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This article focuses on a character who holds the title of "Savior."
For the other characters who held this title, see Saviors.
For the Season Five episode, see "The Dark Swan."
For the Season Six episode, see "The Savior."

No one needs to save me, I'm the Savior! I'm fighting for the people I love. Ultimately, I am a hero. I am hope. I am light. And light cannot destroy darkness, it can only create more light. I will not kill innocents. I will do what all saviors must, I will give hope. No matter what the cost.

—Emma to Gideon src

Emma Swan, also known as the Savior and the Greatest Light,[1] formerly as the Dark One or the Dark Swan,[2] briefly as Princess Leia, and alternatively as Princess Emma, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. She débuts in the first episode of the first season of Once Upon a Time and is portrayed by starring cast member Jennifer Morrison, guest star Abby Ross, and co-star Mckenna Grace.

Emma Swan is based on the titular character of the fairytale "The Ugly Duckling." She is also an allusion to Odile (the Black Swan) from the Swan Lake ballet.[3]


Before First Curse

Unsure whether their child will be good or evil, Snow White and Prince Charming touch the horn of a unicorn to glimpse their baby's future. While her husband sees his infant daughter in a basket, Snow White sees her teenage daughter in a pink gown. When Snow states herself to be her mother, the girl rips out her heart before crushing it. Desperate to get the potential for darkness out of their daughter, Snow White and Prince Charming visit the Apprentice who tells them he can infuse another vessel with their daughter's potential for darkness. Snow convinces Charming that they'll use Maleficent's egg since she believes a child of a dragoness will be evil by nature. As the Apprentice enacts the spell on the egg, he reveals infusing darkness in it puts this land at risk, so it must go to another world. Realizing they have made a grave mistake, the horrified couple watches a portal open while the egg hatches into a baby. After the portal absorbs the egg, the Apprentice cautions Snow White and Prince Charming to keep their child on the right path in life, while their unborn child is thought to be pure as white. ("Best Laid Plans")

While Emma is still growing in her mother Snow White's womb, Snow makes a desperate wish on a blue star to have a way to give her daughter a happy ending. The Blue Fairy hears this wish and grants it by causing everyone to sing. The magic in all the songs are later imbued into Emma's heart by the Blue Fairy, who explains that she'll need the songs one day as she will fight a great battle on her own. ("The Song in Your Heart")

On the day the Evil Queen's Dark Curse is cast, Snow goes into labor early and gives birth to Emma. While the plan had been to put a pregnant Snow into the magic wardrobe to ensure Emma, the prophesied Savior of the Queen's curse, would have her mother to guide her as she grew up in the Land Without Magic, Emma's parents are forced to send their daughter into the wardrobe. Emma's father Prince Charming fights his way past the Queen's knights to put her into the wardrobe, which will bring her to the Land Without Magic where she will hopefully grow up and break the curse in twenty-eight years. Prior to Emma going into the wardrobe, Pinocchio went through it at Geppetto's behest, ending up in the woods outside of Storybrooke,[4] a town created from the curse. Once Emma arrives in the Land Without Magic, Pinocchio picks up Emma, and the two children are later placed in a foster home together. Despite that Pinocchio promised Geppetto that he'd look after Emma until she is ready to be the Savior, he abandons her for freedom, leaving her to grow up in the system alone. ("Pilot," "The Stranger")

During First Curse

Growing up in the foster care system, Emma moves from family to family. At one point, she is adopted and lives with a family, but is returned to the foster system at age three when that family has a biological child of their own. ("Pilot")

In 1989, Emma and some children from her group home visit a movie theater in Minnesota to watch the Disney film, The Sword in the Stone. In the theater, Emma steals an Apollo candy bar from another person, and as she takes a seat, an usher tells her to not do "it." She begins apologizing for stealing, but he points out that he is actually referring to something else and then cautions her against doing things for the right reasons because bad things will happen. He tells her she will have the chance to pull the sword out of the stone one day, but that she must never do it. After giving her the message, he disappears. ("The Dark Swan")

In 1990, sometime after running away from her group home, Emma begins living on the streets. One night, she rips out pages from a fairytale book and burns them in a trash can in an effort to keep warm. As she moves to tear out a page from The Ugly Ducking story, a boy, actually the older Pinocchio, stops her from destroying it. He offers her insight about all fairytales being about transformation, such as the duckling turning into a swan, but Emma believes the duckling was always a swan without knowing it. The boy explains his view of the duckling having turned into a swan with the power of belief, and that if someone believes in something hard enough, they can change their fate. He uses this to persuade Emma that being on the streets is not the fate she wants that despite running away from her previous home, it doesn't mean she won't find a good one someday. Encouraged by these words, Emma goes to the police for help, and when asked for her last name, she adopts the surname "Swan" to pay homage to the advice she got about the ugly duckling and the power to change by believing in herself. ("Tougher Than the Rest")

In her room, a year later, Emma records a brief audio tape of herself humming a song, with dreams of singing on stage at a school. Another girl in the group home sees a paper advertising the competition and mocks her for even thinking anyone would want to hear her sing as she's just like the rest of the orphans who will be alone forever. After the girl leaves, Emma crumbles up the ad and throws it into the trash. ("The Song in Your Heart")

Ten years into the curse in Storybrooke, in 1993, Mary Margaret and David, the cursed Snow White and Prince Charming, regain their past memories and use a pixie flower to locate Emma in the Land Without Magic, where they see her through their side of a portal door as she is sitting on a bed with headphones on. Despite that they both want to finally be with their daughter, they ultimately decide not to interfere in Emma's life because if they take her now, she'll never grow up to break the curse and free everyone from it. Snow tearfully closes the portal door, which briefly emits a bright light on Emma's side of the door. Emma turns to look at her open closet door, but sees nothing amiss. ("Awake")

Emma, now eleven years old, lives in a group home in Boston. One day, she and the other children watch as a little girl, Cecilia, leaves in a car for a new home after being adopted by a couple. Even as the vehicle pulls away, Emma continues to stare after it as she, too, desires a family. Her foster mother notices Emma's longing looks and tries to assure her that she will have a family one day as well. ("Snow Drifts," "Breaking Glass")

Realizing she will likely never catch the eye of adoptive parents, Emma hops a bus to Minnesota. In Hopkins, she enters a store and goes to steal a box of Poptarts. Emma notices a girl, Lily, watching her, but the latter walks away. After concealing a box in her jacket, Emma begins walking out when a store employee stops her. Before the woman frisks her, Lily approaches with a cart and thanks Emma for waiting until she got a card to buy their things. Relieved that her cover wasn't blown, Emma expresses gratitude to the girl for helping her while Lily suggests that they should team up. After buying food, Lily spots a man in a car pursuing them, but they manage to lose him by escaping into an alley. As they have a picnic with their food, Emma opens up about why she came to Minnesota as Lily shares similar feelings of being invisible and unseen to the world, which causes Emma to assume the man in the car was a social worker trying to return Lily to a group home. Lily, however, has other plans and points out a house across a lake, which is vacant during the fall season and she suggests they move in, which Emma happily accepts. Inside the home, following a video game session, Emma sees a star imprint on Lily's wrist. Lily imagines the star makes herself special, and she then draws a matching one on Emma's wrist. Upon finding a camera, they record themselves goofing off. Emma and Lily grow close in this short span of time, and they promise to remain friends no matter what. That night, the same man who chased them earlier arrives. At first, Emma stubbornly insists that they are not going back into the foster care system, but to her shock, she learns he is actually Lily's father. Once the police show up, Lily gives her contact information to Emma so once everything blows over, they can run away together. Lily attests that though she lied about her family, everything else is real as she was adopted and her home life is miserable. Too hurt by her lies, Emma walks away, rubbing off the star on her wrist, and ignores Lily as she repeatedly calls after her. ("Breaking Glass")

After this, Emma is taken in by foster parents in Mankato who already have two sons. While packing for her first camping trip with them, she searches the garage for her sleeping bag and discovers Lily hiding out there. Emma's foster father sees them, as Lily lies about being another foster family's child, and she is subsequently invited to join the family for dinner. During the meal, Lily lies about how she and Emma met, while the blonde is shocked by her blalant lying. Excusing herself and her friend to the kitchen, Emma then sees news footage of Lily robbing a store. Emma asks her to leave, but Lily refuses to go without retrieving her crescent moon necklace, which is in an abandoned house she was staying at. Emma goes to get it, and after she returns home, her foster parents confront her about Lily, who has stolen their money and disappeared. They also know, from a few phone calls, that her friend is now wanted for robbery. Emma admits knowing this and having asked Lily to leave because of it, to which her foster father criticizes her for allowing a criminal to be a danger to his children. Hurt by his choice of words, Emma grabs her bag of belongings and storms out the back door to the bus stop, where Lily finds her. Blaming Lily for ruining her chance at having a family, Emma throws her the necklace and tells her to go away. Lily, however, wants to stay with her, considering Emma as her only source of light amidst all the darkness in her life. Emma coldly asserts that she would rather be alone and walks off. ("Lily")

Ending up in another group home in Richfield, Minnesota, Emma moves in, keeping her old camera as well as the footage of her time with Lily. Another child in the home, Kevin, grabs the camera and toys around with it as the device unknowingly begins recording them. As Emma shouts at him to give it back, her new foster mother Ingrid approaches to take the camera and returns it to Emma. After Ingrid leaves, Kevin blocks Emma's way and threatens her into giving him the camera with the promise of making her life miserable if she does not. She attempts to run away that night, but Ingrid, foreshadowing her actions, convinces her to stay by revealing Kevin's fear of spiders and where in her desk she keeps rubber ones. Realizing Ingrid is helping her, Emma agrees to stay. ("Breaking Glass," "Shattered Sight")

Some time later, while Emma is at a carnival with Ingrid, she unknowingly displays her first signs of magic by causing a claw crane game to glitch. After winning a prize, Ingrid states that Emma's a special girl and that she will someday surprise everyone with her "extraordinary gifts." Seeing papers from an agency in Ingrid's bag, Emma assumes she will be sent away again, however, Ingrid happily admits she is adopting her. While Ingrid knows Emma might not see her as a mother, she'll gladly be a big sister to her. As the pair wait for their bus ride, Emma suggests it'd be cool to have magic powers so she can teleport home. Ingrid reminds her of how the crane game flickered and implies it wasn't an accident, but Emma just shrugs it off. To prove Emma's magic potential, Ingrid pulls her in front of an oncoming car and pushes her to use magic to stop it. Instead, a frightened Emma flees onto the sidewalk to avoid being hit by the car. Ingrid then attempts to connect with Emma by elaborating about how she discovered of her own powers, but Emma believes Ingrid to be a lunatic who never truly loved her after all. Emma then runs off and never returns. ("Shattered Sight")

After becoming emancipated, Emma breaks into a yellow bug in Portland, Oregon. She begins driving away when a man, Neal, surprises her by popping up from the backseat. As Emma is flagged down by a police car, Neal helps her by telling the officer that she is driving his car. Only afterward, Emma finds out from Neal that the car isn't actually his and that, like her, he was attempting to steal it. Later, Neal sneaks them into a closed amusement park where Emma learns he once had a loving home but ran away once his father changed too much. They begin dating and pull small robbing heists. While donning a fake pregnancy belly, Emma steals items from a convenience store as Neal distracts the store owner. When they are caught by a customer, Emma feigns labor pains. As they hastily leave, Neal steals a swan keychain for her. The duo drives away and go to a hotel where Neal allows her to make a decision on the place they are going to spend their lives together. Emma picks Tallahassee. Later, Neal admits to being wanted for stealing watches and plans on escaping to Canada alone. Though Neal is against her tagging along, she takes back the stolen watches as he goes to look for someone to buy them so they can use the money for travel. While she waits for him at a meeting spot, a police officer arrests her for possession of stolen goods. To Emma's heartbreak, she is told by the officer that Neal ratted her out. She is sent to a minimum security prison in Phoenix for eleven months. One day, Emma tests positive on a pregnancy test when she receives mail from Phuket containing the swan keychain and car keys. ("Tallahassee," "There's No Place Like Home")

Sometime during Emma's pregnancy, she decides to give the baby up in a closed adoption. On the day Emma goes into labor and births a son, she struggles with her desire to keep the child. Though tempted to change her mind, Emma believes she simply isn't fit to be a mother. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer")

At some point after this, Emma finds Tallahassee and stays there for two years. ("The Price of Gold")

During 2009, after her prison term has ended, Emma drives the yellow bug back to the Maine area where she was found as an infant twenty-six years ago. She asks the shop keeper for information about anyone who might remember the incident, but she receives nothing. A woman, Cleo, correctly guesses that Emma is the baby that was abandoned. As Emma turns to leave, Cleo uses her intuition again, this time to reveal she knows Emma stole from stores in Phoenix, got arrested and skipped bail. Realizing the woman means to apprehend her, Emma flees to her car, only to find Cleo has already put a boot on the tire. After Emma is caught by Cleo, she is taken to a motel and handcuffed to the bedpost. While Cleo is in the shower, Emma pick locks the handcuff and steals money from Cleo's wallet. She finds a photo of a young girl, whom she suspects is the woman's daughter. Emma prepares to leave quietly, but then, she spots Cleo's laptop has access to courthouse documents. Through browsing, she discovers the Hancock County Courthouse has a file on her. In a deal, Emma agrees to return to Phoenix, if Cleo helps her get the file. At the courthouse, Cleo tells Emma about her red jacket, which is her "armor" protection, and she advises the blonde to learn how to protect herself. She cautions Emma to not put all her hopes on the file, which may not have the answers she is looking for, and that she should find her own "armor." When the file turns up with barely anything, Emma has a meltdown. Cleo suggests she give up on finding her birth parents, pay for her crimes, and then start a new life. Emma accosts Cleo for only caring about getting a payout for bringing her back to Phoenix, while Cleo gives her an ultimatum to uphold her end of their bargain. That night, Emma breaks into the courthouse to search for more files. Cleo follows her in and convinces her to give up, but before the two can leave, the cops arrive. Cleo kicks the glass out of a window before jumping out of it, followed by Emma, and they take off running. Not long after, Cleo collapses, having been stabbed by a piece of broken glass earlier. Emma wants to turn herself in so the cops will save Cleo, but the latter encourages her to keep running and to start her life over. Cleo reveals that she once gave up her daughter, much like how Emma was given up, and this is all she hopes for her. Emma escapes, while Cleo later dies. ("Firebird")

Sometime after Cleo's death, in 2010, Emma becomes a bails bondsperson and tracks down Cleo's daughter, Tasha, and gives her collected information about her birth mother. At the clothing store where Tasha works, Emma also buys a red leather jacket similar to the one Cleo used to wear. She takes Cleo's past advice to her and begins wearing the jacket as her "armor" to protect herself emotionally from other people. ("Firebird")

In 2011, Emma pursues a fugitive named Ryan in Boston on her birthday. After turning him into the authorities, she heads back to her flat and lights a cupcake for her twenty-eighth birthday. As she wishes on the candle not to be alone on her birthday, a boy, Henry, shows up claiming to be the son that she gave up for adoption ten years ago. She panics and retreats into the bathroom, but returns to threaten Henry with a police call, but he promises to give them the excuse that she kidnapped him. She warns about her superpower to detect any lie, which leads Henry to plead for her to come home with him to Storybrooke, Maine. During the car ride home, he explains about the Dark Curse that caused all fairytale characters to be trapped. He claims every single story in his book is true and even she is in it, but Emma is still skeptical. Upon reaching town, Henry refuses to give out his address, so she gets it from the boy's therapist, Archie Hopper. She hears more strange allegations from Henry that Archie is Jiminy Cricket and everyone in town is from the Enchanted Forest. After bringing him home, Henry's adoptive mother, Regina invites her in for apple cider. Emma reassures Regina that she won't be a problem, especially since the father doesn't know Henry exists. Emma makes a passing comment on Henry's claims about fairy tales, though Regina has no knowledge of any of that. As Emma departs from the house, she sees Henry peering at her from his bedroom window. On her drive out of town, she notices he left his book on the car seat. When she looks back up, a stray wolf on the road causes her to swerve the car, hit the town marker and fall unconscious.

She wakes up in a jail cell, and in the next cell to hers is the town drunk, Leroy while a mechanic, Marco, is fixing a sink in the room. The sheriff, Graham, arrives to unlock Leroy's cell and allow him to go. Emma alleges a wolf in the middle of the road distracted her, though he bets she was drunk on Regina's apple cider. Storming into the sheriff's office, Regina reports Henry has run away again. After some snooping, Emma questions Mary Margaret Blanchard, Henry's teacher, because he previously used her credit card to make a payment on a birth mother tracking site. When they are alone, Mary Margaret suggests checking Henry's castle playground where he usually frequents. At the playground, Emma returns Henry's book to him as he laments in disappointment over the lack of change since bringing her back. He requests her to stay in town for a week to prove he's right about the curse. When he claims his life sucks, Emma explains her own sob story of being abandoned many times. Henry insists she wasn't discarded and came through from another world. After dropping him off again, Emma shares with Regina the coincidence of how she and Henry met. Regina, however, wants Emma to have nothing further to do with Henry, who she has no legal right to. Despite that Regina says she loves Henry, Emma is not convinced. She takes Henry's advice and checks into an inn for a week. By chance, she meets Mr. Gold, who comes in to collect the monthly rent from Granny. ("Pilot")

The next morning, Emma receives apples from Regina for her trip back to Boston. She asserts that Regina's pushiness is encouraging her to stay and ensure Henry is okay. Regina insists she has things under control; clarifying that Henry is in therapy and warns Emma not to underestimate her power. At the diner, Emma receives a free hot chocolate from the waitress and mistakenly believes it's from Graham. As she rejects his flirting, Henry reveals he sent it and invites her to walk him to school. On the way there, he adopts the code name "Operation Cobra" for their plan to keep the Evil Queen from realizing they are working to break the curse. He then gives her storybook photos of Emma as an infant and claims she is the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White. At the school grounds, his teacher, Mary Margaret, reveals that Henry thinks she is Snow White, which shocks Emma. In a conversation with Henry's therapist, Archie, Emma is urged never to use the word "crazy" as it could damage the boy. Archie discloses that the fairytales are Henry's way of coping with problems like his difficult relationship with Regina. Archie gives her Henry's files, which she begins reading when Graham arrests her for "stealing" them. From this, Emma recognizes Regina framed her, but Mary Margaret bails her out. Spitefully, Emma buys a chainsaw to cut Regina's apple tree, and then warns the mayor against trying anything again. Soon, Regina evicts Emma from the inn due to a "no-felons policy" and puts a boot on her car. Seemingly remorseful, Regina arranges a meeting with Emma where she apologizes for her actions due to fears that she will take away Henry. Emma explains she wants to be sure Henry, who seems so troubled, is doing all right. She talks about his imagination mixing reality and fantasy, which is "crazy." Overhearing her words, Henry runs off as Emma realizes Regina purposely made her look bad. After paying back Mary Margaret for bail, the schoolteacher counsels her against leaving town because she needs to protect Henry. Bursting into Archie's office, Emma regains Henry's trust by telling him she told Regina what was necessary to throw her off their trail as they work to break the curse. To prove it, she takes the storybook pictures and burns them so Regina will never find out. With his faith restored, Henry happily runs to hug Emma. ("The Thing You Love Most")

Out of a place to stay, Emma begins sleeping in her car while looking for open rooms in the town newspaper. By chance, Mary Margaret offers Emma a spare room in her apartment. Emma turns her down citing she is not the roommate type. The next day, at the playground, Henry claims to have found Emma's father and shows her a photo of Prince Charming in the storybook. Due to his persistence about the matter, she helps convince Mary Margaret to read to a comatose patient, John Doe, who Henry stubbornly believes is Prince Charming. Emma hopes with Mary Margaret's help, Henry will eventually see fairytales are not real. The following morning, Mary Margaret gushes to Emma and Henry about John Doe grabbed her hand. Emma follows them to the hospital and discovers John Doe has disappeared from his room. She finds it strange the mayor is getting herself involved in the case, though Regina gives a recollection of how she found John Doe on the side of the road and became his emergency contact. Despite that Regina pushes her to stay out of the situation, Emma ignores her advice and she, along with Mary Margaret and Graham, look over security tapes in the hospital from last night, which show John Doe getting up and walking out the back exit into the forest. In the woods, Graham tracks John Doe's trail until it goes cold. Mary Margaret wonders if Emma's job as bonds bails person is good for finding people. Emma states it is viable in cities and relates how she got into the job from unsuccessfully searching for her birth parents. Abruptly, Henry leaps out to reveal knowledge about where John Doe is because he's looking for Mary Margaret. Emma wants to take Henry home, but Graham interrupts to show them John Doe's bloody hospital bracelet. They find John Doe passed out in the water near the Toll Bridge. While Graham calls an ambulance, Mary Margaret gives John Doe mouth to mouth resuscitation. Back at the hospital, John Doe's wife, Kathryn Nolan, rushes to reunite with her husband, whose real name is David Nolan. Emma finds it suspicious Kathryn didn't discover her husband's whereabouts until now, but lets it slide. That night, Emma changes her mind and moves into Mary Margaret's apartment. ("Snow Falls")

Emma is offered the position of deputy by Sheriff Graham, but takes time to think on it. At the diner, she apprehended by Regina about her history of never staying in one place for very long. Regina tries to persuade her to not disappoint Henry and just leave town now. After she is gone, Emma spills hot chocolate all over her shirt and is directed to a laundry machine in the back room. While changing clothes, she finds Ashley, a nineteen year-old pregnant maid, doing laundry. Ashley is in deep despair that no one believes she can be a good mother, to which Emma advises her to make changes if she is truly serious about keeping the baby. The next morning, Mr. Gold asks for Emma's help in tracking down Ashley, who broke into his shop, and disappeared. Along with Henry, Emma goes around questioning Ruby and Ashley's ex-boyfriend, Sean. From speaking with Sean's father, she learns about Ashley's adoption contract with Mr. Gold. After discovering Ruby lent Ashley a car, she and Henry rush to stop her from fleeing town for Boston. On the side of the road, Ashley is going into labor, to which Emma drives her back to the hospital. After receiving an announcement of Ashley's smooth delivery of a healthy baby girl, Mr. Gold comes to collect the baby, but Emma promises to owe him a favor if he tears the contract up. Agreeing to the deal, Mr. Gold leaves the hospital empty-handed. She drives Henry home just before Regina arrives back and sees him missing. On the side of the road, Emma decides to call Graham and accept the job of deputy to further cement roots in Storybrooke for Henry's sake. ("The Price of Gold")

Heading into Any Given Sundae, Emma prepares to buy cherry vanilla ice cream for Henry when she is shocked to see Ingrid standing behind the counter. Having arrived in Storybrooke months ago, Ingrid confesses she's been waiting for Emma to walk into her shop. Emma notices Ingrid hasn't aged in appearance since she last saw her ten years ago. To this, Ingrid reasons it's because time is frozen in Storybrooke just like Henry told Emma. Without either noticing, Sidney, who is spying on Emma for Regina, snaps a photo of them from outside the store. As her former foster mother recalls something an apprentice once said, Emma concludes she is delusional and prepares to call Sheriff Graham. Before she can, Ingrid pulls out a stone and takes away her memories of their exchange. Emma, remembering nothing, is steadied by Ingrid, who pretends to catch her from fainting. Ingrid gives her two pints of cherry vanilla as well a spoonful of rocky road. As Emma leaves, Ingrid watches her with a saddened expression. ("Shattered Sight")

On the day she officially receives the deputy's badge, a large earthquake rumbles through Storybrooke. She and Graham investigate at a caved in sinkhole. Disdainfully, Regina catches on that Emma is now part of the police force team. She is assigned to push back the townspeople away from the mine damage, but is called, along with Archie, to the sidelines by Henry. He implies to them that there might be something down in the tunnels to prove the curse is real. Nonetheless, Emma is shooed back to doing her job when Regina intervenes. A few nights later, she advises Mary Margaret that it's no good to get involved with David since he is married. Henry makes an unexpected visit in tears as he tells them Archie called his fairytale theories delusional. After bringing him home, Emma goes to Archie's office to tell him off. Soon after, she gets a furious call from Regina asking where her son is. Archie concludes Henry has run away to the sinkhole to find proof of the curse. At the mine site, Archie dives into the sinkhole before the entrance collapses. With Archie's dog, Pongo, he tracks his owner and Henry's scents to a grate with an elevator shaft below. Emma is slowly lowered down to pull both Henry and Archie up. Safe and sound above ground, Emma goes to reunite with Henry, but Regina pushes her away from him. ("That Still Small Voice")

