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Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: The Race to Storybrooke

Reunited, and it feels so good! In this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time (Season 2, Episode 9: “Queen of Hearts”), we learn about Cora's (Barbara Hershey) other name, Regina (Lana Parrilla) changes her mind, and Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) apparently enjoys practicing his penmanship — a lot.

All Is Not “Well”

Regina and Gold prove to be “glass half full” type of people, as they’re convinced that Cora and not Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) will make it back to Storybrooke. And even if Emma and MM do prevail, Regina wouldn’t exactly be crestfallen to get them out of the picture, too.

So Gold swipes the dwarves’ diamonds from the mine using the wand of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. He then casts a spell on the well (hey, that rhymes!) to kill whomever passes through.

Meanwhile, Emma and Snow have reached Rumple’s cell in Fairytale Land, but the ink is gone. What they do find, however, are Cora and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), as Cora uses her control over Aurora to swipe the compass and lock up the ladies in the cell. Then, Hook flaunt the giant’s petrified bean necklace to Emma, as he's apparently is a fan of kicking people when they’re down.

The locked-up ladies have some time to kill and are rummaging through Rumple’s personal belongings (why not?) when they stumble upon a scroll on which Rumple had written Emma’s name about a bajillion times. It looks as though Rumple had his own personal “Jack Nicholson in The Shining” moment.

Then again, maybe Rumple didn’t lose his marbles after all. Snow realizes that he used the squid ink to write Emma’s name. So Snow blows the ink off of the paper, and voila the cage is no more.

Captain Hook Learns That Emma Can Throw a Pretty Mean Hook Of Her Own

The ladies have been freed in the nick of time, as Cora and Hook have taken a stroll over to dried-up Lake Nostos (damn you, global warming!). But Cora doesn’t need to worry about finding water droplets in shells, as she summons the water out of the ground. Then, Hook pours in the wardrobe’s ashes. It’s like we’re watching a cooking show where the recipe is very difficult to replicate.

Just as they’re about to enter the portal, the ladies drop by. It’s time to get ready to rumble, as Emma and Hook mix it up while Cora tossing fireballs at basically everyone in sight. (She loves those fireballs, no?)

Hook manages to save Aurora’s heart from going through the portal, and then he winds up in a sword fight with Emma, which might be our favorite scene of the episode. He manages to get on top of Emma (we’re not gonna lie it’s kinda hot), and then she surprises him by clobbering him with the compass. It looks like compasses are easy to use after all.

Regina’s Invite Gets Lost in the Mail

But Cora won’t be easily thwarted. She tries to pull out Snow’s heart, when suddenly Emma jumps in to protect Snow. Cora ends up reaching into Emma’s heart, but she’s somehow unable to yank it out. Then, Emma hits Cora with an inner force. (We didn’t know you had it in you, Emma!) This proves that Emma has some sort of magical ability, as we saw in Season 2, Episode 1: “Broken” when Emma touched Regina to start the portal.

Back in Storybrooke, that well is looking none too hospitable, with all that green light and electricity and what-not. Henry is upset that Regina is willing to kill Emma and Snow, but we see that a little bit of Henry’s guilt goes a long way. He manages to convince Regina that good always wins, so Regina gets rid of the curse. Way to do Henry a solid, Regina.

And it’s perfect timing, as Emma and Snow come climbing out of the well, with Mulan (Jamie Chung) staying back in Fairytale Land to perform an emergency heart surgery on Aurora (Sarah Bolger). However, Granny (Beverley Elliott) may want to prepare an extra room or two, as Storybrooke is about to get two surprise guests: Cora and Hook, who tossed the petrified bean into Lake Nostros. (Apparently, they tossed a boat in there, too.)

Snow then has an unbelievably adorable scene in which she awakens David/Charming (Josh Dallas) with a kiss (aww!), and everyone heads to Granny’s for grub except for Regina and Gold. Wait, so Regina saves your life, and you don’t even offer to buy her a sandwich?

Who Among Us Hasn’t Had To Fake Their Own Death Once or Twice?

This week’s flashbacks to Fairytale Land are extra-amazing. Regina wants Hook to go to Wonderland to kill her mother, so she gives his the hook the power to take one heart. Regina then sends Hook through the portal with Claude’s corpse. In other words, Hook is using a corpse as a live person, which is kinda like the movie Weekend at Bernie’s.

Hook arrives in Wonderland, and what we learn is what we sorta always assumed was the case, but yet it’s still a cool twist: Cora is the Queen of Hearts! To paraphrase Shakespeare, a Cora by any other name will still be as evil.

Hook tries to nab her heart, but her ribcage appears to be empty. (Hate when that happens.) Cora informs Hook that, as the Queen of Hearts, she doesn’t keep her heart where everyone else does.

Hook and Cora head back to see Regina, with Cora faking her own death, and Regina paying her respects by telling her she loves her. When Regina leaves, Cora hops up and decides it time to hide from the curse, telling Hook that he can resume his quest to kill Rumple in 28 years. In other words, Hook might want to kill time with a book or two.

So we learn why Cora and Hook weren’t affected by the curse, namely that Cora protected their island from the curse. Moms always have the final say, don’t they?

Three Biggest Mysteries of the Night:

- Was this the best episode of the season so far? It was certainly up there, with lots of answers, but a few questions as well. Above all, we’re shivering at just the thought of the chaos that will ensue will Cora and Hook reach Storybrooke. Watch your back, Gold.

- What sort of magic will Emma be able to perform? We wouldn’t be disappointed if she’s able to bring people back to life particularly a certain someone whom we wouldn’t mind drooling over laying eyes on again. (Yes, Graham [Jamie Dornan], we’re referring to you.)

- Does this week’s episode mean we won’t be seeing much of Aurora and Mulan anymore, or will they find a way to get to Storybrooke or perhaps communicate with Emma and Snow in another way? Let’s hope for our sake that they do, since speaking of resuscitated hotties we’d definitely like to get Prince Philip (Julian Morris) back on the show. Make it happen, ladies!

And if Prince Phillip and Graham don’t come back, then we just might hit someone with a compass. Don’t test us.

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