Our story begins in a flashback to Fairy Tale Land as Captain Hook seemingly tries to rescue a captive Belle from The Evil Queen. But when he realizes Belle knows nothing about how to kill Rumplestiltskin and wouldn’t help him do so even if she did, he quickly changes his mind about the rescue. It’s too late, though—Regina has caught him. But instead of killing the Captian, The Queen makes him an offer. If he will travel to Wonderland and rip out her mother’s heart, she’ll use The Dark Curse to transport him and Rumplestiltskin to a land without magic, where The Dark One will be powerless and Hook can have his revenge. Hook agrees, travels to Wonderland and is brought before The Queen of Hearts. He tells her he’s searching for Cora and the Queen reveals they are one and the same!
The plan to take Cora’s heart doesn’t really work out for Hook, though, and instead she reaches into his chest. When Hook reveals that he’s there to kill her on her daughter’s behalf, Cora hatches a new plan. She leaves Hook his heart and returns to Fairy Tale Land with him, pretending to be dead. When Regina is alone with what she believes to be her dead mother, she confesses that she needed her mother dead because she loves her too much, and in this new land and with The Dark Curse, she can’t afford the weakness of love. This changes Cora’s plans completely, and instead she and Hook sneak away, where Cora shields part of Fairy Tale Land from The Dark Curse. There she says she’ll wait 28 years for The Curse to be broken and then, when her daughter truly needs her again, she will return to her and Hook will have his revenge.