So now Snow and Charming have a big dark secret that they don’t want anyone to find out. That doesn’t sound good, does it?
Cruella and Ursula are now roaming free around Storybrooke, and no one is happy about it. Even Granny is being all ‘we don’t serve your kind here.’ But no one is more on edge than Snow and Charming, because they’re terrified that they will bring that dark secret of theirs to light. In their desperation to figure out exactly what Cruella and Ursula are up to, particularly after the two women steal a box from Gold’s shop, which Belle is now running by herself, they end up digging themselves deeper into a hole as they continue lying to Emma to keep her out of the loop. When Charming gets Emma to help him tail them and pull them over to search their car for the stolen box, he finds the box hidden in a secret compartment beneath the car seat. But Charming ends up keeping this find to himself and doesn’t let Emma know anything. He does tell Snow, however, when they see the box contained an item that belonged to Maleficent and realize Ursula and Cruella are planning to resurrect her. This is something Snow and Charming does not want to happen, because if Maleficent comes back, their dark secret will most certainly be found out. Apparently, this dark secret had something to do with Maleficent, and how Snow and Charming’s actions wronged her somehow. Of course, their attempts at preventing the resurrection backfires, as Cruella and Ursula were expecting them to try and get rid of Maleficent’s ashes before they could locate them and actually followed the royal couple down to the underground cavern. What’s more, the item that they took from Gold’s shop was just a decoy, and what they really needed to bring Maleficent back was some of Snow and Charming’s blood. (And why do people always go for cutting the palm of the hand when they want to draw blood? That’s one of the worst places to cut yourself.) The plan succeeds, and Maleficent comes back to life. The Dragon Sorceress (has anyone ever thought to call her that?) is not all that pleased to see Snow and Charming, and announces her plan to make them suffer as she had.
So what is this horrible secret that Snow and Charming don’t want anyone, especially Emma, to find out? Well, it’s not exactly explained in detail, but in the final moments, Snow meets with Regina in secret in order to confide the secret with her. According to Snow, something she and Charming did in the past resulted in Maleficent losing her baby. Yeah, Maleficent was a mother. Whodathunk? Oh, and the thing that was inside the box Ursula swiped from Gold’s shop? It was half of a baby rattle.
Of course, we’re not yet told exactly what Snow and Charming did yet, and the flashback this episode doesn’t provide much in the way of answers. After Snow and Charming returned from their honeymoon (which, as we recall, began with them squaring off against Medusa), they are approached by Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella. (Seriously, where did those three meet? Is there a top-secret bridge club in the Enchanted Forest where all the villains hang out with each other and play cards?) It turns out that they’ve come to warn the royal couple about the curse Evil Queen Regina plans to cast. It makes sense that they know, as we’ve seen way back in season 1 how Evil Queen Regina had taken the curse from Maleficent. Of course, they don’t want to see that curse being cast any more than the good guys do, as it will target just about everyone. So there’s now this magic tree that can let them know how to stop Regina’s curse, but it will only reveal the answer to a person who is completely valiant. They figure that Snow and Charming can fit the bill, because, duh, they’re the heroes. But when they get there, the tree rejects them, because Snow is already pregnant with Baby Emma, whose path hasn’t been determined yet. It’s a completely blank slate. Meaning, she could be good or evil. Which is pretty much true of any baby, when you think about it. Because of the fact that unborn Baby Emma future hasn’t been determined yet, the tree rejected Snow and Charming. Of course, we know that they figured stuff out even without the help of the tree, so it didn’t matter in the end.
