Remember Zoso? Well, he once attempted to steal the sorcerer’s hat from the apprentice, but the hat is evidently more powerful than we remember. According to the apprentice who has been tasked with keeping it safe, all the dark ones have tried to obtain it, and all of them have failed. There’s an enchantment on the box that prevents people with darkness in their hearts from opening it. However, the discerning viewer will remember that this is the same box that Gold opened on his honeymoon.
In The Enchanted Forest of the past, Ana seeks out Rumpelstiltskin to find out why her parents had traveled there. As it turns out, they went to see him, but he won’t tell Ana why without making a deal first. She agrees to visit an old man and give him a potion. She figures it’s poison and so she dumps it rather than give it to the man. When she returns to Rumpelstiltskin, she finds out that the potion was actually a cure to a poison Rumple had already given him. Stunned, Ana demands that they return to help him.
Once there, Rumple manipulates her into helping him get the apprentice’s box, at which point she demands to know about her parents. Rumple tells her that they came looking for a way to strip Elsa of her powers. During their conversation, the apprentice, in mouse form, jumps on Rumple and bites his hand, causing him to drop his dagger. Ana retrieves it and commands him to give her the box, send her home, never hurt her or her sister, and turn the mouse back into a man. He has no choice but to acquiesce, and it is at this point that we discover the reason the hat is so desirable. It would free him from the control of the dagger, yet allow him to retain his powers.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma goes to Granny’s looking for Hook, so that she can ask him out on a date. He agrees, but insists that he gets to plan the evening. In amusingly Emma style, she tells Hook that she doesn’t pillage and plunder on the first date! Emma goes home to get ready, and Hook goes to Gold’s shop. He wants his hand back for his date with Emma, and again threatens to tell Belle she has a fake dagger. Gold begrudgingly agrees, but warns Hook that the man he took the hand from was a selfish pirate, and returning it may cause him problems.
At Snow and Charming’s apartment, Elsa is shown census books of everyone who has been transported under the curse. They figure if Ana is there, her name is in one of those books. Emma interrupts, wanting to know how she looks. Just then, Hook arrives, and gives her a rose with his left hand. It takes her a minute, but when she realizes it is a hand rather than a hook, she teasingly asks him what she’s supposed to call him now, “Captain Hand?” Before long, they are off to an Italian restaurant. As they arrive, another couple is about to kiss with one spaghetti strand between them, reminiscent of Lady and the Tramp. After they are seated, Will spots them and in the process of bolting, manages to spill a glass of wine on Emma. Killian grabs him with his left hand and growls at him to apologize. When Emma recognizes him, she jumps up to chase him, and then stops herself. She’s determined that nothing will ruin her date. Meanwhile, Hook is looking at his hand in shock, as if it grabbed Will on its own accord and caused Hook to lose control of himself. Maybe gold was right, maybe the hand will try to take over.
After dinner, Hook walks Emma home and asks her on a second date. They kiss passionately, but he suddenly takes his hand away awkwardly. Perhaps he was feeling too amorous. Was it him or the hand? While Snow is grilling Emma for every detail and Charming is insisting he doesn’t want to know, Hook catches Will trying to break into the library. He tries to talk him out of it, but ends up punching him, knocking him down with only his left hand. Oh, no! The hand is taking over! Can it be stopped? Will Rumple give him his hook back?
Later that night, Hook jumps in Rumple’s car demanding his hand back, using the I’ll tell Belle threat again, but Rumple says he replaced the dagger, so that threat won’t work anymore. I was beginning to wonder how long Hook would get away with that. Instead, Rumple offers Hook a deal, and told Hook to meet him at docks in the morning. Evidentially, Hook slept on a bench at the docks, because Rumple finds him asleep there. He explains that Hook is going to help him find someone, and proceeds to summon a broom that when he lets go, parts its straw and starts walking like in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Rumple and Hook find the apprentice, protector of the box, and open the box in front of him. The apprentice scoffs and reminds Rumple that no dark one has ever been able to gain access to the box’s contents, but to his horror and surprise, Rumple opens it up right there in front of him. The apprentice attempting to regain his composure, reminds Rumple that the hat must collect enough energy to work. With that, Rumple tilts the open side of the hat towards the apprentice and he is sucked into the hat. I guess that is the energy it needs.
Back at Rumple’s shop, Hook has his hand removed once again. He claims he fulfilled his part of the deal by assisting Rumple find the apprentice, but Rumple exclaims that for repeatedly threatening his marriage, Hook owes him for the rest of his life. He then tells Hook that he lied about the hand, it wasn’t really cursed. All the things Hook did that seemed to be caused by the hand, were really just Hook allowing himself permission to be the dark person he really is. So, we know that Rumple was lying, but which time?
While all this is going on, Regina and Henry are in her vault looking for a cure for Marian. Regina admits she doesn’t think she has anything that will work. Henry inquires if it’s because Robin still loves her. Regina is taken aback, but Henry confesses that it was obvious Robin still loved her when true love’s kiss didn’t work on Marian.
In the end, Ana is seen with Kristoff, safe in Arendelle. She tells him about her parents, but wonders what she should tell Elsa. Snow and Charming realize that the Snow Queen’s alias (Sara Fisher) is not listed in the census books, meaning she did not travel to Storybrooke via the curse. In addition, Henry tells Regina that he has a plan to go undercover to find out if Mr. Gold knows who wrote the story book. Henry asks Gold for a part time job. Gold hesitantly agrees, calling Henry his apprentice. Henry’s first job is to sweep the floor, and the show ends with the classical tune from Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.