rip out one heart so make sure you do it right.” Hook then asks Regina what her mother could have done “to warrant such brutality?” Regina replies, “That’s my business. Yours is to kill her and bring her body back to me.” Hook then asks when he will leave on his “murderous journey.” Regina replies, “Immediately.” Then, Regina tells Hook that he won’t be going alone and reveals a body. It’s Claude, who Hook murdered in his cell block. Regina then explains how she “banished my mother to a far off land some time ago. You’re going to need a portal to get to her.” Regina then pulls out The Mad Hatter’s hat and tells Hook, “The rules are simple. One goes in, one comes back, in this case, two go in, two come back. You’ll arrive with Claude and you’ll return with my mother.” Hook then asks what far off land he is venturing to. Regina simply replies, “Wonderland.” Hook then asks how he will find her mother and Regina tells him that she will find him. Regina then spins the hat and a portal begins to open.
Shoot to Hook being brought before a masked Queen of Hearts, who asks Hook why he’s in Wonderland. He tells her he’s searching for Cora and the Queen reveals they are one and the same! Hook then says he has a gift for the Queen and approaches her. As he does, she inquires about the portal that brought him to Wonderland and she tells Hook that she knows that the same number of people who enter it must come back through. “You arrived with him, but who shall you return with?” The Queen asks Hook, who then tries to take her heart with his now enchanted hook but fails and instead The Queen reaches into his chest and grabs his heart. The Queen then demands Hook tell her why he wanted to find her. He then reveals that Regina sent him to kill her. Then, the Queen tells Hook that he will tell her everything because “when you hold a heart you control it and you have the power.”
Shoot back to Emma, Mary-Margaret, Mulan and Aurora in Rumplestiltskin’s cell. Emma is trying to figure out why he wrote her name so many times. Mary-Margaret tells Emma that he was obsessed with her because she was the key to breaking the curse. Aurora then reiterates that the ink isn’t in the cell but Mary-Margaret refuses to stop searching. Then, Mulan says that Mary-Margaret was “right in a matter of speaking.” Mulan then shows Mary-Margaret and Aurora an empty pot, which must have held the ink. Suddenly, Aurora picks up a rock and throws it at the door control, snapping the bars shut and trapping all four women. Then, Cora appears, taking the magic compass! The women yell at Aurora for betraying them but Cora takes out Aurora’s heart and tells them not to blame her because she was just doing what she was told. Then, Hook appears and tells Emma that he took Aurora’s heart. Cora then squeezes Aurora’s heart as she tells the women that “Storybrooke awaits.” As they leave, Emma begs Hook not to help Cora and tells him that Henry, her son is in Storybrooke and needs her. He replies that she should have thought of that when she abandoned him on the beanstalk. “You would have done the same,” Emma replies. “Actually, no,” Hook whispers. Hook then shows her the lone bean the giant kept. He tells her that it’s a symbol of something that was once magical “full of hope and possibility. Now look at it, it’s dried up, dead and useless. Much like you.” Then, Emma, Mary Margaret and Mulan they watch Cora and Hook walk away.
Shoot back to Storybrooke, Henry is reading to a sleeping David when Ruby and the dwarfs bursts in. she asks Henry where Regina and Gold are. Ruby tells Henry that magic has been drained from the mines and Henry realizes that Regina lied to him and that she doesn’t want to help Emma and Mary-Margaret come back. Ruby apologizes to Henry, who then tells Ruby and the dwarfs that they have to find Gold and Regina and stop them.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land as Emma tries, futilely, to break through the bars of Rumplestiltskin’s cell. Mary-Margaret tells her to stop because it’s pointless since the bars were enchanted to keep Rumplestiltskin in. Aurora then says that everything that’s happened is her fault but Mulan says it’s her because she failed to protect Aurora. Emma then says it’s her fault because she’s “the savior and I haven’t done much saving.” Then, Emma realizes now that Rumplestiltskin made The Curse, knew she would break it and knew she would wind up in this cell. She’s beginning to believe that her part in the story, her role as “The Savior,” is over.
Shoot to Lake Nostos in fairy tale land. Hook doubts Cora will be able to get them to Storybrooke but she tells him never to doubt her.
