We begin tonight with Robin's wake, held at Granny's (of course) and Regina is in a fog of grief. Zelena is doing her best to comfort her sister as Henry looks on. He's interrupted by Violet, who lets him know she's thrilled to have him back.
Just outside, Emma confesses to Killian that she's concerned Robin's death will push Regina over the edge and back to her old ways. She insists on going inside first to break the news.
Just as Emma tries to approach Regina to tell her of Killian's return, the ground rumbles and Hook rushes in, ruining the big surprise and obviously upsetting Regina.
Regina recognizes the rumble as being Rumple's rumble. He's attached a tethering spell to the rock candy of Olympian death crystal in order to harness all the magic in Storybrooke.
Emma suggests that Regina sit this one out and Regina gets pissed that Emma isn't trusting her. Henry tries to intercede and Emma tells him to mind his own kid business, right before she literally calls him "kid" and sends him back to her house to wait while the grown ups figure everything out. That went over just about as well as it would with any teenager, let alone a quasi-omnipotent magical one.
Later at Gold's shop, Henry has texted Violet come over so he can unload on her about the evils of magic. He points out Gepetto's puppet parents and shows her a snowglobe where an entire village is frozen - I'm sure we'll hear about that later. He invites her to go on a quest, that he dubs "Operation Mix Tape."
Henry, are you sure you're a writer?
He grabs the pen and writes the Olympic Crystal into his own hand. With all magic tethered to the crystal, he can now take it out of Storybrooke and destroy it once and for all.
The rest of the group gathers at Snow and David's apartment once they discover Henry's gone and Rumple clues them into Henry's plan. Rumple is going after him and Regina wants to go after Rumple. Emma suggests they team up, but Regina isn't too thrilled with the idea until Emma tells her she has a tracking app on his phone. Henry is on his way to Boston.
Rumple told them all that losing magic would make Storybrooke go poof, so Zelena (using the Apprentice's wand) summons a portal to send Merida and everyone from Camelot home. There's a tearful moment as Roland leaves with Little John, and Auntie Zelena promises him that she'll come visit soon with his baby sister. When Zelena tries to close the portal behind them, it goes all Abyss on her (if you haven't seen that movie, you should) and drags Snow, David, Zelena, and Hook through to God knows where, leaving Granny and baby Robin standing in the middle of Storybrooke.
In Boston, Emma and Regina realize that Henry outsmarted them by leaving his phone under a seat on a bus he didn't ride. Regina discovers quite by accident that magic is now working in the outside world when she sets Henry's phone on fire. Maybe she just tossed out some microwaves. They do that to phones, you know.
Regina produces a needle and asks Emma for her hand. Emma balks and Regina snarls, "Worried I might make you take an eternal nap on a bus bench?" She only wanted to take a drop of Emma's blood for a tracking spell. And it's a good thing she did. Emma apparently has extremely high triglycerides because that blood is nearly jello. Blech. Anyway, the blood oozes to Manhattan.
"I hope Gold doesn't know that," Emma says, conveniently forgetting he's Henry's Grandfather and can do the same damn thing. Wasn't she once employed to think two steps ahead of criminals? Yeesh.
Henry and Violet, meanwhile, are eating pizza and roaming the streets of New York. Henry tells her that Neal once told him (and only him!) that he was in New York because he was trying to find a way to wipe out magic forever (except for his magical apartment that he never pays rent or utilities for in Manhattan). Neal kept everything he learned conveniently a journal that's in the magic apartment that Henry conveniently has the keys to.
In the other realm, Zelena can't get the group of major characters back because the wand is now broken. They approaches a nervous gardener and ask him for help. He refuses, out of fear of being punished. A second man appears and hits them all with a magic taser, knocking them out.
The group wakes up in a cage with enchanted bars. A man known only as The Warden approaches them and he wants to know why The Dark One has sent them. The guy tries to kill Hook, but Snow talks him out of it - barely.
She lets him know Rumple is their enemy, too - and he's trying to get all the magic to wake his wife from a sleeping curse. The Warden seems interested, but he still won't let them go.
In Manhattan, Regina looks for clues around the apartment while Emma bravely searches the deleted internet history of a teenage boy. Hey, would you look at that! Regina found a book about Robin Hood that actually belonged to him, and inside is a letter from Robin to her, written when he was trying to make a go of it with Marian/Zelena. Robin tells her of his pride in her for unleashing of her inner hero.
Regina confesses that it's exhausting to be constantly fighting her inner darkness. She actually loathes doing good, since it always leads to loss for her. She feels as though she'll never be at peace with herself.
