Once Upon a Time

Season 2 Episode 9

Queen of Hearts

57
Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 02, 2012 on ABC

Episode Recap

In the past, Hook breaks in to Regina's palace, killing two of the Queen's Black Knights, and finds Belle in her cell. She wonders if Regina sent him to kill her, but Hook says that he's there to rescue her. He tells Belle that Rumplestiltskin is attacking her father, Maurice, and that he needs the rumored magical weapon to kill the Dark One. Belle says that she doesn't know of any such a weapon and wouldn't use it if she did, and Hook realizes that she's useless to him and knocks her out.

As the pirate prepares to kill Belle, Regina comes in and magically strips him of his hook. She explains that Belle is useful--as a pawn--and that she knows who Hook is. Impressed that Hook was able to break into her palace, Regina takes him to her quarters for a drink and explains her plans about the curse. She assures curse that everyone is transported to a land without magic, Hook will be able to kill Rumplestiltskin with ease. However, Regina needs Hook to make sure that one person doesn't come over with them: Cora.

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In Storybrooke at the pawnshop, Regina checks on David, who still is under the sleeping curse. She discusses the situation with Gold, who points out that if Mary Margaret fails to return then there will be no true love's kiss to break the spell on David. He suggests that they take precautions in case it's Cora that comes through the portal rather than Emma and Mary Margaret. Regina worries what will happen if Mary Margaret and Emma come through instead of her mother, but Gold points out that she wins either way: either Cora dies, or Henry's mother and grandmother "accidentally" die and Regina is blameless. Regina insists that she's trying to be a better mother, but Gold points out that killing Cora would be better for everyone, including Henry.

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In the Enchanted Forest, the four women go to the castle and search Rumplestiltskin's cell. Mary Margaret reminds her daughter that Rumplestiltskin was in the cell when he prophesied that Emma would be the savior that would break the curse. They search the cell and Aurora finds a hidden piece of paper with the word "Emma" written on it over and over again by Rumplestiltskin.

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As Henry reads to the sleeping David, Regina comes in and tells her son that she is going with Gold to make sure that the portal is ready. Henry is surprised that she's helping them and Regina assures him that she's doing everything she can to break them back. Smiling, Henry says that he believes she really has changed. She then goes to the diamond mines with Gold, who congratulates her on coming to her senses. He then uses a wand that he took from a dead fairy to strip the diamonds of all their magic.

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Regina casts a spell on Hook's hook so that he can use it to rip out one heart, and tells him to use it carefully so that he doesn't waste it before he can kill Cora. When the pirate wonders why Regina wants her mother dead, the queen says that it's none of his business and explains that he'll take one of the Black Knights he killed with him. When Hook wonders why, Regina explains that there those that return must equal those who depart. When the pirate asks where he's going, Regina tells him his destination is Wonderland and assures Hook that Cora will soon find him. She then uses Jefferson's hat to create the portal between worlds.

As predicted, Hook is soon found and brought to the Queen of Hearts. Once he says that he's there for Cora, the Queen orders everyone out and removes her mask, revealing that she's Cora. When Hook offers her a pearl necklace, Cora approaches close enough for him to stab her in the chest with his hook. Laughing, Cora says that she doesn't keep her heart where others do and reaches into Hook's chest and grabs his heart. She demands to know who sent him and he admits that Regina transported him there. Cora is shocked that Regina wants her dead and orders Hook to tell her everything.

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The women continue searching the cell and find an empty ink pot. When she realizes that she's failed, Aurora throws the pot at the gate winch, dropping the gate into place. Cora and Hook step in and Cora pulls the compass from Emma to herself. She takes out Aurora's heart and reveals that she has been controlling the princess all along, and turns to leave. Emma calls to Hook, asking him not to do this to her. He points out that he left her with the Giant and that he would never have betrayed her the same way. Smiling, Hook shows her the Giant's bean, now withered and useless, and says that it's like Emma.

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Leroy brings Ruby to the mines and shows her that someone has drained the diamonds of their magic. Realizing who is responsible, Ruby and Leroy go to the pawnshop with the other dwarves and tell Henry that Regina and Gold are up to something. He realizes that his mother lied to him and says that they have to stop her.

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Emma is unable to break through the bars despite her best efforts. Aurora blames herself for falling under Cora's influence, but Emma blames herself because even though she's the Savior, she hasn't done much saving. Snow assures her that good always defeats evil, just like Henry says, but Emma figures that the optimism skipped a generation. The only thing she's proactively done to help Storybrooke was break the curse, and that was because Rumplestiltskin and then Gold created her as a legendary Savior to do so.

Cora and Hook go to Lake Nostros in the hopes that the fabled waters can restore what is lost, including the wardrobe ashes. When they arrive, they discover that the lake has dried up, but Cora casts a spell to bring the waters forth again.

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Hook tells Cora about Regina's plans and she considers killing him... and then releases his heart. When he wonders why she doesn't take her heart, Cora explains that she could control Hook but Regina would realize it. She wants Hook to willingly work for her and offers him the chance to retain his memories, including of Rumplestiltskin, when Regina's curse gives everyone else amnesia. Hook agrees to help and asks Cora what she wants him to do, and she explains that she wants him to get her close enough to Regina to rip out her daughter's heart.

