"Enter the Dragon" is the 80th episode of Once Upon a Time.
In order to infiltrate the Queens of Darkness as a spy for the heroes, Regina must prove she's still willing to get her hands dirty. Meanwhile, Emma, David and Mary Margaret scramble to keep tabs on their undercover operative. Hook requests an unusual favor from Belle as Henry makes progress on his search for the Author. In flashbacks, Regina befriends Maleficent and helps her to rekindle her lost spark.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Maleficent is resurrected. ("Unforgiven") The Blue Fairy tells Regina she should look for the author as he left hidden clues in his work. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town") Henry examines a page from the book with a picture of a door. ("Unforgiven") Regina suggests getting Pinocchio to help, but when he cannot remember anything, she yells at him out of frustration. ("Unforgiven") Snow asks Regina to go undercover and stop the Queen's of Darkness' plans. Regina asks what they did, so Snow says she caused the loss of Maleficent's child. Meanwhile, Maleficent mourns over her loss. ("Unforgiven")
The Queens of Darkness don't trust Regina.
On a dark and windy night, Regina is walking down the streets of Storybrooke, stopping outside Granny's Diner when she sees Cruella's car parked outside; she enters the diner. Inside the shop, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula are sat in a booth and they watch as Regina enters and comment that it's true the former is back from the ashes. The resurrect witch asks what Regina is doing here, so she says she's making "it" easier for her, stating that if she wants to kill her then she's right here. Maleficent teleports to Regina, asking if that's why she thinks she's back, so Regina reminds her that she trapped her underground for thirty years and she's not big on forgiveness. The dragon witch states this is true, but there are far worse crimes that must be answered for. Cruella butts in, warning Maleficent that Regina is "thick as thieves" with the heroes, but Regina states it wasn't by choice. She tells Maleficent she knows how much she wanted revenge, so she had to play nice in this town to survive, alone, watching them enjoy the happiness she was denied, "If you're planning on destroying some of that happiness, I want in". Ursula tells Regina that she can't expect them to believe that, but Maleficent states that's why she's here, as she wants them to see she's still one of them. "I am" Regina says sternly, to which Maleficent replied by passing her a shot of alcohol, saying they'll find out. "Are you still a bad girl, Regina?" she asks, watching as Regina takes the drink and downs it before crushing the glass into dust with her hand, "The worst" she replies.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Regina wants revenge now!
In the fairytale land that was, the young princess Snow White is riding her prized steed in the gardens of her castle, enjoying herself, as Regina watches from the stable in jealousy. The queen angrily slams the door shut, having seen enough, and she starts ripping Snow's ribbons off the walls. Rumple suddenly appears, who tells Regina he loves a touch of irony. The queen suddenly turns to him, hiding a book behind her back, as he explains the day she met Snow she almost died on a horse, now she's the best rider in all the land. Regina corrects that it's the horse who won those medals, but Rumple points out that good fortune seems to fall on her lap. A frustrated Regina says he promised to teach her magic so she could end her charmed life, but Rumple reminds her that he is and she's just being impatient. He magically grabs the book from behind her back to see what she snuck out to read, and he reveals that it's Maleficent's spell book. The queen explains that she found it in her mother's things and starts to reveal that she can turn into a dragon, but Rumple beats her to it. Growing frustrated, Regina says she's tired of watching Snow grow up and getting everything, while she finally wants to have her revenge. Rumple laughs, telling her she doesn't know what revenge looks like and she agrees, claiming to only know what his lessons look like, and they're taking her nowhere.
Rumple tells his student to have patience.
"Before you start throwing stone you might want to look in the mirror, and I'm not speaking metaphorically" Rumple tells Regina, leading her to look in the mirror and magically see a baron landscape. She asks what it is, so he explains it's known as the Wasteland, but years ago it was a lush forest until Maleficent burned it down. He explains that her dragon flame burned so hot that there's still one tree on fire half a life time later. Smiling, Regina asks if he knows how she did it, so he explains that she did it with a magic she cultivated over time, stating that if you ignore the gift of time and rush into things then you'll never be ready. Regina supposes that this is just an excuse and he's not a skilled enough teacher to show her, amusing Rumple, who asks if she thinks Maleficent will help her. Regina states that she's tired of waiting, and Rumple tells her that's her problem, wishing her luck with Maleficent before magically teleporting her to the Wasteland. "Rumple" the queen angrily sighs, realizing where she is. Noticing the sound of fire, Regina turns around to see the tree still on fire and Maleficent's castle up in the mountains. She appears impressed and smiles, looking at her spell book, ready to learn from the powerful witch.
