We open in the Storybrooke pharmacy, where Henry is engrossed with a Hulk vs. Wolverine comic. His reverie is broken by a young girl’s voice, “Whatchya reading?” The young girl, Ava, introduces herself and Henry is smitten. Her brother Nicholas walks up and tells her it’s time to go. She invites Henry to go with them. Henry joins them, happy to be included. But before they can leave they are stopped by Mr. Clark. He accuses Henry of stealing. He opens Henry’s bag to find candy bars and other assorted items. Henry then realizes Ava was distracting him so her brother could put that stuff in there. He’s hurt. Henry and his new friends are busted.
In Fairy Tale Land, a Woodcutter is felling a large tree in the forest as the FTL versions of Ava and Nicholas approach. They’re the Woodcutter’s children and he instructs them to go into the woods to collect kindling. Before they go he calls them back and gives the girl his compass. She smiles as he puts it around her neck, “A family always needs to be able to find one another.” The Woodcutter smiles and watches as his children disappear into the forest. Later, after the children have collected the kindling, Gretel tells Hansel it’s getting late and they should get back to their father. Yes, it’s that Hansel and Gretel. They return to where they left their father but he’s nowhere to be found. When they hear a grunt in forest they run to it, calling out for their father. Instead they reach the road, where Gretel is knocked over by one the Queen’s men and breaks the compass. The Queen doesn’t look pleased, “What are you doing in my forest?”
Back in Storybrooke, Regina gets Henry out of the trouble at the pharmacy and blames Ava and Nicholas for the shoplifting. Emma shows up as Regina and Henry walk out. When she asks Ava and Nicholas if they gave Mr. Clark a fake number, they tell her the phone was disconnected because their parents couldn’t pay the bill. When Emma looks at the basic necessities they shoplifted she realizes they were just trying to help out their parents. The kids plead with Emma to not arrest them because it would only make it worse for their parents.
On the road in Fairy Tale Land, Hansel and Gretel plead with the Queen to forgive them because they just lost their father in the forest. The Queen is not moved and orders her guards to seize them. They flee into the forest but the Queen uses her magic to quickly track them down and ensnare them with vines. She releases them and tells them because they were so brave she’ll help them find their father if they do something for her.
In Storybrooke, Emma takes Ava and Nicholas home. She uses her “super power” to ask them if everything is okay at home. They promise nothing is wrong. Once Emma drives off we learn this wasn’t their home when they take off running. Ava and Nicholas come to a stop at a rundown, abandoned home and enter like they’ve been there before. When they’re safe inside they settle in, this is where they live. Then the pair hear something and go investigate. They’re surprised by Emma who asks them where their parents are. Ava, “We don’t have any.”
Later, Ava and Nicholas are devouring a hot meal at Emma and Mary Margaret’s apartment. Emma and Mary Margaret stand off to the side out of earshot, where Emma reveals she found out their mother, Dorrie Zimmer, died a few years ago and that nobody seems to know her or remember her. And there’s no father, at least no one the kids know. Emma tells Mary Margaret she didn’t report the kids to Social Services because she’s going to try and find their father. If she can’t find him the kids will probably get separated. A teary Ava has overheard the conversation and pleads with Emma not to let them get separated. At the Hall of Records, Emma goes to find the birth certificates of Ava and Nicholas but they’re already checked out. Jump to Regina at her office, telling Emma that she checked the birth certificates out and when she found out there is no record of the children’s father she reported them to child services. The children will be separated into group homes in Boston. Regina tells Emma she has to deliver them tonight.
In Fairy Tale Land, deep in the forest the Queen take the children to the edge of a clearing, near the home of the Blind Witch. After being asked what she was holding around her neck, Gretel tells the Queen it’s the compass her father gave her so she could find him. Then the Queen asks Hansel and Gretel to steal back something of hers, something she needs to defeat a wicked and powerful enemy. It’s in a black leather satchel inside. When Gretel asks why she doesn’t get it herself, the Queen says the house is protected by magic but it doesn’t work on children. If they do this for her, she’ll help them find their father. The Queen gives them one finally warning, telling them the witch’s house is unique, “No matter what you do, no matter how you’re tempted -- don’t eat anything.” Then she pulls back some branches to reveal the most delicious looking gingerbread house ever.
