Is your mind still reeling from Sunday’s loaded episode, Oncers? “A Curious Thing” delivered a lot of surprising information and heartfelt emotion all at once. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis penned a deeply moving episode that kept us on the edge of our seats. We laughed, cried, gasped and sighed.
Flashbacks to the past year in Fairy Tale Land reveal who cast the new dark curse and who reached out to Hook for help when Zelena made her plans known to the Charmings & Co. In present day Storybrooke, everything boils to a head when Zelena targets Henry in another one of her stealth attacks. Fortunately, ‘Once Upon A Time’ shows us how the power of True Love never fails.
Fairy Tale Land, Past: “We’ve always shared one heart.”
Snow White and Prince Charming want to announce their pregnancy to the kingdom, but Regina fears it is too risky since Zelena poses such a great threat. Belle rushes in with news of Rumple and Bae’s cursed entanglement as father and son merged into one when Bae sacrificed his life to resurrect Rumpy. Belle warns that Zelena has gained control over the Dark One by possessing his dagger. Upon hearing this news, Aurora and Prince Philip finally share the secret they’ve been keeping since the gang returned to the Enchanted Forest.
Aurora and Phillip have known Zelena’s end game all along. They tell the Charmings that Zelena plans on taking their baby. Zelena threatened their lives, so Aurora and Phillip were too scared to tell them the truth earlier. Then Zelena suddenly swoops in right on cue.
The Wicked Witch transforms Sleeping Beauty and her prince into flying monkey (yikes!). Zelena creepily man-handles Snow’s newly forming baby bump and instructs the princess to take good care of the baby because she’ll be back to collect the newborn. Fast forward eight months and the gang is still trying to find a way to stop Zelena.
Grumpy approached all of the fairies and they don’t have any magic strong enough to help defeat Zelena. As a last resort, they decide to ask Rumple for help. Robin Hood insists on leading the break-in to Rumple’s palace where Zelena has been holding the Dark One captive.
After some more verbal jousting between Robin Hood and Regina, the Prince of Thieves saves the Evil Queen from a booby-trapped fiery door and successfully ushers everybody towards a confusing and caged Rumple. After he spews out a string of riddles, Belle takes a tender approach with the man she loves. Thanks to her, Rumple begins to make some sort of sense.
The Charmings and Regina follow the instructions of Rumple’s rambling and find a door that leads them to Glinda the Good Witch who has been banished to the North. Since Snow and David are pure of heart (despite Snow’s murderous actions), they are allowed to pass through the door and into the tundra. Sadly, the door doesn’t work for Regina.
Glinda tells Snow that she holds two pure hearts now that’s she’s pregnant (maybe the baby helped to overshadow the darkness that once lived in Snow’s heart). The Good Witch can sense powerful magic in Snow’s little babe, which makes you wonder if this kid will be even stronger than Emma.
It turns out that Glinda and Zelena used to be friends before the witch turned wicked. Interestingly, Zelena’s magic is in the emerald green pendant that matches Glinda’s opaque jewel and there is only one way to defeat Zelena. According to Glinda, a purveyor of light magic, which is created from love, can overpower and stop the Wicked Witch. Only Emma can defeat Zelena with her magic. Unfortunately, there is only one way left to reunite with Emma.
After the first curse broke, all of the realms became divided, so there are no portals left. Casting a new dark curse is their only option. As we all remember, to enact the curse, you must give up the one you love most. Get your hankies ready, Oncers. It’s time for the waterworks.
David offers to sacrifice himself for Snow to cast the curse, find Emma and defeat Zelena. As Regina helps the True Love birds, you can tell that even the Evil Queen feels horrible about this heartbreaking situation. Snow and Charming say their emotionally charged goodbyes. She is worried about their baby growing up without a father, but David assures her that he will always be with them because he lives on in her heart and through the love they share.
Charming says, “We’ve always shared one heart.” Snow has loved him from the first moment she saw him and David loves her until his last. With tears streaming down her cheeks, Snow crushes Charming’s heart and the curse potion begins bubbling in the cauldron.
We all know Charming survives, but this scene was utterly heartbreaking. I tried not to cry and still the tears started dropping. Phenomenal work from Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas and Lana Parrilla.
Just when you think the worst is over, Zelena flies in with a cackle. She spices things up by throwing a memory-loss spell into the mix. She taunts Snow saying she will search for David every day in Storybrooke, always wondering what happened to him. Zelena quips at Regina to take notes on how to truly take away someone’s happy ending.
Wow! Again. Zelena is the worst. Props to Rebecca Mader for making me hate the Wicked Witch so much. We get it, she had a tough life, but that doesn’t mean she needs to ruin everyone else’s. Geesh. Ok now for the sweet silver lining.
After Zelena flies away, Snow White uses the witch’s threat to her advantage. Snow and Charming have always been one. She asks Regina to split her heart in half, so that she can share it with David. Regina fears that half a heart may not be strong enough to keep either of them alive. Snow White assures, “I believe my heart is strong enough for both of us.”
Even Regina can’t restrain herself from shedding a tear as she split’s Snow’s heart and brings Charming back to life.