Shoot back to Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts hatches a new plan. She leaves Hook his heart because Regina would know if she was controlling Hook and Cora tells him that he has to choose. He asks her why and she tells him it’s because only she can give him what he wants. “This curse my daughter plans to enact this new land you’re taking me to. You won’t remember who you are so how do you expect to kill someone you can’t even remember?” Cora asks Hook. “If you do what I say, I’ll make sure that you not only kill him, that you remember every single moment.” Hook then asks Cora what she wants him to do. “Get me close to my daughter…and then I’ll rip her heart out,” Cora says calmly.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land, Hook returns with Cora, who’s faking being dead. Regina asks Hook if her mother fought then asks Hook to leave so she can say goodbye. Once Regina is alone with what she believes to be her dead mother, she confesses that after she killed Daniel, she told her something she never forgot, ‘Love is weakness,’ that she needed her mother dead because she was her weakness because she loved her too much. Regina then adds that in this new land and with The Dark Curse, she can’t afford the weakness of love. Then, Regina leaves Cora’s seemingly dead body. When Hook asks Cora why she didn’t kill Regina she tells him that her plan has changed and that they must protect themselves from Regina’s curse.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land at Lake Nostos. Cora has purple smoke envelops the fairy tale land and tells Hook that they’ll wait 28 years for The Curse to be broken and then, when her daughter truly needs her again, she will return to her and Hook will have his revenge.
Shoot back to Storybrooke, in the forest, 28 years later as Regina asks Gold if he’s sure the portal will open there, at the magical well. Gold tells Regina that Cora will come through it.
Shoot back to Rumplestiltskin’s cell. As Mary Margaret stares at the scroll with Emma’s name all over it, she figures out Rumplestiltskin’s puzzle. She blows the words off of the scroll, creating a cloud of squid ink that dissolves the enchanted bars. Then, they tie Aurora down for their own safety and rush off to Lake Nostos.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land at Lake Nostos. Cora asks Hook to open the portal. He spreads the wardrobe’s ashes into the lake. A portal begins to open in the lake.
Shoot to Storybrooke as Regina and Gold wait for the portal to open.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land at Lake Nostos. Cora and Hook hold onto the compass and are about to jump into the portal when Emma, Mulan and Mary-Margaret appear and stop them. Mary-Margaret tells Emma to get the compass as Cora tells Hook that she’ll take care of the women. Mulan is able to recapture Aurora’s heart, thanks to a surprisingly gallant move by Hook. Emma takes the Captain out of the fight, but Mary-Margaret finds herself cornered by Cora. The Queen of Hearts lunges forward to jam her hand into Snow’s chest when Emma jumps in the way. Cora is ready to rip out Emma’s heart instead when she realizes she can’t. Instead, Cora is blasted back when Emma somehow summons a magical pulse! Not knowing how that happened, Emma and Mary Margaret jump into the portal.
Shoot back to Storybrooke. Henry and Ruby found Gold and Regina watching over the trapped well. Gold incapacitates Ruby while Regina tries to stop Henry. He begs her to undo the spell and tells her that if she really wants to change and wants him to believe in her, she has to believe in him. She does and against Gold’s objections dispels the force field. Suddenly, a hand reaches the top of the well. Emma hoists herself up, followed by Mary-Margaret. Henry rushes forward to hug them. Mary- Margaret hurries to Gold’s pawnshop where she kisses her husband, breaking his sleeping curse. The whole family is reunited and once again it looks like a happy ending in Storybrooke. Emma tells Gold that Cora was blasted back by something inside her when she tried to rip out her heart. Gold tells Emma that it was the magic inside her because she’s the product of True Love. The only one looking unhappy is Regina who, despite really changing, has lost Henry to Emma. In fact, it seems she really has lost everything.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land where Mulan is giving Aurora back her heart. Aurora thanks Mulan and tells her that Cora said a soul can be retrieved from The Wraith once it has been stolen. They both then vow to try to save Phillip.
Shoot back to the fairy tale land at Lake Nostos. Cora tells Hook that they have failed but then he takes out the bean. She reminds him that it’s dead but he reminds her of the lake’s regenerative properties.
Shoot back to Storybrooke. Henry tells Regina that she really has changed. They hug and he thanks her. But, then Henry goes with Emma, Ruby and the dwarfs to eat leaving Regina alone.
And on the horizon, drifting through the fog in the harbor, a pirate ship looms. On the deck of The Jolly Roger, Cora and Hook look out over Storybrooke. Thanks to the old magic bean the giant had saved, the pair have made the trek after all. Magic has come to Storybrooke and now, so have villains!