Having been pulled into Zelena's time portal, Emma and Hook remain in the Enchanted Forest of the past. But in their quest to discover a way back, they must be careful not to change anything or risk altering the lives of their friends and family... as well as their very own existence.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Zelena's open time portal draws in Emma and Hook when they come to investigate; the former falls through, causing the pirate to voluntarily fall in after her. ("Snow Drifts") Emma and Hook come to the conclusion that they're stuck in the Enchanted Forest of the past, seeing Snow White's WANTED poster on a nearby tree. ("Snow Drifts") Emma explains to Rumplestiltskin that she interrupted her parents meeting, and he is later seen telling them that he can work on getting them a portal to the future while she and Hook do everything they can to make sure Snow White gets the ring she's supposed to have stolen. ("Snow Drifts") At King Midas' ball, Emma sees Charming's ring on the floor, meaning that Snow dropped it, and she ends up being arrested by Queen Regina for letting the bandit escape. ("Snow Drifts")
A romantic first date...
Bright lights shine in the distance as the shot moves down an old metal fence, soon revealing that the seventeen-year-old Emma Swan is standing up against it. She turns around to peer through the bars, a pair of black gloves in one hand, but soon turns her attention to Neal Cassidy as he emerges from around the corner, bringing with him two cups of coffee. Emma tells her brand new partner in crime that, when he said he owed her a drink, she was expecting it to take place somewhere such as a park or a restaurant or at least someplace with chairs. Neal tells her to be patient, assuring the blonde that he has something better in mind; having already handed her her coffee, he hands her his own and requests that she hold it whilst he crouches down at the fence's gate with a pair of thin wires. With one in his mouth, he places the other in the keyhole of the gate's padlock, working it very carefully. Emma, looking nervous, asks Neal what the hell he's doing, and as he places the second wire into the lock and twists it, he tells her, "Tumblers. It's all about the tumblers." Soon enough, the picked lock springs open and Neal is able to remove the chain binding the gate shut, allowing he and Emma access to whatever lies beyond. She hands him back his coffee and he tells her to come on, assuring her that it's worth it.
Neal tells Emma about home.
She follows him through the gate, and Neal's hand is next seen flicking a large switch within an empty amusement park. Due to this action, the lights of a carousel come on, as well as all the rides in the distance, and it all appears rather beautiful in this nighttime setting. "What'd I tell ya'?" Neal remarks excitedly, and Emma is forced to admit that it's pretty cool, again following him as he heads over to the carousel ride in the foreground. As the rain begins pouring down, he opens one of the metal seats for her and tells her to hop on; she does so, dropping her black gloves, and Neal picks them up as he proceeds to sit in one opposite. Sipping her coffee, Emma asks Neal what his story is, and he tells her that that's an interesting choice of words - as he applies one of the black gloves, he divulges that he left a screwed-up situation and it kind of screwed him up. Emma is able to relate to the idea of a crappy home life, but Neal explains that it wasn't always like that and was in fact really great once. She wonders why he doesn't go back and try to fix it and he reveals that he can't because of his father. The blonde perceives that he's a bad guy, but Neal says that he wasn't at first... then he changed; "And that's when things got really crazy, but before that? It was home. It was nice. It's how you know you've really got a home, 'cause when you leave it... there's this feeling that you can't shake... you just miss it." Emma frowns, never having really felt this way before, but then Neal smiles, and a similar reaction is invoked within her. He then swings past her on his chain-suspended seat, whooshing the scene out of frame.
After-parties are rough.
In the fairytale land that was, a time-traveling Emma Swan - out of her ballgown and now dressed in drab prison robes - is carelessly thrown to the ground of one of Queen Regina's cells by a Black Knight. She remains on the ground as the cell door is locked behind her, and the woman in the cell next to her asks if she's alright. Emma, wiping her hands of the floor's muck, says that she thinks so and thanks her fellow prisoner, going on to introduce herself as Leia (her alias from the ball). The prisoner sighs that she wish she could say it was nice to meet her, but Emma, who's gotten to her feet, understands that the circumstances they're under don't really call for such social niceties. She asks the woman's name, but the prisoner whispers that she dare not speak it for the Queen doesn't know who she is and her silence is the only thing keeping her family safe. Emma deduces that the Queen is pretty ruthless and the prisoner nods, looking pensive. The blonde then produces some bread from within her robes and protrudes it with her hand through the bars as an offering, saying that she swiped it from a food tray on the way down.
Emma makes a new friend... maybe she's important.
The woman stands up and happily accepts the food, and when she stands in full light, Emma recognizes who she is. The prisoner is stricken by this face of realization and asks Emma what's wrong, leading the blonde to say that she saw her in the village the previous day; she wanted to help but ultimately didn't. The woman assures her new companion that it's alright, for had she tried to rescue her, she would merely have ended up in this dungeon a day sooner. Emma wonders why Regina arrested the woman, and the latter explains that she knew where Snow White was hiding but refused to tell the Queen. Emma is stunned that this woman has given up her freedom to ensure Snow's, but the woman herself is adamant that the wanted princess is innocent. Curious, Emma asks her how long she's in for, and the woman replies, "Same as you... just one more night." Emma is surprised by this, thinking Regina may have gone soft, but her fellow prisoner explains to her that the reason they're only staying there for one more night is because, the next day, everyone in the dungeons is to be executed. This surprises Emma a considerable amount more.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Déjà vu all over again.
Within the vast woodland of the Enchanted Forest, a hooded Snow White is seen making her way through the trees with a sack of stolen goods slung over her shoulder. She appears cautious and treads with care, but this doesn't stop her from stepping on a net and being suddenly suspended in mid-air by it. She lets out a scream, shocked and trapped, and the prince we all know as Charming lets out a laugh. He then steps into view, having perpetrated this little booby trap, and as he approaches he reminds the bandit: "I told you I'd find you. No matter what you do, I will always find you." She asks if this is the only way he can catch a woman - by entrapping her, but he quips that it's the only way to catch thieving scum. She smirks and says, "Aren't you a real Prince Charming?" to which he replies he has a name. Snow doesn't care, for she thinks "Charming" suits him, and orders the prince to cut her down, addressing him by his brand new nickname as she does so. He wonders why he'd do that and proceeds to take a folded-up piece of paper from his inside pocket - a WANTED poster, bearing her name, face and supposed crimes. He calls her by her name and she looks worried, however, the prince folds the poster back up and puts it away, telling the former princess to relax, for he doesn't plan to turn her in; all he wants is the ring she stole. She shakes her head, telling Charming that she's not the jewelry type, and with a smile and a nod, he tells her that he noticed.
Hook interrupts a pivotal moment.