Emma worries over Regina.
In Storybrooke, Charming, Emma and Snow enter their apartment as Emma questions what Regina is doing. Charming reveals that she's going undercover, but Emma asks if they're out of their minds as it'll be with someone who can turn into a dragon, asking why they didn't call her. Charming insists there wasn't time as she told them the plan and that was it, but Emma states that they should have told her. Snow asks why, asking if she thinks she could've stopped her, but she claims she could've helped as she was a bails bond person so pretending to be someone was a part of her job. Snow respects this, but insists Regina can take care of herself. Emma hopes she's right, asking when she was supposed to check in. The couple remain silent, so Emma asks the question again. Charming tells her about an hour ago, horrifying Emma, who begins imagining the worst.
A game of chicken.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of town, Cruella is driving her car with Regina, Maleficent and Ursula as passengers. The evil queen asks where they're going, but Cruella says she'll find out soon enough. Regina then wonders how Ursula and Cruella were able to resurrect Maleficent, but the resurrected witch reveals that some of them don't exactly trust her. The car drives down a straight road and stops right on top of a train track. A train horn immediately sounds, getting the attention of Regina, who sees it approaching. Confused, Regina asks what they're doing, so Cruella tells her they're playing a game called "Don't be a hero" and the first one who saves them loses. "You've got to be kidding me" Regina complains, leading Ursula to tell her to poof them out of there if she doesn't like it. The train approaches fast, and the three queens of darkness watch Regina, anticipating her decision. Regina sits there, awaiting the train, but as it's just about to hit, she teleports them to safety a few meters away. The three women stare at her, so Regina tells them not to look at her like that. Cruella states that she knew Regina had gone soft and orders Mal to "pay up". Maleficent hands her a piece of jewelry and insists she's just rusty, so it doesn't mean anything. Maleficent asks if they're playing too rough for her, so Regina says they should get out of here..."And go find some real trouble" she adds with a mischievous smile. The three queens of darkness smile at Regina, impressed, whom smiles in return, excited.
Belle offers some cake.
Over at Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, Henry is in the back room investigating the page of his storybook with a magnifying glass when Belle approaches him with some food, asking if that's the page August took out. As they look at the page which is a picture of a door, she asks if he's found anything, so Henry theorizes that this door somehow has something to do with the author, but he just has to figure our where it is. Belle assures him he will and then passes him his food, leaving him to get on with his investigation. As he picks up his magnifying glass and examines the fine details on the page, he quietly asks to himself what August was trying to tell him.
Hook tries to calm Emma down.
Meanwhile, Emma pulls up outside Granny's Diner in her car, seemingly in a hurry, as Hook exits the building. She rushes to him, asking if he found anything in there, so he explains he found a burned table, broken bottles and a very irate Granny, because Regina and the witches apparently drank the place dry. He supposes Regina won them over, but Emma fears that's just what they wanted her to think. Hook says he knows she's worried, but tells her they don't even know what happened yet; she states that's what is worrying her as they can't find Regina anywhere. She then questions why Regina hasn't come back yet if she had the undercover thing under control.
Over in the woods, Snow and Charming are driving in the latter's truck as the former supposes Regina going undercover might have been a bad idea because she may have been hurt; Charming assures her that Regina can take care of herself. Snow suddenly points out something on the side of the road, and they park beside a burnt out police car. The couple get out to investigate and Charming questions what happened to one of his sheriff cars. "Maleficent happened" Regina says, appearing from behind, explaining that's her idea of a good time. Snow asks Regina if she's okay and what happened last night, so the ex-mayor says she had to prove herself, which meant lots of drinking, burning and destruction. After apologizing about the car, she reminds the couple that they shouldn't be here and the next time they meet it has to be covertly. "Next time? You didn't find out what they're planning?" Charming asks, confused, leading Regina to point out it's only been one night, but she did find out they're hiding something powerful. Snow asks what it is, but Regina claims to not know. "So the only thing you accomplished was property destruction?" Snow moans, leading Regina to state she accomplished trust, as last time she had to come to Maleficent, but this time it'll be the other way around.
