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The venom of the Agrabahn viper. A bitter draught; slow and painful.

—The Evil Queen to the Count of Monte Cristo

"A Bitter Draught" is the second episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan, and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the one hundred and thirteenth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 2, 2016.


When a mysterious man from the Land of Untold Stories, who has a past with the Evil Queen, arrives in Storybrooke, David and Snow work together with Regina to neutralize the threat. Belle seeks Hook’s help finding a safe place to hide away from her husband, Mr. Gold. The Evil Queen continues to try to win Zelena over to her side, while Emma resumes her therapy sessions with Archie and shares her terrifying vision of the future.[2]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

In the Storybrooke Graveyard, late at night, the Evil Queen and Zelena approach the Mills Mausoleum. Upon realizing their destination, Zelena stops the Queen, telling her she can't let her into the vault. The Queen replies that if Regina didn't want her to help herself to some ingredients, she wouldn't have sealed the vault with Blood Magic.

Inside, Zelena asks how the Evil Queen how she knows she won't tell Regina about their activities. The Queen laughs and replies that if she was going to, she already would have. Zelena asks why she needs magic, and the Queen replies that she used everything the Dragon had to get to town. Zelena asks what happened to him, and the Queen informs her that he should have know better than to get in her way. Zelena comments that it's good advice for everyone, and the Queen observes that she's worried she'll hurt Regina. She tells Zelena to "relax", that she intends to teach Regina a lesson; "that she can never escape who she really is". Zelena asks what she gets out of it, and the Queen responds, "A sister who appreciates all of your delightfully malevolent qualities. A sister like you." She teleports away.

The next morning, Regina and Henry Mills, carrying his storybook, approach Granny's Diner. Henry asks his mother if she's "ready", and she replies that everyone listened to her before, when she was the Evil Queen, and she is going to show that she's "just as strong without her". Henry hands her the storybook, dubbing their mission "Operation Cobra: Part Two", and that Regina is the hero this time. Inside, David Nolan, Snow White, Emma Swan, Hook and Granny are trying to help the new arrivals from the Land of Untold Stories. David points them to room keys, clothing, and food, sounding stressed. Regina and Henry enter, Hook remarking to her that "it's about time. The rabble are getting restless." Regina drops the storybook on the counter, quieting the room. She introduces herself to the crowd as Mayor, and welcomes them to Storybrooke. Holding up the storybook, she remarks that the new arrivals fled to the Land of Untold Stories out of fear that whatever was in the book would play out, and that now they are in Storybrooke, they are afraid it will. She tells the crowd that she's just like them; getting a fresh start, and not knowing what the future holds. She tells them that they don't have to be afraid, because "whatever comes next, we are going to face it together". The crowd applauds as Belle enters. She begins to ask a question when Emma interrupts, expressing shock that she's there, and awake. Belle announces that she's looking for a place to stay. Hook asks about Mr. Gold, and Belle explains that they are not together, and she thought Granny might have a room. Emma tells her that they can find her something better than a room at Granny's, and Hook agrees, saying he knows "just the place". He invites Emma along to show Belle, and Emma declines, saying she has an appointment with Archie Hopper. Hook tells her he's impressed, since being vulnerable is not easy for her. Emma agrees, saying they've been through a lot and it might help to talk about it. He tells her he's glad, and escorts Belle out of the diner as another new arrival walks in. Henry speaks to him, asking him who he is. The young man responds with confusion, and Henry asks for his name, explaining that if he can find him in the book, they can try to figure out how to continue his story. The stranger tells Henry he's not important enough to have his own story. Henry starts flipping through the book, but when he looks up, the young man is gone. Looking down at the counter, a small envelope, stamped with the stylized initials "CM", has been left behind.

In the past, at the Wilmore Estate in 19th Century France, a party is in full swing. A butler rings a bell and musicians stop, and the butler announces the party's host: the Count of Monte Cristo. The Count welcomes his guests, thanking them for joining him. Baron Danglars tells the Count the guests should be thanking him for hosting the party. The Count replies that the evening would not be possible if not for the Baron. He toasts the Baron and the crowd follows. Confused, the Baron questions the Count, who in turn asks the Baron how he doesn't recognize him, pointing out the prominent scar above his eye. The Baron then recognizes him, naming him as Edmond Dantes. He further points out that Edmond Dantes is in prison, and the Baron put him there. The Count agrees, recounting that the Baron also burned down his home, spent his family's fortune, and murdered his fiancée. As the Baron stands dumbstruck, the Count goes on to explain that he escaped from prison and has spent more than ten years rebuilding his fortune, all for "one reason". He draws his sword, quickly cutting away the Baron's sword-belt, grabs him, and holds the tip of his sword poised at this throat as he interrogates him. He demands to know who helped the Baron destroy his life. The Baron tells the Count to kill him, that he won't find justice. As the Count runs the Baron through, he replies that he is after something "much more satisfying": revenge.

The crowd of partygoers flees the room as the Count sheathes his sword with a sigh. The Evil Queen, seated in a chair, applauds, commenting that there is "nothing like the first kill". The Count asks her who she is. The Queen comments that she is a fan of his work, asking if he really spent a decade setting up the party's events. The Count replies that it went by in the blink of an eye, and the Queen admires his commitment. She comments that it's a "pity" the Baron didn't give any names, pondering how long it will take the Count to find his next victim. The Count replies that he would spend the rest of his life avenging his love, and the Queen comments that he might not have to, showing him a scroll. She tells him that it contains the names of those who have wrong him, and the Count asks what she wants in return. The Queen responds that she wants help getting some revenge of her own.