She feels cursed to know the difference between good and evil, but vows she'll never go dark again. "I'd rather suffer than see that pain on the people I care about." Emma reaffirms her faith in Regina, and it's a beautiful moment between these two. They've both come so far.
Across town, Henry has gone to the rare reading room of the library, where there are no security protocols of any kind, of course. The librarian leaves him and Violet all alone without any supervision or asking them to sign out a thing. This room is where Neal's journal has directed them, and Henry insists they're going to begin reading book after book till they figure out what they're looking for. The writers realize ain't nobody got time for that, so Henry suddenly finds several volumes of his storybook, all with different stories from different lands.
Surprisingly, there's nothing in the magical storybooks to tell them how to destroy magic. Violet sees the holy grail resting in a case in the room, or one that looks just like it except it's black. Since the original holy grail became Excalibur and the start of all magic, this one must be the end of magic. Henry tests it out and sure enough, it's sucking the magic out of the crystal and the book.
They grab the grail and make it to the doors, only to run into Rumple, who easily knocks them both out and takes the crystal back again.
Back in the cell in the alternate realm, David bad-asses a makeshift shiv and gets ready to attack the nervous little gardener.
There he mixes up a potion, sets up some coils, runs some electricity through it and repairs the wand. The mean guy with the taser shows up to throw some blue serum down the gardener's throat and he turns into the hulk -oh wait - he's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! Hyde looks pretty gnarly.
I'm hoping he can be reformed, because there's a nice piece of mancandy under there. Check him out:
Hyde wants to go to Storybrooke - he's tired of being trapped in his land. He's working on a plan to get out.
Back in our realm, Emma and Regina catch up with Henry shortly after Rumple leaves, and Henry lets both moms have it with both barrels over the magic thing. He's still determined to get rid of all of it, and Emma and Regina are looking pretty much like this:
Anyway, he lies to them about what he found and Emma's magical never-seems-to-be-working lie detector doesn't pick up on it. They try to do a tracking spell with Henry's blood, but it doesn't work - Regina's magic is gone. Rumple is now controlling it.
Rumple puts Pandora's box on a hotel bed in a nicely furnished room and prepares to wake Belle, but a portal appears and the box falls through into Hyde's hands. He tells Taser guy that he's now went got the wife of The Dark One.
Sometime later, Dr. Jekyll awakes, and takes the keys to the cell from the sleeping Taser guy. He frees the others and explains that the land they're in is a conglomerate of all the other realms. He calls it "The Land of Untold Stories."
Meanwhile in NY, Henry has given his Moms the slip (Seriously? One of them wouldn't have stayed to keep an eye on him? They'll take him to hell but not across town in Manhattan?) Henry sees the portal of Zuul appear over a nearby building and off he and Violet go.
Meanwhile, a room service delivery guy shows up at Rumple's door. Rumple lets the man in, only to dump the food off the tray. He asks if the tray is sterling silver as the man glances wide-eyed at the makeshift alter Rumple has carved into the tabletop. Then Rumple tips the guy $100 saying, "Things might get messy here."
And we're off to the second half!
Regina and Emma have noticed the portal of Zuul as well, and Emma has gotten a text from Granny to let them know the others all vanished into yet another portal to some other God-forsaken land, hopefully this time without a memory curse.
Emma reminds Regina that confronting Gold is not the greatest idea when he has magic and Regina doesn't. "I have a fist. Gold still has a nose," she replies wryly.
Regina approaches Rumple in the guise of helping him while Emma searches Rumple's room for the crystal. Rumple sees through the farce, and he takes one of Regina's hairs, planning on using it to trace a path to Zelena. Before he can blast Emma and Regina, Henry busts in with the dark grail and destroys all the magic in the room. Emma lets Henry know that his grandparents, Zelena and Hook are trapped in another realm and he just fupped uck bigtime. Henry runs out, with Violet close behind.
Rumple explains that all is not entirely lost - there's one person who may still have magic in this realm, and he's going to find him. Regina goes with Rumple, and Emma goes after Henry. She finds him at his favorite fountain, and tries to cheer him with a story about how he used to come here when they lived in New York, and he liked to toss in coins and make wishes. Henry's full of self-loathing, realizing that he's been incredibly short-sighted.
