After last week’s horrifying pregnancy shocker, Once Upon A Time picked up where it left off with Regina and Robin dealing with Zelena’s betrayal. Regina suggested a forgetting potion to help Roland get past the trauma, but it wasn’t going to be easy for her to move forward while her sister carried her soulmate’s baby. Meanwhile, time was running out for Rumple and Lily wanted “scary dragon bitch” revenge on Snow and Charming for ruining her life.
“Mother” also brought the return of arguably the worst mother in the Enchanted Forest, Cora. In flashbacks, we watched Regina deal with her pain by ruining a couple’s wedding and ripping the groom’s heart out before going to visit Daniel’s grave. She was greeted by the unwelcome surprise of Cora popping back over from Wonderland. At some point she’d chatted with Tinker Bell and knew about Regina’s soulmate with the lion tattoo. She wanted to reunite the two to make up for hurting Regina by killing Daniel. What could go wrong?
Cora met the Sheriff of Nottingham in her search for Robin and decided to give him a fake lion tattoo and send him to Regina. After helping her daughter get ready, Cora left the potential lovebirds alone, but it didn’t take Regina long to realize that the sheriff was an imposter and she used the lion in his magic tattoo against him until he confessed that Cora set the whole thing up because she wanted Regina to have a child. Not because she wanted her daughter to have love and the happiness of family, but because she’d be able to kill Regina and rule in the child’s stead or at least that’s what Regina assumed. She decided to one up her mother with a potion that would make sure she could never give birth to a child. Cora correctly pointed out that Regina would never be happy because she didn’t know how.
Regina took the potion and that made what was happening in present day that much more painful since she’d never be able to give Robin a child. She locked Zelena in Belle’s old cell in the hospital basement and then went to steal the author from Rumple, which wasn’t hard since he could barely stand with his heart disintegrating. Regina also found Lily and stole some of her blood since it contained the savior’s darkness. Isaac was totally onboard with helping Regina because he thought she’d been screwed over more than anyone. Regina’s “I’m aware” reply was perfect. Regina told Zelena she would write her out of the story completely and no one would remember that she’d ever existed, let alone that she’d once carried Robin’s child. Zelena told her that she felt like she was finally getting to meet their mother and that shook Regina.
She recalled something else Cora had told her in that fateful flashback, “The only one standing in the way of your happiness is you.” Regina changes her mind about editing Zelena out of existence just when Robin arrives. Regina tells them she’s tired of standing in her own way and Zelena mocks her for wanting a man to be happy. Regina corrects her and says her happy ending is finally feeling at home in the world and Robin is just a part of that world. They share a kiss and the author surprises everyone by writing his own exit so he can leave the cell in a puff of smoke and return to Rumple.
Before we get into that, let’s talk about Lily and Maleficent. When they returned to Storybrooke, Emma happily reunited with Hook and Henry, but continued to give Snow and Charming the cold shoulder. Lily met Maleficent and the two headed to Granny’s. Maleficent wanted to enjoy the moment, but Lily wanted to know exactly how they were going to get revenge on Snow and Charming. When Maleficent made it clear she just wanted to move on so they could be together, Lily decided she would leave town even after Maleficent warned her that not only could she not come back, but Maleficent would not be able to follow since she’d turn back into dust. Lily took off anyway and after Regina invoked her darkness, Lily turned into a dragon.
Maleficent headed for the Charming family loft to round up the heroes so they could help her with Lily since they had experienced something similar with Emma. They set out in Charming’s truck and encountered Lily in her dragon form. Maleficent goes into worried mama mode because dragons need to be taught to fly and control their powers and it’s very likely Lily is going to hurt herself. They set off on foot to track her down while Hook takes Emma to the shore for a quiet moment with the horizon. He wants Emma to understand where her parents were coming from and how they were probably just ashamed of their actions. She’s not impressed and points out that she likes people who find their good hearts along the way, but Hook manages to get through to her and help her see that their actions might have been misguided, but ultimately their intentions were good because they wanted to protect her and make her proud.
Unfortunately, Snow and Charming were in the path of Dragon Lily. Snow ended up getting knocked unconscious, but Emma arrived and used magic to heal the wound. Then she forgave them for being human and Snow and Emma hugged while Charming and Hook shared a bro nod. Maleficent tracked down newly human again Lily and felt guilty for disappointing her. But Lily was worried she’d be the disappointment since that’s all she knew how to be. Maleficent gave her the rattle and was super sad about missing everything and she managed to convince Lily to stay for one week.
Finally, we circle back to Rumple and the author at the shop. Rumple’s already had a bad day with both Hook and Regina giving him pieces of their minds for being the worst and there’s that whole thing where his heart is turning to coal. But the author has the quill and he’s ready to start making changes. All he needs is something to write on, which Rumple provides in the form of a black book called Heroes and Villains. As the author starts with the classic “Once upon a time”, Rumple tells him that it’s time for villains to finally win.
This episode had its ups and downs for me, but the second half more than made up for the tedious beginning. Regina realizing that she’s had the power inside of her all along to find her happy ending, no matter what obstacles are put in her path, is everything I’ve always wanted for her since this author plot began. And even though I’m not a fan of the pregnancy plot, I’m glad she let Zelena live because I love her, even when she’s ruining my favorite character’s life. I’m also happy Emma forgave her parents and that Hook was the one who helped her see the light. Shipper bias aside, he’s always been the character who truly understands people’s motivations and sees things from all angles (maybe because he’s 300).
Lily being mean to Maleficent only furthered my intense dislike for the character. I don’t care how much darkness has been implanted in a person, she still has free will and there’s no excuse for hurting Maleficent when all she wanted was a chance to get to know her daughter. But she agreed to stay in the end so I’ll give her a tiny amount of points for that because I am here for Maleficent getting to be happy. As for Rumple, he most certainly does not deserve a happy ending by any means at this point, but the season finale looks incredible so I’m glad he’s “winning” at the moment.