If you’ve been following along from the last episode, this is no news for you however; if this is your first time joining us then this is a quick recap for the pilot. Henry a little boy from Storybrooke, Maine, has ventured to Boston in hopes of finding and retrieving his mother Emma. Emma, who works as a bounty hunter, seems emotionally detached growing up an orphan herself. Henry believes that Emma is the key to saving a host placed on them. (Why can Emma save them all?) Because Emma is allegedly the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and the savior of fairytale land. We’ve already been introduced to a few of the real world counterparts, like Regina Mills, Mayor of Storybrooke reality doppelganger of the evil queen and last but not least Henry’s adopted mother. Through the course of the episode we see fairytale world sucked away by the curse and notice that the real world counterparts live as if their stories never existed. After a silent challenge with Regina, Emma Henry’s birth mother decides to stay in Storybrooke for a few days. That was the pilot quick re-cap and now for episode 2.
The episode starts the day after Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke. She is staying at Granny’s Bed & Breakfast. Mary Margaret, Henry’s teacher and the real world Snow White, is eating breakfast alone. The clock tower which started ticking from the moment Emma decided to stay has caught the attention of Mary Margaret who seems to be excited. Zooming to Henry’s house we see he still in his pajamas staring out the window at the town who continues to move as if nothing has changed.
In the real world the Evil Queen is reading Henry’s story book and reaching the end of it. She gets highly upset that the final pages of the story are missing. These missing pages have been torn out of the book. She storms into Henry’s room and demands to know what happened to the end of the story. He stares her down only opening his mouth to tell her that she is not his mother. The two exchange words, including the whereabouts of Emma at this very moment. Henry neither confirms nor denies that she has left and Regina senses there is a secret being kept. As the clock tower rings, Regina with a look of shock is distracted long enough for Henry to slip out of the bedroom.
Regina may not know what the newly working clock tower means but it cannot mean anything good if she is truly the evil queen. The clock reads 8:23, which may or may not be significant to the story. (Maybe it’s just a time.) While standing outside by the clock tower, she notices Emma’s car in front of the bed and breakfast and decided to pay a visit. Heading straight for (how she found the room number we’re not sure), demands that she leave town immediately. Emma refuses to budge and, feeling that her intimidation tactics are failing; Regina offers a threat. “You have no idea what I am capable of.” Emma rises to this challenge and insists, “You’re gonna have to show me, aren’t you?” The two women engage in yet another stare down before Regina buckles and says, “So be it.” Regina angrily leaves the room and we are whisked away to fairytale land.
It is the wedding day of Snow White and Prince Charming and as they are standing at the altar, the Evil Queen bursts in and threatens to destroy Snow White’s happiness. (This scene is a repeat from the pilot). Prince Charming hurls the blade of his sword towards the Evil Queen.
Elsewhere in the house we find Mayor Regina Mills, Henry’s adopted mother and then who vanishes in a puff of black smoke. The Queen transports herself to her lair livid and wreaking of vengeance. An old man heads her way, offering her a drink and trying to comfort her. The Queen, whose mere presence at this moment, invokes fear into his heart storms her way to the magical mirror that we remember from the childhood fairytale of Snow White. Determined to prove her words than a simple threat she asks the mirror about a Dark Curse that she once had, the mirror reveals she traded it away some time ago, and the Queen tells the man in the mirror that she will be going to a Forbidden Fortress to retrieve it. (Not quite sure who the fortress belongs to just yet)
Once at the Forbidden Fortress the Evil Queen, finds another sorceress who is every bit as terrifying as the Queen herself, Maleficent. (From Sleeping Beauty, of yeah, she’s here too.) Maleficent, closely portrayed as in the stories has her pet a black unicorn and the familiar scepter that we all remember. The one with the giant orb on top of it, the two greet each other, then insult each other in a fashion that can only be described as catty. (Or like high school girls). The two get down to business, the queen wants back her dark curse which she traded to Maleficent for the poisoned apple sleeping curse which failed. Maleficent could care less about the effectiveness of the curse she’s not willing to part with her found treasures, a deal is a deal.