The great and powerful Maleficent.
Inside the Forbidden Fortress, Regina nervously enters a room, calling out for Maleficent. When there's no response, Regina states that she's been learning magic, beginners stuff, and she thought she'd be able to teach her. "Why don't you show me what you've learned and light that fireplace" a voice calls out with no one to be seen. Regina moves over to the cold fireplace and nervously holds out her hand, struggling to make fire. When she eventually makes it, she shoots the ball and lights a fire; she smiles. "That's pathetic, but it'll do" Maleficent tells her, finally appearing, and looking like she's seen better days. Regina watches in awe as Maleficent takes a seat beside the fire and comments that it feels nice, since she hasn't had a proper fire in years. The powerful witch takes a needle from a pot and pricks her finger with it, leading Regina to ask what it is. "You won't read about this in any spell book" she tells Regina, explaining that it's a single drop of sleeping curse mixed with sea water and toadstool and it helps "take the edge off".
As Maleficent sits back in her chair, Regina shows disappointment on her face, making Maleficent laugh and ask if she's not everything she expected. Regina asks what happened to her, "A rose," she responds, "A Briar Rose". Regina points out that she's the girl she put under a Sleeping Curse, but Maleficent explains that King Stefan ruined it all with true love's kiss. As she pricks herself again, she tells Regina that she doesn't even care any more. A confused Regina tells the witch that the Maleficent she read about wouldn't just give up, telling her she needs to remember who she really is. This angers Maleficent and she gets up from her seat and walk towards Regina, making her back away as she reminds Regina that the old Maleficent had a foul temper and if you insulted her she'd turn into a dragon and eat your flesh. She then drops her head next to Regina, meekly commenting that it's good for her that she already had breakfast, "Take your dusty book and get out of my castle" she says, pushing Regina away.
Rumple wants to start a war.
Back in Storybrooke, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula enter a small cabin where Rumplestiltskin is stood prodding a fire. He asks where the hell they've been all night, but Maleficent tells him not to be nasty as Regina came to find them and they had some catching up to do. Rumple asks what she was after, so Ursula explains that she was sniffing around for information. "I assume you didn't tell her I'm what you're hiding?" he asks, leading Cruella to assure him they were careful and she doesn't know a thing. "Very interesting plan bringing us all together" Maleficent comments, causing Rumple to state that his plan is only just beginning and Regina does present an intriguing possibility. Maleficent asks if he really thinks she'll help them, so he explains that heartbreak turned her into a monster once before and now her heart is broken anew. He comments that she's lost a love and is in great pain, Maleficent adds that she and him both know pain makes you stronger. "Indeed it does" he agrees, going on to claim that when war hits Storybrooke everyone is going to have to choose a side, including Regina. "And what war is that?" Maleficent asks, "The one we're about to start, and tonight we're going to throw the first punch" Rumple replies, turning to the fire and prodding it again.
Regina is told about a wedding.
In the Enchanted Forest that was, Regina walks down the road after her encounter, looking defeated, when a carriage rides past her and stops per the passenger's request. He opens the door's window and asks Regina what she's doing in the middle of nowhere. She answers that she's walking home to Leopold's castle, so the man comments that it's a long walk, offering her a ride as far as the next kingdom as he's headed that way for the royal wedding. Regina wonders which wedding he's talking about, so he explains that the queen's daughter, Aurora is to be wed. This news seems to upset Regina.
Regina tries to bring back Maleficent's anger.
