We open on RED running quickly through the darkened forest. She enters a TENT to reveal PRINCE CHARMING and SNOW WHITE, going over a map with two other compatriots. We realize we’re in the time period after Snow has been awoken by Charming, but before they’ve retaken the castle. Red breathlessly tells them that King George’s army is coming and they have to move camp. Charming tells her no, they’re not going to take back the castle by running off with their tails between their legs. Ruby gives him a look, and Charming adds, “No offense.” Ruby tells them all that matters have worsened because King George has a new General. They call this fearsome warrior the LEVIATHAN, because his attacks seem to come from nowhere, and because no one has survived his ferocity. Charming, always the courageous hero, tells her “We’ll see.” Snow asks Ruby how close the army is to camp, and her answer comes in the form of a FLAMING ARROW that lands directly in the center of the map. Charming, wry, says they’re pretty close. Everyone in the tent quickly rushes out, with Charming drawing his sword, ready for battle. They spot a force of torch-wielding Knights on horseback, bearing down on the camp. Snow says that they should split up to divide them. Charming agrees, and everyone takes off into the forest. Snow expects Charming to come with her, but he tells her that because King George is after him, she’ll be safer on her own. He tells her not to worry, he’ll meet her in two days time at the cabin. Snow’s surprised at this, asks him if he’s sure. Charming reassures her, saying that they’re engaged; it’s about time she met his mother. Charming gives her a passionate kiss, and suddenly we’re seeing the kiss from afar, being watched by a masked KNIGHT.
As Snow tries to make her escape through the forest, she is unceremoniously clothes-lined by the huge arm of the masked Knight. She demands to know who this Leviathan is, and the knight, unaware of his moniker, reveals his handsome face and tells her his name is LANCELOT! Snow, confused, asks if he’s Lancelot of the Round Table, and he tells her “Not anymore.” And as he lifts his prisoner off the ground, we go to—
PRESENT DAY FAIRY TALE LAND. We’re joining this scene where we left it last episode, with Snow unconscious in the prisoner’s pit, and EMMA chatting with CORA, unaware that Cora is a terrifying enemy, not to be trusted. After Cora assures Emma that Snow will be alright, the two talk, with Cora informing Emma that the camp is a haven from the destruction, and also telling her that she’s been imprisoned because her daughter was responsible for the curse. Emma is shocked to find out that Cora is Regina’s mother, but Cora assures her the apple fell far from the tree. But a suddenly awake Snow knows better. She tells Emma to stay away from Cora, and that as bad as Regina is, Cora’s even worse. Cora tries to convince Snow that Regina lied to her about her, but Snow knows better, literally shielding Emma. Emma, confused, thinks that while they’re stuck in a pit that they need all the help they can get, especially as Regina is there with Henry, admitting to a questioning Cora that Henry is her son. And Snow’s had enough, telling Emma not to talk to her. Just then a rope descends, and a guard tells Snow and Emma that their leader requests an audience.
From here we travel to STORYBROOKE, where DAVID and HENRY walk along the still-devastated main street. Henry clearly wants to help David bring Emma and Mary Margaret back, but David reminds him that this involves magic, and he’s not going to let Henry anywhere near it. He tells Henry the best way for him to help right now would be to go to school, and Henry agrees to this. But as soon as David walks away, Henry turns from the bus and runs off.
Off this, we travel back to Fairy Tale Land Present, in the Island Encampment. As the guards lead Snow and Emma, Snow is surprised to see a familiar face emerge from a nearby tent: Lancelot. Not as surprised as us, though, when they HUG like old friends. What the heck happened since we last saw them together? Before we can even ask, Snow introduces Emma to this most famous knight, letting her know Lancelot is an old friend and they can trust him. Nearby, AURORA and MULAN watch, with Aurora furious that their leader is embracing the two she holds responsible for Phillip’s death. Mulan tells her not to confuse vengeance with justice. Aurora agrees, but we can see she’s carrying a knife, and seems intent to use it.
