Previously on Once Upon A Time, Hook makes his way to NYC and stabs Rumple with his poison soak hook, therefore forcing Emma, Henry, Rumple and Neal to return to Storybrooke by using Hook’s ship. We found out that Cora and Snow had some kind of history together (she was ultimately responsible for the Queen’s death). Regina and Cora manage to get a hold of Rumple’s dagger, hence getting power over the Dark One by forcing Snow and Charming to hand it over after they have put the life of Snow’s former nanny, Johanna, in danger. Cora breaks Snow’s spirit by mercilessly killing Johanna right in front of her. Snow vows to take Cora’s life in return.
Hi Oncers! Your normal recapper, Onyx Hamar, is out of commission this week so I will be taking over the recapping duties for this week’s episode. Hope I can do this recap justice for you all. This week’s episode has been hyped as one not to be missed for (SPOILER ALERT) one central character is meeting their end (RIP whoever it is!) Without much further ado, let’s jump right in!
After last week’s episode, we were left wondering if Cora and Snow’s mother had history together that would explain why Cora offed her. In this episode, we find that the answer to that burning question is a resounding yes. It turns out that back when Snow’s mother Eva was a young princess and Cora was just the town’s drunk miller’s daughter, Eva embarrassed the nobody by callously tripping her in front of the town’s elitist nobles. Anyone else would have just chalked it to “Life sucks” and stared daggers at Eva but not Cora; this meant revenge that will lead to murder. Especially after the king, who saw the whole thing, demands that Cora apologize to Eva. Yikes.
Cora is fortunate enough that she is quite pretty (a nod to the actress, Rose McGowan, who plays her) which means she still has a shot of getting married and getting out of the wretched life she is currently living. She gives it a chance at a masquerade ball, setting her eyes on Prince Henry. She is stopped by the king, who tells her that she will never be good enough for his son (OUCH).Cora takes this opportunity to tell the king that a lie that will forever alter the course and decisions that makes in her life: she tells him that she can turn straw into gold. She also tells him that he will never repeat the benefits of her talents because he is a completely asshat (not really, but you know that’s what she was thinking). King Snoot is not above calling a woman’s bluff and tells her if she manages to do so, she will get Prince Henry’s hand. If she fails, she has earned herself a one way ticket straight to hell where she belongs (giving all the things she has caused on this show to happen, but I digress).
Back in Storybrooke, the Jolly Roger has made its way back. Rumple is still with us, seeing as the poison has yet to kill him. He asks Emma to draw a magical line around his shop with “invisible chalk” (Seriously?). While Emma is doing this, he tasks Snow with something a bit more serious and dark. He tells her that there is no antidote for Hook’s poison and that the only way he can live is if another person dies in his place. Guess how Snow is supposed to do that? That’s right, that magic candle a disguised Cora gave to her long ago is the way to do and she’ll also manage to kill two birds with one stone if she goes through with it.
Back to Flashbackland, the younger version of Cora is a wreck as she tries to figure out how to get herself out of predicament that she put herself in. Suddenly, she has company in the shape of Rumplestiltskin, coming to offer her one of his famous deals. The Dark One is all set to spin the straw for Cora as long as she is willing to sign over the rights to her firstborn child; apparently Rumple’s visions have revealed that the unborn girl will be “quite important”. Cora accepts but adds a caveat to the deal, something Rumple’s other “clients” have never done: she asks him to teach her to do that juju he does so well. Her logic: Give a woman some straw-gold, and she’ll marry a prince; teach a woman to make her own straw-gold, and she’ll become the land’s most powerful sorceress…
In Storybrooke, Rumple tries to get Emma to tap into her emotions so she can cast a protection spell around the shop. This is something to remember as he tells Young Cora the very same thing back in Flashbackland. The difference: he tells Emma to think about her loved ones while he tells Young Cora to find a moment of rage. As she is recounting her moment of rage, the scene between them becomes almost awkwardly hot as he starts to nuzzle her neck, and she becomes breathless (I don’t think they were talking magic anymore).
Snow seizes the moment during a skirmish at the pawn shop to go to the Mills Family Vault and retrieves Cora’s horcrux, I mean heart (sorry, got Harry Potter on my mind). All she needs to do now is get the heart back into Cora…
Heading back to Young Cora and Rumple, they apparently were successful in fooling the king and Cora is now one day away from marrying Prince Henry. She is also having a full-blown affair with the Dark One himself. Despite all of this, she still is not happy; she would only be fifth in line for the throne and a life with Rumple appeals to her more. He agrees to amend her contract by saying that she owes him a baby fathered by him. She promises this only after she kills King Snoot. This pleases Rumple to no end…
Unfortunately, this does not happen as the King was onto Cora the whole time and knows that her love for him will be her undoing. This revelation changes Cora’s mind about killing the king. Later on, when she returns to Rumple, she tells him that she did not kill the king but ripped out her own heart and with it gone, she has no hesitation about marrying the Prince (I said, brrr, it’s cold in here!)
Rumple, who still has a heart, is naturally furious with young Cora. In the present, his heart spurns him to make one last emotional call to Belle as he awaits his death. Neal/Bae manage to make deathbed amends as well although Bae is still pretty PO’d at his dad (cue the waterworks).
Still waiting for a twist to come in all this emotional upheaval? Well, Regina ends up storming into her vault, ready to take Snow down for Cora’s heart. Snow simply hands it over to Regina and tells her that this is reason her mother has never loved her: she was incapable of true affection. Snow tells Regina that if she puts her mother’s heart back where it belongs, Cora might change her ways. As anyone who has been watching the show from the get go, Regina, the love-starved one, falls for that little diddy, hook, line and sinker as she does not know that Snow has already lit the candle at both ends.
Back in the pawn shop, Cora breaks through Emma’s spell and is ready to kill Rumple. He tells his ex-lover that thanks to a vision, he knew she would come for him one day. The only thing he has never known is whether she ever really loved him. Cora reveals to him that she did honestly love Rumple once, and it was that love that was her one true weakness.
With that, she holds up the dagger and is set to plunge it into his chest when Regina comes up behind and puts her heart back where it belongs. At first, Cora looks at her daughter in delight (she can feel again!) and then she collapses. Regina’s own heart breaks once more as she holds her dying mother, who manages to whisper to her “You would have been enough. This would have been enough”. (I lost it at this point..)
Snow bursts into the pawn shop with a last minute change of heart but she is too late. Unfortunately, Regina realizes the truth of what just happened and a look of pure, unadulterated rage comes across her face. The kind of rage that can make straw into gold or kill Snow White.
Until next week, Oncers!