After David is released from the hospital, she and Henry attends his welcome home party. Emma tries to convince Henry that the reason David got lost a few nights back by the Toll Bridge is due to amnesia. Later, she is on night duty patrol since Graham excused himself with other priorities. As she drives by Regina's house, Emma spots someone climbing out the window. When Emma tackles the person, she discovers that it is Graham and figures out he has been having an affair with Regina. She leaves in disgust. ("The Shepherd")

Swinging by the diner for a late nightcap, Emma immediately bolts the minute she sees Graham inside. In a drunken stupor, he chases her down and explains that his relationship with Regina is purely physical with no emotional attachments. She doesn't care for the explanation, but loses her guard when Graham kisses her. Harshly, she rejects him. In the morning, Emma scoffs upon seeing roses sitting on the apartment counter. Assuming they are from Graham, she tosses them into the garbage bin, however, Mary Margaret admits the flowers are for her from Dr. Whale. Mary Margaret can tell Emma is falling for Graham, despite that she doesn't want to face it. At work, Emma, bored, throws darts at a board when Regina enters. She notes Graham isn't in today and it must be because he spent the night with Regina. Emma is accused of having a more than professional relationship with Graham, but affirms anything that did happen meant nothing. As a final warning, Regina dissuades her from interfering in Graham's life and sending him down the wrong path. From Henry, Emma learns Graham consulted with him. Out of concern, Emma asks Graham what is actually wrong. He prattles about needing to find his heart by following a wolf. It all sounds insane to Emma until she actually sees a wolf behind Graham. They chase it to the cemetery where he recognizes a vault from Henry's storybook. The door is locked, so Emma kicks it in. Graham doesn't find his heart inside, but they are caught by Regina. Graham cuts his ties with her and Regina blames Emma for it, even going so far as to hit her. The two women have a physical altercation until Graham breaks it up. Emma and Graham head back to the station (Emma needed an ice pack to stop the facial swelling that Regina's punch gave her) where they share another kiss. Oddly, he pulls away and thanks her for helping him remember. Before she can ask him that means, he suddenly collapses and dies from a fatal heart attack. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

At some point, Emma learns the result of the autopsy and tells Henry that Graham died of natural causes, but the kid does not buy it. ("Desperate Souls")

Two weeks later, Mr. Gold convinces Emma to become sheriff since she already is deputy. He offers her some of Graham's belongings, but Emma refuses all but a set of walkie-talkies, which she takes to Henry for their Operation Cobra, but the boy is too upset because ofGraham's death to care about the gift. Later, before Emma can put the sheriff badge on, Regina fires her and plans to put Sidney as the new sheriff. Led on by Mr. Gold, Emma challenges Regina with the town charter rules, which state a mayor can only support a candidate and not instate one. Emma quickly wins support from the townspeople after rescuing Regina from a fire in town hall, which she later realizes was staged by Mr. Gold. On the day Emma gives her candidate electoral speech, she exits out of the race after indicting Mr. Gold as the fire-starter culprit to the townspeople. To Emma's surprise, her courage in standing up to Mr. Gold earns everyone's respect and she is elected as the new sheriff. ("Desperate Souls")

She quickly gets her first job as sheriff afterwards when two orphans, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, shoplift from Mr. Clark's store and Regina wants them to be sent to the foster system in Boston. In the middle of all this, Henry wants to know about his real father. Emma makes up a fake heroic story of his father dying as a firefighter while saving lives to spare him knowledge of the truth. Eventually, Emma finds the orphans' father, Michael Tillman, but he wants nothing to do with them. As she is leaving Storybrooke with the children for Boston, her car breaks down. She calls Michael, and when he arrives, she convinces him to take the children in. In the evening, she and Henry talk a nightly stroll when a mysterious man drives by into town on his motorcycle asking for the nearest inn. After he is gone, she asks Henry if strangers usually come to Storybrooke. He confirms they don't. ("True North")

The next day, Emma catches Mary Margaret in a lie when she claims to be helping her students build a volcano, but finds that she has been coming to the diner everyday at seven-fifteen in the morning to see David. Again, she presses Mary Margaret to not get mixed up with him. On the street, Regina orders Emma to check out the stranger in town. She confronts him to ask what he carries around in the wooden box strapped to his motorcycle. Only after she consents to his offer of a drink, he opens the box to reveal a typewriter and explains the town is writing inspiration for him. He leaves and promises to buy her a drink in the future. ("7:15 A.M.")

Once more, Emma butts heads with Regina. Like her, Sidney has been nursing a grudge against Regina since she fired him from his editing job. Emma is unsure about helping him, so he gives her his name card. However, when Regina tears down Henry's castle for so-called safety concerns, Emma becomes angry and calls Sidney. Together, they discover Regina is keeping quite a few secrets, such as embezzlement of fifty thousand dollars from the treasury and land she bought from Mr. Gold to build a house in the woods. When they expose her greed at the town meeting, Regina reveals her "house" is actually a modern playground for Henry and for all the children of Storybrooke. Humiliated and ashamed, Emma leaves, but Regina catches up and warns her to stay away from Henry, or else she will get a restraining order. Emma and Sidney go have a drink at the diner and vow to become allies against Regina's cruelty. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree")

On Valentine's Day, Mary Margaret, Ruby and Ashley all invite her to attend their girls' night out party, but she declines as work keeps things busy. She discovers that Mr. Gold has been robbed by Moe French and recovers all but one of the stolen items, which makes him very angry. Going on a hutch, Emma follows Mr. Gold into the woods and breaks into a shed to find him pummeling Moe. After she arrests and put him in a cell, Emma is bribed by Regina to allow her some alone time with Mr. Gold. In return, Emma is given free time with Henry, which they spend by grabbing some ice cream. ("Skin Deep")

Outside the diner, Emma bumps into the stranger, who gives his name as August W. Booth, and he finally takes her out for a drink. They ride his motorcycle to the wishing well and he fills her in on the lore of magic water that can restore something once lost. Emma and August both take sips from the well. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret suffers as her quiet affair with David has become the scandal of the town, and she breaks up with him. That night, Emma keeps a miserable Mary Margaret company. ("What Happened to Frederick")

At the diner, Emma notices Mary Margaret being shunned by some of the townspeople. Following a quick chat with her, she heads to the site of Kathryn's disappearance and acquires information from Sidney about evidence of an eight-minute long conversation Kathryn had with David before she went missing. Though this makes David a possible suspect, Emma doesn't pursue the matter any further until Regina comes to the station looking for news on Kathryn. Regina threatens to replace Emma if she is covering for someone, to which Emma reluctantly goes to the festival and takes David into her custody as a person of interest in the case. ("Dreamy")

Emma stays up all night interviewing David, but he sticks to his story of having nothing to do with Kathryn's disappearance. In the end, she grudgingly lets him leave and advises him to get a lawyer. As she is walking home, she meets up with Mary Margaret, and begins a conversation with her about David. At the corner, they see Ruby at the bus stop evading the advances of Dr. Whale. After forcing him to leave, they learn Ruby is out of a job and place to stay, so Emma and Mary Margaret take her in as an apartment roommate. Though Ruby has a difficult time finding a job, Emma recognizes that she has a knack for answering phones and hires her as an assistant. Just then, Mary Margaret walks in to notify Emma about how strange David is acting in the forest. She and Ruby head there to come across a delirious and bleeding David. At the hospital, Dr. Whale diagnoses it as a blackout similar to what David experienced just after waking up from the coma. Regina barges in to demand David's arrest. To keep that from happening, Emma instructs Ruby to look for something useful for the investigation before David goes into another trance. Ruby complies and finds a box with a human heart in it, but decides the job is not for her and resigns. Afterwards, Emma runs scans on the box for fingerprints. She goes to the animal shelter to inform David and Mary Margaret of the results. Rather than David, the prints are Mary Margaret's. ("Red-Handed")

Left little choice, Emma arrests and brings her into the sheriff department to begin taking mug shots. Mary Margaret insists that she has been framed. Though Emma believes her, she has to do her job or face the wraith of Regina. She takes Mary Margaret to an interrogation room. Mary Margaret is outraged, but Emma must adhere to her job as sheriff. She questions Mary Margaret as a suspect as Regina sits by as a third-party to ensure Emma is being unbiased. Inadvertently, Mary Margaret reveals the jewelry box found containing Kathryn's heart belongs to her. To this, Regina sympathizes with how Mary Margaret must be feeling as a woman spurned and placed into a "dark place." Outside the room, Emma tells Regina not to comment during the interrogation, though the mayor attests that a heartbroken woman is capable of doing unspeakable things. More and more evidence builds against Mary Margaret, but Emma remains a staunch ally. Emma advises her to find a lawyer, at which Mr. Gold offers his services. Mary Margaret accepts. Meanwhile, Emma goes to check for signs of a break-in at the apartment. Henry insists that Regina is framing Mary Margaret and presents a set of keys from Regina's office as proof, which he claims can open any door in Storybrooke. After some tries, one of the keys successfully unlocks the door, to Emma's astonishment. Emma discovers a knife hidden in the air vent, and confronts Mary Margaret over this, but she continues to claim innocence. She believes Mary Margaret is being framed and begins trying to work against the building case. ("Heart of Darkness")

That night, she walks into the sheriff department in an active conversation with Mr. Gold. Henry praises her for the escape plan, but Emma has no idea what he is talking about until finding Mary Margaret missing from the cell. Mr. Gold urges that Mary Margaret must be found before eight o'clock, which is the time of the arraignment as well as when Regina will arrive at the station and discover her gone. Emma goes out in search of Mary Margaret and accidentally hits a man, Jefferson, on the road. To make it up to him, she drives Jefferson home. He invites Emma into his house and offers her some tea. After drinking it, she passes out and awakens to find herself bound up. To break free, Emma smashes a tea cup with a pillow and uses one of the broken edges to cut out her way out. She sneaks past Jefferson, who is sharpening a pair of scissors, and discovers Mary Margaret in a separate room. They attempt to escape, but are caught by Jefferson. Emma is taken to a separate room filled with hats and commanded by Jefferson to make a hat so that he can go back to the Enchanted Forest. Since he believes himself to be the Mad Hatter, she concludes that Jefferson must be in on Henry's theory. He refuses to let her go until she makes a hat "work," though Emma only makes an unfinished bowler hat. Jefferson shows her a telescope image of a girl next door, who he believes is his daughter, Grace. To gain his trust, Emma pretends to sympathize by declaring that she thinks Mary Margaret is her own mother. When his back is turned, she hits him on the head with the telescope and hurries to Mary Margaret. A brief struggle with Jefferson ensues, but Mary Margaret hits and kicks him out the window. They begin leaving after finding no sign of Jefferson anywhere. Emma offers Mary Margaret the option of taking her car and leaving for Boston or going back to the jail. She confesses fears about being lonely if Mary Margaret leaves because she considers her to be family. Mary Margaret decides to go back to the jail. In the aftermath, Emma meets up with Henry at school when the same girl Jefferson pointed out to her, Paige, walks past. She borrows Henry's book and turns to a section showing a photo of the Mad Hatter and his daughter. Emma is confused by the photographic resemblance. ("Hat Trick")

While headed off to work, she is approached by David, who clarifies his last encounter with Mary Margaret, and that he doesn't actually think she is guilty. David wants to see her in person, but Emma presses that Mary Margaret doesn't want visitors, and the last person she needs to hear from is him. At the sheriff's office, Mr. Gold suggests Mary Margaret's personality can help the charges get dropped, so Emma thinks it'd be a good idea to allow an interview with the District Attorney. In passing, Sidney hands over flowers for Emma, though he is regretful to not finding anything in the case showing Regina is involved. From outside the room, Emma and Regina watch the interview between the District Attorney Mr. Spencer and Mary Margaret. However, it all goes awry when Mary Margaret has an agitated outburst over her innocence being called into question and admits in the heat of the moment that she "wanted Kathryn gone," which serves as a murder confession. Later, Emma is approached by August, who gives her some advice on revisiting old information in the case to discover new tidbits. They go past the Toll Bridge where Ruby found the jewelry box with the human heart in it. While examining the hole, she finds a shovel shard. Emma has a hunch about whose shovel it is, and enlists the help of Henry to infiltrate Regina's garage. Inside, Emma finds a shovel with a chipped off piece, which is a perfect fit with the broken shard. Having found the link Regina has both to the crime scene and as a suspect in the case, Emma comes to the front door the next day with a search warrant to look in the shed. To her surprise, the shovel is now fully intact. Thinking she has been betrayed, she confronts August about his double crossing by assisting Regina, but he claims his innocence profusely; something Emma has a hard time believing. Later, the police come to take Mary Margaret away in preparation for the trial. She is upset that putting her trust in Mr. Gold has yielded no help for Mary Margaret, though he claims there is still time to "work a little magic." Unable to simmer her frustration, Emma hurls the vase of flowers in her office across the room. It smashes, and between the broken glass and wet flowers, she finds an audio spying device. This helps her realize Sidney was spying on her, not August. She quickly finds and apologies to August. Then, they hear Ruby's frantic scream behind the diner. Emma goes into the alley to investigate and finds a battered up and alive Kathryn. ("The Stable Boy")

During Kathryn's recovery stay at the hospital, Emma goes to take a statement from her. Kathryn remembers being kidnapped and kept alive in a dark basement where food and water were readily available, but there was never anyone around. She recounts being drugged, waking up in a field near town and crawling her way to the alley. With one job done, Emma approaches Sidney at the diner to let him know she is aware of his backstabbing. Though Sidney does not deny Regina is dangerous, he also admits to being in love with her. She leaves him an ultimatum to help her find the evidence Regina is behind Mary Margaret's false murder charge, or go down with Regina once incriminating proof is found. Since Kathryn's reappearance, Mary Margaret is relieved of any wrongdoing in the case. Emma throws her a welcome home party in the apartment as many town residents show up for the celebration. She has suspicions that Mr. Gold may have kidnapped and held Kathryn hostage, but he plays off her claims. Emma sends Henry home early to keep Regina from finding out where he's been. As she opens the door, David is on the other side. Since Mary Margaret is not ready to speak to him yet, she asks him to walk Henry home. Later in the night, Emma goes back to the sheriff's office where Regina comes forward with a confession. To her annoyance, Sidney admits to having abducted Kathryn in the hopes he might obtain his editor job back. She doesn't believe him and leads Regina out to the hallway for a talk. Once they are alone, Emma cannot hold back from containing her disgust at Regina's scheming ways. Regina reveals nothing in her involvement in kidnapping Kathryn, but Emma has had it with the mayor. She vows to make her pay, especially since Regina once took away someone she loved, and now she will do the same by fighting for custody of her son, Henry. ("The Return")

Emma turns to Mr. Gold for assistance in taking on Regina so she can have Henry. He refuses to help, so this points her into August's direction as an alternative. He takes her to a road in the woods and confronts Emma with the truth—that she is the savior and must save everyone from the curse. August introduces himself as Pinocchio, the seven-year-old that found her when she was an infant, and to prove his point, he shows her his leg. To Emma, she sees nothing but a normal leg. She moves to walk away, to which August angrily scolds her for not believing that everyone needs her. Emma does not want responsibility for others, which she claims the role of sheriff gives her. Taking matters into her own hands, she picks up Henry for a drive in her car, but is actually leaving town with him. ("The Stranger")

Henry begs Emma not to depart from Storybrooke since she still needs to save everyone from the curse. However, she'd rather bring him out of town so he can be away from Regina for good. When she doesn't listen to Henry, he purposely swerves the car as the vehicle crashes into a ditch. Pushed by his insistent pleads that Emma's family needs her, she decides to drop the plan for now. Emma returns to the apartment to face a disappointed roommate. Mary Margaret is very upset, despite that Emma once considered them as family, she left without a word. She admits to not wanting the role of sheriff and people relying on her. Emma confesses she attempted to take Henry with her as well. Mary Margaret calls attention to the fact kidnapping Henry has never been what's best for a child, and Emma just wants to run away by reverting into the previous person she used to be. She takes Mary Margaret's advice by figuring out what is best for Henry, and goes to confer with Archie about gaining custody. He doesn't see the chances as very likely since Henry has been continuously misbehaving since her arrival in town. Out of choices, she informs Regina that she is leaving Storybrooke, but wants visitation with Henry. Regina agrees and gives her a poisoned apple turnover as a parting travel treat. As Emma is packing up her belongs in the apartment, Henry enters. She lets him know her reasons for leaving town, that other people shouldn't be hurt in the tug-of-war with Regina, and the two have a farewell hug. However, he is uneasy at the sight of Regina's apple turnover on the counter. Henry snatches the turnover and states that she may not believe in the curse or in him, but he believes in her. Then, he bites into the turnover and collapses. ("An Apple Red as Blood")

Horrified at the turn of events, Emma takes a comatose Henry to the hospital and refuses to leave his side. While checking his bag, she grabs his book and receives a flash of memories of her brief time in the Enchanted Forest. She attacks Regina, realizing that it is her fault Henry is sick. Regina admits that everything in the book that Henry believed is true, and together they set off to Mr. Gold's. Informing them that only true love can cure Henry, he gives Emma her father's sword, and Regina guides her to Maleficent's underground prison. Abandoning the sword early on, Emma uses her gun on the dragon; to no avail. Eventually, she slays Maleficent with the sword, and retrieves the true love potion. As she is travelling up the elevator, it stops suddenly and Emma calls for help. Mr. Gold answers, claiming Regina has "run off." She tosses him the egg, which he leaves with. She climbs up to see Regina tied up and frees her. They prepare to go after Mr. Gold, but receive an urgent call from the hospital and learn upon arrival that Henry has passed away. As Regina collapses with grief into the arms of Dr. Whale, Emma approaches Henry's bedside in tears. She professes her love for Henry and kisses his forehead, but, her display of a mother's love for her child inadvertently gives Henry true love's kiss, awakening him from the poisoned apple's Sleeping Curse as well as breaking the Dark Curse. As everyone in the room watches in awe, now remembering their past lives, Regina, in a state of panic, professes her love for Henry and runs out of the hospital to hide. Emma asks Henry why everyone wasn't returned to the Enchanted Forest when the curse broke, but see a purple cloud engulfing the town. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

Shortly after the purple smoke clears, Emma reunites with Mary Margaret and David after the curse has been broken. She pulls back after the tender moment and states to her allies, including Granny, Ruby, Mother Superior and the seven dwarves, have to find Mr. Gold and ask him what he did to Storybrooke by releasing the purple smoke. As they walk towards the pawn shop, her parents attempt to get Emma to open up to them. Emma is still reeling from finding out who they are and asks for time to adjust. Suddenly, Archie rushes up to inform them that Dr. Whale is leading an angry mob to Regina's house. Prompted by Henry's concern for Regina, they make it in time to stop Dr. Whale. With her parents, they decide to place Regina in a jail cell for protection and then confront Mr. Gold for his misdeeds. Mr. Gold believes that he deserves thanks for bringing Emma to her parents, breaking the curse and saving Henry's life, which she is doubtful he has any credit in. Instead, they learn that the purple cloud was magic and that Mr. Gold also released a Wraith upon the town to destroy Regina. They temporarily stop the creature, but Regina has a more permanent solution by using a hat to send it away. About the time when the Wraith causes destruction in Storybrooke, Emma drives her car to somewhere and almost bumps into a man. At town hall, Regina's attempt at opening a vortex fails until Emma grabs her hand and unintentionally activates the hat. Emma pushes Regina out of the way when the Wraith moves to grab her. As the Wraith falls into the vortex, Emma is drawn in, to which Mary Margaret follows through. The two women land in the Enchanted Forest and are found by Aurora and Mulan. ("Broken," "Down the Rabbit Hole")

Emma and Mary Margaret are accused of killing Prince Phillip and taken hostage by Aurora and Mulan, who then take them to a survivors' haven. Mary Margaret makes an attempt to escape, but is knocked unconscious. She and Emma are forced into a holding pit. Out of the darkness, Cora greets Emma. ("We Are Both")

Emma learns Cora is Regina's mother, and is discouraged by Mary Margaret from speaking to her any further. She is more inclined to take chances with Cora since they have no one else to rely on, and reminds Mary Margaret that they need to get back to David and Henry. Cora tries to ask about Henry, but Mary Margaret cuts her off. The two are released to speak with the leader of the survivors, Lancelot, who Mary Margaret is acquainted with. He offers to help them return home, but insists no more portals exist. Mary Margaret knows of one possibly in existence, so the two women travel to the location with Mulan. Near nighttime, they decide to camp out. While Mary Margaret and Mulan go fetch supplies, Emma waits. However, she rushes to the scene of a scuffle as Aurora, who deliberately followed them, attempts to harm Mary Margaret and they are pulled apart by Mulan. Annoyed, Emma fires her gun into the air, attracting an ogre. She nearly killed by it, though Mary Margaret takes care of the ogre by shooting an arrow in its eye. Continuing on, they reach the old castle of Snow White and Prince Charming. Aurora and Mulan wait outside as Emma and Mary Margaret go inside. Emma gets a first glimpse of her would-be nursery had she never left the Enchanted Forest as well as the magic wardrobe that took her to the land without magic. They receive an unexpected appearance by Lancelot, who is revealed to be Cora in disguise. Cora battles them for the wardrobe, but Emma sets it on fire. In the end, Cora is forced to flee. Before they leave, Emma finally expresses anger over being abandoned by her parents, but realizes how much they gave up for her sake. Tearfully, Emma admits she is not used to having someone putting her first while Mary Margaret tells her to get used to it. They embrace and depart shortly after. ("Lady of the Lake")

Returning to the safe haven, the four women find that the camp has been attacked and no one appears to be left alive. Aurora discovers Hook beneath a pile of bodies, and he attempts to deceive the foursome by stating he survived Cora's attack on the camp by hiding under some dead bodies. Emma is not buying his story and puts a knife to Hook's throat, saying that she can tell when a person is lying. She ties Hook to a tree so the ogres can eat him. Unable to best Emma, Hook reveals his true identity as a shocked Mary Margaret pulls his hook out of his satchel. Hook admits to working with Cora, but offers to join forces with Emma and her team as he knows a way to get to Storybrooke. Most of all, he wants to go to Storybrooke to get revenge on Rumplestiltskin for taking away his hand. Emma decides to cut him free. Then, he leads them to a giant beanstalk stretching up into the sky, and explains there is an enchanted compass at the top, but first they must deal with the giant guarding it. ("The Doctor")

After much "discussion," Emma overrules all the other women and climbs up the beanstalk with Hook. Before doing so, Emma takes Mulan aside to task her with cutting down the beanstalk if she and Hook are not back in ten hours time and make sure Mary Margaret gets home. Mulan agrees, and gives Emma poppy dust to use on the giant. During the climb, Hook exhibits perceptive knowledge of Emma's status as an orphan and her wish to prevent Henry from going through the same thing. At the top of the beanstalk, Emma and Hook arrive in the realm of the giants. She suggests they use the poppy dust to put the giant to sleep. As Hook passes her the powder, Emma spies a tattoo on his arm with a woman's name on it, and guesses that he loved this person. Hook lures the giant out towards Emma, who manages to knock him out by throwing the dust. They wander through the giant's lair, with Emma looking for the magical compass, while Hook seems to have more of an eye on the treasure. Emma notices a tripwire and stops him in his tracks by grabbing his arm. He jests that she likes him, which she strongly refutes. They spot the compass on a top of a golden bird cage, but before retrieving it, the giant storms in. As large falling stones appear to crush Hook, Emma is grabbed and squeezed in the giant's fist. She explains an urgency in returning home, but he is angry since humans killed all of his family. Close to blacking out, Emma bites the giant's finger. His grip on her loosens, to which she traps the giant in his own enclosure. The giant is fearful that Emma will kill him, but she promises not to. After much conversation, the giant sees she is not a bad person and gives her the compass while freeing himself out of the cage. As a favor for letting him live, he punches out an exit for her to leave through. Emma presses that he owes her a second favor for not harming him while he was out cold. She asks him to hold back Hook for a period of time. She goes to check up on Hook, but then traps him. Emma makes it down the beanstalk in time to stop a scuffle between Mary Margaret and Mulan. ("Tallahassee")

Throughout the journey, Aurora has been having repetitive, frightening nightmares and wakes up after a strange dream encounter. To Emma's shock, Aurora informs her that she met Henry in one of her dreams. ("Child of the Moon")