Snow states very clearly that she doesn't have his ring, but the prince wonders why he doesn't believe her. "You should," says a familiar voice, and Captain Hook emerges from behind a tree. Charming grabs his sword suddenly, on guard, whilst Hook assures the prince that the captured princess is telling the truth. With a twirl of his fake hand, the pirate introduces himself as Prince Charles (his alias) and commends Charming on the lovely ball he threw the other night; the mutton was a tad overcooked, but that happens; he then says that Snow White doesn't have the ring he's looking for... but he can tell him who does: his princess, and he needs the royal's help to get her back. Charming is surprised to hear that another person has his ring, noting that he's now been robbed by two women, and asks Hook where this princess is. The pirate replies that that's the problem, for she's in the Queen's castle, but Snow assures the two men that that's not a problem at all - she knows it well, what with it having once been hers, and she can get them in there, but not from within the confines of her net. "So... you let me down, you get your princess, you get your ring, and I never have to see your charming face again." Hook looks apprehensively towards the prince, who appears entertained as he draws his sword, proceeding to hack at the taut rope that keeps Snow suspended. She lets out a small squeal as the net falls to the ground with her in it (see "Snow Falls").
Charming teases a girl he likes.
The wheel of a wagon is seen turning as it makes its way down the forest road; Hook is at the head, maintaining the two horses as they pull, whilst Charming sits in the wagon itself. Snow is lying down in it, feeling discomforted as they hit a bump, and Hook apologizes. The bandit rolls her eyes and Charming laughs, leading Snow to accuse him of enjoying this. He points out that it isn't his fault that her face is plastered to every tree in the forest, and yet again her eyes roll. The prince soon notices that she's clutching something - something that's attached to her neck by a lace - and asks her what it is, recalling that she isn't the jewelry type. She tells him not to worry about it but Charming quickly reaches and grabs the object from her neck. Snow looks frightened, warning him in all seriousness to be careful, but Charming simply laughs, looking at the small glass vial of black dust now in his hand. He is told by its possessor that it's a weapon, but he appears cynical, not thinking much of dust.
In 400 yards, you have reached your destination.
Snow tells him that it's fairy dust, from a dark fairy, and it transforms even the most fearful of adversaries into a form that's easily squashed. She finally manages to snatch it back, caressing it in her palm, and states that she's saving it for a special someone. Charming realizes that she's talking about the Queen, and Snow assures him that those charges on her posters are lies, but that didn't stop her from trying to kill her; that's why she's trying to get out of this kingdom and that's why she tried to steal from him - to secure passage on a pirate ship. Charming appears genuinely sympathetic and asks the fugitive what it is she did to incur the Queen's wrath. Snow sadly explains that Regina blames her for ruining her life. "Did you?" Charming asks, to which Snow replies, "Yes." From the font of the wagon, Hook announces that they've reached their destination, and the horses stop. Regina's palace is visible at the end of a long path, and Snow says that they'll be needing help if they want to get past the Queen's guards. Making her way out of the wagon, she tells the two men to wait where they are whilst she goes and gets help - they are to go in at night. Charming watches as the hooded princess runs away.
Nighttime befalls the forest and Charming and Hook appear to have found a clearing in which to set up camp, as is evidenced by the large campfire they're both sat beside. Hooks asks the prince if he's excited for his nuptials, and Charming unenthusiastically says that he's marrying Midas' daughter - what's not to be excited about? The pirate then says, without meaning to pry, that Charming doesn't exactly look like a man who's doing this by choice, and the prince explains how he always thought he'd marry for love, but here he is about to enter into what amounts to a business transaction; a merger of two kingdoms. He goes on to say that this whole ordeal makes him wonder if there's even such a thing as true love, and Hook tells him that he once went through a similar thing himself, but all it took was meeting the right person and everything changed. Charming asks if this person is Princess Leia, whom they're rescuing, and Hook confirms it, commenting that he'd go to the end of the world for her... or time. "And she for you, I take it?" the prince wonders, but Hook simply laughs, saying that he doesn't know.
And the hood comes off...
Charming folds his arms and asks what the problem is, allowing the pirate to tell him that there are many complications. The royal takes this to mean the princess' family, adding that his father is making things quite difficult for him, and Hook reveals that he's not quite sure Leia's parents approve of him. "Given the lengths you've gone through to save her... they'd be crazy not to," Charming says, and Hook smiles and tells him he hopes he remembers that. A shadow moves across the screen and, in the near-distance, Hook notices a hooded figure making its way towards them. Standing up and drawing his sword, Charming asks what the hell that was; doing the same, Hook says he thinks they're about to find out. They aim their swords at the oncoming stranger, but it soon becomes apparent that it's merely Red Riding Hood, wearing her namesake hood and carrying with her her famed picnic basket. Keeping his sword aimed along with Hook's, Charming asks the young woman who she is and, putting the basket down, she introduces herself as Red, a friend of Snow's: the one who sent her to help get them into the castle. Hook wonders how, and Red tells him that he'll see; she removes her cloak.
Emma holds on to hope.
Back in Regina's dungeons, Emma is seen removing Charming's mother's ring from her finger and holding it in her hands, staring down at it sadly. The prisoner in the cell beside her, now with a small bowl of food, asks her what it is, and Emma explains that it belongs to her parents, guessing one could call it their wedding ring. The woman takes this to mean that Emma was entrusted with it, to which the blonde says, "Sort of... I need to get it back to them." The woman then says that being separated from family is a terrible, terrible thing, and Emma agrees, going on to hear that the longer her fellow prisoner is separated from her own, the pain she feels doesn't dull; it worsens... maybe because she knows she'll never see them again. Emma places the ring back on her finger and says that, if her mother was there, she'd tell her to have hope; "Maybe you should too. Who knows? Maybe you will end up with them again." The woman sees this as unlikely and is fairly certain her family already thinks that she's dead, and soon it will be true.
Stickin' it to the tumblers.
However, Emma has noticed something: a spoon on the ground, which has a thin metal wire wrapped around it. She crawls over to the spoon and removes the wire from its handle, telling the female prisoner to hand over her own piece of wooden cutlery. She does so, and Emma removes the wire from that as well, now having two. The prisoner wonders what Emma is doing and Emma, staring at the padlock keeping her cell shut, repeats what Neal Cassidy told her all those years ago: "It's all about the tumblers." With that, she places one piece of wiring into the lock, and then the other. She twists and turns for a while, her face wrought with concentration, but it isn't long before the padlock springs open and the chains fall away. The woman is greatly excited as Emma opens the door of her own cell but the blonde then approaches the padlock keeping the prisoner's cell locked, wanting to pick it. Thinking Emma doesn't have much time to escape, he prisoner wonders what her new friend is waiting for, telling her to go; the leave. Emma looks unsure of what to do.
The dog goes woof.
