This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, a flashback to Storybrooke’s very first days shed light on not just the new town’s vulnerability but also Regina’s. Meanwhile in the present, the malevolent madame mayor set out to finally get everything she wants.
In the Storybrooke that was….
WANNA BE STARTIN’ SOMETHIN’ | The hour opens in the year 1983 and introduces us to Kurt and Owen Flynn (Brothers & Sisters‘ John Pyper-Ferguson and 1600 Penn’s Benjamin Stockham), father-and-son campers who were in the woods when the dark curse plopped Storybrooke veritably on top of them. Venturing into this unmapped burg, they are greeted by the resident lawman, Sheriff Graham: “Welcome to Storybrooke!”
Elsewhere, Regina awakens in Storybrooke for the first time (and in satin jammies), then promptly declares, “I did it… I won,” as she looks out the window at her new dominion. One of her first stops is the school where Snow White — now known as Mary Margaret — teaches. Regina confirms that Snow has no memories of her past, even when presented with the charming John Doe who’s comatose at the hospital.
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF | Lunching at the diner (fun fact: the exact date is Oct. 23, as in Once Upon a Time‘s series launch date), Regina greets the former Huntsman: “That uniform suits you nicely, Sheriff. Sooo… well-fitted.” The flirty mood is cooled when Kurt and Owen show up, and Regina feels threatened by these strangers.
Regina arranges for the Flynns’ car to get repaired pronto, lest they overstay their welcome. But after Owen gifts her with a braided keychain — and as she experiences her humdrum, Groundhog Day-like existence (with Dr. Hopper playing the role of Ned Ryerson) — she goes to see Gold, sharing her dissatisfaction. “This isn’t the deal we made… I was supposed to be happy here,” she vents. “Everyone does what I want them to…. It’s not real.” The pawn shop owner, though, claims to have no idea what she is talking about.
MANIAC | Regina has Kurt and Owen over for dinner (“I’m not the greatest cook, unless it involves apples”), where she learns that the Mrs. is not “back in New Jersey with the Boss” but dead, ergo the camping getaway. As they bake turnovers together, Owen asks why Regina isn’t a mom, to which she shrugs, “It didn’t work out that way, I guess.” Realizing what she may be missing, she invites the Flynns to stay in Storybrooke — but Kurt declines.
Later, Regina uses Graham’s heart to command him to keep the Flynns from leaving town — but Kurt is standing behind her hearing every word, including how she wants Owen for herself. Kurt is understandably freaked out, and almost is tackled by an arriving Graham, until the sheriff’s heart falls off the table and impairs him some.
NEVER GONNA LET YOU GO | Kurt and Owen hop in their truck and make a beeline for the town line, but Graham and Regina pursue in the patrol car and cut them off. Kurt sends Owen to run off into the woods, as he allows himself to be detained. “I’m sorry,” Regina apologizes to the departing lad. “I just wanted us to be happy.” Owen later returns with state troopers to the town line, but Regina has now cloaked Storybrooke, so they find nothing. Owen cries out into the distance: “I’ll never stop looking, Dad!”
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In present-day Storybrooke….
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITHOUT YOU | Regina is with her mother’s casket when Gold arrives to pay his respects, saying that even with all their differences, “Cora will always have a place in my heart.” Regina’s mood remains ice-cold as she vows to make Mary Margaret die for what she did. Gold reminds her, “You can’t have everything. If you want vengeance, Henry is the price you’ll pay.” Regina, though, is determined to find a way to have it all.
At the Charmings, Mary Margaret is sick with guilt over her actions. Henry senses something is up and beseeches his lying liar of a birth mom to ‘fess up. Emma explains that Mary Margaret was partially responsible for Cora’s death, which Henry has trouble believing: “She’s Snow White — she wouldn’t hurt anybody!” Gold arrives to warn the clan that Regina means to kill Mary Margaret, to which David says: “You will help us. Mary Margaret saved your life, so you owe her a debt.”
YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE | Searching Regina’s crypt with David, Gold realizes that she is compiling “un-broken heart” spell to make Henry think he loves her. At the apartment, he explains that the only way to stop a blood feud is with the spilling of more blood, by killing Regina. Meeting up with Neal at the diner, Henry expresses his fervent desire to rid Storybrooke of magic. Neal counters that until someone finds a way to do that, they should lay low in New York City for a bit. Henry seemingly agrees, only to skip out on his dad, through the bathroom window. (“Did you really fall for that?” Emma asks her baby daddy, noting: “He’s your son!”)
As David, Emma, Ruby and Neal realize that Henry has pinched some TNT from the mines, Henry bumps into Greg Mendel in the woods. After they part ways, Greg phones Regina about her son’s whereabouts, and she soon finds Henry about to blow up the magic well. She poofs the dynamite away, and Henry tries to make her see that the spell she has in mind won’t create true love from him. Emma, David and Neal arrive at the scene, and as a stand-off with fireballs and guns ensues, Henry pleads for a truce. He begs his mother to rid the town of magic, and while she says she can’t, she does destroy the love spell.
TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART | Back home, Mary Margaret asks Gold how a person can live with themselves after doing bad things. “You tell yourself you did the right thing — and say it often enough that you might actually believe it,” he answers. Mary Margret shows up on Regina’s doorstep and urges her rival to just kill her. “It has cost us so much, it has to end before anyone else dies,” she explains. “So please, just do it.” Regina plucks out her foe’s glowing red pumper, and happily discovers a dark blemish has formed on it. “I don’t need to destroy you,” she snarls. “You’re doing it to yourself, and you’ll bring down your perfect little reunited family. And then Henry will be mine!” Regina rejoices, “I can have everything! Thanks to you.”
I KNOW THERE’S SOMETHING GOING ON | All this while, Greg is behind the hedges, recording the fantastical front porch encounter on his phone. He then hops into his car, as we see that he has the same braided keychain as that Owen kid. “I’ll find you, Dad,” Greg mutters. “I promise.”
Look who’s back to play unlikely hero in the next episode
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