In modern Storybrooke, outside the Diner, Henry gives the mysterious envelope, addressed to Snow White and Prince Charming, to David and Mary Margaret. Henry explains that the man just vanished, and wonders if he might be the Invisible Man, or Dracula. Mary Margaret recognizes the note as being from the Count of Monte Cristo. Granny comments that she's not a fan of the sandwich, and David explains that Monte Cristo is a place, and it's Count has "quite a reputation". He asks his wife why the Count would want to meet with them, and Regina, standing in the Diner's doorway, explains that Count wants them dead, and she hired him to do it.

Emma vists Archie's office to talk about her vision of a battle. Emma does not know who she's fighting, but she knows they are strong. She admits out-loud for the first time that when her hand shakes she dies. Archie says the more she talks about it, the less it will haunt her. Emma considers telling her family. Archie asks why she hasn't done so already. Emma responds, "Because I know exactly what they would do. They would tell me to stop doing what I'm doing until they could save the day." Archie asks why it'd be wrong for them to protect her, so she tells him she's the Savior. "And the Savior can't take a day off?" he rebuts, leading her to ask who she is if she cannot help people. Archie turns the question back to her. Emma claims she's not here for an identity crisis. Emma wants to know how to win her fight and protect her family. Archie points out that she's here for him to help her deal with whatever troubles her. Emma stands and claims that coming to him was a mistake. Archie attempts to stop her from leaving, but fails.

Meanwhile, David, Snow, and Regina visit the Count of Monte Cristo's room at Granny's Bed and Breakfast. Snow finds some envelopes resembling the one they received confirming that he was there. David discovers a weapons chest. He jokes that calligraphy doesn't seem to be the Count's only hobby before asking Regina why she didn't inform them about the Count. Regina denies knowing he was in Storybrooke. She asks if they want to know all the times she's tried to kill them. David says yes. Regina apologizes again. Regina says while she has changed, the Count hasn't put everything behind him. Snow suggests firing him. Regina claims she will do, "meet him at the dirigible in an hour". David insists that he and Snow will come too. Regina refuses, stating she must fix her mess, "And really, it should go more smoothly if he's not trying to use you as a pin cushion". Snow wonders if they should even worry since it took the Count over two curses and a pit stop in the Land of Untold Stories to find them. Regina reveals that isn't completely true, to the Charmings' shock.

In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming ride fast on horseback as Grumpy and their court follow. They dismount when they reach a destroyed village. "We're too late," Snow sighs. Grumpy asks to be reminded why they spared the Evil Queen's life. Snow thought it could change her. The dwarf points out that it did change her because instead of ransacking villages Regina is now razing them to the ground. Charming notices a hooded man sitting against a house, coughing and seemingly injured. The royal couple rush to his aid. Snow gives him some water. When he removes his hood to drink, it is revealed to be Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo. Charming asks the man his name, so he reveals it to be Edmond, but then lies that he was a vintner in the village. He explains that when the queen arrived everyone fled, but he stayed to put out the fires. David calls out for Charlotte, and as she approaches them, Snow explains to Edmond that she's their handmaiden, and thanks to their endless war, she's become a skilled nurse. Charlotte examines Edmond's burned hands and assures him they're not too bad and a little salve will have him back to new soon enough. As Charlotte patches him up, Edmond stares at her face, memorized by her beauty. She asks if something is wrong. He says, "Your eyes...". Confused, she asks what of them, but he grows uncomfortable and attempts to stand, thanking her for her aid. He tells the Charmings they must find the queen and make her pay. Snow claims that will make them no better than her, and the best way to get revenge is to show the queen that no matter what she does, they can always find happiness. Edmond angrily points out that she destroyed his village, his vines, everything he has, so Snow suggests he could find happiness in their castle. David asks Edmond to be their wine steward, pleasing the Count, who responds that there's nothing he'd like more.

Back in the present, the Count of Monte Cristo arrives and tells Regina she's not on the guest list. Regina tells the Count she's calling off their deal, to which he responds by drawing his sword and asking if they finally convinced her that finding happiness is the best revenge. She reveals that they did indeed do that, even though it took a while. Edmond claims this doesn't change anything. Regina offers to help him, stating one doesn't need revenge to get over what happened to their loved one, "If I can learn that, anyone can." Edmond tells Regina that even though she sent him down this path, she cannot take him off it now. With that, he throws his sword at her, but she manages to freeze it in the air with magic. She picks it up to defend herself, but when she turns her attention back to Edmond, he's vanished.

Regina calls Emma who informs her parents that Regina failed to get the Count to back down. Emma drives down a long road through the woods, causing her mother to question where she's taking them. Emma says she told Regina she'd take them somewhere safe. With that, the town line becomes visible, and Snow insists they're not leaving town and running from their wine steward. Emma ignores her mother and continues driving straight for the exit, however, just as she drives over the line, a magical barrier stops the car from leaving. The car flies backward and lands in a ditch on the side of the road. As the car's horn wails out, David asks what the hell that was. Emma realizes the Count is behind this and doesn't want them running either.

