Welcom back to this week’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ recap! After the last explosive episode where tons of surprising familial revelations were exposed, we come into this week where goodness and fate is in question.

The episode starts off with a flashback of Snow as a young girl as the castle is preparing for her upcoming royal birthday party. We get to see what Snow was like before her father married evil Regina and, I must say, she was pretty bratty. As she is haughtily chastising a servant for putting on her soon-to-be-given tiara, Queen Eva (Snow’s mother) reprimands her  daughter and tells her that although they are royalty, that doesn’t give them the right to belittle and disrespect the servants. They are no less different than them. If this wasn’t an indication we were in Fairy Tale land and not the real world, I don’t know what is! Anyway, Queen Eva schools Snow that she is to rule justly and with goodness in her heart. She then collapses in pain.

Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is dreading the day. It’s her birthday and she doesn’t want to celebrate it as it just brings back memories of her mother. She opens a present that was left at the doorstep and it’s the tiara that her mother was to give her at that ill-fated birthday party. She though it was lost when the curse hit and as she reads the card, she sees it’s from Johanna, her nursemaid.

Mary Margaret finds Johanna and they have a touching reunion that is interrupted by a noise in the woods. She goes to investigate and sneaks upon Regina and Cora. She overhears their plans and looks on as they hunt for Rumple’s dagger. Mary Margaret quickly heads to the sheriff’s office to tell David of their plans and finds him lying on the ground after being attacked by Hook.

David is not happy that Hook was able to steal back his hook of a hand and even less happy to hear that Regina and Cora are going after the dagger. Mary Margaret tried to reach Emma and Gold but had to leave a message so they come up with a plan to keep the two from finding the dagger.

Over in Manhattan, Neal and Henry get to know each other a little better over pizza while Emma and Rumple commiserate about their sons not being happy with the two parentals. Rumple begins to pull strings and asks Emma to help him convince Bae to come to Storybrooke. He uses the Henry card and states that if Bae were in Storybrooke, she wouldn’t have to worry about Henry running away to see his father and it would give her a second chance with the guy. Something for Emma to mull over.

The plan to put doubt in Regina about her mother begins and Mary Margaret meets with the  former evil Queen to ask her not to look for the dagger and go on the side of good. Regina scoffs at the offer and reminds the former princess that she did try to be good but it got her nowhere. In a last ditch effort, Mary Margaret tells Regina that her mother doesn’t care about her. Regina then goes for the jugular and asks Mary Margaret “And what would you know about mothers?” Ouch!

Back in a Fairy Tale land flashback, we see the events of the last days of Queen Eva’s life as she lay dying in her chambers with the doctor not knowing what is wrong with her. Snow White is distraught and Johanna tells her there may be a way to save her mother… with magic! There is a benevolent fairy who will grant a person’s wish if their heart is true. If she goes into the woods and wish upon the blue star she may be able to ask the fairy to save her mother.

But with all things magical, there is a price. In Snow’s case, the Blue Fairy can help but to save her mother’s life, she has to take a life. Snow must now decide how far she will go to let her mother stay alive.

Of course this is our heroine and we need to see that she had goodness and strength from the very beginning and she tells her dying mother that she couldn’t use the candle to save her life. Queen Eva is very proud of her daughter and with her dying breath tells her that as long as she keeps the spirit of goodness in her heart, she will never leave her.

Meanwhile in the real world, Emma tries to convince Bae to return with them to Storybrooke but he says the reasons why he couldn’t go were complicated (for example, he’s moved on and has a fiancé now). As Emma and Rumple talk, Hook suddenly arrives and drives his hook into the Rumple’s heart. At this point I’m wondering how the hell did the pirate get to Manhattan so fast? Well, apparently he’s got some kind of Concord like ship because Emma off handedly says that he sailed into the city, which is a good thing because Hook’s hook was dipped in poison and Rumple is dying. The magical antidote can only be found in Storybrooke and they need to get there fast.

With Hook unconscious and obviously uncooperative, they wonder who will sail the Jolly Roger. Bae speaks up and tells them he knows how to sail a pirate ship. Hm… he also recognized Hook. Well I guess you all know where this is heading to, right Oncers?

Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David seek Mother Superior/the Blue Fairy’s help to find Rumple’s dagger before the other evil Queens. In an obvious attempt to once again lord over the fact that Disney owns ‘Star Wars,’ the princess utters the line, “Please, Mother Superior, you’re our only hope.”

Unfortunately, the Blue Fairy’s good magic is unable to remove the protection spell that Rumple has placed on his shop but Emma got the message in time to call and let the trio know where Gold hid the dagger. They head to the clock tower and retrieve it just in time for Regina and Cora to come and claim it. Mary Margaret refuses to hand over the dagger to them so Regina conjures Johanna to the tower and rips out her heart. Johanna’s heart for the dagger. Mary Margret must make a choice.

But the good in her refuses to give over to the evil and that’s when Mary Margaret realizes that Cora was behind her mother’s death and it was Cora and not the Blue Fairy that gave her the candle to try to turn her heart black and to make Regina the queen. In the end Cora gets the dagger and Regina puts Johanna’s heart back in to her body.

Just when you think this encounter is over, Cora still has one more thing to do. She magically pushes Johanna through the clock tower face killing the last tie Mary Margaret has to her mother before she and Regina disappear in a puff of purple smoke.

Back in the mayor’s office, Regina confronts Cora about the events of the past. She realizes her whole life was planned and manipulated by her mother. Queen Eva’s death, rescuing Snow, meeting the King… this was all Cora’s doing. Regina begins to worry now that her mother has the dagger. How will Henry ever trust her if David and Mary Margaret know they are using it? Cora tells her not to worry. By the time Rumple returns, they will all be an unpleasant memory and Henry will be hers.

The difficulty to stay on the side of good is a theme that has played out many times. But how long can a person continue on this path when, although you may win the war, the causalities of each battle comes with tremendous loss?  What determines your breaking point? For Mary Margaret, the time to turn the other cheek may have ended as she now has set her sites in destroying the life of the one person that has destroyed hers – Cora.

Next week, one of their own will perish as everyone returns to Storybrooke and we learn why Cora’s heart is so bent on revenge against Snow White’s family. Who do you think will die? Come back next week for the recap of the episode ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ to find out.