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A lone rider in the woods turns out to be Belle racing toward the castle to announce the resurrection of the dark one at the cost of Neal’s life, sort of. She attempts to explain what she saw when Rumple “absorbed” Neal, and also that Zelena now has the dagger. She controls Rumple.
Aurora is the one who tells Snow and Charming that Zelena wants their baby and, as if on cue, Zelena flies into the castle to confront Snow, Charming, and Regina. She first turns Aurora and Phillip into flying monkeys with the flick of her wrist, and they fly away. At this point, she freezes the rest of them, approaches Snow, rubs her belly, and lets her know that she will be returning to take the child.
Obviously, they begin looking for any means to stop her. Their efforts are in vain, though. At a meeting of the round table, they realize that the first time around (when Regina cast the curse) they got advice from Rumple. Regina suggests that they find him and ask him for some again.
As Snow, Charming, Regina, Robin and Belle search Rumple’s castle, they find him spinning away in a cage. He mumbles and chants in rhymes that make them think he’s crazy. Belle pleads with him to tell them how to defeat Zelena, so he tells her to find Glinda, the good witch of the South, who was banished to the dark woods. When they find her, she tells them that even her own magic is not powerful enough. Only a person with the strongest light magic can take Zelena’s pendant which will remove her magic and allow her to be defeated. It must be Emma.
It would appear that the only way to stop Zelena is to get back to our world and find Emma, but how? There are no portals, no magic beans, no magic hats. It is finally decided that the only way back is to reenact Regina’s dark curse, but Regina can’t do it. The thing she loves most is Henry. Snow and Charming decide to do it. He sacrifices himself but Zelena flies in and changes the curse so that it will now include a forgetting spell. After she leaves, Snow begs Regina to save Charming by taking her heart, splitting it in half, and placing half in Charming. Regina is hesitant, but Snow says she knows it will work, because she has faith, she believes, and she was right.
Zelena creates a potion that will allow her to retain her memories in Storybrooke, and offers the rest of it to Rumple. After she departs, Baelfire somehow temporarily separates himself from Rumple, writes a message, and ties it along with the rest of the memory potion to the leg of a dove, and directs it to deliver the message to Hook.
In Storybrooke, Regina and Robin have a hallway rendezvous, but are interrupted by Henry, causing us to see in Regina the pain of their disconnect. In the next room, Emma, Snow, and Charming await her arrival. With the usual banter, they begin discussing ways of defeating Zelena and contemplating reasons why she might have brought them back to Storybrooke. Together, they come up with a plan to break the memory curse to see if maybe they already know how to defeat Zelena and just can’t remember. The plan is to find and use the storybook to get Henry to remember.
The storybook was found in the Charmings’ apartment, after which Snow and Emma have a revealing conversation. Emma admits that she doesn’t want Henry to get his memories back, because this life is too hard. She wants to take him back home to New York where their life was really good. Snow admonishes Emma by explaining that New York wasn’t really home, it only seemed like home because they had forgotten about the rest of their family.
Meanwhile, Gold pulls up to a wooded location with Hook tied up in his trunk. Zelena is there waiting to give him a warning symbol that if he doesn’t kiss Emma before Snow’s baby is born, she’ll kill Henry. Alarmingly Henry goes missing. It turns out that Henry has gone to the docks with Hook, who attempts to entice Henry to return to New York with Smee. Just then, a flying monkey swoops in and chases the three into the boathouse. After the attempted attack, Emma helps Henry remember by giving him back his storybook. He is doubtful, but the second he touches it, he remembers everything.
Evidently, all Emma has to do to break the curse is kiss Henry on the forehead, but before she can, Zelena snatches him away. Both Regina and Emma try to stop her unsuccessfully. Zelena blames Hook, because he failed to do her bidding and he knew that Henry’s life would be the consequence. With deep breath, eyes closed, and hands clenched, Emma summons her magic to free Henry from Zelena’s grip.
Henry runs to Emma, and then to Regina, who professes her love for him and kisses him on the forehead. That is the true love’s kiss that breaks the memory spell for the residents of Storybrooke. Now that they remember the “missing year,” Emma asks them how Zelena cast the spell only to find out that it was Snow and Charming that cast it in an attempt to find her. She is the one who can defeat Zelena.
Regina introduces Henry to Robin Hood. Simultaneously, Emma and Hook discuss the fact that he was trying to protect Henry by putting him on a boat to New York. Emma scolds him because it’s her job to protect Henry, not his, and she feels that she can no longer trust him. Hook confides that Zelena cursed his lips thinking that he would be the best way to steal Emma’s magic, but Emma, Snow and Charming (who just joined in) all think he’s lying.
In the end, Emma takes Henry to see Neal’s grave. They talk about his sacrifice and decide that Operation Cobra is back on, if it ever ended, that is.