At a table in the Encampment, food is placed before Emma and Snow, with Lancelot telling them one of the more exotic looking meats is Chimera; all his hunting party could bring back. It’s part lion, part serpent, part goat. Emma: “Like turducken?” Snow questions Lancelot about their camp, asking how they survived the curse. Lancelot tells her it’s a mystery, but when the smoke cleared they were left, for reasons they know not why. It wasn’t easy finding this haven, but he assures them that they’re safe here. Snow tells him they can’t stay; they need to get back to her grandson. He tells them it’s too dangerous, and that there are no more portals left. Snow admits she may know of another portal, but won’t admit where because she knows how powerful Cora is, and doesn’t want to divulge her plans. Lancelot assures her she’s powerful no more. Lancelot agrees to let them leave as long as they take his fiercest warrior, Mulan. Emma resists, but Snow agrees thanking Lancelot, and adding that he’s always looking out for her.
From this warm sentiment, we go back in time again, to King George’s tent, where a decidedly different Lancelot brings Snow before King George. Snow, furious, tells King George that she’ll never tell him where Charming is, but King George says he knows that, and has Lancelot bring her some water. King George reiterates why he hates Charming, and then tells an incredulous Snow that, despite what she believes, he was in love once, and that his love drank a vile potion that robbed them of their chance to have children. Because Charming has wronged him so profoundly, King George believes death is too good for him. He wants him to know the same pain he’s felt. That’s when Snow gets it. She looks down into her glass, understanding what she’s just drank. Lancelot, too realizes, “You poisoned her.” King George corrects him, telling Lancelot that he cursed her, and now she will never bear a child. Off this terrible shock --
We got to FTL present, where a CHEST of weapons opens. Mulan gives Emma and Snow their choice of armaments. Snow chooses a bow and a quiver of arrows, while Emma asks Mulan for her gun back. Mulan tries to warn the two about their dangers, but Emma seems ready for anything. Mulan tells her that when an ogre attacks you, legend has it the last thing you see is yourself dying in the reflection of their eyes. As Mulan leads them out of the camp, Emma prods Snow to tell her the plan. Snow admits that their goal is to find the wardrobe that Emma was sent through in. It's still in Snow and Charming's castle, so that's where they're headed. Snow to Emma, “That’s right, we’re going home.”
From here we fly to Storybrooke, where a distraught looking Jefferson is looking at a picture drawn by his daughter, asking if anyone has seen her papa. Henry joins him on the bench, confirming as he does that this is Jefferson, the Mad Hatter. Henry wants his help to get his mom and grandmother back, but Jefferson tells him he can’t help him. Henry persists, and Jefferson says that he should ask his mother, Regina. Maybe she has something in her vault that can help. This surprises Henry, who had no idea that his mother had a vault in Storybrooke. Henry questions Jefferson about not connecting with his daughter who’s looking for him. Jefferson admits that even though she’s so near, he can’t go to her because he’s ashamed he let her go. Henry tells him that not knowing what happened is the worst, and that seems to move Jefferson.
Cut to Regina’s office, where we find REGINA packing up her office into boxes. A call comes in, Regina picks up and brightens as she tells Henry she’d love to meet him at Granny’s for lunch in ten minutes. She hustles out of her office to meet Henry, but we stay, revealing… HENRY! He staged the call, and was hiding in her office all along. He goes to a drawer and takes out a ring of KEYS. From this surprise, we travel back to –
Snow, Emma and Mulan, traveling through the forest. Mulan tells them that this spot will do for a campsite for the night. As Mulan goes to find firewood, Emma asks if the fire won’t attract ogres. Snow, matter-of-fact, tells Emma that ogres are blind and hunt by sound alone. Snow tells Emma that while she knows she can handle herself, this land is unknown to her. She suggests Emma stay at camp while she and Mulan search for wood, and Emma grudgingly does so.
