It's a quiet evening at the Mayor's house. She and Henry are enjoying a rather sedate dinner when the doorbell rings. Regina answers the door to find Emma standing there. Regina is obviously in no mood to have Ms. Swan over for dinner--especially considering their ongoing fight over custody of Henry--but Emma says she's not there for dinner. "Then what did you come for," the Mayor asks.
Regina turns to look for Henry, but he's gone. When she turns back to the doorstep, it's now full of angry townspeople--David, Mary Margaret, Ruby, Granny, Archie--they've all come for her. Henry reappears at the top of the stairs with a thick coil of rope slung over his shoulder. The next thing Regina knows, she's being tied to a tree full of rotten apples in the center of town, surrounded by the enraged populace of Storybrooke. Each of them is shouting at her in-turn, calling her "Your Majesty," knowing the truth. David hands a wrathful Emma his sword--the same one we're used to seeing him carry as Prince Charming. Regina pleads to Henry not to let them do this to her, but he has no pity. Emma rears back and swings. Is this it? Has The Curse somehow been broken?
Regina awakens from her nightmare with a jolt. It was all a horrible dream, but it's left her shaken as she checks on Henry. It looks like he's soundly in bed under the covers. Satisfied that all is well and The Curse remains unbroken, Regina goes back to bed.
But Henry's not in his room, he's in Emma's car and the two of them are heading out of town. Emma is running and she wants to take Henry with her, thinking it's the only way to get him away from Regina. Slowly, Henry understands what Emma is planning, that she's given up fighting and doesn't want to believe in The Curse and doesn't care about saving everyone. As the car nearly crosses the edge of town, Henry grabs the wheel, sending the yellow Bug careening to a stop at the side of the road. Emma is shocked-he could have gotten them both killed! But Henry is begging her to let him stay and for her to do the same.
In Fairy Tale Land, Prince Charming is forced to his knees before King George. The King's guards who had captured him at the end of "Heart of Darkness" have returned him to face his "father's" wrath. King George tells Charming that he could have had everything if he had just married King Midas' daughter, but instead he'd thrown it all away for true love. Charming defiantly responds. "Losing my life for love, that is a sacrifice I am happy to make." And King George is happy to accept that sacrifice as he has his men force Charming into a guillotine and orders the blade released. But just as the Prince is about to lose his head, the blade turns to water, harmlessly splashing over him. In strides Regina, The Evil Queen. King George recognizes her instantly--in fact it seems like these two may even have some history--and demands to know what she's doing in his castle. She offers the equivalent of all the riches Midas had promised in exchange for Charming. King George agrees, but asks what she plans to do with his "son." She says she plans to make him suffer by "using him to destroy his one, true love." She's using him to get her revenge on Snow White.
Back in Storybrooke, Regina has noticed that her beloved apple tree has begun dying. The apples have started to become rotten, a sign that The Curse is weakening. She takes this to Mr. Gold, confronting him in his pawnshop and accusing him of not caring that Emma is undoing all of her hard work. Gold suggests that it's really the idea of losing Henry that's got her so upset, and since The Curse was intended to take away Snow White and Prince Charming's happiness, perhaps her giving up Henry is the price she must pay to keep The Curse unbroken. After all, all magic comes with a price. Regina insists that she'd rather just eliminate Emma once and for all, but Gold points out that by killing The Savior, The Curse would be broken--he designed it that way. But Gold says that, even if he wanted to change the conditions of The Curse, he couldn't. There's just not any magic around for him to use. Regina realizes that Gold wants The Curse to be broken, and he warns her that maybe she should be looking to her own safety, should that ever happen.
Emma returns home in the morning, dropping her hastily packed bags by the door and finding an angry Mary Margaret waiting for her. Mary Margaret lays into her for leaving without saying goodbye, and when Emma admits that she tried to take Henry with her, she gets even more irate. She tells Emma that she's going to have to do what's best for Henry now, and when Emma asks what that is she shoots back, "You're his mother. That's your job. So you figure it out."
In Fairy Tale Land, Snow White, Granny and The Dwarfs are scouting out King George's castle when Red returns with some bad news. Beyond the castle's considerable defenses and the size of King George's forces, The Evil Queen is there. They figure out that they're going to need some "air support," and Grumpy says he knows someone who "owes him a favor" who can help out with that.
In the dungeon, The Queen confronts Charming in his cell. Charming asks her to take his life instead of Snow's, but The Queen reveals that she has no intention of taking Snow White's life. She has "a far more satisfying brand of punishment for her." As she walks away from Charming's cage, she pulls a glowing, red apple out of a pouch and holds it up for him to see.
In Storybrooke, Regina has left a card on a girl's bicycle with a nameplate on it that says "Paige." A few hours later, Jefferson, who we remember as The Mad Hatter, arrives in her office. Paige is his daughter from Fairy Tale Land, though her name in Storybrooke is Grace, and Regina knew he'd be watching her. He doesn't seem too worse for wear after his fall out of his own window when we saw him at the end of "Hat Trick," but he does seem pretty angry with Regina. She did, after all, leave him stranded in Wonderland to face the Queen of Hearts.
Regina reveals that she still has his hat, and asks him to take her back to Fairy Tale Land so that she can get something magical to deal with her Emma problem. He asks why he would want to help her keep The Curse intact when Emma ending it would reunite him with his daughter. But Regina reminds him that his life in Fairy Tale Land was one of poverty, and claims that she could reunite him with his daughter in Storybrooke and they could live a life of comfort together...once she gets rid of Emma. Jefferson reluctantly agrees, knowing he still can't trust Regina, but tells her that the hat will need magic to work.
Back in Fairy Tale Land, the attack on King George's castle is on! Snow White hears the howl of a transformed Red, and signals the attack. Snow, Granny and The Dwarfs make their way to the wall where they shoot grappling lines and climb their way to the top. Snow finishes the ascent first and dispatches several guards with brutal efficiency before Grumpy makes it to the top to save her from the last sentry with a quick swing of his pick-axe. The rest of The Dwarfs finish scaling the wall and the strike team makes its way to the courtyard where they launch a sneak attack on several more of King George's guards. Once again, Snow White is a skilled swordfighter, taking down several guards herself as The Dwarfs take on the rest. But as Snow and The Dwarfs regroup in the center of the courtyard, new squads of guards rush in, flanking them from both entrances. The attack, it seems, has failed.
Suddenly, a flight of Fairies fills the night skies, slinging handfuls of Fairy Dust at the guards! The dust knocks the guards out cold, clearing the way for Snow and her companions. She is off to rescue her Prince.
In Storybrooke, Henry rushes to see August, to beg him to help make Emma believe. But August admits that he has failed. He looks stiff and in pain as he shows Henry his arm has now turned to wood as well as his legs. He says it's getting hard to ride, or to walk, and soon it will be hard to breathe. If The Curse isn't broken, he will turn to wood completely. He doesn't have the strength, or the time left to convince Emma when she's so determined not to see the truth. "I'm sorry kid," August tells Henry. "I'm out of Operation Cobra. Now it's up to you."
Meanwhile, Emma is consulting with Archie about her chances of getting Henry back, and he admits they don't look good. Since she's entered Henry's life he's missed school, endangered himself, and seemingly retreated even further into his stories. Archie poses that the constant battle between her and Regina is taking a tremendous toll on Henry and that the two of them need to figure out something that has his best interests at heart.
In Fairy Tale Land, Snow has made her way into King George's dungeons as she rounds a bend and sees Prince Charming in his cell. She runs toward him, hurriedly unlocking the door and rushing in. But what she finds isn't her Prince--it's a mirror. She's seeing Charming, now imprisoned in The Queen's dungeon in a completely different part of Fairy Tale Land. It seems that The Queen used magic to transport herself and Charming, leaving the mirror behind for Snow. As the two lovers wonder if they will ever really find a way to be together, The Queen interrupts. She tells Snow that it's time the two of them had a "parley" and talk things over. The Queen tells Snow to come unarmed and to meet her at the place where it all began.
Obviously everyone suspects a trap, but the next morning Snow makes ready to meet Regina, dumping her arsenal out onto the table. She can't stand the idea of anyone else getting hurt because of her fight with Regina. Alone, she heads out to meet her rival face-to-face.
Back in Storybrooke, Regina escorts Jefferson down into the tomb beneath her family crypt. There, he places the hat on the floor and Regina dumps the last few magical trinkets she has into it, but nothing happens. The hat consumes the magical items, but it's not enough--Jefferson says they need something that still works. Regina reaches into her pocket and pulls out the brass ring that Daniel, the stable boy she loved, gave to her. She can still see him when she looks through it. Jefferson says that might be enough to get Regina what she needs. She reluctantly sacrifices her last memento of her love to the hat in the hopes that it's enough to help her keep The Curse unbroken. The hat sputters and sparks, but still no hole is opened. Regina is frustrated, but Jefferson says it might be enough. He can reach through to their world and retrieve something, but it would have to be something small, something that could fit in your hand. Regina knows just the thing--she's looking for an apple.
In Fairy Tale Land, Snow White and The Queen meet in the stables at her old home. From there, Regina escorts Snow to a nearby hilltop where she shows her a grave--Daniel's grave. Snow finally realizes that Daniel was killed because she revealed Regina's secret to her mother. Snow tells Regina she's sorry, but it's too late--Regina wants revenge. She reaches into a pouch and produces the glowing, red apple. With one bite, Snow will become imprisoned within her own body, trapped in dreams made of her own regrets. But the apple's curse won't work unless Snow takes a bite willingly, so Regina explains that she now has a choice--take a bite of the apple or her true love will die. To Snow, the choice is clear--she takes a bite of the apple. Even imprisoned in his cell, Prince Charming feels the apple's magic take hold of Snow White. As he shakes the bars of his cage futilely, she collapses lifelessly to the ground, the red apple falling free from her grasp as her fingers go slack. Falling... Rolling.... And suddenly a hole appears, a rip in the fabric of the world, and the apple rolls into it, falling into nothingness as....
In Storybrooke, the same apple falls up out of Jefferson's hat, into his outstretched hand. It worked. He demands that it's time Regina made good on her deal to reunite him with his daughter, but she says first she needs to find a way to use the apple on Emma. If she can get Emma to willingly take just one bite of that apple, she'll have eliminated The Savior without killing her, keeping The Curse intact.
Emma rings the doorbell just as Regina finishes baking an apple turnover. Emma wants to make a deal, and although Regina doesn't seem interested to start, she perks up when Emma tells her that she's leaving town. Their feud has to end, and the only way Emma can think to do that is to leave. It's what's best for Henry. But she has conditions--mainly that she still gets to come visit Henry and spend some time with him. But as Regina pulls her finished turnover out of the oven, Emma admits that Henry is Regina's son, and we can tell by the look on her face how hard that is for her to say. Regina politely packs up the turnover for Emma to take with her, obviously still hoping to be rid of The Savior for good. Emma takes it and leaves, not knowing how dangerous that particular pastry really is.
In Fairy Tale Land, Granny, Red and The Dwarfs find the lifeless Snow White. As they discover that she no longer draws breath and mourn her sacrifice, the Evil Queen looks on from her palace by way of a magic mirror. She changes it to view Prince Charming, still shaking the bars of his cell, and basks in her own sweet revenge. She's finally won. She's finally repaid Snow White for stealing her happiness.
In Storybrooke, Regina seems equally satisfied as she returns to Mr. Gold's pawnshop to gloat. She reveals she was able to get a hold of a sleeping curse by sacrificing the last bit of magic she had left. He reminds her that "all magic comes with a price," but she is unfazed. With Emma trapped by the sleeping curse of the apple, The Curse will be stronger than ever, and whatever plans Gold had, or reasons he has for wanting The Curse broken, are meaningless now. Regina strolls out, confident that she's won, finally, once and for all.
At Emma and Mary Margaret's apartment, Henry knocks on the door. Emma lets him in and tells him the reason she asked to see him. She's leaving town. It's breaking his heart as she tells him that she made a deal with Regina and this is the best thing for him. He tells her she can't go, that this is just the part in the story when the hero gets scared, but she tells him that it's time for him to stop believing in curses. He hugs her, hoping she'll change her mind, when his eyes fall on the turnover sitting on the counter. "Where did you get that," he demands. When she tells him it came from Regina and he realizes it's made with apple, he knows immediately what's going on. He tries to warn Emma that it's a trap, but she still won't believe. She tries to take a bite to prove to Henry that his stories aren't real, but he snatches it away first. He tells her "I'm sorry that it had to come to this. You may not believe in The Curse, or in me, but I believe in you." With that, he takes a bite of the turnover and the cursed apple within. At first, nothing happens, but suddenly the sleeping curse takes hold and, just like Snow White, Henry collapses lifelessly. Stricken with panic, Emma calls out to Henry, but she's too late.