Storybrooke. Henry wakes from his dream and tells Charming and Regina that he met Aurora in the Netherworld, but that's not even news to the boy. What is news to him, is that Snow and Emma are alive. While in the Netherworld, Henry learns that Team Princess is contending with Cora.
After a confab with Rumpy, Henry returns to the Netherworld to inform Team Princess that they need to get to the cell in which the Charmings once locked up our Dark One. In it, they'll find the enchanted ink that was used in the spell that once bound Rumpy. (More proof that, since Bae's disappearance, Rumpy has been working to move us to exactly where we are, today.) The ink is Team Princess's key to containing Cora, a.k.a. the Mother of All Evil. The only problem is, when Henry has his dream rendezvous with Aurora, she is ripped from the burning room, before he can fill her in.
L'enchantement. Aurora is ripped from her dream, because Cora has summoned the zombie remains of her Neverland victims I hope you'll notice I refrained from headlining this episode, "The Walking Dead." You're welcome. Anyhow, Cora does so only after she informs Hook that since he was ready to double-cross her with Team Princess, he will never get the chance to ride her magical coattails to Storybrooke.
When the zombies grab Aurora from Team Princess, they bring her to Cora. Snow, Emma and Mulan set out in search of poppies, so that they can make more sleeping powder. The plan is to put Snow under deeply enough, so that she lets down her defenses and returns to the Netherworld.
Cora sends a (Maleficent's?) raven to inform Team Princess that she has Aurora. If they don't give her the magical compass by sundown, Sleeping Beauty will sleep with the fishes. Because of her loyalty to Phillip, Mulan is ready to turn over the compass ASAP. Snow and Emma, however, want to find a way to defeat Cora, keep the compass, and rescue Aurora.
Because Henry is burnt during his last Netherworld voyage, Charming and Regina decide it's too dangerous for the boy to return. Instead, Charming asks to be put under the Sleeping Curse. He does meet up with his bride in the Netherworld, but because of the nether-ness of it all, Snow can't lay a restorative kiss on her groom, and return him to their grandson.
L'enchantement. Snow wakes in a panic and tells Emma all that's happened. Mother and daughter vow to get back to Storybrooke, but then realize Mulan has gone AWOL, and taken with her the magical compass. They make like Kate Austen and track down the treacherous Mulan.
Back in Neverland, Hook arrives and frees Aurora. Along with her marching orders, he gives the princess some vague words meant to make Emma feel like ass for failing to trust him. In the Enchanted Forest, Aurora finds Emma and Snow, just after they catch Mulan. Aurora passes along Hook's message to Emma, and adds that she thinks the swashbuckler has feelings for our savior.
Neverland. Hook gives Cora a make-up gift. It's Aurora's heart. With it, the Mother of All Evil is able to control Aurora like the perfect magical robot. And in Storybrooke, when Charming doesn't awaken from the Sleeping Curse, Henry frets, while Regina and Rumpy share a knowing (but probably, or at least possibly) concerned look.
On first blush, there were too many moments in this episode that felt far too facile for me to give it an A grade. Chief among these are the fact that even though Henry continues to wear the magical amulet Rumpy gave him last time, he doesn't even seem to try to control his dream. To add insult to injury, when Henry passes the amulet to his gramps, he tells him what it's for, but there's no acknowledgment that the boy failed to use it, himself. Also, since when is Captain Hook a student of the Dark Arts?
Look, I know the story takes place in a world with magic. I know that a big part of the premise is that we only think we know the stories; this show is going to give us the real deal. Still, in just one viewing, I feel like there were a lot of shortcuts or cheats. Sometimes this show improves for me with subsequent viewings. I'm crossing my fingers that this is the case with "Into The Deep." Don't get me wrong. It's more than an acceptable way to spend a lazy Sunday evening. That said, there are moments that are just far too easy and/or convenient.
I'll be back with the whole story, in the full recap. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where we're always ready to go to sleep for the cause.
Previously on Once Upon A Time, Team Princess arrives in Neverland to find all the Neverlanders' hearts have been ripped from their chests. Rumpy explains the consequences of surviving the Sleeping Curse. Aurora tells Team Princess she met Henry in her dreams. Hook and Emma travel up the beanstalk in search of a magical compass. To give Team Princess a head start, Emma chains up Hook.
Currently on Once Upon A Time... L'enchantement. Night. When Hook reaches the bottom of the beanstalk, he finds Cora waiting for him. Why does she have a parasol at night? Isn't the "sol" in parasol for a reason? These are the things that keep me up at night.
When Cora demands the compass from Hook, she is furious to learn that he doesn't have it. She exposits that he stole the enchanted cuffs which allowed him (and Emma) to climb the beanstalk, which answers my previous question in a way I hadn't expected, so well done, Show. Cora hisses about betrayal, so Hook assures her he was only ever going to bring the compass to her.
Cora says something about having "crossed through too many worlds" to risk dealing with him again, which to me seems to further shore up fan speculation that she may be the Queen of Hearts (or the Red Queen, darn you pop culture for conflating the two). She wonders who bested Hook and laughs when he confesses that it was Emma. She's displeased that he chose Emma, but now must suffer the consequences.
Hook tells her if she's going to kill him, she should just have at it. Please don't kill him, Cora. He's pretty. Ooh, she listens and decides she'll leave him in L'enchantement with his thirst for vengeance unquenched, while she completes the journey to Storybrooke on her own.
Hook turns up his not inconsiderable charm and insists there's no need to be rash. Perhaps not, but if you two keep flirting like that, I'm pretty sure one of you will end up with a rash. I mean, have we seen any Enchanted doctors, other than Doc? I'm thinking the medical arts are not so highly developed in their universe.
Cora is amused by Hook's swagger, but laughs off his proposal that they continue working together and tells him it's her turn to "do this, the right way." Taking a page out of Charming's book, Hook lunges at the Mother of All Evil, but she disappears in a puff of midnight blue smoke, as evil is wont to do. Hook face-plants on the ground and I laugh and laugh.