Last week the population of Storybrooke was one less resident thanks to Mary Margaret, but Regina doesn’t see it that way. All evil is on the loose as the wicked stepmother finds a way to extract revenge on her step-daughter. While we’ve mainly been privy of the day the curse occurred from the Fairy Tale Land point of view, this week we find out what happened when the purple cloud invaded the real world when the town of Storybrooke was born.
It’s 1983 and in the woods, father and son, Kurt and Owen Flynn, are camping getting ready to do some fly fishing in the morning while making the obligatory ‘Star Wars’ reference. (Really, Disney? We already know you own ABC and thus ‘Once Upon a Time’, but must you also mention the fact that you also have ‘Star Wars’ in every episode? This will soon turn into a drinking game if it keeps up!)
A wind picks up and a fierce electrical storm starts to occur around them. Two campers head to the tent and as they peak outside, they see a purple cloud begin to encompass the forest.
The next morning, Kurt and Owen emerge out of their tent and see that a town has now appeared where it used to be all woods. As they walk through the town, they meet Sheriff Graham who welcomes them to Storybrooke! (Oh, Sheriff Graham how we’ve missed you!)
We next see Regina wake up and finally realize her spell worked as she declares that she has won. She takes a stroll around the town and we see all the familiar characters at a time when they just transported from Fairy Tale Land with no memories of their past lives.
At the diner, Owen surprises Regina as she doesn’t recognize him as a fairy tale character and demands to know who the child belongs to. She’s a little off balanced as they tell her of their plans to rent a room as they have to wait until their car is repaired.
In a page ripped out of ‘Groundhog Day’, Regina wakes up each morning with the same events occurring in the same order day after day. It can get to a girl after a while. She heads to Gold’s store to tell him that she is not happy, but soon realizes that he doesn’t know that he is Rumple and had helped her cast the spell back in Fairy Tale Land.
In an attempt to find something… someone… not being robotic and predictable, Regina invites Kurt and Owen to dinner and seems to find a connection with the two and invites them to move to Storybrooke. Unfortunately, Kurt turns her down.
The next day, Regina tries to keep Kurt and his son in town a little while longer but he already picked up his car. In her office, she takes out the Graham’s heart and tells him to keep the father and son from leaving town by arresting Kurt and bringing Owen to her. Ah, but little did she realize that Kurt had come by to thank her and overhears her underhanded plan. Shocked she tells him it’s all a misunderstanding and Kurt is thinking he should have booked out of town when he got a chance.
Graham comes in and tries to arrest Kurt but he gets away and rushes to his car and heads out of town. A high speed chase occurs through the streets of Storybrooke and Graham and Regina stop the father and son yards away from the town’s border.
Kurt tells his son to run away as Graham arrests him and places him in the squad car. Owen turns around and Regina tells him not to be scared. She just wants him to stay and be happy. Owen tells her he doesn’t want to stay under these conditions and she lets him go. Regina watches as the young boy crosses the town’s boarder knowing she can’t go after him.
Owen returns to Storybrooke with the police but by that time, Regina had already cast a glamor spell and the town’s boarder is nowhere to be found. Owen in tears yells out that he will find his dad and will never stop looking tightly holding the lanyard his father had given him at the beginning of the episode.
Regina is there and sees Owen’s pain and her heart breaks…
30 years later in the present day, Regina finally says goodbye to Cora as she prepares to bury her. Rumple interrupts her mourning and advises her to give up her vendetta against Mary Margaret. He tells her that she can learn what her mother knew so many years ago: You can’t have everything. While Cora ripped out her own heart for power, Regina will lose Henry if she continues with her plans. Regina refuses to listen and tells Rumple that she will have everything!
Back at Emma’s loft, Henry senses that something is wrong but before his mother can tell him that his grandmother killed his step-great-great grandmother (yeah, it may take a moment to wrap that around your head), Rumple comes in to warn them about Regina. David demands that the newly saved Dark One better find a way for Regina not to succeed as he owes Mary Margaret his life.
Rumple and David head to Regina’s vault and discover that Regina plans on using one of Cora’s spells called the ‘Empty Hearted.’ He tells the Charming family that the spell is traditionally used to make someone fall in love with the person casting it. Henry realizes that Regina will use it on him. Rumple tells them that the last ingredient for the curse is the heart of someone she hates the most… yep, little ol’ Snow White. He also tells them they need to kill Regina if they want to stop her.
All this blood feuding has Henry upset yelling at them that they used to be heroes and now they are talking about killing someone. Emma takes Henry to the diner where she has Neal try to talk Henry into moving to New York with him away from Regina and her curse. Henry agrees then excuses himself to the bathroom where he goes on the run. It isn’t until he’s some distance away that Neal and Emma realize what had just happened.
Speaking of the curse, remember that guy who crashed into the tree before seeing Rumple cast a fireball at Hook? Well, he’s still in Storybrooke and it looks like he plans on staying a while longer. While in the woods, he runs into Henry and they both lie to each other as to why they are there before going on their separate ways.
Henry is heading to the well to destroy magic and he thinks using dynamite to destroy the portal is the way to do it. Greg, on the other hand, calls Regina and tells her that he ran into Henry.
Regina finds her adopted son/step-great grandson where he begs her not to kill Mary Margaret. In a moment reminiscent of the past, Henry tells her he can’t be happy with her, “not like this.” Emma, David and Neal catch up in time and the two sides escalate the feud. Henry steps in the middle and tells them that magic is ruining everything making good people do terrible things. He begs Regina not to destroy his family and help him blow up the well. Instead, she burns the curse recipe to win Henry’s trust. In the end, however, Henry still goes home with Emma leaving Regina alone.
The whole episode, Mary Margaret laid in bed paralyzed with her manipulative behavior and unable to come to terms with what she had done. She goes and visits Regina who asks her to kill her and end the feud once and for all. Regina removes Mary Margaret’s heart but notices a black spot. She tells the once pure hearted girl that she darkened her heart herself and once it is dark, it only grows darker. Regina realizes she can have everything. Mary Margaret is destroying herself without her help and all she has to do is sit back and watch Mary Margaret bring down her family all on her own. She inserts Mary Margaret’s heart back into her body and tells her step-daughter to leave.
Hidden in the bushes is Gary whose nature walks take him to the mayor’s home where he recorded them incident. As he heads back into his car, we see that on his key chain is the same lanyard that was given to Owen. Yes, folks, if you didn’t see it coming earlier on, Gary is really Owen who has come back to Storybrooke to find his father!
Coming from last week’s explosive episode that contained lots of revelations, ‘Welcome to Storybrooke’ seemed very tame but still entertaining. The big reveal really wasn’t much of a reveal and it does leave us to wonder what Regina has done with Kurt all these 30 years. What did emerge was the reason why Regina adopted Henry all those years ago – she just wanted someone to love her and having both Owen and Henry tell her that they won’t stay under her perceived conditions of love, makes it all the more heartbreaking for Regina. After all, each time she tries to do good, she figuratively gets her heart ripped out of her.
I do, however, like the turn they gave to Snow White whose heart is no longer pure. It would be interesting to see if her evil self will ever align with Regina.
One more episode before the series goes on hiatus again until April 21, but it looks like it will be one for the books as Baelfire’s fiancée comes to town and she seems more than meets the eye, don’t you think?
So what did you think of this week’s episode?