On the Jolly Roger, Belle denies that she can stay there, citing what would happen to Hook if Gold found him harboring her. Killian smugly adds that the Dark One's wrath would be an added bonus. Puzzled, she asks why he'd risk her life for her. Hook apologizes for trying to kill her back in the Enchanted Forest and when he shot her at the town line. Belle tells him he's changed since all that. Hook says he's not ready to forgive himself. Belle accepts the Jolly Roger as a place to stay, pointing out that Hook isn't the only one trying to make amends. Belle explains that she's spent too long denying who Rumple is, but now must do what is best for her son.

Speaking of the town line, Emma, Snow and David exit the crashed police car. Regina arrives to investigate. Emma tells Regina that she doesn't think the Count crashed the car before pushing her hand against the air above the town line, revealing a magical barrier. She points out to Regina that it's like the one she used to keep everyone here during the curse, but as Regina inspects it further, she deciphers that it isn't like it, but the same spell. Regina explains that the only way to enact the same spell is with ingredients from her vault, which she sealed with blood magic. With that, Zelena arrives in a puff of magic and she calls out for her sister, asking if everyone is okay, "You know, I never understand why you parade around in these deathtraps rather than just magicking yourself around town. What happened?" she scoffs. Regina explains that someone put a protection spell on the town line, leading Zelena to act surprised, asking who would do that, when in fact she knows full well who it was. Regina tells her sister she was going to ask her the same question, offending her, "You're accusing me of causing this?" she snarls. Regina points out that other than herself, she's the only one who has access to her vault, "That's not true!" Zelena snaps. Regina questions who it was. Not wanting to betray her other "sister", Zelena leaves in a puff of green smoke. Regina turns back to Snow and Emma and states that she's starting to think the Count isn't the only one they have to be worrying about.

In the fairytale land of the past, Regina is in the main room of her Dark Palace sword fighting with one of her guards. The fight seems equally balanced at first and the guard even does some spins to show his skills, but eventually, the queen gets the better of him and impales him with the sword. She laughs. "You impress me, your majesty," Edmond Dantés says, standing in the doorway, "Well, what can I say? You inspired me" she smiles, finally pulling the sword out of her victim, allowing him to drop dead to the floor. She wipes her fingers along with the blood-stained sword and sniffs them, getting a sick enjoyment from it, "Perhaps you can give me a lesson. Or two". The count claims that as much as he'd like that, he cannot be late for his first meal with Snow White and her prince. Regina is pleased to learn that the royal couple believed him, adding that she knew their "insufferable kindness" would be their downfall. She approaches her desk and retrieves a small black vial, explaining to Edmond that it is the Agrabah viper's venom, "A bitter draught...slow and painful". She extends her hand to give it to the Count, but a look of confliction comes across his face. She wonders if there's a problem, so he asks what the royal couple did to deserve this, pointing out that they've shown him nothing but kindness. Regina sighs with frustration, "Don't tell me you're starting to grow a conscience" she whines, but he tells her to call it "professional curiosity". She tells the Count that what they did shouldn't matter and only one thing should be on his mind right now - how badly he wants his revenge. With that, she pulls out the list of names he so deeply desires. Instantly convinced, he grabs the vial containing the venom and makes his leave.

Once the Count leaves, the Evil Queen heads to her mirror and begins patting the sweat off of her neck with a delicate cloth. "Well, this is very disappointing" Rumple states from behind the Queen, startling her, "I mean, I didn't spend years training you so you could spend your days fencing and get someone else to do your dirty work". An incensed Regina tells Rumple that he knows exactly why she's doing this because he cast a protection spell on Snow and Charming. He acknowledges that this is true, but then reminds her of the curse he gave that would allow her to take them somewhere else and hurt them. She claims that she doesn't care, stating she'll get what she wants and get it without him. The Dark One approaches the Evil Queen, staring at her bosoms, and asks if she's sure about that. She tells him if he thinks he can stop the Count, he can think again, so Rumple asks if this is a threat as he begins to sniff her neck. She tells him it's a fact, because she put the same protection spell on the Charmings on the Count, to protect him from Rumple. The two chuckle and then Regina gloats that the student has finally outgrown the teacher. The two then step away from each other, making playful noises and hand movements, and Rumple tells her they'll see about that. He vanishes in a puff of smoke, leaving a chuckling Regina behind.