While Emma is confused as to Henry and Aurora could possibly share the same dream, Mary Margaret speaks up and informs the group she has been to the land that Aurora mentioned before. They decide to let Aurora go back to sleep and stand guard over her. Suddenly, the camp is attacked by Cora's army of heartless humans, and Emma and Mary Margaret defend themselves while Aurora and Mulan run off into the woods. After the battle, Aurora is discovered to be missing and in Cora's captivity. On the journey to gather more poppy dust so Mary Margaret can reach the Netherworld, a raven from Cora gives them a message. Cora wants the compass by sundown in exchange for Aurora's safety. Mulan attempts to grab the compass, but then agrees to wait and see if they can contact Henry first. During Mary Margaret's attempt to reach Henry in the Netherworld, she awakens to tell Emma that David put himself under the Sleeping Curse to tell them they need squid ink to defeat Cora. Then, they realize Mulan made off with the compass and catch up to her. Aurora reappears to break up a fight between Mary Margaret and Mulan; explaining she escaped with Hook's help. The four head off towards Rumplestiltskin's old cell to find the squid ink. ("Into the Deep")

As they arrive at the designated location, Aurora finds a note scribbled with Emma's name. Out of nowhere, Aurora entraps all of them inside the cell, which is later explained when Cora reveals she has the girl's heart in her possession. Emma presses Hook not to side with Cora, but he is embittered at her words. The two leave to begin making the travel to Storybrooke. While trapped in the cell, Mary Margaret figures out there is squid ink on the note and uses it to melt away the cage bars. At Aurora's insistence she cannot be trusted, Mulan binds her up. They hurry to Lake Nostos where Mary Margaret fires an arrow to shoot the compass out of Cora's reach. Mulan quickly leaves the battle to restore Aurora's heart after Hook returns it. While Emma duels with Hook, she renders him unconscious after grabbing hold of the compass. Only Cora is left, and Emma is flung aside by her as she stalks forward to rip out Mary Margaret's heart. Emma hastily gets up to push Mary Margaret away so Cora reaches inside her chest instead. As Cora pulls at Emma's heart, she finds herself incapable of getting it out. A burst of light shoots out of Emma's chest; knocking Cora unconscious. Joining hands, Emma and Mary Margaret leap into the portal. Successfully, they reenter Storybrooke from within the wishing well. Henry has a tremendously emotional return with both of them. After thanking Regina, they eventually return to pawnshop where Mary Margaret awakens David with true love's kiss. Emma speaks to Mr. Gold about the note in his old cell and accuses him of pulling strings in her life from the very beginning. Mr. Gold, however, states that he did not create her, and only made use of who and what she is—the product of true love. Emma details Cora's inability to remove her heart, which Mr. Gold remarks is because of magic that is within her, not because of his involvement in pegging her as the savior. To catch up on lost time with her family and friends, she, her parents, Henry, Ruby and the dwarves have dinner at Granny's. ("Queen of Hearts")

At the apartment, Emma and Henry walk in on her parents in bed. The couple convince Henry they are just lying down while Emma awkwardly excuses herself. At night, the townspeople throw a celebration at Granny's in honor of Emma and Mary Margaret's return. Beforehand, Emma learns from Archie of Regina's steady improvements in therapy. With his reassurance that Regina is changing, Emma invites her to the party so Henry can spend time with his mother. When Emma sees Regina leaving the celebration early, she follows her outside. Regina asks to be allowed to spend more time with Henry, but Emma does not think it is a good idea. Emma's response causes a frustrated outburst from Regina, though she quickly apologizes. From this, Emma tells Regina how she came to the decision of inviting her to the party and discloses what Archie said. The next morning, Emma has breakfast with Henry and as they are leaving, Pongo runs over from Archie's office. Ruby senses something is wrong, and then she and Emma investigate at the office to come across a dead Archie. Since Ruby saw Regina's angry exchange with Archie a day earlier, this gives reason that she might have murdered him. Though Regina is brought in for questioning, Emma simply doesn't see any evidence and believes she is actually changing for the better. And in spite of her parents' allegations against Regina, along with the mounting evidence and testimonies, Emma refused to believe the worse of the mayor and even released her from custody. Instead, Emma believes Mr. Gold is framing the mayor. In turn, she receives a dream catcher from Gold to see into Pongo's memories; depicting an image of Regina strangling Archie and proving Mr. Gold's innocence. Feeling betrayed, Emma sets off to confront Regina, only for David and Mary to give caution for their daughter. As a plan, they agree Regina must be trapped with fairy dust. Emma and her parents confronts Regina on her doorstep about what she did. Mother Superior, on cue, attempts to freeze Regina, but she catches the dust in midair and tosses it aside. In a bout of intense rage, Regina uses magic to physically shove Emma away and even dared her to use magic in her defense. Angrily, Emma replies that she does not have to as she's already won and confirms Henry will never forgive Regina after this and that she is a person not capable of changing. To this, Regina disappears in a cloud of smoke. With reassurance from her parents, she breaks the bad news about Regina to Henry. ("The Cricket Game")

At Archie's funeral, Emma comforts a saddened Henry. Afterwards, she goes back to her apartment where other residents of Storybrooke are also gathered in mourning. Emma is unsure how to comfort Henry in this difficult time as he is clearly very distraught at Archie's death. Leroy approaches Emma and Mary Margaret to ask, on behalf of himself and other dwarves, when they will be returning to the Enchanted Forest. While Emma argues she and Mary Margaret did everything in their power to return to Storybrooke, Leroy is anxious about what is Regina's next move, and whether the broken curse means outsiders will have the capability to come into town. Emma believes they are safe for now while Leroy believes that trouble will happen sooner or later. After a chat with Marco, she gives Pongo to a delighted Henry, but Mary Margaret points out that perhaps she and David should consider finding their own place. This stuns both Emma and David. After Mary Margaret and David go on their house hunt, Emma notices Henry drawing blueprints for what to change if they decide to move out. Emma notices he has converted Mary Margaret's room into an armory for protection from Regina, but promises she'll keep him safe instead. Henry is afraid of what might happen if she tries to take him back. Then, Pongo begins to act unusually in front of the door. Emma opens it to see a very much alive Archie, who explains that Cora abducted him. Henry states they should probably tell Regina, though Emma worries that either way they will pay the price. ("The Outsider")

After a car crashes into Storybrooke, Emma drives to the scene while accompanied by her parents. They observe an amnesiac and frightened Belle who crossed the town line, a run-over Hook with multiple cracked ribs and a passed out stranger in the crashed car. Emma and David work to restrain Mr. Gold from beating Hook to death for what he did to Belle. All three casualties are taken to the hospital as patients. Emma, along with her parents, Leroy and Ruby, try to break into the stranger's phone to learn who he is. After reviewing some paperwork left in the man's car, Emma sees that his name is Greg Mendell. From hacking into the phone, he looks to be a normal person. Dr. Whale comes back from checking up on Greg and says the man is bleeding into his chest cavity. Unsure of his own skill, Dr. Whale consults Mr. Gold for help, but he refuses and only warns that they should hope Greg dies so an outsider can't spread their town's magic secret to the whole world. Emma, David, Mary Margaret, Ruby and Leroy go into a separate room to debate about the pros and cons of helping someone from outside of town. Ultimately, the decision is made to save the stranger's life no matter what. Dr. Whale leaves the room to prep for the surgery, and Mary Margaret remarks how drunk he appears to be. Suddenly, Greg's phone starts ringing. No one dares to answer in fear the phone might be traced to Storybrooke. As they are waiting for the surgery to finish, a male nurse cannot find Dr. Whale, whose pager is the pocket of his disposed lab coat. Ruby runs off to track Dr. Whale by scent and brings him back to perform the operation on Greg. The surgery is a success and Emma goes in to gather information from Greg about what happened. He confesses to texting while driving. With a breath of relief, she and her parents return to the apartment. Henry wishes to know the day's events and after being filled in, he realizes the Frankenstein story is not a fairytale nor does it exist as in the storybook. Abruptly, Mr. Gold pays them a visit to ask Emma to fulfill the favor she owes him by helping find his son, Baelfire. Just before he leaves, Mr. Gold also warns if any harm comes to Belle while he is gone, he will kill them all. ("In the Name of the Brother")

The day after, Emma prepares to leave town with Mr. Gold, but is also bringing Henry so Cora can't get to him. On the way out of Storybrooke, Mr. Gold is able to use a shawl enchanted with magic to cross the town border without losing his memories. At the airport, Emma helps Mr. Gold go through the metal detector, and calms him down after he refuses security's request to take off his shawl. As they wait for the plane to take off, Emma reassures him that it is going to be okay and they will find his son. ("Tiny")

They arrive in Manhattan, and all three step out of a cab in front of an apartment complex. Inside the lobby, Emma is able to spot a room number—407—which has no name listed. She pushes the buzzer, and announces herself as a UPS package deliverer, but then the intercom abruptly switches off and the stranger escapes down the fire escape. On Mr. Gold's request, Emma gives chase. At an alleyway shortcut, she slams into the man, who is revealed to be her ex-boyfriend, Neal. In shock, Emma accuses Neal and his father, Mr. Gold, of conspiring against her because of her origin from the Enchanted Forest. Neal denies it and takes Emma to a bar where she learns that he let her go all those years ago because August told him to. While she feels betrayed, Neal believes that he was leading her home. He suggests that their re-meeting was fated, though Emma brushes his comment off. When Neal notices the swan keychain around her neck, she gives it back. Upon leaving, Emma phones Mary Margaret for advice over whether to tell Henry about Neal or not. Ultimately, she lies to Mr. Gold; reporting that his son escaped. An adamant Mr. Gold breaks into his son's apartment where Emma sees the dream catcher, which Neal kept from their years together. Once Mr. Gold notices and grills her about it, she sends Henry out of the room. As Mr. Gold continues to demand answers, Neal bursts in to stop him. At the commotion, Henry walks into the room, though Emma attempts to escort him out. However, Neal questions if Henry is his son, which Emma hesitantly confirms. Upset, Henry seeks refuge at the fire escape as she follows him out. As justification for her lies, Emma explains her assumption that Neal would never reenter her life and that she wanted to hide her past. Henry accuses her of being just like Regina, who lied to him all the time. She apologizes, but he only asks to meet his father. Emma allows them to meet, but she warns Neal not to hurt Henry like he did to her. ("Manhattan")

Mr. Gold presses for Emma to convince Neal to go back to Storybrooke with them. Emma doesn't see how she still owes him anything since returning the favor. She leaves it up to Mr. Gold to decide what is best for his son, though he compares her to Regina. He presents the possibility that Henry's need for his father will cause him to run away to New York. Soon, Henry and Neal emerge out from a pizza parlor and are thinking about going to the museum next. When Emma asks him if he likes the pizza, Henry indirectly shows his grudge against her remains by saying that it's good and doesn't lie. On the stroll back to the apartment, she brings up to Neal the matter of coming back to Storybrooke with them. He is unsure and actually has something important to tell her, but Henry interrupts on their talk. While Henry and Neal go up to grab a camera for the museum trip, Emma mentions to Mr. Gold how the subject matter went with Neal. From behind, Emma is shoved out of the way by a vengeful Hook, who then stabs Mr. Gold. She manages to knock him out just as Henry and Neal rush back down. They bring Mr. Gold up to the apartment room while Emma locks Hook in the storage room. From some sleuthing, Emma determines that Hook came to New York on his ship. Neal offers to captain the ship on the journey back to Storybrooke. Later, Neal alludes to how he met Hook in another world. Through a text from Mary Margaret, Emma learns that Cora and Regina are after Mr. Gold's dagger, which prompts her to oust the weapon's location from him. While getting a car to bring Mr. Gold to the ship, Emma asks Neal why he is helping his dad. He tells her that there is a big difference between not talking to his dad and watching him die. She thinks the vehicle is going to be hot wired, but it is just a borrowed car. He tries to bring up the earlier topic he tried to discuss with Emma, but this time, a woman runs up to Neal. He introduces her to Emma as his fiancée, Tamara. ("The Queen Is Dead")

On the way back to Storybrooke on the Jolly Roger, Emma visits Mr. Gold in his bunker. Mr. Gold lets her know about what Cora could make him do if the dagger is in her possession. She assures him that they are family now, and won't be dying on her watch. They make it to the town dock, and Emma is helped by her parents to take Mr. Gold to his shop while Ruby watches over Henry. Inside the shop, she is instructed by Mr. Gold to take out a piece of invisible chalk from a jar and draw a protection line at the door. Neal is surprised that he never knew she had magic. To this, Emma points out that she had no knowledge of his father being Rumplestiltskin and fiancée. Since they dated a decade ago, she has no issue with his new relationship. After this talk, Mr. Gold guides her into casting a protection spell by explaining that magic is not an intellectual endeavor, but an emotion one. She manages to erect a barrier just as Cora and Regina arrive to take it down. She, David, Mary Margaret and Neal join forces against the two women. Eventually, only herself and Neal are left in the battle. When Cora has to choose between Regina or the dagger, she picks the weapon. Emma pushes Regina into Cora, and distracts them long enough for her and Neal to run to the backroom as she seals the doorway with another barrier. Later, Emma answers a phone call from David, who can't seem to find Mary Margaret. Close to death, Mr. Gold speaks to Belle on the phone and hangs up abruptly. She watches as Mr. Gold and Neal finally reconcile. After a time, Cora finally breaks through the barrier. Emma and Neal stand guard, but she teleports them away to the forest. ("The Miller's Daughter")

In their shared apartment, Emma hides the truth from Henry about why Mary Margaret is refusing to eat by saying she's sick. He can tell both she and David are lying. Realizing he has the right to know, she explains to him the circumstances that caused Mary Margaret to be partially responsible for Cora's death. Mr. Gold comes to warn them about Regina's plans of revenge on Mary Margaret and decides to help further by stopping it from happening after David demands him to do so. After some amateur sleuthing in Regina's vault, Mr. Gold informs them of a spell called "the curse of the empty-hearted," that when cast on someone, has the ability to make the caster think the person loves him or her. From upstairs, Henry has been eavesdropping and pushes his way into the conversation. Furthermore, Mr. Gold details the spell is the only way Regina can get Henry and the love she craves, but also vengeance from Mary Margaret. The twist is, in order to enact the curse, Regina needs the heart of the person she hates the most, which is obviously Mary Margaret. Mr. Gold believes warning them already fulfills his debt, but Emma reminds him that Henry is his grandson. Coldly, he asserts that wars have costs and considering this is a blood feud that goes back several generations, and the only way to end it is to spill more of it by possibly killing Regina. Henry dislikes using such a dark tactic as it is not heroic at all, but no one has a response. Upset, he dashes out of the apartment as Emma follows. In an attempt to keep him safe, Emma calls Neal to ask for help in getting Henry out of Storybrooke. She brings him to a table booth at the diner where Neal is waiting. Emma leaves the two to talk. At the counter, Greg walks in to pick up his food order, which he later asks to have it to go. While waiting, he chats with Emma about going on a nature hiking walk. Emma muses over why he hasn't gone back to Pennsylvania. Ruby comes back with his bagged food just as he says Storybrooke is starting to grow on him. After he is gone, Emma and Ruby exchange a curious look. She goes back to check up on Neal and is surprised to hear Henry has agreed to move to New York. However, Henry is not in the booth and Emma deducts that he ran off since his backpack is gone as well.

Emma and Neal regroup with David to search through the mines. Upon seeing some dynamite is missing, they realize Henry wants to blow up something. They arrive at the wishing well to see Regina speaking to Henry. As usual, Emma and Regina argue over their claim to Henry. The trio refuse to budge out of the way, so Regina conjures a fireball. Henry runs in between to force the fighting to cease, and desperately wants to get rid of magic. Regina states there is no way to do it, and Emma replies the problem is Regina, not magic. Henry believes the problem is everyone as magic is corrupting good people such as both Mary Margaret and Regina and makes them do bad things, though Emma insists it makes bad people do bad things, too. He pleas for Regina to help him destroy magic, which is not possible, but she burns the spell to placate him. Henry thanks her, and leaves with Emma, David and Neal. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")

Emma sees David is making yet another breakfast tray for Mary Margaret, who is still in bed since the aftermath of Cora's death. Though he reasons Mary Margaret is having a hard time, Emma believes it's time to move on. Later in the day, she gets a call from Mary Margaret asking to meet up at the diner. At the counter, Mary Margaret blurts out August's whereabouts, and Marco, who is sitting next to Emma, overhears and wants to see him. They decide to seek out Mother Superior's help in this situation. Outside the nunnery, Mother Superior admits she knows about August's current dilemma, but there is nothing to help him since he did not obey the mantra of staying selfless, brave and true. She states that if there is still a path of redemption for August, he must travel it on his own terms. The trio go through the woods to August's trailer. Out of guilt, Marco finally comes clean about the wardrobe's power to protect two people instead of one, and he selfishly made a deal with the Blue Fairy to allow his son to go through. Emma listens from the sidelines as Mary Margaret reacts in shock and slaps Marco. Even Emma is stunned at her response, to which Mary Margaret apologizes and forgives him for his mistakes. They finally reach the trailer, but August is not inside. While heading back, Emma picks up a call from August when the line is cut off. Joined by David and Henry, they all go to the sheriff department in time to witness August stumbling out and collapsing as Emma and Marco attempt to help him. With his last bit of strength, he tries to warn Emma about someone, but only manages the word "her" before he passes away. Henry is struck by the idea that August can get a second chance if his actions proved himself to be selfless, brave and true. Mother Superior rushes over in agreeance and successfully uses her wand to revert August into a seven-year-old Pinocchio. Emma tries to ask the young Pinocchio if he can remember what August was trying to tell her before, but he cannot recall. After a long day, they go home. Making amends with Henry, Emma apologizes to him for lying to him about Neal and promises she won't be dishonest again. She asks him not to push her away and Henry agrees that he won't. They make up with a hug and go upstairs together. ("Selfless, Brave and True")

David and Mary Margaret surprise Emma by driving her to an unknown location and refusing to say anything until she sees the place for herself. They enter past an outside barrier to unveil rows of bean fields. Anton spots Emma and rushes off to greet her with a warm embrace. After a small amount of chit chat with Anton, Leroy marches over to pull him back to work. Emma is flabbergasted they secretly began growing magic beans during the time she was still in the Enchanted Forest, and instinctively picks up that her parents truly want to go back to their land. Even Mary Margaret now approves of the idea and by going back to the Enchanted Forest she could have a chance to heal her own heart from Cora's death. Though Emma thinks of this world as her and Henry's home, her parents see the Enchanted Forest as theirs. They believe in their world, Emma just might have her happy ending. To mull over the idea, she goes to the docks and browses Henry's storybook. Regina approaches to speak to her about the revelation that Mr. Gold is Henry's grandfather. Emma says she was eventually going to tell her, but suggests that Regina should focus more on being Henry's mother before he is gone for good. Judging from her tone, Regina suspects Emma is hiding something and vows to find out. Following a day of playing, a sleeping Henry is carried back to the apartment by Neal and they put him to bed. Out the blue, Emma asks Neal would he go back to the Enchanted Forest if there was a way. Neal is put off by the thought as he spent his whole life running from that place. They move to the table and Neal delves into the topic of August—who is now Pinocchio—and how he and Henry played together at the park. At the mention of August, Emma voices her nagging concern about who is the person he had been trying to warn them about. ("Lacey")

Emma enters the diner and sees Tamara grabbing some bagged food. She purposefully bumps into Tamara and sends the items in her hands crashing to the floor, which causes both of them to apologize to each other. Emma picks up some of the dropped items, one of which, is a list detailing Storybrooke residents and their fairytale counterparts. Tamara says nothing and takes the paper back. Emma asks how she is handling the adjustment to town and Neal's secret about being from the Enchanted Forest, to which Tamara responds in a positive light. Even so, Emma expresses concerns about what would happen if outsiders found out about Storybrooke and its inhabitants. Tamara is unruffled, and tries to sooth Emma's worries by saying she can trust her. The conversation leaves Emma more apprehensive than ever. Unable to keep it to herself, Emma spills her theorized idea to Mary Margaret that Tamara is the "her" August was talking about and even brings up the list she had. Mary Margaret doesn't take her claims seriously and guesses she is still not over Neal, which Emma denies. Mary Margaret counsels that this theory of hers should not be known by Henry because even if Emma no longer has feelings for Neal, it will drive a wedge between him and Tamara. Additionally, it will give Henry the false impression that his parents have a chance of getting back together. Surprisingly, Henry was eavesdropping and excitedly thinks he and Emma are "back in business." Outside the bed and breakfast, Emma and Henry have a stakeout inside the yellow bug car. Henry names their new partnership "Operation Praying Mantis." Henry had hopes of being in the Enchanted Forest, but a new operation in Storybrooke is fun too. Emma cautiously asks would he want to go to the Enchanted Forest if there was a way. She refuses to say anything when he asks further. Decidedly, he envisions himself, Emma and Neal having a castle, which she thinks is silly. Just then, Henry shouts to duck as Neal and Tamara are leaving their room under an umbrella. Once they are gone, Emma pick locks their guest room while Henry keeps watch. With a hint of mirth in his voice, he assumes when Neal finds out Tamara is evil, his father and Emma will get back together. Once again, Emma is exasperated that the impression is she's jealous of Neal's fiancee, and maintains she doesn't trust Tamara for other reasons. Henry still thinks Neal and Emma have a shot together when Tamara is out of the picture. Before she goes into the room, she instructs Henry to keep on guard, and to let her know when someone is coming by kicking the door. Inside, Emma begins unearthing a creaky floorboard that is interrupted by Henry kicking the door. Seconds later, Neal bursts in demanding an explanation. She fesses up about having a theory that Tamara is the "her" August mentioned. When she points at the list Tamara had as evidence, Neal admits that he gave it to her so she could adjust to the town easier. He allows her to look under the floorboard, to which Emma finds nothing incriminating. Neal thinks she is having a hard time getting used to Tamara, but she cuts him off and leaves with Henry. At home, they nurse the temporary setback by snacking on ice cream. Henry believes what she believes, to which Emma agrees that her instincts are correct. ("The Evil Queen")

Emma, David, and Mary Margaret investigate Regina's office after discovery of the destruction of the bean fields. Regina nor the beans are in sight and the last time someone entered the office was by an override code. Unable to shake her own suspicions, Emma goes to question Neal about Tamara. Though he says she is jogging in the woods, Emma sees sand left behind on the floor. While they scour the beach coastline, Tamara runs up to casually mention the reason for her change in jogging areas. When she leaves, Neal expresses his hunch that Emma is jealous of his current relationship. Again, Emma fends off the accusation. However, Neal fully discloses his regrets of not going and taking her place in jail all those years ago, fearing she'd never forgive him as he never forgave himself. Telephoned by David, Emma is filled in on Mary Margaret's temporary bodily connection with Regina and told the holding location is somewhere that smells like sardines. She recognizes that it must be the cannery. Her parents race further ahead in the search for Regina while she and Neal walk the hallways. Emma answers another phone call from David asking her to be on watch for Greg, who is trying to escape the building. Neal is relieved that his fiancée is not involved, but in the next instant, Tamara clocks Emma in the head. Emma awakens to see Neal is shot by Tamara. The two women get into a fight, but Tamara uses a magic bean to open a portal. Emma is almost sucked in, but Neal pulls her up. Then, Emma tries to hold onto Neal as he is slipping in. He urges to her to let go, but she stubbornly refuses due to his wound, and confesses her love for him. Neal admits he still loves her, too, and falls into the closing portal as a heartbroken Emma watches. In a numb state, she returns home and gives her parents the news Neal is dead. ("Second Star to the Right")

With her parents, Emma heads to the park to pick up Henry. She tells him Neal has passed away while her parents say the same to Mr. Gold. They try to gain his help in stopping the trigger, but he refuses. Upon returning to the apartment, a quake rips through town. Emma orders Regina to make the trigger stop, but there is no way of doing that. Tension fills the air when Emma blames Regina for the current dilemma, to which Henry intervenes. When Hook realigns himself with them, he and David hunt down Greg to steal back the remaining magic beans while Emma goes with Regina to the trigger in the mines. Before beginning slowing down the trigger, Regina warns that she won't be making it out alive and asks Emma to tell Henry she died a hero. Emma hurries to the diner where the other townspeople are gathered. David and Hook procured only one bean, but it's enough. Even so, Henry is unwilling since Regina will be left behind. Mary Margaret is struck with an idea of sending the trigger through a portal. Emma doesn't believe anyone is willing to go through with such a risky plan, but Archie persuades her it's the right thing to do and manages to rally everyone else in agreement. However, Emma is concerned Henry will grow up alone just like herself. Mary Mary Margaret begs her not to take the same path that led to Cora's death and they can't build a future on Regina's blood. Emma finally agrees, but as David tosses her the bean container, Hook snatches it in mid-air, which she makes him give back. They go back to the mines to use the bean to contain the trigger, but Emma realizes too late that Hook tricked them. On a spur of the moment idea, Emma combines powers with Regina to successfully deactivate the trigger. After the danger is over, Henry is discovered to be kidnapped by Greg and Tamara, but they are not fast enough to stop the duo from taking him into a portal. Upon discovering Hook's ship is still in port, the pirate offers to assist them in finding Henry. Aboard the Jolly Roger, Mr. Gold conjures the magic globe to unveil Henry's current location in Neverland. They set sail as soon as a portal opens from the last magic bean. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning")

