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'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Wicked Beginnings and Optimistic Endings

By Leanne Aguilera, Hollywood.com Staff

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the craziest b**ch of them all? It's Cora of course! Wait, or is it Regina? Hmm… we'll let you be the judge. This week's episode of Once Upon a Time finally gave some highly anticipated answers to questions we've been dying to know. How did Regina become such an magic-crazed psychopath? Now that the curse has been broken can they leave Storybrooke? What happened to Snow and Emma? And are we going to meet a fairytale character who is sexier than Jefferson?! I'll go ahead and answer that last one for you right now: Nope. The Mad Hatter is mad handsome and I'm happy to report he's back!

Mo' Magic, Mo' Problems: Now that magic (aka the super cool purple smoke) has entered Storybrooke, no one knows what will happen if you leave the town's boundaries. (FYI: In the past, the fairytale characters physically couldn't leave the town.) So the dwarves (yes, all seven of them) take it upon themselves to find the answer. After drawing the shortest stick, Sneezy is the one who has to cross the line. Is anyone else surprised that it wasn't Dopey? After one small step (and by "step" I mean push), Sneezy is quickly paralyzed with magic.

We soon learn that if the characters leave Storybrooke, they will lose their memories all over again. Grumpy shouts to everyone in town, "If we leave, our cursed selves become our only selves." Definitely not ideal. The person most devesated by this new is Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) who has his bags packed with many adventurous looking maps. Sorry Rumple, looks like you're still stuck. By the end of the episode, the dwarves (only six of them this time) are off on a quest to find fairy dust so they can restore their brother's memory and help bring magic back to the masses.

While all this is going on, Gepetto is posting missing person signs for his son. In the hotel room we get a glimpse of Pinocchio/August (Eion Bailey) and see that his is still made of wood. But then he blinks! Henry (Jared Gilmore) nudges Gepetto in the right direction and the worried father enters the hotel room. Here's the weird part: Pinocchio is gone. The only thing left in the room is his hat, which has been reanimated. Thus, we can assume he has been de-wooded (not sure that's even a word) but we have no idea where he has gone off to.

Like Mother Like Daughter: In a flashback to the fairytale world, Regina (Lana Parrilla) is speeding by on horseback desperately trying to escape from her mother's clutches and her obligations to marry the king, Snow's (Ginnifer Goodwin) father. But just as she was about to leave boundaries, a nearby tree snatches her up and holds her prisoner with its branches. It's quite the clever spell created by her power-hungry and magic-loving mother Cora (Barbara Hershey). Regina reiterates to her mom that she doesn't want to marry the king, "I want to be free," she pleads. Her mother assures her, "Power is freedom."

Regina is desperate to find the man who taught her mother all her evil ways, so she steals Cora's spell book and weakly calls out a name she see scrawled on the first page: Rumplestilskin. He instantly appears in her bedroom and Regina is surprised to learn that Rumple knows exactly who she is. "Oh yes, I know everything about you dear,"" he croons. "I held you in my arms. You were younger, more portable then." Hmm… odd. Rumple instantly recognizes that Regina has the potential to be extremely powerful tempting her with the line, "Magic. It can set you free."

Rumple presents Regina with a portal (a mirror, fittingly) so she can send her mother into another world. "All she needs is a little push, but the question is: Can you do it?" he teases. On the day of her wedding, Regina gets so frustrated with her mother's controlling ways and finally gathers up all her courage. She uses her mother's magic against her and pushes her into the looking glass. Cora is transported to another realm, the mirror shatters, and it's obvious that Regina quite likes the taste of magic. Rumple offers to guide Regina in the ways of magic, but of course she realizes there must be a catch. Rumple merely says, "Someday you'll do something for me."

