Tonight we open with our wicked, wicked villain, who seems to have a taste for the finer things in life. She paws through Regina’s leftover jewels and then sends a flying monkey off to let “The Evil Queen” know she’s all up in her house.
Meanwhile the group is trudging along, presumably to Sherwood Forest, and lo and behold – it’s Red!!
Oh, we’ve missed you, Red! Regina, meanwhile has remembered the tunnel under the castle walls that only she knows about. She can get inside, lower the protection spell, and then David and Snow can send in their army.
Just as Regina lays out the plan, a screeching comes from overhead and they’re attacked by monkeys again. One heads straight for little Roland, and Regina steps in front of the boy to protect him, then turns the monster into a stuffed animal for Roland to enjoy. This earns her the thanks and more importantly, the interest of a certain outlaw.
Forward to present day Storybrooke, where Emma’s trying to get to the bottom of the town disappearing, then reappearing again. Snow explains that once Emma crossed the town line, everything went black, and then as far as anyone’s memory is concerned, they woke up back in Storybrooke like it was any other morning.
“Clearly it wasn’t,” Snow says, rubbing her very pregnant belly.
“Almost harvest time and you can’t remember the planting,” Hook remarks to David. “That’s bad luck, mate.”
Hook then explains that he knows for sure that a year passed as well, because he wasn’t with all of them, preferring to make his own way. Emma seems to think Regina’s got something to do with this (despite how far she came in Neverland – way to hold a grudge, Emma) but Snow defends Regina – who also has no memory of the last year.
Hook then tells an odd tale (well, if you’re not living in a fairy tale it’s odd) of sailing the realms when a bird payed him a visit, with a note and a vial of memory retrieving potion tied to its leg. The note instructed him to fetch Emma and take her to Storybrooke. He assumed Snow sent it (it was a bird, after all) but she has no memory of that, of course.
Grumpy then breaks in to let everyone know they’ve lost another dwarf. Whoever cursed them has also been picking them off one by one. Emma asks about Neal, but no one’s seen him.
“He’ll turn up, Swan,” Hook says morosely. “He always does.”
Flashback again to the Enchanted Forest, where Belle is cluing everyone into Oz as being the source of the flying monkeys. Regina tells them all that the Wicked Witch has taken over the castle, and Grumpy wants some clarification.
“Are we talking East, or West?” he asks. “One you drop a house on and the other you toss a bucket of water at.”
David wants to know what Regina did to piss off this villain, and Regina is clueless – she’s never met the bi– uh, witch.
They decide to enact Regina’s plan, but Regina insists on doing this alone. Snow reluctantly agrees, but Robin Hood doesn’t look too thrilled letting a woman go off and face danger all by herself, the chivalrous hunk.
Forward to Storybrooke, and Henry is having cocoa at Granny’s diner, where everyone recognizes him but no one is allowed to tell him that because he has no memory of any of them. Emma introduces them to David and Mary Margaret, claiming to have met Mary Margaret in Phoenix. Henry points out that Mom was only in Phoenix for jail, and he asks what Snow was in for. She replies “Banditry.”
All this awkward warmth is interrupted by the crashing of a coffee cup as Regina has just walked in and seen Henry.
This moment is beautifully played by Lana Parilla – so much joy and heartache all in one blow as she sees him but he looks right through her. Emma pulls her aside and Regina assures her she had nothing to do with this curse.
Off in the woods outside Storybrooke, Robin Hood has taken up residence with his Merry Men, having been brought there by the curse. Little John takes off after a wild turkey he’s hunting and gets attacked by a flying monkey.
Robin calls on David and Emma to help him find his man – he describes the monkey and Emma replies that it sounds a lot like the monster that attacked her in New York.
“You mean the monster you were going to marry?” asks Hook.
“You were going to marry someone?” David asks.
“Did you just miss the part where I said ‘monster’?” Hook asks incredulously.
God, I love snarky Hook.
They start a search grid, but Emma peels off, deciding to hold an impromptu town hall. The townspeople are one more catastrophe away from a pitchfork session, and start venting their ire when in walks Regina. They all start blaming her, of course, and she points out that if she had cursed them, she’d have her son. Emma tells her she’s not getting anywhere near Henry and Regina flips her shit and causes a mini-earthquake before she poofs out. Emma goes after her, and we see a woman all dressed in green – but looking decidedly more normal-ish than her witchy self, watching it all with a terribly smug grin.
Back now to the Enchanted Forest, where Regina realizes she’s being followed. Robin emerges from the shadows and won’t take no for an answer. He knew that monkey had been after Regina, and he owes her a debt for saving Roland.
“Who knew a thief had honor?” she says.
“Who knew an evil queen had a soft spot for children?” he replies.
She begrudgingly agrees to let him accompany her but cautions him not to get in her way.
Forward to Storybrooke again, and Emma bursts into Regina’s office, clearly pissed about the earthquake, and we discover that Emma and Regina are working together, putting Regina up as a decoy so no one will suspect they’re a team. Regina is going to take the few drops of remembering potion and try to recreate more.
