It’s The “Mother” That Takes Center Stage This Once Upon A Time

Jack Rowand/ABC
Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

Oncers, have you been wondering when Emma is finally going to turn dark and play her part in Rumple’s evil plan? Have you been waiting for a Regina and Zelena confrontation and some Outlaw Queen resolution? Are you wondering if our final Queen of Darkness has actually stepped onto the heroes’ side? Well answers actually await you in “Mother”! It’s fitting with Mother’s Day only a week away to have an episode devoted to moms, their daughters, and how that relationship can make or break you.

A not-so ideal husband: Enchanted Forest. Regina rips out the heart of a young groom-to-be villager because it’s the anniversary of Daniel’s death and if she can’t have love, no one can! At Daniel’s grave, Cora shows up to “apologize,” having used the White Rabbit to escape The Looking Glass/Wonderland. She wants to help her daughter find True Love again, you know, since she coldly killed the first one. To that end, Cora visits a certain Nottingham pub and talks to the smarmy Sheriff in order to locate Robin Hood. But when she shows up with Regina’s “True Love,” it’s just the Sheriff with a fake lion tattoo on his arm. Initially Regina falls for it until he says this line: “You let me be the strong one so you can be weak when you want to be.” She turns on him and gets the truth; that Cora promised him he’d be king in return for giving Regina a child. Regina understands this is because if she were to die, Cora could manipulate the future heir. So Regina sterilizes herself with a potion to prevent this from ever happening.

Lily meets her mother at last: New York. Outlaw Queen is trying to sort through the mess of pregnant Zelena. “I knew that things didn’t feel right, I just didn’t know why,” Robin says. Well at least he wasn’t completely clueless. Other than deciding to dose Roland with a memory-wiping potion so he doesn’t have to lose his mother all over again, they resolve to head home. There Regina promptly sequesters Zelena away in the asylum and Emma presents Maleficent with her grown daughter. The two have hardly started their breakfast before Lily asks about getting revenge on the Charmings. She’s as disappointed as I am surprised and pleased to find out Maleficent doesn’t want to waste time on revenge. “We can be happy in the future or we can be angry in the past,” she tells her daughter. Lily would rather just stomp out of Granny’s and leave her mom to crumble back into dust, much to Maleficent’s dismay.

Enter the dragon: Rumple is near heart failure and his black licorice heart has only a tiny spark of red left. When that spark is gone, he tells a visiting Regina, the Dark One will be in complete control with no Rumple to rein him in. Regina essentially shrugs this off, takes the Author and enchanted quill, and waves goodbye to Rumple. From the Author Regina finds out the ink for the quill needs to be imbued with Emma’s dark impulses in order to work. Of course Regina’s got a plan of her own: Lily. Since she’s got Emma’s darkness in her, a quick sample of her blood makes the ink work but, unbeknownst to Regina, also unleashes Lily’s inner dragon.

Mothers and daughters: Going to the only people who know what it’s like to reunite with a somewhat grumpy grown daughter, Maleficent asks the Charmings for help with Lily. That’s how they run into Dragon Lily and track her through the forest. When they find her, Snow gets tail whipped into a rock but Emma, fresh off an encouraging chat with Hook, arrives to magically heal her. In the process she also heals their relationship. Another mother/daughter relationship is repaired when Maleficent tells Lily she’s not afraid of “a little darkness” and promises to teach her “about being a scary dragon bitch,” but in the nicest way possible.

Regina finds her happy ending: With the Author and the ink tagging along, Regina visits Zelena to make her bear witness to Regina getting a happy ending. This involves writing Zelena out of the story altogether including fixing everyone’s memories. But the Wicked Witch knows just how to play her sister and stays Regina’s hand by comparing her to their mother. When Robin arrives, Regina realizes she doesn’t need anyone to give her a happy ending after all. She finally feels at home in the world and that’s enough; having Robin is just a bonus. So she’s going to leave Zelena locked up and pregnant and just move on. That’ll have to take a back seat though because the Author, unhappy to have nothing to write, writes himself back to Rumple. There the Dark One produces a new storybook entitled Heroes & Villains. The Author begins to write…

Fairy Dust

Why would Emma’s dark impulses give anyone, even villains, happy endings? Is this an opposites thing?

Also, is this the first we’ve properly heard about why the villains needed Emma’s heart to be dark? Based on how Regina got the ink to work, it seems just some darkness within her would’ve done the trick.

Regina after cutting Lily’s hand and taking some drops of blood for the ink: (cheerfully) “Welcome to Storybrooke!”

Hook has a good chat with Emma about her attitude toward her parents and lays down some truth: “Are you willing to lose them just to spite them?”

Regina, regarding Zelena and Robin’s baby: “It’s a lifetime she’s got cooking in there.” And yet by the end of this episode it seems the baby is of little consequence so…

I haven’t been a big fan of this plot line but, just like season 4A’s “Shattered Sight,” next week’s finale gets to turn our characters on their heads. Rumple as a knight! Snow as the Evil Queen! Emma as a raving lunatic! It’s going to be good times Oncers.

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Stephanie Coats

Stephanie Coats is the Lead Events Editor at 4 Your Excitement. She has a B.A. from Hope International University and an undying passion for all things geeky. In addition to 4YE, she also writes for, and works full-time as a communications coordinator.

You can follow her on Twitter for nerdy posts about Doctor Who, Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Harry Potter and more.
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