During the sail to Neverland, Emma is approached by her parents, who try to comfort her over losing Neal and Henry. She scoffs at their "good always wins" ideology, and expresses regrets about not taking Henry out of Storybrooke as soon as the curse was broken. When her parents continue to be optimistic, Emma snaps at them for their unwavering hope, especially when everything has been going wrong since the curse broke. Mary Margaret reassures her that they will find Henry, however, Mr. Gold interrupts the conversation to announce he intends to rescue his grandson alone, as he doesn't believe Emma has what it takes. He lists all the reasons why she will fail in this mission, such as her disbelief in her parents, in magic, and herself. Emma professes she is willing to do whatever it takes to get Henry back, but Mr. Gold still doesn't believe her, stating that she will always need someone to show her the way. After Mr. Gold teleports off the ship, Emma retreats below deck, where she is doing pull-ups, when Hook interrupts to give her an old sword that used to belong to Neal when he was a boy. As they have a toast in honor of Neal, the ship suddenly rocks violently, prompting them to investigate and discover mermaids are slamming against the ship. While David fires ammunition to scare off the mermaids, Emma works with Mary Margaret to catch one of the sea creatures on a fishing line, and Regina uses fire magic to force the remaining school of mermaids into fleeing. After Regina teleports the fishing line onto the ship, the group discuss what to do with the caught mermaid, who sounds a conch shell and threatens them with death if they don't free her. Upon realizing the mermaid has summoned a storm at sea, Regina turns the mermaid into a statue, which only speeds up the storm. Mary Margaret and Regina's bickering turns into a brawl, and soon, even David and Hook are at odds. Emma discovers everyone's animosity towards each other is making the storm worse, but her attempt at getting their attention falls on deaf ears, so she jumps overboard just as a rope pulley snaps and hits her on the head, knocking her out. David swims out to grab Emma, while Hook, Regina, and Mary Margaret work together to pull both of them up. The storm ceases, and the group eventually reach the shoreline of Neverland. Before going any further, Emma encourages everyone to cooperate with each other in order to save Henry. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer")

While the group treads through the jungle upwards to a cliff ridge, Emma awkwardly dodges Mary Margaret's attempt at getting closer to her. She wants Emma to be less formal and call her Mom. Emma is uneasy about the subject, and notes the last time she did, it was because they were all going to die, so Mary Margaret drops the subject. Through one path, they narrowly avoid walking straight into a patch of Dreamshade. Up ahead, the ridge allows them to get a view of the island, but too much has changed since Hook was last in Neverland and he can't tell the difference between anything. They can't comb the jungle, either, because it's not safe to travel through. The group rest for the night, though Emma is still worried their search for Henry is taking too long. Mary Margaret reassures that after everything she and David went through to be reunited with her, it’s never too late for anything. During the night, Emma wakes up to voices. She investigates and raises her sword in alarm when spooked by a young boy, who presents himself as Peter Pan. He lets her know that Henry is still alive and wants to give her a map to find him. With a smile, Pan verifies it's the manner of how Emma finds him since she’s the only one who can. He heeds that the map will only work when she stops denying her true self. Later, Emma makes the effort to unveil the map by stating facts about herself, with encouragement from her parents, but nothing works. Tired of playing games, Regina snatches the map and casts a locator spell on it, which leads them straight to Pan, who then sends the Lost Boys to engage them in combat. Emma ends up pinning one boy down, but the expression in his eyes frighten her and she backs off. Following the battle, Mary Margaret opens up a dialogue with Emma about why she withdrew from the fight earlier on. Reluctantly, Emma admits that the boy had the same look of despair she had while growing up in the foster system as a lost, unimportant girl desperately longing for the parents who gave her up. Emma confesses to being what she's always been, an orphan, causing the map to uncover its contents. They group form a strategy to travel towards Pan's camp and begin assemble for leaving. Hook offers her some rum and asks how she got the map to work, which Emma briefs that she just followed Pan's instructions. He's curious about who she really is, but Emma isn't interested in sharing that information. Hook presses further, though she simply walks away. Later, while Emma is scourging for berries in the bush, Pan commends Emma for beating his game, but also implicates that she hasn't forgiven her parents for their abandonment. Additionally, he accuses Emma of bestowing Henry with the same feelings. Pan threatens two things will happen by his endgame; that Henry will never want to leave the island, and Emma herself won't just feel like an orphan, but also be one. ("Lost Girl")

The plan to reach Pan is a failure once when they notice his camp location keeps changing; making their journey fruitless. Hook considers a fairy named Tinker Bell who Pan trusts and can likely get them into the camp with pixie dust. Regina thinks Tinker Bell is bad news and presents Emma with a separate suggestion of combining their powers to take on Pan. Emma refuses since there's always going to be a price of magic. Out of frustration, Regina accuses Emma of listening to Hook because he's her "boyfriend," which she is incredulous at the claims. Later, Emma confirms her own suspicions that Regina and Tinker Bell know each other, and asks the mayor herself for details. Regina only says it's a "complicated history" and all the better if Tinker Bell doesn't meet her again. The two have a shared moment about Henry when Regina brings up her naming of the rescue mission as "Operation Henry." Emma is urged on ahead by Regina, so she catches up with the others at Tinker Bell's empty tree house. Inside, the tree house reminds Emma of the home she grew up in. Mary Margaret, too, surprisingly, can relate with only having a makeshift bed to sleep in as she called a tree stump home while on the run from the Queen. Strangely, Tinker Bell's tree house has a ladder, even though fairies have wings for flying. David finds a white cloth, which is Regina's and they rush off to rescue her. They corner Tinker Bell outside a cavern, but an unharmed Regina attests to the fairy's innocence. Regina tells them Tinker Bell lost all her fairy powers a long time ago and can't help infiltrate Pan's camp. Tinker Bell acknowledges that people not believing in her anymore, so she stopped being a fairy. Even though she can help them, Tinker Bell wants to know what's in it for herself. Emma and Mary Margaret promise if Tinker Bell helps their cause, she can make a new home in Storybrooke. Tinker Bell agrees and goes back with them to camp. ("Quite a Common Fairy")

At the camp base, Emma elaborates on their strategy for entering Pan's headquarters from the back after Tinker Bell talks her way in through the front. Before they put the plan into action, Tinker Bell wants to know their escape route off the island, which no one has a clear answer. She stresses that no one ever leaves the island without Pan's permission. To prove a point about how dangerous Pan can be, Tinker Bell shows them a watch that came from the people who brought Henry to Neverland, proving Greg and Tamara were killed by him. Tinker Bell weighs the risk as not worthy unless they have a way to leave Neverland and she makes off for her tree house. Emma sees reason in Tinker Bell's words, and recalls what Neal once taught her that it is "unwise to break into a place without knowing the way out." The group talk about how Hook left Neverland, which was through a special one time deal with Pan, though he notes Neal managed to escape on his own. They set off for a cave Neal once inhabited as a boy. Emma looks at the art scrawls on the wall and is surprised that Neal liked drawing. Hook shares insight of Neal's talent passed down from his mother. To get a better look at the wall, she uses a lit candle in a halved coconut holder. Again, Hook makes a good guess that the drawings were just a way for the boys on the island to pass time, making Emma realize he knew Neal, when he was Baelfire, pretty well. Nearby, David, Mary Margaret and Regina mull over a coconut half with holes, which Emma notices it is a perfect fit for the candle holder half. After the light is snuffed out, the two halves combine, revealing a star constellation map with an escape route. However, despite that Hook taught Neal how to navigate using the stars, he also coached him that all map makers never reveal their secrets. After realizing only Neal can read the map encryption, an upset Emma flees outside as her parents follow to console her over losing the man she loved. Instead of being sad, Emma brims with anger over losing him years ago since she spent years thinking he didn't love her only to find out the exact opposite. She breaks down in tears over not even having the chance to let him know how angry that made her or how much it hurt when he left, and the fact she never stopped loving him since he reentered her life. She then exits to be alone. ("Nasty Habits")

Returning to the cave, everyone searches for something that might be useful. From Emma's observation of Neal's tally marks on the wall, she relates her experience of being in foster homes and losing hope as the same reason why Neal stopped counting. The group is made aware that even though they are trying to rescue Henry, he himself doesn't know his family is coming. Mary Margaret comes up with an idea to send Henry a message and files out to show everyone. As Emma moves to follow, Hook has a heart-to-heart with her about knowing what it's like to lose hope, too. Not in the mood, she shuts him down for attempting to bond with her. Back at camp, Emma begins helping to weave a large net out of vines to catch a Lost Boy while avoiding Hook's unwavering stare. David comes back from the jungle carrying more vine, but they are still need more, so he hauls Hook to go with him. Hook doesn't go until Emma pushes him to follow orders, and bows to her while saying "as the lady insists," which she ignores. When the two men return, Hook informs them about a sextant on top of Dead Man's Peak, which can help decipher Neal's map, which he and David will be retrieving. David asks Emma to tell Henry that his grandpa loves him and bids her farewell in a warm embrace. After finishing the net, they lure a Lost Boy, Devin, into falling into the trap. Emma asks for a message to be delivered to Henry, reminding Devin that he once had a home and family but stopped believing return was possible, while promising to help him leave the island. Devin rejects their offer since he doesn't want to go home. Emma assumes the fresh cut on his cheek was Pan's doing, but he divulges that Henry did it. While Emma is tying Devin to a tree, he boasts that Henry is one of their most vicious new recruits in ages. She nearly chokes him, but Mary Margaret pulls her away. On Regina's suggestion they use force against Devin, Emma allows her to rip out his heart while she holds back a disagreeable Mary Margaret. Shortly after, Mary Margaret expresses concerns over what Emma is willing to do to get Henry and what Regina is capable of must stay separate. Regina sends Devin back to camp with one half of a magic viewing mirror. Later, when they look through the other mirror half, Henry is on the other side. Emma convinces Henry they are real with their plan to save him entitled, "Operation Cobra Rescue."

They head back to their own camp as Emma reassures Regina's worries over Henry since he is their son, and has knowledge his family hasn't given up on him. Mary Margaret is sorry for doubting Emma's decision to allow Devin's heart to be ripped out as she knows how easy it is to give into darkness. David and Hook arrive back, but without the sextant as Pan got to it first. Nonetheless, David announces that Hook saved his life by protecting him from a Dreamshade arrow after they were ambushed on the way to the peak. They each take a sip of Hook's rum, except Regina, until it passes into Emma's hands. When she and Hook are alone, Emma gives him a sincere thanks for saving her father's life. To Emma's amusement, he presses for a different kind of thanks. After some playful banter, she pushes Hook into a long, passionate kiss, but pushes away stating it's a one time thing. She tells him to get some firewood, which he obeys with "As you wish," drawing a secret smile from Emma. ("Good Form")

In a magic training lesson with Regina to ignite a wood pile, Emma is told to channel her anger into magic, but she doesn't want to become dark. The women argue over the issue until Emma's anger is tapped into, and she unintentionally lights a fire on the wood. When she sees her parents and Hook preparing to leave camp, she learns from them that Neal is, apparently, alive. Even when shown footprints collaborating with a scuffle, Emma is hesitant to readily accept it means Neal was at their camp. Regina thinks it's one of Pan's false leads, but Emma is unable to side with her. This results in Regina leaving the group. Urged by Mary Margaret, Emma decides to find out for herself and Henry if Neal is alive. While following the footprints trail, Emma admits to Mary Margaret that she and Hook kissed, but it didn't have any deeper meaning for her. Still on the fence about Neal's alive or dead status, Emma is advised by Mary Margaret to open herself up to the possibility so she can have her own happy ending. They reach a cavern known as an Echo Caves where Hook relates his prior experience with the place. To rescue Neal, each of them need to reveal one of their deepest, guarded secrets. Once inside, they reach a dead end and see a caged Neal on a separate strip of land. With real physical proof he's alive, Emma is overwhelmed. To test out the cave's rules, Hook goes first and confirms he and Emma kissed, but the real secret is the kiss itself helped him move on from his first love, Milah. Mary Margaret goes next to reveal she's been deeply unhappy to have missed her own child's upbringing and verifies her desire to have another child. Sadly, David discloses his sustained Dreamshade wound during the fight with the Lost Boys and though he is cured, the price is staying in Neverland forever. Three sections of a bridge forms, allowing Emma to cross over to Neal, where she tries to slash open the enclosure until he implies she has to follow the cave's requirements. Tearfully, Emma acknowledges that she still loves him since the day they met again, but had hopes he wasn't alive because their relationship has given her a lot of pain and she just wanted to move on. The cage bars melt away as she and Neal embrace each other. When they reach the outside, they decide to regroup with Tinker Bell first and then continue the mission. Left alone with Neal, Emma apologizes for what she said to him earlier, though her feelings cannot be changed. Neal doesn't believe she has anything to apologize for, but affirms he won't stop fighting for her. ("Ariel")

In Neal's plan to get everyone off the island after they rescue Henry, they must capture Pan's shadow at Dark Hollow by using the coconut halves. Emma and Hook join him, and the entire party decide to regroup with David and Mary Margaret at Tinker Bell's treehouse afterwards. While prepping for the trip, Emma notices Mary Margaret is still mad at David for lying and tries to talk on his behalf. Mary Margaret changes the subject to point out the mission could be unsafe since both Neal and Hook obviously have feelings for her. Emma shrugs off her this concern since her only interest is getting Henry back. At the Lost Boy cave, Emma goes to get the coconut, but she returns to see visible tension between the two men, not knowing Hook accidentally told Neal about the kiss. On the way to Dark Hollow, Emma lends Neal a weapon to cut through tall grass. Neal recognizes it as his old cutlass, and after learning Hook gave it to her as a memento, he angrily snips at the pirate before walking away. Emma looks to Hook for answers about Neal's weird behavior, to which he admits telling him about their kiss. Emma fails to see why Hook cares so much about what the kiss meant, and instead of dwelling on that, she expresses gratitude towards Hook for not keeping Neal's return a secret. Hook reveals Pan told him about Neal being alive to make him choose between Neal or Emma, to which she is relieved he made the better choice. Despite Hook's proclamation about winning her heart fair and square, Emma continues to focus on Henry's safety, with Hook promising that he won't hold back on chasing after her once they get off the island. Upon reaching Dark Hollow, Neal has trouble using the lighter on the candle, and as he and Hook fight over it, three shadows show up, just as Emma grabs the coconut. While both men begin having their shadows ripped out, Emma uses magic to light the candle and entrap Pan's shadow inside. On the journey back to Tinker Bell's tree house, Emma settles the rivalry between Hook and Neal by stating the only person she is choosing is Henry. After regaining an alliance with Tinker Bell, Emma stays behind with Neal, who accepts what she said earlier and thinks of Henry as the best thing that came out of them being together, which she agrees with. ("Dark Hollow")

While moving ahead to Pan's camp, Emma sees her parents have made up, and that Mary Margaret has decided to stay in Neverland with David since there is no cure for his dreamshade affliction. Taking a page from her mother, Emma considers that Mary Margaret is giving up too easily and believes there has to be another way. A rustle from the jungle causes the entire group to assemble for battle, but it turns out to be only Regina and Mr. Gold. Regina tells them about the power of Pandora's Box while Neal's distrust in his father causes him to blurt out Mr. Gold's objective to kill Henry and prevent a seer's prophecy from coming true. Subsequently, Emma and everyone else turns against Mr. Gold by drawing their weapons, but things cool down only when Neal forces him to hand over the box. Some time later, Emma tries to talk to Hook about an alternative to curing David. He concludes that nothing can be done, but then Mr. Gold steps in to offer an elixir cure for David. Emma agrees to his bargain, but in return, Mr. Gold wants a favor of equal value. Neal shuts down his father's price by demanding that he help for the right reasons rather than personal gain. After Tinker Bell gains access into the Lost Boy encampment and everyone inside is put to sleep by Regina, neither Henry or Pan are found there. Instead, Neal frees a young prisoner, Wendy, who he asks about Henry. With encouragement from him, she eventually confesses that Pan needs Henry's heart to save himself from losing his immortality. As a trade, Pan lives, but Henry will die. Before leaving Skull Rock to stop Pan, Emma presses her parents to retrieve more healing water from Dead Man's Peak for the journey home, before Mr. Gold can make an elixir in Storybrooke for David. By rowboat, Emma goes to Skull Rock with Mr. Gold, Neal and Regina. Inside the entrance, a barrier, capable of blocking anyone with a shadow, keeps them from progressing. Since Mr. Gold is the only one without a shadow, he regains the box and goes up alone. Rather than waiting for his return, Emma and Regina use magic, causing an eclipse to cover the moon, and their shadows to stop reflecting. Then, they hurry to the top to see Henry pulling out his own heart. All three attempt to dissuade him from the sacrifice, but through Pan's manipulations, Henry chooses to give up his heart. They cry out in horror as he plunges the heart into Pan's chest, causing all of them to be thrown back from the impact, and Henry collapses. As they rush over to check up on his unmoving body, Pan rises into the air. ("Think Lovely Thoughts")

Pan reveals Mr. Gold is now trapped inside the box before Emma cuts him with her sword out of anger about Henry, though it doesn't do much. After Pan flies off, Neal proposes they look for him at the Lost Boy camp, though Regina lashes out over the ridiculous idea. Emma sympathizes with how Regina is currently feeling, but realizes she doesn't actually understand. In a stark contrast, while she has the love of her parents and even Hook and Neal, Regina has only ever had Henry. They bring Henry's body back with them to the Lost Boy camp where Regina casts a preservation spell on him to last one hour until they track down Pan. Emma quickly stops Regina from taking out Felix's heart and instead sways the other Lost Boys with the promise she will get them off the island, to which they disclose Pan is at his "thinking tree" in Pixie Woods. Once Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina get there, they are ensnared by tree vines. Pan mentions the tree is special to him because it's the same place that he abandoned his son, Mr. Gold. As such, the tree will kill those who feel regret, so he brings up guilt-worthy moments from each person's past. To Emma, Pan lets her know how many times she disappointed Henry, which he can feel since the boy's heart is now in his chest. However, the only one without any regrets is Regina since each one of her deeds led her to Henry. Regina breaks herself and her allies out, tears out Henry's heart from Pan and steals back the box as well. They hurry onto the Jolly Roger in time to place the heart back in Henry as he gasps to life. Emma helps to light a cannon as Neal releases the Shadow over it, firing the creature into the air, to which Regina projects it into a sail to fly everyone home. ("Save Henry")

Following the return to Storybrooke, Mr. Gold seals the box in his pawnshop to keep Pan at bay. During an evening festivity at the diner, Emma hands Henry his storybook, and is puzzled by his strangely dull reaction to it. Later, she is asked out by Neal for lunch tomorrow. She is hesitant to accept, even when Mary Margaret says Emma owes it to herself to meet with him. However, Emma's thoughts are still focused on only Henry, especially after the ordeal he went through in Neverland. When she decides to call it a night, Henry requests to sleep over at Regina's house. Though surprised, Emma allows it and uneasily watches them leave together, despite reassurance from Mary Margaret that Henry probably just wants to spend the night in his old room. The next morning, she can't shake the feeling something is off with Henry and thinks things over at the dock. David comes to talk to Emma about her reason for standing up Neal. When Emma voices her concerns about Henry, he reasons that Regina is the boy's mother, too. She is also constantly worried something bad will happen, though David suggests that seeing the good is what makes life worth living. She's still unsure whether having lunch with Neal is a good idea, but he helps Emma find out with a ride to Granny's. As they pull up at the diner, a scream alerts them to trouble. Emma sees Hook and Tinker Bell come out of the building together, which leads her to suspect the two are now involved, though both give different answers. All four witness Mother Superior being killed by the Shadow as everyone begins to suspect Pan is behind it, so Emma goes with David and Mary Margaret to procure the box from Mr. Gold. Next, Emma stands outside the town line as Pan is released from the box on the same side as her. Pan makes the ludicrous claim that he is Henry. As proof, Emma asks him to tell her the very first time he and she connected together. Henry correctly answers that it was at his castle playground when he understood why Emma gave him up at birth, which was to let him have the best chance in life. Relieved, she and Henry hug in reconciliation. They head to the vault where Regina took "Henry" for protection. Hook, Neal and Tinker Bell are already waiting there, though the door is locked. As Mr. Gold works to unlock it, Emma's parents open her up to moving on with life and not worrying so much, but she is finding it difficult to be a savior and have a day off from trouble. Inside the vault, Regina is found unconscious while one critical item is missing and now in Pan's hands—the Dark Curse. ("The New Neverland")

Mr. Gold shares with everyone of the only viable way to stop Pan's curse is for Regina, as the original caster of the Dark Curse, to undo it by destroying the scroll, though there will be a steep price for this. They plan to switch Henry back to his own body so he will be in possession of the scroll and bring it to Regina. Mr. Gold can perform the spell, but needs a strong outlet in order for it to work. Tinker Bell has knowledge of a powerful Black Fairy's wand that Mother Superior kept, so she, David, Hook and Neal go to retrieve it from the convent nuns. While waiting in the pawnshop, Mary Margaret relates to Emma how difficult it was to give her up when the curse hit, and her constant struggles about the different life they could've had if that path wasn't taken. Emma, too, thinks about the same with Henry, and mulls over what could have been, but realizes it wasn't meant to be. David, Hook and Neal arrive back with the wand, courtesy of a restored Mother Superior, and Mr. Gold uses it to transfer Henry's spirit back into his original body. Everyone except Mr. Gold heads out, and with Granny's tracking skills, they are reunited with Henry. Regina passes out after taking the scroll and awakens with knowledge of the price for stopping the curse. They are accosted by Pan as he steals back the scroll and freezes them in place. The showdown ends when Mr. Gold summons the dagger and stabs Pan as well as himself with it; killing both of them. Regina reveals the price for stopping the curse is all former Enchanted Forest inhabitants will be sent back to their old world while Storybrooke will disappear out of existence. Emma decides to stay with Henry, and will leave town while Regina crafts new memories for them. Before this, she says goodbye to all her loved ones. As Emma drives out of Storybrooke with Henry, their memories are altered by Regina. ("Going Home")

Before Second Curse

Directly after driving out of Storybrooke, Emma and Henry obtain false memories of their life together. As Emma recalls, a fire broke out in her apartment in Boston, which caused her and Henry to start their lives over in New York. ("Going Home," "New York City Serenade")

During Second Curse

A year later, in New York, Emma becomes accustomed to taking Henry to a fountain outside the Midtown Library and giving him a penny to make a wish, as way to cheer him up when he is upset. During one of these times, Emma assumes he is unhappy about something at school, but Henry is actually upset because he notices his mother is lonely. At the fountain, he makes a wish asking for his family to be complete. A few days later, Henry and Emma are having breakfast in their New York apartment. She answers the door to see a strange man dressed in pirate clothes, and he claims to know her. When he attempts to kiss her, she knees him and ignores his profuse explanations by slamming the door closed. ("Going Home," "An Untold Story")

For eight months, Emma dates a man named Walsh. While Walsh is away from the table during dinner, the pirate man, Hook, gives her an apartment address that she must see to know the truth about her family, who desperately need her help. Hook asks her to find him in Central Park when she is ready to talk. Walsh reveals a ring on a dessert platter, which shocks Emma, as she feels marriage is too soon for them, so he promises to wait for her. At home, Henry urges Emma to accept, since Walsh has proven himself to be serious, and won't leave her like his biological father did. The day after, Emma heads to the address, recognizing a dream catcher as Neal's, meaning the apartment is also his, but more shockingly, she finds a camera strap with Henry's name. In a confrontation, Hook exemplifies the strap as proof Emma was once at the apartment a year ago and offers a potion to restore her memories. Instead, Emma has him arrested for assault and criminal harassment. Later, she admits to Henry that the past is keeping her from accepting Walsh, so he sets up a dinner date for them. Out of curiosity, Emma has the photos in the camera copied, and she is stunned that one of them shows herself and Henry in a town called Storybrooke.