A Black Knight stands guard in the Queen's dungeons, unaware of the large werewolf (otherwise known as Red Riding Hood, when she's in human form) lurking around the corner, angrily snarling and bearing her fangs. The knight notices her when she growls and quickly draws his sword, however, the wolf barks and has him running in the other direction, where he's quickly cut down by Charming. Hook then emerges, the red cloak resting on his arm, and comments how glad he is that the wolf's on their side. Charming agrees that she's a fearsome one, and the pirate proceeds to draw the cloak over the large beast, allowing her to turn back into a human. Red stands up and follows on as Charming says they better hurry, for further security may be onto them, but she then tells them to wait, for she senses someone's coming. Hearing footsteps, Hook draws his sword, ready to face whatever adversary is coming his way... and it's Emma, with her prisoner friend in tow. The two of them are surprised to see each other, but Hook is mostly disappointed, pointing out that she's depriving him of a dashing rescue.
Emma is berated for altering the past... again.
"Sorry," she says, "The only one who saves me is me. Speaking of which, I'm not gonna be around much longer unless we find out where this belongs." She removes the ring and has it taken from her by Charming, who says he believes it belongs to him. Emma then asks her three rescuers if they have an escape route and Red tells them to follow her because Snow told her where to meet her. She and Charming begin to leave, and as Emma goes to do the same, the former prisoner approaches her and thanks her for what she did, then follows the prince and young woman. Hook realizes that the prisoner has been set free and begs Emma to tell him that she isn't behind this. Emma points out that the woman was supposed to be executed in the morning; she couldn't just leave her there to die. However, Hook points out that, if she was to die, she pretty much has to (for otherwise they could be changing the course of time). Charming, having noticed the two of them are lagging behind, approaches and tells them that he'd hate to break up a reunion but that they have to keep moving and find Snow White. Emma follows on from her unbeknownst father, and Hook follows on from her.
We are treated to an extreme close-up of a redder than red apple as Queen Regina, viewed in all her evil glory via the reflection of her dressing table mirror, gazes at it fondly as it rests firmly in her hand. As she does so, a figure is seen stepping up to the door frame and staying there, watching the regal mistress as she goes about her appreciation. Again being shown the reflection of the mirror, we see very clearly that Snow White is who's stood at the entrance to the room, whilst Regina, too wrapped up in her own murder ploys, remains utterly oblivious to her stepdaughter's.
The Evil Queen continues to sit at her dressing table as Snow White very slowly approaches her from behind, uncorking her vial of dark fairy dust as she does so. She pours some of it into the palm of her hand and prepares herself to throw it, but Regina, not easily fooled, doesn't bother to look at her stepdaughter as she says, "I didn't think you were dumb enough to sneak back into your own home, but then again I suppose you were dumb enough to lose it." The Queen is on her feet now, but Snow, fairy dust in hand, warns the deranged tyrant not to come any closer. Regina, coming closer, asks the princess that stands before her if she thinks she's scared of fairy dust, but Snow tells her that it's dark fairy dust. The Queen frowns, wondering how Snow got her hands on such a thing, but Snow says it doesn't matter; what matters is she intends to use it. Regina asks if Snow really thinks turning her into a bug will stop her and the latter answers negatively, going on to say that stepping on her will.
Regina fights magic with magic.
The Queen is somewhat surprised to hear that Snow plans on killing her, not believing the benign bandit to have that in her. There is a pause; both women make extreme eye contact. It isn't long, however, before Snow throws the dust in her hand right at Regina... and Regina freezes it in mid-air with her magic, causing it to fall uselessly to the ground and disappear. She then reminds Snow White that dark magic is her strong suit, not the other way around, and she summons her guards. Multiple Black Knights enter the room, and the Queen tells her stepdaughter that it's about time she suffered as she did. "It was a mistake, Regina," says Snow, "I didn't know telling your mother about Daniel meant that she would stop your marriage, I was a child!" "A child who didn't learn the most basic lesson!" Regina fights back, "All actions have consequences." Snow nods and tells her stepmother that she can kill her... but this kingdom will never be hers. "She dies tonight," the Queen states firmly, and Snow is taken away by the guards.
A horrifying view.
Red leads Emma, Charming, Hook and the former prisoner through the vast halls of Regina's palace.
Meanwhile, outside, the shot is closed up on Snow's partially-full vial of dark fairy dust, still round her neck. It then moves up to her face, which nods, and the Black Knights proceed to march her down a makeshift aisle, at the end of which is the wooden stake where she is to burn. Regina watches from the stake-free end of the aforementioned aisle, determined.
The team of five make it to where they were supposed to meet Snow, but all they find is a window which Hook looks out of. "What is it? Did you find Snow?" Emma asks, worried, to which the pirate pensively replies, "I'm afraid so." Through the window, they all witness what the camera takes us towards: the Evil Queen walking towards Snow White as the latter is secured to the stake by Black Knights. They pause, awaiting orders, and Regina nods at them, signalling for them to begin tying Snow's hands above her head with rope.
From the window, Emma says they have to get down there before it's too late, but Charming says in turn that he doesn't think they can.
Snow White is executed at long last.
Snow looks stoic as Black Knights continue tying her hands, and then a sack is pulled over her head. Regina's smile grows ever-wider.
Tears begin streaming from Emma's eyes as she watches this, but Hook begins pulling her away from the window in an attempt to shield her from view. From up there, a fireball is seen flaring up in the Queen's hand.
Regina gives the fireball time to grow before pushing it firmly forward. It hits the straw and kindling surrounding the base of the stake Snow's tied to and sets the whole thing alight, quickly consuming the young princess with flames.
Emma's crying becomes more uncontrollable as Hook continues to hold her; a hand goes to her mouth as she watches her mother die and can't do a single thing to stop it. The fire continues burning. Red looks utterly horrified, and Charming seems to be in some sort of catatonic state.
The Queen watches the flames as they grow and brighten up the night. A smile spreads itself across her face as her long unfulfilled desire to kill Snow White finally culminates; she drinks this moment in with glee. A wolf's saddened howl is heard in the distance.
Emma laments over her mother's death...
A campfire burns somewhere in the woods as Emma sits there, her eyes filled with unstoppable tears. Hook sits beside her, and he tells the blonde that, after his brother passed, all he could do was relive that final, terrible moment; he then says that she can't do that to herself, for all one can do in times like these is try to live in the here and now. "Here and now..." Emma echoes, slowly coming to a realization. She then points out that she's still there, wondering how that's possible when they saw her mother die, which means she would never have been born. Hook too realizes that she should have faded from existence, which leads him to the conclusion that perhaps... "She's still alive!" Emma finishes for him, standing up in her excitement, and a loud and vivid ladybug is seen flying its way into the scene. Emma says that, if Snow is out there, they have to find her. Hook, who's stood up as well, bats the ladybug out of his face a few times and curses the vermin, saying that they should head back to the Queen's castle and take a look around, for perhaps this is a trick by Regina. The insect continues to bug him and Emma says in reply that, whatever happened, Regina thinks Snow is dead.
...which Hook then nearly causes.