"Briar Rose's daughter is getting married!" Regina tells Maleficent as she puts an invitation to the wedding in front of her, now back at her castle. She tells the defeated witch that a whole new generation is getting their happy ending while she rots in her castle. Maleficent asks why she cares so much, so Regina explains that if someone as powerful as her can't get their revenge, then neither will she be able to. Maleficent stands up and gently places her hand under Regina's chin, asking if she's had someone taken from her too. Regina sadly confesses that she has, adding that the girl responsible still lives and breathes and she still doesn't have her revenge. Maleficent asks if she wants some advice, so Regina nods, taking the witches hand, "Give up, find another" she says, disappointing Regina. As Maleficent walks away, Regina states "No!", grabbing the invitation and claiming it's a reason to get up, turn back into a dragon and fight. "I can't" the witch says meekly, leading Regina to ask if the invite makes her blood boil. Maleficent turns on the young queen, snapping and calling her stupid, repeating that she cannot turn back into a dragon any more as she lost the fire a long time ago. "Then let's get that fire back" Regina finishes.
Maleficent reveals why she's in Storybrooke.
Back in Storybrooke, Regina is picking up some mess in her mausoleum that was caused during her night with the queen's of darkness. Maleficent enters and apologizes for them not being able to stay and clean, but Regina assures her it's okay because she needs the beauty sleep more than she does. Maleficent smile and tries to brush off the playful insult, moving on to tell Regina it's nice to see her again and she hopes she had fun last night. "Last night, yes, this morning...no" she replies. Maleficent supposes she can help with "this world's version of magic". She pulls out two pills and assures Regina that they're aspirin, not poison, explaining that they help with the pain. Regina says she knows what they are but points out that Maleficent isn't usually nice. "Nice has nothing to do with it" she tells her as she fixes her hair in the mirror, "I need you sharp tonight". Regina wonders if its for more games, but Maleficent tells her there's no more games. "You wanna know why we're in this town? The fact is we are after the same thing as you, the author" she reveals, shocking Regina, who asks how they know about him. Maleficent explains that Rumple revealed the whole story to Cruella back in New York. Regina wishes her luck finding him, explaining she's been searching for months. Maleficent tells her she's been going about it all wrong and what she needs is some new allies with new leads. Regina wonders if the new leads have anything to do with the powerful magic they're hiding, but Maleficent says that before she lets her in on that secret, she has a job for her.
Emma decides to join Regina.
That night, Charming, Snow, Emma and Hook enter the Storybrooke Free Public Library and head to the back, where Charming carefully calls out that they're "here". Regina comes out from behind the shelves and scolds the Charmings' as she said they needed to meet covertly, not bring everyone. Snow says they were worried about her, but Regina tells them to worry quickly as she cannot be seen with all of them. Emma warns Regina that this is a bad idea as Maleficent is dangerous and she doesn't know the first thing about going undercover. Regina assures her she's a quick study and explains that Maleficent already told her why they're in Storybrooke; they're after the author too. She goes on to explain that she simply wants him to change her fate, whereas they want to shift the entire balance so that villains win and heroes lose. Emma asks if she really thinks they can find the author, so Regina tells her they've got a lead they don't, and tonight they want her to help them steal it. Emma claims these things never end well, but Regina tells her she has to do it. After a short pause, Emma says she's in too, shocking Regina. She tells the ex-mayor that she's gonna stick by her through this. Regina fears that it's too dangerous for Emma, but the blonde insists she's a part of Operation Mongoose so she's going to help whether she likes it or not, "Whatever she has planned tonight, I'll be there" she finishes; Regina simply shakes her head, thinking this is a bad idea.
The gal's prepare themselves.
A short while later, Regina is stood outside the library and as she waits, she looks over to the distance to see Emma waiting inside her father's truck, keeping watch. Suddenly there's the sound of an engine revving and both the girls turn to see Cruella's car making its way down the road; Regina readies herself for what's to come. When the car reaches Regina, the doors open and nobody appears to be inside, confusing the evil queen. "Ready to take a drive?" Maleficent says, appearing behind her. "You want me to get in that?" Regina asks, nodding towards the car, leading Maleficent to explain that Cruella enchanted the car to drive itself, but offers Regina the wheel if she prefers that. The evil queen says she much prefers that before asking where the other two are; Maleficent assures her that it's just them two tonight like old times. Regina smiles and then makes her way towards the car, being closely followed by Maleficent.
Hook rudely interrupts a date.
