Once Upon A Time Recap Episode 309: Gay-Ass Mommy Issues

If last episode was all about daddy issues, OUAT wanted to keep it equal opportunity and make this episode all about mommy issues. Not that OUAT isn’t a constant barrage of parental issues, since everyone on this show has been forced into being related and half of them hate each other already. At this point, we’ll be lucky if we make it out of the season without a reveal that Pongo is the father of Rapunzel who is married to Smee who is secretly the child of Flounder who is actually the son of one of the scary trees from Snow White.

Also, it’s a Regina episode, so, you know. Try to muster up the excitement you’d forgotten you had for this show and put on your big girl extra absorbent panties. A lot of this episode takes place in the real world, but if you thought that this development would mean a fond farewell to suspended disbelief and unbelievably poor plot devices, think again! Reality’s just as batshit inaccurate as ever.

slaying bitches everywhere

You’re welcome, bitches.

Just to remind everyone where we’re at, since I’m assuming that you spent the week off feeling listless and drowsy, maybe wearing the same underwear two days in a row: Operation Save Henry has hit a wee snag, what a shocking surprise says absolutely no one. Shit was crazy, with Henry ripping out his own heart and giving it to Pan just as his parents and that guy Neal showed up. I know, I know. We all want to leave Henry in Neverland because this is the story arc that will not die no matter how times we kill it with fire, but bear with us. Because it would be totally ridiculous if there was a minor plot twist at the end of this episode that snags us right back into those godforsaken ten square feet of jungle, right? Right.


The episode begins with a flashback to Green Screen Kingdom, which is shockingly not that Green Screen-y in these shots, and the Evil Queen visiting Rumpleforeskin directly after setting off the curse. She wants to get this ball rolling, he tells her that the Savior will break that curse. The Savior registers at the bottom of Regina’s priorities, since slaying babies and properly displaying her cleavage is shit she does with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.

All this and I'll be doing reverse cowgirl at the same time.

All this and I can do it while I’m in reverse cowgirl.

This is my least favorite incarnation of Rumpleforeskin, the one with the high-pitched voice and creepy fingers. He looks like a crusty frog who just fell of a Pride float. I haven’t seen someone in that much glitter since my friend choked on a facefull during some queer performance art. This version of Rumple says that the price for curses is being an unfulfilled smartly dressed pre-cougar later in life. Curse on, baby.



For those of you who were wondering where all the green screen went, it’s in Neverland, wow! In that dumb cave that is so CGI’d that at times, the characters float around instead of actually walking, Henry is still unconscious and heartless. His parents and that guy Neal are trying to revive him. Pan is hovering nearby instead of getting the H-E-double hockey sticks out of there, because has he seen defensive mama bear Regina lately? Emma takes out her sword, which, unlike the chainsaw, typically means she’s going to do something embarrassing, and she kind of…stabs the sword into the air near Pan? Sorry everyone, ABC ran out of money for a fencing coach. It was too busy spending $11.51 on the CGI effects.

Is the fire CGI’d? I think the fire is CGI’d. No one could have sent an assistant on a candle run, really?

Flashback to Mayor Regina, which is probably her hottest incarnation. She’s touching on everything here, with MILF vibes, pre-cougar vibes, dominating tightly wound woman in position of supervision who is totally a FREAK in the sack vibes, all of it. Ugh, I just want her to sneer at me in a black dress and smack me across the face with a stack of files. Mayor Regina tells Jiminy that she feels completely unfulfilled despite being such a HBIC and Grade A Hottie. Jiminy gives the worse advice your married friends continue to give you and says that maybe finding someone to fill those gaps would be a much better option than filling them herself, maybe with a hobby or a change in careers. Whatever inappropriate context you want to insert into that talk of filling gaps, you go right ahead. I’m not here to stop you. No one’s here to stop you. This is the kind of website where we encourage gaps getting filled and holes getting a fist plugged right up there.

got damn

Your mouth is saying “Buy a fish or try yoga!” but all I’m hearing is “Purchase a small human.”

Regina interprets this advice not as “get married” but as “get a baby”, which are two things lesbians have usually discussed by the second date and also two big life decisions that should not be placed in the hands of known traitors. But hey, Rumple is apparently the source on babies, and Regina needs to get herself a baby stat. Babies are crazy, guys.

