We open on The Forbidden Fortress, many years ago...
Ursula is stalks through the corridor and takes out a guard. Maleficent appears and the two fight. Now Cruella shows up with her pooches. (What, she's got magic breath?) All three are confused as to what's going on. Cruella and Ursula tell Maleficent they've been invited there, but Maleficent says she didn't invite them to her fortress. Rumplestiltskin appears. As it turns out, he summoned them there. It's time the villains got their happy endings.
Back in Storybrooke, in present day, the town is busy, everyone going about their everyday lives. Regina takes back the mayor's office, even burning up Mary Margaret's bluebird painting. Granny is babysitting and Emma meets Hook for coffee and a smooch. Belle is opening up the library, where she and Hook are working on getting the Blue Fairy out of the Sorcerer's magic hat. It's been 6 weeks. Belle says Rumple got the best of them. Hook tells Belle that Gold really did love her, no matter how evil he was.
In New York City, Gold has been living with Ursula in her tiny apartment, which is full of fish tanks. Gold complains to Ursula about the conditions, while promising a happy ending for both of them. He gets an email and tells Ursula it's time to go. In Great Neck, New York, Ursula and Gold show up at Cruella de Ville's house where the FBI is taking everything, including her husband, away. Gold works to convince her to join them. "Aren't you tired of feeling ordinary?" He convinces her to drive them to Storybrooke.
[Flashback] The four villains are at the Forbidden Fortress, discussing how to get a happy ending. Gold promises to give them exactly what they want secretly want. He proposes they work together to enact a dark curse.
Back in the present, in Cruella's car, Gold explains that a powerful book will help them get their happy endings. Then Cruella and Ursula order some fast food in a drive-thru.
In Storybrooke, Emma brings Regina lunch while she searches Henry's book for clues. Emma finds the page with Regina's and Robin's picture on it. Regina explains that it gave Robin hope for the two of them, before he left. Hook and Belle rush in with a news of a ceremony that will possibly get the fairies out of the Sorcerer's hat.
In the woods, Regina, Snow, Belle, Emma and Hook use the Dark One's dagger to try to open the box that holds the Sorcerer's hat. Regina casts the spell. A bright yellow light bursts out of the box and the fairies reappear. They are all visibly shaken. When no one is looking, something black and smoky escapes from the box. Something with burning red eyes.
[Flashback] In a tunnel, Gold leads the ladies to a wall full of bugs. Cruella uses her magic to clear them and double doors appear. They enter the chamber to discover a wall of fire. Maleficent steps up extinguishes the fire. It's Ursula's turn. She uses her tentacles to grab an orb that contains a red scroll. Rumplestiltskin leaves them as the chamber falls apart. A winged, evil demon appears, ready to feed on the darkness within the ladies.
Back in present day, Gold, Ursula and Cruella are driving. Gold stops them when they find his necktie hanging on a tree, a mark he left behind. Cruella pulls a pistol on him, tired of his tricks and vagueness. He pleads for them to trust him and go along with his plan.
Emma comes upon Hook brooding in a hallway. She brings him back into Granny's, where they're celebrating the return of the fairies. Regina bashfully approaches the Blue Fairy and asks her about the blank Sorcerer's book. The Blue Fairy tells them that the Sorcerer is not the author, that they are two very different people. The Blue Fairy doesn't know who the author is but she tells them there are clues-- Suddenly, a horrible roar breaks through the atmosphere. Emma, Hook, Regina, Snow and Belle run outside to find the enormous, evil monster from Rumple's chamber perched on the top of the library.
[Flashback] The three ladies battle the horrible beast. He singles out Maleficent to attack.
Back in Storybrooke, the monster is wreaking havoc. Emma and Regina come forward to use their magic together. The demon flies away, and everyone moves into action to figure out a way to get rid of it permanently.
Back on the road, Gold, Cruella and Ursula are putting together their plan. Ursula uses Gold's phone to call Regina. Ursula begs Regina to let them into Storybrooke because they want redemption. Ursula hears the monster's roar over the phone and offers to help them defeat it if Regina lets them into Storybrooke. Regina tells them if the information Ursula gives them works out, they'll consider letting them in.
[Flashback] Maleficent uses her staff to fight the monster, while Ursula and Regina scale the wall looking for a way out. At the last minute, Ursula uses her tentacle to grab Maleficent out of the beast's clutches.
Regina is sure the monster is after her because it goes after the one with the darkest heart. Emma and Regina come up with a plan to lead the monster out of town, where it will have no magic once it crosses the line into the real world. Emma calls Snow and Charming to tell them, and also tells them Ursula and Cruella are there.
Regina and Emma are in Emma's car, leading the beast out of town. Regina disappears, only to reappear at the town line, in order to lead the monster away. The demon flies over the town line and disappears. They see Cruella and Ursula on the other side. Snow and Charming arrive. Snow tries to convince Emma to keep Cruella and Ursula out of Storybrooke. Regina argues that as bad as they are, they were never as bad as she was. If she deserves a second chance, so do they. She tosses a magic scroll to the other side of the line. When Cruella picks it up, she and Ursula can see them and they drive into Storybrooke.
Later, by the light of the moon, Gold stands on the road, waiting for Cruella and Ursula. Just as he gives up, the magic scroll lands on his side of the line. He looks up and sees the ladies waiting for him. He crosses back into town, tossing away his cane and walking normally. When Cruella and Ursula question whether he's done any of the work to get back into Storybrooke, he explains how he's been working toward this the entire time. He also says it's time to get Maleficent back. Ursula reminds him that Regina is a bigger problem. He reveals that the beast, who goes after the one with the biggest potential for darkness, wasn't really after Regina. It was after Emma.
Hook and Emma are at Granny's. They're watching Henry while he looks for clues in the magical storybook. Snow and Charming are out in the rain, in the woods, meeting Ursula and Cruella. Snow tells the ladies that they must never reveal what happened between them in the Enchanted Forest, or she'll rip out their hearts herself. (Dum dum duuuum!) Air date: March 1, 2015.
Nancy Basile writes about entertainment for Media Medusa. Check out Once Upon a Time Flips the Script.