This dark curse which the queen demands back is so powerful that Maleficent has hidden to protect the world. Growing impatient, the Evil Queen attacks, Maleficent and the two powerful sorceresses duke it out, the prize being the dark curse. Maleficent falls to the Queen and as the Evil Queen retrieves her curse Maleficent begs her to rethink her actions, “Enacting it will take a terrible toll. It will leave emptiness inside you. A void you will never be able to fill.” The queen determined to destroy everyone’s happiness take the curse anyway and leaves to start her evil deeds.
In a dark and spooky part of the forest the Queen tries casting her villainous spell over the fairytale world, adding the prized heart of her childhood pet. The curse swirls and smoke rises but nothing happens, the curse didn’t work.
Back in Storybrooke we see Regina meeting a reporter whom she clearly owns. Sidney, looks strikingly familiar, he’s the man in the magic mirror that she confides in. Apparently, they’ve been investigating Emma, unfortunately the only news he has on her is that she spent a lot of time changing foster homes and at some point got into some trouble the details of which are unknown because of her juvenile record, (Which is sealed at 18 provided you stay out of trouble) Regina disappointed tells Sidney to dig up more on the newest visitor.
Back at Granny’s diner, Emma crosses with Graham, the town sheriff, (or the huntsman if you want to connect the dots). Graham comments on Emma decision to stay in Storybrooke before the conversation gets too deep Henry appears and asks that he and Emma go for a walk. While walking Henry beaming that she decided to stay, while walking Henry beaming that she decided to stay, tells her that he will help break the curse with her. Emma, who still doesn’t believe, indulges the young boy. He reveals to her and to the audience how the curse has affected the town. His plan to break the curse has now become a covert scheme called Operation Cobra.
Emma doesn’t believe anything her son is saying; in fact she thinks he’s completely delusional. Henry explains that the town is frozen town is frozen town is frozen in time, the people in it, stripped of their past and trapped in Storybrooke. Emma being the descendant of Snow White and prince Charming is the only one who can help; Henry gives Emma the missing pages of the storybook and warns her that Regina can never see them. Emma who has walked Henry to school speaks with Mary Margaret about Henry. Mary Margaret notes that Emma has chosen to stay and Emma asks about Henry’s therapist.
Emma wants to know why Henry is in therapy at his age. She heads down to Archie, (Jiminy Cricket) office. Archie spouts off a psychological response; Henry uses stories as a coping mechanism to handle complex and misunderstood emotions. It’s how he deals with his emotional issues. Emma inquires about Regina’s role in Henry’s emotional problems. Archie tells Emma that some of the problem is that Regina is trying too hard to bond with Henry, by trying so hard to bring him near she’s actually pushing him away. Archie hands Emma the file, schmoozing her and walking her to the door. When she leaves you immediately see that the entire meeting was a setup, by Regina. Whom Archie called after Emma left to let her know the file is in Emma’s hands.
Emma is back in her room going through Henry’s file; Graham comes back under orders to arrest her for stealing. Emma gives him the file back without a problem but is arrested anyway. She tells the sheriff that she was framed. Regina satisfied that her scheme was effective heads to Henry’s school to school to tell him about Emma being arrested, for stealing his file. She spins a tale of Emma stealing the file to take advantage of them; the story falls on deaf ears and seeing through her charade Henry heads back to class.
While in jail Emma is pleading with Graham, she knows she was set up and is telling her conspiracy theory to the sheriff. He listens halfheartedly, (possibly because he works for her as well.) The conversation is put on hold as Mary Margaret arrives with Henry to get her out of jail. In a very bold and slightly psychotic move on Emma’s part, she heads straight for Regina’s house where a large apple tree sits in the front yard. Emma chainsaw in hand; begins cutting off a branch. The sounds of the chainsaw undoubtedly forces Regina from the house and two starts sniping at each other. However, though out of her element, it seems Emma still has the upper hand, threatening Regina, “You come after me one more time; I’ll be back for the rest of this tree. Because, sister; you have no idea what I’m capable of. Your move.”
The battle of wits seems to have already begun; the battle for all the happy endings seems to be brewing just beneath the surface. In the fairytale forest, the Evil Queen much like Regina is standing at the remains of her failed scheme. Staring blankly at the barren fire pit she is shaken from her thoughts by the old man, her butler, who questions why the spell didn’t work. He proposes they find Rumpelstiltskin, the creator of the curse, to find the answers. (Yes, Rumpelstiltskin created the curse that will destroy fairytale land). It seems that he so far is the only person who even she is weary of. However, seeing no other option, they leave to find him.
