Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/David Nolan. (Kharen Hill / ABC )
In "Once Upon a Time" this week (in an episode entitled "We Are Both"), Charming takes control, we find out what happened to Cora (Regina's evil mom), and Regina gets her powers back. There's the general; here's some of the specifics:
The boundary of Storybrooke: With magic back in Storybrooke, it stands to reason that people would want to know what's going on with the world outside. Leave it to the dwarfs to be the ones to discover it: If a Storybrooke resident leaves the town, they will be back under the town's curse -- not remembering their fairy-tale lives. As Grumpy says, "Terrible news!" Sneezy was sacrificed, though.
The townspeople are in a frenzy for some reason. They've lived the last 28 years under essentially false IDs, but there seems to be an extra portion of chaos. And to quell the chaos, everyone looks to Prince Charming/David. Their hero. Their liege. Despite being bombarded with questions about a plan for what to do about everything, Charming's focus is on getting Snow White and Emma Swan back.
PHOTOS: Movie princesses through the years
Enter Regina, and the Mad Hatter's hat. Having lost her powers, Regina can't help Charming open the hat portal to his family. Her magical impotency seems to have jarred her memories, as she relives her painful past under her power-hungry magical mom, Cora. So overbearing was she that Regina got rid of her by pushing her through a mirror.
It is the beginning of the relationship between Rumpelstiltskin and Regina, as he is the one who helped her access her magic. These flashbacks force her to realize that she needs her mother's spell book in order to regain her powers.
As she receives that revelation, Henry tells Charming who owns the hat. Got to start listening to the kids! Anyway, both Regina and David know that they need magic, or items that will help them get magic, so that means a trip to Rumpelstiltskin's/Mr. Gold's shop.
After a bout of back-and-forth blackmail, Regina gets her mother's spell book -- a book that her mom, who may have been more evil (eviler?) than she is, used to keep everyone in check.
This seems like a doomed idea -- and the fact that Mr. Gold gave her the book with no strings is also strange. Even with the threat of revealing the existence of the magical forest, Rumpelstiltskin doesn't just give things away without a plan. Regardless, it works, and Regina gets her powers back.
Meanwhile, in the second visit to Mr. Gold's closed shop, Charming gets a locator potion and finds the Mad Hatter. He's still a bit crazy, and can't help with the hat because he also has no magic.
Charming wants to continue on the quest, but Ruby reminds him of his responsibility to the whole town. It's worth noting that Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin threw a bit of a fit when he realized that he also could not travel beyond the city's borders -- despite his magical prowess.
TIMELINE: Snow White through the years
Speaking of the town, the residents end up holding a meeting to discuss whatever plan Prince Charming is devising. In walks a fully-powered evil queen Regina, tossing people left and right, creating fireballs out of arrows, instilling fear in the townspeople ... all because she wants Henry.
So, he goes with her voluntarily. Once at home, and after hearing Henry refer to his stay with her as being "like a prisoner," Regina flashes back to when she talked to her own mother about their life together. Off topic: Bailee Madison looks remarkably like a mini Ginnifer Goodwin. It's distractingly spooky.
Following Regina's outburst, the townspeople have had enough of the magical bullying and are leaving. Yes, they know that their memories will be erased, but at least they'll be safe and out of harm's way when it comes to the evil queen's machinations.
Right before they cross the city limits, Charming and Ruby cut them off in his truck. Charming gives a great speech about the dichotomy of the situation they're all in -- Charming is David. David is Charming. -- but reminds them that now they have a choice to act a certain way.
Outside of the city limits, they'll forget who they are/where they come from, so the choice is taken away. Motivational -- so they turn back.
On a roll, Charming confronts Regina to get Henry back. To his surprise, she lets Henry go freely, and, after wallowing in the memory of having gotten rid of her own mom, decides that she is now on the path to redemption. Wow.
While all of this has been going on, Emma Swan and her mom Snow White (so weird) have been held prisoner by Mulan and Princess Aurora in the magical forest, and have been taken to some sort of town/camp. While in the lockup, they are offered assistance by none other than Cora. The evil queen's evil mom has returned, if only for a fleeting last scene.
Next week: Lancelot! So that means King Arthur, Excalibur and ... Merlin? Right? Right?!
< Previous recap: 'Broken' | Next recap: 'Lady of the Lake' >
The creators of "Once Upon a Time" talk Season 2 and "Lost"
"Once Upon a Time": Magic's back, plus Mulan, Sleeping Beauty
Creative Minds: Jane Espenson on "Once Upon a Time" and "Buffy"
Timeline: Emmy winners through the years
VIDEO: Watch the latest fall TV trailers here