Meanwhile, we flash to Snow’s past, where King George’s troops dump her in the forest. A heartbroken Snow, uncertain of what to do, hears someone approaching on horseback. She ambushes him, knocking him off his horse, quickly revealing it’s Lancelot. She prepares to kill him, but he tells her that he didn’t know King George’s plan. What’s more, the King knows about Charming’s mother’s cabin. Snow, in shock, realizes that Charming is walking into a trap.
At the cabin, Charming’s mother RUTH tends to her modest garden as Charming tells her the place looks beautiful. Ruth is trying to make everything perfect for Snow’s arrival. Suddenly, Charming hears something in the woods. He tells his mother to go inside and not to come out for any reason. Charming goes out into a clearing, expectant, and sure enough, King George’s men appear from the nearby trees. Charming dispatches them one by one, showing once again why he is the most feared warrior in the land. As he takes in this victory he hears “Son?” He turns to see his mother with an ARROW in her chest. Charming rushes to her, forlorn that she didn’t stay inside as he told her to. But she was worried about him. Just then, Snow and Lancelot rush up, with Snow telling Charming they came as fast as they could. As she and Charming take in this terrible sight of his mortally wounded mother we go to…
It’s present day Fairy Tale Land, and we’re in the forest at night. As Snow makes preparations for the camp, she is shocked when a KNIFE is put under her throat. Even more surprising? The person wielding it is AURORA! She’s followed the group and wants her revenge for Phillip. Snow’s reply is to FLIP the princess over her shoulder and quickly pin her to the ground. Snow tells Aurora that not only does she know about losing someone she loves, it wasn’t her or Emma’s fault. Mulan pulls Snow off of Aurora, telling Snow she’ll deal with her, and collecting Aurora’s knife from the ground. Just then a GUNSHOT thunders. Everyone turns to see Emma, who tells Mulan to put down the weapon. All of them are in shock at Emma’s actions, though, with Snow asking if she knows what she did. Off that, the thunderous roar of a now-alerted Ogre. Snow yells “Run!,” and the women all flee together through the forest. But Emma gets separated from the pack, loses her footing, and before she knows what’s happening, finds herself face to face with a three-story tall OGRE. The blind beast senses her presence, and when Emma tries to shoot at it, the thing snatches her gun, crumples it and throws it away. Emma, stunned and helpless as the beast rears up to kill her. But then – a whistle! Emma sees Mary Margaret nearby, who tells the ogre to back away from her daughter. When the beast turns its attention to Snow bearing down on her, Snow lets an arrow fly, shooting it in the eye and killing it instantly. As Snow strides away, a rescued and humbled Emma takes in the felled monstrosity.
In the Fairy Tale Land of the past, with Charming and Snow still hovering over Charming’s wounded mother, Lancelot tells them all that the arrow was poisoned. Even fairy dust can’t save her at this point. Suddenly Charming remembers: Lake Nostos! He’s seen it perform miracles before, surely it can save his mother. When next we see them, Charming and Lancelot lead a wagon carrying Ruth through the forest, on the way to Lake Nostos. When Charming and Lancelot go to scout ahead, Snow cares for Ruth. Ruth thanks Snow for giving her son something to believe in; all he’s ever wanted was a wife and a child. A hesitant Snow watches as Ruth takes off her NECKLACE. She tells Snow that her mother gave it to her. It’s been enchanted by Gypsies to tell the gender of the first born, even before you’re pregnant. If it swings North to South it’s a boy, East to West it’s a girl. Snow declines, but Ruth asks her to indulge an old woman; that it will take her mind off of things. Snow allows her to try it out, but the necklace doesn’t swing. Ruth tries to tell Snow it’s just a superstition anyway, but Snow breaks down and tells Ruth that King George has cursed her to be barren. Ruth, undeterred, tells Snow that if Lake Nostos can save her life it must be able to cure Snow, as well. Off Snow, hopeful…
Go to present day FTL, where Emma, Snow, Mulan and Aurora trudge through the chilly forest, finally coming to… Snow’s ruined castle. They’ve arrived.
Back in the FTL past, Charming and Lancelot lead the carriage with Snow and Ruth to Lake Nostos, but suddenly stop the horse and walk ahead in shock as they survey a dry bed of sand. Snow: “Where’s the lake?” Charming tells her she’s looking at it. It’s gone.
From here we join Henry in Storybrooke, trying to execute his plan to find Regina’s vault. He finds his way into the mausoleum, then through the coffin entrance inside, and down to his mother’s vault of hearts. He picks a promising looking box, then uses the key to open it, revealing… Agrabahn Vipers! Just as they threaten to bite him, the lid of the box slams shut. It’s David, who has learned from Regina about Henry’s ruse and came to find him. Henry tells David he just wanted them back, and David understands, telling him that from here on out they’ll be doing this together.
Back at Lake Nostos, in FTL past, Charming is blaming himself for their state, admitting that killing the Siren made the lake dry up. Lancelot tells Charming there might be water yet, quickly finding a small shell with some remaining water inside. It may just be enough to cure Charming’s mother. Nearby, Ruth tells Snow she wants her to drink the water, because it could lift her curse. Snow says she won’t let Ruth make that sacrifice: the water was meant for her. Charming rushes over, giving his mother the water, which she sips. From Charming’s joy and hope at this –
Join Emma, Snow, Aurora and Mulan as they enter Emma’s now wrecked nursery room, in Snow’s castle where the wardrobe was last seen. Mulan and Aurora decide to stand watch at the gate. Snow never thought she’d see the place again; baby Emma never even got to spend a night there. Emma cuts short Snow’s remembrances by reminding her their family is in Storybrooke, and that’s why they need to get back.
Back at Lake Nostos, Charming can tell that it’s not working; his mother isn’t healing. As Charming goes to find more water, Ruth stops him. She wants to spend these last minutes with him. Her only wish was to see her son marry Snow. Snow, getting an idea, asks Lancelot if a disgraced member of the round table still has the power to perform a marriage, and he says he does. Within moments, under a trellis of flowers, Lancelot performs the simple ceremony, and we realize the wedding we saw in the pilot was only their public wedding: this was their first and true uniting in love. With a sip from a wedding chalice to seal their bond forever, they look over to see that Ruth has passed. As the joy mixes with anguish, we travel to –
Emma’s nursery in Snow’s ruined castle, where Emma and Snow ponder the wardrobe. Emma asks how they’re going to carry the thing, and they get an unexpected reply: “With the help of an old friend.” Snow and Emma are surprised to see Lancelot step out from the shadows. Lancelot tells the two that he sent Mulan and Aurora to find food, then approaches the wardrobe, running his hand over it, wondering at its power and suggesting that a portal this powerful must be able to be recharged. When Snow asks why he’s so interested in the wardrobe he says he simply wants to help Snow get back to her husband and Emma to be able to return to her son, Henry. Snow nods pleasantly at the sentiment and then, lightning fast, draws Emma’s sword and points it at Lancelot. Emma’s confused, but Snow reminds her that there’s only one person she told Henry’s name to. Emma, realizing: “Cora.” With her ruse discovered, Lancelot melts away revealing CORA, impressed by her enemies’ insight. Upon prompting by Snow, Cora tells her that she killed Lancelot long ago to take on his useful heroic mantle, and to trick them. Snow lunges in for an attack, but Cora sends her flying against a nearby wall, where she’s held fast and choked by Cora’s power. Emma tries to intervene, but Cora sends her flying with a flick of her wrist. Cora approaches Snow, thanking her for giving her the way over that she’s been looking for. Emma, trying to regroup, comes at Cora, but Cora uses her magic to cause a CURTAIN to come alive and wrap around Emma’s legs, tripping her. Snow, still choking, asks why, and Cora admits she wants to see her daughter. It’s been too long. And her grandson. Emma tells her she won’t, and we see that she has pulled some loose bullets from her pocket, opened them, and is pouring a small mound of gunpowder onto the wardrobe before – FWOOSH – she lights it on fire! Cora screams no, and pulls a fireball from the flames, ready to incinerate Emma. But MULAN appears out of nowhere, and deflects the fireball with her enchanted blade. Cora, taking in her situation, tells the heroines, “We’re not done.” With that she disappears in a big puff of smoke, freeing Snow from her choking grasp, and leaving Aurora to help up Emma. Emma goes to Snow, with Snow telling her she saved her. Emma, though, is more focused on the smoldering wardrobe, and the fact that she just torched their ride home.