Over in Storybrooke, Regina is desperate to get Henry back and she believes the only way to do so is to use magic. She gets the spell book back from a reluctant Mr. Gold and after perusing (more like inhaling) her mother's old spell book, Regina has got her powers back. Cue the dramatic music! She proceeds to show off her newly re-found skills at the city hall where the entire town is waiting for Charming (Josh Dallas) to reveal his epic plan. After watching Regina toss a few characters around and start a mini fire, Henry says that he will go with his mother. He shouts, "Okay! I'll come with you, just leave them alone!"

Back at Regina's home, it only take about 2.5 seconds before Henry tires to escape. But it seems that Regina has been inspired by her mother's old bag of tricks because she places the same boundary spell on Henry that her mother once placed on her. Basically, once Henry tried to escape, the branches of a tree wrapped him up tight like a burrito. "Don't fight it honey, you'll get a splinter," she says coolly. Regina tries to temp Henry into staying with promises to teach him magic. She also presents him with an humongous cupcake, but he wants nothing to do with either of the delicious treats. (Silly boy, take the cupcake!) He tells his mother, "I don't want to be you." And with those six little words, Regina has en epiphany. She has become just like her mother.

One Pissed-off Prince: Charming/David (I prefer Charming) is desperate to find his family and demands to know where Regina got the hat. "I've long since forgotten," she retorts. Right then, I call B.S. on the queen because no one could ever forget the time they stole a hat from the ridiculously handsome mad hatter. Charming quickly realizes that Rumple is the only one who will be able to help him find the owner of the hat/portal. In exchange for a location potion, Charming and Rumple make a deal to stay out of each other's way. The hat leads Charming straight to an overturned car and we have absolutely no idea how long the mad hatter has been stuck inside there.

Jefferson (Sebastian Stan) is back! And, hot damn, he's looking better then ever. Unfortunately, besides making our TV screens much more attractive, Jefferson can't really help with anything else. Jefferson smugly says, "I'm a portal jumper and you destroyed my portal so you're out of luck." He tells the prince that his family is definitely in the Enchanted Forest (which I've been calling fairytale land) but there is no way to get there. At this point, Jefferson's crazy kicks in and he runs away as fast as he can down the street. Bye handsome! Call me!

The whole town is in a panic and they are looking to Charming for the answers. However, the prince does not seem too confident in his public speaking skills, telling Henry, "I did the fighting, Snow did the talking." Just as the entire town was about to leave Storybrooke, Charming gives an impassioned speech promising to lead them like a proper prince and not let Regina rule again. "I will protect you. She won't be able to hurt any of us, not as long as I'm alive. No as long as we all come together as we did before, as we shall do again,"" he says with brooding charm.

And the sexiest moment of the night goes to Charming when he bursts through Regina's door brandishing his sword. Swoon. In her first non-wicked act, Regina decides to let Henry leave her home to live with his grandfather. (That's still so weird to think about.) Regina, in an attempt to be less Cora-esque, says, "I don't know how to love very well." While Henry is gathering his things, Charming demands to know if indeed the Enchanted forest still exists. She reveals that is does but she has no idea how to get back to their former home. She quips, "I can see I just launched you in a heroic quest." In the end, Charming tells Henry that he is confident he will save their family.

Cell Block Tango: In last two minutes, we finally see Snow and Emma (Jennifer Morrison). They are being held as prisoners and taken to a dark and dirty makeshift town. "They look like refugees," Snow ponders out loud. "We're survivors," Mulan (Jamie Chung) snaps back. Snow, being her classic badass self, kicks Aurora square in the gut and attempts to escape. The princess screams, "Emma Run!" Unfortunately, Mulan is just a little bit more of a badass and she easily knocks Snow out cold. Ouch. Emma and an unconscious Snow are brought to a dungeon and you'll never guess who they are sharing a cell with. Okay, maybe you will. None other than the mother of all-evil: Cora. Yikes!

What did you think of this week's Once Upon a Time? Bummed that we barely saw Snow and Emma? How long do you think Regina will stay nice-ish? Cast your spell in the comments below!

Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera

[Photo Credit: ABC]

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'Once Upon a Time' Teases Mulan and Sleeping Beauty for a Millisecond — TRAILER

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