In Storybrooke, Regina is in her office holding a small brass ring, lost in thought. Her reverie is broken when Mr. Gold walks in and wants to make a deal with her. If she helps use her influence to help him in his court case, he'll help with her Mary Margaret problem. Mr. Gold, "If something tragic... were to happen to David's wife, and Mary Margaret should take blame-." Regina finishes the thought, "-she'd be ruined." Then Regina would have her victory. Mr. Gold proposes that once Mary Margaret has been incarcerated, Regina could plant one of her skeleton keys in her cell and when she tries to leave Storybrooke, "Well, we all know what happens to people that attempt to leave town." When Regina asks why she should trust him, Mr. Gold tells her because he always honors his agreements. So this is how the scheme to frame Mary Margaret came about!
In Fairy Tale Land, a younger, softer Regina flawlessly rides her saddle-less horse over several jump obstacles while her proud father looks on. After she jumps off her horse, her father says it was beautiful, giving her a hug and kiss on the cheek. Interrupting the moment is Regina's mother, Cora, and she does not find it beautiful. She wants Regina to be graceful and use a saddle, but Regina wants to have fun. Cora says she's too old to have fun and no one will want to marry her if she behaves like a commoner. Her father tries to defend her but Cora harshly puts him in his place, telling him to stop coddling Regina. When the stable boy offers a saddle Regina snaps at him and gives him her horse to take back to the stables. Regina remains defiant and walks away from her mother. Cora gets upset and uses her magic to lift and restrain Regina in the air. Only when Regina is contrite and obedient does Cora let her down.
Once free of Cora's magic, Regina runs to the stables. Inside, she finds the stable boy, Daniel, who she apologizes to for snapping at him. He tells her she'll have to find some way to make it up to him. Then she kisses him. It's a romantic kiss, one that lets us know they're having a secret affair.
Back in present-day Storybrooke, David asks Emma how Mary Margaret is doing and says he wants to see her. Emma tells him that Mary Margaret doesn't want visitors and David realizes that means she doesn't want to see him. Emma says his heart's probably in the right place but right now she doesn't need words of encouragement from him, she needs a miracle.
At the Sheriff's station, Mary Margaret is in her cell and jolts awake. She's surprised to find Regina sitting across the bars from her. Regina is there to give her a chance to confess. Mary Margaret maintains her innocence and asks why no one will believe her? Regina relishes in recalling all of the evidence stacked up against Mary Margaret and tells her one way or another she's leaving Storybrooke. Mary Margaret is puzzled. What did she ever do to make Regina hate her so much? Regina just stares at her.
In Fairy Tale Land, Regina meets Daniel at a romantic rendezvous out on a hill. He wants Regina to tell her parents about them, but she won't because her mother will disapprove. She'd think Daniel is not good enough for her. Regina assures him that's what her mother believes, not her. Daniel presses Regina to tell her mother but she fears her magic. Daniel isn't afraid, "Who cares about magic? True love is the most powerful magic of all. It can overcome anything." She smiles, comforted by his words. Before she can kiss him, a young girl riding a runaway horse streaks by! Regina jumps on her horse and pursues. She catches up to the girl and pulls her off the runaway horse, saving her. The young girl is frightened and says she'll never ride again. Regina tells her that the only way to overcome fear is to face it and she should get back on that horse as soon as possible. Regina introduces herself, as does the young girl, "I'm Snow. Snow White."
Back in Storybrooke, despite Emma's protests, Mr. Gold suggests that Mary Margaret have a pre-trial interview with the prosecution. Emma wants to go after Regina but Mr. Gold tells her they have no proof. He says their best chance at winning is showing that Mary Margaret doesn't fit the profile of a killer. Emma scoffs at this. Mr. Gold elaborates that perception is everything. If Mary Margaret agrees to cooperate with the District Attorney, this engenders trust that could help her with a jury. Sidney shows up, interrupting their conversation. He's brought a vase of flowers and sets them on Emma's desk. Emma asks what he's found on Regina. Sidney says nothing but he's going to keep looking until he does and then leaves. When Emma turns her attention back to the previous conversation, Mary Margaret follows Mr. Gold's advice and agrees to do the interview with prosecution. Mary Margaret says she has nothing to hide. Just then, the District Attorney enters, "Excellent decision, Ms. Blanchard." With Regina in tow, he introduces himself as Spencer (but in Fairy Tale Land, it's King George).