The ladybug soon lands on her arm and Hook tells her to stay where she is as he grabs a log, going to squish the ladybug. However, Charming (who's been packing up the wagon in the background along with Red and the prisoner) tells Hook to wait, approaching the scene and ordering him not to harm the insect. He explains that, when they were coming to rescue Leia, Snow told him what his dust would do to the Queen: she said it would turn her into a form that could easily be squashed; a bug. He gently takes the ladybug from Emma's arm and into his hand, and Emma is surprised by the prospect of her mother having transformed herself in such a way; he says that, assuming Snow timed everything right, she could have used the dust on herself, avoided the fire and flown away. He stares at the loud ladybug on his finger and becomes sure that it's her, now needing a way to turn her back. The miniature Snow crawls into the prince's palm and Emma realizes that she's saying something, which Hook says is wonderful if anyone is fluent in bug.
The Blue Fairy helps out.
"She's calling for me," says a voice in the sky, and the bright glowing form of the Blue Fairy descends, her wings flapping gently in the air. Emma is utterly amazed by the sight, and happily says, "Blue..." as though the two of them are already familiar with one another. The fairy confirms this, going on to ask Emma's name, and she introduces herself as Leia. "No, that's not it..." the fairy immediately deduces, "But your secrets can be yours. I sense it's better that way." Red asks the benevolent fairy if she's capable of bringing Snow back and Blue explains that dark magic did this to her... so light magic can undo it. She waves her wand and, in a flash of blue light, the ladybug returns to the form of Snow White - alive and well. All those around her are utterly thrilled, but none more so than Emma, who almost immediately ropes her disoriented mother into a tight hug. Snow is shocked by this stranger's enthusiasm and seems confused as the hug continues. When it ends, Snow awkwardly thanks the blonde and goes to hug Red, with whom the heartfelt reunion is heartfelt from both sides. The two of them, along with Charming and the woman, then make their way over to the wagon as Hook approaches Emma, wiping the tears from her cheek and pointing out that it looks like they're back on track. She feigns a smile and nods, simply saying, "Yeah..."
Emma has a plan...
It's now daytime in the Enchanted Forest and Snow White is happily hugging her good friend, Red Riding Hood, goodbye after a brief reunion. The two of them savor the hug before going their own separate ways, and as Red finds her way home, Snow approaches Prince Charming, who's drinking water from a canteen. Emma and Hook are sitting relatively nearby, watching the scene as it unfolds, and Snow says that she should thank the prince. Emma turns to Hook, happy, and he smiles in response, as does Charming to his future wife, who admits that he saved her. He tells her that it seemed like the honorable thing to do, and they grin at one another. She proceeds to say that she's going down to the stream to get some water and offers to fill his canteen; he nods, handing it to her, and offers thanks for the deed. He watches her as she walks away and Emma comments to Hook that her parents are warming up to each other, which is good; "This'll work." "That may be, Swan," says the pirate, "But we have another problem." The blonde's attention is the administered to the woman sitting on a not too far away log, the same woman she rescued from Regina's dungeons the previous day, and she argues that she had to save her. Hook agrees that Emma did the noble thing, but points out that the woman is supposed to be dead; her presence in the Enchanted Forest could have unforeseen consequences. Emma justifies herself in saying the former prisoner is just a sweet, innocent woman, but Hook asks what is to happen if she has a child someday who turns out to be a mass-murderer, or she gets tipsy one night and rides her horse into one of the dwarfs and there's only six of them. He adds that she doesn't belong there, which leads Emma to smile and say she knows exactly what they can do; "Take her with us."
"The future?" the woman is next heard asking after Emma and Hook have explained everything to her. The blonde says that the woman can't stay where she is for she was supposed to die hours ago, but the woman doesn't understand, merely wanting to get home to her family. Hook tells her that they need to believe she's dead, because that's what they've always thought, and Emma begs her to trust them. "All due respect, but... I don't trust you," the woman says (Emma looks disappointed and walks behind her, picking something up...), "Or believe you, so unless you're kidnapping me, I am going to go find my family!" Suddenly, she is hit over the head by a log wielded by Emma, causing her to pass out and fall into Hook's arms, unconscious. Throwing the log to the ground, Emma comments, "Well, then... I guess we're kidnapping you." Hook laughs once he's rested the woman on the ground and tells the blonde how he always knew there was a little pirate in her.
Another rescue mission is on the horizon.
She smiles, clearly feeling proud, but a confused Charming soon approaches and asks what happened to the woman. Emma quickly formulates that she's resting and asks her father what's wrong, leading him to wonder if either of them have seen Snow for she went for the stream and she has... He suddenly begins searching himself and realizes that his mother's ring is missing, meaning Snow must have taken it. Emma asks the prince if he knows where the bandit might be headed and Charming recalls that Snow was seeking passage on a pirate ship; there's only one way to get to the harbor from where they are - the Troll Bridge. Slinging a sack over his back, he goes off to find the thief, much to Emma's worry. She tries to go after him but Hook tells her to wait, asking if the bridge isn't where she wants them to be, for that's where Snow is supposed to save her father from the trolls. Emma confirms this, but adds that the only reason she was able to defeat them is because she had a weapon: the dust. Hook realizes what Emma's trying to say, that Snow's already used it on herself so now she's defenseless, and now they have to go help them.
Over at the Troll Bridge, Snow is placed in a headlock by the Head Troll whilst Charming draws his sword. However, he's quickly disarmed by the two other trolls on the bridge and made to lean defenseless against the brick edge. The contents of his sack or poured onto the ground, including Snow's WANTED poster. The speechless troll shows this to his leader who laughs, instructing his inferior to tell the Queen she still lives.
Meanwhile, Emma and Hook are running frantically down the road that leads to the bridge.
Snow too is thrown against the short wall before being violently pulled back by one of the lackey trolls, but Charming soon sees opportunity to grab his sword and seizes it, literally. He begins swinging his blade and harshly hacks at one of the troll's arms, causing him to unhand Snow. He then goes for the other troll, damaging his face, but their angered leader comes at the prince from behind, weapon at the ready. Charming hits him with an elbow to the face as all three trolls try swarming him; he seems to have the upper hand, however. He tells Snow, who's cowering to one side, to go, for he's right behind her. She follows his instruction and begins running away, off of the bridge and back to the forest road; the pouch containing his mother's ring is still in her hand.
Emma and Hook continue running, coming closer and closer to their destination.
"Follow me!" Snow exclaims, wrongly thinking that Charming is behind her, "They don't know the forest like I... do..." she turns her head around and stops running, realizing that nobody is running with her. In fact, the prince she abandoned is now losing to the trolls, and probably going to die soon. She looks between the bridge, the pouch, and freedom, unsure of what to do... then she sees the empty vial around her neck, which used to contain dark fairy dust.
Snow saves Charming with empty threats.