Hook returns from Wonderland with Cora's corpse and takes it to Regina's mausoleum. Regina dismisses him and then speaks over her mother's body, saying that she wouldn't be who she was if Cora hadn't killed her lover, Daniel. She remembers Cora of her own saying that "love is weakness" and admits that she had to kill Cora and eliminate her only remaining weakness. After leaving, Cora awakens from her feigned death as Hook comes in. When he wonders why she didn't kill Regina, Cora says that she has decided to take a different approach and that now they have to protect themselves.

A short time later, Cora and Hook go to the island and Cora casts a protective spell against the oncoming curse. Hook wonders why Cora didn't reconcile with her daughter, but the sorceress says that Regina doesn't need her... yet. She knows about how the savior will appear in 28 years to lift the curse, and that they will wait for then, frozen in time within the protective sphere. When the curse is broken, Regina will lose everything and need her mother... and that's when Cora will go to her. While she helps her daughter, Hook will be free to kill the non-enchanted Rumplestiltskin.

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Gold leads Regina to the wishing well and explains that the portal will open there. As they look into the waters, Regina wonders if Emma and Mary Margaret will come through, but Gold warns against it.

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Mary Margaret studies Rumplestiltskin's scroll with Emma's name written on it and remembers seeing Cora's spell books. Explaining that the magic is contained within the pages, Mary Margaret blows on the words, releasing them into the air to dissolve the cell door. Rumplestiltskin wrote the scroll in the magical squid ink, the perfect hiding place. As the others leave, Aurora says that she has to stay behind because she's still a danger as long as Cora holds her heart. Mulan reluctantly ties her up and vows to bring Aurora's heart back.

Cora gives Hook the wardrobe ashes and he pours them into the lake waters. Together they watch as a portal opens to Storybrooke.

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As the portal begins to open, Gold uses the wand and the stolen magic to create a storm overhead and draw the energy down into the wishing well. Once he finishes, Gold assures Regina that no one will survive the passage.

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Cora and Hook both grab the compass and prepare to go through, but Mary Margaret arrives and shoots it out of their hands and into the sand. Emma tries to get the compass but Hook moves to block her and they fence. Cora casts fireballs at Mulan but the warrior is able to deflect them with her magical blade. She slashes at Cora, hitting the bag with Aurora's heart, as the sorceress teleports away. The bag falls into the portal... and Hook catches it at the last moment and tosses it to Mulan.

Once she has the heart, Mulan gives her sword to Mary Margaret and heads back to the castle. While Cora closes in on Mary Margaret, Hook returns to his attack on Emma and knocks her to the ground. He prepares to kill her, pointing out that she's left him no alternative, but Emma feels the compass in the sand beneath her. She grabs it, says that she's won, and punches him unconscious.

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Henry and Ruby arrive at the well and they realize what Regina is doing. Ruby tries to stop them and Gold knocks her out with a spell. Henry tells his adopted mother that Emma and Mary Margaret will come through because good always triumphs over evil. Regina doesn't believe it and says that Cora will destroy Henry and everything else, and she can't let her mother kill her son.

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Cora knocks Emma and Mary Margaret aside as they try to get to the portal with the compass. Mary Margaret confronts the sorceress and asks why she needs to go to Storybrooke, and Cora says that her daughter needs her. She reaches forward to pull out Mary Margaret's heart, but Emma leaps in the way. Cora dismissively says that love is weakness and that Emma is hers, but when she tries to pull Emma's heart out, she discovers that her hand is trapped in place. Emma tells her that love is strength, not weakness, and a wave of magical energy knocks Cora back. Mary Margaret tells her daughter that something wonderful has happened and they'll discuss it later, and then they grasp the compass together and leap into the portal.

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Henry struggles against Regina and insists that his mother and grandmother will make it through the portal. He tells Regina that she has to have faith in him if she truly wants to be better, and after a moment Regina goes to the well and casts a counterspell. Absorbing the energies, she collapses and Henry wonders if she was too late. However, Emma and Mary Margaret climb out of the well and Henry runs to his biological mother and hugs her. Gold walks quietly away while Henry explains that Regina saved them. A surprised Emma thanks Regina while Ruby recovers and takes Mary Margaret into town to David. As they go, Emma admits that Cora is a piece of work and Regina agrees as she welcomes Emma back.

At the pawnshop, the dwarves make way so that Mary Margaret can go to David and kiss him. True love breaks the sleeping curse and he wakes up, and assures his wife that he knew she would success.

In the other room, Gold is putting away the fairy wand when Emma says that they need to talk. She wonders why he didn't escape from the cell and Gold assures her that he could have escaped at any time, but that he was exactly where he wanted to be. Emma tells him about what happened to Cora and realizes that he didn't know about her magical abilities. Gold simply says that he took advantage of what he knew about her power as the Savior, but that he had nothing to do with the magic itself or what she would do with it.

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Mulan returns to the castle dungeon and places Aurora's heart back in place. Aurora thanks her and repeats what Cora said about how a wraith's victim could have their soul restored to their body. The two of them set out to rescue Prince Phillip.

When Hook wakes up, Cora tells him that she failed. However, he shows her the Giant's bean and says that since the lake waters have regenerative properties, it's time for them to do some gardening.

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Henry tells Regina that she really has changed, but then goes to join her mother and grandparents as they leave for Granny's with the others. As Henry goes, he tells Regina that he'll see her later. Once everyone else leaves, Gold steps out and congratulates Regina on reuniting mother and child... and that they left her behind.

In the harbor, Hook's pirate ship arrives with Cora and Hook on the deck, looking eagerly toward Storybrooke.

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