After bailing Hook out of jail, he pushes Emma into taking the potion, despite that she will have to give up her current life, because knowing the truth is important. She regains her memories from the potion and later learns that her family has been re-cursed by someone powerful. Emma heads to the rooftop with Walsh where she rejects his proposal; citing that she has to take care of past business. Walsh reveals knowledge about the memory potion and violently attacks Emma after turning into a flying monkey. Emma shoves him off the roof. In the morning, Emma gives Henry a cover story about Hook and the three head to Storybrooke. She reunites with David and a visibly pregnant Mary Margaret, who both cannot recall anything that happened during that past year. ("New York City Serenade")

David and Mary Margaret recount to Emma the last memories they have of the day Pan's curse was stopped and how everyone was presumably sent back to the Enchanted Forest, but they only remember waking up in Storybrooke like it was another regular day. Hook confirms they did indeed go back to their homeland. Mysteriously, some town residents have been disappearing since everyone's return to Storybrooke, and when two more dwarves are reported missing, Emma decides to look into it. The next day, at the diner, she introduces Henry to Mary Margaret as the two women settle for the lie that they were cellmates while incarcerated in Phoenix. Regina, stunned to see Henry, is pulled aside by Emma to be questioned about the new curse, which the mayor denies involvement in. Soon, Emma investigates another missing resident, Little John, who was kidnapped by a winged beast, so she sends David, Hook, and the Merry Men to look for him. She teams up with Regina to lure the townspeople at a town hall meeting into believing the mayor is guilty of casting the new curse. The scheme goes off without a hitch, leaving the two to sleuth out the real criminal by concocting a memory potion to recall the lost year in the Enchanted Forest, but it fails. In another plan, they have Leroy, who helped them with the town hall ploy, spread the word that Regina is creating a memory potion so whoever drinks it can recall who cursed them. By making the news public, they hope to draw out the crook. In a stake-out, Emma and Regina rush up to the mayoral office when they see someone break in, but the person disappears quickly in green smoke. Afterwards, Emma allows Regina to meet Henry. David and Hook return, reporting that Little John turned into a flying monkey, as they conclude that the Wicked Witch of the West cast the new curse. ("Witch Hunt")

While Regina keeps Henry company, Emma, David, and Hook search the mayoral office for any evidence the Wicked Witch left behind. David discovers a holly berry in the room and pinpoints the plant's location in the northwestern region past the Toll Bridge. He is called away due to a phone call from Mary Margaret requesting him to come to the apartment and meet their new midwife, Zelena. Due to Emma's insistence, David promptly leaves. As the remaining pair comb the woods near the holly berry bushes, Emma, believing Hook is hiding something, pries him about what happened in the Enchanted Forest, but he refuses to say. The pirate asks if she was considering marrying Walsh. Emma confirms she was, due to being in love, but disappointingly, as usual, the guy of her dreams had secrets and broke her heart. Hook is pleased, remarking that if her heart is broken, it means she is still capable of love. Emma gives him an unsure look before resuming their search for the Wicked Witch. They reach a farmhouse and deduct that someone is living in it. Spotting a storm cellar, Emma prepares to break it open, but on Hook's advice, they decide to regroup with Regina first. Upon opening her phone, she listens to a new message from David, who believes he has cornered the Wicked Witch. After picking up Regina, Emma drives them to the woods to meet up with David. He recounts fighting a version of himself created by the Wicked Witch's magic and killing it with his sword hilt, but both disappeared afterwards. Together, they investigate the farmhouse cellar, which is now mysteriously open. Inside, the cell's occupant is gone, but a spinning wheel with strands of spun gold litter the floor; evident proof that Mr. Gold is alive. ("The Tower")

In a morning meeting at the closed diner, Emma and her allies discuss searching for Mr. Gold while Regina opts to search the farmhouse alone for evidence. Emma delivers breakfast to Henry at the inn. She interests him in going fishing with Leroy for the day, but Henry can tell she is hiding something. He is suspicious about all the old friends she's never mentioned and how people seem to whisper secretively around him. Henry asks for the truth, or else they go home. Receiving a phone call, she is told Neal is recovering in the hospital. Before leaving, Emma asks for Henry's trust until she can tell him everything. While Neal is informed about Mr. Gold, Emma notices a mark on his palm and has Belle research it. She tells Neal that Henry is still amnesiac and reasons it might be best that way. Combing the woods with David, they soon find Mr. Gold. When they ask for the Wicked Witch's identity, he is unable to tell them. David fends off a flying monkey as Emma chases after a fleeing Mr. Gold. She loses track of him, bumping into Neal, so they search together. They laugh about their near engagements while Neal admits he wants her to be happy, even if it's not with him. A call from Belle notifies Emma of the origin of Neal's mark from a key to the vault of the Dark One that he must have used to resurrect Mr. Gold. As a price, the Dark One is revived while the key user will die. Soon after, Neal realizes he and his father are sharing the same body, which the latter had done to keep him alive. On his request, she magically separates him and Mr. Gold, and he begins to die. At the spur of the moment, Mr. Gold reveals the Wicked Witch's real name is Zelena. As a grieving Emma cradles Neal, he returns her swan necklace, insisting she and Henry can find happiness without him and he will watch over them. After his death, she rejoins David to catch Zelena at the apartment, but she is already gone. Lastly, Emma finds Henry, telling him of his father's passing, and that he died a hero. ("Quiet Minds")

Emma, along with Henry, attend Neal's funeral to pay their respects. Afterwards, at the diner, she lets Hook to take Henry for the day and allow her son to learn about what Neal was like at his age. Shortly after they leave, Zelena storms in; threatening everyone into submission with the Dark One's dagger. Emma, infuriated at her presence, moves to confront the witch, but is held back by Mary Margaret. Zelena publicly reveals herself as Regina's half-sister and forces her sibling into a showdown on Main Street after sundown. Regina, having doubts about Zelena's claims, heads to the vault for evidence of their familial connection. Emma and Mary Margaret follow her there, but are left puzzled when Regina finds proof and abruptly departs without a word. Hopeful of swaying Mr. Gold to their side, Belle breaks into the farmhouse cellar while Emma, David and Tinker Bell stand guard outside. However, the girl rushes out after nearly falling into a trap. An enslaved Mr. Gold delivers a message from Zelena; warning them that she will finish off Regina and they'll pay with their lives if they interfere again. During the evening, on Main Street, Zelena approaches while trailed by Mr. Gold, though Regina is still absent. Emma challenges the witch, who then commands Mr. Gold to fling her aside. At Regina's arrival, the two witches magically spar. She witnesses Regina being thrown into the clock tower by Zelena, who later flees on her broomstick. Emma, David and Mary Margaret rush to check on Regina where they learn Zelena attempted to take her heart, but failed since it's hidden elsewhere. In the aftermath, Emma returns to the inn where Henry is dropped off by Hook. Before leaving, he insists that her son deserves the truth about Neal, though she brushes off his advice. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Intending to sharpen her magic skills against Zelena, Emma agrees to be trained by Regina. David and Mary Margaret offer to watch over Henry, but she balks and implies her son thinks they are boring. Instead, she leaves Henry with Hook again. Regina's lesson commences in the vault, though she devises a better way of pushing Emma to excel by trapping her on a bridge walkway. Upping the pressure, Regina deliberately severs the rope and insistently urges Emma to use magic to fix the situation as the entire bridge gives way. At the last minute, Emma surprisingly constructs a makeshift landing out of the bridge planks to save herself; proving just how much power she has since Regina had only wanted her to simply retie the cut rope. They return to the apartment when Hook returns without Henry since he allowed Emma's parents to take him. He fills them in on his day's adventure of helping Ariel find a missing Eric. Emma's parents arrive home with Henry after allowing him to have a test drive using David's truck. Hook details the outcome of Ariel's quest; mentioning she and Eric reunited on Hangman's Island in the Enchanted Forest. With Regina's instruction, Emma is assigned the task of projecting an image in the mirror of Ariel and Eric on Hangman's Island, which she does with success. Before Hook leaves, she tells him that whatever he's not admitting from his year in the Enchanted Forest no longer matters to her. That night, Emma, David, Henry, Mary Margaret and Regina have a meal together at the diner. ("The Jolly Roger")

After Zelena successfully steals Regina's heart, Emma reports for a group seance to open a portal to the land of the dead by using the now defunct candle to talk to Cora about her first-born child's origins. Emma, David, Hook, Mary Margaret and Regina link hands as the portal opens, but Cora refuses to appear. When Hook's knee bumps the table, a startled Mary Margaret withdraws her hands, which closes the gateway. Shortly after the failed experiment, all leave except Mary Margaret, who stays to help Regina clean up. Emma shows off her increasingly powerful magic to Hook, who reacts grumpily when she teleports away his hook, but he refuses to talk about the real reason for his bad mood. Once Belle figures out what spell Zelena is intending to cast, everyone returns to Regina's house just after Mary Margaret was briefly possessed by Cora's spirit. Mary Margaret reveals Cora, while pregnant with another man's child, was once engaged to Leopold, but Princess Eva deliberately wrecked it. In turn, this caused Cora to unwillingly abandon Zelena after birth. As for the ingredients of Zelena's spell, as Belle explains, are for a time spell to alter the past; namely to kill Eva and keep Cora from abandoning her first-born child. ("Bleeding Through")

Meeting at the inn, Emma, David, Mary Margaret and Regina strategize on how to break the new curse. With the last curse, she recalls believing in magic after touching the fairytale storybook, which triggered her memories of the Enchanted Forest. From this, Regina suggests the key to breaking the curse is for Henry to believe in magic as Emma did. They head to the apartment where the storybook appeared to Mary Margaret during the first curse. As they leave the inn, Henry, certain Emma is lying again, demands the truth. She shuts down the conversation, and he backs down, but not before asking for her set of keys. Searching the apartment, Mary Margaret's "magical" touch yields the book. In a moment with her mother, Emma reiterates how happy she and Henry were in New York, though Mary Margaret knows that was because their memories were gone. Henry is discovered missing from the inn, though Emma quickly tracks him, using GPS, on his phone to the dock. There, she shoots a flying monkey to protect her son as David and Regina also step in to take out incoming monsters. She hands the storybook to him; asking that he believe in magic. Upon touching the book, Henry receives his lost memories back. Zelena chokes the boy and blames Hook for failing to do what she asked. With Regina knocked unconscious, Emma magically scalds Zelena; forcing her to retreat. Henry awakens Regina, who gives him true love's kiss and breaks the new curse. Afterwards, Hook confesses Zelena cursed his lips and ordered him to remove Emma's magic by kissing her. He admits trying to take Henry out of town since Zelena threatened to harm him. Annoyed at his secrets, she tells him off; believing it should be her responsibility alone to protect Henry. She visits Neal's grave with Henry, in which Mary Margaret begins having labor pains. ("A Curious Thing")

After Second Curse

Emma follows her parents to the hospital delivery room where she and Regina cast a protection spell to shield them from Zelena. Still upset about Hook's lie, she goes to face Zelena alone, but with David's persuasion, allows the pirate to come with her. Along the way, Emma expresses regrets over bringing Henry to Storybrooke since he'll always be in danger, but Hook thinks she is scared of considering a happy future in town. During the face-off, Hook is nearly drowned by Mr. Gold on Zelena's order; forcing Emma to choose—save him and lose her magic or let him die. She gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation—a "kiss"—and has her magic drained away. With Emma's magic gone, the barrier around the hospital room disappears; allowing Zelena to steal the newborn baby for a time spell. Due to Henry's belief that Regina possesses light magic, she uses it to defeat Zelena once and for all. Rather than condemn the witch to death, Regina spares her sister's life and imprisons her in a jail cell. David returns his son into Mary Margaret's loving arms where Emma watches happily outside the door. Hook thanks Emma for saving his life, even though the cost was her own magic. Emma doesn't mind; stating that she won't need it after returning to New York. Then, she ushers Henry into the room to meet his new family member. Unseen to them, Mr. Gold kills Zelena; accidentally triggering magic in her pendant, which activates the time spell. ("Kansas")

The next morning, Henry shows Emma an apartment listing in town, but she avoids the topic. During a diner celebration welcoming David and Mary Margaret's son, Emma and Hook overhear Henry reading the fairytale story of how Prince Charming and Snow White met. When Hook hints that she desires to leave town, Emma finds her intentions questioned by Regina. Again, she eludes the issue by leaving the diner. Hook catches up and hands Emma the book to show her the family she will be leaving behind. Emma, however, only sees fairytale stories in the book and believes she doesn't belong. Admitting to running from past foster homes, Emma stubbornly insists she will continue to run until finding a true home. Noticing the time spell is activated, they investigate the portal and are sucked into the past Enchanted Forest. They are forced to hide when the Queen arrives to a nearby village where a prisoner, Marian, is hauled out. Emma pities her, but doesn't intervene on Hook's warning that the future may be altered by changing the past. After Emma finds new clothes, she and Hook witness Snow White trying to steal from Prince Charming. Though this is supposed to be the first meeting between the destined lovers, Emma accidentally breaks a branch; causing a startled Snow White to flee. Hoping to fix the mistake, the two head for Rumplestiltskin's castle. On sight, the Dark One chokes Hook until Emma reveals future circumstances that will lead him to Baelfire. Rumplestiltskin then aids them in tracking down Prince Charming and Snow White's locations. Choreographing a meeting between the future couple, Emma distracts past Hook while future Hook boards the Jolly Roger to convince Snow White to steal Prince Charming's ring from King Midas' castle. Brought aboard the ship by past Hook, Emma keeps him busy until future Hook knocks his past self unconscious. Borrowing magical disguises from Rumplestiltskin, they present themselves as Princess Leia and Prince Charles to blend in the castle. They help Snow White flee from the Queen's knights, but the ring is left behind, which Emma takes. Imprisoned for assisting Snow White, Emma meets Marian, who states they will be executed tomorrow. Using Neal's lock-pick method, she frees both of them and regroups with Hook, Prince Charming and Red Riding Hood only to witness Snow White's execution by the Queen. ("Snow Drifts")

Shocked at her mother's death, Emma discovers Snow White escaped by turning herself into a bug, and she reverts to human with the Blue Fairy's help. Relieved, she embraces Snow White, who is puzzled by her concern. Fearing Marian will alter the future by simply existing, Hook and Emma decide to take her to the future. Prince Charming notices Snow White stole his ring and takes off after her. Soon, the past is set back on track as the ring is returned and the prince and the bandit part on better terms. Returning to Rumplestiltskin, Emma and Hook learn a special wand can replicate magic, but the portal has to be made by someone who already traveled through it. Intending to "protect the future" by taking a forgetting potion, the Dark One also entraps them in his vault. While there, Hook pulls out a urn, from a cabinet, which Emma chides him for touching as it might be dangerous. Emma, having an epiphany from watching her mother die, realizes Henry brought her to Storybrooke to find her family. With that, her magic is restored and a portal is opened. Before she follows Hook into it, Rumplestiltskin demands to know what happens when he reunites with Baelfire. She states his son forgives and loves him, but he dies to save everyone. Emma proclaims Baelfire died a hero, and that he shouldn't change the future at the risk of making things worse. Lastly, Emma urges him to take the potion, which he does as he shoves her away, allowing the blonde to be swept into the portal. In the present, Emma rushes into her parents' arms and confirms her decision to stay in town. She informs them about her and Hook's adventure to the past, and then asks for her brother's name. David and Mary Margaret announce they are naming him after a true hero—Neal. From Hook, Emma learns he traded his ship for a magic bean in order to find her in New York. Touched, she finally reciprocates his feelings and kisses him. As Emma re-introduces Marian to Regina, Robin Hood recognizes the newcomer as his deceased wife as does Roland, who acknowledges her as his mother. Emma, stunned at the turn of events, starts to apologize by saying she only wanted to rescue an innocent woman, but Regina angrily berates her, telling her she is just like her mother and didn't think of the consequences of her actions. ("There's No Place Like Home")

When Regina leaves the diner, Emma follows her out to explain she never intended to cause harm, but doesn't regret saving Marian. Emma tries to apologize for ruining Regina's new-found chance at happiness, but the latter is having none of it. Suddenly, Robin Hood approaches, introducing Marian to Regina, so the three of them can talk. Instead, a furious Marian is disgusted at Regina, who she remembers as the Evil Queen and calls her a "monster." Regina promptly takes off, but Emma is dissuaded by Hook into not going after her. The next morning, Emma phones Regina, but she doesn't pick up, so Henry tries calling her instead. She also sends Hook to look for Regina at the vault. In conversation, Mary Margaret remarks to Emma about how well-adjusted Henry seems to be, especially since both his mothers now have boyfriends. However, Emma hasn't told Henry about her relationship with Hook yet. Hook reports that Regina is not at the vault, and then questions if Emma is now avoiding him. Privately, Emma reasons that her hands are full at the moment with the Regina crisis. Just then, Leroy and Walter inform them that something magically froze their car last night. Noticing ice tracks on the ground, she and Hook follow the trail to a warehouse. Inside, a snow monster forms and chases them out, so they regroup in the forest with David, Little John, Marian and Robin Hood. A fired arrow from Little John agitates the beast, to which Emma uses magic to aim an energy ball. This only angers the monster, who knocks Emma away and blows everyone off their feet. Unexpectedly, Regina intercepts the battle, saving Marian's life, by obliterating the being, and then she teleports away. Afterwards, Emma shares a kiss with Hook; asking for his patience while she sorts out things with Regina. From the outside of the mayoral office, Emma comforts a silent Regina and promises to help her find a happy ending. ("A Tale of Two Sisters")

During a night at the apartment, Emma sees Henry packing a basket of goodies for Regina. Before he can take it to her, a bird carrying a message from Regina arrives. From reading it, Henry believes Regina doesn't want to see him. Emma looks at the letter herself, tracking down Henry at the diner, to reason that his mother needs space. Henry, however, does not believe Regina is doing the right thing by pushing him away. After a blackout, Emma is radioed by David, who is picking her up so they can investigate. She asks Henry if he wishes to tag along; even jokingly brainstorming operation names, but he declines. Emma, while sitting in car as David drives, bemoans her failure to comfort Henry about Regina's note. David notices Henry inherited traits from her and Regina, who both put up walls, but believes Emma shouldn't give up on her son. Near the town line, they see an ice wall, which has knocked down power lines. Hook, having already searched around, approaches. He jests at Emma that he forgot to bring champagne to their "second date." Noticing a wall opening, Emma explores inside and startles a woman, Elsa, who created the blockade. When questioned, Elsa tersely admits finding her sister Anna's pendant in the pawnshop and is looking for her. As David and Hook advance in, Elsa forms icicles and causes an avalanche that traps herself and Emma on the other side. Ordered by Elsa, Emma tells David to find Anna. While they wait, Emma recognizes that Elsa, like herself, cannot control her magic. Freezing from the cold temperatures, Emma stays awake by talking. They bond over having powers they can't control and figuring out who they are beyond their titles; Elsa as Queen and Emma as the savior. When Emma collapses, Elsa is encouraged by David, who persuades her into melting the ice. At the apartment, Emma is warmed up. She apologizes to Henry for not being helpful earlier, but he is just glad she is safe. David gives Elsa a shepherd's crook, and from it, she hears her sister's heartbeat. A tired Emma rests in Hook's arms, but later accompanies Elsa to the town line. Elsa tries removing the wall, but it mysteriously does not work. ("White Out")

With Elsa, Emma and Hook confront Mr. Gold about the urn. As Emma recalls, he had it in his vault, but Mr. Gold has Belle command him, with the dagger's will, to tell the truth. Mr. Gold then professes to no knowledge about Elsa, Anna or that someone was in the urn. Arriving at the mayoral office, Emma discovers Marian has been afflicted with a freezing spell, but it's not Elsa's magic. Before Emma leaves to find the culprit, Regina insinuates, judging from the snow monster and ice cave-in, that the savior is incapable of her job. Believing Regina is lashing out, Emma shrugs it off. Clue-hunting in the forest, she splits up from David and apprehends a man rummaging through Robin Hood's tent. Forcing him to surrender at gunpoint, Emma then gives chase when the man runs away only for him to be caught by David. Introducing himself as Will, he mentions hearing of Marian's illness and tells them about ice cream in a shop, during the blackout, which was still frozen without electricity. Skeptical, the two sheriffs let Will take them to the store, Any Given Sundae, where Emma notices there is no freezer, which is used to keep the goods frozen. Will instructs them to look in the backroom for proof of his claims. Emma and David discover a frozen kitchen, but while they are distracted, Will steals money from the cash register and flees. Though Emma wants to go after him, David insists they stay on track. Frustrated, Emma admits being unhappy as a savior since she is unable to resolve anything lately, believing that what Regina said earlier is true, but her father advises her to not give up. Picking up a voice message from Hook, the pair are led to the Snow Queen, who is preparing to drop icicles on the pirate. Strangely, the Snow Queen, out of recognition, calls Emma by name. Once the Snow Queen collapses the icicles, the savior magically pushes David and Hook to safety, to which her opponent disappears. Afterwards, Emma comforts Elsa about her forgotten past; believing that the truth will reveal itself soon. That night, Hook brings up her trust issues, but Emma reveals she is being distant out of fears of losing him like with everyone else. Hook assures that he's skilled in survival, and the two kiss. ("Rocky Road")

After telling Henry about her relationship status with Hook, Emma drives him to the diner where she intends to ask her boyfriend out on a date. As they exit the vehicle, she asks Henry if he minds the situation. Admittedly, he doesn't like it, but wants her to be happy. With a pat on her back, he urges his mother to go into the diner. There, Emma pops the question to Hook, and he agrees to their first date. Due to his insistence, she allows him to plan their outing. Returning to her car, Emma steps in a puddle, which she suspects is the Snow Queen's doing. When fitted into her date dress, she shows her parents and Elsa. Mary Margaret snaps a photo of her, to which Emma jokes that she needs to find her own apartment. Emma opens the door to receive Hook, who has since regained his missing hand from Mr. Gold. As they dine at a restaurant, Hook promises, for the evening, to ease her worries about the Snow Queen. At the nearby bar, Will tries to leave without attracting Emma's attention, but bumps into a waiter carrying wine, which spills onto her dress. Upset, Hook demands an apology from Will, but Emma brushes it off. She nearly chases Will upon recognizing him, but decides to deal with the thief later. By evening's end, Hook asks Emma out on another date, which she seals with a goodnight kiss. Inside the apartment, an excited Mary Margaret wants to hear all details of the date while David does not. Awkwardly, Emma excuses herself. In the morning, her car skids into an iced over road. Investigating nearby, Emma spots the Snow Queen and follows her, but she loses the woman's trail. Phoned by Belle, she heads to the library to find a passed out Will and hauls him into a cell. During questioning, Emma asks about a book and drawing that she found on him earlier, but Will claims they mean nothing. At Hook's arrival, she notices his hook hand is back; he claims the real hand wasn't good enough. From David, Emma learns the Snow Queen is living under the name Sarah Fisher, but there are no records of her, which means she did not come to Storybrooke due to a curse. ("The Apprentice")

Continuing to pile through records at the sheriff's office, Emma subdues Will, who wants dinner, by giving him a poptart. Looking at photos Sidney took when he was spying on her for Regina, she notices an image of herself arguing with the Snow Queen. Having no memory of it, Emma, accompanied by Elsa, drives to Regina's vault. Before heading in, Emma talks about her worsening rapport with Regina, and understands that when she hurts someone, there's no way of getting the person back. Regina has no answers about the photo, so Emma offers to lend magic in unfreezing Marian. She affirms allegiance to Regina, but the latter clarifies Emma has never had her back. Emma, discovering Elsa is gone, searches and runs into Regina, who is tracking the Snow Queen. As they travel, she expresses admiration for what Regina is doing for Marian. To this, Regina accuses Emma of assuaging her guilt over bringing back Marian. Regina explains that Emma, intentionally or not, ruined her life, and that's something she should live with. They reach an bridge, evidently made from Elsa's magic, and as they cross, the Snow Queen's wind gust stops them. Emma learns Regina has Sidney entrapped in a mirror, and he betrayed them to the Snow Queen, which is how their foe knows their location. As the crosswalk collapses, the two reach safety and defeat an orc by combining powers. The Snow Queen steals Regina's mirror and chokes them, but Elsa arrives to blast her away. Before the trio finish her off, the Snow Queen retreats. An argument breaks out between Emma and Regina as Elsa pleads for them to mend fences. Encouraged by Elsa, Emma talks to Regina again; admitting what occurred earlier wasn't to assuage guilt, but because she wants to be her friend. At the sheriff's station, Emma and Hook watch a camera recording of her and an old friend. Suddenly, it plays footage, which Emma doesn't remember, of herself in a new foster home as a boy toys with the camera. The foster mother, revealed to be the Snow Queen, approaches to take the device away. ("Breaking Glass")