Charming is now lying on the floor of the bridge, having been disarmed by trolls. Two of them haul him up by his arms, getting him in the ideal position for a beheading, and the Head Troll readies his sword to do just that. He tells the prince that royal blood is the sweetest of all, and then he raises his blade in order to decapitate him. Charming lowers his head, ready for death, but then a familiar voice yells, "Stop!" The Head Troll, his lackeys and Charming all turn to see Snow, who orders the former to drop his sword under the threat that she'll turn them all into bugs. Charming is confused and Snow shows the trolls the black powder in her hand, telling them that it's dark fairy dust; so, they let the prince go, or she will be peeling them off of the bottom of her boots. She goes to throw it but they all recoil in fear, dropping their weapons and backing away slowly. The Head Troll tells the princess that they don't want any trouble, and she says that this is good, adding that they should give her a reason to forget this ever happened. In response, one of the trolls places a pile of gold coins on the wall before he and his brethren continue backing away and climb back down to the bottom of the bridge, leaving Snow and Charming alive and alone. The prince smiles and utters, "You saved me..." to which Snow replies that it was the honorable thing to do, thus repeating his line from earlier. He wonders how she managed it since she already used the dust on herself, but she shrugs, revealing that the black powder in her hand is actually sand; she lets it unremarkably fall to the floor and comments that trolls aren't known for their cleverness. Charming smiles, and she says that they should go in case the trolls come back. He sheaths his sword, grabbing the pile of coins as he does so, and exits the bridge with the woman who, unbeknownst to him, is his true love.
Could this be love?
Hook and Emma are still searching for the Troll Bridge when the former notices Snow and Charming through the bushes, standing perfectly safe and sound with one another and completely unaware that "Prince Charles" and "Princess Leia" are watching them. Charming takes the gold he took from out of his inside pocket and graciously hands it to Snow, saying that she'll probably be wanting it. Hook comments that it looks like Emma's parents didn't need their help after all, and she smiles, watching as her parents fall in love. Having accepted the gold, Snow takes Charming's pouch from her person and hand sit to him in turn, saying that he can't get married without it. He takes it and pours the contents into his hand, taking the ring and looking at it. As Snow watches, he comments that it's probably not her style, but she points out that there's only one way to be sure: she takes the ring and tries it on, holding up her hand and allowing both of them to look at it. They feel something; something special. They are silent for this moment. However, Snow soon shakes her head and says that the ring is "not me at all", removing it and giving it back to him.
Emma watches her parents fall in love.
Tears of joy have welled up in Emma's eyes, and she continues to watch as Snow tells the prince that his fiancée will be waiting for him; Hook tells the crying blonde via gentle whisper that it's okay, for not everyone gets the chance to watch their parents fall in love. "Well," says Charming, packing up, "Wherever you're going, be careful. If you need anything..." "You'll find me," Snow finishes for him, to which he adds, "Always." He hands her the sack of goods and she tells him that she almost believes that, proceeding to walk away as the prince continues to look on. Hook looks surprised, wondering why they're heading away from each other, but Emma assures him that it's okay because that's how it happened the first time; it took her parents a little while to accept their feelings. When Charming is quite done looking at Snow, he turns around and begins walking away himself... at which point she turns around and watches him, lamenting the fact that they can never be together (see "Snow Falls"). Regarding Emma's previous statement, Hook comments that it must run in the family, which she ignores, going on to remove Henry's book of fairytales from Hook's satchel. She opens it just in time to see all the stories reappear, including that of her parents' wedding. As the shot draws in on Snow White and Prince Charming huddle together in marriage, Emma happily says, "We did it."
The shot moves quickly across the stone floor of Queen Regina's palace, revealing three cockroaches to be crawling around at her feet as she stands beside the same dressing table from earlier. "Do you know what this is?" she asks her Black Knight, who remains silent. She adds that "this" is what happens to people (or, in this case, trolls) that fail her. With that, she lifts her boot and stamps very hard on one of the cockroaches causing it to be squashed flat and splat orange blood all over the floor. She then walks sternly towards her knight and orders him to find Snow White. She touches his face, going on the clutch it, as she says, "I shall destroy her happiness... if it is the last thing I do." She then pushes him away and he walks off as her angry expression remains.
Rumplestiltskin betrays his word... who's shocked?
Emma joyously enters the dining room of Rumplestiltskin's Dark Castle, closely followed by Hook who has the unconscious woman slung over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. The blonde announces to the Dark One that they did it, and Rumple, who's currently working on a potion, asks if her parents are back together. She confirms this, saying that she and Hook are ready to go, and Rumple notices that the two of them seem to have brought some "luggage", referring to Regina's former prisoner. Emma tells him that it's a long story and asks him how the portal's coming, wondering if he's able to open it. He answers negatively, much to their surprise, and Emma wonders what it is the wizard is working on. He explains that the potion he's currently amalgamating is for him: a forgetting potion, to be used because he knows too much about his own future and the only way to protect it is to forget it. Emma points to the wand on the table and reminds the Dark One of how he said that could help them, however, he explains that only those who used the portal can reopen it, so, unless either of them can wield magic, they're going nowhere. He chucks the wand to Emma and encourages her to give it a try; when she does nothing, he tells her that he expected as much. Hook angrily asks Rumple if he expects them to stay there, pointing out that that wouldn't be fitting in protecting his precious future, but Rumple assures him that that's what he's going to do. The pirate quickly draws his sword, warning Emma that the Dark One means to kill them, but Rumple giggles before denying it, telling them that he merely wishes to put them someplace safe; someplace even he dare not go - where he stores the magic that is too dark or unpredictable even for him. "Rumplestiltskin...!" Emma tries yelling, but before she can continue, he twiddles his hands and Emma, Hook and the woman vanish in a large flurry of purple smoke.
The three of them reappear in what looks like some sort of dimly-lit vault; Emma and Hook are once again dressed in the clothes they originally arrived in. Hook notices that he's no longer holding his sword, but Emma is still holding the wand, and Regina's freed prisoner is still unconscious and slung over the pirate's shoulder. The two conscious captives look around, seeing how vast the whole place is, and Emma utters, "No..." Once Hook's rested the woman down on a table, he looks at himself in a nearby mirror and sees his own reflection staring back at him, meaning that Rumple's glamor spell is no longer in effect. He comments that at least the Dark One did them one favor, for he's devilishly handsome again, but Emma cares not, being more fixated on finding a way out. Hook then approaches a wooden cabinet and opens it out of curiosity, discovering that a golden urn rests inside. He picks it up for closer inspection, but Emma, seeing this, warns him not to touch anything, pointing out that there must be a reason that Rumple's afraid of this stuff. Seeing her point, he rests the urn on the nearest surface and assures the blonde that he's just trying to figure a way out.
Emma remembers the lack of recognition in her own mother's eyes.
