It’s been so long since the last episode aired (Dec. 15, 2013) that I forgot what happened and had to rewatch it. Here’s a recap if you too need your memory refreshed before the show comes back on Sunday: (recap after the jump) )
Pan — in Henry’s body — drops some potions into the town well to create a curse to erase the townfolk’s memories. Pan needs one more ingredient — the heart of the thing he loves most — so he rips out the heart of his sidekick Felix, the only person who ever completely believed in him.
Gold says that Regina can undo the curses — both hers and Pan’s — by destroying the scroll used to create her curse in the first place. There will, of course, be a steep price.
In flashback, we see Mary Margaret giving the fairy tale book to Henry for the first time and saying that it just appeared in her closet that morning, as if by magic. She tells him, proclaiming the theme of the show, that “fairy tales are a reminder that our lives will get better if we just hold on to hope. Your happy ending may not be what you expect, but that is what will make it so special.”
Our heroes trap and kill Pan’s shadow, which has the unexpected side effect of bringing the Blue Fairy back to life. The BF gives Tinker Bell her wings back and gives the group the Black Fairy’s wand. With the wand, Gold is able to return Pan and Henry to their proper bodies.
When Pan wakes up in his own body, we find out he is even more hateful than we thought. He describes how he felt about Rumple when he was a newborn baby — calls him a “pink, naked, squirming little larva that wanted to eat my dreams alive and never stop.” Ouch. Gold, in turn, is about to kill him, but Pan rips off the cuffs that were supposed to curtail his magic, puts them on Gold — and even worse, tells Gold that without magic he is right back to where he started — being the village coward.
But Rumple is not without resources. And this time he isn’t a coward. He summons his shadow, who brings him his dagger. He tells Pan that the only way Pan will die is if they both die. Now, he says, he is ready. He is holding Pan and stabs him in the back. A black cloud envelopes them. When it lifts, Pan has been restored to his original form as Rumple’s father. He asks Rumple to save him, says Rumple can have his happy ending now. But Rumple says he’s a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings. A bright light comes from the dagger. RumpelGold and his father sink to the ground and vanish.
The curse is still coming, even though Pan is presumed dead. The green smoke pours into the town. Now it’s Regina’s turn to sacrifice what she loves most for the good of the others. The price of undoing the curse is that she can never see Henry again.
Regina’s curse had created Storybrooke. But it doesn’t belong here, she says, and neither do any of them. Breaking the curse will destroy the town. “It will wink out of existence as though it were never here,” Regina says. Everyone will go back to where they are from and will never be able to return. They will all go back to the Enchanted Forest — except for Henry, who must stay in this world because he was born here, and Emma, who can stay with Henry because she is the Savior created to break the curse and once again will escape it.
Everyone gathers near the town border for a sad goodbye to Emma and Henry. Henry tells Regina this was all his fault. If he hadn’t gone looking for Emma, none of this would have happened. Regina says, no, it was her fault. She cast the curse out of vengeance, and she’s a villain. Like Mr. Gold, she says, she will not get a happy ending.
Henry said he had been wrong to think she didn’t love him. She’s not a villain, he says. She’s his Mom.
Neal says this isn’t over. He will see both of them again.
Hook tells Emma that not a day will go by that he won’t think of her. Emma says, “Good.” So the triangle is still on.
Regina tells Emma there is something she hadn’t told her yet. When the curse washes over them, nothing will be left behind — including Emma’s memories. Storybrooke won’t exist. It will never have existed. Emma will forget that she knows her parents.
Regina says she can give Emma and Henry new memories — good memories. They will think that Emma had never given Henry up. “It won’t be real,” Emma says. “Your past won’t be real,” Regina says, “but your future will.”
Mary Margaret kisses Emma. Emma and Henry climb into the yellow VW Bug and drive off. The green smoke of the curse closes in. Regina does her magic thing. The smoke turns to purple, fills the town.
On the screen, it says “One Year Later.” Emma and Henry are in an apartment in New York City. The alarm clock says 8:15 — one of the numbers from LOST. As Emma cooks breakfast, we hear the Lou Reed song Charley’s Girl, which we had first heard playing in Neal’s New York apartment in the first episode of Season 2.
Someone is pounding on the door. Emma opens it. It’s Hook! “Swan,” he says. “At last.” Emma, without her memories, doesn’t recognize him. Hook says he needs her help. Her family is in terrible danger.
“Who are you?” she asks.
“An old friend,” he says. “I know you don’t remember me, but I can make you.” He goes in for a kiss, and Emma punches or knees him. He staggers back into the hall. “I know this seems crazy,” he says, “but you have to listen to me, you have to remember.” Emma slams the door.