Regina needs to save her son, but Emma’s like, hey, don’t you mean “our son”, I thought we were saying “our son” now because it’s the writers’ attempt at smoothing over all those times they were taking giant flaming dumps on non-traditional family structures. Regina vaguely gestures at Neal, calling him “this…person” and yes, that happens in canon, that is all actual dialogue in an actual scene, and says Emma has her dumbass parents and “this…person” and a pirate that’s chasing her tail, but all Regina has is Henry, who she raised for 11 years. Because she’s his mother. Just to remind everyone.


They head back to Neverland Ranch, where Regina thinks that using intimidation and negative reaction tactics will get what she wants from the boys, but Emma says no, let’s adopt them to death. Emma, you only accepted responsibility for your son like three hours ago, why are you inviting all these kids back for the all-expenses paid lifetime vacation of being cared for and raised? This is what I was saying with the babies. Y’all can’t keep going around picking up small humans and saying you’re going to get them into the full-sized human stage. That shit is not easy. Babies are crazy, they are completely CRAZY.

I thought we said we weren't going to adopt anything until our three month anniversary.

I thought we said we weren’t going to adopt anything until our three month anniversary.

Speaking of haphazard adoption, Rumple apparently only has connections at the SKETCHIEST ADOPTION CENTER OF ALL TIME, where you can show up, tell them your name, and get a baby in 1 hour or less. Seriously, a porn interview lasts longer than the one it takes for Regina to be given custody of a live child. I’m serious. They just hand her a baby. A miniature human being who will grow up to be a full-sized human being.

I know I keep talking about the fact that babies are human beings like it’s blowing my little mind, but this is still a completely terrifying concept to me. Like, babies rely on us for everything. How am I supposed to keep a baby alive long enough for it to turn into an adult, and a normal and happy adult at that? The only reason my dog is alive is because he’s a rescue who had to live on his own for a year and came to me with a lot of built-in self-sufficiency. He and I can and will live on garbage when needed. But babies? I can’t feed babies garbage! Babies need special stuff! Babies are crazy, guys. Totally crazy.



Of course, small barely formed human Henry will not stop crying. Regina is terrified because it’s a small human and she’s responsible for it and she already thinks she broke it. Granny’s like tell him a story, because by the way, this is not my problem. So Regina does, but then Henry spits up. Which is a normal baby thing, I think, which is terrifying?!? Regina’s stress continues to spiral, so it’s a good thing the townspeople are being nice and understanding about it. Just kidding, they’d rather return all of her concerns with sarcasm and bitterness. In defense of their sassy behavior, Regina did kind of curse them? But Regina’s also meant to be a semi-sympathetic character now? I don’t know what you want me to feel, writers. I can’t tell if you want to punish me for finding Regina so attractive and compelling, or if you’re giving me the thumbs up and telling me to go get ’em, tiger.

Okay small human please do not combust or break.

Okay small human please do not combust or break.

Regina takes small human Henry to Dr. Whale to find out if there’s something wrong with him because she’s his mother and she’s super worried. Dr. Whale rolls his eyes and sighs a lot and essentially tells her that she’s overreacting. He also says they can’t test the baby because he doesn’t know who the biological parents are and it’s not ethical to do that. Wait, what? Are you for real? That’s not even scientifically accurate. That’s not even science. Dr. Whale you are the creator of a monster and were somehow named DR. WHALE, your degree is a fallacy, you are only a doctor because of a magical spell that transported you into a reality you should no longer understand as a result of the broken curse WHY ARE THEY STILL PUTTING TOOLS OF MEDICINE IN YOUR HANDS?



Regina gives Henry to Snow while she goes off in search of the biological parent information deemed necessary for this 100% bogus rule. Apparently infant Henry likes the smell of puritanical virtue, because he only quiets down when he’s in the hands of Snow. This troubles Regina, as she is trying to be a good mother and also would love to see Snow served up medieval style. And by served up medieval style, I mean drawn and quartered. Anyway, she can’t leave the baby with Snow for too long or it will end up in a tree trunk, so.

I wish a bitch would.

I wish a bitch would.

