Barbara Hershey as Cora in ABC's "Once Upon a Time." (Jack Rowand / ABC )
The zombie craze has even hit "Once Upon a Time" -- and this "Into the Deep" episode provided the opportunity for the undead to be reanimated. It was Cora, who seems to be on the minds of everyone in one way or another now, who was the reanimator and the cog that is pushing everyone along.
The first thing she does is shed Capt. Hook, her supposed ally who is really out for himself. With Emma having given him the slip and taken the magic compass, she'd rather go back to her heart room, animate some corpses, and go after Snow White, Emma Swan, Mulan and Princess Aurora to get the compass herself.
Speaking of Aurora, she and Henry finally connect in the fiery realm of the sleeping curse. They at least get to exchange names, and each goes back to their group to formulate plans. They'll meet back in two hours. On the Enchanted Forest side, Snow White finally spills the beans about her having been to the fire room. Charming had to wake her up with a kiss once, remember? Sleeping curse. Well, Snow had to deal with the fiery realm, and knows that it exists and can help them get back and hopefully defeat Cora.
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On the Storybrooke side of things, Henry tells Regina and Charming that Emma and Snow are OK but are fighting against Cora and trying to prevent her from coming to Storybrooke. This chills Regina, and she does the unthinkable: asks Rumpelstiltskin for help. They have a tense exchange in Granny's diner with Belle sitting right at the table. Before Regina's arrival, Rumpel had one of the best lines of the show when he tells Belle, "Condiments are this world's most powerful magic." Yes, ketchup and mustard equals love's true kiss for us, I guess. Anyway, Rumpelstiltskin decides to help since everyone is united against Cora.
Henry goes back to sleep; Aurora goes back to sleep. Henry tries to tell Aurora to seek out magic ink once used to imprison Rumpelstiltskin, but the fire in the cursed room and undead kidnappers attacking make it difficult. Aurora is woken up by Mulan, only to be kidnapped by Cora's dead hit squad; and on the Storybrooke side, Henry wakes up with a very bad burn on his arm.
Charming and Regina nix the idea of Henry going back in, while in the enchanted forest, Snow White knows that she's the only one who can go back in the room to find out if Rumpelstiltskin has a way to defeat Cora. Charming decides to take on the sleeping curse to get into the fiery realm, while Snow must inhale some crushed poppies (something seems wrong about that) to put her in a deep enough sleep that she'll appear in the room.
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Henry and Regina have a nice moment while Regina mixes up the poison for Charming. She apparently really is trying to not use magic for Henry's sake. Henry also shows a little interest in what Regina is doing -- foretelling? Eh.
Charming puts himself under, and of course, he finds Snow as they always do. He has to break through a mirror dimension to get to the fiery one. Charming tells Snow about the ink. He thought that a kiss from Snow might break the curse, but in this realm, they're not tangible beings. Backfire. Now all the pressure is on Snow to complete the mission to not only stop Cora and get back to Storybrooke, but also to rescue Charming. There's a lot on her plate, and Emma has to calm her down when she wakes up. A running theme fo this episode: Have faith that you're doing the right thing.
Mulan, though, has taken the compass and plans to trade it for Aurora. She made a promise to Prince Philip to protect Aurora, and by golly, she's going to do it. There has to be a future episode explaining the Mulan/Philip relationship, but I digress. Before she gets too far, Snow and Emma catch her. They fight -- then Aurora breaks it up!
Aurora played the tough princess, and despite Cora's tempting offer to bring back Prince Philip, she did not cooperate. Cora didn't need her, and just wanted her as bait to trade for the compass. The bait, though, was set free by Hook -- or so Aurora thinks. Emma questions how Aurora escaped when the princess rejoins them. She tells her that it was Hook, and that Hook might actually like Emma. Hook has somehow taken Aurora's heart though, and with it, he and Cora now control Aurora and keep track of Snow, Emma and Mulan through her.
Only one more episode until the show goes on a short hiatus until January.
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