At Granny's Diner, Belle and Will are sat at a booth, on a date. As Belle recommends he try some of the cake, Hook rudely interrupts by sitting next to Will and shoving into him forcefully. Will just stares at the pirate, who says he hope he isn't interrupting. Belle introduces Hook to Will, but asks if they've met, sensing tension. Will confirms that they have and then suggests taking "it" outside away from Belle. "And you clearly don't get along..." she awkwardly notes. Hook darkly tells Will that as much as he'd enjoy blooding him again, he's here for Belle and they need to talk in private. Belle just watches in confusion.
Belle is asked to give up the dagger.
"And no one knows what these three witches want Regina to help them steal?" Belle asks, having been talking to Hook in private. He tells her they don't know for sure, but they're powerful witches seeking more power. He rhetorically asks who is more powerful than the Dark One before asking if his dagger is still in town. She asks if he thinks they're after it, so the pirate points out there's no better way to find the author than getting the Dark One to do it for them. Belle questions how that's possible as the dagger is useless while Rumple is out of Storybrooke, but Hook supposes they found a way to lure him back. Belle begins to fear that any of them could use it to control him, or worse, kill him and become the Dark One their self. Hook assures her that won't happen and asks if she hid the dagger somewhere safe. She confirms that she did, so Hook tells her they need to move it as the witches knew Rumple on the outside, so they may have learned about where she might hide something. He tells her they need to put it somewhere they'd never think to look, so a conflicted Belle asks where. Hook assures her that if she wants to hide buried treasure where nobody can find it then she can leave it up to a pirate.
Maleficent double checks if Regina is ready.
Meanwhile, Emma is driving in her father's truck following shortly behind Regina and Maleficent, who are in Cruella's car. As they continue to drive, she tracks Regina's location on GPS. Eventually the two witches reach their destination, but a confused Regina says it can't be right as they're at Marco's house - the town handyman, so the only magical item they'll find here is duct tape. Maleficent assures her friend that there's something far more valuable, but goes on to correct herself by saying "someone". "That naughty little piece of pine he calls a son" she reveals to Regina, confusing her, as the magical item they're after is Pinocchio. Maleficent reveals that he has information on the Author and they intend on making him tell, but Regina tells her she already tried but failed, because his memories were wiped when he turned back into a boy. Maleficent supposes the trouble was her not asking the questions more forcefully, leading Regina to ask what that's supposed to mean. Maleficent tells her friend she's beginning to worry Cruella and Ursula were right about her going soft. Regina warns the witch to be careful about questioning her commitment, so Maleficent tells her that if she wants to prove she's still the Evil Queen that she remembers then she has to go inside and steal the little boy.
Regina is persistent.
"So there's a tree I burned that's still on fire, who cares?" Maleficent asks Regina sarcastically in the Enchanted Forest of the past as she looks at her old clothing and staff. She turns to Regina and asks why it matters, so the young queen tells her that it's her spark and what is going to reignite the dragon inside of her. She walks past the fearful witch and picks up her old horned helmet which sits on her throne. She passes it to her and orders her to get dressed. Maleficent looks at her horned helmet and then up at Regina; she has a look of determination on her face.
The dragon fails at reigniting her fire.
A while later, Maleficent, dress in her black dark outfit, is stood before the burning tree with Regina nearby. She readies herself before spreading her arms and sucking in all of the fire, hoping to regain her power. After inhaling all of the flames, she lets out a big gasp for air, leading an excited Regina to ask if it worked. Maleficent tells her she isn't sure, but Regina, who has noticed people approaching them on horses, says they're about to find out. The two women turn to see King Stefan and his guards riding towards them. After Maleficent and Stefan greet each other not-so-kindly, the latter warns the former that if she plans on taking away Aurora's happiness she'll fail, just as she did with Briar Rose. "You made sure of that, didn't you" Maleficent snarls before the King orders his men to seize the women. As they step forward, Maleficent slams her staff into the ground and a black smoke surrounds her, growing large as it does when she turns into a dragon. However, once the smoke fades, Maleficent is still in her human form...she failed. Left defenseless, the guards aim their swords at the women as King Stefan tells Maleficent that she appears to have made a fool of herself again. She looks up at him with rage.
Pinocchio is put to sleep.
