Sticks and stones may break my bones, but please don't snap my sapling

By Justin Kirkland
November 07, 2016 at 03:40 AM EST
Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
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Can a girl catch a break? Not if her first name is Snow.

Snow wakes up in the middle of the night, stuck out in the woods. Of course, the Evil Queen has brought her there, commenting that sleeping Snow is her favorite snow. So shady. The Evil Queen harkened back to Snow’s 15th birthday, the day she was given her own trained horse, and how Snow always gets what she wants. But this isn’t Snow’s perfect day, according to the Evil Queen — it’s hers. She wants Snow’s heart, but she’s not going to take it. Partly because Regina put a protection spell over her and David, but also because Snow’s simply going to hand it over to the Evil Queen. Why? Because girlfriend handed Snow a small bottle and though its contents are unknown, she has 12 hours to figure it out or Storybrooke will pay. The Evil Queen goes home super cheerful and tells Zelena about her and Gold’s deal.

We flash back to Snow’s past, where she’s trying to peddle off a family heirloom. She gets three coppers for it and runs back into the forest. But when she runs into Blue Fairy in the forest, she’s already in danger. The man to whom she sold the heirloom has thrown her under the bus, so she gets an ax thrown at her by a Woodcutter. She tells Blue she has to leave, hop on a boat, and get out of reach. Elsewhere, David is also leaving home to find a buyer for the family farm. Once David goes into the woods, his dog grabs a cup that leads him to Dan Scott someone — but if you think Paul Johansson is getting to play a good character, think again. He is the Woodcutter who went after Snow. Back in the woods, Snow tells Blue more about the brooch, which her father gave to her mother. And now, with all she’s been through, she’s had to sell it to escape the Enchanted Forest.

Regina cooks up a plan, sending a note to Zelena via crow. She tells her to meet at Gold’s shop, but when she arrives, she finds Gold and the Evil Queen making out in the back. When the Evil Queen says, “Maybe we should take this somewhere more comfortable,” Zelena interjects with, “Yeah. A bed of lies.” GOOD PUN, ZELENA. She attempts to stop Zelena, but Zelena is having none of this. That’s when Gold provides the note — which, of course, the Evil Queen doesn’t remember writing.

Flashing back, the Woodcutter gives David a drink that knocks him out. He uses David’s dog as a decoy and immediately runs to Snow. Naturally, that leads the Woodcutter directly to Snow. He pushes her up against a tree and holds her by the face, but she isn’t going to be done in so easily. Elsewhere in Storybrooke, the Blue Fairy points David and Snow towards the magical sapling. Regina and Snowing head into the woods, find a trap door, and take the plunge inside to find this damn love tree.

NEXT: The sapling that love built

Back in Storybrooke, Emma and Hook are searching boxes, but Emma’s too worried about her parents. That’s when we get a very obvious opportunity to fall back in love with Hook, who is the dreamiest, in case you’ve forgotten. He tells her, “They’re going to find that baby magic little tree thing and beat the Evil Queen.” Then he sits down with Henry’s book to retell Emma her own story…because they can overcome anything, and so can Emma. Emma’s tremors stop, I’m crying, and I just wish magic was real, ya know?

Good thing it is in the Enchanted Forest! David wakes from the Woodcutter’s spell just in time to find Snow locked up in the Woodcutter’s trailer. Of course, they’ve never met before, but David is David and Snow needs a hero, so he starts bashing in the lock with a rock. Back in Storybrooke, David and Snow discover the sapling and when they grab it, we get the BEST recap of their entire story. Snow asks what it is, and they realize it’s the epitome of true, pure love. But the Evil Queen appears to zap it out of Snow’s hands and destroy it. LADY DESTROYED THE TRUE LOVE SAPLING. She asks them for their hearts, but David insists they have time, so the Evil Queen says she’ll meet them at the cemetery…a great place for endings.

Feeling pretty defeated, Snow and David weigh their options, knowing they can’t let the town die. But upon reflecting on the sapling, they discover they were seeing each other’s memories and thoughts…things they didn’t know beforehand. And with that, we flash back to the Enchanted Forest to see the Woodcutter attacking David. He slams a hole into the trailer, allowing Snow to hold his hand back while David stabs him. But as David goes to let her out, she stops him, saying that if he sees her face, there will be a target on his back. He gives her the key, but he’s not interested in leaving quite yet. He wants to know why she’s out in the forest and she wants to know about him, too. He tells her about selling the farm, but Snow says maybe he can use the money she was going to use to escape. And that’s when she says, “Knowing you believe in me means I’m not alone.” She passes him the coins — and in the moment their hands touch, a spark falls and from it, the sapling grows.

In the cemetery, the Evil Queen has gathered the people of Storybrooke for a special presentation involving that water from the River of Lost Souls. Zelena approaches Belle to clue her in on the misfortunes between Gold and the Evil Queen, but in the midst of it all, Snow and David approach from the back of the crowd. Emma looks devastated, but Snow says the path they take always leads them back to each other and to Emma. With that, Regina removes the protection spell, Snow and David join hands, and the Evil Queen reaches in to grab the two halves of their heart. But instead of crushing them, the Evil Queen wants to pass on the pain of being alone. She shoves their hearts back into their bodies and Snow falls over with a sleeping curse. David laughs — a sleeping curse has never kept them apart before — but the Evil Queen makes Snow disappear, telling David that if he can always find her, this time may not end so well for him.

So tonight’s episode isn’t so great for Snowing, but LET’S HAVE A CHAT ABOUT THAT INDEPENDENT WOMAN, BELLE. Gold loves the sonogram Belle left for him, but Belle isn’t interested in that anymore. She’s not interested in his dealings with the Evil Queen, either. She does, however, have a problem about those shears he traded for. She clues him in real hard that he won’t be using them on their son, because his future is his. She tells him she’s disappointed in him, not because he’s evil but because he can love, yet won’t allow it. He asks what happens if he fails, but she says, “That’s just you being too weak to be good.” In another world, she did a z-snap and sashayed out even harder than she did this episode. We aren’t worthy of Belle, y’all. As for Gold, he has a hit out for Zelena more so than ever before.

As the episodes comes to a close, David goes on the chase for Snow. When he finds her, she’s in the same glass case she was in before. Emma, Henry, and Regina follow him, and as he leans in for a kiss, moments of their past flash. Snow wakes up from the curse, but David falls asleep in her place. The curse was placed on their conjoined heart, meaning when one of them is awake, the other one is asleep…keeping them apart forever. Again, I repeat, can a girl catch a break? Not if your name is Snow.

Episode grade: A-

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Once Upon a Time

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

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