Back in the Pawn Shop, Gold enters and senses something is off. He notices a glass cabinet is open, so begins to examine it...suddenly he knows what is happening. "When I heard what Regina did I thought 'No this is too good to be true," he says, closing the cabinet. The Evil Queen, Regina's counterpart with all her dark, malevolent personality traits, appears behind Gold and she tells him not to lie, "You're happy I'm back". He chuckles and tells her that "happy" isn't the word he'd use, "Now where is it?" he asks, referring to the item she stole. The Evil Queen clicks her tongue and sighs, showing him a small metal coin. He magically takes it back, bringing it to his hand, and asks if she thought she could steal from him. She playfully scoffs that it's just a piece of tin, but Rumple adds that it's also so much more. The Evil Queen asks if he wants a deal, so the Dark One explains that if she wants this bauble then his terms are quite simple - whatever her plans for the town are, Belle and his unborn child must be exempt. The queen sighs, so Rumple asks if she wants the coin or not. Frustrated, she agrees, promising not to hurt them. She grabs the coin from his hand, however, grabs his fingers too. She begins to run them down her neck and chest, seductively asking if he's sure that's all he wants in return. Disinterested, he asks what else she had in mind, so as she begins to play around with his suit, she points out that the tales in the Land of Untold Stories aren't the only ones that never played out... She flirtatiously grabs his tie, but he assertively grabs her hand, asking why she thinks he has any interest in seeing how "this one" goes. "Eventually you'll get tired of waiting for that bookworm to accept you for who you are. And when you do..." she says, leaning her face right next to his, "...mm...that's when the real fun can begin". With a sinister smile, she makes her exit. Slowly gripping onto his tie as she heads to the door, eventually she loses her grip and Rumple straightens himself up as the Evil Queen leaves. Act IV In the Charming's Royal Castle, Edmond Dantes opens up a jug of wine that is laid out on a table ready for a feast and he sneakily drops the small vial of Agrabah Viper venom inside. He takes it over to Snow and Charming, who sit at a long table, but as he's about to pour it for the couple, Charming tells him to wait. Edmond wonders if something's wrong, but Charming explains they just need one more glass. He signals over to another servant, who then brings another, just as Charlotte rushes down the stairs, apologizing for being late. Seeing Charlotte sends a chill down the Count's spine, for now, she will be drinking the same wine as the royal couple. Snow reveals that tonight they'll be saying farewell to Charlotte because she'll be leaving them tomorrow. As Charlotte approaches the table, she explains that her mother has fallen ill, so she'll be helping her family take care of her, "Well, this family will miss you when you're gone" Snow tells her. Once everyone is sat, Charming tells Edmond to pour the wine, "Tonight, we toast to old friends. He pours the royal couple's drinks first, but when he gets to Charlotte's he freezes. Charlotte wonders what's wrong, "It's your eyes again" he whispers, in awe. As Snow and Charming share a glance, the blonde awkwardly tells Edmond that's very kind. Not wanting to be seen as suspicious, he finally pours Charlotte her glass of wine. He then thanks her and leaves the table. The trio makes a toast and Snow prays that Charlotte only finds happy days ahead. However, when they clink glasses and prepare to drink, Edmond shouts out "Wait!", stopping everyone. The confused couple asks what's wrong, so the Count nervously lies that an occasion like this calls for a bottle to match and he has just the one in the cellar. He takes Charlotte's glass before leaving, and the other servant takes Snow's and Charming's.

Back in Storybrooke, Henry and Regina arrive at the crash site of the dirigible in the woods. He tells his mother he knows she thinks this is her fault, but she claims that's not it because she stood up in Granny's and told everyone from the Land of Untold Stories not to be afraid, "They've only been here one day, I can't let the first story play out like this, not when I'm the one who started it all". The reformed woman suddenly gasps, noticing Charlotte's corpse, covered with dark veins. Regina theorizes that the Count poisoned her with the poison she gave him. She moves her hand forward slightly to touch the girl, but a blast of magical energy emits off of her, "What the hell was that? What the hell is going on?!" she yells, confused. "The handmaiden's story finally caught up with her," a voice is heard saying from behind the mother and son. Regina's face is filled with horror, recognizing that voice as none other than her own, only with a malicious tone. "Just like yours is catching up with you. Miss me?" the Evil Queen snarls at Regina. Henry turns to the evil half of his mother, shocked, "Hi, sweetie. Mommy's back" the Evil Queen grins.

Furious, Regina stands up, pointing out that she killed her, but the queen asks if she thought it'd be that easy. As Regina stands in front of Henry, the Evil Queen angrily tells Regina that after everything she's done for her and after everything they've accomplished together, she threw her away like she never existed: Regina responds that she threw her away because she existed. She attempts to create a fireball in her hand, but her magic seems to fail, so the Evil Queen reveals that she laced Charlotte's cloak with a magic dampening spell. Regina suddenly realizes that her evil half has been controlling the Count this whole time, and with that, the queen reveals that she has. Using her magic, she makes the Count's heart appear in her hand, "I don't leave things to chance" she states. "That's why he didn't want my help. That's why he said I couldn't stop him" Regina says, everything now making a lot more sense. The Evil Queen recalls that she ordered the Count to kill Snow and Charming all those years ago, so now, that's exactly what he's going to do. She chuckles menacingly, tells Regina that she should be thanking her, and then leaves in a puff of magic smoke.

Over at the Storybrooke Docks, Snow and David run into Edmond Dantes, who stands waiting for them. He draws a long, thin, sharp sword, scaring the couple. The Count simply stares at them, clearly trying to fight against the Evil Queen's control. "Edmond..." Snow says calmly, followed by David, who tells Edmond that this is all a big misunderstanding. The Count slowly approaches them, telling them that they have no idea. He then unwillingly takes a swing of his sword, causing them both to jump and duck to the ground to avoid being killed.

At the start of Act 5, Snow and David duck and back up to avoid Edmond's attack. Edmond aims his sword as David promises to explain everything. Snow explains the Queen changed and she is now their friend and no longer wishes them harm. Edmond denies this and takes another swipe with his sword. David uses a trashcan lid as a shield. Snow hits Edmond with a pipe. While they fight Edmond explains the Evil Queen has his heart. David says they will stop her like always. Edmond hopes they do, but under the Queen's control, he cuts the rope with his sword, sending barrels crashing on Snow and David, knocking them unconscious. Edmond says this isn't the ending he'd hoped for any of them.

