'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Who Returns to Storybrooke?
'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Who Returns to Storybrooke?
Carla Day
Carla Day
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Once Upon a Time ended the season 2 premiere with Emma and Mary Margaret getting sent back to present day Fairy Tale Land. After dealing with Ogres, a beanstalk, a giant, Hook, and even the evil Cora, would Henry's mother and grandmother find their way back to Storybrooke? We got the answer in Once Upon a Time winter finale, "Queen of Hearts."

Fairy Tale Land That Was

Before releasing the curse, Regina wanted to make sure that her mother, Cora, never saw the other side. Regina took up magic in the first place because of her mother and she dreamed of a world without magic. It was intriguing to find out that Regina recognized the evils of magic.

From the flashbacks, Regina wasn't always bad or selfish. She had love and forgiveness in her heart until she met Rumple. It was in her interest to work with Hook to eventually kill both Cora and Rumple.

The Queen of Hearts was revealed, as many suspected, to be Cora. When Hook failed to take Cora's heart and kill her, the queen made Hook an offer he couldn't refuse. He would work for her and take her back to her daughter.

Though, it was a bit odd that Regina wanted her mother dead because of the love she felt for her. Regina's words hit Cora in a way that caused her to change her plan. Instead of killing her daughter, Cora decided to stay in Fairy Tale Land protected from the curse.

With that reveal, we found out why one small section of Fairy Tale Land was not destroyed from the curse. 

Fairy Tale Land That Is

The quest to get back to Storybrooke was not an easy one for Emma and Mary Margaret, but they did it. With the compass in hand, they went to visit Rumple's cell. They find a parchment that had Emma's name written over and over again.

The heart-less-Cora-controlled Aurora locked them in the cell so that Cora and Hook could steal the compass. While locked up, they figured out that the parchment was written in magic ink and they could use that to get out.

Emma realized that she has been Rumple's pawn all these years. He could have escaped the cell with that same magic, but never did. He made her the savior and she worried that he controlled her fate.

Emma, Mary Margaret, and Mulan left Aurora in the cell and headed to the lake to stop Cora and Hook, who had already activated the portal. During the fight, Hook saved Aurora's heart and Mulan took off to save her friend. Then, Emma and Mary Margaret were able to get the compass and jumped into the portal.

Cora was upset until Hook said he had another way for them to get to Storybrooke. They could use the magical waters to regenerate the magic bean.

Mulan was able to put Aurora's heart back. Aurora found out from Cora that it was possible to get her true love's soul from the wraith and put it back into his body. While they didn't make it to Storybrooke, it looks like they have their own new quest to pursue. 


Gold convinced Regina that they had to close the portal to prevent Cora from getting through. They expected that she would defeat Emma and Mary Margaret, but even if she didn't it wasn't a chance they could take.

They took the fairy dust from the mine and put a spell on the well's portal. Ruby and Henry showed up to stop Gold and Regina. Ruby was easily knocked out, but Henry put up a fight with his mother. She had lied to him and he didn't understand why she didn't trust him.

In the end, Henry was able to convince Regina to take the block off the well. It was just in time for Emma and Mary Margaret to come through. Phew. That would have been a mess if they didn't get through or if Regina had them killed.

Mary Margaret kissed David and he awoke from the sleeping spell. Everyone was happy, except for Regina. Even though she proved herself to him, Henry went off with his "mom" and the rest of his family leaving her behind. Will this make her turn evil again? Or, will she see it as an opportunity to further prove her love to her son?

Mysteries Revealed

While in Fairy Tale Land, Cora tried to take Emma's heart but was repelled instead. Emma confronted Gold about his involvement in what has happened to her so far. She believed that he was responsible for the curse and used her to satisfy his ends. He denied that and said that she has done everything on her own.

Could it be a combination of both? Rumple set it all into motion, but now Emma has true power. What will she do with it now that she knows it exists within her? Will the magic corrupt her as it did Cora, Rumple, and Regina? Or, is her magic different because it was born out of true love?

Elsewhere in our real world, the bean worked! Cora and Hook are headed to Storybrooke. What trouble will they cause? And, could Emma and Hook be the next Fairy Tale romance?

What did you think about the winter finale? Satisfied with the answers? Glad that Emma and Mary Margaret are back in Storybrooke? How about Cora and Hook?

Add your favorite shows to your very own watch-list! Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of ABC.)