The Queens of Darkness and Rumplestiltskin have infiltrated Storybrooke and surely hijinx and treachery are to ensue, but who would have thought the treachery would come from our valiant heroes Snow and Charming? They have a secret to hide and they’ll stop at nothing from…well, stopping the Queens of Darkness from revealing their secret.

***********SPOILERS BELOW********************

Snow, fresh off her midnight meeting with Cruella and Ursula, is suffering from nightmares involving Maleficent. But she’s dead right? Not if Cruella and Ursula have anything to do with it. Snow and Charming are worried and they have to find out what Cruella and Ursula are really up to. We flashback to the Enchanted Forest to catch up on Snow and Charming returning from their honeymoon. Unfortunately, they return to their castle which has been overrun by Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula. They want to make a deal. Hmm, intriguing.

Back in Storybrooke, Cruella and Ursula are enjoy the fine dining establishment of Granny’s. They get the cold shoulder from Granny, but happily jump on the “taunting the now good Regina” bandwagon. They later go to Mr. Gold’s shop and Ursula, using one of her hidden tentacles, steals a secret box with a Maleficent inscription on it, while Cruella distracts the hostile Belle. They later text Rumple (who is using a flip phone for some reason) an update. He is busy digging his fingers through Mal’s ashes in the underground cavern. Erm, okay.

Meanwhile, Charming convinces Emma that Cruella and Ursula are up to no good and wants to follow them. Emma senses Charming is holding something back, but he doesn’t reveal. They pull over Cruella and Ursula and David searches the car. He finds the stolen box, but lies about it to Emma, letting the queens go, yet he secretly stole what was inside: a Maleficent gem of some sort.

OUAT 4.13 Unforgiven henry2In another part of town, puberty bound Henry is still working on finding the author of the story book, which means he is just looking meticulously through the book for clues. Mkay. Regina is still worried about her happy ending, but they might have a lead. August/Pinocchio was able to add pages into the book somehow, so maybe young child Pinocchio will have an idea?

In the flashback to the Enchanted Forest, we learn that Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula have come to Snow and Charming because they discovered the only way to stop Regina’s darkness curse (from Season One) is to find this “Tree of Wisdom” which can only be unlocked by two valiant heroes. Um, what? Alrighty. Well, Snow and Charming weigh their options but they all decide together to figure it out to stop Regina’s curse.

Back in Storybrooke, Snow and Charming deduce that Cruella and Ursula are trying to resurrect Maleficent, so they decide to beat them to it, by getting rid of Mal’s remains in the cavern underneath the library (yes, it’s a ridiculous plan). Meanwhile, Emma is unsure of Hook, after he won’t tell her how he knows Ursula. It get’s weird and awkward. Emma also doesn’t buy Snow and Charming’s sudden desire to go hiking and forget about the evil queens. Poor Emma, everyone is just straight up lying to her. Didn’t they learn anything from when she couldn’t control her powers and almost killed everyone when they thought she was a “monster?!” Nope.

OUAT 4.13 Unforgiven emmagingerRegina and Henry have brought in young, ginger Pinocchio and his father, Marco, to inspect the story book. When Pinocchio fails, Regina gets pissy. She even brings Emma in (who had a close relationship with adult Pinocchio) to see if it does anything for Pinocchio. It doesn’t, and Regina flips her lid, hilariously yelling at the child. Marco gets mad back and the two have a fighting match, but later make up. He gives her August’s old bag.

OUAT 4.13 Unforgiven yellingatchild

In the flashback, Snow, Charming, and the Queens of Darkness encounter a blocked bridge, but Mal just transforms into her dragon form and kills them, angering the Charmings. Later, while everyone is sleeping (fairy tale creatures sleep?), Snow and Charming sneak away to the Tree of Wisdom. They find a spot with handprints (this is so easy) and ask the tree how to stop the curse. The tree glows various colors before shooting both of them off in a fury. It didn’t work. The queens catch up, lamenting that Snow and Charming aren’t as valiant as they thought. But then, Maleficent reveals it didn’t work because Snow is with child. She is pregnant with a child who could either be destined for greatness…or great darkness! Darker than all the rest! Dun, dun, dun!

Down in the underground cavern, Snow expresses her doubts, but it is too late! Cruella and Ursula are already there! They whip the Charmings into unconscious and Rumple joins them. He asks about Belle, but they tell him she doesn’t care about him anymore. Then, Cruella makes a cut on both Snow and Charming and puts the blood on the pile of Maleficent ashes. BOOM! POW! Maleficent is BAAAACK! REUNION, y’all. Okay, not a happy reunion. Maleficent promises to cause Snow and Charming as much as pain as possible and revel in it till her dying day. Snow and Charming are like, “Bollocks! Guess we gotta tell Emma the truth!”

OUAT 4.13 Unforgiven cave walkAt the police station, Emma tells Hook that it’s okay he didn’t reveal his past to her, but she’s not okay with him lying about it. She also says that her parents would never lie to her and she wants to be just like them by choosing to always see the good in people. Erm, yikes, Emma, might want to rethink that. Snow and Charming happen to overhear the entire conversation. And so, they do NOT reveal their secret to Emma, but do inform her that Maleficent is back!

And in one final flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Maleficent appears solely to Snow in her bedroom and reveals that she is also pregnant with a child, which is why she wants to stop this curse: to protect her child. But, Snow rebukes her and says she doesn’t want to work or be like her. Ouch!

In Storybrooke, Snow has a midnight rainy meeting with Regina (she’s been having a lot of these suspicious midnight meetings). Snow wants Regina to infiltrate the gang of villains and make them believe she is bad again to find out what they are up to. Regina isn’t into it, but then Snow reveals to Regina her secret, a secret Emma must never know. Big reveal: Snow and Charming did everything in their power to make sure Emma wasn’t destined for great darkness, which apparently led to Maleficent losing her own child. Yikes. As Snow makes this speech, we see the residents of Storybrooke going about their lives: Henry finds a page in the storybook of a door that might be a clue to the author, Emma and Hook walk happily together, Rumple creepily stares at Belle in his shop (only to be shocked to see her start making out with Will Scarlet!), and the Queens of Darkness watch over the town, Maleficent, revealing the old gem from her box was part of what I think is a baby rattle. She is pisssssed!

That’s it for this week! What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments below.

Snow and Charming had fallen to the background in the first half of the season and were quite boring. Hopefully this can make them interesting again without making us all hate them because, to be honest, they are quite annoying right now. This episode was a lot of plotting and not a lot of fun. And I’m not exactly sure where it is leading to. I hope that everything can come together and the show, Once Upon A Time, can actually have some sort of semblance of a cohesive, well-thought out show. Right now there are a lot of pieces that seemingly don’t connect and it feels fragmented. I want more fun and shock and awe! I feel like some of the characters have continually been stuck in the same rut over and over and over again (for seasons!). There is potential though, so we will have to keep watching.

Once Upon A Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. Watch full episodes on, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video.