The episode opens with Regina looking over the book, stopping on the illustration of the Evil Queen at the wedding, but the pages beyond it are missing. She confronts Henry about it and reminds him the book and Emma are no longer an issue, but he seems doubtful. The clock tower begins to chime and Regina looks panicked.
Regina stops by the hotel to offer Emma apples for the drive home, but she isn’t leaving until she’s convinced Henry’s okay. Regina says he’s in therapy and only one of them knows what’s best for him, to which Emma heartily agrees. It’s all out war between the two.
We pick up with the Evil Queen immediately after the wedding. The magic mirror asks about her plans, and she intends to use the dark curse. Her butler reminds her she traded it away, but she won’t let that stop her. The Queen visits Maleficent, who reminds her the curse won’t bring her love back to life, and refuses to return it. After a brief battle, the Queen has the curse. Maleficent warns her the price is too high.
The Evil Queen has gathered the dark characters of the Enchanted Forest. She promises them the dark curse will transport them to a realm where they will finally win, but she needs a lock of hair from each. She combines the ingredients with the treasured heart of her prized steed, but the curse fizzles out.
Regina is picking apples when reporter Sydney appears with the latest issue of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror, featuring Emma’s mug shot. He was unable to find any dirt on Emma, noting only that Henry was born in Phoenix, and Regina is not pleased.
At the diner, Emma is given a cup of cocoa from an admirer. Thinking it’s the sheriff, she tells him she’s not there to flirt, but the cocoa is from Henry. As she walks him to school, he dubs their mission “Operation Cobra” and explains their one advantage is Regina doesn’t know who Emma is yet. He gives her the pages from the book to learn who she is. She reminds him she never said she believed, he counters that she’s still in town. In a brief conversation, Ms. Blanchard reveals Henry believes she is Snow White, and Emma is startled.
Emma visits Henry’s therapist Archie. She is concerned that the fairy tale obsession is crazy, he warns her not say that to Henry. He says Regina and Henry have a complex relationship, and gives her Henry’s file. Archie immediately calls Regina. The sheriff then shows up at Emma’s hotel, as Archie has accused her of stealing the files, and arrests her. Regina visits Henry at school to tell him Emma is a con artist, but he is unimpressed.
At the police station, Emma insists she is being framed. The sheriff seems unconcerned. Ms. Blanchard and Henry arrive. Emma is worried what Henry thinks, but he is impressed with her intel gathering skills for “Operation Cobra.” Ms. Blanchard offers to bail Emma out because she trusts her. Emma goes straight from the prison to take a chainsaw to a branch of Regina’s prized apple tree and tells the mayor it’s her move.
The Evil Queen is seething over her failed curse. Her butler suggests if she wants to fix it she must ask whoever gave it to her, but once she embarks on the path to revenge she can’t go back. She states she has nothing to go back to.
Her next stop is Rumpelstiltskin’s dungeon. He informs the queen that Snow and Charming’s unborn child will have the power to break her curse. His help has a price – in her cursed land she must do what he asks if he says please. Since he won’t remember anyway, she agrees. The curse will only work with the heart of thing she loves most but she argues Snow took that away. He tells her to find what she loves, and kill it.
Emma gets kicked out of her hotel at the mayor’s request. Meanwhile, Regina wants Sheriff Graham to arrest Emma again. He worries that if the fight continues to escalate, Henry will be the one who gets hurt. Regina calls Emma with a peace offer. At her office, Regina resigns herself to Emma wanting to take Henry from her. Emma insists that’s not what she’s after, but she has come to care for him and is worried about his mental health, calling his fairy tale obsession “crazy.” Of course, Henry walks in at that moment, just as Regina planned.
The Queen returns, and her butler asks if she got her answer. She reveals what she was told and says, “Daddy, I don’t know what to do.” He replies that if the price destroys what she has left, there’s no point in moving forward. For a second it seems like she might waver. But in the end she chooses to be happy – “just not here” – and kills him.
Emma stops by to give Ms. Blanchard her bail money, and she says it feels like she’s met Emma before. Emma wants to leave to prevent Henry from getting hurt, but Ms. Blanchard argues that if she doesn’t protect him, who will?
Henry is at Archie’s office, clearly upset. Emma comes in and apologizes, saying the curse is crazy, not him. She told his mom what she wanted to hear, to throw her off as part of Operation Cobra. To keep the pages out of Regina’s hands, Emma burns them in the fireplace. Henry hugs her, saying he knew she would help him, and it’s clear Emma is falling in love with him.
The Evil Queen places the heart on the fire and releases the curse. She leaves a flower her father’s grave, and we learn his name was Henry.
Regina is cleaning up her tree when Mr. Gold stops by to ruin her good mood, telling her Emma is still around and he would have fixed the problem if she’d asked, for a price. Regina is done making deals with him, and he responds, “which one?” Mr. Gold apparently “acquired” Henry for the mayor. Regina wants to know who Emma really is, but he says she already knows. When she tries to question him further, Mr. Gold asks her to “please” move, and she is stunned into compliance. Regina is beginning to realize that her happiness is not shaping up quite as she planned.
What we know so far:
Snow is somehow responsible for the death of the Evil Queen’s love. And Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is clearly aware of what’s happening. He’s manipulating Regina and potentially has power over Emma and Henry through knowledge of their names. Sheriff Graham is still a mystery though. Who is his fairy tale equivalent, and what are his motives?