Back in Storybrooke, Geppetto and Pinocchio are working on a wooden rocking horse they've both made together in their garage. Geppetto tells his son that the horse is ready and the only thing left now is to "see how she gallops". They test it out and both are pleased with the results. Suddenly there's a knock at the door and Regina slowly enters, asking if she can come in. Geppetto kindly lets her in and then wonders if everything is all right. However, before responding Regina flicks her hand, causing the father and son to drop to the floor unconscious. A visibly upset Regina clearly regrets what she's doing.
Emma tries to dissuade Regina.
Regina stands over an unconscious Pinocchio, looking around with regret and conflict. She doesn't know what to do. However, before she can make a decision Emma enters through the back door, shocking Regina, who asks what she's doing. The blonde reveals that she was watching her and when she saw her cast a sleeping spell she got the feeling something was wrong. Regina warns her that something will be if she doesn't leave, but Emma insists she won't go until she reveals what Maleficent has her doing. The former mayor explains that they're after Pinocchio, but Emma reiterates that "these things" never end well, suggesting they take him out the back to safety. Regina questions what will happen when Maleficent realizes what happened and turns into a dragon, but Emma reminds her they're dealing with a child so its too big of a risk. Regina assures the blonde that it won't be if she's there to protect him, which she will if they try to harm him. Emma points out that it would be three versus one, but Regina promises she isn't in over her head, pointing out that Emma doesn't know them like she does. Emma points out that since they came to town her superpower has been going haywire and it seems like everyone, including her parents are lying to her. Regina assures her that the only ones lying are Maleficent and her friends, explaining that they've "taken a page from the heroes play book" and started working together, which means they need to "take a page out of theirs" and break some rules. Emma seems conflicted for a moment, but decides to trust Regina, explaining that she'll be on her tail and if she sees anything she doesn't like she'll "come in blazing". Regina nods.
Maleficent is pleased.
A little while later, Regina exists the garage carrying the unconscious Pinocchio in her arms as Maleficent waits beside Cruella's car. Regina places the child in the back seat, wrapping his clothes around him so he's warm. As she pulls her torso out the car, Maleficent tells her old friend it's good to have her back. Regina nods with a smile in return before Maleficent gets into the car, ready to leave. However, before Regina gets in she pulls out her phone which Emma is using to track her location with. She looks down at the phone with reluctance as she gets an idea in her conflicted head.
The dragon returns!
Back in the Enchanted Forest that was, Maleficent and Regina are walking through the baron landscape with their hands bound, closely being followed by King Stefan and his guards. As they walk in silence, Maleficent notices Regina focusing and trying to free herself with magic, so she angrily asks what she's doing. "I'm not going out like this" the queen tells her in response as smoke begins to emit from the ropes around her wrists. Maleficent asks if she's going to fight, pointing out that there's too many of them. Regina says she hopes her fireballs have improved, but Maleficent insists she can't defeat them, "You're right, not without a dragon's help" she adds before suddenly burning the ropes off her hands. The two witches stop and Regina conjures a fireball, taking out one of the guards with it. However, when she tries to create another ball, she fails and is left defenseless. Spotting this, the guards and Stefan draw their swords to kill her. Regina is left scared...until she hears the sound of magical smoke next to her. She looks up to see that Maleficent has successfully transformed into her dragon form. The dragon roars and takes off into the air, causing Stefan to order his men to retreat. "Look who's back" Regina smiles as she watches Maleficent swoop in the air and breath fire at King Stefan, who deflects it with his shield.
Emma realizes she's been ditched.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma is sat waiting in Geppetto's garage, waiting for Regina and Maleficent to leave, as the tracker says they're in the same spot. As she grows frustrated and questions what the hold up is, she suddenly realizes that something isn't right, stating "No!" before rushing outside. Once outside, she sees that the car is gone and nowhere in sight. As she looks around, she eventually sees Regina's phone laid on the floor. She picks it up and reads a message left by the former mayor reading "I GOT THIS". A confused Emma, speaking to herself, asks Regina what she is doing. Meanwhile, Maleficent and Regina drive down a dirt road in the woods of Storybrooke.