Regina finds out that the baby’s mother is someone named Emma whose timeline seems strangely connected to the curse which means shit is up. Regina yells at Rumple about whatever insidious plan he’s dragged her into re: small human. Mum’s the word on Rumple’s end of the deal (and really, Mum is the word of this whole show because I have yet to meet a character who was not damaged by too much or too little in the maternal situation).

Since the Lost Boys have told them where to find Pan, Emma and Regina set out for the five hundreth time so they can all just leave the goddamned island already. Except for Charming, who will be starting the Swiss Family Robinson Redo Family with Snow. Speaking of Snow, she reminds Emma and Regina that they need to keep room between them for the Holy Spirit, and decides she should once again take up the role of Walking Chastity Belt. Hurrah.

It doesn’t take them long to find Pandora’s Box because it’s obviously a trap. Everything on this show is a trap that is actually a plot device that is actually a magical clause that forces the characters to confront flaws in the plot or themselves instead of having these issues naturally arise as a result of organic dialogue. Snow decides to skip right into the trap, pigtails a swingin’, while Regina rolls her eyes and prepares for whatever doom will befall them. The doom is a tree that ties them up. And Pan, of course. Pan seems to get off on following people around and rubbing their faces in the last semi-threatening he’s done.

The faces of a simultaneous orgasm.

The faces of a simultaneous orgasm.

Back in the semi-reality of 11 years ago, Regina goes to the exchanges and returns counter at the adoption center. The guy gives her a knowing look and says he’ll be back in five minutes, say what? Lady is trying to give back the baby you gave her and you’re going to leave her alone with it? But then the little ticking time bomb of mortality and destruction that is infant Henry does his cute routine and Regina decides she wants him after all. Because even though she felt he deserved better, he really didn’t. Aw, my cold little heart just gave a few phantom thumps, revealing I’m still alive even after this bogus adoption policy plotline.

money back

gift cardoops

But that gay couple sure is mad they couldn’t get the baby! Just kidding, that would be a more inclusive storyline. We don’t do that here. This is Once Upon A Time. We gave you an unconfirmed semi-implied bisexual character and told you to suck it up, tiger. It’s actually the Darling brothers, and they were supposed to get the baby for Pan. Apparently Pan is subscribed to the Important Figures in the Breaking and Forming of Major Magical Happenings RSS feed and saw that Henry was freed up for a bit. Better luck next time, buddy!

On the ten square feet of jungle soundstage plus a fiberglass tree, Regina and her ankle weights are tied up, listening to a Pan lecture on parenting. For real, this is a weird fetish, dude. He says the tree only holds people who have regrets because why not and thus the three will be stuck there because they all fucked up in the parenting department and must regret it. Regina gives the speech of the series and frees her damn self because she’s done bad shit but it all led to Henry and that’s all that matters. Ankle Weights #1 and #2 stare at her like she just tore her clothes off and rolled in a lesbian, but a spotlight descends on Regina and this song starts playing:

Also, just an FYI to anyone reading this who will be in charge of my funeral services – I’m going to need this shit blasting while you lower my body into the crystal chamber where it will be cryogenically frozen for the aliens to revive.

Just as she busts out of that tree, she rips Henry’s heart out of Pan, steals Pandora’s Box, and in a single gesture of badassery, saves literally everyone who has needed saving up to this point. Except for Charming, who I think Regina would choose not to save even if the option was given to her? I mean, dude says he’s “come to peace” with the whole Von Trapps in Neverland situation, and no one would want to deny him the opportunity to impregnate Snow multiple times on an island of poisonous shit.

emma silently praying her wife will calm down like that time at the pta meeting


Back on the Good Ship $3.87 CGI Effects, Regina puts the heart back in Henry and he hugs his two moms. It’s essentially a commercial for marriage equality.

Eleven years ago, Regina tells Jiminy that she’s scared of Emma coming back someday and taking Henry from her. Jiminy says what everyone with anxiety disorders loves hearing because we can’t goddamned internalize it, that there’s no use in worrying over something you can’t control, so enjoy the moment and be happy with what’s happening now. Regina interprets this as take my son to my father’s underground grave and drink a potion so I forget his mother. Again, there seems to be a disconnect in a lot of their conversations, but Regina’s story about the queen finding her little prince makes up for all this disbelief I gotta keep suspending.

and so begins the alcoholism

Mommy was going to face her problems but then Mommy chose booze, honey.