She says that she doesn't think there is one and asks what the point is anyway, for they've already been told that the portal can't be reopened. Hook assures her that she's capable of doing it, reminding her that Rumple said all they need is magic, and she's the savior. She argues that she isn't anymore; she lost her powers, but Hook tells her that all Zelena's spells were undone when she died, so Emma's powers should have been restored. She assures him that she would make it work if she could and asks if he really thinks she's faking it, to which he replies that he thinks not having magic makes it a lot easier for her to run back to New York and pretend to be somebody else; "Well, listen to me, Swan. You're not. It's time to stop running." "You think I don't know that?" she asks in response, "Yes! I run away! That's how I've always survived! But believe me, I want this to work! I wanna go back... I wanna stop running." There is a pause, and Hook wonders what it is that's changed her mind. She hesitates, and explains that it was watching her mother die and thinking that she was dead, reminding him of what happened: she was so relieved when she was okay, and she hugged her... but what she saw in Snow's eyes was nothing.
The savior's magic returns.
She didn't know who Emma was; she had saved her mother and lost her too, and that's what she's been doing to her since she met her; it's got to stop. She goes on to say that when Henry brought her to Storybrooke he told her that she was the savior, she didn't see what he was really doing: he was not bringing her back to break a curse, he was bringing her home, which means Neal was right. "About what?" asks Hook, and she repeats what he told her back when they first met: "You don't have a home until you just miss it. And being with my parents these last few days but not really being with them, I have never missed them more... Storybrooke is my home." Along with this admission, and faint glittering is heard, and Hook begins to smile. Emma wonders why, and the pirate tells her to look down. She does so and discovers that the wand in her hand is now glowing with magic. Her magic. It has returned to her. She is amazed and stares at the wand in her hand, feeling awestruck. Hook comments that it seems she's got her magic back and suggests they leave, at which Emma steps forward and points the wand in front of her.
Emma is forced to tell the truth about Neal.
She closes her eyes and allows herself to focus. It isn't long before a golden, swirling time portal appears in front of them, akin to the one that sent them to the past in the first place, and the two of them are overjoyed. Hook lifts the unconscious woman into his arms and commends his comrade on what she's done, proceeding to jump through the portal and back to the future. Emma readies herself to do the same, however, just as she's about the take the leap home, Rumple appears out of nowhere and says, "You opened it." Emma turns around, shocked, and the Dark One grabs her by the arm, preventing her from using the portal. She begs him to let her go and we are shown a brief shot of the golden urn from earlier, shaking unstably on the surface it's been rested on with the portal so nearby. Rumple asks Emma what happens to his son, wanting to know what goes down when they finally reunite, but the blonde, struggling, recalls him saying that he wanted to forget. Rumple tells her that, before he does, he needs to know, going on to ask if Bae forgives him. "Yes..." Emma utters, but Rumple still senses that she's hiding something, demanding to know what it is she isn't telling him, saying that she will never leave unless she tells him.
"He dies!" she finally blurts out, much to the Dark One's shock and horror. She continues in saying, "He forgives you, he loved you... he died to save all of us, don't let that be in vain!" Rumple theorizes that he can change what happens and save his boy, but Emma forbids this, telling him that he thinks he can change the future but he might make it worse. She cries as she reveals that she loved Baelfire as well and wanted to save him, but he died a hero and his father can't take that away from him; he has to drink the potion and forget everything she just told him. Rumple, still clutching Emma, looks to the small bottle in his other hand, popping the cork. With much consideration, he finally raises it to his lips and drinks at the same time as he lets go of Emma, practically chucking her into the portal and causing her to drop the magic wand as she goes. Once she's gone, the portal closes up, and Rumple's forgetting potion begins to take effect. He throws the bottle onto the ground before noticing the wand on the floor. After he's picked it up, he takes a look at his surroundings and asks himself, "What the hell am I doing in here?!" He then disappears.
Home, sweet home.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, Emma's cell phone remains on the ground of Zelena's barn as David continues calling her. Behind the phone, the time portal is seen reopening, shooting its golden light up into the sky. The prisoner is the first to be spat from it, closely followed by Hook. Emma then arrives, landing next to the pirate, and the portal closes soon after, leaving nothing behind except the Wicked Witch's compass-like markings in the earth. Hook gets to his feet and helps Emma to do the same, just as the confused woman they kidnapped begins to come to. Emma requests that Hook fill her in and make sure she doesn't freak out, and the pirate wonders where it is she's going. "I have some people I need to see," Emma tells him excitedly, exiting the barn in a hurry.
Mom and dad.
The face of David and Mary Margaret's baby boy is shown as he sleeps through his own coronation, his parents smiling down at him. Emma then enters Granny's Diner, whereat the event in question is taking place, and quickly rushes over to her mother and father. They are excited to see her but become confused when she immediately embraces them with such relief. David tells her that they were worried because she wasn't answering her cell, but she assures them that she's fine... she's home. Henry, who's sitting in a booth nearby, looks excited to hear his mother say this, and Mary Margaret asks if this means her daughter's not leaving. Emma assures them that she's not going anywhere and Henry stands up, happy to be staying in Storybrooke. Emma confirms it and pulls her son into a hug, going on to say that this is where they belong and where their family is. She looks from Snow to Charming and she says, "Mom... Dad. I've missed you." They are slightly taken aback, especially when she begins to tear up, but she soon pulls them into another tight embrace and they are more than happy to comfort their daughter.
Adventures in time travel.
Henry's storybook lies open on a page which depicts Emma dancing with Hook at King Midas' ball on a table in Granny's Diner as all the Charmings crowd around it. Mary Margaret is shocked to learn that her own daughter was Princess Leia and Emma appears embarrassed, at which point Henry sarcastically commends her on her "nice alias". She closes the book, defending herself in saying that she was in a pinch, and David comments that Emma is now officially one of them, to which Mary Margaret adds, "A fairytale princess at last." Emma then makes her first "princess-y" request to know the name of her little brother (who rests in his mother's arms), and David asks his wife if she's ready; she nods. David then kisses her forehead as he grabs his beer, proceeding to raise his voice in order to beckon everyone's attention.
Prince Neal's name is finally announced.
All guests gather round, including, but not limited to, the dwarfs, Granny, Mother Superior, Aurora, Gold and Belle, as Charming tells them all that this ceremony is something which he and Snow have been looking forward to for a long time; the arrival of their son has been a cause of great joy for their family. As such, they hope to extend that joy to all those around him as they name their baby for a hero - someone who saved every one of them; who they loved and he loved back. Mary Margaret then finally announces: "People of Storybrooke... it is our great joy to introduce you to our son, Prince Neal." This invokes great reaction from the crowd; most people clap and cheer, whereas Mr. Gold appears riddled with guilt. Emma, however, simply looks touched, and she and her mother smile at one another as this great moment is shared with those who also call this town home. Henry gets up and walks away whilst his mother extends her arm to her little brother's, taking the whole thing in her hand and saying, "It's so nice to meet you, Neal." He begins to stir at the touch of his sister, who smiles even more before then turning her head the other way in order to look out the window at the one person who's decided not to join in on the rest of the town's festivities.
Hook refrains from partying.