Later in the interrogation room, Spencer begins the interview with Mary Margaret as Mr. Gold sits with her. Emma and Regina watch from behind the glass. Spencer goads Mary Margaret into revealing that she was angry when Kathryn confronted her. Mary Margaret loses her cool from the intense prodding of the District Attorney, "Yes, of course I wanted her gone! She was the only thing keeping us apart. So yeah, I wanted her gone. Is that what you want to hear?" Spencer smiles at getting exactly what he wanted. Mr. Gold looks away, disappointed, as Mary Margaret realizes she messed up.
In Fairy Tale Land, Regina looks in the mirror as she finishes getting ready for a riding lesson with Daniel. Cora walks in and disapproves of her outfit. With a wave of her hand she magically changes it. Cora says her riding lesson has been canceled because the King is coming to visit. The girl Regina saved was the King's daughter. King Leopold enters, escorted in by Regina's father and thanks Regina for saving his daughter's life. Regina is flabbergasted. He tells them since Snow's mother died, he's searched for a wife and mother for his daughter. The King says he's had many who are attracted to the throne but none with an interest in his daughter until now. The King proposes to Regina, who is in shock and speechless. However, Cora isn't and she accepts the proposal on Regina's behalf.
Later, Regina blasts into the stables calling for Daniel. Regina is upset and buries herself in his arms. She asks him to marry her. He asks what's happened and if it's because she told her mother about them. Regina tells him it's because the girl she saved was the King's daughter and now he wants to marry her. Becoming distraught, she tells him Cora accepted for her. With tears in her eyes, Regina says she wants to run away with him, "Being Queen means nothing. All I care about is you." Daniel comes to a decision, "Then if I am to marry you, we must do this properly." He unfastens a small brass ringlet off his saddle and then slides it on Regina's ring finger. It's the same ringlet she was holding at the beginning of the episode. Regina is all smiles as they kiss. Suddenly, there is a THUNK! They both turn to find the young Snow has dropped her saddle and is staring at them in shock. When Regina asks what she's doing, young Snow says she was getting back on the horse like Regina told her to. She asks Regina what she's doing with Daniel before tearing up and running off. Regina realizes she heard everything and takes off after her.
Regina catches up with young Snow and asks if she's okay. Young Snow is crying and visibly upset. She wants to know why Regina was kissing that man when she is supposed to marry her father and be her mother. Regina explains to young Snow that even though her father is a kind and good man, she doesn't love him. Young Snow looks confused and doesn't understand. In a sincere, gentle tone, Regina explains to Snow that true love doesn't work that way. True love is the most powerful magic of all. Young Snow realizes that Daniel is who Regina loves and tells her she must marry him. When she gets up to tell her father, Regina stops her and explains that not everyone will understand, especially her Mother who will stand in the way. She and Daniel are running away because it's the only way their love can survive. Regina asks Snow to keep her secret and implores her to never tell her Mother. Young Snow smiles and agrees, then hugs Regina.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma is sitting on a bench and looking through Henry's storybook when August walks up and asks if she's still trying to find a way to prove Mary Margaret's been framed. She says she's found nothing but dead-ends and is beginning to doubt her instincts. August tells her she needs to looks at the case from a different perspective. When she started the case, it was a missing person's case, then a murder and then a cover-up. He suggests if she knew all of that back when the investigation started maybe she would have approached it differently. This gives her an idea to return to the scene of the crime.
