Once Upon A Time Reaches Way Back For An Untold Story From Season 1
But will you have a ball, or smash your glass slipper out of frustration?
Regina and the Evil Queen became two separate people, EQ taunted David with his dad's coin, Emma is having visions of her death and shaking. Much more previously, Emma met Ashley (Cinderella) and told her to toughen up because "there are no fairy godmothers in this world."
On The Menu
What's On The Menu In Hyde's Cell?
Lasagna: Regina, Snow, and David plan to bribe Hyde for help fighting the Evil Queen. Knowing how much he must hate the prison food, they bring him Regina's famous lasagna, which looks pretty damn good. But not good enough next to...
Liver, Fava Beans, And A Nice Chianti: Okay, not really, we don't know what this is, but it's much classier and more involved than Regina's sad little casserole. The wine alone! And Hyde is already well into this meal when they arrive.
Humble Pie: It seems the Evil Queen beat them there, looking for information about the refugees. "It's hard to stay one step ahead of yourself, isn't it, Regina?" Hyde's price to help them has gone up, to his freedom. That's a lot more than a lasagna.
Wait, What Kind Of Happy Ending Are We Talking About?
Situation: Ashley wants to help out with the refugee situation. She figures she can offer free day care, and she knows Henry has been logging everyone, so she asks if she can see the list to see who has kids.
What makes it awkward? Ashley plops her own kid in front of Killian while she looks at Henry's ledger, and despite his protests, he's a natural with her. Ashley asks if he and Emma are planning "their own happy ending." I vomit, but that's not what makes it awkward. It's that Killian says they're taking things so slowly that he's still sleeping on the Jolly Roger. Wait, does that mean they haven't... Okay, sure.
How is order restored? Ashley changes the subject to her flashback. "If I can get a happy ending, anyone can."
Every Version Of This Story Is Basically The Same, And Even This Version Has Already Been Covered
Alert Type: Been There, Done That Alert.
Issue: A footman arrives at the Tremaine house with an invitation to the Royal Ball.
Complicating Factors: Ella's father left them broke, so even Lady Tremaine and her biological daughters aren't in a great position, but it's important that they make it work and go to the ball to land rich husbands. Not only is Ella not allowed to go, when she produces her mother's old gown, her stepsister throws it into the fire, dubbing her "Cinderella" for the ashes covering the dress when Ella retrieves it.
Resolution: As Ella cries into the dress, a key falls out of it. Her mother once told her about such a key; she said it was magic, and could take you to another world, away from all your troubles. And we don't see it here, but we know from Season 1 (and from living in the world) that Ella will go to the ball...with the help of Rumplestiltskin.
Spoiler: Is this really a spoiler? The ball goes well! Ella meets Snow and Charming, and dances with Prince Thomas. Gus the mouse gets all-you-can-eat cheese.
Finally, The Important Questions Get Answered
Emma barges in on Leroy's therapy session. Archie tells her it's okay, because they were just wrapping up.Wrapping up? I paid for an hour and we haven't even gotten to the work stuff. I mean, I'm stuck toiling in the mines and Dopey goes off and gets his master's degree? Now I gotta pick up his slack, he's flirting with co-eds?I thought Dopey was a tree.No, we got him out weeks ago.Really?Yeah, you think we sit around waiting for you to do everything?
Plot Lightning Round
"Is This Our Life Now? Just Defeat And Repeat?"
Emma's upset that her magic is failing. Seeing happy people makes her jealous, not because she isn't happy but because she knows her death is coming. It's very hard to keep the secret from the others, especially Killian (this is why they're not living together). "I went and fought for everyone else's happy endings and then I don't get mine."
Thomas (everyone calls Ashley's husband "Thomas," his fairy tale name, in Storybrooke, which is either a continuity error or just fucking confusing) finds Emma with a note from Ashley. Corinda, one of the stepsisters, was on Henry's list and Thomas worried Ashley is going to do something to her.
Jekyll tries to recreate the serum, which he can somehow use to figure out how the Evil Queen is still alive. But he fails. Snow advises Regina to use the same method the Evil Queen is using: think like her to get a step ahead. Regina thinks she might be using existing cracks in relationships, and runs off to talk to Zelena.
Snow is upset that their lives have become so repetitive (she's not the only one) and she almost misses the Curse, when their lives were "normal." She wants to go back to teaching. And she thinks she has a way to help Jekyll.
David visits Gold in his shop and asks him about the coin. He needs to know if his father's death was really an accident. David knows a deal will be involved.
Emma, Killian, and Henry use a spell cast on one of Ashley's shoes to find her. She tells them she's not trying to hurt Clorinda, she's trying to help. "In the end, Clorinda wasn't the wicked sister. I was." She says thinks all her happiness is a lie. This triggers one of Emma's tremors, so they're unable to go after her.
Regina sees the rattle the Evil Queen gave Zelena and knows the Evil Queen came to see her. She warns Zelena there will be strings attached. Zelena thinks Regina has no one to blame but herself.
On The Steps Of The Magical Portal
Who's causing a family crisis? Lady Tremaine.
How? She spots Ella at the ball and points out the Prince talking to Corinda. She Margaret Whites that they're laughing at her. He was only making fun of her when they danced, because she's obviously only a servant. Ella flees, leaving behind one glass shoe.