In the alternate realm, Dr. Jekyll shows the group a serum he's concocted that's designed to separate the good from the evil in a person. He's going to use it to defeat the warden. Unfortunately, Taser guy rushes in and gets it away from him. He pours more blue serum down his throat to turn Jekyll into Hyde. Hyde takes the red serum and splits himself in half, freeing himself from Dr. Jekyll. Just as he's about to kill the doctor, Killian shows up to overpower him, and Snow finishes the job with the magic taser she ganked off of Taser guy. They grab the doctor and take off.
Rumple, meanwhile is counseling Regina not to compartmentalize her darkness. He knows she likes her bad side and he doesn't think she should be locking away her inner evil Queen. They head to Chinatown and oh look! It's The Dragon!
The Dragon refuses to help Rumple because he's too dark, but he'll help Regina, because he senses the struggle within her and she must win her battle between light and dark.
Emma, Henry and Violet rejoin them and The Dragon takes all of them into his shop, where they peer through the magic lotus flower and see the others. The dragon can't open a portal, but he thinks all together they can do it. He reminds Emma of what August once told her: they have to believe.
Henry takes them back to the fountain, remembering how he wished for his mom to be happy two days before Hook showed up in Season 3. He tells everyone to throw a coin and wish for them all to be reunited. They all wish, the Olympic rock candy glows, but they still need more.
Henry jumps on the Narnia lion statue in front of the library and begs all the cynical New Yorkers to make a wish and believe in magic.
A bunch of people throw their coins in the fountain and the crystal is is amping up. Meanwhile, in the other realm, the gang is running through bad CGI corridors and runs smack into Hyde. Suddenly, a rain of coins begins to fall from the sky and they all jump through the emerging portal. Hyde is left behind.
In New York, a water tornado appears and the group lands safely. The crowd cheers and Henry's pissed that they all think it's an act. Emma gently reminds him that for a moment they all believed.
Back in the other realm, we see Hyde destroying the lab in a fit of anger. Rumple shows up to get his box and Hyde drops a juicy tidbit. He can provide the info to help Rumple wake Belle. He's been the warden to many people of many realms, he's learned some stuff Rumple doesn't know, and he's willing to make a deal if Rumple will get him to Storybrooke.
The others have now discovered that Rumple is gone. Regina goes off on her own and she's up on the roof of...Emma's old NY apartment? Huh? I mean, it's the same roof she threw Walsh off of when he went all monkey-fied. We never saw Neal's roof but I can't believe it would look identical to Emma's. If you're going to re-use a set, you need to dress it a little differently, guys.
I searched for a gif that said "Amateurs!" and
I found this. WHAT THE HELL.
Snow shows up with tea and sympathy, and Regina confesses to Snow that she wished her Evil Queen self away even thought it was useless. Snow suggests the serum from Dr. Jekyll that will split Regina from her evil self.
Snow injects the serum, Emma braces, and Regina writhes. She splits in two and hesitates as the evil queen taunts her for her weakness. Regina steels herself, then rips out her evil self's darkened heart and crushes it with a murmured "I'm sorry."
They all return to Storybrooke, where a few lone people are meandering about. Violet bids Henry goodbye for now and lets him know that her Dad didn't leave because he isn't from Camelot. He's originally from Connecticut. He was a "yankee" in King Arthur's court, so I'm guessing he's Mark Twain - and most likely a previous author. We'll get to that sometime next season, I guess. Or two seasons from now. You never can tell.
In a quiet moment, the writers give us our Captain Swan fix and Emma finally says "I love you" without the threat of imminent danger. Cue the Captain Swan face sucking. Cue the demolition of a peaceful moment, as well.
Regina untethers the magic in the crystal, sending it back out over Storybrooke again. Of course, the happiness is short-lived when Hyde strolls up. It turns out Rumple has deeded Storybrooke over to him. And he brought all the people from all the untold stories with him.
Finally, we go back to the lair of The Dragon, where a cloud is forming. It takes the shape of evil Queen Regina. She takes The Dragon's heart and with a sinister smile, proclaims that "The Queen is back."
I'm giving this one five poisoned apples out of five.
This episode was a serious information dump, and that's because unlike previous finales that wound up a season with a brief setup of the next, this episode was all setup. We've got a lot coming at us - a whole new cast of characters from new and "untold" stories, the possibility of another author (Violet's Dad) who can serve as a mentor to Henry, Rumple is going on a quest to find a way to wake Belle - and then will likely have to wrest control of Storybrooke back from Hyde, and The Evil Queen set loose on New York City, and I assume, Storybrooke.
I like where this is going, and I can't wait for them to let Lana play both sides of this. I never in a million years would have seen this one coming and I. Am. Loving It.