When Zelena returns to Rumple’s palace, he tells her that she failed. She gives him a chance to retain his memories by drinking her potion, since she looks forward to taking his brains. The Wicked Witch guzzles it down, so she can enjoy tormenting everyone in Storybrooke. After she leaves, Rumple is torn. Half of him believes pain will give him the strength to face Zelena and get his vengeance. While the other half of him wants to forget about losing his son.
Suddenly, Bae breaks his way out of Rumple. He quickly writes a note about Emma and the curse and sends it to Hook via carrier dove. Then Bae withdraws back into Rumple, as both souls are doomed to live in one body.
Well played, ‘Once Upon A Time.’
Storybrooke, Present Day: “I love you.”
Robin Hood and Regina heat up our screens and we see how Outlaw Queen is going strong. Snow acknowledges that the Queen is smitten, Regina quickly snaps,“If I didn't know any better I'd say Haagen Dasz is smitten with your stomach.” Ouch! Hilarious, but unnecessary burn, Regina. Moving on to the matter at hand.
The gang has gathered to piece together the past year. They can’t figure out who would’ve sacrificed the one they love most in order to re-cast the curse. However, they figure that True Love must be the only way to break the curse again.
Last time, Henry had to make Emma believe. This time around, Henry needs to regain his memories and believe in magic. MM thinks the storybook is key since it magically appeared when Henry needed faith the last time. So they go to check out her closet and hope for a miracle.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Zelena has hook-napped our dashing pirate. She threatens to kill Henry if he doesn’t press his "luscious lips" against Emma’s before Baby Charming’s birth. Hook knows he’s in a jam and goes to great lengths to protect Henry.
Before heading to the Charmings’ apartment, Emma leaves Henry in Grumpy’s care. Poor Henry is growing restless with her lies and wants answers. Emma snaps at him with a “mother knows best” line, so he comes up with his own escape plan. He asks for the keys to their home and she hands them over without a second thought.
Regina is eager to find the book because she wants to look into the Wicked Witch’s past to see who she could’ve loved and sacrificed for the curse. After a thorough search, Emma feels insulted that the book magically appears for Mary Margaret. She admits her desire to take Henry back to New York when the curse is broken and Zelena has been properly defeated. Ironically, Henry is trying to find his way home behind his mother’s back.
Henry ditches Grumpy and tries to put his driving lesson to use. Luckily, Hook catches him and proposes another plan. The pirate takes the boy to the docks and says Smee can give him a sea ride to the city. When flying monkeys start heading in their direction, Hook tries protecting Henry by sheltering him in the boathouse.
Hook starts running out of bullets and fears for the worst when the gang comes to his rescue. Once they realized Henry went missing, Emma tracked his GPS to the docks. Regina uses magic and Emma joins in shooting down the monkeys. There is a brief moment of calm before the storm rises.
Emma asks Henry to trust her once more and look at the storybook because she needs him to believe in magic. He touches the book and all of his memories come rushing back. Emma quickly kisses him, hoping it will do the trick. But it doesn’t break the curse. Then Zelena strikes with a personal attack.
The Wicked Witch takes Henry hostage and chastises Hook for not doing as he was told. Regina gets knocked unconscious trying to fight Zelena. Emma saves Henry by using her light magic. Emma’s magic scares Zelena off for now, but she vows to return for the baby. Once she’s gone, Henry rushes over to Regina.
Henry shakes Regina awake, prompting a happy reunion between adoptive mother and son. She promises to never let him go away again, Regina says she love him and kisses him. Regina’s kiss of True Love breaks the curse and everyone’s memory returns. They tell Emma that she is the only one who can defeat Zelena. Well, that’s a relief!
Henry asks Regina about the man she was smooching earlier and Robin Hood introduces himself, much to Henry’s amusement. With their memories back, Robin recalls their rocky start in Fairy Tale Land. Naturally, she quips back, “For some reason you're so much more likable here in Storybrooke.” Oh young love.
Emma pulls Hook aside and confronts him on what Zelena was talking about, so he finally spills the beans. Hook should’ve just been honest from the start. He definitely didn’t need to shoulder this burden alone and could’ve worked with the others to find a solution. Maybe they can find a way to remove the curse on his lips.
Despite having their memories back, they still don’t know who sent Hook the note to find Emma. The flashback shows us it is Bae, so I wonder if Rumple is aware of what his son accomplished while they were merged together as one. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
In another moving scene, Emma takes Henry to Neal’s grave. He understands and appreciates his father’s heroic sacrifice. Henry declares that Operation Cobra is back on. Suddenly Mary Margaret cries out in pain. Baby Charming is coming!
“A Curious Thing” is another fantastic installment in this magnificent season. So much happened. I lost track of how quickly the second half of the season has breezed by. It felt like it came sooner than expected, but technically the timing for all of these big reveals is just right. I think the surprise is that so many huge moments were jam-packed into one explosive and emotional hour.
What did you think of the episode? Were you shocked by the Charmings’ decision to cast the curse? Are you relieved everybody got their memories back? Did you weep like a baby when Snow and David were saying their goodbyes?
Check out the promo for Sunday’s new episode, “Kansas.” Dorothy and a whole heap of trouble is coming up. Are you ready, Oncers?
Share your thoughts, favorite moments and theories in the comments below!
‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.