At the Sheriff’s Station back in Storybrooke, Henry pulls out his storybook and tells Emma he knows who the kids are. They’re Hansel and Gretel to which Emma doesn’t believe. Henry then asks her about his dad. Emma tells him he was firefighter she met when she was young. They lost touch and she tried to contact him before Henry was born but she found out he died saving a family from a burning apartment building. This hits Henry hard. When he asks Emma if she has anything he can have of his father, she tells him no. But she instantly jumps up, suddenly having an idea on how to find Ava and Nicholas’s father. Emma, back at her apartment, shows Ava and Nicolas the only thing her parents left her with, her baby blanket. The same blanket she had as an infant in Fairy Tale Land. She asks the kids if they have anything of their father’s. Ava gives her a compass, the same one she had as Gretel in Fairy Tale Land. Emma takes it with renewed hope and promises to find their father.
It’s nighttime back in Fairy Tale Land as the children creep up to the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house. They enter the house through the window to find the inside full of irresistible treats. Gretel reminds Hansel of the Queen warning, “Not even a lick.” As Gretel gets the satchel, she turns to watch as Hansel is overcome by temptation and takes a huge bite of a cupcake. Instantly, the Blind Witch is roused from her sleep as the fireplace roars to life revealing a pile of children’s bones. As the children attempt to flee, the door locks and window they entered slams shut. There is no escape and the Blind Witch approaches, “I smell dinner.”
In Storybrooke, Emma asks Mr. Gold to see if he has any information about the compass Ava gave her. He tells her that he knows of the piece, it was bought in his store. When she asks who bought it, Mr. Gold says off-hand he doesn’t remember, but he keeps extensive records. He goes to his files and pulls out an index card. Emma asks what’s the price for the information. He tells her forgiveness. She offers tolerance. Mr. Gold smiles, “Well, that’s a start. The compass was purchased by a Mr. Michael Tillman.” As Emma leaves we pull back to see the index card Mr. Gold read the name from -- it’s blank. Later, Emma finds Michael Tillman at his repair garage. He doesn’t want to believe that he has twins. When he asks Emma why she is so sure he’s the father, she shows him the compass. He holds it and comes to the truth. Emma gives him a heart-felt plea about her own situation and how he’ll regret it later if he doesn’t take them in. Michael apologizes, “I don’t know anything about being a good dad. If it’s a good home you’re looking for, it’s not with me.” Back at Emma and Mary Margaret’s apartment, Henry plays with Ava and Nicholas. Outside Emma shares with Mary Margaret that she found the kids’ dad but he doesn’t want to take them. Emma then confesses to Mary Margaret she didn’t tell Henry the truth about his father, he wasn’t a hero. Regina shows up and wants to know why Emma isn’t on her way to Boston with the kids.
Back at the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel are locked in a cage by the Blind Witch who pinches them to decide which one to cook first. She settles on Hansel, “Nice and tender. A succulent roast you’ll make.” The Blind Witch goes to the oven and checks the fire. Then starts making other preparations to cook them. Hansel turns to his sister terrified that he’s going to be cooked. Gretel is equally scared but keep her composure and comes up with a plan. She tells Hansel to pull the key out of the Blind Witch’s pocket when she pulls him out. Then he should throw it to her. He’s too afraid to do it. So as the Blind Witch approaches, Gretel steps up and poses as Hansel. She gets the key and throws it to Hansel, who then let’s himself out. After he gets a stick to hit the Blind Witch he trips. The Blind Witch spins, she immediately realizes what’s happening. She uses her magic to knock the stick out of Hansel’s hands. Tosses Gretel roughly to the ground then grabs Hansel and starts to drag him to the oven. Gretel gets up and charges at the Blind Witch, slamming her on the cooking tray. With the Blind Witch stunned, the children push the cooking tray into the oven and lock her inside. The children grab the satchel, tear open the front doors and flee. As the children race off into the forest, we see the reflection of the oven in a mirror on the wall. The Blind Witch still trying to escape. On that reflection, we pull back to see the Queen approaching a mirror in her castle with a ball of fire in her hand. She throws it at the reflection of the oven in the mirror. The ball of fire engulfs the Blind Witch in her oven. She’s being incinerated. Now we know, Hansel and Gretel didn’t kill the Blind Witch -- it was the Queen.