Speaking of Emma and people keeping things from her, Killian also nearly ends up in the hot seat. When they come across each other on the street, its revealed Killian and Ursula have a history of some sort. But when Emma questions Killian about it, he starts to pull back, deflecting the question. Emma can immediately tell he’s lying, and she didn’t even need to utilize her internal lie-detector to do so. The fact that Killian refuses to fess up ends up forming a visible wedge between them, which becomes even wider when they become closed off to each other, with Killian leaving the room. This could easily have become a long drawn-out issue that continued through multiple episodes, but thankfully, it was resolved by the end of the episode. And they did so in a very mature way, with Emma telling Killian that it’s perfectly fine that there was something about his past that he’s not telling her. At the same time, she informs him she will not accept him lying to her by saying he didn’t remember his past run-in with Ursula. Again, this is a very mature approach to the situation. Killian does have a very long past history, and it would be somewhat unreasonable for Emma to expect him to tell her everything he got up to before they’d met, let alone before she was even born. However, she’s done with him lying to her, especially after what happened with Zelena placing that curse on him or even the whole debacle where Gold blackmailed him and eventually enslaved him through heart possession. It probably didn’t help matters that both incidents nearly resulted in Killian’s death. And Killian can accept that semi-ultimatum, admitting that he wasn’t being truthful. But he still can’t come out and discuss that moment in his life, even after Emma’s reassurances that it won’t change how she feels about him. She knows he’s not a saint and has done wrong in the past, but she also knows that he’s changed since those days and will therefore not hold his past misdeeds against him. However, Emma doesn’t let Killian’s reluctance to share the story bother her, simply stating she’ll wait until he’s ready. This is completely fair, considering how many times Killian has waited for her to be ready to let him in completely. I just love how much these two lost souls have come together and formed what is quite possibly one of the most healthy, stable relationships on the show. They just stick together no matter what, and support one another in all manner of circumstances. Whether it be Emma accepting Killian’s reluctance to discuss a particular dark moment in his past or Killian showing up at the Sheriff Station with the grilled cheese lunch that Emma had been craving all day, but had to skip out on because of work-related demands. He even managed to include Emma’s favorite side dish of onion rings. I just love how well these two know one another, and I can’t understand how anyone could not love this pairing.
Regina and Henry are still trying to track down the Author, with Henry scouring the book over doughnuts. And how can you prefer chocolate frosted doughnuts over chocolate ones? What’s wrong with you, kid? Besides, cake doughnuts in general are superior to yeast doughnuts, unless they’re the crème-filled kind. Or if it’s a Krispy Kreme doughnut, but those ones are in a class of their own. (Can you tell I’m very particular about my pastry products?) Anyway, Regina notices that the pages that feature Pinocchio’s story are a bit different than the other pages, which is because that particular story wasn’t part of the original book. It was added later by August in an effort to get Emma to believe in magic and the curse back in season 1. Tell me that this isn’t awesome- they’re actually bringing that plotpoint back! Which means they might finally address some questions that still haven’t been answered. Like how August knew about the book to begin with. Or how he knew Neal was Adult Baelfire. Of course, the problem is that August is gone, because he was turned back to his Boy Pinocchio state, with no memory of anything he did as an adult. Even when they try to trigger his memories by showing him the book, or even having him talk with Emma, his life as August just isn’t coming back to him. Regina ends up losing her temper because of this and ends up snapping at Pinocchio. As you might imagine, Marco/Geppetto does not take that lying down. I have to admit, I really enjoyed seeing the interaction between Marco/Geppetto and Regina in this episode. It’s quite rare to see people actually acknowledging the horrible stuff Regina did in the past and their lingering bitterness about it. It’s something that’s not really touched upon in the show. While we see quite a bit of the Charmings being all ‘no big deal; we’re family now’ about it, you never really see how the rest of Storybrooke feel about how the former evil queen pretty much got away with everything she’s done to them with barely a slap on the wrist. And I really like how Regina was mature enough to admit she was wrong and apologize for her behavior in this episode. I’m really hoping this is an indication that she’s finally sincerely trying to change. I know she’s said she was trying quite a few times before, but her actions always seemed to contradict that statement, and she almost always had relapses whenever she encountered a setback. At least she’s finally acknowledged that she’ll “never find [my happy ending] if I revert to my old ways.” Her display of remorse even seems to earn her Marco/Geppetto’s forgiveness, as he decides to allow her access to some of August’s belongings, which he’s kept in his workshop, in case there could be something among those things that could help Regina and Henry on their personal mission. And this ends up being the lucky break they needed, as Henry finds a loose page from the book inside August’s old bag. A page that has an illustration of a door on it, with a post-it note simply saying ‘Author?’ attached to the page.
Oh, and Gold, while spying on Belle from across the street, sees she’s now dating Will Scarlett. Um…okay. When did THAT happen? No, really. Where did that even come from? We’ve never seen them interacting at all before this. In fact, have they even been in a scene at the same time? Now, out of nowhere, they’re kissing? It’s like suddenly having Little John and Ruby dating. It wouldn’t be any less random. And it’s implied that this has been going on for a while, as we see Will step into Granny’s for the ‘usual’ two coffees. What exactly has been going on in the six weeks between the Frozen arc and this one?