Back in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Princess Aurora, who's wedding dress is ready nearby, is sat in her chamber, brushing her hair in the mirror as she quietly hums a song to herself. Maleficent approaches the oblivious princess from behind, eerily pointing out that she must be Aurora. The princess turns in fright as Maleficent calls her "Briar Rose's sweet smelling bud of a daughter". Aurora stands to face the witch, aware that she is Maleficent, "But my father..." she says before being cut off by Maleficent, who points out that he was going to protect her but failed. A look of panic comes across the princess's face, but Maleficent explains she was going to kill him and her mother until she realized their suffering would be far worse when they see what she's doing to do to Aurora. The princess attempts to run, but Maleficent grabs her, leading the princess to tell the witch her mother defeated her, and so shall she. She states it will take what she has, and Maleficent will never have. "True love?" Maleficent asks, telling Aurora not to count on it as she has her own special curse in mind for Prince Phillip. Before Aurora can retaliate, Maleficent pricks Aurora's finger with a needle coated with sleeping curse. The young princess immediately falls asleep and Maleficent rests her body on a bed. Regina approaches, having watched everything, and tells her friend that it was inspired. Maleficent explains that it would've never happened if it wasn't for her, as she reminded her who she is, "Thank you" she says with a sincere smile.
Belle summons the Dark One... but he's already next to her.
Back in the present, in Storybrooke, Belle pulls the buried dagger out from a hole in the ground and unwraps it, telling Hook she's glad it's safe. She asks if he knows where he's going to hide it, but he tells her the less she knows the better, ordering her to take Gold's car and then the next time they'll see each other is when it's safely hidden. Belle thanks Killian, stating she wouldn't know what she'd do after everything that happened if Rumple returned. Hook says she doesn't have to worry about that, holding out his hand to take the dagger. Belle goes to pass it, but pulls away reluctantly, worrying that Rumple may already be in Storybrooke. Hook questions if that's even possible, but Belle explains that she just has a terrible feeling and the dagger is her only protection. Hook supposes that there's one way to tell if he's in town, use the dagger to command him to come and face her. Belle holds out the dagger and commands the Dark One to come and face her if he's here. With that, Hook's head instantly turns to face Belle...and Rumple isn't summoned. Belle supposes she was wrong and proceeds to hand the dagger over to "Hook" before heading back to the car. After she gets in the car and drives away "Hook" looks down at the dagger and lets out a wicked smile. A cloud of purple smoke surrounds him and he suddenly turns back into Rumple. It was him deceiving Belle the whole time.
Rumple borderline rapes Belle.
Outside Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, Rumple is walking towards the shop; as he enters the shop, he transforms back into Hook. Belle, who is sniffing a rose, turns to Hook and asks if the dagger is safe. He assures her that it is, explaining that they must now swear a pirate's oath and never talk about what happened today again as its the only way to assure the dagger stays safe. Belle nods and then looks with confusion as Hook takes her hand and places it on his chest before placing his hand on her chest. The pirate steps closer to Belle, assuring her that she has his word. In return, she assures him that he has her word. Hook smiles and then they two step away from each other before the pirate asks if the rose is from her admirer Will. She chuckles and tells him it was outside when she arrived, leading Hook to ask if things are serious. With a refreshed smile, she tells him it's new, but beyond that she doesn't know. She tells him that after Rumple, it's so nice to spend time with someone who is no more than they say they are. A seemingly disheartened "Hook" asks if she's over Rumple. She explains that she doesn't think she'll ever be over him, but for now, Will makes her smile. Hook says he's glad to hear that and wishes her a goodnight before walking away. Belle stops him as he leaves, asking what happened between him and Will, referring to their apparent history. Hook cryptically tells her that he took something he cares for. A short moment later, after leaving the shop, Hook stops and looks inside as Belle talks to Will on the phone. Rumple, now back in his normal form, looks heartbroken before walking away.
Regina realizes how to get her revenge.
