'Once Upon a Time' Recap: 'Mother'

There was quite a bit of speculation over the past couple of months as to what and or whom the title “Mother” referred.

Many anticipated a pregnancy, but couldn’t agree upon who would have that pleasure. Some fancied Belle finding out she was pregnant with Rumple’s baby, some voted for Regina and Robin, and still others hoped for Hook and Emma. Of course, we now know that the one who is pregnant is Zelena! Speaking of pregnancy, we learn why Regina hasn’t had a child of her own.

The other prediction was that this episode would be about Cora, at least since it was revealed that Barbara Hershey would be reprising her role as Regina’s mother. In the sum total though, this episode is really about the relationship between mother and child for every major character. It is about Cora and Regina, but it’s also about Regina and Henry, which means it’s about Emma and Henry too. It’s also about Regina and Roland, Snow and Emma, and of course, Maleficent and Lily!

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In the Enchanted Forest:

The Enchanted Forest sequence begins with Regina interrupting a simple outdoor wedding taking place in one of her meadows. As it turns out, it was the anniversary of Daniel’s death, so she wasn’t in a very generous mood and thanks to her dad’s attempt at reasoning with her, the groom didn’t live long enough to have the wedding.

Afterwards, she went to visit Daniel’s grave and that is when Cora showed up. Nice timing! Considering that Regina thrust Cora into the “looking glass,” she was quite surprised and apprehensive to see her.

Wasn’t it always something with Cora?#OnceUponATime is all-new tomorrow on ABC!

Posted by Once Upon a Time on Saturday, May 2, 2015

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According to Cora, she came to apologize for taking true love away from Regina, and offer her a new chance. Supposedly, Tinker Bell told Cora about the man with the lion tattoo and Cora claimed she wanted to find him to make Regina happy. But, as we all know, there’s always a catch with Cora.

At the local tavern, Cora found Sheriff Nottingham, who told her the man with the lion tattoo was a married thief. Her solution was to talk Nottingham into pretending to be the right man by promising he’d be king. All he needed to do was seduce Regina. It was a pretty good plan, but the heart knows love, and it didn’t take long for Regina to figure out he was a fake.

While Regina was interrogating Nottingham, he admitted that Cora told him he would be king and she wanted Regina to have a child. This infuriated Regina as she figured it was a backhanded way for her mother to take control of the throne. As a result, she drank a potion that would keep her from ever getting pregnant. Cora’s response? “The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you.”

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In Storybrooke:

When Emma, Lily, Regina, Robin, Zelena, and Roland get back to town, Emma introduces Lily and Maleficent. After talking for a bit, Lily asks Maleficent how they’re going to get revenge on Snow and Charming for what they did. Maleficent explains to Lily that she’s not interested in revenge, she just wants to spend time with Lily. Lily isn’t interested in getting to know a “pushover,” and leaves.

Meanwhile, Regina takes Zelena to the psych ward, where she’ll be staying indefinitely. As always, Zelena is very smug and confident. She actually seems happy in her cell!

Of course, we recognize this part of Storybrooke from Belle’s 28 year entrapment there, followed by Sidney’s, though we don’t know exactly how long he was kept.

Regina’s next stop was to discuss with Rumple and the author how to enable the author to write their happy endings. Rumple is now crippled by his dying heart, a fact that is puzzling to Regina since the Dark One cannot die. Rumple is seemingly cryptic here when he verifies that the Dark One cannot die, but adds that Rumple can.

In his weakened state, he can do nothing to stop Regina from taking both the quill and the author. Back at her vault she and the author discuss how to get the enchanted ink. Isaac (the author) explains to Regina that the magic from the “Dark Savior” was what was needed. Since that’s not really an option, they’ve got to think of something else, at which point the author chooses to point out that Regina is the one who gets screwed

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Shortly after that, Regina gets an idea. She finds Lily at the bus stop. After an interesting conversation, to say the least, Regina whips out a knife, slices Lily’s palm, and allows the blood to drop from the knife tip into the ink well. Good for Regina (maybe), not so good for Lily. In this new town full of magic, her anger and pain allow her to turn into a dragon, just like dear old mom. There’s a problem with that, though. It’s Lily’s first time, and she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.

Meanwhile, Hook and Emma take a few minutes by the docks to just chill. Hook uses this as an opportunity to talk to Emma about her parents. This time she’s not able to put him off, and he points out to her that they did what they did out of love for her. He suggests that enough is enough, and asks her if she wants to loose them just to spite them.

Hook unknowingly had very good timing with this chat, because in her draconian state, Lily injured Snow. As Emma finds them to make amends, she sees Snow unconscious on the ground. Her head bleeding from its impact with a rock. Emma uses her powers to heal Snow, and as Snow gains consciousness, Emma apologizes. I think Snow was wondering if she was dreaming!

Nearby, in a grove a trees, the dragon Lily becomes human again. Maleficent runs to her and makes sure she’s OK. She and Lily have a heart to heart in which Lily admits that she’s scared to have a relationship because the darkness in her always causes her to destroy things, people, relationships, or whatever. She also admits that she thought Mal would be a “crazy dragon bitch,” and almost seems disappointed when she comments that Mal is just a normal person. But, leave it to Maleficent to make darkness seem like a good thing.

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Images via Tumblr from regina-mills

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The End

In the last couple of scenes, Regina and the author pay Zelena a visit. Regina has devised a plan to rid herself of Zelena once and for all. She’s going to have the author write Zelena out of the story, as if she never existed. An interesting prospect, one on which Zelena calls Regina’s bluff. After all, how could she do anything to hurt Robin’s child. Zelena can see the determination in Regina’s eyes, though, and spats at her that she’s just like their mother! This causes Regina to remember the unwanted advice that Cora gave her: the only one standing in the way of her happiness is herself.

Regina’s entire demeanor changes, and Robin shows up. She looks lovingly at him tells Zelena that the only ones standing in the way of their happiness is themselves. When the author asks her what he should write, she replies, “nothing.” She goes on to explain that she already has her happy ending, and Robin is just part of it. Yeah, Regina!

Just when things seemed to be going so well, the author vanishes in a flash of purple smoke. Yep, he wrote himself away. To where? To Rumple of course. Rumple gives the author a new book to write, a book titled “Heroes and Villains,” a book that will finally give the villains their happy endings!

Image via Twitter from Once ABC

What’s next?

If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering all this time exactly how the villains get their happy endings, and to what cost. Well, based on the preview for next week’s two hour finale and the promotional stills that have been released, it would appear that in this new book the author simply swaps everyone’s roles.

Regina as the bandit:

Snow as the Evil Queen:

Rumple as a knight:

Henry looks sinister:

and Emma looks crazy:



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Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.