Back in the Royal Castle, Edmond enters the wine cellar. He places the poisoned wine on a wooden table and pulls the vial containing the poison from his coat, looking at it with confliction. "Having second thoughts?" Rumplestiltskin asks, suddenly appearing from the shadows of the room, starting the steward. Edmond draws his sword in defense, but Rumple takes it with his magic, giggling as he does so, "No need for that, dearie" he says, dropping the sword, "Tell me, why didn't you poison Snow White and Prince Charming?" Edmond explains that he was prepared to poison them, but then he saw Charlotte, "and she reminded me of..." he says, being interrupted by Rumple, "Your fiancée? Yeah, I can see that. I mean, before she became a rotting corpse. Your love and the handmaiden share the same je ne sais quoi, n'est-ce pas?". Edmond states that Charlotte didn't deserve to die, and if he killed her to get his revenge, he'd be no better than his enemies. Rumple asks if he'll try to kill Snow and Charming again, but Edmond claims he won't because they don't deserve to die either. Rumple inspects his body language as he says this and then says "Hm" before clicking his fingers, creating a thudding sound nearby. Edmond asks what the sound was, so Rumple explains that it's his insurance policy, "Let's just say in order for my plan to work, I need Prince Charming and Snow White very much alive and procreating. Sorry for the bluntness, but I need what I need. So that means I must make sure that you're never tempted to kill them ever again." Rumple points to the sound, leading Edmond to go and look. Hidden behind a barrel he finds an unconscious Charlotte, covered in dark poisoned veins. Rumple giggles with glee as he watches him discover this. Furious, the Count asks why he did this, "If you didn't want me to kill them, kill me, not her!" he yells, "Would that I could, dearie" Rumple mumbles in return. Distraught, Edmond asks where the antidote is, but Rumple explains that there isn't any curse for this poison, "But it can be stopped" he adds, revealing a large key. "A key?" Edmond asks, baffled and angry, but Rumple explains that it's not an ordinary key, but a key to a land "where all stories come to a screeching halt, including Charlotte's story. You know the one - where the poison reaches her heart". The imp gestures his hand towards a door, tempting the Count to go through it. After a moment of consideration, he asks if Charlotte will live if he goes through the door. Rumple confirms that she will, but should he ever leave, then her story and the poison will resume, "And I hate to spoil the ending, but it's really quite tragic". Edmond tells the imp it is settled, pleasing him very much. As Rumple opens the door, revealing a large yellow portal, Edmond picks Charlotte up, ready to save her life.

Back in the present, Edmond apologizes to the unconscious Snow and David, "All I wanted was a fresh start" he says before swinging his sword down on them. However, another sword clashes with his, and it's being held by none other than Regina, who tells him he can still get a fresh start. They push against each other with their swords and Regina tells the Count although the Queen has his heart, he can fight this. He tells her he's tried to fight but he can't. They then engage in a sword battle, swiping viciously. Eventually, they clash swords again, allowing Regina the chance to tell the Count his story doesn't have to end like this. Edmond states that his story ended the moment Hyde plucked them from the Land of Untold Stories. Regina knees the Count and then asks if he's talking about Charlotte, "I'm sorry, I was too late" she sadly reveals. "So the poison finally took her..." a heartbroken Edmond says as he pushes away from the mayor. Regina states that although she couldn't save Charlotte, she will save the Count. He begins attacking her with the sword again, and this time pushes her to the ground. Instinctively, Regina tries to conjure up a fireball, but the magic dampening spell is still affecting her. She yells out for Henry, who is hiding behind a nearby box, and tells him to call Emma because she needs her magic right now.

Edmond strikes again, but Regina manages to jam his sword into the wood, trapping it. Meanwhile, Henry reveals that he cannot use his phone because the Evil Queen did something to it. Edmond releases his sword and continues battling with Regina, and this time, he manages to disarm her, sending her sword flying. He laughs victoriously and then turns his attention back to the helpless Snow and David. Regina picks up her sword, but he's already too far away, so he yells for him to stop. "This is the only way" he responds before turning back the couple and preparing to kill them once and for all. With no other options left, Regina has no choice but to throw her sword straight into the Count's back, impaling him. He drops to the floor, dead. Devastated, Regina rushes to his body, and so does Henry, but to make sure his mother is okay. She cries and apologizes to Edmond, but Henry tells her she did what she had to. With that, Snow and David regain consciousness, and they're upset to discover that poor Edmond is dead. Regina cries that she had no choice, but the Evil Queen appears and tells her that's not true. "She is back..." Snow says, making eye contact with her old nemesis. Regina tells her counterpart she couldn't stand by and watch the Count kill her friends, but the Evil Queen reveals she thought heroes always found the third way, "Unless, of course, this means you're not a hero" she taunts her.

