Mulan and Lancelot speak to some new guests in their encampment. (Jack Rowland / ABC )
In the "Lady of the Lake" episode of "Once Upon a Time," royalty shows it can be both evil and touching, and Snow and Charming fight on opposite sides of the magical veil to get their family back together.
Snow and Emma, still trapped in the enchanted forest, meet Cora, the mother of Regina and possibly a greater evil. Naive Emma, just talking away. Luckily, they're pulled out of the hole to meet the camp's leader ... Lancelot. Yes, he who was once "of the roundtable," knew Snow White. In the past, he was in the service of King George (Charming's dad), and watched as the king poisoned Snow, cursing her to not be able to have children. Apparently, his wife was not able to as well, and he wanted Charming to feel his pain at having a wife who was barren. Mean. After casting her aside, Lancelot came to her aid. He had a "shred of honor left."
Back in present-day Storybrooke, Henry is on a mission (Operation Scorpion, or Viper) to prove that he's useful in finding Snow and Emma. Neither he, nor Charming earlier, are able to get Jefferson to use his mad hat to traverse dimensions. Jefferson is also afraid that his daughter Grace may hate him, and hasn't gone to see her though their memories have returned. He lets slip that Regina has a hidden room for her magical trinkets and hearts, so Henry hatches a plan to uncover it.
TIMELINE: Snow White through the years
In the (past) enchanted forest, Charming dispatches soldiers sent after him, only to see his mother hit with a poison arrow. Snow and Lancelot arrive, with Snow meeting Charming's mother as she lay dying. The quartet travels to where the Lady of the Lake should be, only to find a dried up spot. They find a small bit of water from the healing lake, and Charming's mother drinks -- to no avail. She's still sick, and only wishes she could see her son married to Snow. In steps Lancelot. He performs the wedding, and sadly, Charming's mom dies. The twist: She never drank the healing water, leaving it for Snow White to drink in order to lift the curse of her not being able to have children. Sneaky, and selfless.
From one mom's sacrifice to another, Snow and Emma continue in the present day enchanted forest to find Snow's castle, where the magical cabinet is that could spirit them back to Storybrooke. Princess Aurora wants revenge on Snow for bringing the wraith that killed her husband, but Snow takes her out pretty easily. Despite being warned about ogres in the forest, and the fact they hunt by sound, goofy Emma fires a gun into the air thinking that she's protecting Snow. The ogre comes a'running, and Emma's gun ain't worth a thing. An arrow to the ogre's eye by Snow, and they're on their way.
Henry-in-Storybrooke interlude. After his sneaky, and a bit mean, "let's-have-lunch" rouse with Regina, Henry steals her keys and finds Regina's vault, and her secret heart room. Looking for answers, he instead stumbles on a box of snakes. Luckily Charming's there, and escorts Henry out. Though it's cool to keep looking in on what is happening in the town, this episode clearly has a strong story lean toward the Snow and Emma saga.
PHOTOS: Movie princesses through the years
Enter: Snow White's castle. Once inside, they find the cabinet in the nursery that had been set up for Emma. Oh look, Lancelot has come to help them lug it back. But he's not really Lancelot -- it's Cora. So evil is she -- and she says that she killed Lancelot long ago. Emma is not letting Cora get back to Storybrooke (and Henry) so easy, and she torches the cabinet! Cora tries to torch Emma, but Mulan intercedes. Faced with the group, Cora disappears.
It becomes apparent to Emma how much Snow had actually loved her and sacrificed to send her away for her own good. Tears. It was also apparent how much it upset Snow to have to have done it and miss all that time with Emma. More tears. The "awww" moment is interrupted when Cora returns and, taking the ashes of the wooden cabinet and putting them in a small jar, seems to have stumbled onto something.
So while Snow steps into a leadership role in the enchanted forest, and the townspeople look to Charming back in Storybrooke, it seems that another leader lurks menacingly. King George, spying on Charming and Henry, doesn't seem as if he's let go of his hatred for Charming and Snow.
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