We start off with Rose McGowan as a young Cora, a miller's daughter, who is humiliated in the town when a visiting princess trips her. Cora was made to apologize by the king, but her eyes burned with vengeance.
Henry and Neal are piloting Hook's ship as they return from New York with a dying Mr. Gold. Gold doesn't look well, as Emma notes. "The poison racing towards my heart will have that effect," says Mr. Gold. At least it hasn't dulled his wit.
A high-tech Regina uses a wiretap to hear that the group is returning from New York. Cora, calling the speaker "an enchanted box," seems to not believe that she is wicked.
TIMELINE: Snow White through the years
As if to illustrate, in the past Cora goes to a masked ball. She goes for the free food, as she boldly tells the young prince who is there to be "auctioned off." She is discovered by the king, and is pretty insolent about it. She tells the king that she can turn straw to gold, and he calls her to task. If she can't do it by morning, she will be put to death; if she can, she'll marry the prince.
In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret wants to kill Cora despite David's pleas that she not even think about doing it because she wouldn't be able to handle killing a person like that.
Cora and Rumpelstiltskin finally meet for the first time in the past. Rumpelstiltskin will help her turn straw to gold if she gives him her first born. Cora, though, doesn't just want him to do it, but to also show her how to do it. "Don't just do it, teach me."
Invisible chalk? Wow. Well, that's what Mr. Gold gives to Emma to use to help her cast her first real spell. She's having difficulty. "Magic is not an intellectual endeavor. It's emotion," says Gold. Emma does it, casting a protection spell against the two stylish witches trying to break in to Mr. Gold's shop. Gold also has the candle; the one Snow could've used to keep her mother alive and kill another in her place. Mr. Gold wants Snow to use it now to kill Cora and keep him alive. She would use it on Cora's heart, then somehow get the heart back into Cora.
Regina and Cora break in to Gold's shop. They easily dispatch David, Snow runs away (?!?), and Emma and Neal gain a quick physical advantage over the witches.
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Cora and Rumpelstiltskin, more kissing. She gets him to change the language of their contract. He will have their first born, not just hers. He's going to show her how to kill the king and take out his heart.
Speaking of hearts, Mary Margaret is in Regina's/Cora's vault of hearts, and she's found Cora's heart. She burns the candle, and says the words!!! Didn't think that she would do that. That's a real line to cross for a supposed good guy. The spell is cast, now she needs to put the heart back into the woman.
The old Cora has a chat with the king who advises her that she'll have to either choose love or power. Looks as if she's about to take his heart.
Back in Storybrooke, Cora is slowly wearing down the defenses that Emma had put in place. Mr. Gold thinks his time is about up, so he gives Belle a sentimental parting speech by phone, telling her who she is -- "a hero and a beautiful woman who loved a very ugly man." Pretty touching stuff for the Dark Lord.
In the past, Cora ripped her own heart out! She couldn't feel or have any sort of weakness if she was going to gain more power, so she did it. She effectively ends it with Rumpelstiltskin, telling him that their contract was to give him THEIR first born. Cora later brings Regina, as a baby, to be recognized. She was held up a bit like the cub in "The Lion King."
Mary Margaret tricks Regina into believing that she would have to put Cora's heart back in if she wanted her mom to ever feel love again. As Cora is about to kill Gold, Regina appears and thrusts the heart back into Cora. For a few seconds, there's utter joy on Cora's face, then the spell kicks in. She collapses in Regina's arms, as Gold recovers. Her last words to Regina? "You would've been enough." Snow runs in to stop Regina. Too late.
Uh-oh. Regina has a most evil look on her face as she cradles her lifeless mom. What!?!?! The show can't end there! Oh man, that is a heck of a cliffhanger. For the second time, Snow White is somehow responsible for the death of someone that Regina loved. Throw redemption out of the window -- this looks like it's going to be a war.
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