Fine, here's the "just long enough, do read" version: In the Enchanted Forest of one year ago, the Storybrooke Squadron is preparing to storm Snow and Regina's castle. But before they can attack with their ragtag army of dwarfs and magical crickets and sexy werewolves -- oh, hello there, Red! -- they'll have to wait for that pesky corrupted protection spell to be lifted. This is where Regina comes in: She volunteers to enter the castle through the tunnels that conveniently run below it, then switch off the spell so that everyone else can ride in. And here I thought ABC's adaptation of Under the Dome would last just a little bit longer.
Regina insists on performing this task all by herself. But when she arrives at the mouth of the tunnel, she finds that she's got a surprise sidekick: Robin Hood, who plans to tag along. He tells the queen it's because he owes her one -- she protected Robin's adorable son, Roland, during a flying monkey attack earlier that day -- but we all know the real reason. Hint: It starts with "twue" and ends with "wuv." Once really doesn't waste any time thrusting couples together, does it?
So the two banter their way through the tunnels, avoiding Indiana Jones-esque booby traps as they bare their souls to each other. Robin learns that Regina lost her son; Regina learns that Robin is single (yay!) because his beloved wife died (eh, we can deal with that). They're bonding quite nicely before they hit a few snafus. First of all, Regina is dismayed to discover that somebody's been rummaging around in her mother's crypt -- a room that was sealed by what she thought to be unbreakable blood magic. And secondly, Robin is horrified when he discovers the real reason Regina wanted to go to the castle: She's planning to dose herself with a sleeping curse as soon as she removes the castle's protective spell. So pretty much, she's choosing not to be.
Robin tries to feed Regina some hooey about forgiveness and love and second chances, but she's resolved. So she shuts off the corrupted spell -- by putting out a magical fire burning in the world's fanciest trash can -- prepares to prick herself with the draught of living death, and... is interrupted in the nick of time by Zelena, who engages in a bit of light bitchery before expositing their family history. Wow, she really is Cora's daughter. This is how Regina reacts to the news: "That's impossible. You're green." This is how Zelena reacts to her reaction: "And you're rude." Already, my heart is writing a fanfic about the two of them becoming besties and coming over to watch Scandal with me.
NEXT: Regina and Emma play Rizzoli and Isles