Regina charges at the Evil Queen, grabbing her by the collar, "I will rip your heart out!" she roars. "Yes! That's the Regina I remember. We do like it rough, don't we" the Evil Queen smiles, proud of the reaction she's received. Regina pushes the Queen away from her as she realizes she didn't want the Count to kill Snow and David, "You wanted me to kill him." The Queen tells her better half that it was the only way to show her that no matter what she does, the darkness will always be inside, "And that tiny bit of darkness I awakened today is only going to grow". Snow approaches the mayor and queen and she tells her friend not to listen to the villain. "Snow...White" the Evil Queen snarls at the sight of her stepdaughter, causing David to be concerned for his wife. Snow claims to not be afraid of her because they defeated her before, so they'll do it again. The Queen reveals that she won't be the one to destroy their happy endings this time. Regina asks who is, "You" the Queen responds, "You're going to destroy everyone's happy endings." Snow tells the Queen she won't divide this family, but she responds that she won't have to because the people from the Land of Untold Stories aren't the only ones with tales they don't want to be told, "And when your stories finally play out" she continues, chuckling, "I'll just sit back and watch you...tear yourselves apart," she says in a taunting sing-song voice. Regina, Snow, David, and Henry are left speechless, causing the Evil Queen to laugh menacingly before disappearing in a cloud of purple smoke.

Act Six starts with Regina drinking across a table in Granny's Diner from Snow and Emma. Snow assures her that what happened with the Count of Monte Cristo isn't her fault. Regina scoffs at this, but Emma points out that the Evil Queen trapped her without any other choice, "Of course I had a choice" Regina retaliates, stating she should've kept the Queen inside, where she'd be her problem. Emma tells the mayor that this is what the Queen wants: for her to doubt herself, so Regina comments that she's doing a hell of a job. Snow interrupts, telling Regina that this may all be new to her, but she's faced the Evil Queen before, and she never once did it by running away. She explains that they have to face the Queen head-on and get ahead of her plan, so Regina asks how they do that. Snow claims she doesn't know, then ask Regina to think like the Evil Queen, "What did she mean when she said we all have stories we don't want told?" With that, Emma's visions are triggered. She begins seeing the flashes of her death at the hands of the hooded figure. Her hand begins shaking as a result, so she grabs it with her other to control it. Noticing this, Regina asks the blonde if she's okay, "Yeah, I'm fine" she responds, taking a drink of her coffee to hide her face.

Meanwhile, Hook and Charming approach a frustrated Henry, who reads his storybook at the bar. Henry says, "This isn't how the Count's story should have ended". Henry should've known that Operation Cobra: Part Two wouldn't have been as simple as he thought. David wonders why. Henry points out that it's a sequel, and they're always more involved than the original. Hook is baffled, so Henry begins listing sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back? Godfather: Part Two? Temple of Doom?". Hook remains confused, so the boy explains that they're the best sequels ever, "It's definitely time for a movie night". To explain things more clearly, Henry tells the two men that when his mom broke the first curse it was simple, "Those people had been ripped away from the stories they wanted to play out". David points out these people ran away from their stories for a reason. Henry adds that before they can help them, they need to find out why they ran. David tells him to keep reading, so he does so, and Hook joins him. David turns around and notices an envelope on a stool addressed to him. He opens it and pulls out the same small metal coin the Evil Queen retrieved from Gold's pawnshop. Hook asks if he's okay. David assures him that he's fine, but just going to get some air.

Outside Granny's, David studies the coin. "How do you like your gift?" the Evil Queen asks, suddenly appearing behind David. Unnerved, he claims he should've known it came from her before, in a serious tone, asking why she gave it to him. The Queen says they all have untold stories waiting to be played out. David tells her that this one has already been told. He explains that the coin was a good luck charm he wrapped around his father's wrist before he left their farm. She asks if he means the trip where he met his demise. David states his father got drunk and then died in a cart accident. Before he can head back inside, the Queen stops him, explaining that she's not here because of his daddy issues, "I'm here to ask you one question: Are you sure it was an accident?" The Queen then disappears in a cloud of purple smoke, leaving David curious and confused.

Later that night, over at the farmhouse, her newborn baby's cries awake Zelena. She assures her child that she won't be long, but the crying suddenly stops. As Zelena approaches the nursery, she notices the crib empty and the sound of a rattle. Zelena finds the Evil Queen sitting in a chair with Robin playing with a rattle, "My mother used to use it to soothe me". Zelena approaches the Queen, "Our mother used that on you?" she asks, somewhat saddened to be reminded of the childhood she never had. The Queen confirms that she did and then gives it to her sister as a gift. Zelena wonders what it's for. After putting Robin back in her crib, the Evil Queen points out that Zelena didn't tell Regina about their vault visit, "You didn't even tell her I was in town. You know how much I admire the ability to keep a secret". Zelena realizes that it was all a test, which the Queen confirms with a smile. Zelena comments that she thought the Evil Queen would be different from Regina. The Queen assures her that she is, "Because, unlike her, I will never doubt you again". Recalling when the Queen said she'd get her sister back, Zelena realizes she didn't mean Regina, leading the Queen to tell her she's the sister she wants, "I know this because you're just like me. You would never settle for less. And Regina is quite literally the lesser of two evils". The Evil Queen chuckles.

Over at Archie's office, Emma enters, startling the therapist as she apologizes for being out of learning earlier. She tells the doctor she thinks he's right and should tell her family about the visions/dreams. He tells the blonde he's glad to hear that, but she butts in and tells him she can't tell them yet. He wonders if this has anything to do with her rival, the Evil Queen, "You heard?" she asks, leading him to explain that Bashful is his patient at four o'clock and he likes to talk about current events before diving in. Emma then tells Archie about how the Queen said she'd tear them all apart and she's already tried to blacken Regina's heart. Archie wonders if she's worried she'll succeed, so Emma explains that she's worried about who's under the hood. We begin to see the flashes of Emma's future death again as she explains she's worried about who might kill her. Archie asks who is going to kill her, so Emma points out the one person who isn't with her family in the vision... Regina. The therapist asks if she's worried about Regina or the Evil Queen. To which Emma responds, "I don't know".



