This episode’s backstory offered us some insight into Regina and Maleficent’s history together. We find our young Regina, early in her magic tutelage under Rumplestiltskin, determined to destroy Snow White. She’s found Maleficent spellbook in the hopes of teaching herself to be as powerful as the sorceress who can transform herself into a dragon. Frustrated with Regina’s impatience, Rumplestiltskin transports her to a forest razed by Dragon!Maleficent , where a tree still burns from the power of the dragon’s flames. Click below for more!
Regina seeks out Maleficent in her castle, only to find a depressed woman (rocking some pretty awesome ‘80s crimped hair!) who’s dosing herself with magical potions instead of the powerful sorceress she had imagined. She’s lost her magic and, with it, her ability to turn into a dragon. Regina uses news of Aurora’s impending wedding to reignite Maleficent’s desire for revenge on Briar Rose, Aurora’s mother. She takes Maleficent to the burning tree where the witch inhales the flames but is unable to reclaim her magic, leaving the pair powerless to prevent being arrested by King Stefan. Regina uses her fledgling magical abilities to break free of her bonds and strike one of the guards, inciting chaos and finally pushing Maleficent to embrace her abilities and transform into a dragon. Her passion for revenge renewed, Maleficent seeks out Aurora and places her under a sleeping curse, thanking Regina for “reminding me who I am.” Regina returns to Rumple, realizing she’s satisfied with him as her teacher but having learned an important lesson from Maleficent – “death is too good for Snow White.” She plans to take away what she loves, starting with the girl’s beloved horse, which Regina has placed under a sleeping curse.
In present day Storybrooke, Regina initiates the plan to go undercover as a villain, meeting up with the Queens of Darkness at Granny’s diner. She tells them she wants in on their plan. Unsure of her true intentions, they decide to test her evil nature (apparently the initiation into an evil gang starts with alcohol shots!). In a game of “Don’t Be a Hero,” Cruella drives them onto the railroad tracks directly in the path of an oncoming train, stating the first one to rescue them loses. Regina magics them off the tracks at the last minute, causing the QoD to wonder if she’s lost her edge, but Regina suggests they go in search of real trouble.
Mary Margaret and David reveal their plan to Emma and then admit that Regina missed her pre-arranged check-in. When they finally do meet up with her after a night of villainous destruction, she hasn’t learned anything beyond the fact that the trio is hiding something powerful.
The QoD inform Gold of Regina’s seeming betrayal of the heroes and he suggests that her recent heartbreak has prompted her change of heart. Whatever her true intentions now, he declares she’ll have to pick a side, as he intends for them to start a war in Storybrooke.
Maleficent finds Regina in her vault and admits that the villains came to Storybrooke in search of the author and offers to team up with Regina to find him. Regina meets up with the Charmings covertly (semi-covertly, seeing as how they’ve brought “the entire Charming softball team and their pirate mascot).” She tells them the little she knows – that the villains want to alter the balance between good and evil so that the villains get their happy ending, but they need to find the author to do so. Regina’s been recruited to steal something in town that will help them find the author, and Emma, ever the Savior, offers to tail her and watch her back.
As it turns out, the item they want Regina to steal is actually Pinocchio, figuring they can get information out of him with more forceful questioning. Regina casts a sleeping curse over Marco and Pinocchio but it stopped by Emma who thinks it’s a bad idea to hand the boy over. Regina swears to protect him if they mean harm him, but tells the blonde that they need to be willing to break the rules since the villains have teamed up. Emma finally concedes but promises to come to Regina’s aide if things go south. Emma waits at Marco’s, following the GPS on Regina’s phone, only to realize it’s not moving and that Regina left her phone outside with a message for Emma – “I got this.”
Maleficent brings Pinocchio to Gold’s cabin, where Regina discovers the powerful magic they’ve been hiding is Gold himself. Instead of questioning the boy, Gold admits what Regina already knew, that Pinocchio has no memory of his adult self’s exploits. August does, however, and Gold transforms the boy back into the man who can answer their questions about the author.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Killian interrupts a date between Belle and Will to inform Belle of the latest news on the villains. Worried that they may be after the Dark One’s dagger, he urges Belle to turn it over to him so he can hide it. She takes him to where it’s buried and he promises to make sure it’s safely hidden. Before handing it over, Belle worries that Gold may already be in Storybrooke. Killian tells her to use the dagger to call the Dark One, forcing him to show himself if he is in town. When Belle calls the Dark One and Gold doesn’t appear she is reassured. Naively so, we soon learn, since as she drives away we see “Killian” transform into Gold – the Dark One was actually standing beside her the whole time and thus didn’t need to reveal himself. (The aggressive manner in which “Killian” interrupted Belle and Will’s dinner date makes more sense in light of this). Unable to resist being close to Belle, Gold, as Killian, seeks her out at the pawn shop and makes her share a pirate’s oath (an awkwardly intimate moment) that they will never talk of the Dagger again.
By the looks of next week’s previews, it would appear that we get an Outlaw Queen reunion (huzzah!) and answers about Ursula and Hook’s secret past. Stay tuned!