Okay, but that's just more or less the regular fairy tale. Who's really causing a family crisis? Corinda.
How? Turns out she's engaged to that footman from before! That's why it looked like Prince Thomas was flirting with her; he was just delivering a message. She's as much her mother's prisoner as Ella is, and she apologizes for being so terrible to keep up appearances.
Which relatives have a problem with it? There's no way in hell Lady Tremaine will let her daughter marry a footman.
Who's an unlikely ally? Ella, who's just used the key to open a portal to the Land of Untold Stories in her wardrobe when Clorinda spills this news. She gives the key to Clorinda instead.
Spoiler. Clorinda also tells Ella that the Prince is looking everywhere for her, but you knew that already.
I'm Not Good, I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Right
Alert Type: The Realness Alert.
Issue: Emma is still trying to get her magic to work on Ashley's shoe when the Evil Queen appears.
Complicating Factors: For all intents and purposes, the Evil Queen was Regina until the moment they split. Which means she's Henry's mom. "Regina and I may have split, but I am as much your mother as she is." (None of this really goes anywhere but I am living for this performance. Lana Parrilla could win RuPaul's Drag Race.) The Evil Queen taunts that the untold stories will show how pointless Emma is. Because all the saving is all well and good, but once she's gone it will all fall apart, so it will all have been for nothing.
Resolution: She teleports Emma, Killian, and Henry away so they can't intervene in the end of Ashley's story.
Spoiler: She doesn't teleport them far enough.
That Quote"Am I the worst part of Regina? Or am I the part that is honest about myself? You see Regina never had her happy ending because she's never been strong enough to let that story run its course. I won't make that mistake. Mmm mmm."- The Evil Queen -
Plot Lightning Round
I Wonder What He Used To Fill That Annoying Space At The End Of Side A
David brings Belle a cassette from Rumple. All in all, that seems like a very easy price!
Ashley was the first person Emma saved, so she supposes there must be deeper meaning in the Evil Queen messing with her now. Henry -- Henry! -- wisely points out that Emma's whole job used to be to find people and she didn't have magic then. They can use the book to look up Ashley's story and try to figure out why she's looking for Clorinda. Okay, but Ashley said they don't know the real story so doesn't that mean it's not in the b-- you know what, never mind, I should know better by now. The book shows the ending Clorinda ran away from...
Lady Tremaine somehow knows that Clorinda has run off with Jacob the footman, and she isn't pleased. Ella suggests that if she marries the Prince, they'll have money and it won't matter who Clorinda marries. Lady Tremaine still thinks that's a ridiculous idea. She threatens to destroy the glass slipper, the only proof Ella has that she's the girl from the ball. Ella tells her where Clorinda was going, and Lady Tremaine breaks the shoe anyway.
Snow helps Prince Thomas track Ella to her home, and they arrive to find her cleaning up the glass. She babbles that she never should have gone to the ball, and she understands that he has to marry someone else because she's no one. "Nonsense," he tells her, and proposes. Ah, fairy tales, with the healthy marriages based on single conversations.
Ella arrives at the guard tower just in time to see Lady Tremaine conk Jacob on the head with her staff. Clorinda is upset that Ella told, and when Ella says that Thomas proposed, thinks she came to gloat. Ella doesn't get a chance to explain because Lady Tremaine launches into a monologue about how she's scraped by for fifty years and it's unfair that now Ella will get to be a princess. She takes the key and opens the door to the tower. "I'm pausing. Perhaps when the world makes sense again I'll come back and get what's owed to me." She takes Clorinda with her -- but not the footman.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Stepmother vs. Ashley
Ashley goes to a pumpkin farm, thinking she might find Clorinda there. She does, but Clorinda says she can't forgive Ella, and neither can Lady Tremaine, who steps out of the shadows with a rifle. Ashley finally explains what she'd meant to do back in the Enchanted Forest, and tells Clorinda she can be happy with Jacob here in Storybrooke. Clorinda doesn't understand, and Ashley explains that this is Jacob's farm; isn't that why she's here? No, the Evil Queen has been helping Lady Tremaine all along, and now the Stepmother drags Jacob in, intending to finish the job and kill him. Ashley gets in the way. Lady Tremaine tosses the rifle aside, but only because it's "a coward's weapon. Not nearly personal enough." She grabs her staff and stabs Ashley in the side.
Winner: Lady Tremaine.
Wrap It Up
Emma arrives in time to heal the wound with magic, fighting off a tremor. Clorinda forgives Ella.
Snow has convinced Dr. Whale to let Dr. Jekyll use his lab. "Whale is my curse name. I did most of my best work as Frankenstein." Jekyll is impressed. "It's an honor!" Snow is still fixated on getting things back to normal and proposes that when this is all done, they move the equipment -- and the doctors -- to be the new high-school science department.
Lady Tremaine does community service while Emma asks Killian to move in with her. "I have a closet full of red jackets. I feel like I can make some space for black leather."
David reads the intel on his dad. A shepherd found the coin in the wreckage of a cart, but his father had been stabbed. Snow counsels him to let it go, to go back to simple lives, and David tells her he will, but he can't live with knowing his father's killer could still be out there.
Belle plays the tape. It's Gold reading a poem for their baby.
The Evil Queen releases Hyde so he can help her better.