Guest Starring



*Note: Only in archive footage.



Production Notes

  • A few scenes of this episode and "The Savior" were filmed simultaneously.[6]
  • OBSERVATIONS: Technically Dr. Hopper broke multiple HIPPA laws by revealing the name of a client to Emma when he stated that Bashful was his 4:00 appointment.
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Rumplestiltskin says that Charlotte and Edmond Dante's wife "share the same je ne sais quoi, n'est-ce pas?" Je ne sais quoi is French for 'I don't know what': a pleasing quality that is hard to describe.[15] N'est-ce pas? means "isn't it so?".
  • For the scenes where Charlotte has been poisoned with Agrabahn viper venom, Andrea Brooks wore motion capture dots on her chest and face.[16] The dark splotches on her skin were added digitally in post-production.
  • The confrontation between Regina and the serum queen at the docks was first filmed with Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen, and a double as Regina. Later, they shot the reverse of the scene with Lana as Regina, and the double as the Evil Queen.[17]
  • REUSED FOOTAGE: The exterior shot of Granny's Diner in the evening, is stock footage from the Season Four episode "Heroes and Villains": Even though the people walking by the diner are different, the parked car and the leaves on the ground are exactly the same.[18] A close-up from the same footage is used in "Ill-Boding Patterns",[19] which can be seen from the identical position of the pavement sign and leaves on the ground, and the identical foliage on the climbing plants.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore

  • Henry wonders if the Count could be the Invisible Man, a reference to the titular character of the famous science fiction novel by H. G. Wells.
  • Henry also wonders if the Count could be Dracula, but quickly dismisses the idea, since he saw the Count in daylight.
    • This is a common misconception; in Bram Stoker's novel, Count Dracula can in fact walk about in daylight, even in bright sunshine, though apparently without the ability to use most of his powers.[23]
  • ABANDONED IDEAS: In the original "Pilot" script, Emma opens Henry's storybook and flips past an illustration of Dracula.[24]
  • David, who is also based on the pauper from The Prince and the Pauper, tells the serum queen that his father died in a cart accident because he succumbed to weakness and got drunk. In the novel, the pauper has an abusive, drunken father.

Popular Culture

  • Granny makes a remark about the Monte Cristo sandwich, when she overhears the Count of Monte Cristo mentioned. It is a type of ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg batter and pan fried, though it may also be deep fried. It is a variation of the French Croque-monsieur.
  • While driving her parents to a safer place, Emma jokingly refers to the Count as Errol Flynn. Errol Flynn was a famous film actor known for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films.
  • When Henry lists "the best sequels ever", he mentions The Godfather Part II.

Props Notes

  • PAUSE AND READ: The invitation to the party in 19th Century France reads "You are cordially invited to a feast at the Wilmore Estate. Festivities will begin promptly at Sundown on Midsummer's Eve."[22]

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

  • A redressed version of the wine cellar also doubles as Dr. Jekyll's laboratory in Mr. Hyde's Hospital in the Season Five episode "Only You".[74]
  • Moreover, the hospital scenes with the cage in "Only You" were shot on the same set as the scenes in Dr. Jekyll's laboratory. The cage was removable, and the set was redressed as the laboratory. Some of the walls were removed, and windows put in.[75]

