After a lengthy holiday/winter hiatus, it's time to return to Storybrooke to see how the Queens of Evil take Once Upon A Time
In the Forbidden Fortress many years ago, a sultry Ursula sashays her way in, knocking out a guard in the process, until Maleficent gets in her way.
"Just who the hell might you be?"
"Ursula. But you can call me 'Your Majesty.'"
"I don't bow down to fish."
The two continue their little fight, and it's revealed that Ursula was invited to Maleficent's home for some reason. Soon, a black-and-white haired beauty appears in the fortress, led by two barking dogs. Using some magic green breath (I sure hope that's not halitosis), she calms down her doggie escorts and asks the pair what she's doing in this 'ghastly place.'
"Lovely question, because this 'ghastly place' is my home, and I didn't ask for visitors."
Just before the three ladies find themselves in a showdown, Rumpelstiltskin arrives saying that he had them all there for a reason: to all get their happy endings.
Back in modern-day Storybrooke, the mayor and Henry are seen walking out of Granny's to a school bus. Then we see Henry in Mary Margaret's class where she teaches on animals, the subject being birds on that day. The bird changes into an illustrated painting of birds that's located in Regina's stylish home where she ends up burning it with her magic. Then we see Granny taking care of baby Neal in David and Mary Margaret's home, which then focuses to a grinning Emma Swan looking above from the staircase. Grabbing her sheriff's badge and jacket, she sets out to go work. She meets her boyfriend Hook somewhere outside, handing her a coffee with a side of a kiss as they walk by Gold's Pawn shop to the library. Belle is seen there opening its doors where both her and Hook enters while Emma continues walking.
At the library, Hook is examining the events that occurred previously on a cork board, frustratingly knocking it down. shortly.
"Well, I see you still have your temper."
"Six weeks and nothing. They're still trapped inside that bloody Hat."
"Look, we just have to keep at it, okay? But we will find a spell to release the fairies. I mean, these translations are difficult, but I've reached out to some of the finest minds in the world and one of them will get back to us. I know it."
"If we're reduced to those magic boxes, then I'd say hope is in short supply."
"They, uh...call it the Internet."
They both reminisce how Gold has tricked both of them, regretting how they both failed, her blindly in love and him protecting his love.
"Well, he's right about one thing-love is a weapon, as dangerous and persuasive as magic."
"Yeah. Yeah, he had both of our hearts."
"As big a bastard he was, he did love you."
Hearing that left Belle in tears, but being the sweet person she is, she still hopes that Gold's found the thing he's looking for.
Somewhere in New York, Gold is staying at Ursula's pad, it being filled with fish tanks of various sizes, where he was microwaving a popular staple.
"That means it's ready."
"Yes, I know how to work a microwave. Thank you."
"Because the Dark One did soooooo much cooking in his time."
"Well, worry not. My power extends far beyond ramen noodles."
"Yeah, just not in this life."
She soon begins to complain about how he's just bumming at her house and his so-called promises of happy endings.
"Please. Providing reheatable noodles and what might be charitably be called shelter-no great gift. Certainly not compared to what I'm providing."
Shortly, he receives an email and he tells her it's the beginning to end their misery once and for all.
The duo soon arrive at a large manor in Great Neck, Long Island finding themselves amongst a small crowd gathering outside. The sea witch remarks how better the mysterious woman is living; Gold claims otherwise as the mysterious woman is revealed to be Cruella de Vil, more like Cruella Feinberg in that world. Gold offers her a deal: a happy ending if she joins him once more. She claims that she hasn't lost anything, showing them her iconic Panther motor car. However, Gold's selectively choice words appealed to her, making her give in.
In a flashback, the triad of evil and Rumple are discussing his deal on attaining their happy endings, all three agreeing that he's not all-powerful and at he possibly couldn't live up to his deal. He explains to them that there is a way for them to get their happy endings by finding the writer of the fairytales.
In the modern-day world, Gold is the backseat while Ursula is riding shotgun in Cruella's car as they wait to order take-out at Mr. Cluck's. Cruella and Ursula still have their doubts as he explains his new plan on achieving their happiness once more until a voice is heard saying, "Welcome to Mr. Cluck's. What can I get you?" The two ladies order their combos with Rumple passing claiming he "wants to survive for his happy ending."
At Storybrooke, Regina is flipping the pages of well, a storybook, when Emma asks her opinion on what she thinks of Kale Salad. "Like someone found someplace other than Granny's for takeout," she responded. Emma tries to cheer her up by bringing some root beer, and it does seem to help distract the former evil queen.