Regina puts a spell on the 11 year old Henry so people will stop playing Capture the Flag with his vital organs. All tucked in and seemingly safe, we all hold our breaths knowing that this is way too simple and easy for this show, of course there will be an obvious and ridiculous plot twist at the end that makes

Regina and Tink keep having moments, right? Like I’m not the only one getting that, right? Tink had that moment with Neal and she also has moments with Regina and I am 100% behind Tink having moments with everyone on this show, maybe a giant orgy featuring Tink as the centerpiece? Anyway.

Henry goes to see that one Lost Boy who is still loyal to Pan and says hey, I’m Pan actually, I switched souls or something, hardy har plot twist, they are literally never going to leave this story arc.

And then we all stared at the writers like they were crazy babies because this is crazy.


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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. On the one hand, Regina episode! Awesome! On the other, bad life choices. Why does everyone on this show make them so thoroughly? I just want to smack the stupid out of them all.

  2. “yeah it’s beeny my son beeny,” rolling on my bed laughing. also, solidarity with your take on babies. THEY ARE CRAZY.

  3. I’m starting to think Emma has only one facial expression that vaguely worried furrowed brow look, but then nothing on the show makes sense so it’s understandable that she’s perpetually confused.

    • Haha right! I watched Jennifer Morrison on Ellen on youtube and I was like, “omg she’s a happy bubbly person who doesn’t frown all the time! Wow!”

  4. so everyone I know who watches this show mysteriously loves it in earnest but like holy crap your recaps have me in stitches every. time.

    I’m not sure what there is to love about this show besides regina tbh, and I am 100% behind you on milf pre-cougar cleavage, hot damn.

  5. I stopped watching this show mid-season 2, like, yesterday.

    It’s already on season 4? Guys, did I time travel? Am I a time lord? Where’s my TARDIS? So many questions!!

    Now on to read what has happened with the show…

    • yeah I think that’s what hurting the show now actually. Season 3 is really rushed and the cgi just gets worse. The CGI reminded me of playing an unfinished game and laughing at the poor graphics/glitches. There’s a problem when 90’s CGI and Green screens are better than something made in 2012-2013 (we’re not even going to talk about the plot holes)

      Only reason why I watched this ep is due to Regina

  6. hahaha the tagline for this post is the best. i think it is adorable how they’re all interrelated!

    but did you guys see the ginnifer goodwin’s tweet.. something like “emma and regina will never get together, because it’s incest”. sad face. *they* aren’t related! or are they? it can be hard to keep track with this show…

    • whaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt?????????????? um either Ginnifer needs to freshen up on her family tree or she leaked something really weird.

      I’m still holding out hope that Rumple is actually Regina’s father because that would be *hilarious* and maybe that’s what Ginnifer meant? Not exactly incest but the sister of her son’s dad so, super awk? I dunno.

    • lol her tweet is what inspired captioning Snow White gifs of her face in horror with the word “PORN”. As someone in the field of genetics I laughed when I saw her tweet about that.

  7. You always know what I’m thinking while watching this train wreck!!! I used to genuinely love it but it’s sooo sooo bad this season. I’m just watching for Regina now.

    Also I loved how you noticed the faces Emma and Snow made when Regina broke free of that tree during her EPIC “No Regrets” speech. Snow was like, “wait, we’re not just gonna be helpless and wait for Charming to save us?” *eye roll*

  8. I’m pretty sure the only reason I still watch this show is so that I can fully enjoy your recaps.

  9. I had to hold my hand over my mouth while reading this so I wouldn’t burst out laughing at work. I love your recaps they’re hilarious.

    I don’t know why I love this show because it’s sooo terribly written and so CGI’d but damn if I don’t love Lana Parilla’s face. Or you know, everything about her. Thank you for that photo of her on the lounge, btw.

  10. The end of this week killed me. Come on! Can we really not be done with Neverland?! We could be looking at queer Mulan with swords and angst right now! My previous theory that the writers are out partying and some hapless intern is like “Just hold the fort, keep them in Neverland, somebody who knows where this season is going will be back soon” seems more and more plausible.

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