Recap by Zachary Van Norman
Our return to the Enchanted Forest begins with a trip to the Forbidden Fortress. An unsuspecting guard stands at his post until he is swept aside by the tentacles of Ursula, doing her best runway walk down the hall. As she approaches the chamber she is stopped by the voice of Maleficent asking who she is; Ursula spins, launching her tentacles at the Mistress of All Evil, but is blocked by Maleficent’s staff. Ursula replies that she may be referred to as “Your Majesty,” hinting at a sure-to-be-revealed-in-flashback royal lineage. Ursula asks who Maleficent is before revealing that she was invited to the Fortress. Maleficent tells her that this is her home, and that she did not send for Ursula. The sound of barking dogs interrupts their argument as they turn to see two Rottweilers on the attack, and Maleficent prepares her staff for a magical blast. The dogs stop just short of the villainesses and we are treated to the sight of Cruella de Vil sauntering towards them. She advises that she wouldn’t use magic if she were them, assuring the other two that they don’t eat fish or dragon...unless she tells them to. She crouches to the ground, blowing green magic at the dogs which fells them silent before asking what she’s doing there. Maleficent reiterates that this is her home and she didn’t ask for visitors; the other two declare that they received instructions but Maleficent refutes them, saying they’re trespassing.The three of them are interrupted by Rumplestiltskin, who reveals that it was he who gathered them together. His reason: they’re villains, and it’s time for the villains to get their happy endings.
In Storybrooke, the clock tower’s minute hand moves from 8:15 to 8:16, and we see the town is at peace and back to normal: Regina drops Henry at the school bus outside Granny’s then destroys Snow’s bird painting in the mayor’s office with a fireball as she unpacks items to reclaim the mayor’s office, Snow teaches a class (including Henry) about birds, Granny holds baby Neal while Emma grabs her sheriff’s badge and a dark red jacket before going outside to meet (and kiss) Hook. The two of them walk past the closed pawn shop before greeting Belle outside the library; Hook goes inside with Belle while Emma departs.
Inside the library, Hook has assembled a board with information about the missing fairies, the hat, and the Apprentice’s house. (A post-it note says that records indicate the Apprentice’s landlord is Yensid, known to Disney fans as the Sorcerer from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia.) Frustrated, the dear Captain knocks the board down before exclaiming that it’s been six weeks and the fairies are still trapped in the hat. Belle assures them that they will find a way to release them and that she’s reached out to some of the finest linguists in the world to help them translate runes. Hook says that it’s all because he was tricked by the Crocodile, to which Belle replies that they both were, and that she should have seen through Rumplestiltskin. Hook tells her that she was blinded by love but he has no excuse; Belle tells him that he was blinded by love too, but for someone else, and Hook says that love is a weapon as dangerous and persuasive as magic. Belle agrees, saying that Rumple had both of their hearts, but Hook tells her that Rumple loved her. Belle expresses hope that he has found whatever he was looking for.
In Manhattan, Rumple stands in front of a microwave in an apartment covered in wallpaper which matches the hanging tendrils of Ursula’s lair in the animated Little Mermaid film; the front door opens and Ursula enters, home from her shift at the aquarium. The two of them squabble over food as she reminds him that it is she who has been taking care of him while he’s been there sleeping on her couch and eating her food. He tells her that she complains because her life is crap. He retorts that offering him reheatable noodles in what could charitably be called shelter is no great gift. An email interrupts their conversation, and he tells her that the time has come for the end of their misery. The two of them travel to a large, upscale house in Great Neck, Long Island (Easter egg: Ursula wears purple under a black and purple coat, a nod to her animated counterpart) and find one of the residents is being arrested; his wife is none other than Cruella de Vil, asking one of the arresting officers if they really need these theatrics. She moves to a coat rack and removes a black and white fur; an officer tries to stop her but she firmly (and frighteningly) states that it was hers before.
She dons her coat and pauses when she hears Rumple say her Enchanted name; she says no one calls her that here before turning to face him, and he says that Cruella Feinberg doesn’t have quite the same ring. He tells her that they’ve arrived to reclaim their former glory, offering a mea culpa now that they’ve all lost what they have. She says “Not everything” and opens the garage door, revealing the infamous de Vil car, complete with personalized license plate. He questions where she’s going with her paltry material possessions and she replies that she’s going to get herself some less-paltry material possessions. He tells her that she’ll end up back where she started and she coldly replies that she will never go back to where she started, a hint at a soon-to-be-revealed backstory. He says that he can help her get back everything she’s lost, but she is skeptical, asking if he can deliver in a world without magic where walking is a challenge. He tells her that there is magic in this world if you know where to look, and asks if she’s tired of feeling ordinary; she tells him to get in and asks where they’re going. The answer: Storybrooke.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, the four villains sit in Maleficent’s fortress. Cruella questions whether Rumple is truly powerful enough to offer their happy endings, and Maleficent and Ursula both declare that no one is that powerful. Cruella asks what exactly he’s offering (and calls him Short Stuff) and he says the answer to all their prayers. She gets in his face telling him she does not appreciate being dragged around on false promises, and he replies that he knows exactly what each of them wants, but doesn’t reveal anything. Maleficent retorts that no spell known to man or woman can do what he’s offering, and he agrees, but states that they’re not looking for a spell: they’re looking for a dark curse, one which will give them all their happy endings.