Once Upon a Time recap: There and Back Again

Burning questions are answered, storylines are resolved, and Fairy Land is left behind in Once's winter finale
Ep. 09 | Aired Dec 2, 2012

CHANGE OF HEART Only Henry's sad striped scarf could convince Regina to stay on the up-and-up -- but we'll see if her magical rehab sticks when season 2 returns next January.

ABC

Of course things aren't going to be wrapped up quite so easily. Hook still has the dried-up magic bean he acquired from Hurley the Giant -- and after being dipped in Lake Nostos's water, its powers are restored. The episode ends with Cora and Hook slowly approaching Storybrooke via pirate ship, proving that that golden compass was about as necessary in the grand scheme of things as Chris Weitz's film adaptation of The Golden Compass. So much for a happy ending.

Breadcrumbs:

- Hook's harsh assessment of Belle: She's pretty, but useless. Little does he know how many more Once characters he's describing (coughCHARMINGcough).

- Regina knows who the captain is, and that he has a bone to pick with Rumpelstiltskin. Think we'll learn more about that -- and how he got from Never Land to Fairy Land -- in a fairyback, or is this just one of those throwaway things?

- I'm surprised that tonight's first Henry scene didn't show the kid furiously kissing David, trying to wake him from the sleeping curse the same way Emma woke Henry up from his own curse.

- Another question: Where is Cora's heart? Maybe she's concealing it in a diary, or a giant snake?

- Hook killed a minion of Regina called Claude. His name could be a reference to Claude Frollo, the gypsy-sex-obsessed villain of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

- I love how Once's version of Wonderland is pretty much just Eyes Wide Shut with brighter colors.

- According to Grumpy, "Nobody steals from a dwarf!" Yes, but how does he feel about tossing?

- So much snark on the show tonight! Which line was your favorite: "I may be a simple pirate, but I know one thing -- lakes have water," or, "Yeah. Isn't that what a spell book is? A book that has spells in it?" Clearly, Emma and Hook are a match made in heaven, or possibly an Internet comment board.

- How kind of Regina to place a perfect red Gaston on her mother's lifeless body.

- Snow recalls watching Cora practice magic in her chamber, which made me wonder -- how long did Cora and Regina live with Snow and King Leopold before Regina and the king got married?

- Hook tells Ems as he's pinning her that he'd prefer to do "other, more enjoyable activities with a woman on her back;" the audience swoons. Eat your heart out, Hookers.

- And speaking of the fans: That scene where Aurora breathlessly asks "Have you done this before?" to Mulan before the latter tenderly replaces her heart was such shipper bait. These two are now going off on a quest to find Prince Phillip's soul, which, eh; call me when you're fighting zombies again.

This is where I leave you until January 6, when Once returns with all new episodes. Until then, I bid you adieu -- and recommend taking a sleeping potion so that the wait goes by in the blink of an eye. [Disappears in a puff of purple smoke.]

Hillary on Twitter

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