The entrance to Granny's Diner is lit up brightly as Hook sits solitary outside, stroking his flask of rum. Emma soon joins him, however, and asks the pirate if he thinks Rumplestiltskin was right, pointing out that she's in the book now and the Dark One said that everything besides their little adventure would go back to normal - she wonders if that's the case. Hook assures the blonde that Rumple was indeed right, otherwise he'd remember that "damn bar wench" that he kissed, in reference to her. She asks how that would prove anything and he reminds her that he knows how she kisses, and he'd have gone after her; however, he didn't, and his life went on exactly the same as before. Emma jokes that it must have been the rum, and Hook nods, saying that everything's back to normal and she's a "bloody hero". She points out that he is as well and says she wants to thank him, addressing him as "Killian", for going back for her in the first place in New York, if he hadn't... "It was the right thing to do," Hook interrupts, and, after a pause, Emma decides to ask him how he did it; how he got to her.
Captain Swan becomes canon.
He explains that the curse was coming so he ditched his crew and sailed the Jolly Roger as fast and as far as he could to outrun it. Emma seems surprised to hear that he managed to outrun a curse, but he points out that he's a hell of a captain. Emma smiles, and he continues in saying that, once he was outside the curse's proximity, he knew that the walls her down and transport between the worlds was possible again, so all he needed was a magic bean. Emma recalls that those aren't easy to come by, but Hook says they are if you have something of value to trade. "And what was that?" she wonders, to which he says, "Why, the Jolly Roger, of course." Emma is shocked; she knows that this ship is the most important thing in Hook's life and she is completely touched that he would trade such a beloved item for her. He simply stares at her, nods, and utters, "Aye." Entranced by this extreme act of devotion, she leans in and she begins kissing him. He holds her hair as she does so, and she is. The kiss goes on, becoming more and more passionate, as the shot is carried into the air.
Belle says her wedding vows…
Out in the woods, Belle - dressed all in white, carrying a humble bouquet of flowers - is seen being walked by her father towards the town well, which has been kitted out with candles, in front of which stands the formally dressed Mr. Gold. He is stunned by his bride's beauty and she lets out a smile as she gets even closer to him. Archie, who is to be officiating the ceremony, grins away as all this unfolds, watching as Belle finishes her short journey and she and Rumple stand closely opposite one another. Maurice then unlinks arms with his daughter and steps to one side, thus giving his blessing for this ceremony to take place. Archie adjusts his glasses, tears filling his eyes, as he begins: "It is my great honor to officiate this most lovely union. If you'd like to begin your vows?"
Rumplestiltskin... this thing we have, it's... it's never been easy. I've... I've lost you so many times. I've lost you to darkness, to weakness, and... and finally... to death. But now, I realize... I realize that I have not spent my life losing you... I've spent my life finding you.
Rumple appears deeply touched by what Belle has to say, and as she goes one, the scene switches to that of Snow and Charming sitting in Granny's Diner with Prince Neal in their arms. In this moment, they are content. Happy. We are then returned to the scene of a wedding, as Rumple begins...
Belle... when we met, I wasn't just unloved, and unloving... I was an enemy of love. Love had only brought me pain. My walls were up... but you broke them down. You brought me home. You brought light into my life, and chased away all the darkness... and I vow to you, I will never forget the distance between what I was... and what I am. I owe more to you than I can ever say. How you can see the man behind the monster... I will never know.
…as does Rumple.
As he speaks, we are shown Emma and Hook as they continue to make out outside Granny's Diner. They hold each other as their passion grows. In the brief moment that they pull apart, they are staring deep into each others' eyes and smiling as they do so. Their noses press together and their kiss continues. Once the wedding's been briefly returned to, we are shown Regina and Robin Hood as they walk to the diner with Roland; Regina is holding the little boy's hand whilst he eats an ice cream cone. They are the vision of a happy family, and they don't seem able to hide the sheer joy they feel just by being in each others' presence. As Rumple finishes his vows, he gently takes Belle's dainty hand and slides a golden ring on the appropriate finger. More tears have filled her eyes since last we saw her, and she shakes her head gently, responding to what he's said...
But that monster's gone. The man beneath him may be flawed... but we all are, and I love you for it. Sometimes, the best book has the dustiest jacket... and sometimes... the best teacup... is chipped.
Her words bring to mind the Dark One's dagger as Rumple remembers locking it away in secret, having given Belle a fake (see "Snow Drifts"). However, her closing line succeeds very aptly in bringing him to tears, and the two of them go on to share a very romantic kiss, thus making them man and wife. Archie and Maurice continue to watch, and the kiss continues as the scene makes itself scarce.
Marian the destroyer.
We are taken back to Robin, Regina and little Roland as the three of them walk towards Granny's Diner. As the latter runs inside, Robin and Regina stop in order to take each other in either hand and share a deep kiss. It's wrought with passion, and the two of them appear deeply happy before heading indoors, where everyone is still gathered following the announcement. Robin finds a seat for he and Roland whilst Regina shuts the door. From across the counter where Emma is sitting with Hook, the prisoner they earlier freed is sipping a hot drunk from a mug when she notices who's just entered, and looks shocked. "The Evil Queen..." she utters, but Emma assures her it's okay because the Queen is different now; she's not the same person anymore. The blonde then tells the woman of the past to stay where she is whilst she goes and proves it, and she approaches Regina, telling her that there's something she should know; "I brought someone back from the past, this woman, and she still thinks of you as..." "Evil," Regina realizes, and Emma confirms it, saying she's going to bring this woman over; she's already told her it's okay but the situation is quite delicate and Emma feels that if this woman is able to talk to Regina, she'll see the truth. Regina understands and Emma heads back over to Hook and the woman, the latter of which steps forward with caution.
Regina blames Emma for destroying her happiness.
The former Queen smiles as the person she once held prisoner approaches, and Emma says, "Regina, I would like you to meet..." "Marian?!" Robin Hood exclaims, getting up from his seat. The woman turns to him as he comes into view, and again he says her name: Marian. "Robin?" she says in response, and Regina, realizing who this person is, looks both shocked and devastated. Robin tells his wife that he thought she was dead and that he'd never see her again, and Marian, being pulled into a tight embrace, tells him likewise. They exchange a tear-filled reunion as Regina watches, a wide range of negative emotions swirling around inside her. Roland then approaches, looking up at the woman who hugs his father, and he recognizes her as: "Mama?" Marian is overjoyed to be reunited with her son and bends down to give him a hug; Robin joins in and kisses his formerly dead wife on the forehead. Regina is not happy. She turns to Emma, rage biting her voice, as she asks, "You... you did this?" Emma, feeling utterly guilty, tells the emotionally wounded woman before her that she merely wanted to save Marian's life. Regina shakes her head and accuses the blonde of being just like her mother - never thinking about the consequences. Emma swears she didn't know, but Regina doesn't wish to hear it; she simply tells her, "Well, you just better hope to hell you didn't bring anything else back!"
Elsa arrives in Storybrooke.