Gathering Belle, David, Henry, Mary Margaret, Mr. Gold and Regina together, Emma replays the recording to show them what she discovered. With only one lead left, the Snow Queen's ice cream truck, to find, they split into a search party. Robin Hood, spotting the truck near his camp, informs Emma, to which Hook and Regina also join in the investigation. After hearing Regina rebuff Robin Hood's attempt at talking to her, Emma objects to her reaction. Regina, recognizing she means well, tells Emma to stay out of the issue. Inside the vehicle, they break open a freezer and uncover a newspaper clipping of when Pinocchio found Emma, as a baby, on the side of the road; proving the Snow Queen has been watching the savior from the start. She also finds a file, with all her old drawings and essays, that the Snow Queen apparently kept throughout the years. Out of all the items, a scroll written in ancient text perplexes Emma the most. Arriving back at the sheriff station, Elsa shows Emma and Hook a pictorial family tree of the royals of Arendelle. Within it, the Snow Queen is named as Ingrid and is Elsa's maternal aunt. Equally as surprising, Elsa's mother and Ingrid had another sister, Helga, who resembles Emma. Noticing the scroll, Elsa deciphers the message on it, which is that the savior, Emma, will become Ingrid's sister. Judging from the family tree, they realize Ingrid means to replace Emma and Elsa as her sisters. Belle reveals a past meeting with Anna, who was then captured by the Snow Queen. She also relates knowledge about Ingrid's mirror, which is key for casting a spell of shattered sight that will make everyone turn on each other. Even so, Emma and Elsa ominously recognize Ingrid will spare the two of them so they can be a "perfect family" with her. ("Family Business")

From a spell Belle deciphered, Emma practices lighting a special candle to create magical binds on the Snow Queen. Scheduled for babysitting duty, she goes to pick up Neal from Mary Margaret, who is currently at a meet-up with other mothers and their babies. The activity leader, Ashley, explains the get-together is a support group for first-time mothers. Emma is perturbed by this, but tries to understand since Mary Margaret didn't have a chance to be a mother the first time around. However, out of resentment, Emma causes Neal's bottle of milk to boil, which she plays off as a bout of magic practice. When she tries to take Neal into her care, an unsure Mary Margaret refuses. Called away to sheriff duty, Emma corners the Snow Queen with the candle's power. At the station, Emma handles questioning after the Snow Queen upsets Elsa, who leaves. Emma wishes to know why Ingrid has been watching her since childhood, and the Snow Queen implies she erased her memories to protect her. Ingrid believes she and Elsa belong with her since they have similar powers, and because Emma's family will come to fear their daughter if her powers become dangerous. As a further push, Ingrid claims Emma's parents willingly chose to give her up at birth even though there were other options, are selfishly using her to be their savior and must feel blessed to have a son with no magic. Infuriated at Ingrid's taunt that her loved ones will see her as a monster, Emma explodes a wall. Ingrid then breaks the binds and escapes. With her powers spiraling out of control, Emma damages a streetlight that injuries David. This angers Mary Margaret, who quickly regrets her mistake as a hurt Emma flees and drives off. ("The Snow Queen")

In the woods, Henry approaches Emma, but she unintentionally sends him flying back and sustaining a cut. Fearing he'll get hurt again, she emits another blast to force him to leave. Ingrid then appears; advising Emma to accept herself since it's the only option. Emma refuses, not willing to let her loved ones be harmed due to her powers, and takes off in her car. She consults with Mr. Gold for a permanent solution to be rid of her magic, and he presents her with a spell capable of this feat. He lies to her about the spell being too intense for the town because it'll reduce whole buildings to rubble, so she agrees to meet him at a manor in the forest. On the drive there, she crashes to the side after swerving to keep from hitting a manifestation of Ingrid. The Snow Queen warns that Mr. Gold only wants to use her, but Emma doesn't trust Ingrid's word. She heads to the manor where Mr. Gold directs her into a room to be stripped of magic. Before she reaches the door, Elsa stops her. Drawing from her own experience, Elsa argues that having the support of loved ones is not enough, and for Emma to truly be happy, she must embrace the good and bad that comes with her own magic. In a risky move, she calm Emma's magic by linking hands with her. Symbolically, in this moment, both Emma and Elsa learn to accept their magic. In a happy reunion with David, Henry, Hook and Mary Margaret, Emma creates a fireworks display for them. Trouble brews again, however, when Emma and Elsa notice ribbons on their left wrists, which begin absorbing their magic into Ingrid's ribbon; allowing the Snow Queen to cast the spell of shattered sight. ("Smash the Mirror")

In the clock tower, Emma and her allies witness the cloud formation of Ingrid's spell, which will take effect by sundown. At first, they try scaling the ice wall to flee town before the spell hits, but the barricade is too powerful. A fissure in the ice reveals Anna's lost necklace, which Elsa retrieves. Emma sends Leroy as well as her parents to warn the townspeople of Ingrid's curse and asks Hook to look for escape boats at the docks. Leaving Henry in Regina's care, Emma goes with Elsa to the pawnshop. From Belle, they learn a hair sample, from someone who has been under Ingrid's curse, can make a counter spell. Since Anna fits the criteria, they use a locator spell on the necklace to track her, however, it leads them to a mine cave-in. Regrouping with her parents, Leroy and Regina, they determine it'll take hours to uncover the passage. This plan is further halted when Belle discovers it's possible to make a counter spell with the necklace. Convinced that they must save the town, Emma persuades Elsa into handing over the pendant in a pouch, though it is actually filled with pebbles. Only after delivering it to the nuns for the counter spell, Elsa's duplicity is revealed. Persisting to have faith, Emma returns to the mines just as Elsa blasts open the cave-in. The twosome reach a beach where Elsa follows the pendant's glow until it fades, but Anna is nowhere to be found. Emma concludes that Anna is dead, but Elsa clings to hope and makes a wish, while holding the pendant, to see her sister again. Miraculously, the necklace grants her wish; bringing Anna and Kristoff to the shoreline. They hurry to the nuns, who are mysteriously gone, so everyone regroups at the sheriff station. With the curse nearing, Emma agrees, on her parents' requests, to lock them into separate cells, and Mary Margaret relinquishes Neal into her protection. Both her mother and father express praise and optimism in Emma; believing she will win against Ingrid. After a goodbye kiss with Hook, everyone braces for the curse as mirror shards spill into the room. ("Fall")

When Anna recalls the epilogue of The Trolden Glass, in which the king's spell of shattered sight only ended when he was killed, they realize the same must be done to Ingrid. Emma and Elsa try to take down Ingrid, but their magic fails. As Ingrid explains, her love for them flows through the ribbons and prevents them from harming her. The pair devise a plan to counter Ingrid's love with Regina's hatred in order to remove the ribbons. After breaking a shield on the vault, Emma goads Regina by confessing to bringing Marian from the past to make her miserable and ensuring she could never be happy. Enraged, Regina blasts fire at her, but ends up burning away the ribbons. The two flee and enter the snow lair where Ingrid shows them their memory stones. Each contain happy memories both women have shared with Ingrid, who believes by returning them, they will love her. Emma makes another attempt at magic when Anna rushes in with a scroll written by Gerda and reads it out loud. They learn Gerda wiped everyone's memories of her two sisters and wishes for her daughters to restore them using a crystal. Additionally, Gerda requests that Ingrid be freed from the urn and states she truly loved her sister and regretted trapping her away. Convinced those words are lies, Ingrid throws Emma and Elsa backwards and chokes Anna, who desperately talks her out of it. After Anna is released, Ingrid touches the scroll crystal and receives Gerda's happy memories with her and Helga. Realizing she always had her sisters' love, Ingrid destroys herself to ensure the curse is lifted. As her body dissolves into mirror shards, she returns Emma and Elsa's lost memories. Before disappearing completely, Ingrid reveals a prophecy once told her Emma would lead her to her sisters, and now knowing that Helga and Gerda loved her, she can happily join them in death. With her demise, the spell of shattered sight comes to an end as Emma acknowledges the Snow Queen's nobility in the end. Emma, Elsa, and Anna walk through the streets to greet their loved ones. ("Shattered Sight")

At the town line, Elsa tears down the ice wall, but remnants of Ingrid's magic remain; making it impossible for anyone to re-enter Storybrooke after leaving. Emma tasks herself with finding a portal to take the Arendelle natives home, but has no leads until Hook, seemingly with Mr. Gold's help, discovered a realm door in a mansion. Emma is unsure of Mr. Gold's intentions, but Hook convinces her that the crocodile has turned over a new leaf. She suggests Hook go with her to the mansion, but he excuses himself to the hospital to get a wound checked out. While she senses something is amiss, Hook assures her he's fine. Unknown to Emma, during this conversation, his speaking actions are under Mr. Gold's control. Hook rebels against the subjection by briefly grabbing Emma's wrist, although he is not able to tell her what is wrong. After a warm farewell to Emma, Elsa walks into the portal as Kristoff follows her in. Before Anna goes in as well, she inquiries about Mr. Gold's original name in the Enchanted Forest. Emma is shocked to learn Anna did know Mr. Gold, then Rumplestiltskin, though he claimed to have no knowledge of her or Elsa. Concluding Mr. Gold is up to no good, Emma and her mother track him to the clock tower where Hook is also present. Emma moves to use magic, but Mr. Gold freezes her and Mary Margaret. He begins crushing Hook's heart, but an angry Belle compels him to stop with the real dagger. She makes him drop the heart and release Emma and Mary Margaret. Lastly, Belle commands Mr. Gold to take herself and him to the town line. Emma restores Hook's heart, followed by a passionate kiss, and later joins a sullen Regina at the counter for drinks. She compliments Regina for allowing Robin Hood to leave Storybrooke in order to save Marian's life. Suddenly, Henry rushes in to lead them to the mansion's secret room containing blank storybooks. Learning about Operation Mongoose, Emma decides to pitch in and help Regina find her happy ending. ("Heroes and Villains")

Six weeks after, Emma meets Hook outside the pawnshop, where he gives her a cup of coffee, and they walk to the library. As Emma parts from him, he joins Belle to do research for freeing the nuns from the hat. While Regina hunts for clues on the Author in the storybook, Emma offers her a root beer. Fishing for a bottle opener, she sees a storybook photo of Regina and Robin Hood. Regina admits Robin Hood found it, and he believed it was hope for their future together. Emma asks if she's heard from him yet, but Regina confirms she hasn't. Gaining a spell translation from Belle, Regina performs a ceremony to release the nuns, but she unintentionally unleashes the Chernabog as well. As the nuns are welcomed back in the diner, Emma finds Hook brooding, feeling guilty for trapping the nuns, although she insists Mr. Gold is at fault for manipulating him. During Mother Superior's talk with Regina, the nun confirms the Author hasn't disappeared, and he may have left clues in his works about it. Faced with the Chernabog, Emma and Regina stun it with magic. In a call from Cruella De Vil and Ursula, the two claim to have stolen Mr. Gold's phone and desire passage into Storybrooke since becoming good. They provide details about the Chernabog, who devours the heart of the person who has the greatest potential for evil. Though Regina believes the demon is after her, it is actually stalking Emma. They lure the beast to the town line, with Emma driving as Regina is in the car, but the Chernabog wrecks havoc on the windshield. Regina then offers herself as bait at the town line, to which Emma accelerates the vehicle speed and then halts abruptly, which hurls the Chernabog off the car roof and through the barrier, where it ceases to exist. Due to Cruella and Ursula's help, Emma wants to let them into town, yet David and Mary Margaret advise against it. Regina argues the women are villains, but they deserve second chances like herself, which Emma agrees with. With a scroll, Cruella and Ursula are allowed into town. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

On Emma and Hook's way to the diner, they pass Cruella and Ursula. With a knowing look, the sea witch drops Hook's name as she walks away, which piques Emma's interest about how he knows her. Whisked off to sheriff duty, Emma and David follow Cruella and Ursula to the pawnshop. She senses David is hiding something about the strangers, but he feigns ignorance. When the women leave and drive off, Emma phones Belle, who discovers a box missing from the shop. David then flags down and searches Cruella's car, where he seemingly finds nothing suspicious. After dropping her father at the apartment, Emma picks up camera footage from the pawnshop and begins downloading it. When Hook brings her lunch, she inquiries about his past with Ursula, but he dodges the topic. Discovering footage of Cruella and Ursula taking the box, she informs her parents, although they both claim they were too suspicious of the women earlier and have since calmed down. The couple lie about going on a hike as Emma skeptically accepts their answer. Called to the mayor's office by Regina, she tries helping Pinocchio remember his time as August, but he can't recall anything. Frustrated, Regina insults Pinocchio for not trying harder as Emma diffuses the situation by taking the boy out of the room. To Hook, Emma persuades him into telling her the truth about Ursula in his own time. Without knowing David and Mary Margaret are listening, she agrees to believe the best in him as her parents always have in other people. Before they can kiss, David and Mary Margaret interrupt and tell Emma about Cruella and Ursula reviving Maleficent. ("Unforgiven")

Learning from her parents that Regina has gone undercover to infiltrate the villains' plans, Emma becomes increasingly worried when she does not report back. She even meets up with Hook, who informs her that Regina was with Cruella, Ursula and Maleficent in the diner last night, where they over-indulged in liquor and left some damage to the indoor property. He seems confident that Regina's ruse worked, but Emma still has doubts. After they all meet up at the library, Regina reveals Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula are seeking the Author to change things so the villains win and heroes lose, and they want her to steal something for the mission. Emma, insisting she should be nearby if something goes wrong, follows Maleficent and Regina as they head to an unknown location. Seeing Regina enter Marco's wood shop to kidnap Pinocchio on Maleficent's orders, Emma sneaks in and tries talking her out of it. Instead, Regina wants to handle things alone, and she departs with the sleeping boy. A short time after this, Emma checks her device to track Regina's movements, which strangely isn't moving. Suspecting Regina left her phone behind to keep her from following, she rushes outside and finds the mobile on the ground. ("Enter the Dragon")

The next day, Emma, her parents and Hook follow a trail in search of where the villains took Pinocchio. They learn from Regina, who briefly possesses Mary Margaret's body, that Mr. Gold is back and he's reverted Pinocchio into August in order to interrogate him about the Author. Hoping to stop Mr. Gold before things escalate, they ask Belle for the dagger, but she recalls giving it to Hook, revealing Mr. Gold pretended to be him to get it. Angered at the crocodile's trickery, Hook darkly suggests he should have stabbed him when the opportunity arose, even though Emma warns he would be the new Dark One because of it. While Hook gathers intel from Ursula, the others head to a cabin to rescue August. On the way there, Emma sympathizes with Hook's earlier sentiments about killing Mr. Gold as payback. Her parents are appalled by this, but Emma reassures them that she is just trying to understand where Hook is coming from. As they storm the cabin, Cruella pulls a gun on them, although Mary Margaret knocks her out. Using magic, Emma undoes August's binds and the pair share a friendly reunion. Before they can leave, Ursula stops them, as August is the only way to find the Author and restore her happiness, until she unexpectedly regains her lost singing voice from her father and decides to go home with him. Afterwards, Hook tells Emma about his fears of losing her since the storybook supposedly never gives happy endings to villains. While August recuperates in the apartment, Regina comes in and relates a dream in which she sensed the Evil Queen was trying to protect Robin Hood from something, and she asks Emma to find his current contact details. From August, they learn the actual door to the Author is the door illustration itself. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

At the apartment, while Emma and Regina are debating how they should proceed since finding out about the door illustration, Henry alerts them to August's depleting condition. They take him to the nunnery, where Mother Superior oversees his well-being. Afterwards, Henry and his two mothers discuss deceiving the villains. Emma conjures a forgery of the door page, but Regina settles for taking a photo of the real one. As the remaining duo return home, Hook reveals Ursula told him the villains want to darken Emma's heart so she will no longer be a savior by using the Author to do it. Hook thinks it's possible, but Emma believes only she can decide her own fate. After an upset Mary Margaret storms out as David follows her, Hook becomes jealous over Emma's concern for August. As assurance, she recalls losing her first friend, and having trouble making friends since then, with August as the only exception. When Maleficent casts a sleeping spell over the town, Emma and Hook fall asleep. After it is lifted, her parents finally admit their past with Maleficent, in which they allowed the Apprentice to doom her child to ensure Emma would not become evil. They also confess to trying to burn the illustration so the Author wouldn't darken her heart. Feeling betrayed by their prior lies, she disappears to the docks. Upon hearing from Hook that August has gotten better, she goes to tell him about the illustration and the key that Henry found. Mary Margaret makes a final attempt to deter her from freeing the Author due to the villains' plans for her, but Emma wants answers from the Author about herself. After August reveals the backstory of the Author's corrupt ways, Emma unlocks the illustration, freeing the man inside it. Before she can ask anything, the Author distracts her and flees from the room. ("Best Laid Plans")

Emma tracks the Author to the woods as David and Mary Margaret trail her. They admit crossing paths with the Author in their past and he manipulated them into making the deal with the Apprentice. Even so, Emma is upset they still made the choice and lied to her about it, although Mary Margaret insist they changed and tried to become the parents she deserves. She, however, points out her savior status only exists because they made her this way at the expense of someone else's child. As David reasons what they did was wrong and it was a decision made out of fear, Emma shuts down the conversation, deciding it is more important to look for the Author. After a search, they do not find him, as Mr. Gold got to him first. ("Heart of Gold")

When she and her parents go back to the apartment, Emma grills them about any other secrets they have about the Author, as they justify the necessity of their past deal with the Apprentice. They believe it had to be done to keep Emma's goodness intact, but she looks down on their decision to harm an innocent life to accomplish that, which is something that she wouldn't do herself. Regina reveals Mr. Gold is in league with Zelena, who has been pretending to be Marian this whole time. While Regina wants to rescue Robin Hood, this is halted when she and Emma receive a video message from Cruella demanding the Author's death, or she will kill Henry. From looking at one of the video stills, David figures out Cruella has Henry somewhere near the Toll Bridge. Emma suspects the Author may know where Cruella is, so her parents suggest they use a locator spell to find him. While they do that, Emma goes to scour the area near the Toll Bridge with Hook and Regina, but not before she expresses mistrust in her parents. In the woods, Hook and Regina try persuading her into forgiving her parents, but she isn't having it. Suddenly, they hear Henry's cry for help and split up, as Emma's companions are led to decoys set by Mr. Gold, while she herself confronts Cruella at a cliff. Holding Henry hostage, Cruella calls Emma's bluff about killing her, not believing she can do it. Emma proves otherwise, blasting Cruella off the cliff, where she falls to her death. Having learned from the Author that Cruella is powerless and this was a ploy to turn their daughter towards darkness, David and Mary Margaret arrive to stop Emma, but they are too late. ("Sympathy for the De Vil")

After learning the truth about Cruella, Emma blames Mr. Gold for manipulating her into killing her. Before the blonde can track him down, Maleficent switches sides, no longer trusting Mr. Gold since he only wanted the Author for his own interests. Maleficent agrees to an alliance if Emma locates her daughter, Lilith. Recognizing the name, Emma checks a newspaper microfiche, eventually locating a Lilith Page, who was her childhood friend Lily. Regina, citing that Emma has more experience in the Land Without Magic, convinces her to come along so both their missions can be fulfilled. Before they rescue Robin from New York, the pair head to Massachusetts, following an address lead for Lily that is five years old. At the apartment complex, Emma almost punches the landlord after he insults Lily, who he believes is worthless and has since died from a car crash. On the road, Emma swerves the car after seeing a wolf in the road. With a feeling of deja vu, as the same thing happened to her the night she tried leaving Storybrooke for the first time, Emma wonders if fate is pointing her to something as she notices a sign for a diner. Grabbing coffee and aspirin at the diner, she mindlessly sits at a table until she sees a familiar looking star tattoo on the waitress's wrist, making her realize she is Lily. Later, Emma tries talking to Lily, who insists she has moved on in life with a husband and daughter. Suspecting she is lying, Emma procures her real address and enters the trailer home with Regina, where they discover Lily has a collage of information about the truth. Finding that Lily has taken her car, which has the Apprentice's scroll in it to get into Storybrooke, Emma steals Lily's neighbour's car and forces her to stop on the road. The two exchange blows before Emma aims a gun at Lily, almost pulling the trigger until Regina persuades her out of it. The trio then finds Robin in New York, but even after Zelena reveals her true self, he refuses to leave her since she is pregnant with his child. ("Lily")

Returning to town, Emma and Regina not only bring Lily but Robin and Zelena as well. Continuing to be stand-offish with her parents, Emma then introduces Maleficent to Lily. Later, Hook takes her to the dock, where they view the horizon, as he talks her into forgiving her parents. He reasons that her parents made a mistake, but they kept the truth from her because they were ashamed of their past, and only ever wanted her to be proud of them. After Mary Margaret is injured by Lily, who morphed into dragon form, Emma uses magic to heal her. Going by Hook's advice, Emma finally forgives her mother, recognizing that she needs to stop punishing her and she understands what happened in the past with Lily cannot be undone, but it doesn't change the good person Mary Margaret has become. ("Mother")

In a race to stop Isaac from changing their stories, Emma and the rest of the gang search the Sorcerer's library for clues, but all the storybooks are blank. With help from August and Hook, they discover the Apprentice is in the hat. After he is released by Mother Superior, the Apprentice rallies them to look for the door illustration needed for trapping Isaac. While Henry and the others search for the photo, Emma, Regina and the Apprentice try to confront Isaac at the pawnshop. Before they reach him, Isaac rewrites new lives for everyone in his book, Heroes and Villains. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")

During Alternate Reality
In the alternate reality, Emma retains her memories, but she becomes imprisoned in a tower near the Bottomless Sea by Queen Snow White, as the Black Knight Lily guards her cell. Later rescued by Henry and Hook, Emma sails away with them on the Jolly Roger, before defeating dragon Lily with a well-aimed cannon shot. After docking the ship, they run into Snow White and Prince Charming, but Hook sacrifices his life and dies at Charming's hands so Emma and Henry can escape. They regroup with Regina, who they believe can undo Isaac's stories by giving true love's kiss to Robin Hood. Having just watched Hook die, Emma relates her missed chance to tell him that she loved him as all the more reason why Regina should go to Robin. They head for Robin Hood's wedding, but Rumplestiltskin stands in their way, so Emma duels him while Regina rushes for the church. Emma spars with Rumplestiltskin and continually blocks his sword with her own blade, however, Rumplestiltskin puts a swift end to the match by magically knocking her into a pile of sacks. After Emma passes out, Henry takes up a sword to stop the older man from doing any more harm to her, only to have the latter try and kill him for his interference. Regina takes the blow for Henry, and as she is dying, Emma awakens and rushes over just as the church bells chime, signaling the wedding has concluded and Isaac's story for the heroes and villains will remain unchanged. Emma angrily demands that Isaac save Regina, but Isaac states he cannot since he's no longer the Author. Suddenly, Henry notices the Author's quill is glowing and he picks it up, making him the next chosen Author. Isaac is stunned by this and attempts to lunge at Henry, but Emma holds him back while her son uses Regina's blood as ink for the quill and rewrites a new ending to revert the stories of everyone in the alternate reality to return them to Storybrooke. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1," "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

Before Third Curse

After the return to Storybrooke, Emma rushes off to the loft, where she reunites with her parents and then with Hook, whom she nearly declares her love for but backs out at the last moment. During a party at Granny's, she talks to Lily about her father, whose identity not even her mother Maleficent knows of as both she and Lily's birth father only met in their dragon forms. With Mr. Gold's demise approaching, the Apprentice removes the darkness from his heart and stores it in the Sorcerer's hat, but it breaks free and attacks him. Emma manages to save the Apprentice from being consumed by the darkness with her light magic. After the darkness escapes elsewhere into town, the Apprentice tells her about the origins of the Dark One, who was created by the Sorcerer Merlin as a means to trap the darkness. Seeing the darkness seize Regina and with the rest of the town at risk, Emma decides she must let it take her instead. After affirming her love to Hook, Emma allows the darkness to enter her body so she becomes the new Dark One before she vanishes into thin air. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

