In this episode, the only flashbacks that occur are those involving the apprentice, and Lily.
In the beginning, we see the apprentice speaking with the sorcerer (which appears as a cloud, similar to what was in the hat. He has gone to explain what the author did to change Emma and Lily’s fate by writing into place that Snow and Charming would curse Lily and that the apprentice would then banish her. The apprentice went on to explain that the author was prevented from further tampering with fate by being trapped in the book. He did inquire what would happen with Emma and Lily now, but the sorcerer only replied that their fates would remain intertwined as they always were.
We see the apprentice a second time, during Lily’s youth. He approaches her and tells her where she was really from and what happened to her. He felt he owed it to her to tell her why things in her life always seemed to go wrong. Why she seemed to always make the wrong decision, even if she didn’t want to.
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Lily’s sequence begins with Maleficent showing up at Granny’s to propose a truce. Although Emma, Snow, Charming and Regina were all shocked, it made sense when she explained that they had a common foe in Gold. She wants Emma to track down her daughter, who just so happens to be Lily (a fact we may have known, but Emma didn’t, until now).
In a series of flashbacks, we see young Emma in a new foster home that seems to be going well, at least until she finds Lily hiding in her garage. Wanted for armed robbery, Lily was looking for a place to lay low. She blamed the whole ordeal on her boyfriend and then begged Emma to go to their hide out to get her necklace, the only thing she had of her birth mother. Of course, Emma caved, but when she returned Lily was gone, and so was the family’s vacation money. Needless to say that home ended up not working out so well after all.
A short while later, Lily approaches Emma at a bus stop, but of course Emma wants nothing to do with her. Lily pleads with Emma to forgive her, and tries to explain that she doesn’t know why she does bad things. She claims that she feels cursed, except when she’s with Emma. That makes sense. They balance each other out. Every time Lily came around, things got kind of bad for Emma, but a little better for Lily. The light and the dark. The yin and the yang.
Emma may have thought that she’d never see Lily again, but now that she knows Lily is Maleficent’s daughter, she is going to find her. Since she is headed towards the Boston area and Regina is headed to New York, they decide to team up. Road Trip!!!
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Note: The scroll in Regina’s hand is the one the Snow Queen used to get into Storybrooke.
After following a lead that ended at a dump of an apartment building where the Super told them that Lily had died in a car crash a few years earlier, Emma and Regina decide to regroup at a nearby diner. Fate stepped in again, as the waitress was none other than Lily. Emma, feeling the guilt of what her parents did, tried to apologize to Lily for being so dismissive of her when they were kids, but Lily just shrugged it off and left.
Emma didn’t buy Lily’s act, and figuring out where she lived, decided to scope the place out. Inside Lily’s apartment, she found a wall of maps and news clippings and notes all about Emma, Snow, and Charming. This left Emma momentarily stunned as she realized Lily knew all this time and that she was going to have to stop her from going after Snow and Charming. Before she could really react though, Lily took off with her car, which had the scroll in it. Doubly bad!
Well, Emma decided to fight fire with fire. She stole a car and went after Lily. She ran her off the road, and then held her at gun point. For a few very tense minutes, it was really questionable as to whether or not Emma would kill her. If it weren’t for Regina, she probably would have.
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If you will recall, in the last episode Regina got the upper hand over Gold by taking Belle's heart. So, when she decided to leave Storybrooke with Emma, she had to make sure that the heart would be safe guarded in their absence. I'm not sure why she didn't just take it with her, but I suppose she thought having Maleficent guard it was a good idea, since Maleficent was depending on them to find her daughter.
In all fairness, Maleficent did her best to keep Belle's heart from Gold, but he had Will. Yes, that's right. He convinced Will to help him, all in the name of love. While Gold distracted Maleficent with a contrived attempt to take the heart, knowing Regina would have created a magical barrier, he had Will sneak in the window and steal it back.
You may be thinking that Gold was up to no good, and planning his revenge. However, you would be like me. You would be wrong. He returned Belle's heart to her, but he didn't turn on Will. Instead, he explained that he wanted Will to protect Belle for him. It was one of those very moving moments when you think that he's finally redeemed, but he wouldn't be Rumpelstiltskin if he didn't do something to sabotage it.
After Emma spares Lily’s life, she asks her to come with them to New York. Her plan is to reunite Lily and Maleficent after they rescue Robin (and of course Roland) from Zelena/Marian. Lily is taken aback, but agrees to go. So, off to New York it is.
When they get to the apartment in New York, Robin is both surprised and happy to see Regina. The way they embrace in the hallway is so touching. Once inside, Regina tries to tell Robin that Marian is really Zelena in disguise, but Robin thinks she’s just making it up out of jealousy that he is now with Marian. In an interesting twist of events, Zelena actually reveals herself, but that doesn’t make Robin want to leave. This is an ending you simply MUST to see!
Screenshot of Rumple and Belle from OUAT epic YouTube video