We are then taken back to Zelena's barn where it is revealed that the golden urn from Rumple's vault is lying in the soil, having made its way through the time portal when Emma, Hook and Marian returned to the present day. The shot takes us closer and closer, and it isn't long before the top pops off the container and a luminescent blue liquid begins to pour from it. It fills every crevice of the compass-like markings left behind by the Wicked Witch of the West, mist rising from it as it does so. Before long, the symbol is full and the liquid meets at its center, beginning to rise. The upward formation springing from this blue fluid causes it to drain from the rest of the furrows, and it soon becomes apparent that a human is rising. Or, more specifically, a woman. The details fill out as the liquid begins to solidify, soon losing its opaque and effulgent qualities. In an instant, a blonde woman with a single braid in her hair stands in the middle of what Zelena engraved; her dress is light blue and distinctive, similar to the silk gloves on her hands, one of which she removes. This mysterious woman extends her bare hand and uses it to fire out a beam of ice magic, thus freezing the urn which previously contained her and causing her former prison to shatter out of existence. This Ice Queen, her cape and train trailing behind her as she walks, leaves the ground frozen behind her with every step she takes. Elsa successfully exits the barn and walks free amidst Storybrooke.
Regina has Emma taken away.
Still kitted out in her lavish red ballgown, Emma is walked through Regina's palace by her Black Knights, managing to catch a glimpse of herself in the Queen's Magic Mirror and realize that Rumplestiltskin's glamor spell remains intact. The knight who outed her orders that she kneel before the Queen, to which the blonde asks, "Really?" "Yes, really," says her majesty Queen Regina herself, proceeding to remove her gloves as the prisoner is forced to her knees. She demands the whereabouts of the bandit Snow White, but Emma reiterates what she already told the guards: she has no idea. "I don't know what kingdom you come from, Princess Leia, but here... the price for aiding Snow White is steep," the Queen explains. Again, Emma says that she doesn't know where Snow is, but she promises to help Regina find her if she lets her go. The Queen takes a step forward and sniffs the savior, immediately deciphering that she's no princess - she knows a dirty street rat when she sees one, and she knows not to trust such creatures. She then orders that Emma be taken to the dungeon.
Red covers for her friend.
Red leads Marian, Emma, Charming and Hook through Regina's palace and, as she does so, Emma steps out and asks her where Snow is. Red says that she's probably just a little behind and that they don't need to wait, and Emma finds this remarkably odd, using her "superpower" on the werewolf, who assures that her friend will be fine. She realizes that Snow asked Red to do this; "I know when people are lying and you, sister, are. What aren't you telling us?" Red finally reveals that Snow's not coming, having made her swear not to tell because she was worried the others might try to stop her. "Stop her from what?!" Emma demands to know, and Charming realizes that she's using the dark fairy dust to go after the Queen. Emma appears drastically worried.
- The title card of this episode features a swan, in reference to the surname of the series' main protagonist.
- This title card is only present in the version of the episode which also includes "Snow Drifts".
- The same title card is featured in the non-syndicated version of "Operation Mongoose, Part 2".
- The way in which the letters form to make the main logo is different than in other episodes, as is the musical accompaniment.
- When this episode is aired in syndication without "Snow Drifts", it has the exact same title card as the latter.
- With this episode, Eric Keenleyside (Moe French/Maurice) is credited as a co-star, after previously having been credited as a guest star.
- Originally the Huntsman was slated to appear in the season three finale, when Emma and Hook went back in time to the Enchanted Forest. As one of Regina's guards, Emma would have recognized the Huntsman at the Evil Queen's castle. Emma would have been tempted to reach out to him, and heartbroken that she couldn't save him as they did with Marian due to her mission of repairing the timeline. As Jamie Dornan was busy filming Fifty Shades of Grey, these plans were scrapped.
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on March 25, 2014.
The episode, along with "Snow Drifts", pulled in respectable numbers, placing a 2.3/7 with 6.80 million viewers tuning in (as they were combined as a two-hour episode), winning in both the 8:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. timeslots. This marks an increase in the 18-49 demographic from the previous episode, but a decrease in overall viewership. It also matches the 18-49 rating of the second season finale; however, it also marks a decrease in overall viewers, as the second season finale was watched by 7.33 million. The show placed first not only in its timeslot and for the night of broadcast, but it also placed eleventh for the week.
2.59 million viewers watched the episode via DVR, bringing the total to 9.39 million viewers, and bringing the total 18-49 rating to 3.5.
The season finale was met with positive reviews from critics:
- Hillary Busis of Entertainment Weekly gave it a great review, saying "I mean. How am I supposed to discuss Once's two-hour finale -- an epic, fantastical take on Back to the Future complete with far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and a princess in disguise -- when all I can talk about, all I can think about, is that final shot, which may just be the most surprising moment in the history of OUAT?"
- Gwen Ihnat, writing for The A.V. Club, gave the finale an A- grade, saying "This finale shows the best of OUAT: Rumple conjuring magic, Red turning into a wolf, and a lovely blend of magic and fairy tales mixed with real-life concepts like family and home. When Emma sees her mother torched by a fireball (something that would only happen in a place like the Enchanted Forest), she realizes for the first time what she’d be giving up by moving to New York. It’s a crazy family, to be sure, but it’s hers, and the finale ends with Emma, who still thought of herself as an orphan as recently as Neverland, finally finding a home."
- Christine Orlado of TV Fanatic gave the episode 4.7 out of 5 stars, while Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave it a 8.9 out of 10, saying that "Once's season finale took a spirited trip into the past and introduced an exciting new villain" and gave Jennifer Morrison high marks for this latest outing.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'American Dad' & 'America's Funniet Home Videos' Adjusted Up; 'Revenge', 'Cosmos' & 'Dateline' Adjusted Down, Sara Bibel, TV by the Numbers (May 6, 2014)
- ↑ Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', The Simpsons', 'Dateline' & 'Resurrection' Adjusted Up; 'The Good Wife' Adjusted Down , by Amanda Kondoloju, TV by the Numbers (May 6, 2014)
- ↑ Sunday Final Ratings: 'Survivor', 'Once Upon a Time', 'The Simpsons' & 'Revenge' Adjusted Up, by Amanda Kondolojy, TV by the Numbers (May 14, 2014)
- ↑ TV Ratins Broadcast Top 25, by Sara Bibel, TV by the Numbers (May 13, 2014)
- ↑ Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' Has Biggest 18-49 Ratings & Viewership Gains, 'Nashville' Top Percentage Gains in Week 33, by Sara Bibel, TV by the Numbers (May 27, 2014)
- ↑ Top Programs – Total Canada (English), May 5 - May 11, 2014
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Journey to the Past", by Hillary Busis, Entertainment Weekly (May 11, 2014)
- ↑ Once Upon A Time: "Snow Drifts"/"There’s No Place Like Home", by Gwen Ihnat, The A.V. Club (May 11, 2014)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Review: Chilling Consequences, by Christine Orlado, TV Fanatic (May 11, 2014)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Review: All About Oz, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (May 12, 2014)