The winter finale of “Once Upon a Time” was not without some juicy twists and surprises. Episode 11 kicked off with Elsa (Georgina Haig) using her powers to take down the Snow Queen’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) ice wall. However, they still had a major issue -- no one could cross the Storybrooke border without being banished from the town forever.
The spell surrounding Storybrooke was a big issue for everyone, but Elsa, Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) had bigger issues than that. Hans and his brothers had taken over Arendelle and the only way to return to their realm was through a portal.
Fortunately for the Arendelle folks, it was beneficial for Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) to find the portal and send them on their way. Anna knew Rumple and his plans for the Sorcerer’s hat, and Rumple needed his plan to break free of the dagger and flee town with Belle to stay a secret. With Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) forced help, they discovered the portal to Arendelle was at the Sorcerer’s house. Hook broke the news to Emma and the others, but Emma was suspicious.
Elsewhere, Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) were able to bring Marian (Christie Laing) back to life. In a surprising move, Marian thanked Regina and said she’d step out of the way if Robin Hood chose to be with her instead.
“He’s in love with you, Regina,” she told the former evil queen. “And I think you’re in love with him.”
Marian wanted to be chosen by Robin Hood, and not have him spend his life with her out of obligation. But unfortunately a twist upset everything. Robin Hood told Regina he wants to be with her -- but then Marian collapsed. The Snow Queen’s spell was still in her system and the only way to save her would be to send her over the border of town. Robin was ready to do whatever it took to save Marian -- but it meant he and his son had to follow her out of Storybrooke. Regina and Robin Hood had a teary yet passionate goodbye at the border. Both were devastated, and Regina ripped up the storybook page depicting their kiss in the Enchanted Forest.
Meanwhile, a flashback to the Enchanted Forest of the past introduced “Once Upon a Time” viewers to the Queens of Darkness -- Ursula (Merrin Dungey), Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) and Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten). The flashback featured Belle and Rumple before they were in love. Belle was simply property to Rumple, acting as his maid. Despite their lack of relationship, Rumple still ran to Belle’s aid when the Queens of Darkness kidnapped her. Ursula, Cruella and Maleficent threatened to kill Belle if Rumple didn’t deliver Camelot’s magical glove, a glove that possessed the power to point out someone’s weakness. The Queens of Darkness were tired of living in a world where the heroes always win, and thought the glove could help them get what they desired.
Rumple wouldn’t budge at first. However he broke and handed it over when Ursula began to strangle Belle. In present day Storybrooke, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) uncovered Camelot’s hand -- something that came as a surprise to Belle.
While Belle was left troubled at Rumple’s shop, Emma and the others went to the Sorcerer’s mansion to find the portal to Arendelle. After saying their goodbyes, Elsa and Kristoff walked through the portal. Anna was about to follow when she stopped to ask Emma about “Mr. Gold.” David (Josh Dallas) revealed that Mr. Gold’s real name was Rumplestiltskin, and Anna told them the truth about how she knew the Dark One. Emma, David and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) were surprised to hear what Anna had to say -- especially since Rumple made it clear he had no idea who she was.
Emma and Mary Margaret rushed to the clock tower to save Hook, but Rumple anticipated someone trying to get in his way. He froze the two women before they could try to stop him and continued with his plan to crush Hook’s heart. What he didn’t anticipate was Belle getting her hands on his dagger. His wife commanded him to let Hook go and forced him to go to the town border with her.
Belle told Rumple that she was finally facing the truth -- he loved magic more than her. She used Camelot’s glove to find the thing Rumple loved the most and it led her to his dagger. After an emotional break down, Belle knew she had to send him over the border and rid him of all his magic. Rumple begged, but that didn’t stop her from commanding him to leave Storybrooke.
The “Once Upon a Time’ midseason finale may not have ended on a happy note for Belle, but Emma was able to put Hook’s heart back into his chest. The two shared a steamy embrace in the final moments.
Regina received a bit of hope when Henry came across a secret room in the Sorcerer’s house that held hundreds of blank storybooks -- potentially belonging to the author of the “Once Upon a Time” storybook. Emma found out about “Operation Mongoose” and decided she wanted to help Henry and Regina find a happy ending.
In Arendelle, Elsa and Anna were able to take the throne back from Hans. Anna finally got to put on her wedding dress, and Elsa walked her down the aisle to Kristoff.
The big twist in episode 11 came when the show kicked ahead six weeks to Rumple getting off a bus in New York City. He paid a visit to Ursula, who was working at an aquarium feeding fish. In the past the Queens of Darkness had asked Rumple to join them and he refused -- but he now has changed his tune. Rumple needed Ursula, Cruella de Vil and Maleficent to help find the author of the “Once Upon a Time” book and rewrite the rules for villains.