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Henry, Aurora, Snow, and Charming, that's who -- since slumber holds the key to defeating Cora

April 30, 2015 at 08:51 PM EDT

Sweet dreams are taking over. Wait a minute — strike that. Reverse it. Nightmares are the name of the game on Once tonight, as our fearless heroes finally realize what you commenters figured out long ago: Dreamers who are stuck in the fiery netherworld can communicate with each other, meaning that Henry and Aurora may be able to facilitate Snow and Emma’s return to Storybrooke. (As long as they’re conveniently asleep at the same time.) After the duo’s first real dream communiqué, Henry awakens with a start and gives Charming and Regina a recap of what he’s learned. The good news: Emma and Snow are alive! The bad: They’re in big trouble, thanks to Regina’s old lady. Henry doesn’t embellish this information with snark and links to random YouTube videos, which makes me think he should leave recapping to the professionals.

Regina treks over to Granny’s, where she interrupts Belle and Rumpelstiltskin’s long-delayed hamburger date to relay the news about Cora. Their talk reveals that Cora was Rump’s student long before Regina got into the magic game, and that the Dark One and the Helicopter Mom from Hell engaged in a climactic battle that Rump thinks he won. Also, Regina apparently told Rump awhile ago that Cora was dead — confirming that she had seen her mother’s lifeless body. Curiouser and curiouser! Now there’s a fairyback I can’t wait to see.

Aurora and Henry are preparing to meet in the netherworld one more time, though going there again won’t be easy. Mulan, who becomes more like Brienne of Tarth with every breath, notices a burn on Aurora’s arm and urges her not to return to the red room of pain. But Aurora is stalwart, and so is Henry — “I’m done reading about heroes. I wanna be one,” he tells his grandpa as he rests on a cot in Rump’s pawn shop. Will he settle for being a glorified messenger? The boy’s task is to tell Aurora that the Femme Four can stop Cora as long as they secure some magic ink stashed in Rumpelstiltskin’s old jail cell. If I were keeping an official “Once‘s MacGuffins” count, I think I’d need a new notebook by now.

Unfortunately, the meeting doesn’t go as planned. Aurora, who’s wearing a lot of very flammable layers considering she willingly journeyed to a room that is on fire, can’t hear Henry’s message. Then she’s rudely awakened by Mulan, who just wanted to let her know about the zombies that are suddenly attacking the Femme Four’s camp. Wait, if Cora can command zombies, why didn’t she try sending one of them to get the compass? (For that matter, why didn’t she have “Lancelot” lead an expedition to the beanstalk before Emma, Snow and co. returned from Snow’s old castle?)

No matter; though the useful members of this band of kickass broads manage to fight off the undead, they discover after the fight that their mostly useless companion has been stolen away. If the Walkers who kidnapped Aurora are after brains, I’ve got some bad news for them.

NEXT: Snow’s gotta crow

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Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.
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