Reappearing in the Enchanted Forest from the Vault of the Dark One, Emma finds herself garbed in a cloak and sees Rumplestiltskin, who is one voice out of the many Dark Ones. To get to Camelot, Emma asks a peddler for directions, but he wants money. When he continues to raise the price, she shouts at him desperately, unintentionally choking and levitating him. Later, Rumplestiltskin describes a place where she can find Merlin and asks her to picture it in her mind, leading Emma to magically blink herself there. He directs her to capture a will-o-wisp, which can locate Merlin, but Merida grabs it first. Emma explains why she needs the wisp, while Merida agrees they can fight in hand-to-hand combat for it, as long as no weapons or magic is used by either of them. Not wanting to succumb to darkness, Emma refuses, asking her to take the wisp and go. Instead, Merida offers to give her the wisp after she is done with it at the Hill of Stones. As they travel to the stones, Merida tells Emma about going to save her kidnapped brothers, and her desire to wage war with the clans if necessary. After camping for the night, Rumplestiltskin tells an insomniac Emma that Merida will become the wisp's permanent owner after using it, and it can never be used by another again, as long as the owner's heart still beats. Merida overhears Emma talking to herself, and believing the blonde will betray her, sneaks off in the morning to use the wisp. Emma tries to persuade Merida that she means no harm, but the latter begins firing arrows at her. Emma catches each one, becoming more agitated every time, while Rumplestiltskin urges her to kill Merida to get the wisp. Emma rips out Merida's heart, after magically pulling her close, and begins crushing it, when Hook, Henry, Robin, Regina and her parents arrive to stop her, convincing her to return the heart and that they'll find another way to track down Merlin. Merida, having no hard feelings about what happened, thanks Emma for helping her see she should be merciful to the clans rather than kill them for betraying her. Mary Margaret gives Emma the dagger so no one can control her with it, but Emma hands it to Regina, asking her to take her out if she ever goes too far, though Henry reassures her it won't happen. After regrouping with everyone else, King Arthur and his knights approach, stating Emma and her allies are prophesied to reunite them with Merlin, before taking them to Camelot. ("The Dark Swan")

At the castle, King Arthur introduces the group to his Queen, Guinevere, before announcing there will be a ball held in their honor. Hook is eager to rid Emma of her darkness, but she assures him that she won't let it consume her in just one night. Arthur shows them a tree in the courtyard which the Merlin is trapped in, and he then asks which of them is the savior. Emma moves to speak up, but Regina claims the title in her place, not wanting Emma's cover to be blown. While browsing Merlin's tower, Emma confronts Regina for taking her role without her consent, but Regina explains her motives for doing what she did and promises Emma that she will free her of darkness with Merlin's help once they unseal him from the tree. To this, Emma thanks her twice; the first being under the dagger's influence, and then again out of her own volition. That night, Mary Margaret helps Emma get ready for the ball, and prior to the celebration, the two women walk out to an awaiting crowd of guests as their names are formally announced. The festivities go smoothly, with Emma having a good time dancing with Hook, until Percival tries to murder Regina. Robin, getting injured after intervening, nearly loses his life to Percival, who David stabs and kills. Regina, unable to heal Robin since Percival's sword was enchanted to kill her, begs Emma to save him. Rumplestiltskin warns Emma that she must extract a price of magic from Regina to help Robin, which Emma decides not to do, but she heals Robin for Regina's sake. Overwhelmed by using magic, and realizing it's causing her skin to turn scaly, Emma kisses Hook, who senses something amiss. She feigns fatigue and excuses herself downstairs, where Rumplestiltskin goads her about liking the magic, especially since the kiss did nothing for her skin. Later, she returns upstairs, overhearing Arthur praise Regina for healing Robin, which he sees as proof she is the savior. Regina briefly looks at Emma with a perplexed look before smiling at Arthur. ("The Price")

While Regina is researching magical remedies to free Merlin, Mary Margaret and Belle help her. Emma, not having much to do, offers to use magic, but Regina declines, believing it'd be bad for her to use dark magic and they should figure out another way to save Merlin. Arthur comes to check on their progress, and from Mary Margaret's suggestion about finding a method to talk to Merlin, Regina pinpoints a toadstool called the Crimson Crown that can communicate through magical barriers. David and Arthur leave for the quest, and though they return empty-handed, they build a bond from having gone on the adventure together. That night, as Emma and the others are present, Arthur makes David a knight of the Round Table and bestows upon him the Siege Perilous seat. ("Siege Perilous")

In an attempt to ward off nightmares, Emma begins carving and fashioning dream catchers, just as Rumplestiltskin coaxes her to enter Regina's room and get the dagger, which is calling for her. Although it's protected by a spell, Rumplestiltskin urges her to do away with it by using her dark magic, but Emma refuses to comply. Frustrated with his insistence, she instead throws a ball of magic, nearly hitting Hook. Unable to cope with the strain of continually seeing and hearing Rumplestiltskin, Emma reverts into a catatonic state, neither speaking or expressing anything non-verbally. To help her recuperate, Henry takes her and Hook to Violet's family stables. She tells Hook about the manifestation of Rumplestiltskin, and to take her mind off of this, Hook takes her riding. He instructs her into introducing herself to the horse, but the steed becomes frightened of her, sensing her darkness. Undeterred, Hook tells her to get on the horse with him, convincing her that they still have a future together in Storybrooke once her darkness is removed. After a brisk ride, they stop in an empty meadow, where Hook gives her a middlemist flower, as she looks around in amazement, seeing the meadow is now populated with blooming middlemists. With her mind completely at ease and the apparition of Rumplestiltskin now gone, Emma shares a passionate kiss with Hook. ("The Broken Kingdom")

Harnessing a dreamcatcher, Emma views a memory and sees her parents being put under the influence of sand by Arthur and Guinevere, who want them to retrieve the dagger so Arthur can unite it with Excalibur and kill Merlin. In a second memory, she sees the origins of how Merlin, while grieving over the loss of a lost love, turned into a tree after the first Dark One stole one of his tears. After freezing her parents to keep them from getting the dagger, Emma briefs Regina about stopping Arthur's plans by freeing Merlin. Regina dislikes the idea of Emma using dark magic to bring back the sorcerer, but Emma insists it's a risk she is willing to take, despite what is at stake. At Merlin's tower, when Regina presses her for answers about how she knew about David and Mary Margaret's sand induced state, Emma admits what she did with the dreamcatcher. To complete the potion for reverting Merlin to human form, they need a tear of a broken heart. During the search, they come upon Henry practicing sword fighting. He hopes to impress Violet's father with his skills, but they convince him not to change, with both Regina and Emma exemplifying how each of their first loves didn't try to be anything but themselves. Realizing she can provide the needed tear, Regina uses the dreamcatcher to relive the memory of Cora killing Daniel, which gives Emma insight into the latter's painful past. Suspecting Regina's tear is not enough for the potion, Emma takes Violet's heart, promising to return it after the girl breaks Henry's heart. After the potion with Regina's tear fails to work, Henry arrives, distraught over Violet rejecting him. When Arthur and his men try to stop them, Regina distracts them with fireballs as Emma puts Henry's tear in the potion and channels her magic onto the Merlin tree, reverting the sorcerer to human form. Later, Merlin confirms to Emma that he can remove her darkness, but she must be open and willing for it to work, which includes actually wanting to let go of the darkness. ("Dreamcatcher")

After Merlin and some of the heroes have rescued Lancelot from Arthur's castle, they regroup with everyone else at the diner. Emma gets a sense of deja vu from Merlin, and she cannot recall where she has met him before until he mentions a time when he stopped her from taking a candy bar. In that instant, Emma remembers he was the theater usher that spoke to her when she was just a child. He cautions that the prophecy he gave her then must be taken seriously, and though Arthur already took out Excalibur, there will come a time when the sword will return to the stone, and she must not pull it out. ("The Bear and the Bow")

Unable to sleep, Emma continues weaving dreamcatchers, oblivious that Hook has noticed her worrying behavior. While everyone else works to get Excalibur from Arthur, Merlin tells Emma about the quest they must go on to retrieve the last flame ember from mankind's fire, which is needed for reforging the sword and the dagger. To fulfill this, she must take the ember by facing the first Dark One. The mission is not without risk, however, as Merlin foresees two possible paths for Emma. In one future, she wins her battle against the darkness, but in the other, she becomes dark and kills him. As Emma prepares to leave, Hook gives her his ring necklace, which she mistakes as an impromptu marriage proposal. Hook relates how the ring is a testament to his ability to survive throughout the years, and he is giving it to her so she can survive and come back to him. Emma declares her love for him and then parts from him after a kiss. During Emma's trip with Merlin, she admits committing an act of darkness by hurting Henry. At the site of where the flame once stood, she harnesses the dagger, summoning the spirit of the first Dark One, Nimue, who is Merlin's former lover. Nimue tries to persuade Emma that only by being the Dark One can she be truly herself and insists those who try to intervene must die. Emma defends Merlin from an attacking Nimue, but soon, she finds herself unwillingly choking the sorcerer, as Nimue eggs on her. When Nimue insinuates that Emma is nothing without the darkness, the latter gains the strength to let go of Merlin and shut down Nimue's claims. Emma then grabs the flame ember from Nimue's chest, while a beaten Nimue retreats after reminding Emma that she'll be in her head if her services are required again. On the trek back to their allies, Emma considers the possibility of someone using their Dark One powers for good rather than evil. Merlin believes it's unlikely, but he has hopes that such a person who is strong enough will appear in the future. Later, Emma begins talking to Merlin about Henry, but when she turns around, the sorcerer is mysteriously gone. ("Nimue")

Returning to the diner, Emma is surprised to see only Henry and Granny there. From Henry, she learns the others haven't come back yet, to which she realizes something must've happened to them. As Granny prepares to lock up the diner, she and Henry are suddenly frozen by Merlin's magic. Merlin explains to Emma that Arthur has tethered him to Excalibur, and unless she forfeits the flame and the dagger, Arthur will have her family and friends killed. Emma desperately tries to light the flame, but she cannot, as Rumplestiltskin taunts her inability to let go of the darkness. Henry shows Emma a newspaper ad of a house Hook wants to move into with her. From this, Emma realizes she can't give up the darkness yet because she needs to use it one last time to save her loved ones. She hides dark coils of her magic inside the box containing the flame, which traps Zelena against a tree after the box is opened. Merlin, on Arthur's orders, is forced into a magic duel with Emma. After she is beaten, Emma struggles to regain her strength, as Merlin is made to begin strangling Mary Margaret. Emma encourages him to fight against Arthur's command because if he can't win against the darkness, no one can. Merlin manages to loosen his grip on Mary Margaret and Hook breaks free to force Arthur into dropping Excalibur. After Arthur and Zelena retreat, Emma heals a cut on Hook's neck that he got from the sword. Still having trouble with the flame, Emma talks to Regina about the allure of the darkness and her unwillingness to give it up for some unexplained reason. Regina, hoping to get to the bottom of the issue, uses the dagger to make her confess why she is afraid. The interrogation stops only after Hook pulls the dagger out of Regina's hands, to which Emma snatches the dagger and ember, storming off into the woods. When Hook finds her, Emma confesses she can't let go of the darkness because she's afraid of losing him. With his help, she lights the flame, and later, in the diner, she begins using it to combine the sword and the dagger. Suddenly, the cut on Hook's neck reopens. Because the wound came from Excalibur, it cannot be healed, meaning Hook will die. Emma wants to tether Hook to the sword to save his life, and though Merlin warns she'll pay a steep price for it, she teleports herself and Hook to the middlemist field, she intends to link Killian's life to Excalibur. Hook, on his last breaths, begs her to let him go because he believes he wouldn't be strong enough to fight the darkness inside himself if he became a Dark One, and he wants to die knowing she still has a future without him. After Hook dies, Emma sobs that being without him is not good enough for her. She then uses Excalibur to bind Hook's life to it and he disappears from the field. Her use of dark magic forces her physical looks to change; making her hair a bleached blonde color, her lips a deathly red, and even swapping out her gown for a leathery garb. ("Birth")

Near the Vault of the Dark One, Emma tracks down a revived Hook in the woods, and while she is elated to see him, he is furious at her for making him a Dark One and filling his head with darkness. When he asks where Excalibur is, she lies about it being missing, believing he isn't strong enough yet to handle the sword. To get rid of the Rumplestiltskin apparition, Emma encourages Hook into thinking about their future in the house he picked out. However, on their journey back to their allies, Hook learns from the darkness that Emma is lying about Excalibur and confronts her about it, forcing her to come clean. Although she never used it to control him, Hook is upset that she lied and apparently doesn't trust him enough to make his own choices anymore. After he teleports away, Emma wanders the middlemist field, unsure what to do next. As a last resort, she uses Excalibur to summon him to her. She apologizes to him for lying, and as proof of her trust and belief in him, she returns the sword to him. Seemingly placated, Hook returns to the diner with her so they can be rid of their darkness. He goes in to get Merlin, and when Emma follows him in minutes later, she finds that he has ripped out Merlin's heart, intending to crush it in Nimue's place and enact another curse. Once the curse is cast, a quick-thinking Emma knocks Hook out and absorbs his memories from the last six weeks into a dreamcatcher, in the hopes of finding a way to restore him to the man he used to be. Consequentially, she takes everyone else's memories too, to keep them from remembering Hook is a Dark One, before adding the dreamcatcher to the curse brew for a full memory wipe. As the curse closes in, Emma cradles Hook in her arms. ("Broken Heart")

After Third Curse

Upon return to Storybrooke, Emma reenters the diner from the entrance, putting on a cold mask towards her confused family and friends. Seeing Mr. Clark wearing her trademark red jacket, Emma callously questions who he is supposed to be, and out of annoyance, she turns him to stone. Regina threatens to fulfill what Emma asked her to do if she ever went too far, but Emma reveals she has the dagger now. To keep Hook's secret under wraps, Emma lies to them, professing she will punish them for what they did to her. ("The Dark Swan," "The Price," "Broken Heart")

Hearing Henry summon her, Emma magically appears at the dock, where she warmly greets him and moves to touch his hand, but he pulls away. Recalling what she had said last night, Henry apologizes for failing her, but Emma assures him that she meant everyone except him. Regina approaches, telling her to get away from her son, while Emma coolly stands her ground. When Regina questions her about the memory wipe, Emma admits she removed those memories for a reason, causing Regina to vow that she will retrieve them no matter what. However, Emma confidently points out it's impossible as she built new curse to be unbreakable since there's no savior to undo it. Later, Emma appears before Hook, who accidentally calls her, before she whisks him to the front of her new house. She invites him in, playfully stating that they can still be together, and gives him a drink. He has other ideas, however, and kisses her. Much to his despair, true love's kiss doesn't work on her, but Emma insists it failed because she doesn't need fixing as she has accepted who she is now. Hook refuses to accept this and asks what happened in Camelot, though Emma dances around the question, citing that it'd be no fun to give him a straight answer. She tries to charm him into staying, but Hook leaves. That night, Regina confronts Emma about the fury that has kidnapped Robin because of an unpaid price of magic, asking her to call the creature off, but Emma reveals Regina is the one who didn't pay the price. With growing agitation, she challenges Regina to be the savior and do what needs to be done. After Regina defeats the fury and the townspeople are having a night out at the diner, Emma watches from across the street before leaving. At home, Emma sees Rumplestiltskin, who tells her that her weaknesses, such as her need to protect her loved ones, will always hold her back, as they did with all the other Dark Ones that came before her, but she can snuff out the light. He leads her to the basement, where Excalibur is buried in the stone, tempting her to unite the sword with the dagger to be rid of any hope of light inside her. Emma attempts to pull the sword out, only to be thrown back by a barrier, as Rumplestiltskin cackles that she must pay a price first before extracting the sword. ("The Price")

In the mines, Emma surprises the dwarves by stealing Happy's ax, which she uses to try and unearth Excalibur from the stone, but instead, it breaks the ax. Prompted by Rumplestiltskin, she sets out to find a certain hero to pull it out. Somehow, Emma discovers Belle is making a healing spell to wake Mr. Gold, but the last ingredient must be something that once touched him when he wasn't the Dark One yet. Suspecting Hook may have it, Emma orders a takeout from Granny's with a note asking him to meet her on his ship. Below deck, she apologizes to him for how she behaved last time and asks him to have lunch with her. In an instant, Emma magically sets up their meal and changes herself into the same dress and hairstyle she had on their first date. As the ship sets sail by Emma's magical influence, Hook gets straight to the point, asking what is behind the door in her house. When she doesn't answer, Hook notes she is not the old Emma, as the person he knew didn't play games. Emma affirms she is better as the Dark One, free of her past closed-minded and judgmental personality, and suggests they can move forward together if he is willing. Hook is appalled at this, to which she exemplifies Mr. Gold, who used to be a coward and didn't find true love until becoming the Dark One. Recalling that Hook told her about how Mr. Gold had groveled at him, Emma believes that Mr. Gold became better after the change. Hook owns up to being the villain in that situation, and he explains how he had pointed a sword at Mr. Gold, who was a good man trying to keep his family together and becoming the Dark One made him evil and manipulative, while Hook himself changed for the better. Emma changes the subject, taking the sword, and tries to remind him of how she taught him to swordfight in the alternate reality. Tired of her games, Hook calls her out for wanting something from him. She asks if he loves her, promising to leave if he doesn't, but he states he loved her, causing her to depart shortly after. When Mr. Gold is close to waking from his coma, Emma kidnaps him to her house basement, where she crushes the sword over him to complete the healing spell. Once he awakens, she reveals her plans for making him into the hero she needs. ("Siege Perilous")

While in her home basement, Emma twirls a middlemist rose in her hand, while an imprisoned Mr. Gold tries to sympathize with her about knowing what the darkness feels like. He insists she needn't give into it and should set him free, but Emma reasons that he is the only one who can get the sword for her. He has doubts about being the hero she wants, though she hints there is a secret weapon to help him become that hero. She then goes to her car that is hidden in a tunnel, where she approaches Merida, who is tied to the front of the vehicle. After magically undoing Merida's binds, Emma rips out her heart, commanding the redhead to fetch her bow from the car. Emma then explains her plan to have Merida make a coward brave. ("The Broken Kingdom")

Afterward, Emma returns to free Mr. Gold, who continues to try and persuade her out of her plan, warning that no matter how good her intentions, she'll always lose her loved ones in the end. Emma considers his words for a moment, before ordering Merida to take Mr. Gold into the woods to begin making him a hero, as she herself enters a nearby shed, which is filled with hanging dreamcatchers. Taking down one particular dreamcatcher, which belongs to Violet Morgan, she clutches it to her chest and cries. Hoping to amend what she did to Violet six weeks ago in Camelot, Emma purposely releases the girl's horse, Nicodemus, so Henry can find it and earn Violet's admiration. Instead, Henry seeks Emma's help to track down the horse, while she remains unaware he is deliberately distracting her, giving Regina and the others time to search her house. Upon entering the yellow bug, Henry tells Emma about how he won over Violet with Yaz's "Only You," the same song Neal had used on Emma. Learning Nicodemus likes pumpkin, Emma takes her son to a pumpkin market, Peter Peter's, where the horse is hiding. With some patience from Henry, the horse calms down, allowing the boy to grab its reins. That night, Emma turns up on Regina's doorstep, asking to see Henry. Regina confronts her about what she did to Violet, and when Emma expresses anger at her unearthing the truth, the brunette considers that anything with the Dark One is always a manipulation. Emma argues she took Violet's heart with good reason, to which Regina compares her to Cora, who did horrible things with "good reason." Emma insists she didn't have a choice, though Regina recalls Emma has said many times there is always a choice. Pushed to her limit, Emma reveals it was the only way to free Merlin. Regina then questions why she is still the Dark One if they freed the sorcerer, but Emma refuses to say and instead asks again for Henry. Regina refuses, closing the door, and as Emma walks away, she stops to look at the second-floor window, where Henry briefly meets her gaze before closing the curtains. ("Dreamcatcher")

Once Merida has pushed Mr. Gold to his limit, she leads Emma to him, but he has since escaped during their absence. Rather than kill Merida, Emma orders her to hunt down and eliminate Belle as a way to force Mr. Gold into action. Appearing to Zelena in her cell, Emma teleports both of them to the house, where she attempts to get into Zelena's good graces with onion rings, which she has secretly doused with magic to eventually speed up Zelena's pregnancy. Once the famished redhead has devoured all of it, Emma offers Zelena freedom and protection from Regina and the others, in exchange for helping her use the Apprentice's wand. Having heard about Emma and how she forced Violet to break Henry's heart, Zelena recalls knowing what it's like to be betrayed by a mother and being angry about it for a long time. Emma believes Henry just needs time before he truly forgives her, even though Zelena insists some things can't ever be forgiven. Zelena turns down Emma's offer of protection as she doesn't want to start trouble that might have a bad influence on her baby. Emma is certain she will change her mind in the future, but Zelena considers that she doesn't mind being alone, while the same cannot be said for Emma. Wordlessly, Emma magicks Zelena back to her cell. When Merida is outsmarted by Belle, Emma commands her to drink a potion to turn into a bear, so that there is little chance of failure. By the time Mr. Gold and Belle bring a captured Merida back, Emma is already waiting for them in the basement. Mr. Gold proposes that he'll pull Excalibur from its stone in exchange for Merida's heart. After Emma returns Merida's heart, Mr. Gold successfully pulls out Excalibur and tosses it at Emma's feet. Before leaving, he warns that she made a mistake by turning him into a hero, while she reminds him that though there are many heroes in town, they haven't stopped her yet. ("Birth," "The Bear and the Bow")

With all the previous Dark Ones, including Rumplestiltskin and Nimue present, Emma uses the last flame ember from mankind's first fire to merge Excalibur and the dagger into one weapon. As the completed sword lingers in the air, she moves to grab it, before recalling the warning Merlin gave her when she was a young girl about not taking out Excalibur. However, with encouragement from Nimue, Emma takes Excalibur into her hands. ("Nimue")

To keep Hook ignorant of the fact he is a Dark One, Emma saves him from Arthur's attack. Since Hook continues to press her, she admits that everything she's doing now is because of him. Hook, desperate to get the truth, purposely jumps from a rooftop, knowing Emma will save him, although she does it so he won't find out he's immortal. When he swears that his love for her will remain no matter what she did in Camelot, Emma takes him to her house. She explains that the house was actually his idea back in Camelot, and he had meant for it to be their future home. Emma proclaims her that the things she's doing now are to sustain their future. At this, Hook lets down his guard, waiting to hear what she has to say next, but then, Emma draws him into a kiss. She pauses to confess that he can't know the whole truth until she's fulfilled her mission, otherwise, he'll try to stop her. Shortly after, Hook passes out from the kiss' effects, and Emma shackles him in the basement. After Zelena gives birth, the heroes come to believe Emma is after the baby, as the child's first cry is an ingredient for the spell to snuff out the light. Instead, Emma kidnaps Zelena, intending to put Hook's darkness as well as her own into the witch, and then kill her as a means to extinguish the darkness for good. Although she justifies her plan, stating that Zelena has killed without remorse and deserves to die, Hook won't stand for her murdering a person just to ensure their future together. During a confrontation with her parents and Regina, Emma professes they will thank her after she is done with Zelena, and then uses Excalibur to enact a barrier that affects everyone present outside the house. She reenters her home to find an escaped Hook, who paralyzes her with squid ink and demands answers from her. Zelena helps give him just that, by stabbing him in the chest to prove he's immortal, before showing him through the dreamcatcher of how Emma made him a Dark One. ("Birth")

