Previously on Once Upon a Time: The Miller’s Daughter.
This week on Once Upon a Time, we learn that Henry wasn’t the first child Regina longed to call her own. Back in Storybrooke’s early days, a father and son from the “real world” wander into town and Regina is desperate to make them stay. In present day Storybrooke, Regina uncovers a spell that would kill Snow and make Henry hers – giving her everything she wants.
In Storybrooke circa 1983, a father (John Pyper-Ferguson, who the nerdy among you may recognize from Battlestar Galactica and Caprica) and son are camping in the woods and bonding over making square knot key chains when a purple cloud of magic hurtles towards them. When they emerge from their tent, a tree has fallen on their car and the town of Storybrooke has appeared out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Regina basks in the glory of her successful curse, even going so far as to bring Mary Margaret to a comatose David’s bedside to secretly gloat. Her good mood is spoiled when Kurt and his son Owen interrupt her breakfast at Granny’s, and Graham (Hi, Graham! We missed you!) confirms they’re not part of the curse. Eager to be rid of them, Regina returns to the two at Granny’s to inform them their car will be repaired soon. Yet the monotony of town begins to wear on Regina, so she invites Kurt and Owen to a dinner of sub-par lasagna (forgot the red pepper flakes, perhaps?). Regina and Owen make apple turnovers and bond over talk of their dead mothers. She asks them to stay in town but Kurt refuses. Later, he walks in on Regina commanding Graham to prevent them leaving, leading to a car chase to the town line. When they’re cut off, Kurt tells Owen to run and when Regina sees how scared he is, she lets him go. Owen returns with state troopers to the town line, but Storybrooke is no longer there.
In present day Storybrooke, Regina is mourning over her mother’s coffin when Rumpelstiltskin appears to pay his respects. She is determined to make Snow pay, but Rumple warns her that vengeance will cost her Henry. Meanwhile, Snow is so overcome with remorse that she refuses to get out bed, and Emma is forced to tell Henry that Snow was “partially responsible” for Cora’s death. Regina goes through Cora’s things and finds a small scroll. When Rumple and Charming later investigate the vault they discover she intends to cast the “Curse of the Empty Hearted.” It will give Regina everything she wants: it will force Henry to love her, and she needs the heart of her worst enemy, i.e. Snow, to complete the spell. At Granny’s, Nealfire invites Henry to stay with him in New York to avoid the curse, but Henry decides destroying magic is the best solution instead and sneaks out the back to enact his plan. Henry plans to drop dynamite down the wishing well, leading to a standoff between Regina and Emma, Neal, and Charming with him in the middle. Proving once again how much she loves her son, Regina destroys the curse and the others back down. Later, Snow goes to Regina and begs for death to end the feud and save their families. Yet when Regina rips out her heart, there is a spot of darkness on it – Snow’s actions have blackened it. Regina is content to return Snow’s heart and watch her destroy herself. Meanwhile, Greg captures the whole thing on his phone, and when he gets back in his car he’s got a square knot key chain – the adult Owen vows to find his father.
Next week, the real world inches closer to Storybrooke, and August(!!) returns.
• I’m a little confused about the dynamics of early Storybrooke. The episode seems to imply that everyone affected by the curse engaged in a repetitive routine day in and day out. So did the curse evolve over time? Did Regina change it when she brought Henry in? Otherwise, wouldn’t he eventually notice that the kids he went to school with never aged and Mary Margaret’s class made birdhouses every day? I’m not sure if this is a plot hole or something that will be explained as we get more of Storybrooke’s history.
• Ok, crazy theory time: how much do you want to bet Tamara is actually “Her?” This show rarely introduces “one-off” characters (as this episode proves), so she’s got to be connected somehow.
Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.