In the ninth episode of season 7 of Once Upon a Time, titled “One Little Tear,” Lady Tremaine strikes a deal in order to free herself from jail so she can wake Anastasia, but the cost of saving one life may be the loss of another. Meanwhile, Jacinda shares a moment with Nick that could change her relationships with Henry and Lucy, and in flashbacks, we learn of the connection between Lady Tremaine and Gothel. (From here on out, if a character is awake, I will refer to them by their real name or put their cursed named in quotation marks.)

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Meet the Real Rapunzel

The episode begins with a flashback in which Rapunzel (the real one, this time) heads out into a storm to find food for her family. She stumbles onto Gothel’s garden, but Gothel is impressed that Rapunzel only wanted to steal food and not her magic. Gothel asks Rapunzel what she would be willing to do to give her family a better life and Rapunzel says she would do anything. Gothel agrees to help her, but what Rapunzel didn’t realize is that their deal would include Rapunzel being imprisoned in the tower. As the gravity of her situation hits her, Rapunzel calls out for her family including her daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. That’s right. Lady Tremaine is Rapunzel!

Rapunzel/Lady Tremaine spends years in the tower, so many years that her hair grows to epic lengths. Rapunzel then uses her magically long hair to climb down from her tower prison. There are lanterns in the sky that lead her back to her family. She’s been gone for six years, but Anastasia has never given up hope that she would return. Lady Tremaine is thrilled to be reunited with her daughters, but her husband seems shocked by her return. It turns out that he thought she was dead and so he married someone else, aka Ella’s mother. Lady Tremaine is devastated that her husband remarried. He says he still loves her, but he also loves his new family.

As Lady Tremaine tries to adjust to working at the manor where her family now lives in luxury, Gothel appears and offers her a solution to her problems. She presents Lady Tremaine with the enchanted mushroom and says she can use it on her husband’s new wife. Once Ella’s mother is gone, Lady Tremaine will have her family back. At first, Lady T. refuses to hurt an innocent, but as she sees her family — especially Drizella — pulling further away from her, she changes her mind. (We already know the rest of the story. Ella’s mother was poisoned so fled to Wonderland to protect Ella’s step-father from the curse.)

Lady Tremaine Loses Anastasia

With Ella’s mother out of the picture, Lady Tremaine finally has her family back, but then tragedy strikes. The girls are playing in the snow and when Ella walks across a frozen lake, Anastasia heads out onto the ice to save her and they both end up falling through the ice. Lady Tremaine’s husband goes in after the girls, but he can only rescue one at a time and he saves Ella first. By the time Anastasia is pulled from the ice, she’s close to death. Lady Tremaine goes to Gothel for help in saving Anastasia. Gothel uses magic to preserve Anastasia’s last breath so she can be awoken one day. Gothel then says that she plans to lock Anastasia in the tower.

Gothel explains that everything she put Lady Tremaine through was a test. Apparently, Gothel is looking for someone with a pure heart — aka, the Guardian — and she thought Lady T. might be that person until she poisoned Ella’s mother. Now Gothel thinks that perhaps the person she’s looking for is part of Lady Tremaine’s bloodline. Before Gothel can enact her plan to lock Anastasia away, Lady Tremaine steals her magic and uses it to trap Gothel in the tower. She then promises an unconscious Anastasia that she will find a way to bring her back.

Rumple Makes a Deal with Lady Tremaine

In Hyperion Heights, Drizella/”Ivy” visits her mother in prison to demand that Lady Tremaine/”Victoria” give up Anastasia’s whereabouts. She says it is the only way Lady Tremaine will get out of prison, but Lady T. has another plan in mind. She calls on “Weaver” who she knows is awake and aware of his true identity. Rumple originally acts like he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but she gets his attention by mentioning the mysterious Guardian. Lady Tremaine claims she can give Rumple information on this Guardian if he helps her get out of jail so she can wake Anastasia. Rumple agrees to the deal.

While Rumple is helping Lady Tremaine get out of prison, Jacinda (aka Ella) and Lucy are enjoying their first morning back together as a family. Lucy immediately wants to invite Henry over so he can share in their joy and Jacinda puts off telling Lucy that Henry left town. Jacinda tells Sabine (aka Tiana) that she doesn’t know what to do about Henry, especially now that he’s left town with “Roni”/Regina.

Later, “Victoria” stops by Jacinda’s place. Jacinda thinks she’s going to fight her for custody of Lucy, but Lady Tremaine surprises her by saying that she’s officially given up all her claims of custody. Since Jacinda fought so hard to get Lucy back, “Victoria” claims she now believes that Jacinda is worthy of having custody of Lucy. Lady Tremaine drops off a doll she claims Lucy loves which of course turns out to be equipped with a camera so she can spy on Jacinda.

