Regina and Robin Hood celebrate the return of her heart. With tears in her eyes, she confesses that she never thought she could love again. He tells her about Marian, and she tells him about Daniel. Then, she tells him of Tinker Bell’s plan to introduce her to the person with whom she was destined to be. She saw him in a tavern, well, not his face. She saw him from behind, but did glimpse the tattoo on his arm before she ran away, too afraid to approach him. Robin seems astonished…it was him.
Snow and Charming don’t seem to know what to name their son. Emma is confronted by the fact that Henry expects them to stay. Everyone gathers at Granny’s for an informal coronation/baby name announcement ceremony, sort of. As Henry, Charming and Snow are reminiscing how Snow and Charming met and fell in love, Red points out that Snow ran away at which point Hook comments “like mother, like daughter,” tipping everyone else, including Henry, to her intentions of going back to New York. Feeling cornered, Emma leaves. Hook decides to go after her and Henry gives him the story book as he leaves in hopes that it will help her remember that this is where she “belongs.”
Zelena’s portal opens, but it’s not because she’s back. Her magic just returned to the last place it was being used. Rumple, Regina, and the gang recognize it and understand its implications, but Emma and Hook are out and about when it appears. Emma just admits to Hook that she feels as though she is not part of the fairy tale story of her family and so she doesn’t belong, when she sees the light of the portal, and of course has to go check it out! They get too close and get sucked into the portal. Well, Emma, now’s your chance to be part of that story, but at what cost?
She ends up in the Enchanted Forest and Hook must keep her in check so that she doesn’t mess up the present by changing the past. They decide the best thing to do is to find Rumple and ask him for help to return home. On the way, they come across her parents just before they meet for the first time. Unfortunately, she interrupts that first meeting, causing the pages of the storybook to turn blank. The future is now uncertain.
Once they find Rumple and convince him that they are in fact from the future and explain how they have inadvertently changed the past, Rumple presents them with a possible solution. King Midas is throwing a ball. Perhaps Snow White can crash the party and steal the ring, allowing them to meet in a similar fashion to the original event. The trick is going to be to find Snow and convince her to steal it. Hook thinks they should use the Jolly Roger as an opportunity to bribe her with passage out of the realm in exchange for the ring. It works, but part of the plan is for Emma to keep the Hook of the past preoccupied in an amusing sequence that leads to him knocking “himself” out.
Later, at the ball, Hook teaches Emma how to Waltz. Snow White breaks in and finds the ring. Just as she has it in her hand, Charming walks in on her. Just like with the roadside robbery, he turns her over ready to punch, and is startled to find she is not a man. She hits him in the chin, temporarily knocking him out, though it is with a music box rather than a rock. But, it wouldn’t be Once Upon a Time without some kind of complication. During her escape, Snow drops the ring. Emma picks it up and attempts to take it to her, but is caught by the queen’s guards.
In the Evil Queen’s dungeon, Emma meets a woman who tells her that they are to be executed the next day. Charming finds Snow, captures her in a net, just like the first time. However, Snow hasn’t sold the ring to the trolls, she really doesn’t have it. Hook appears from behind a tree to tell them that his princess has it, and she is captive in the queen’s castle. Snow and Charming agree to work together to get the ring back, save Emma (who has dubbed herself Princess Leia), and provide Snow with the money to leave the realm. However, Emma/Princess Leia doesn’t need anyone else to rescue her. In an obligatory Michael Raymond-James (Neal) scene, Emma learns how to pick a lock. She uses that knowledge to free herself and the woman she has met. But that is a bit of a complication. Setting that woman free could lead to big changes in the future. Later in the episode they devise a plan to take her back to the future with them so she can’t change anything in their past. If only Emma knew who she was, she might have left her to die, but then again, probably not. That’s just not Emma’s style.
Meanwhile, Snow went off to find the Evil Queen. She planned to use dark fairy dust to turn her into a bug and step on her. Though she may have deserved it then, we have witnessed her metamorphosis into the good Regina. Try as she might, Snow fails. Regina has Snow burned at the stake that night, while Emma watches from the forest. Horrified, and confused, Emma realizes that if Snow was really dead, she would cease to exist. From that realization, Emma is able to deduce that Snow must still be alive. Just then an annoying bug lands on Emma’s cloak. Hook goes to squash it when Charming realizes what’s going on and convinces the rest of them that it must be Snow. That’s how she was able to escape the fire. It turns out he was right. Blue arrives and changes Snow back into her true form.
The next morning, Snow thanks Charming for saving her and offers to fill his canteen at the river. When she’s been gone too long, Charming realizes she took the ring. With a little prompting from Emma he realizes Snow is off to the harbor to seek passage, and the quickest way there is the troll bridge. That of course is where Snow in turn saves his life, and shortly thereafter playfully tries on his mother’s ring. That’s the pivotal moment. They’re in love.
While Hook and Emma go back to Rumple’s castle to see if he has been able to open the portal, Regina finds out from a troll that Snow is alive. Rumple tells Hook and Emma that he cannot reopen the portal. Only the ones who traveled through it can reopen it. He gives Emma the wand and tells her that unless she can wield magic, she’s stuck here. Hook draws his sword, thinking that Rumple means to kill them, but instead, they get poofed to his secret doorless chamber where he keeps all the magic that is “too dark or unpredictable” even for him. Hook starts looking around and finds an urn. Emma chides him, reminding him that this place is filled with stuff that Rumple fears, so they best not mess with it. Hook sets it down and Emma confesses to him that she wants to get back “home.” She’s ready to stop running. It turns out that watching her mother die, being overjoyed that she still lived, and then having her not recognize her was so painful that it made her realize Storybrooke really is her home. Neal always told her that home is the place that when you leave it, you actually miss it. This causes the wand to start glowing, signifying that Emma has her magic back. She reopens the portal, but Rumple shows up and grabs her arm so that she can’t go until she tells him about Bae. This keeps the portal open long enough for that strange urn to get pulled through the portal as well.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma rushes back to the “coronation” ceremony at Granny’s, and announces that she and Henry will stay. Snow and Charming have an announcement as well. Their son shall be known as Prince Neal, named after a hero that saved them all! Everything seems perfect. Hook admits that he traded the Jolly Roger for a bean so he could get back to Emma to convince her to drink the memory potion and come back to Storybrooke, putting all of this in motion. Emma is amazed that he’d do that for her and we finally get to see them kiss again.
Belle, unaware that Rumple is still up to his old tricks, marries him in a quiet ceremony in the woods.
Yes, everything seems perfect until the woman Emma saved shows up and turns out to be Marian. Poor Regina just can’t get a break. She watches Robin Hood and Marian rush into each other’s arms and little Roland run to his mama. Heartbroken, Regina lashes out against Emma, telling her that she’s just like her mother, never thinking about the consequences of her actions. Then, she forebodingly says that she hopes Emma didn’t bring anything back with her. Well, she did. The urn, which seems to contain a water like liquid that turns into a woman. As she walks away from the location of the portal, the ground freezes at every point her foot touches it. I guess we’ll see Queen Elsa after all.
Image credit: ABC, Photographer: Dean Buscher