"How did you get hear so soon?" Rumplestiltskin asks Regina, who is back in her stable, "On the back of a dragon, how else?" she responds, causing Rumple to ask if she means Maleficent as he was certain she'd lost that power. Regina, who is stroking a sleeping white horse, tells her teacher it was more forgotten until she helped her remember who she was. A confused Rumple points out that he thought Regina was the one seeking a teacher, not the other way around. Regina reveals that she was, but then she realized she already had one who was doing quite well with her. Rumple says he's glad to hear it, telling Regina that she's doing quite well too. He then asks about the horse and why he gets the feeling it's not just taking a nap. Regina explains that he is as she pulls out a needle, adding that it's for another hundred years or so. The queen explains that Maleficent helped her see death is too good for Snow White, so she needs to take away what she loves. Rumple tells her that's a lesson he's been trying to teach, but Regina tells him she's finally ready to learn and she'll do it no matter how long it takes, "I can get my revenge. I can get my happiness" she smiles wickedly. Rumple smiles in return.
Back in Storybrooke, Maleficent and Regina enter the cabin, which the latter recognizes as Rumple's. She asks what they're doing here, so Maleficent explains that they needed a place out the way and this little place came available to them. Realizing what this means, a shocked Regina utters "No...". The former mayor suddenly realizes that their dark magic isn't a spell or an object, "That's right, dearie. It's me" Rumple calls out from behind her. Regina slowly turns to face Rumple, who emerges from the darkness holding his dagger. "You didn't really think I'd stay banished for long, did you?" he asks, leading her to tell him she didn't. He says he learned a bit about himself on his journey in the outside world, telling Regina she's right, sometimes the teacher needs to learn from the student, and sometimes you need to fall very far to finally see the light. Regina supposes Rumple has finally accepted the same truth she has, that they cannot get their happy endings without the Author, stating they must be on the same side. With that, Cruella enters the cabin, holding the unconscious Pinocchio, closely followed by Ursula. She places the child down onto a chair as Rumple explains that now they have the boy, they can finally take their first steps. Regina asks what he's going to do, so he tells her to step aside so he can show her, "Or have you gone soft?" he asks, testing her. Regina clenches her first, but tells him "never". She steps aside to Rumple's "relief", and then as the Dark One steps forward, he explains they're not going to ask young Pinocchio to remember anything, because he can't. "No amount of torture will work on him, but it will succeed on the man he used to be" he reveals. Rumple then holds his dagger in front of the child and uses it to transform him back into his adult form. "Welcome back August" Rumple says, awakening the returned man, "Now, shall we begin?" he asks, causing August to look around in fear.
- The title card of this episode features the burning tree set alight by the dragon Maleficent.
- The title of this episode was confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on December 11, 2014.
The episode drew a 1.8/9 rating among 18-49s, with 5.88 million viewers, nearly 3% down from the previous outing, but was the most-watched scripted show of the night.
The episode was met with positive reviews.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "Maleficent is taking center stage among the Queens of Darkness so far, and while more backstories are probably ahead, they've done a solid job so far of balancing the "theme" with the primary cast. Many of them are woven into the Queens's pasts and future plans, and it's such a relief to know there is a way to tell stories about these big characters and not completely push the longtime residents of Storybrooke aside." Ratcliffe gave the episode a 8.6 rating out of 10.
- Rebecca Jane Stokes of Den of Geek gave the episode a 4 out of 5, noting the show's improvement over previous episodes, saying "After a rough couple of weeks, it was great to see Once Upon A Time do what it does really, really well -- provide a great forum for complex, strong female characters to strive, battle, fail, and persevere. Also, for them to do ridiculous things and make fools of themselves to my continual delight."
- Hilary Busis of Entertainment Weekly said, "Somebody call Valerie Cherish, because the subtitle of tonight’s Once may as well have been “The Comeback.” The hour saw three—count ‘em!—big resurgences, two in the main storyline and one in the fairyback... all of which involved villains, or at least morally ambiguous figures. (Remember when August tried to convince Rumple that he was actually Baelfire? Doesn’t that seem like it happened 75 years ago?)"
- Jevon Phillips of The Los Angeles Times commented on Rumplestiltskin's role, simple saying he "stole the show with a few roundhouses of his own.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Enter the Dragon" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (March 15, 2015)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: Enter the Dragon Review, by Rebecca Jane, Den of Geek (March 20, 2015)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Enter the Dragon'" from Entertainment Weekly (March 8, 2015)
- ↑ 'Once Upon a Time' recap: Regina (partially) joins the dark side in 'Enter the Dragon', by Jevon Phillips, The Los Angeles Times (March 20, 2015)