In his cell Rumpelstiltskin, dirty and still not quite sane, the Queen visits him. Rumpelstiltskin tells the Evil Queen that Snow White and Prince Charming also visited him. He told her as he told them; the baby growing inside of Snow White is the key to breaking the curse. “All curses have a cure.” The Queen more preoccupied with casting the curse than stopping them from breaking it strikes a bargain with Rumpelstiltskin. Regardless of the world they end up in, she must do whatever he requests of her as long as he says please. The reason the spell didn’t work was because the sacrifice was not large enough, in order to cast the spell, she must sacrifice the heart of whatever thing she loves the most. With a truly sinister look on her face the queen vows to do whatever it takes.
Back in the real world Emma has been kicked out of Granny’s thank to Regina. Regina is standing outside her house telling Graham to arrest Emma again, this time for destruction of city property. Graham declines, insisting that if Regina continues to try running Emma out of town that she will only end up hurting Henry. Emma finds that her car has boot on it, of course this is no typical string of bad luck and Emma’s phone rings. Regina would like to call a truce, at Regina’s office the two women talk and Emma comments that she thinks Henry’s theory of the curse on Storybrooke is ridiculous. Once gain Emma has fallen into Regina’s trap because Henry, conveniently walks in overhearing her. He runs from the room his faith in his savior lost. Regina, proud of this plan smugly comments; “Your move,” as Emma chases after Henry.
In fairytale land, the Queen returns from her meeting with Rumpelstiltskin. The butler whose been waiting up for her asks what the problem was. She tells him that she must cut out the heart of the thing she loves the most and as we watch we see that the sacrificial lamb is the butler, himself. This man who of the entire episode seemed more like a servant and less like a useful magical ingredient is revealed to be the Queen’s father. While your mind spins around that, the queen tearfully seeks advice and he implores her to not cast the curse; he begs her to choose happiness and pleads with her to change her mind. She buries her face in his shoulder an emotional side to the Queen we’ve never seen before. She admits that she can be happy, but malevolently admits that she can’t be happy there. She rips his heart from his chest and as his body falls lifelessly to the floor the Queen, cheeks stained with her tears apologizes.
Emma goes to see Mary Margaret, to thank her and pay back the money she put up to bail her out of jail. She lets Mary Margaret know that she is leaving town to make sure that she doesn’t hurt Henry. Mary Margaret pleads with Emma to reconsider, “Who will protect Henry if you won’t?” Emma feels guilty about this.
Emma goes to find Henry at his therapist’s office, she tells Henry she only stayed there for him. Emma tells Henry, she only pretended not to believe him to throw off Regina. Henry thinks this is a great idea, and they hug each other for the first time. She tells him that not even a curse can stop her from being there for him.
The Evil Queen who is back in the woods attempting to cast the Evil Curse throws her father’s freshly procured heart into the fire. It swirls and hisses and the sky goes a dark color and black clouds gather around the area. The curse has begun and the Queen turns to leave, she places a black rose on the grave of her father paying her last respects. The name on the gravestone reads: HENRY.
In Storybrooke, Emma and Henry are walking together happily. In another part of town, Regina is paid a visit from Mr. Gold. Regina gloats about ridding the town of an unwanted nuisance. (Referring to Emma) Mr. Gold bursts her bubble by telling her he’d just seen Emma and Henry moments ago. It is revealed to the audience that Mr. Gold orchestrated Henry’s adoption. Mr. Gold asks how she picked a name for the boy; Regina insists that he set this whole thing up on purpose. Regina asks where exactly he got Henry from, Mr. Gold smiles but says nothing. Regina inquires into how much he knows about Emma but, Mr. Gold, hints at the fact that she already knows who the young woman is. With this bit of information he prepares to leave her, Regina stands in his way and demands to know what exactly he knows about Emma. He silently stares her down and asks her to let him pass. She refuses to budge until his maliciously adds please. She instantly moves to let him pass and Mr. Gold exits. No one is quite sure how much power Mr. Gold possesses, but what is certain is that, if Regina controls the townspeople and Mr. Gold controls her, his role is larger than we know.