Then, in a tender moment, she thanks Emma for believing in her, and Emma is firm in that belief.
Back again to the Enchanted Forest, and Robin’s making small talk and Regina helps him through the booby traps she’d set to keep out “people like him.” Robin asks her to please not off him since it would make his kid an orphan, and Regina only reminds him (with a mysterious smile) that he should have stayed back. Not exactly confidence-boosting.
She does, however, ask about Roland’s mother, and Robin confesses that his wife is dead because of him. He inadvertently put her in harm’s way during a job.
When they reach the end of the tunnel, Regina discovers the door to the castle is open – a door that she sealed with blood magic. The witch has somehow found her way around it.
They enter in Cora’s crypt, and they talk about loss – Robin is pretty astute and figures out that Regina lost a child somehow after the way she soothed Roland. She confesses that her son is lost to her forever.
Forward to Granny’s, where Snow is perusing pregnancy books and discussing cradle cap with a bored Henry who’d much rather play video games. She mentions the library down the street, and Henry heads out to investigate.
At the next table, we see our Storybrooked Wicked Witch, who introduces herself as Zelena, a former midwife from the Enchanted Forest who missed the first curse but came along for this one. She’s warm and friendly and Snow takes to her instantly. She asks to touch Snow’s belly and it’s creepy as hell.
Great job casting Rebecca Mader because her mouth just stretches unnaturally wide and she really looks like she could pop out a second set of alien jaws at any time.
Over in the forest outside town, David, Robin and Hook find Little John, who’s been bitten by the monkey. They rush him off to the hospital.
Flashback to the Enchanted Forest, where Robin is keeping watch as Regina starts concocting some kind of potion. Robin pulls his bow and trains an arrow on her, demanding to know what evil thing she’s brewing up and Regina responds by trying to choke him to death. She finally backs down and admits it’s a sleeping curse.
She confesses that she’s planning on using it on herself.
“This isn’t an end,” she says. “It’s an eternal middle.” She plans to stay slumbering until Henry wakes her, if ever.
Robin tries to talk her out of it, reminding her that even when you’ve lost someone you love, life can give you a second chance.
Forward to Regina and Emma in Storybrooke and Regina’s having no luck making memory potion. Emma suggests they go old school by running a new con. If they let the person who cast the curse know that they’re about to make a memory potion, the perp might get nervous and try to stop them. They trust this lie to Leroy, who of course, blabs it loud and clear at Grannys. Zelena immediately gets up and slams out the door, and nobody goes, “Hey, there’s that new chick that no one’s ever seen before and she looks all upset and just ran out of here!”
Nope. Not in Storybrooke.
Over at the hospital, Dr. Whale is trying to treat Little John but to no avail, he turns into a flying monkey and trashes the place before flying off.
Emma and Regina, however, are sitting in the bug on stakeout at Regina’s office. They talk about Henry and his new life, and Emma encourages Regina to meet him and get to know him. Suddenly, a light comes on in the office and they rush in to find the place in shambles. A hooded figure in the corner vanishes in a cloud of green smoke, and Regina is perplexed, because she sealed the room with blood magic again. No one but her should be able to get in or out.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina takes down the protection spell on the castle, then holds the sleeping curse-tainted needle up, ready to prick her finger, when Zelena arrives in all her green glory. She poofs the needle away, and Regina notices that Zelena is wearing her dress.
“I had to take it in a little bit at the hips,” Zelena taunts. “But it looks better on me.”
They trade barbs, and Zelena finally drops the big bomb: she’s Regina’s sister. That’s how she got through blood magic. Cora had another child with another man before Regina, and she’s it.
Zelena points out that Cora gave her up and gave Regina everything, and Regina tries to explain how a life without Cora was a preferable thing. Zelena also drops Rumple’s name – she’s a former student as well. Zelena will not rest until Regina has lost everything.
“Bring it, greenie,” Regina snarls, and Zelena flies away on her broom.
We watch as Regina storms back into the castle. Robin is surprised she didn’t go through with it but Regina tells him he was right. She’s found something to make life worth living: someone to destroy. She grins that wonderful, evil grin at the thought.
Forward to Storybrooke, and Regina shows up at the apartment to meet Henry at Emma’s urging. Regina awkwardly offers to give Henry a tour of town.
David shows up with Hook and lets them all (well, all except Henry) know about the flying monkey situation, and Regina (remembering the cloud of green smoke) puts two and two together and comes up with the Wicked Witch again, though none of them can remember why Zelena would be after anyone.
Last, we see Zelena outside a farmhouse (in a nod to Dorothy and her Kansas home). She heads down into the cellar, where she delivers a meager meal through the bars of a cage to a very, very, psychotic looking Rumplestiltskin, who grabs her and says “You never should have brought me back.”
“You feed the madness and it feeds on you,” he sings over and over.
I give this one five hooks out of five.
The snark level alone was outstanding.