(Beware, spoilers below!)
As with Once Upon a Time, the recap is a big-un, so scroll way way down to skip the recap. Mary Margaret follows on from last week’s bombshell by having a fairly tough time of it. How does that begin? As she has a nightmare over the Queens of Darkness stealing her son and destroying her family. Just then, she wakes up and quickly goes to check on Baby Neal. David’s not having it much better, and he confesses he’s struggling to sleep with the new Queens wondering about Storybook. He’s drinking some whiskey and offers his wife some, by Mary Margaret has bigger things on her plate, determined to get the Queens out of town.
We flash back to the Enchanted forest where Snow and Charming are still working on eliminating the Evil Queen. Sleep is outside guarding, but this is not a question of him living up to his namesake. Snow realises it’s a sleeping curse and though she thinks it’s Regina behind it all, it turns out to be Maleficent, who introduces Cruella and Ursula to them.
In Storybrooke Will gets prompt service from Granny in Granny’s diner but the Queens aren’t so lucky. When Regina comes in the ladies ask Regina to get them served, though this isn’t after mentioning her past transgressions as a villain. She gets Henry away before threatening the women to not bring up her past in front of her son again. If they do, she’ll get rid of them. These feelings bring her together with David and Mary, who asks what’s the plan to get the Queens out. However, Regina’s currently pretty calm about it, saying that they’re just morons. When Emma and Killian get to the diner the Sea Queen calls out Killian’s name, which surprises Emma, but she leaves it for now.
Ursula and Cruella stop by Belle in the shop, and congratulate her for defeating the Dark One, saying that they’ve seen what a mess he’s turned into since. As they talk Ursula takes a box via one of her sneaky tentacles, which they text Gold that they have whilst they have Belle distracted. Mr Gold himself is down in the cave where Maleficent died all that time ago, but he draws up whatever ashes of her are left and tells her that her slumber is almost over.
Henry is still looking for clues and he tells Regina that he got a feeling that she wasn’t fine in the dine. His mum tells her that they reminded her of when she was a villain. She wonders what more if her happy ending is still within reach, and that she was happy when it was just her and Henry. Henry promises her that she’ll get her happy ending when she notices that Pinoccio’s story was written on different paper, so it must mean that he added to it. August might not still be around, but Pinnochio is…
Meanwhile, David and Emma see the Queens come out of Belle’s shop and they ask her what happened. As the sheriffs go investigating Bell tells them that she’s pretty sure there’s a wooden box missing and David manages to find the box when he searches Cruella’s car. What’s more, there’s some kind of shiny bauble inside, which he pockets. However, he tells Emma that he didn’t find anything and she says that she’ll check the security footage. David shows Mary Margaret the bauble and they become decide they need to stop the Queen from being resurrected.
In the Enchanted Forest the villains tell Chaming and Snow about Regina stealing Maleficent’s curse. Two valiant heroes can find out how to defeat the queen from the Tree of Wisdom, but Snow points out that the three queens aren’t exactly good people. Even so, they decide to go along with the plan for now but at a bridge Maleficent shows up dragon form and sorts it out, which puts out Charming and Snow. The two heroes eventually places their hands on a stone that was meant to help but the magic shoots them back. It turns out that Snow being pregnant created a problem, because the child could still end up a dark villain which was why the tree didn’t help.
At the station Killian won’t admit how he knows Ursula and this upsets Emma. She finds the footage which shows the queens walking out with the box, which just raises more questions. When she talks to her parents they just tell they’re going for a hike. However, when the parents go to find Maleficent’s ashes it turns to all be a big trap, because the blood of those who wronged Maleficent the most is needed to be able to resurrect her. As the Queen comes back to life, she promises the Charmings’ some horrible pain in future. The couple then believe that they have to tell Emma their great secret, but when they hear that when Emma tells Hook that she’s going to believe in him because she trusts her parents they don’t end up saying a thing. Regina lashes out when she doesn’t get any information from little Pinocchio which only makes her angry and lashes out. Later on she goes to apologise to Marco and finally manages to get some information via August’s old saddlebag.
Back in the Enchanted Forest Maleficent tells her that she’s pregnant and she wants to team up with Snow in order to be able to win. Snow refuses, saying that she doesn’t want to turn dark in order to win. In Storybook Mary Margaret goes to ask Regina to be their inside woman with the Queens in order to find out what they’re planning. She confesses to Regina that Emma has the extreme potential for darkness and that they only kept it from her because they want to protect her. As Mr Gold looks into his old shop he sees Belle and the Knave kiss, making him stage back into the shop. Above the city, Maleficent shakes a baby’s rattle.
This episode pushes forward the plot by leaps and bounds – when did I miss Belle and Knave becoming a couple? – whilst also bringing us closer to the the main issues surrounding this half of the season. Regina’s pursuit for a happy ending seems to finally be making some headway whilst Maleficent takes centre stage over her baby (… Lily?) and how this might tie into much greater issues concerning Emma and the dark villain that she could potentially turn into. It made sense that Snow’s dark secret was something that wasn’t so sinister as something that she was terrified of when i came to her daughter. As dark as we know Snow can become, at least she doesn’t go out of character. This is an episode which focuses on many of the women in the show and how they’re motivated to achieve their various goals. Just as importantly, we were given time to get into the different characters of the Queens, even though this wasn’t overdone. With the show setting up important plotlines (yay August!) the forty minutes wasn’t heavy on the drama, but was still pretty interesting. Now let’s all keep our fingers and toes crossed that Regina won’t be tempted by the dark side next week…