::Flings gingerbread at all the commenters::
For all of you who guessed that Nick is actually Hansel and the cult killer, on a mission to avenge his sister Gretel from the untimely demise she suffered at the hands of Drizella (and Gothel, of course), you win! Tonight on Once Upon a Time, that theory is confirmed, and it’s Henry who finds out the hard way why Nick’s so prone to wearing long sleeves. And just when he and Jacinda were about to … oh yeah, they’re still cursed to be apart for now, and Mama Roni hasn’t found the cure yet.
Let’s take it from the top, shall we?
The episode begins with Henry, Hook, and Ella out on a dragon-slaying mission. When they arrive to the cave that used to contain it, though, the beast has already been gone for weeks, leaving one sloppy straggler laying around to enjoy the spoils. Ella quickly corrects him — that wine isn’t for him, it’s for the villagers who the cold-blooded creature plundered it from — and while she’s busy taking care of that messy situation, Henry tells Hook why he’s disappointed he doesn’t get to slay the dragon today. Turns out, he wants to live up to his family’s legacy and have a good story to tell about the ring he proposes to Ella with. This isn’t how that works.
The good news is that Hook has an idea. See, he’s the king of cool story rings, and he’s been saving one trick up his swashbucklin’ sleeve for a while now: the map to Davy Jones’ locker. He’d been saving it in hopes of selling it to someone who could cure his cursed heart and be reunited with his daughter, but … sure, it’s totally believable that he’d cash it in for something like this. They’ll have to sneak aboard the Jolly Roger and try to take it back, which should be an adventure indeed.
Meanwhile, in Hyperion Heights, Henry pays Roni’s bar a visit and meets Robin, who’s apparently a huge fan of his H-Town podcast. She’s not the only one, either. Apparently, the program has gotten the attention of some bigwigs in New York who’ve invited him out for an interview to become a producer of other shows. Jacinda’s not delighted to hear that it’d cost him H-Town or his residence on the west coast, but she acts supportive enough to his face.
Meanwhile, Rogers is trying to get Tilly a job because her organic orange marmalade habit is getting too expensive for his salary alone, so he gets Sabine to let her join the beignet line at her food truck, and she’s more than delighted to help … sure, Tilly’s not so great with the baking side of things, but if there’s one thing she does know, it’s how to make a big impression on her old sidewalk stomping grounds.
She runs into Margot (Robin), who’s just had it out with Kelly (Zelena) over her lack of forthrightness — even under the curse, she can tell her mom’s not telling the whole truth about time spent brewing potions with Lucy instead of getting married, as previously planned. Once again, there’s nothing but electricity between Tilly and Margot, and Margot even happens to pick the heart (as in, the anatomical version)-shaped beignet she baked before. They both know it’s not a coincidence. D’aw. Margot quite appreciates her wisdom on the subject of Kelly’s lies, though; it probably does sting her to have to lie to her long-lost daughter like this, especially when she says she regrets even coming back into her life. These two together … so good.
Before Henry can be whisked off to New York for his interview, he gets a visit from Weaver, who wants his help figuring out a piece of the puzzle. He’s found a copy of Henry’s book all marked up with notes and thinks the original author might infer something from all the scribblings better than any detective. Henry acts like he’s itching to get to the airport, but Weaver starts talking about how wonderful the book version of Henry was — optimistic, committed to the greater good and whatnot — and Henry can’t help but dig in to see what he can do. Weaver (or should we say Gold) is certainly attuned to how this kid ticks.
And it works out well because Henry quickly discovers a diversion from the notes pattern. Whereas every other chapter of the book is scrawled with student-like notes, the chapter about Hansel and Gretel is filled with corrections. According to the killer’s upgrades, there was no happy ending for these two twins, only terrible oven burns and misery. Henry surmises, with his still-curse-stricken brain, that this killer must believe he’s Hansel and avenging his long-lost sister, so they should be on the lookout for anyone with burns marks and a missing sister. (Recap continues on page 2.)
Back in Fairy Tale land, Henry and Hook sneak onto the Jolly Roger alright, and get soaked to the skin with pork fat thanks to the barrels they’ve ridden in on. They quickly run into Smee, who regrettably informs them that only a few aboard the ship are still loyal to its old captain, but Hook feels sure more will return to his side once they find out he’s got the map. Unfortunately, Blackbeard is woken up by the commotion and decides to claim the parchment and its resulting treasure for himself.
With Henry and Hook all tied up, they spring a giant chest of treasure from the depths and, whaddya know, there’s Star Sapphire of Davy Jones, a ring that the seaman once gave to his own bride. Blackbeard thanks them for the directions and decides to finish off his charges, but Hook’s able to untie their bindings and put up a fight. Somehow, Henry gets the upper hand on Blackbeard (and his crewmen seem content to stand aside and watch, too), so he wins the bout, and Blackbeard hands over the bauble. But the old captain tips his hand when he tells him he won’t get such a nice ring for his bride next time — which means he knew Henry was after the ring the whole time — and the stage falls apart. This whole thing was an elaborate ruse set up by Hook and his pals to give Henry some phony adventure tale to feel good about.
The treasure is real, however (Hook had to have something to bargain, and, again, we’re allowing for some serious suspension of disbelief here), so Davy Jones starts swirling — as in, a literal whirlpool — around the ship until Henry figures out a way to stop their slow impending death by sea storm. Like Frodo at Morder, he pitches the ring back into the eye of the whirlpool. And voila! The sea subsides. Henry decides he’s fine to let the piece go because he knows all Ella would really want is for him to come home safe and sound anyway and decides to do a more casual proposal method.
He finds a quiet patch of waterside earth that has no epic tale to it just yet and tells Ella he’d like to make their own history there together. “You are the best and bravest woman that I have ever met, and if you could make a leap of faith with me, I’d like to build a house for us right here, for the two of us and see what kind of life we could make together,” he says. “I can’t offer you a legend, but I can offer you my heart.” To that, she says yes.
Hyperion Henry isn’t quite so lucky, however. He hesitates to head to the airport after helping Weaver but presses forward anyway … until his car is disabled by a flat tire. Sure, he could throw on a spare and be on his way, but the glass that’s caused his dilemma reminds him of Jacinda/Ella, so when Nick happens by and offers him a ride, he decides not to make his flight after all.
When Nick asks him why he was cutting it so close to his boarding time, though, Henry reveals what he knows about the cult killer — that he thinks he’s Hansel, that he’s avenging his sister — and Nick jokes about how he could possibly follow a lead like that. “Breadcrumbs?” (Episode title wink!) Indeed, Nick does reveal his own trail in the form of some burn marks on his exposed forearm, and Henry does a terrible job covering up as well, as he immediately asks to be let out instead of trying to play it any semblance of cool.
Nick immediately stabs him in the neck with some sleep juice, and when he wakes in Nick’s (who now likes the sound of his real name, Hansel) apartment, our resident psycho doesn’t know what he’s going to do with him yet. Henry does suggest he can just tell everyone he thinks he’s Hansel, and that’ll get him off with some insanity plea, and while Nick doesn’t immediately dismiss the idea — he might save that one for later — he does decide he’s got to kill Henry first. Judging from the look-ahead, he’s going to keep Henry as bait and go after Zelena first. So, that’s not good …
On the bright side, Jacinda and Lucy make up! And Margot and Kelly do too! Too bad it’s all about to spectacularly unravel once Nick starts zeroing in on his top targets.