"Can you conquer these bottles? I thought they were twist-offs."
"Do I look like I can pry them off with my teeth? I'm a queen and a bit more refined."
Emma continues her search to find a bottle opener until she accidentally stumbles upon a seemingly fixed page that was once part of Regina's storybook; it was the picture of her and Robin kissing-their happy ending that never came to fruition. Regina explained what the picture meant just seconds before Hook and Belle come bursting into the room explaining that there could be a way to save the fairies in the hat. Belle found an incantation in an ancient tongue, but she managed to find a professor of linguistics from Oxford who sent her the translation. It's revealed that the incantation is an ancient ceremony that can potentially bring the fairies back.
"Well, Madame mayor, ready to pronounce today 'Free the Fairies Day'?" exclaims Emma.
Somewhere in the woods, Regina holds Rumple's dagger over the little box containing the Hat as Hook, Emma, Belle, and Mary Margaret stand by. A blast of yellow light appears, forcing them to look away. When the light disappeared, the fairies appeared. In the midst of the joyous celebration, a dark murky smoke gushes out of the box, down the tree stump making its way on the forest floor until taking flight in the form of a dragon with two horns.
Suddenly we find ourselves in yet another flashback where Rumple explains his plan to the triad while they walk in a cave. He believes the curse is located in the Bald Mountains protected by a variety of lethal magical obstacles that suits their magic. They come upon the first obstacle: Blood Scarabs. Not only is their venom dangerous, they're out for blood. Cruella takes on the challenge by using her persuasion. The bugs soon scatter off to reveal a hidden door leading to what looks to be an altar. Accompanying it, a fire that seems to never die out, turning out to be the second challenge. Maleficent uses her staff to suck up the undying dragon fire. Lastly, Ursula is tasked to retrieve the orb on top of the pedestal, which was quite easy for the sea witch thanks to her tentacles. Just when they thought they accomplished the task, the cavern rumbles and shakes. Rumple admits that there was just one guardian of the curse: the Chernabog. The ancient demon feeds on evil, choosing the heart filled with most darkness. Rumple walks off with his newfound treasure, leaving the three behind.
Cruella could use a few driving lessons while she steers her car down the road in a forested area until Rumple suddenly asks her to stop. While it could be that he's worried for his safety, trust me that is some scary diving, it turns out that he left a tie hanging around as a reminder of where Storybrooke is, or more like, once was. Confused, both Ursula and Cruella confront him on the situation, asking him where is the magical town.
"Look, I confess, things aren't quite as I said."
"For a man who's preaching trust, you are getting off the wrong foot." Cruella retorted.
Stammering, he attempted to word his way out of the situation by trying to prove his truthfulness by explaining that the town line is 100 yards away, BUT is cloaked by a protection spell making no one capable of entering once again. Still skeptical, they demand answers, resorting Cruella to bring out her gun. "No more encores, Rumple," she says. "We're finished with your hazy instructions and your empty promises." With their experiences, it's no surprise that they would take extra caution with Rumple. Ursula kicks his walking stick as he pleads for them to reconsider their actions.
"If we're about to walk into a trap, tell us now, darling. Because out here, you're nothing more that a cripple. A coward with a real world ability to die."
They continue to press him for answers, but he reveals nothing. He repetitive asks them to find their way into Storybrooke any way they can. They seem unwilling until Rumple makes a suggestion once more.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma bumps into a thoughtful Hook; he feels regretful for what he's done to the fairies, even though he helped saved them. Emma reassures him that was Gold's fault, and he's a hero. At Granny's, there's a celebration going due to the latest feat in town. However, an extremely nervous Regina carrying around a blank storybook, who is accompanied by her son, encourages her to go talk to the Blue Fairy, a.k.a. Mother Superior. Emma joins the small group as she reveals that the Sorcerer and the Author are NOT the same person. On the other hand, she has no idea why the Sorcerer has the Author's books, but knows 'he' exists even though she's personally never seen 'him' before. Additionally, she mentions that the Author may have left some clues in his works, including Henry's storybook. Right after, the restaurant rumbles momentarily. They head outside to find the demon lurking on the clock tower.
Once more, we are teleported back in time when the evil three were locked up with Chernabog. Maleficent uses her staff as means for distraction while they try to figure out a plan. She notices a crack on the wall, and tells them that two can get to safety first before they help the remaining one. The three make their way out of their hiding places like the badasses they are to face the demon. Unfortunately, Chernabog has already picked the darkest one among the three. Who is she? Well, she happens to harness the powers of a dragon.