International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (October 4, 2016). Sunday final ratings: ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘NCIS: LA’ adjust up, FOX shows adjust down. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 3.72”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, October 02, 2016. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#602) "A Bitter Draught".”
  3. File:602Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (July 13, 2016). "Hey #Oncers -- here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya 9/25 for #Season6!" (screenshot)
  5. Project Gutenberg's The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, père. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved on September 22, 2020. “Chapter 35. La Mazzolata (...) "But," said Franz to the count, "with this theory, which renders you at once judge and executioner of your own cause, it would be difficult to adopt a course that would forever prevent your falling under the power of the law. Hatred is blind, rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught."”
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (July 19, 2016). "601 and 602, 2 units today" (screenshot)
  7. File:517Here.png
  8. File:517WhatWeNeed.png
  9. File:517LibraryRoof.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 Wilmore Estate: File:602NightParty2.png
    Maurice's library: (ceiling)
    Maurice's library: rest of the room)
  11. Image of the Clementinum library, from Wikimedia Commons
  12. Royal manor:
    Summer Palace
    Royal Castle:
    Tremaine manor:
  13. Royal Manor:
    Summer Palace:
    Royal Castle:
  14. Royal manor:
    Royal Castle:
  15. Meaning of "je ne sais quoi" in the English Dictionary. Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved on September 3, 2018.
  16. InstagramIcon.png andreakbrooks (Andrea Brooks). June 7, 2017. "Found something fun while I was cleaning out my old phone. Throwing back to #OUAT where I got to wear lots of tiny dots on my face. #FacialMotionCapture" (archive copy)
  17. Gittins, Susan (July 20, 2016). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Season 6's Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) Versus Regina on Steveston Docks. Hollywood North Buzz.
  18. File:411GrannysDiner2.png
  19. File:613DinerInTheEvening.png
  20. This is the order of events:
    • Rumplestiltskin tells the Evil Queen about the Dark Curse.
    • Prince Charming wakes Snow White from the sleeping curse. ("Pilot")
    • Regina is captured and almost executed. ("The Cricket Game")
    • Rumplestiltskin puts a spell on Snow and Charming so Regina can't hurt them. ("The Cricket Game")
    • Regina hires the Count of Monte Cristo, since she can't kill them herself. ("A Bitter Draught")
    • Rumplestiltskin's FIRST attempt to remind her of the Dark Curse so that she casts it instead of trying to get Snow and Charming killed. ("A Bitter Draught")
      • Regina does NOT agree to cast the curse, as she insists on getting them killed.
    • Count of Monte Cristo leaves to the Land of Untold Stories, so Regina's attempt to get Snow and Charming killed fails. ("A Bitter Draught")
    • Snow and Charming's wedding day. Rumplestiltskin's SECOND attempt to remind her of the Dark Curse so that she casts it instead of trying to get Snow and Charming killed. ("The Cricket Game")
      • Regina AGREES to casting the Dark Curse, and goes to the Wedding.
    • Snow and Charming's wedding. ("Pilot")
  21. TwitterLogo.svg @AndrewChambliss (Andrew Chambliss) on Twitter (October 2, 2016). "Between 210 and the pilot." (screenshot)
  22. 22.0 22.1 File:602Invitation.png
  23. Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dracula: Between Hero and Vampire. Retrieved on September 3, 2018. “It is also notable in the novel that Dracula can walk about in the daylight, in bright sunshine, though apparently without the ability to use most of his powers, like turning into mist or a bat.”
  24. ONCE UPON A TIME "Pilot" by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (PDF) pp. 37. Retrieved on March 30, 2021. “Anna takes out the book. Starts to flip through it. It's VAST. Filled with text and drawings. This is another Tivo moment where we catch glimpses of drawings from all the iconic fairy tales... and maybe from a few other stories as well. Was that Dracula we glimpsed? No time to dwell.”
  25. Abrams, Natalie (March 10, 2016). The Hot Seat: Once Upon a Time bosses answer your burning questions. Entertainment Weekly. “Will Dracula ever come to Once Upon a Time? KITSIS: Can't say. HOROWITZ: I love Dracula, but can't say.”
  26. File:602InThisBook.png
  27. File:522TheyreMagic.png
  28. File:602Dracula.png
  29. File:602ItsOkay.png
  30. File:504OnceAndForAll.png
  31. File:505UnwrappingDagger.png
  32. File:507NotGreen.png
  33. File:510ThisWay.png
  34. File:602YeahWell.png
  35. File:602NightParty2.png
  36. File:616CleaningHerBoot.png
  37. 37.0 37.1 File:217GoThroughUs.png
  38. File:602ArrivingAtVillage.png
  39. File:104EllaAtTheWell.png
  40. File:108Noooooo!.png
  41. File:115Corpses.png
  42. File:117CarriageIsThat.png
  43. File:203Corpses.png
  44. File:320Glinda!Glinda!.png
  45. File:504NoLongerTheBrokenKingdom.png
  46. File:507MerlinAndNimueWalkOff.png
  47. File:701ThrowingThat.png
  48. File:722BelleAppears.png
  49. File:602DeadKnight.png
  50. File:410DeserveToDie.png
  51. File:502TheWrongDress.png
  52. File:415GetAwayFromHim.png
  53. File:609AboutToThrowDust.png
  54. File:602OnMainStreet.png
  55. Ravine' Bell Sleeve Silk & Linen Top. Nordstrom. Retrieved on September 3, 2018.
  56. FRAME Le Oversized Jacket. Shopbop. Retrieved on September 3, 2018.
  57. File:602InThisBook.png
  58. Tymber Denim Trench by Club Monaco. Spring. Retrieved on September 3, 2018.
  59. KARA'S CHAMBRAY COAT ON SUPERGIRL. WornOnTV. Retrieved on September 3, 2018.
  60. File:602MommysBack.png
  61. File:101Hey!.png
  62. File:102SameAge.png
  63. File:107BlackSuitsMe.png
  64. File:117YourHat.png
  65. File:610Surrender.png
  66. File:712RememberThis.png
  67. File:602Promo6.jpg
  68. "Zelena" green silk robe from Once Upon a Time Season 6, Episode 2.. iCollector. Archived from the original on December 2, 2018. “Hero floor length Patricia Fieldwalker green silk robe with sash belt worn in A Bitter Draught.”
  69. TwitterLogo.svg @canadagraphs (Canadagraphs) on Twitter (July 18, 2016). "#OnceUponATime doing a quick shoot at Central Park before moving to studio soon" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @NikoleWyles (Nikole Wyles) on Twitter (July 26, 2016). "Jared is now Lana's personal body guard 😂 (From 7/25/16 in Burnaby)" (screenshot)
  70. File:TWHookfoundme-602.png
  71. File:602WhatWasThat.png
  72. File:721SearchingForFamily.png
  73. Steve Pearlman and David H. Goodman on the Season Seven Blu-ray-exclusive Audio Commentary for "Homecoming"
  74. File:522WalkingIntoLab.png
  75. David H. Goodman and Andrew Chambliss on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "Only You"