Once Upon a Time recap: The Heart of the Matter

Regina's mother returns, sort of, as the gang finally figures out Zelena's plan
Ep. 18 | Aired Apr 20, 2014

Jack Rowand/ABC

I've already given away the most important parts of tonight's fairyback, but here are the details: Way back in Even More Olde Tymes, a young Cora falls for a hunky dude named Jonathan who tells her he's a prince. (This is totally like that time Carrie slept with Vince Vaughn on Sex and the City!) He proposes for her with a humble ring of straw, which he pledges he'll later "turn to gold" -- "Rumpelstiltskin" joke! -- and she responds by giving him the milk for free, so to speak. Or maybe literally; who knows what they serve in that tavern.

Needless to say, Cora's girlish notions of finding more than her provincial life are dashed when Fake Prince fails to whisk her away to the palace. And things only get worse when she discovers that Jonathan has left her an unwelcome parting gift. Nope, not magical syphilis: It's a baby. A baby that Jonathan says he has no intention of supporting, once Cora catches up to him at the palace. (Or, you know, the gazebo outside of the palace. Once loves its gazebos.) He bolts; Cora is left with nothing. That is, until she happens to meet a handsome, balding stranger: Prince Leopold

Leo is charmed by Cora's grit, beauty, and humble, can-do attitude. Cora is charmed by Leo's money money money money, and his power, and, like, maybe his personality or something. Point is, before you can say "retcon," the two of them are engaged. Even though she's pregnant -- and even though Leo's actually been betrothed to Princess Eva, Snow's eventual mother, since Eva's birth. (Because Leopold appears to be about 20 years older than Eva, this marriage contract is more than a little creepy.)

The surprise engagement doesn't exactly sit well with Leo's intended. But luckily, soon Eva gets her chance to exact revenge. While standing outside The Gazebo of Love and Betrayal, the princess overhears Jonathan blackmailing Cora -- he threatens to tell everyone about the bun in her oven unless she pays him off. And though Cora agrees to her baby daddy's terms, the damange has already been done. Eva blabs to Leopold; Leopold throws out Cora like yesterday's news. Cora is left alone again, naturally... until she gives birth. And even then, she dumps the bastard in a basket and abandons her, all in hopes of somehow still rising above her station. Maybe this is when she moves to King Xavier's kingdom? Eh, I think I'll just make like Elsa and let it go.

NEXT: Who you gonna call? Ghost Cora!

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