At the old toll bridge, Emma notices that August is walking funny. He brushes it off as shin splints. August watches Emma as she searches for a clue they might have missed. Where Ruby found the box with Kathryn's heart, Emma finds a shard from a broken shovel. Emma thinks that if they can find the shovel the shard came from they can prove that Mary Margaret is innocent. August grins, "And I'm gonna guess you know exactly whose shovel it is." Emma gives a knowing smile back.
It's night now and Henry helps Emma and August by letting them know when Regina is in the shower so they can sneak into Regina's garage. Once inside, they search in the dark with flashlights. Emma strikes gold when she finds a shovel missing a piece. When she takes out the shard she found earlier, it fits perfectly. Emma smiles victoriously, "We got her."
In Fairy Tale Land, Cora finds young Snow and proposes she be the flower girl at the wedding. Then Cora shows what a master manipulator she is. Cora shares with young Snow how Regina's pulled away and tugs at her heart-strings by expressing how she doesn't want to lose her daughter. She tells Snow she'd do anything to make her daughter happy, if she only knew what it was. Young Snow, not realizing she's being manipulated and wanting to help Regina, tells Cora that Regina loves someone else and doesn't want to marry her father. She doesn't want Regina to lose her mother. Cora assures Snow that Regina won't lose her, "You can tell me... you must tell me..."
Back in Storybrooke, Emma shows up at Regina's house and hands her a search warrant for her garage. Regina asks on what grounds. Emma shows Regina the shard and tells her she got an anonymous call from someone who saw Regina digging by the toll bridge the day the heart was found. Regina has no choice and leads Emma to the garage. Emma makes a beeline to where she and August found the shovel with the missing shard, but the broken shovel is gone and has been replaced by a new one. Emma turns to Regina, demanding to know where the broken shovel is. Then she accuses Regina of knowing she was coming. Regina scoffs at that assertion. When Emma tries to defend Mary Margaret, Regina snaps back that she is a liar and murderer. "She's going to pay for what she's done. That woman has destroyed the last life she's ever going to destroy." As Emma realizes she lost, Regina smiles, relishing in her defeat.
Later, Emma goes to August and accuses him of tipping-off Regina about the shovel because he was the only other person who knew. He's taken aback, "I'd hope you'd have enough faith to know that I would never betray you." Emma asks how she can be sure he's not a liar. August tells her, "I'm not a liar." Emma says that's exactly what a liar would say and leaves.
Mary Margaret is in her cell crying when Regina walks in and asks if she's having a bad day. Regina gloats that once Mary Margaret is found guilty and sent out of Storybrooke, she'll never have to see her again. She wants to enjoy seeing Mary Margaret get the justice she's due for as long as she can. Mary Margaret maintains her innocence but Regina says of course that's how she's always seen herself. Through tears, Mary Margaret tells Regina, "I don't know what I ever did to you, but whatever it was... Regina... I'm sorry. I truly am." Regina, enjoying this, replies, "Apology not accepted." When Mary Margaret reiterates that she didn't kill Kathryn, Regina softly brushes her face through the bars, "I know." Then Regina turns harsh, grabs Mary Margaret by the cheeks, "But you do deserve this." And with that she turns and goes, leaving behind a crushed Mary Margaret.
It's night in Fairy Tale Land, Regina meets Daniel at the stables as they are about to run away together. They kiss and turn to leave, only to come face-to-face with a very upset Cora. She uses her magic to push the two lovers off the ground and back into the stables. The stable doors magically close behind Cora as she looks at her daughter and Daniel with menace in her eyes. Cora tells Regina she's made sacrifices and deals to get her where she is and now Regina wants to throw it away on a stable boy. Regina argues it's her life and that she loves Daniel. It appears that Cora acquiesces and will let them be together. She pulls Daniel aside, advises him that when they have a family he will always have to do what's best for his child. Daniel understands that is what she's doing for Regina right now. Cora agrees, then slams her hand into Daniel's chest and rips out his heart. Daniel falls and Regina rushes to him. With his heart in her hand, Cora crushes it into dust.