In Fairy Tale Land, a somber moment as Charming places a candle on his mother’s grave. Snow is sorry he lost the only family he had, but he corrects her. He still has her. He loves her, and together they can start a new family. Snow, still hiding her secret, looks at the ground. Charming unwittingly offers Snow his mother’s enchanted necklace, repeating what Ruth said about it predicting the gender of the unborn baby. As he hands it to her, Snow resists, about to tell Charming what happened, until she notices… the pendant is swinging. Snow, floored: “We’re going to have a child.” Charming, a bit taken aback, asks if there’s something he should know, but Snow tells him she means someday. He shares her joy but not her surprise, asking Snow if it’s going to be a boy (he always forgets which direction means which). Snow, overwhelmed, says it’s a surprise. Charming determined, says he’s going to send the signal for the army to regroup. They’re going to take back the castle as a family. As he goes off, Snow is left with her confusion, until she eyes Lancelot. She approaches and tells him that she knows what happened. Ruth only pretended to drink the water, but had Lancelot place it in the wedding chalice from which Snow drank during the ceremony. A smiling Lancelot tells her wryly that he has no idea what she’s talking about. He asks her what her child is going to be, and Snow tells him, “A girl.”
Back in Emma’s ruined nursery, Mulan, Snow, Aurora and Emma try to make sense of what happened. Mulan wants to know what they’ll tell the people of the encampment, and Snow tells her they’ll offer the truth: that Lancelot died a hero’s death. The question remains, who will lead them now. Mulan thinks it should be Snow. Snow is honored but tells Mulan she and Emma still have to find a way home. Mulan offers that she’ll help them, and Aurora agrees. As those two head out, a moment between Snow and Emma. Emma apologizes for destroying their way home, but she couldn’t let Cora get to Henry. Snow understands. Emma goes on. She admits that she was always angry at having been given up, not now, seeing all this, she sees that Snow gave up everything so that she could live. And she’s still doing it. She chokes up, she’s not good at this. She’s not used to someone putting her first. Snow approaches her and gives her a soothing hug. Snow: “Well get used to it.” Off this tender moment, Emma leaves, giving Snow a moment to scan the room and contemplate what she’s lost before collecting her weapons and walking out, shutting the door behind her. But after she goes we see… Cora! She’s still there. She goes over to the burnt wardrobe, putting some of the ASHES into a large vial and looking at them with satisfaction. And before we can wonder what she’s so pleased about we –
Jump to Storybrooke. Where we see Jefferson, half-hiding behind a tree, watching as a group of kids exit a school bus. Among them, his daughter, Grace. Coming out from behind the tree, he summons his courage and calls out to her. She stops, turns, and then runs for him, giving him the embrace his soul has been crying out for. “You found me, I knew you would.” As Jefferson lifts her up and carries her down the street, we see that Henry watches their reuniting. Happy for them but also wishing it could be him who’s reunited. David taps the window, pulling Henry out of the moment. He tells Henry he’s been thinking, and if he’s going to help David they need to do this right. He reels a couple of wooden swords he bought, telling Henry he’s the grandson of a prince, it’s about time he learned to swordfight. He also admits to Henry that he’ll need his help getting Emma and Mary Margaret back. Is he with him? Henry, quipping, agrees. As they play swordfight through the street, both of them happy, we reveal someone watching from a nearby car. It’s District Attorney Spencer, known much better by his Fairy Tale persona: King George. And the look on his face as he watches David and Henry tells us he still has nothing but ill plans ahead for David and his family.
Written by Brian L. Ridings