“Once Upon a Time” is all about happy endings, but things definitely got complicated in episode 20. Gold (Robert Carlyle) became more desperate to turn Emma (Jennifer Morrison) dark, and the latest installment of the ABC series turned the tables on everything.
Episode 20, titled “Mother,” kicked off with a flashback to the Enchanted Forest of the past. It was the one-year anniversary of Daniel’s death, and Regina (Lana Parrilla) was still grieving the love of her life. But she was in for a surprise – her mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey), returned from Wonderland to apologize. Needless to say, Regina didn’t believe her. However, Cora wanted to offer her daughter something … a second chance at finding love. Cora revealed that she had met Tinker Bell (Rose McIver), who had told her all about Regina’s failed connection with Robin Hood (Sean Maguire). Cora wanted to find Robin Hood and right the wrong.
Of course nothing is that simple with Cora. On her search for Robin Hood she ended up finding the Sheriff of Nottingham (Wil Traval). The Sheriff explained the truth about Robin Hood, how he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Cora said she didn’t care, and wasn’t even discouraged when he continued that Robin Hood was married. However, she hatched another idea when the Sheriff offered to help her find Robin Hood for a price. Using magic, she placed a lion tattoo on the Sheriff and had him pretend to be Regina’s one true love. Regina bought it ... until she discovered that the tattoo was simply an act of magic. When she began to question the Sheriff, he admitted that Cora asked him to impersonate her true love in order to get her pregnant.
Meanwhile in present day Storybrooke, Emma and Regina returned home with Lily (Agnes Bruckner), Zelena (Rebecca Mader), Robin Hood and his son. Lily finally met her mother, Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten). However it wasn’t a happy reunion. Lily wanted the two to get revenge on Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas), but Maleficent didn’t want to waste their time on the past. Believing her mom to be a pushover, Lily took off to leave Storybrooke for good.
Elsewhere, Regina was making sure that her sister Zelena couldn’t go anywhere. She locked her up in a magical cell while she figured out how to get the Author to write her happy ending with Robin Hood … something that her love still believed was possible even though Zelena was pregnant with his child. With Gold growing weaker and weaker, Regina was able to take the Author and the magical quill. He explained that they needed Emma’s dark blood in order to get the ink to work. But Regina wasn’t willing to turn her friend dark. Instead, she figured out that Lily’s blood would work just as well. Before Lily was able to leave, Regina sliced her hand and used it to create the magic ink.
As Regina left to rewrite her ending, Lily’s cut triggered something deep inside her – her inner dragon. Maleficent turned to Mary Margaret and David to help track down her daughter. When they found her she was in full dragon form … and completely out of control. Maleficent was impressed with her daughter’s form and went forward to reach her. Mary Margaret chased after, afraid that Maleficent would get hurt. But Mary Margaret was the one that ended up injured. With a swipe of Lily’s tail, Mary Margaret was sent flying head first into a rock.
The injury forced Emma to face her mother, who she had been giving a cold shoulder to since finding out about what she did to Maleficent. After healing Mary Margaret with magic, Emma apologized for her behavior and forgave her parents.
Emma looked like she was getting her happy ending, and Regina was close to hers as well. With the Author and the magic ink, Regina went to Zelena’s cell. She told her estranged sister that she had the “perfect ending” for her – completely write her out of the story. Zelena told her sister that Robin Hood would never forgive her for making his innocent child disappear, however there was more to Regina’s plan – it would be as if Zelena never existed.
The thought of disappearing scared Zelena, and she accused Regina of being just like their mother. And that triggered something in Regina. She decided that she couldn’t go through with her initial plan and that she was in charge of her own happy ending. She told the Author not to write anything for Zelena. Instead, her sister would remain far away from them and have strict visitation rights.
Unfortunately this didn’t sit well with the Author. Episode 20 of “Once Upon a Time” ended with the Author returning to Gold. He was on the verge of death, however the “Dark One” can’t die. Instead, Gold would be long gone and the Dark One would remain in his wake. With time running out, Gold created a new book for the Author to write in – “Heroes and Villains.” The Author began the new story, starting off with: “Once Upon a Time …”