In Storybrooke, people run in panic as the demon lunges towards them. The group consisting of Regina, Emma, Hook, Mary Margaret, and Belle try to discuss their options on how to stop the beast. Unfortunately, they don't have a plan with the exception of the savior and the 'evil' queen working together. "Can we drop the E-word already?" Regina asks before she and Emma head off. The two use their powers to momentarily stun the demon, although Regina was surprised that Chernabog didn't blast into pieces. As usual, Emma was ready to bark orders, but as Hook said, "Well, this isn't our first monster bash." Regina and Emma team up to strategize again before the beast comes back.
Just outside the town's border, Gold is showing Ursula what to do.
"The number's all cued up. All you have to do is press the 'call' button."
"I know how a phone works. I just don't know if I can trust the man whose phone it is."
"And why is that? I mean, you have my phone, my entire plan. And tonight, if you decided to not come back for me and stay in Storybrooke and abandon me, I couldn't blame you.
Continuing to use reverse psychology, he plans to ensure his safe arrival in Storybrooke. "I'll guess you'll find out tonight, won't you?" she grins as she proceeds to call Regina. "Regina, who is it?" Emma asks as we suddenly see a change of scenery, finding ourselves back at the mayor's home.
"The sea bitch."
"I've missed you, too. How are you?"
"Mostly wondering how a plate of undercooked calamari ended up with the Dark One's cell phone."
"I stole it from him."
Regina quickly moves it to speaker, and Ursula continues to mention how she's back with Cruella and the whereabouts of Gold. She also tries to convince Regina to let them in by claiming that she and Cruella have changed for the better. Regina tries to decline, unfortunately the Chernabog just happened to make its appearance in town again forcing her into a corner. If the information works, she'll consider letting them in.
Once again, we're back in the cave where Maleficent is currently fighting off the demon while the other two are making their way out. "We had a deal, witches!" she reminds them. When the monster grew near, she was quick to accept her fate, hoping that it chokes on her bones. Luckily, Ursula uses her tentacles to save her.
Back in Regina's, she assumes that the winged-beast is after her since she feels in the one with the darkest potential. Emma refuses to hand her in, so she comes up with a plan; if the demon happens to cross over the town line, no beast = no magic. At their cozy home, Mary Margaret receives a call concerning the plan. She looks unhappy because Cruella and Ursula would be back in their lives.
Meanwhile, the queen and the savior are doing their town a favor once more by being the bait for the Chernabog as they speedily drive along in Emma's yellow bug. Regina is quick to point out the odd choice in color, on the other hand. "I like yellow. I stole it. Is this really the time to question my taste?" she asks. Regina apologizes since she was worried about being lunch for a certain beast. Emma tries to reassure her, but the Chernabog grabs a hold of her car, smashing the windshield. In order to save Emma, Regina uses her magic to poof to the town line. Realizing this, Emma speeds up and breaks just as quick to send the beast flying into the invisible barrier, making it vanish. Yet another Regina/Emma combo. Arriving in a sheriff's car, Mary Margaret and David came to see if the pair are alright. However, she's against the idea of allowing two out of the three witches enter. David also agrees with his wife, surprising Emma even more. Regina, on the other hand, believes that if she could receive a second chance, they should, too. "How can I sit here, looking for my happiness, and deny two others a chance at theirs?" she asks them, reminding them that nothing's just black and white anymore. Upon Emma's agreement, she tosses the scroll to allow them to enter Storybrooke.
The brightly lit moon shines in the forest as Rumple awaits Ursula and Cruella. Slowly giving up, he turns his back on the town he can't see and limps off in the opposite direction until a scroll is tossed to him. His reverse psychology works as he enters the town once again.
"Nice duds. What do we do now?" asked Cruella.
"Now we begin our task. It's simple, really: continue to repent your wicked ways, make friends, build relationships."
"And just what will you be doing?"
"I'll continue my work behind the scenes, of course."
"Sounds like we're doing everything, again," Ursula whined.
He reminds them that HE is the one that got them in the first place, that HE was the Oxford Professor who translated the spell for Belle that not only released the fairies, but the monstrosity, too. He adds that they need to reunite with the only member missing: Maleficent. Ursula then mentions that they should be more concerned with dealing with Regina; Gold says otherwise by admitting that the Chernabog is after Emma, not Regina.
At Granny's, Henry is seen investigating his storybook while Emma and Hook talk about her more positive outlook on life. Hook points out that her parents aren't there, so she tries to call them. We move to another change in scenery where Mary and David meet up with Cruella and Ursula where it's revealed that they previously had history together.
Stay tuned for next week's recap, Popwrappers!
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