In The Enchanted Forest:
Snow and Charming chase a unicorn down so that they can use it to learn about their future, or more specifically, the future of their child. They are worried about Maleficent’s prediction that Emma has the potential for the greatest good or the greatest evil. All they have to do is touch unicorn’s horn, but the visions they receive do nothing to ease their minds.
Charming envisions his daughter as a beautiful, sweet, innocent baby in a basket. Conversely, Snow saw her as a teenager who rips out and crushes her heart. So, Emma could go either way.
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Snow is obviously shaken, but tells Charming what she saw was too horrible to say. As they walk away considering what they can do, Charming helps a man get his cart out of a ditch. Conveniently, the man tells them that Maleficent laid an egg and they should avoid her territory, but he also tells them where they can find a cottage for shelter. It just so happens to be the sorcerer's home.
When they arrive, they discover that he already knows their plight. He explains that everyone is born a blank slate. However, he also tells them there is a way to banish darkness from their child, but with all magic there is a price. The price for this is another blank slate that can absorb her darkness; in other words, another child. There's one more caveat: once the spell is enacted, it cannot be reversed.
They know it's wrong, but they justify going through with it, by convincing themselves that Maleficent's egg is not a child. They can have Emma's darkness banished to the egg, and it would be no different than Maleficent is evil. They sneak into her cave and find the egg. As they reach for it, Maleficent attacks. Snow grabs the egg and threatens it prompting Maleficent to quit her dragon form and plead for her child. Snow takes pity just a little bit, and says that when they're done with it, they’ll bring it back.
Image via Tumblr from Outlaw Queen True Love
Snow and Charming take the egg to the sorcerer so that he can perform the spell, but they didn’t know the egg would be sent to another world. In the process, the egg cracks and they are able to see that it is not a monster, but a child. Snow is horrified, not only that it IS a child, but that she cannot return it to Maleficent.
As Ursula and Cruella came to rescue the baby, they were sucked into the portal as well. Now we know how they got here, but not how they kept from aging.
Later, in Emma's nursery, Sneezy is hanging the glass unicorn mobile above Emma's crib. Snow flips out and wants it taken away because the unicorns remind her of all that has transpired. She believes they are hopelessly lost, but Charming says their has to be a way for redemption.
He believes that they have to work to spread hope and grace everyday and maybe the unicorns will make a good reminder for themselves how easy it is to loose their way. As long as they have each other they can be their best selves.
In the end, we discover that the sorcerer was forced to perform the spell to send Maleficent's baby away at the whim of the author. This is why the sorcerer trapped him in the book.
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As the heroes discuss possibilities for how to free the author, August passes out and they take him to Blue for help. Meanwhile, Regina knows she's been gone for too long and can't return empty handed. Emma conjures a replica of the illustration, but Regina knows Rumple will be able to tell right away. Cunningly, she instead takes a picture of the illustration to show him.
When Regina returns, she shows them the picture. What Cruella thinks is a glare that makes it difficult to discern the make of the door is recognized by Rumple as magic. He immediately figures out that the author is trapped in the book. Therefore, Regina must go back and bring them the actual page.
Maleficent casts a sleeping spell that affects everyone in town who has not already been under a sleeping curse. With most of the townsfolk out of the way, they all set out to retrieve the page together. Rumple, however, veers off to take care of some other business.
He finds his own sleeping beauty, Belle. As she sleeps he confesses to her that his debt to magic is too big to pay. He wants to be with her, but has to change the rules to do it.
Regina is able to find Henry at the sorcerer's mansion, and demands he give her the illustration. As Maleficent and Cruella oversee the procurement, Regina plays double agent, giving Henry a look that clues him in to giving her the fake illustration.
This seems like a great plan, until Regina hands it over to Rumple when they meet back up. He points out that she spent enough time with the book to know it was a fake. He takes this as a betrayal, knocks her out, and has her taken to the vault.
Before Regina found him, Henry saw a light behind the door in the illustration. It pointed to a drawer behind him. Within the drawer was a key. He hid it in his pocket as Regina entered the room. Later, he told Snow and Charming about it, and showing them the real illustration, pulled out the key to unlock the door. To his surprise, Charming slams the book shut, and holds out his hand for Henry to give him the key.
Once they are alone, Charming holds the illustration towards the fire. He believes that if they destroy it, the author cannot be set free; therefore, they have nothing to fear regarding Emma turning to the dark side, and they never have to admit their sins to her. Snow talks him out of it though. In a realization that has been cumbersomely slow, Snow tells Charming that she now knows that the dark spot she saw on her heart after killing Cora really started long ago, with Maleficent. Duh!
They FINALLY tell Emma what's been going on, the whole dark secret. She is stunned, almost beyond speaking. All this in addition to finding out that Rumple's plan is to darken her heart. Unable to deal with the weight of what she's been told, she gets up to leave. When Snow confronts her at the door, she tells Emma, "I'm your mother," and just like in Snow's unicorn induced vision of evil Emma, she says, "I don't care!"
Isn't there a saying somewhere about how if you try too hard to prevent something you might actually be the cause of it happening?
Hook finds Emma at the docks, and lets her know that August is OK. Hearing this she goes to see him. She shows him the key and they decide to let the author out. Snow asks her to reconsider since it’s not just Regina that wanted the author, but Rumple too. He wanted to use the author to turn her to the dark side, but Emma retorts that she's not worried and questions her mother's worry for her.
Once the author is set free, the Charmings recognize him as the man they helped on the side of the road. The one who led them down the path to Maleficent's egg and the sorcerer's spell. The author makes a run for it.
Back in Regina's vault, Rumple shows Maleficent what happened to her baby. It was sent here. SHE was sent here, adopted, and donned Lily! Some fan theories do come true!
So, where does this leave us? The "heroes" chasing down the author, Regina passed out with her Operation Mongoose team none the wiser, Maleficent deciding to look for Lily, and Robin out there somewhere. Did Emma ever find him? Will he come to Regina's rescue? Is it Maleficent's venture out of Storybrooke that will bring him back? And, of course Emma. The biggest question of all: How far will she fall?
Image of Jennifer Morrison courtesy of Peter West/INFphoto.com