Regina screams at Cora, "Mother, why have you done this?" Cora tells Regina this is her happy ending. She tells Regina love is weakness and it always fades. But power? True power endures. Cora, "I've saved you, my love." Regina looks up at Cora through tears, "You've ruined everything. I loved him. I loved him." Cora, out of patience, snaps back, "Enough." She tells Regina she's indulged this long enough. It's time for Regina to clean herself up and wipe away her tears. Cora, "Because now? You're going to be Queen."
Regina is getting her wedding gown fitted when young Snow is in awe of her, "Wow. You are most certainly the fairest of them all!" Then she tells Regina how she knows her and Daniel will be so happy together. Regina asks Snow if she told her mother about her and Daniel? Young Snow, "Yes." Regina is on the verge of erupting, "But I told you, very specifically, not to." Young Snow explains that she didn't want Regina to lose her mother like she lost hers. Regina turns away, as her world crumbles. Emotions swirling as this bombshell lands: Snow White was the reason her love is dead and she will never experience true love again. Then Regina's face changes, it's the beginning of her transformation into the Evil Queen. She keeps her composure and hugs Snow. Regina lies about Daniel, saying he ran away. She loves Snow's father and now they'll be a family. Young Snow is happy and relieved at the news. Regina, "I'm going to be your stepmother. And I couldn't be happier." Young Snow hugs Regina and is clueless that anything is wrong.
Cora interrupts, telling Snow to go to her room and pack. Regina has tears in her eyes as the young Snow walks off. Cora, "Well played dear. You're learning." As Regina walks away, Cora tells her she's so proud of her. This is the first genuine compliment she's ever paid to Regina. But Regina remains stoic as something occurs to her. She asks her mother if she knew the King was traveling through their land. Regina, "That steed-with Snow on it? It didn't go wild on its own did it?" Cora doesn't give anything away, "I have no idea what you're saying." Regina turns away with a knowing look. She walks away from her mother, icy now. Cold. The Regina we know so well, "I should've let her die on that horse."
Back in Storybrooke, Regina is in her office clutching the ring. The same ring from the beginning of the episode and the same one her true love, Daniel, gave her in Fairy Tale Land. She's gripping the ring tight in her fist as she looks out the window. Satisfied in her revenge, Regina whispers to herself, "We got her, Daniel. We got her."
At the Sheriff's station, a dejected and helpless Mary Margaret is handcuffed and lead away to court by the bailiffs. Emma watches, powerless, then turns on Mr. Gold for not being able to fix the situation and letting Regina win. Unfazed, Mr. Gold tells her that Regina hasn't won yet. Emma thinks Regina's going to win and that Mary Margaret is going to pay for her trusting Mr. Gold. He just smiles, tells Emma that it's not over and she must have a little faith because there is still time. Emma asks time for what? Mr. Gold, "For me to work a little magic." And with that Mr. Gold exits. Emma walks into her office still upset. Rage overcomes her. She picks up the flowers Sidney put on her desk and throws them against the file cabinet. When she looks down at the damage, she finds an audio surveillance bug in the debris.
Outside of Granny's Diner, Emma finds August and apologizes for doubting him. She shows him the bug that Sidney planted. It's evidence that she has trusted all the wrong people. He tells her not to beat herself up about it, "Sometimes it's hard to see what's right in front of us. I knew you would." Emma's appreciative, and says she's trying. Just then, a loud scream breaks the moment. Emma and August share a look and go running in the direction of the noise. They find Ruby at the mouth of the alley, shaken, saying, "She's... she's... she's in the alley..." Ruby leans against the wall as August makes sure she's okay. Emma runs to the alley to find a woman in dirty, torn clothes stumbling to the ground between some cars. When Emma turns the woman over she's shocked to find it's Kathryn. She's alive.