In the Enchanted Forest
As Prince James attempts to escape the The Evil Queen’s palace, he finds himself outnumbered by the Queen’s guards. That is, until The Huntsman shows up and takes out the guards with his arrows, thus allowing James to escape the palace on his quest to find Snow White. While en route, James, thanks to The Queen via her mirror, transports him somewhere else. James is then lead to Rumpelstiltskin and fights with him. However, Rumpelstiltskin gives Charming a mission to put a golden egg inside a dragon, and in return he will return his mother’s ring, now enchanted to guide James to Snow White.
James then goes to a castle to search for the dragon, but instead finds Maleficent, who turns into a dragon and attacks James. James throws the egg into Maleficent’s gills, and after he escapes, Rumpelstiltskin gives James the ring and a new set of clothes. James then races his way to Snow White’s glass coffin, where he opens the coffin and kisses her, waking her up. Prince James proposes to Snow White, and she says yes. She also wants to take back the kingdom, giving an opening of the Enchanted Forest.
Immediately after having eaten the poisoned turnover that resulted in his collapse, Emma rushes Henry to the hospital. Dr. Whale asks Emma if he ate anything or if anything happened, but when she shows the doctor the turnover, he dismisses the idea that it was poisoned, which leads Emma to suspect that it was magic that caused this. Upon touching Henry’s storybook, everything regarding the Enchanted Forest and magic itself enters Emma’s mind, causing her to truly believe. As Regina enters the room to see Henry, Emma violently confronts Regina, saying that she now believes the curse is real and knew about the turnover that was meant for her.
A stunned Regina finally tells Emma the truth. The two then visit Mr. Gold, who now knows that Emma believes in the curse. He tells Emma and Regina that true love is a powerful potion with the ability to break any curse, and that he imbued the curse’s parchment with a drop of that potion made from Snow White and Prince Charming’s love. Like their love, Emma is also a product of Snow White and Prince James, thus making her the only one who can reverse the curse. To end the curse once and for all, Emma will need to retrieve the rest of the potion, which lies in the belly of a beast. He also presents her with her father’s sword.
Elsewhere, David meets up with Mary Margaret and tells her he loves her and that ever since he awoke from the coma, the only thing that has ever made sense to him was her. He goes on to say that he plans on leaving town and moving to Boston unless Mary Margaret gives him a reason to stay. Mary Margaret, moved by his words, still cannot bring herself to take him back and leaves.
Before Emma goes on her quest, she first returns to the hospital where she apologizes to the unconscious Henry for not believing him. She then goes to August in an attempt to enlist his help and finds him lying in bed. But now that she believes, she can finally see August’s wooden form, which has now taken over nearly his entire body. Emma gets there just in time to hear his last words of encouragement to her before he completely reverts back into a puppet. Around the same time, Regina also apologizes to Henry as well.
Unfortunately, Jefferson has also shown up at Storybrooke General Hospital, seeking the deal he made with Regina to reunite him and his daughter. However, Regina voids the deal because Emma didn’t eat the turnover like was originally planned. As she races off to meet up with Emma, Jefferson decides to make his own plans to get even with Regina by sneaking into the underground asylum to release Belle and succeeds by giving her a chance to find Mr. Gold and warn him about Regina.
At the town’s clock, Regina takes Emma to a secret room inside the boarded-up Storybrooke Public Library/clock tower that contains an elevator, but only one person can go down while the other operates it. So Emma decides she will descend down while Regina stays above ground. As Emma arrives to the bottom, she sees Snow White’s glass coffin, then finds herself face-to-face with Maleficent in her dragon form. Emma starts fighting with the dragon, but in lieu of using the sword, she instead starts shooting at it. She soon realizes that the sword is the only way to kill the dragon. She regains the sword, and hurls it at the dragon, causing it to explode and release the golden egg containing the love potion.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Mary Margaret is reading Henry’s storybook to him in his hospital bed. She explains to him that she gave him the book because she wanted him to know that even if life didn’t have happy endings, they could still be real somewhere. But as she speaks to him, Henry begins to flatline.
As Emma is on her way back up the elevator, it suddenly stops working. Emma hears Mr. Gold by the controls above her who tells her that Regina abandoned her. Then he tells Emma to throw the potion up to him and he’ll wait for her as she climbs up. However, after she reaches the surface, Emma finds Regina tied up and Gold nowhere to be found. Emma frees Regina and as they go to leave, they both receive calls from the hospital regarding Henry’s status and decide to go there instead of pursuing Gold. When they arrive, they learn that Henry did not survive and Emma and Regina grieve Henry’s death. A devastated Emma goes to Henry’s body, whispers to him that she loves him, and kisses him on the forehead. In a surprising miracle, this act is seen as “true love’s kiss” and as a result, Emma inadvertently breaks the curse, bringing Henry back to life and causing everyone in Storybrooke to regain their memories. Everyone also remembers who Regina really is, and Mother Superior (the Blue Fairy) suggests that she find somewhere to hide as everyone she’s wronged will be looking for her. Regina runs away, but not before telling Henry that she truly does love him. She returns to her mansion and laments her defeat.
The curse is broken just as David is about to leave town and while Mary Margaret is walking home from the hospital. Upon regaining his memories, David returns to town and finds Mary Margaret. He calls out to her, calling her Snow. She responds by calling him Charming, confirming that they both remember. They embrace and rejoice in the fact that they’ve found each other yet again.
Back at the pawn shop, Mr. Gold prepares for an as-yet-unknown plan using the potion when Belle suddenly shows up to tell him about what Regina did to her. Mr. Gold is shocked to see Belle still alive and overjoyed to have her back. He takes her with him into the woods for his plan. On their way, the curse is broken and Mr. Gold discovers that Belle has regained her memories and they once again declare their love. However, Rumpelstiltskin tells Belle they will have all the time in the world but now, they must go forth with the plan. They walk further into the woods and reach the wishing well. Rumpelstiltskin tells Belle that the waters that run beneath it has the power to return what one has lost. He drops the love potion in the wishing well, which causes a massive purple smoke to develop and spread around them.
When Belle asks what’s happening, Rumpelstiltskin tells her that he is bringing the magic that they had once lost back to their world. When asked why, he tells her that magic is power. The purple smoke spreads quickly and engulfs everything (and everyone) in town. Regina watches from her mansion and smiles, knowing that she will once again regain her dark magical powers.
The last scenes of the finale show Prince Charming and Snow White standing in the street and holding each other as the purple smoke engulfs them. The smoke surrounds the clock tower as well, causing it to start working again. The hand strikes 8:15 as the screen cuts to black.
“A Land Without Magic” is the twenty-second episode and first season finale of the American fairy tale/drama television series Once Upon a Time, which aired in the United States on ABC on May 13, 2012.
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