Emma returns home to Henry playing video games and drinking Red Bull and Pepsi like the 12 year old boy he is. He closes out of 4chan and asks her how the proposal went. Apparently 12 year old boys can easily intuit when their mother’s short-term boyfriend is going to propose based solely on the choice of restaurant and timing. He and Emma have a conversation that sounds nothing like a conversation any 12 year old boy would have with his mother in the history of ever, which leads me to believe that Henry has now moved up from “Continually Kidnapped/Cursed Child Plot Device” to “Ooh Girl, Stand-In For Emma’s Plucky Best Friend.”
Back in the past but also another dimension, Grumpy reports that other Storybrookers are popping up like daisies all over the place. Charmin says they’ll need to organize them and send them back to the castle. Question: Isn’t everyone who was not present for Regina’s curse reversal going to be super pissed off? Here they were, enjoying their lives and iPhones and modern conveniences, and now it’s back to wearing oily furs and pooping in a slop bucket that you empty out by the pig sty. Also, back to a feudal system where overlords and evil dangerous creatures are continually threatening your livelihood, not to mention that you only get to bathe once a month in a splintery tub of ice water. STDs are probably off the charts, infant mortality is common and expected, and if a magical creature doesn’t kill you, a highly contagious disease with no known cure probably will! Why in the DisneyWorld would these folks who were just minding their own business, preparing protein shakes in blenders and taking hot showers and watching porn on their tablet, want to return to the Land of Fairytales and shorter lifespans?
Hook isn’t going to be a part of this caravan because he’s a pirate and pirates don’t know how to form queues. Also, he’s still in love with Charmin and it’ll break his heart to see his lover have to feign heterosexuality. Also, his ship has appeared somewhere in this massive kingdom, and using no tracking equipment whatsoever, he will track it down. Of course he will. But not before he and Charmin have a Brokeback Mountain “hands on the same horse” moment. Oh, those two. We’ll always have our fanfiction, boys.
Neal, who pretty much always looks constipated, says he’s going to Rumpleforeskin’s shop to see if he can find a magical object that will bring his father back to life. At this point, sure, why not? Literally anything is possible on a show where every episode introduces a new previously unheard of clause or magical object that alters the story arc just long enough to drive each individual forty minutes forward. It’s kind of like lighting a rocket with a million tiny uneven matches instead of just creating one well-orchestrated boom.
Henry needs a permission slip for his field trip to the Children of Gay Moms Amusement Park, which conveniently forces Emma to revisit the slip of paper that a psychopath handed her earlier. She decides to go to this place that the psychopath told her about, because that is the most rational thing to do in this situation. Again, if she is a resident of New York City, she should have an extreme heightened awareness when it comes to street people in strange outfits handing you crumpled dirty things, but no. Emma ends up at Neal’s apartment, where her memory is magically jogged.
Emma meets up with a man that could still, for all she knows, be someone who eats small children, and entertains the idea of drinking his mysterious substance. Let’s talk about things you don’t do in New York City, or any city, or anywhere on the planet, especially if you are a hardened and jaded bounty hunter whose job is to track down dangerous manipulative criminals. But hurdy doo dah, Emma meets up with this shady character and his poison anyway. Then she has the cops arrest him, which she should have done AAAAAGES AGO.
In possibly the only scene that actually made me feel anything remotely close to an emotion this week, Snow ventures off the super slow-moving path and finds Regina burying her heart. Regina doesn’t want to feel the intense pain of losing her son forever, so she’s decided to rip out her own heart and bury it in the woods. Okay, can I be real for a second? This is a really cool metaphor and feels way too deep and intense for the people who brought you Fifty Shades of Pan. I call that somebody in the writer’s room has been reading their fanfiction.
Also during this scene, a flying monkey appears and attempts to carry Regina away. Thing is U-G-L-Y without an alibi and I look forward to having the terribly CGI’d monsters of previous seasons replaced by the slightly better CGI’d but still extremely hideous flying monkeys. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past millenia, this means that yes, no franchise purchased by Disney is safe, and we’re getting into Oz territory. For those of you sleeping under a rock for the past ten months or so, yes, Disney acquired the rights to Oz things in order to make that shamefully bad movie starring a super blazed James Franco and Mila Kunis, who was screaming a lot and whose backstory was really bad. Like, really bad.
Who shows up to help them? Robin Hood. Man, Jiminy Cricket pulled the short end of the stick, huh? Poor bastard has to be a frigging cricket in Fairytale Land, but Robin Hood doesn’t have to be a fox? Alert the presses, this show is inconsistent, and the sky is blue. Anyway, apparently Robin Hood is going to be Regina’s love interest, at least if Snow has anything to do with it, since her favorite pastime is arranging for wonky penises to go into bored vaginas. As of right now, Regina is thoroughly unimpressed with Robin Hood and I look forward to her attitude staying that way for as long as possible before yet another character is forced into another weird chemistry-less relationship for the sake of the dated and poorly thought out “true love” trope.
Back in the real world but also a year later because what is constructing a linear narrative, Emma looks through some photos from the random apartment. They feature her and Henry in a place called Storybrooke, also on a flight from Maine to Boston. Okay, how in the heck does she know that this is a flight from Destination A to Destination B? Is it a picture of the plane tickets? Is it a picture of a sign in the airport followed immediately by a picture of the sign in the next airport? Is it a picture of a piece of paper that says “EMMA AND HENRY FLEW FROM HERE TO THERE AT THIS TIME OOH HOW MYSTERIOUS”? At any rate, this inspires Emma to release Hook from prison, something that the cops wouldn’t allow the accuser to do without an insane amount of paperwork, if they allowed her to do that at all, just…by the by. Emma goes ahead and drinks the drank, thus allowing her memory to come back. So the major conflict established in the midseason finale? Solved, within twenty eight minutes of the first episode!
Despite moving at a glacial pace, the Storybrookers have already come across the castle and oops, it’s protected by a magical barrier because a new tenant is insisting on higher security measures. Who is this new tenant? Like, obviously we all know it’s the Wicked Witch of the West, but let’s pretend for one second that we don’t have a lifetime of pop culture references to influence us.
Back in the real world but also one year later because crack rock is still a problem in the OUAT writers room, Hook is at Emma’s house. Graham is supposed to show up and Emma says that because they’ve been dating for a couple of months, she owes it to him to explain her way out of the relationship. Graham straight up TURNS INTO A FLYING MONKEY and then disappears into a poof.
Let’s get this abundantly straight: Emma was fur sure sleeping with a winged primate. Again, let’s review. What you’re telling me is that having a gay couple on this show would be extremely difficult and polarizing, but humans are shacking up with monkeys? I can’t. I really can’t.
The next morning, Emma is very calm and collected despite having found out last night that she has been doing the dirty with a monkey that has wings. She tells Henry that she and Uncle Hook are going on a road trip to Maine. When they get there, the town is eerily quiet, probably because it’s a soundstage. Emma goes to her parents’ apartment and… they’re home? Except they can’t remember anything that has happened the day before? Except they are aware of their memory loss? And they are measuring time based on Snow’s baby bump? I don’t even know.
That’s how I would sum up my relationship with this show. “I don’t even know.” Because I don’t even know. Where is Mulan? Why isn’t Regina empress of the universe yet? Until next time, peasants.