When Nick (aka Jack) stops by to confirm that the paperwork is legit and Jacinda now has full, legal custody of Lucy, he ends up kissing Jacinda. Jacinda breaks the kiss and makes it clear that while she wants Nick to be part of Lucy’s life, she isn’t interested in resuming their romantic relationship. While Jacinda may have been conflicted before now, the unexpected kiss with Nick is enough to make her realize that Henry is the one she really wants to be with.

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Lady Tremaine Destroys Lucy’s Belief

While Lady Tremaine runs around town gathering what she needs to wake Anastasia, Rumple begins to get impatient. He wonders why she is going to such lengths to save one daughter when her other daughter is right in front of her. Rumple starts talking about his son and how he paid the cost to be reunited with Bae, only to lose him in the end. Lady T. is convinced that she’s willing to pay any price to get Anastasia back. She also tells him that Drizella hasn’t been her daughter for a very long time. (In flashbacks, we saw Drizella refer to Ella’s mother as her own, thereby breaking Lady Tremaine’s heart.)

Since Gothel and Drizella have been following them all day, Rumple stays behind to distract them while Lady Tremaine gets away. After they realize Lady Tremaine is gone, Gothel stays behind to make Rumple an offer. She tells him that he won’t be able to reunite with Belle on his own, but Rumple makes it clear that he won’t be anyone’s servant. Gothel then lets it slip that in order to wake Anastasia, Lady Tremaine has to steal Lucy’s belief.

While Rumple is learning of Lady Tremaine’s plans, Lady T. picks Lucy up from school and confirms her belief that fairy tales are real. Lady Tremaine shows Lucy the storybook that confirms that her mother really is Cinderella. Lucy also learns about Rapunzel/Lady Tremaine’s story, but Lady Tremaine says the story didn’t end there. She then takes Lucy to the hospital where Anastasia is being kept. Lady T. then goes on a rant about how fairy tales are real, but happy endings are not, using her own story as proof.

When Lucy continues to cling to her belief, Lady Tremaine shows Lucy the recording of Jacinda kissing Nick. She says that Henry has left town and it’s too late for a happy ending now. Poor Lucy is heartbroken at the potential loss of her family’s happy ending and Lady Tremaine uses that heartbreak to convince Lucy to give up on her beliefs. As she does, a single tear slips from her eyes and Lady Tremaine collects it. Lucy runs off while Lady Tremaine prepares to wake Anastasia.

Lucy returns home and Jacinda is immediately concerned by how upset Lucy looks. Jacinda asks her what’s wrong, but before Lucy can say anything, Lady Tremaine uses Lucy’s tear to wake Anastasia and Lucy collapses. While Jacinda holds an unconscious Lucy, Drizella watches as her mother and sister are reunited.

“Weaver” Opens Up to Rogers

Early in the episode, Rogers is furious to learn that “Weaver” helped “Victoria” get out of jail. He wonders what his partner is up to now so he heads to “Weaver’s” warehouse. Once there, he finds a stack of files on everyone in town, himself included. Rogers then heads to see Sabine to follow up on information about the fire at her previous place of employment.

Sabine says that “Weaver” stopped by earlier to ask her the same thing and showed her the knife that was used to force open the back door. Sabine draws a picture of the knife and it’s Rumple’s dagger. Sabine also says that “Weaver” handed her the knife and asked her if she felt anything when she held it. Rogers is even more suspicious of his partner after his conversation with Sabine and I start to wonder why Rumple handed Sabine the dagger. Does he suspect that Sabine/Tiana might be the Guardian he’s been searching for? If so, did her apparent non-reaction to the dagger tell him anything? After all, she’s still cursed so maybe that’s why she didn’t react to the dagger.

After Gothel tells Rumple about Lady Tremaine’s plans for Lucy, Rumple is out searching for his great-granddaughter. During Rumple’s search for Lucy, Rogers tracks him down and confronts him about having files on the whole town. Rogers doesn’t know what to think of “Weaver,” but he believes the older man has been trying to tell him something. Rumple finally comes clean and admits to Rogers that everything he’s doing is in service of reuniting with his wife. Despite “Weaver’s” constantly shady behavior, Rogers believes him and offers to help in any way he can.

What did you think of these episodes of Once Upon a Time season 7? Why did Lucy collapse at the end of the episode? Will she now be in a coma like Anastasia was? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV