It’s been a long time coming and there may finally be an end to the separation between David, Mary Margaret and Emma. While the last episode focused on Red Riding Hood/Ruby, this week we are back to the main action of trying to reunite the Charming family as well as keeping Regina’s mother from going through the portal into Storybrooke. If you recall, Aurora and Henry saw each other in the Netherworld and this week Mary Margaret, Emma and David attempt to use this connection to try and contact each other. Will they succeed or will Cora get to Storybrooke before they can stop her?

Let’s get into the recap….

You can’t keep a good pirate down as Hook finally gets down from the beanstalk only to be met by Cora who’s upset that Emma has the compass. Instead of killing the charming pirate for allowing the compass to be taken from him, she tells him that she is going to Storybrooke without him. He can rot in the Enchanted Forest while his revenge on Rumplestiltskin goes unquenched.

Cora disappears and teleports to the campsite where she takes out a heart. While it glows, she heads to an area and commands the dead bodies to rise. Magically an army of zombies begin to travel outward.

Upon Aurora’s declaration that the boy in the room said his name was Henry, Emma shows her a picture of her son whom the princess identifies as the same boy. Mary Margret is ecstatic as she now knows how they can get home. Emma tells Aurora to go back to sleep and tell Henry that they are alive and need Mr. Gold’s help to defeat Cora.

Regina finds Mr. Gold having a lovely lunch with Belle and tells him he needs her help to prevent Cora from arriving to Storybrooke. Mr. Gold is not too concerned and tells Regina that he has beat her once before and can handle her again. Regina reminds him that he didn’t have someone he cared for before and if Cora comes to town, she will now have a weakness she can use against him. Mr. Gold decides that it may be best to join forces with the ex-mayor after all.

Gold tells Henry a fairy tale about how Mary Margaret and Charming used ink harvested from a rare species of squid to imprison him. Gold then says that he has a private supply in his jail cell and tells Henry to let Aurora know that is what they need to get and use on Cora in order to defeat her. He put him into a deep sleep to meet with the princess.

Back at the Enchanted Forest, Aurora goes to sleep as Mary Margaret, Emma and Mulan guard her. Aurora sees Henry but can’t hear the information over the roaring flames. All of the sudden she disappears and is suddenly woken up by Mulan as Cora’s zombies approach. The women fight for their lives as Mulan takes Aurora away but the zombies catch up to them (thems some fast moving zombies!). As Mulan manages to fight off the one on top of her, she realizes that Aurora is gone. She catches up with Mary Margaret and Emma and tells them she thinks the zombies got her.

Henry wakes up and tells Mr. Gold, David and Regina that he wasn’t able to convey the message. He groans in pain and when Regina pulls back his shirt sleeve, they see that his arm is covered with second degree burns.

The zombies deliver Aurora to Cora who tells the princess that she will use her to get the compass back. Aurora is defiant and tells her that Mary Margaret and Emma won’t agree to the trade. As a way to get the princess to be more cooperative, Cora tells her there is a way to get Prince Phillip back. Since his soul was consumed by a wraith, it can be brought back to their world and if Aurora plays nice, she’ll tell her how it can be done. But Aurora is no fool and kicks the tray of food towards Cora.  The evil witch loses her temper (as evil witches do) and uses her magic to throw Aurora against the cavern’s wall. She then tells her crow to deliver the message that if they don’t give her the compass, she will kill Aurora.

Mulan is ready to give in to Cora’s demands but Mary Margaret tells her that there is still a way to defeat her and get Aurora back safely. Since she was also a target of the sleeping curse, she can travel to that burning room. But in order to do so, she needs to go into a deep enough sleep where her defenses are down.  They head out to gather some poppies needed for Mulan to make a sleeping potion for her.

In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold heals Henry’s arm using magic and tells Regina and David that Henry will need some time to recuperate before going back to the Netherworld. Although David objects, Gold warns him that Mary Margaret and Emma will be dead and there will be a greater monster to fight if Cora indeed finds a way to cross over. David offers to go into the Netherworld in Henry’s place saying that he knows that Mary Margaret will also try to find a way to get there. Gold warns him that he will have to be placed in a sleeping curse and may never wake up, but David is convinced that once she kisses him, all will be okay.

It seems we haven’t seen the last of Hook as he decides to get back at Cora by letting Aurora go free. But before she escapes, he tells her to tell Emma that his offer still stands. If she helps him to get to Storybrooke, he’ll help her get the wardrobe ashes needed to travel back to her time.

In both worlds, the two love birds prepare to go into the Netherworld – but there’s a catch! (Isn’t there always?) Gold tells David that since he’s never been under a sleeping curse, he will not end up in the fiery room as that’s only reserved for those who have come out of the curse before. It will be up to him to find the room that Mary Margaret will be in.

David falls asleep and finds himself in a room full of mirrors. He yells for his beloved Snow but she is in the flaming room calling for Henry. All of the sudden, the amulet that Henry gave David to protect him while he was under begins to glow. David takes a hold of it but it burns his hand and he drops it to the floor. He then notices that the floor is hot and decides to break through it.

He finds himself in the burning room and sees his beloved. The two love birds are able to speak and Charming tells Snow about the ink. She realizes that he is under a sleeping curse and is concerned but he tells her he only needs her to kiss him and he’ll wake up. He jumps over the flames to get that kiss but when they try to touch each other, they realize they aren’t physically there while in the Netherworld. Snow realizes that she is about to wake up and cries as her Prince has taken a potion to save her and knows he will not wake up until she can get to him in Storybrooke. Before she fades away, he tells her he has faith that she will get back to him and that he loves her.

Henry is concerned that David hasn’t woken up yet but Regina tries to comfort him by saying his grandparents are probably just catching up with one another.

When Mary Margaret wakes up, she is in a panic as she knows that if she doesn’t get back to David, he will be stuck in the Netherworld. As they gather their belongings to get the ink, Emma realizes that the compass and Mulan are gone!

Mulan is heading to the camp to save Aurora but Mary Margaret is able to stop her. Just before any harm comes to the Asian warrior, out comes Aurora telling them that Hook helped her get away. But is it really the princess?

Back at the camp, Cora finds Hook in the pit instead of Aurora but before she can kill him, he tells her that he has a present for her… it’s Aurora’s heart! Now Cora can control Aurora and know every move the quartet makes.

Through the heart, Cora has Aurora tell them that Hook did everything for Emma so that he could trust her. Mary Margaret tells her that they have a way to stop Cora and it involves heading to Rumplestiltskin’s cell. “Aurora” tells her to lead the way…

Episode Observations:

While the big storyline was the connection between the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke via the Netherworld, the episode seemed to lagged until the very end. There were nice little side touches like the lunch Gold was having with Belle, the tete-a-tete Henry had with Regina about her no longer using magic, and the blame game between Mary Margaret and Emma (with the final result from Emma that Regina should be blamed for everything). Also amusing was the use of the spinning wheel needle to put David to sleep.

Hook is becoming to be a very complicated character and I like that! He’s obviously out for himself and has no problems playing both sides of this game. He is the Machiavelli of the fairy tale world and there is no line that he will cross to get the end result he wants.

I’m still on the fence about Regina’s change of heart and I much prefer her in all her evilness. And speaking of hearts changing…

The last two minutes of the show were the best! Finding out that Cora now controls Aurora via her heart is a big game changer and brings along a lot of different directions this series can go.

But through it all, the series reminds us that after all that’s said and done, fairy tales are also love stories and the romance between Charming and Snow once again comes to the forefront as Charming tells Snow how much faith he has in the love between them and they are destined to always find each other. Yes, I’ll admit that there are times that the dialog about their love has had me run out of the room gagging, but this time, it was pretty romantic (if you’d like, you can blame it on the stupor induced by the leftover turkey I ate for dinner).

Will Charming stay asleep for the rest of the season? Will Cora’s control over Aurora be found out? Will Hook get to Storybrooke to exact revenge over Rumplestiltskin? Next week is the fall finale of the series before it goes on a holiday hiatus. Hopefully some of these questions will be answered.

So, what did you think of this episode? Let me know some of your observations below.