Ugh, guys. This girl Eloise Gardener is a problem that’s been coming up for a few episodes, so as we go into our big two-hour night of Once Upon a Time, we finally address what’s going on before bidding Once adieu for a few weeks. Of course, at this point in the game, Regina is back to being Regina, but she has her hands tied about revealing that to anyone because someone will pay.
We start in the Wish Realm, many years ago, with Hook calling for the Jolly Rodger to be in ship shape. In this world, Snow White defeated the Evil Queen and the curse was never cast. But then we come back and poor Hook/Rodgers is out there doing the Lord’s work, investigating the murder of our tattoo friend with that crazy symbol on his wrist. Rumple shows up to take over and warns Hook about getting in too deep with this case.
Jacinda and Henry show up to celebrate…TRUE LOVE’S KISS? Nah, no worries. It’s just getting the food truck running. Mid drinks, Roni tells Jacinda she should work for her because if she does, she can keep tabs on their romance. Roni has a job. To. Do. But it doesn’t seem that Ivy needs to keep tabs on Roni as much as she does Lucy, who is determined to get Jacinda and Henry together.
Back in the Wish Realm, Hook is on his way to seek out his revenge when he runs into Rapunzel, who reveals to him that the Evil Witch has imprisoned her and that she can’t help him. But he’s feeling pretty jazzed about this development because if he can get the same flower, he can imprison his own Dark One. So he insists that Rapunzel tell him about the garden where he can lock in his own imprisonment flower.
Back in Hyperion Heights, Rodgers meets back up with Alice, whose advice was actually helpful — but when she looks through Rodgers’ notes, she says that it looks like the girl ran away instead of being kidnapped. Alice is going to be a good partner for ol’ Hook. Meanwhile, Victoria is trying to figure out who’s been up there visiting Dreadzella. Looking at the footage, she takes the clue and discovers that it was Ivy, but she’s interrupted by Rumple’s arrival. When he explains he’s having trouble throwing Hook off the Eloise Gardener case, she tells him he’d better get on it, or she’ll have someone take care of him. Permanently.
But in the Wish Realm, Hook has his hands full with something else entirely. A giant gnome attacks him on his search for that magic flower, and after some swift maneuvering and the Power of Song, Hook is able to snag the flower and destroy the gnome. This world, man. But once he lands it, he makes the decision to be a good guy in the magical storm and head back to save Rapunzel. And that’s when we flash to Dreadzella and, hey, guys…is Dreadzella maybe Rapunzel?! Vicky confronts her on working with Ivy and warns her that she does not want to follow through on that plan.
Back at Roni’s, Regina is figuring out a way to keep Jacinda and Henry apart and essentially says that social services won’t be too keen on a single mother working at a new job with a new boyfriend. It’s enough to do the job, for now. Back with Hook, he admits to Henry that the reason Eloise went missing is because he was drunk and not doing his job the night she went missing and that it’s his fault. And to make matters worse, Alice shows up with some new information…turns out Eloise is dead after running away.
Hook is brokenhearted and starts to turn to the bottle again, but he’s not so convinced. Along with the terrible news, he got a drawing that belonged to Eloise. But when he picks it up again, he realizes the ink is new enough to smear. Maybe she’s NOT dead. So he goes to confront Rumple because he knows he’s behind this fakery regarding the journal. And it’s in that moment when Rumple confronts Hook and says that he can’t explain what’s going on, but he’s keeping this secret to protect Hook and that even if he feels like he knows her, Eloise Gardener is not who he’s looking for. Of course, that’s not enough for Hook, so he goes to confront Ivy about it because he can’t just leave well enough alone.
Henry goes to Regina’s place and chats with her about Jacinda working at Roni’s. He’s pretty stoked because it’s just further proof that Regina is a good person, but he doesn’t know that it’s Regina (still being a good person) who has inevitably ruined their date together. Jacinda has to blow off Henry for a second shift, but in reality, it’s because her main priority is getting custody of Lucy and showing a stable life to social services.
In the Wish Realm, Hook returns for Rapunzel, and she’s stunned — so stunned that they commence making out. And that magic flower? Well, it’s left out all vulnerable. And you know what? We were right about Rapunzel! She’s Dreadzella for sure, who is actually Mother Gothel, and she even offers to help Hook get his own revenge. But he turns the offer down in return for this baby Rapunzel/Dreadzella/Mother Gothel had. That’s right…our boy Hook has stayed behind for this baby, which he names ALICE.
So y’all, it seems like we’re finally getting fulfillment on every question we have because back in Hyperion Heights, all the details end up coming together. Hook confronts Vicky and ends up breaking in and finding Mother Gothel, who is actually Eloise Gardener, and for once, I’m with Rumple. Setting this girl free? Not a great plan.
And to make matters worse, when he confronts Alice about lying, he tells her that he’s not upset. Just disappointed. CLASSIC DAD MOVE. On top of that, while Vicky is being arrested, she confronts Ivy for being awake and tells her she has NO IDEA what she has released into this world. But this also means that Lucy is now free to be with Jacinda…or not. Seems that she’s getting admitted into the system, so again, let’s reiterate: Nothing about Eloise being free is a good thing. (Recap continues on page 2)
In the Enchanted Forest, Alice and Hook reunite, but they can’t be near each other because of Hook’s sick heart. Alice is convinced that they’ve been cured and can be together, but when she goes in for a hug, it’s clear that’s not the case. So Alice takes off running and jumps into a portal to Wonderland, where Cinderella and Henry chase after her.
