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

Cora's decision reverberates into the present day, where wicked Zelena is distracting her half-sister with delicious blasphemous green apples so that she can steal away Regina's precious heart. Or rather, so that Rumpelstiltskin can steal it away -- by threatening the heart's guardian, Robin Hood, with adorable toddler-cide. Well, that was easy. Once the heart is in Zelena's possession, though, Regina isn't immediately murdered -- which means Z must have some sort of dastardly plans for it. (She can't control Regina with the organ, however, because Regina's apparently protected against that. Maybe the queen should teach the rest of the main cast how to do the same, just in case?)

Regina sets Belle to work, asking her to do some research and figure out what Zelena might be cooking up. (One more nitpick: The Wizard of Oz exists in this universe, yet nobody ever comments that it's funny Z's been collecting a brain, a heart, and courage?) In the meantime, the queen gathers Snow, Charming, Emma, and Hook at her house for a tea party... where the tea is made of deadly poison. Just kidding on that party thing! They're actually here for a seance, so that Regina can figure out her half-sister's motive by talking to the first person who wronged her: Cora.

At first, the dead-raising is a bust. Though the gang manages to open a portal to whatever hell Cora's soul has gone to, it seems that the miller's daughter isn't in a chatty mood. At least, until Emma, Hook, and Charming jet, leaving Snow and Regina alone... and a ghostly presence seals up Regina's front door. Which would be scarier if Regina didn't know magic, but is pretty creepy nonetheless.

That same night, Rumpel is busy being creepily pampered by Zelena. She tells him to put on a new suit; she pours him a glass of wine. It's all very "dinner with Dr. Lecter," minus the roast leg of human. And then the witch offers to make him a deal: If Rump is very, very good, she'll take him with her when she travels back in time. Hey, Rump and Bae can be together again! The Dark One seems on board initially, telling his former student that he wronged her and then... making out with her. Eugh. Ah, but the smoochery is just Rump's way of making a play for the Dark One's dagger -- a play that, ultimately, is unsuccessful. So much for working together! Zelena snarls for Rump to get back in his cage, which is definitely the mark of a bad date.

Meanwhile, Regina and Snow are quasi-bonding when they're interrupted by ghostly creaks and squeaks. Turns out they're not alone after all: Cora's vengeful shade is in da house, and she seems preeetty mad that her daughter's making small talk with her murderer. I like when Once gets spooky, and these scenes are nicely done -- especially when Ghost Cora finally expresses herself by possessing Snow.

NEXT: Regina and Robbin/standing by the tree/K-I-S-S-I-N-G...

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