Still in Fairy Tale Land, Hansel and Gretel deliver the satchel to the Queen at her castle. She’s pleased with them and pulls out what was in the satchel – a shining, red and delicious apple. They are dismayed at the fact that they did all that for an apple. She tells them it’s not just an apple but a weapon for a very particular and devious enemy who is under the illusion she’s safe. Gretel now wants the Queen to help them find their father but instead the Queen offers to let them to live with her as a reward. They reject her offer, they want their father and will find him with or without her help. The Queen is not pleased. She starts casting another spell. Magical energy encircles the children and as the Queen’s hand spins, so do the children.
Back in Storybrooke, Ava and Nicholas get into Emma’s cruiser. She is about to take them to Boston. Emma gives Ava back the compass and says she’s sorry. Henry pleads with her not to take them, if they leave Storybrooke something bad will happen. She tells him something bad already has. With no choice Emma pulls away. On the road out of town Emma’s cruiser’s engine stalls and she pulls off to the side then dials for help.
In Fairy Tale Land the Queen is looking in her magic mirror and is surprised to find Snow White working with the dwarfs. When her prisoner, the Woodcutter is brought in she dismisses the image. He is distraught and demands to be released so he can find his children that were left in the forest. The Queen tells him she offered his children everything they could possibly want but they denied her because of their blind faith in him. She asks him why. The Woodcutter, “Because we’re a family. And family always finds one another.” For a quick moment the Queen is genuinely moved, but she quickly recovers her cold exterior. She releases the Woodcutter, “You can all be together. As a family. As soon as you all find one another.” Off that ominous statement -- we find Hansel and Gretel waking up in the forest. They don’t know where they are. Hansel is scared but Gretel assures him they’ll be okay. They look down at the compass their father gave them and smile before holding hands and heading off into the forest. As we pull back, we see that they’re two tiny specks in an infinite forest.
On the side of the road leading out of Storybrooke, Emma stands against her sheriff’s cruiser. Inside Ava and Nicholas watch as their compass begins to flip around. It stops and points in the direction of a pair of headlights that belong to a tow truck that has just pulled up behind them. Michael, their father, gets out. He looks at them for the first time as they look back. Emma sees the emotion hitting him and gives one last pitch for him to take his children. He asks if she’s taking them to Boston. Emma tells him she doesn’t have to. Michael, “No you don’t.” He walks over to the cruiser, to get his children. A tear rolls down Emma’s cheek as she watches a family reunite.
Emma returns home drained and exhausted. She laments to Mary Margaret how she should just give up on finding her own parents because that would be easier. Mary Margaret tells her she shouldn’t and that maybe there is a good explanation as to why she hasn’t been able to find them. Emma says it couldn’t be crazier then Henry’s theory that Mary Margaret is her mom. They both laugh at that. Emma grabs a file as she walks off to get some air. Mary Margaret notices Emma’s baby blanket and is drawn to it, “What a pretty blanket.” It’s the same blanket from Fairy Tale Land. Mary Margaret is weirdly drawn to the blanket, but she shakes it off and folds it up.
Emma is in her cruiser looking over news clippings of her being found on the side of the road as a baby, when Henry walks up. Emma is feeling guilty about lying to him with regards to his father. But when he looks up at her smiling and with wide eyes, Emma continues the lie. Then he hugs her. He smiles, “What you did. With Ava and Nicholas. You really are changing things.” And then… as if on cue, they suddenly hear a revving of a motorcycle in the distance. A Stranger on a motorcycle pulls up right across from them. The tall, dark and handsome Stranger walks up to them, smiles. And it’s a dangerous smile. He asks if he’s in Storybrooke. Emma confirms. The Stranger then asks where he could get a room. Henry asks if he’s staying. The Stranger looks to Henry, “That’s the plan.” Emma directs him to Granny’s Bed and Breakfast. He thanks them and heads back to his bike. Emma calls out to him, “Hey I didn’t catch your name.” The Stranger turns, “That’s cause I didn’t give it.” He gets on his bike and drives away. Emma and Henry exchange looks. Emma, “I thought you said strangers don’t come to Storybrooke?” Henry just looks at her and then at the Stranger riding off into the darkness, “They don’t.”