Of course, equal amount of insanity are happening in Hyperion Heights after the release of Eloise Gardener. Vicky is in jail, Lucy still isn’t with Jacinda, and Ivy and Henry’s friendship is gaining serious ground even though she’s terrible. Regina interjects to tell Ivy to stay away from Henry, but Ivy isn’t too concerned because Regina doesn’t want that curse broken. But Ivy is working with Gothel, and my bet is that girlfriend has some crazy up her sleeve. Even when she sees Hook again, she comes across as nearly normal. In the meantime, at Roni’s, Nick shows up. Who’s Nick? Oh, just the lawyer who is going to help Jacinda get Lucy back…AND ALSO LUCY’S DAD. It’s a startling realization for Henry.
In Wonderland, Henry and Cinderella go on the search for Alice but are almost immediately caught in a White Rabbit trap. It’s reminiscent of Snow trapping Charming in a net. And while he’s reaching for his sword (LOL, innuendo) to cut them out, they almost kiss…but not yet. That kiss is going to have to wait because as much of an optimist as Henry is, Cinderella is not. But it turns out that Jacinda wanted to come back to Wonderland for more reasons than just Alice. She’s come back for her mother, who abandoned them when she was small. Cinderella has returned to tackle this infinite maze and discover what happened to her father when he came to Wonderland.
Switching back to Hyperion Heights, Lucy sits down with Henry to “figure out who this Nick character is.” Oh, Lucy. She’s not ready to let Jacinda fall back in with Nick, and it appears that could be exactly what happens because Nick cancels their legal plans for the night in favor of a fancy dinner. At the police station, Regina seeks out Rumple to talk to him, and she apologizes to Hook for what’s happened to him regarding Alice. When she notices that cake Gothel made, she puts it in the trash because, guys, you can’t trust anything this crazy woman is doing. And right now, what Gothel wants is to find Anastasia’s coffin because they’re going to wake her up, and to quote Ivy, she’s going “to take back everything that is mine.”
As Cinderella dives into the infinite maze, she stumbles upon the Tea Party scene, and at the head of the table is Alice. But on the table, Cinderella realizes, is her mother’s necklace. Alice admits she knew Cinderella’s mother, but they were attacked by a Jabawockee, and though Alice slayed it, she was the only one to survive. Cinderella still isn’t persuaded to pity her mom, but it turns out Cinderella’s mom also had a poisoned heart. That’s why she stayed away. And that’s why Alice came back…to cure the poison heart issue. She went to Drizella for it, who in actuality seems to be more interested in poisoning everyone’s hearts instead of curing them. And her next target is Henry. As she takes a knife and puts it to Henry’s heart, Cinderella comes along and STRAIGHT CLOCKS OUT DRIZELLA. It’s incredible. In that moment, she shows Henry that her parents’ necklaces are glowing, and they finally share their first kiss.
In Hyperion Heights, Henry is working on the food truck as Jacinda is out on her date. When Jacinda and Nick return to find the working food truck, Henry passes the keys to Jacinda and heads out — but she needs Henry, so she chases him down to explain everything that’s going on. She signed away her parental rights to Lucy a while back and messed everything up. Henry insists that he’s not the best man to help her and that maybe she should go with Nick right now…maybe right now isn’t the best time for them.
While that might be devastating, big things are happening at Roni’s. Regina pulls Rumple in and calls him out for being awake. He insists he has no idea what she’s talking about. She says she needs an ally, but Rumple’s not interested. He starts to walk away, and Regina says it’s the wrong move because Belle wouldn’t want this. He stops in his tracks and turns around only to say, “Who’s Belle?”
In the Enchanted Forest, the team makes it back to an ailing Hook to explain what has happened when they’re interrupted by a newcomer. Turns out that the only person who has known Nick longer than Jacinda/Cinderella is Henry. Nick is just the identity of Jack in Hyperion Heights, and he and Henry go way back in the Enchanted Forest.
In real time, we do get a brief, hopeful ending: Lucy gets to go home with Jacinda, even if she has to meet her father, Nick. Lucy’s pretty jazzed to be back with her mom, even if she has to be with her dad instead of her, um, real dad? And speaking of her real dad, Henry is wasted at Roni’s in the daylight because life is hard like that sometimes. And Regina takes the opportunity to discuss her upcoming plans with Drunk Henry. They’re heading to San Francisco to go get someone who can help them. Someone who kind of hates Regina, but someone who may be their only hope. It looks like we have a mother/son road trip!
And in the final moments, Hook finds Alice to discuss what happened with Eloise, and he offers her a gift to call a truce: a chess set. He wants them to have a weekly game together because he wants to start getting things right and being a good man. And then, of course, we wrap up the night with Drizella and Gothel, who have found the coffin with Anastasia in it. But when they open it up, Anastasia is gone, meaning that maybe Vicky isn’t out of this crazy sequence of events yet.