As retribution for her lies, Hook steals some of Emma's memories to keep her from remembering what his ultimate goal in Storybrooke is, before allowing Zelena to put the cuff on her. After she finally admits the truth to her parents and Regina, a plan forms to return everyone's memories from the dreamcatchers so they can piece together Hook's objective, but Hook has already stolen them. At Regina's house, Mr. Gold reveals Hook has challenged him to a duel to the death. While it makes sense for Hook to want revenge on his worst enemy, Emma suspects there is more to it than just that. Since Merlin's message stated Nimue is their only hope of defeating Hook, Mr. Gold suggests researching The Dark One Chronicles to learn more about Nimue. Emma believes she can provide help to them faster if they remove her cuff, but none of them trust her with magic, especially since the darkness might influence her to do bad things. Even Henry tells her she's broken their trust too many times, and that she's hurt everyone with how she has shut them out in order to deal with the problem alone. While everyone else goes to the library, Regina has Merida stay to guard Emma. Emma resigns herself to this, but when Hook shows up, she tries to persuade him that the darkness is only helping him get his revenge so it can use him to get what it wants. Hook, however, could care less what happens as long as he gets his due. When he accuses her of being just as selfish, Emma insists everything she did was for his sake. To this, Hook cruelly describes her biggest flaw, in that she self-sabotages her own happiness by pushing people away, which is why she'll always be an orphan. Emma returns the remaining squid ink to Mr. Gold, asking him to paralyze Hook with it during the duel, so she can retrieve the dreamcatchers, but Mr. Gold refuses, wanting to win with honor instead of magic. Realizing she cannot fulfill the plan alone, Emma sways Henry into helping her make a locator spell to find the dreamcatchers in the clock tower, but they are protected by a spell. Since Emma proved she trusts him, Henry uses squid ink to remove the cuff, allowing her to get the dreamcatchers. She then returns everyone's memories, including her own, causing her to realize Hook intends to open the underworld gateway to let the previous Dark Ones into town. ("Broken Heart")

With the Dark Ones on the loose, Emma and allies to split up to search for and take down Hook. After not finding Hook at the pawnshop, she rushes outside when Henry calls for her help as he is cornered by Nimue. Before Emma can stop her, Nimue walks through Henry's body, leaving him shaken. The rest of the group, having similar experiences with the other Dark Ones, learn from Mr. Gold that they've all been branded with the mark of Charon, who will take them to the Underworld, so the Dark Ones can exist in the real world. Mary Margaret, resigned to fate, decides to spend her last hours with her family in the diner, and begs Emma to protect baby Neal after everyone is gone. Although Emma is invited to join her loved ones at the diner, she instead asks Regina to fulfill the promise of stopping her if she ever went too far. Together, the women get Excalibur from Mr. Gold, with Emma intending to absorb all the darkness and having Regina kill her to extinguish the Dark Ones. Emma drops the sword off at home before sneaking into the diner to leave a farewell note to her family. When she returns for the sword, Hook attempts to make her give it up to him. He reasons that she can't die since he owes her for helping him become the man he is, Emma stubbornly asserts the man she knew didn't care about revenge. Hook blames her for saving him without thinking of how it would change him, and now, her family will die. She tries to kill him, but he tricks her into giving him the sword by reappearing as Henry in disguise. Before Charon can arrive, Emma makes a final attempt to stop the Dark Ones, but Nimue intervenes by magically constricting her throat. For several seconds as this occurs, Hook does nothing, until he takes in the darkness and has Emma kill him, which she tearfully does. Both of them revert to their old selves after losing their powers, and Hook dies shortly thereafter. Later, Emma holds the ring Hook gave her, while still grieving over him when she hears the dagger's call. She discovers Mr. Gold used magic on Excalibur prior to giving it to her, in order to regain his Dark One powers after Hook's death. Because Emma threatens to tell Belle everything, Mr. Gold agrees to reopen the portal to the Underworld so she can rescue Hook. ("Swan Song")

On the boat ride to the Underworld, Emma falls asleep and wakes up in her car outside of an amusement park. Very much like their first meeting years ago, Neal pops up from the backseat, surprising her, before moving to the front passenger seat beside her. He assures her that he is real, and Emma briefly tells him about how Henry is doing. When she mentions her journey to the Underworld, Neal tries to persuade her out of it, because once she is there, it won't be easy to leave. She insists she would've tried to find him, too, had she known she could, though Neal clarifies that he's already moved on to a better place, and the Underworld is for people with unfinished business. He attempts one last time to talk her out of going, but when she declines again, he accepts this and bids her a warm farewell. Emma awakens, startled from her dream, just as the boat arrives in the Underworld, whose town mirrors Storybrooke. The group split up to search for Hook, but after no luck, Emma finds Henry at the diner, after he unsuccessfully looked for Neal in the inn. Recalling the dream she had, she consoles Henry with the knowledge Neal knows he's all right. While Cora threatens Regina with her father's demise if she doesn't leave the Underworld, Mr. Gold procures magic ale, which Emma uses to summon Hook's spirit, however, Hook is unable to respond to her. He disappears sometime after, leaving Emma disheartened, as she believes he doesn't know she came to save him. Emma then urges Regina to leave the Underworld to keep Cora at bay, but instead, Regina confronts Cora and helps her father's soul move on from the Underworld. In addition to rescuing Hook, the group discusses possibly helping other souls in the Underworld move on. Mr. Gold, not interested in being a do-gooder, parts from the team, while Emma and the others continue with Operation Firebird, Henry's name for their mission. ("Souls of the Departed")

Continuing to look for Hook in the woods, Emma returns to a cold trail, where Regina decides they can cover more ground with a map of the town. After Robin and Henry are sent to get it from the mayor's office, Emma discovers blood and follows it, but instead of Killian, she finds Hades' escaped prisoner Megara. The girl barely manages to mentions Hook when a hellhound, Cerberus, approaches them, prompting Emma to teleport all three of them to the Underworld version of her parents' apartment. Megara tells them about Hook helping her escape Cerberus, whom she describes with terrifying detail. Hercules, with Mary Margaret's persuasion, attempts to face Cerberus, only to run back to his party after getting frightened. Emma, Regina and Mary Margaret then prepare to fight the beast, but before Cerberus gets to them, Hades calls his pet off and steps out to confront the group. Hades leaves Emma with Killian's bloodied hook, warning that he'll do much worse to her pirate in the future. While Mary Margaret goes to convince Hercules to give the plan with Cerberus another go, Emma keeps Megara company at the apartment, until everyone is forced to flee the building, just before Cerberus crashes in. Megara later reunites with Hercules and Mary Margaret to kill the hellhound together. Recuperating in the diner, Mary Margaret tells Emma about the person she once was in the Enchanted Forest, someone who took risks even when she was afraid. Having rediscovered herself by helping Hercules, she vows to no longer be Mary Margaret and be Snow White again. Before leaving for Mount Olympus with Hercules, Megara asks Emma to give her regards to Hook. ("Labor of Love")

With her friends and family, Emma preps for storming the cave that Megara previously escaped from, in the hopes of rescuing Hook. Mr. Gold convinces them to abandon the plan in favor of his own idea, in which he'll use the aura of a deceased person to sneak both himself and Emma to Hades' lair. Later, Emma joins up with Mr. Gold, who speedily introduces her to Milah, his ex-wife, as well as Neal's mother and Hook's ex-lover. Before things get too awkward, the trio focus on heading to a replica of Emma's house, where the basement is blocked by a barrier. Channeling Milah's aura to get past it, Mr. Gold links hands with Emma and Milah to head underground. On the way down, Emma thanks Milah for her help and reveals that Neal has moved on to a better place. When their boat docks at the lair entrance, Emma goes in alone, while Mr. Gold and Milah stay behind. Spotting Hook hanging from a chain at the lair's center, she walks onto a thin ledge to reach him, grabbing him in time before the chain lowers him into the river of lost souls. Upon reaching the exit, the pair finds Mr. Gold, who claims Hades burned the boat and tossed Milah into the river. On return to the apartment, Emma allows Regina to attempt the heart split, but a barrier keeps Regina from taking out the heart. Afterward, Hook shows everyone the three headstones that Hades engraved with Emma, Regina and Snow's names, to make them stay in the Underworld forever, in place of the three people who already moved on. ("Devil's Due")

Relocating to her house, Emma heals Hook's injuries with magic. She leans in to kiss him, but he turns away, still hung up over how easily he gave into darkness as the Dark One. Emma reminds him that he wasn't in the end, but Hook feels he doesn't measure up. She reasons that she wouldn't be trying to bring him home if he hadn't become good, though he has doubts over whether he is worth saving, hinting that he doesn't want to go back. Emma answer the door, meeting Liam, Hook's deceased older brother. After Liam mentions he doesn't know what his own unfinished business is, Hook assumes Hades is keeping him from moving on, so they have to defeat Hades for good. Believing the storybook has information about Hades' weakness, everyone searches the apartment for it. During this, Liam privately warns Emma to stop being selfish about Killian's future, and that she should let his brother move on after they take down Hades. While her parents get the key for the Sorcerer's mansion, where the book is, Emma confides in Regina about Liam's warning. Although Emma confirms Hook wants to move on, Regina advises her to help Hook forgive himself for his dark deeds. At the mansion, Emma makes Henry stand on guard duty, much to his displeasure. Liam finds the book, with Hades' story torn out, leading Emma to suspect he took the pages. When she confronts Liam, Hook believes she is villainizing his brother so he'll feel less guilty about his own actions, and that they still have a future together. Hook decides he is staying in the Underworld after Hades' defeat, to which Emma gives up on trying to persuade him that she forgives him, and for his own closure, he needs to forgive himself. Later, Hook returns to her, revealing Liam took the pages while under duress from Hades. Taking the advice that Liam gave him, Hook thanks Emma for coming to rescue him, and that perhaps he is worth saving after all. Henry reveals to his family that he found the Author's quill in the mansion and wanted to use it to revive Cruella because he wanted to absolve Emma's guilt over her death. Now, however, he declares he'll re-record Hades' story. ("The Brothers Jones")

After Henry writes about Snow and David's plan to contact their son Neal in Storybrooke, Emma and the others have little enthusiasm about it, as they were hoping to read Hades' story. Having no control over how and when his writing happens, Henry becomes upset at their reactions and storms upstairs. Hearing a knock at the door, Emma peeps through the hole to see Zelena on the other side, before cautiously letting her in. In search of her baby who is with Belle in the Underworld, Zelena reluctantly follows Regina and Robin to find them. The couple later returns with the baby and Belle, after Zelena relinquishes her daughter to them, fearing she can't protect her from Hades. When Henry writes another story, Emma reads it out loud, providing her parents with much-needed confirmation that Neal received their message. ("Our Decay")

While Emma is on lookout duty for Hades with Hook on the library's roof, she falls asleep, having a dream about burning her, Regina and Snow's names from the headstones. Before she can finish, an incoming storm forces her, Snow and Hook to seek cover. Although the storm passes quickly, it brings a monster to the Underworld, which Snow goes after, only to be killed by the beast. After this gruesome end, Emma awakens from the nightmare and apologizes to Hook for sleeping on the job. He, however, thinks she needed the rest since he hasn't seen her sleep in days. Once Regina completes a spell on the library elevator door, she and Emma magick it open, but it reveals a brick wall instead of access to Hades' lair. Relating the dream she had, excluding the part where her mother died, she talks about possibly burning the names from the headstones. Not wanting the dream's end to come true, Emma protests when Snow insists on going with her, but she is unable to keep her from coming. At the graveyard, Emma begins burning away the names when the storm happens. Like in the dream, the trio seek cover from it, but the storm is gone in the next instant, leaving a monster in its wake. Emma prevents her mother from going after the beast, and later, in the vault, she finally reveals what happened at the end of the dream. When Regina suggests the dream is about her underlying fears, Emma is reluctant to admit she has issues, until Hook gently prods her into being honest. She shares regrets about bringing everyone to the Underworld and her fear that she will inevitably cause someone's death. Snow reminds her that everyone came with her out of free-will and some things, like love, are worth the risk. With Snow's tracking skills, the group finds the monster in the woods, where Emma and Regina magically stun it. On closer look, they realize it's wolf Ruby, who reverts to human after being covered by her cloak. ("Her Handsome Hero")

Once Ruby wakes up, she tells her friends about her search for Dorothy, who went missing in Oz after Zelena took her silver slippers. Emma joins Ruby, Snow, and Regina in confronting Zelena, who unveils in a mirror that Dorothy is currently under the sleeping curse in Oz. Only true love's kiss can break the curse, and Zelena believes it impossible, since Dorothy may have the love of the Ozians, but not true love. With persuasion from Regina, Zelena forfeits the slippers to her. Ruby can only recall one person Dorothy ever loved, her Auntie Em, who died long ago. They find Auntie Em's headstone is neither tipped or cracked and to get true love's kiss, Snow suggests bottling a kiss from Auntie Em and delivering it to Dorothy in Oz. David returns after attempting to contact Neal, but he tells Snow that the booth has been destroyed on Hades' orders. Snow fears this means Hades is going to attack Storybrooke, to which Emma to suggest both her parents should return home. She is grateful they came to the Underworld with her but believes Neal needs them more now. Since Snow is incapable of leaving the Underworld, she prompts David to go home alone, as one of them needs to be with their son. Upon finding Auntie Em, Emma makes quick work of explaining what happened to Dorothy and giving her a bottle to blow a kiss in. However, as soon as Auntie Em uncaps the bottle, her body disintegrates into a puddle, because of interference from Hades, who wants to ensure Dorothy stays asleep forever. Eventually, Snow convinces Ruby to attempt true love's kiss on Dorothy, knowing she has feelings for the girl. Instead of David journeying home to Storybrooke, he forfeits his freedom so Snow can go instead. Before Snow leaves, Emma says goodbye to her mother, who then departs for Oz with Ruby. Later, Emma happily regards an image of a reunion between Snow and her son, which Henry recorded in the storybook. ("Ruby Slippers")

Regina, after spying on Hades and Zelena's interactions, tells Emma and the rest of the gang about Hades putting their names on tombstones, and his plan to leave for Storybrooke with Zelena. While Regina and Hook work on stopping Zelena from agreeing with Hades' proposal, Emma waits for David to return with baby supplies before they find Robin in the woods. James, in place of David, comes back to the apartment, with Emma having no idea of the switch. She becomes perplexed when he mistakes her parents' anniversary photo for a birthday event, but James chalks up his bad memory to being preoccupied with their troubles in the Underworld. After finding Robin and his daughter, James surprises Emma by placing a cuff in her wrist, which disables her magic. Once James' identity is known to her, Cruella drives up to join him. Cruella proceeds to praise him for his handy work, promising him a private show of thanks later, much to Emma's disgust. As payback for killing her, she slaps Emma, before revealing she intends to kidnap the baby so Hades will revive her. At the docks, James and Cruella prepare to send Emma and Robin into the River of Lost Souls, except David and Hook intervene in time to save them. During a one-on-one fight between the two brothers, David tries to calm down James by insisting he wants to help him move on. As Emma and Hook watch nearby, James proclaims his unfinished business is to kill David, and he charges at him with a knife, only for David to block the hit and throw him into the river. David regrets what he had to do, because in spite everything, James was still his brother. Emma disagrees, telling him that some people are beyond help if they can't let go of their grudges. ("Sisters")

Soon after Regina lets Zelena go to Hades, the heroes are approached by the Underworld lord for help, because Zelena is being ransomed by Mr. Gold and Peter Pan. In exchange for Emma's assistance, Hades agrees to remove her and her family's names from the gravestones. As Hades fulfills his deal with Mr. Gold, Emma sneaks in, arriving in time to stop Pan from taking Zelena's heart. When she questions Mr. Gold on why he's still around if Hades has given him what he wants, Mr. Gold abandons his father, which makes Pan retreat. In the aftermath, Hades' kiss of true love with Zelena restarts his heart and triggers a portal which is set to open in a few hours. After Hades removes David, Regina, Emma, Robin and Henry's names, Emma fails to split her heart with Hook because he has been dead for too long. However, when Hades reveals Hook can be revived by eating ambrosia, Emma and Hook journey underground to retrieve it. In a test to reach the ambrosia, Emma offers her heart up for judgment by placing it on one side of a weight scale. When she suddenly feels intense chest pain, Hook tries to return the heart to her, only to be engulfed in fire. Having to choose between her heart or her lover, Emma knocks Hook out of the flames and passes the test. The door unlocks to the ambrosia tree, but they find it has been cut down, which they realize is Hades' doing. To get Emma out after a tremor causes debris to fall, Hook convinces her that they will find another way without the ambrosia. However, when Emma reaches the elevator, Killian decides he won't be going with her because there's nothing else that can be done for him. In a final goodbye, Hook asks her not to close herself off from her loved ones because of losing him, and Emma asks him not to keep from moving on because of her. As Emma departs in the elevator, she clasps her hand with Killian's, only to have to let him go the further up she travels. Back on ground level, Emma discovers Regina and her family are trapped inside because of Hades' magic. With her and Regina's combined magic, the group break out and run for the portal. Emma stays behind in the hopes of seeing Hook one last time, but she is pulled back by her father. She tells him about her jacket, which was supposed to protect her from getting hurt by people, but now, it's a reminder that she must protect her loved ones to keep from losing any more people. Emma has doubts whether she did her best for Hook, and she vows to never lose anyone else. With that, she follows David into the portal back to Storybrooke. ("Firebird")

On return to Storybrooke and a brief reunion with her mother, Emma goes with David and Merida to track down an escaped King Arthur, whose corpse they find after Hades killed him. Emma begins marching off to fight Hades, believing he will kill again, but David persuades her to slow down because they haven't got a plan yet, and she hasn't dealt with her grief over Hook. Zelena, in disbelief that Hades is evil, encloses the town hall with a barrier, as she, the baby and Hades are inside. To get in, Regina and Robin plan to go through an underground tunnel. Emma wants to join them, but Regina declines because she thinks the latter is not in the right state of mind to face Hades. Hoping for a quick answer on how to annihilate Hades, Emma goes directly to Mr. Gold, but he refuses to tell her and instead blames her for getting everyone involved in her problem. She finds her family and Merida looking up information on Hades at the library, where she has a meltdown over Hook, whom she knows is unable to move on from the Underworld because of her. To work towards defeating Hades and helping Hook, Snow urges her to pitch in with the book research. While Emma is still at the library later, she briefly opens the storybook to a page of her and Killian dancing at the ball during their time travel stint. She puts the book away after getting misty-eyed over the photo, but then, the book magically flips open to Hades' story, causing her to realize Hook put it there. Armed with the pages of Hades' story, Emma attempts to bring down the shield on the town hall, until Zelena stops her. After disarming Emma and grabbing the pages from her, Zelena demands to know if Regina is in on the plan to hurt Hades too. Eventually, Zelena learns the truth about Hades from Regina after he has killed Robin, and she kills Hades to stop his reign of power. Following this, Emma visits Killian's grave, where she brings him a canteen of rum and weeps over the knowledge that he has truly moved on now that Hades is gone. At Robin's funeral, after everyone has left, Emma prepares to say goodbye to him alone when Hook unexpectedly returns. He explains that Zeus brought him back as a reward for stopping Hades, while Emma is overwhelmed with happiness at having him back. In the midst of this joy, however, she reveals the battle wasn't without costs, namely Robin. ("Last Rites")

During Robin's wake, Emma makes Killian wait outside while she breaks the news of his return to Regina. Before she is able to tell Regina, a tremor shakes the town, with Killian rushing in to check up on her. Regina, despite being angered that Hook is alive while Robin remains dead, sets aside her emotions in favor of finding out the cause of the tremor. At the clock tower, the heroes discover Mr. Gold has tethered Storybrooke's magic into a piece of the Olympian Crystal. In private, Emma suggests Regina should take a break because of what she's going through. Regina realizes Emma doesn't trust her and believes she will revert to being the Evil Queen again. Henry tries to stop the argument, which ends with Regina teleporting out to find Mr. Gold herself since Emma doesn't want her help. After sending Henry to her house, Emma and her family try to figure out Mr. Gold's current location in Storybrooke. Regina arrives looking for Henry, who has stolen the crystal and left town to destroy it. When Mr. Gold suggests that destroying the crystal's magic will erase Storybrooke, Regina reluctantly allows Emma to join her after the latter provides a lead on Henry. Using GPS, they track Henry to a Boston bus stop, only to find he left his phone on the bus to throw them off. An upset Regina chucks the phone and accidentally sets it on fire, which causes her and Emma to fear Mr. Gold will harm Henry since magic outside of Storybrooke is now possible. In another plan, Regina convinces Emma to provide blood in a locator spell. Tracking Henry to Neal's apartment in New York, Emma runs a laptop scan to find out where he and Violet went. Regina reads an unsent letter that Robin wrote to her, which makes her come clean about her daily struggle to curb her darker instincts. She tells Emma about how being good has made her suffer losses and that she has to live with the evils of her past, or risk giving into darkness again and losing her loved ones. Emma believes Regina will prevail, but the latter thinks being miserable either way is her fate. When the scan reveals Henry is at the Midtown Library, the women arrive to find him and Violet passed out, after Mr. Gold has taken the crystal. Henry convinces Emma that she was wrong for not believing in Regina, and he defends his decision to destroy magic because he doesn't want to lose either of his moms to magic like with his father. Regina uses Henry's blood to locate Mr. Gold, which fails because Mr. Gold has disabled magic. ("Only You")

Leaving Henry and Violet to wait in the library, Emma and Regina pinpoint Mr. Gold after seeing a magic storm cloud above the Hotel D'or building. Emma receives even more troubling news in a text from Granny, which states their family in Storybrooke have been pulled into a portal. Since magic is needed to rescue their loved ones, Regina distracts Mr. Gold with a fake alliance as Emma sneaks in to steal the crystal. Mr. Gold busts the women's plan and reveals he only needed Regina's hair as a link to Zelena in the other realm, where Belle is also trapped. With no more use for either woman, Mr. Gold prepares to hurl a fireball at them, but Henry arrives to absorb the crystal's magic into a replica of the Holy Grail. Only after this, Henry learns from his moms about why they needed the crystal. After he storms off, Emma finds him by the fountain. She gives him a penny to make a wish since making wishes used to cheer him up, but Henry reminds her that only worked when he was living in New York with no memory of Storybrooke or magic. He feels guilty about destroying magic, as he believed it'd help their family, but now, he's made things worse. With the Dragon's help, Emma and the others are able to see their families in the other realm, but unable to open a portal. To find more magic, the Dragon advises that they seek magic with the power of belief. Back at the fountain, Henry persuades his family to make wishes on pennies, which creates magic in the crystal, but not enough. After Henry rallies a crowd of New Yorkers to make wishes, a portal opens in the fountain, allowing his family to return. As the crowd applauds, a disappointed Henry realizes they are mistaking real magic for a street act. Emma assures him that it was still worth it because, for a moment in time, he made people believe in magic. Before going home, Emma and Snow show their support for Regina as she faces the Evil Queen and kills her. On return to Storybrooke, Emma tells Hook that she loves him, as everything they've faced has finally given her the courage to say it. ("An Untold Story")

While Emma is making out with Hook at her house, the both of them notice the table shaking, prompting them to go outside, where they see a dirigible passing by. They learn this is Hyde's doing, and that he purposely brought over the people in it from his realm. Emma and Regina combine powers to take out Hyde, but it has no effect on him. Hyde leaves them with a warning about the dangers of untold stories, especially if those in the stories don't want them to be told. At the dirigible's crash site, Emma helps collect scraps to create a new weapon to defeat Hyde, during which she develops a hand tremor and sees a vision of herself battling an unknown enemy. Snow and Hook notice something off with her, but she assures them all is well before walking off into a clearing, where her hand begins shaking on its own. After the weapon is made, Regina lures out Hyde, but Emma is distracted with the vision again, which keeps her from using the baton on Hyde. She eventually snaps out of it and tasers Hyde. While being taken away by David and Hook, Hyde admits noticing Emma's hand tremor and suggests she come to him if she wants to know more. Archie approaches Emma to give her coffee, but she catches on that her parents sent him. He offers his assessment of her, in that she has become more open because of her friends and family, but the battles she's fought since then have left her more exposed to pain and emotion. She wants a shortcut to fix her issues, but he advises that giving herself time and effort. Emma gains information from Hyde about a red bird that she must follow, and that night, she sees the bird while Hook asks her about her tremors. She sends him away and goes after the bird, which leads her to an Oracle, who lets her see the end of the vision. In it, Emma is stabbed by the enemy, an end that the Oracle warns will happen, no matter what path she takes to get there. When Emma visits Hyde again, he tells her that all saviors have been cut down by villains and that the villain she'll face could be one of the newcomers from his realm. Emma keeps this to herself, and when she makes up with Hook, she lies about the tremors being caused by stress. Later, she helps distribute blankets to Hyde's people but then leaves the diner when her tremor acts up. ("The Savior")

At the diner, Emma witnesses Regina giving a formal welcome to the Untold Stories residents that is met with approval. Belle, now freed from the sleeping curse, arrives looking for a new place to stay. Emma deters her from the inn because the beds are not comfortable, but Hook offers Belle a new room elsewhere. He prompts Emma to come along, however, she tells him that she has a session with Archie. Hook is impressed by this, and Emma agrees that it couldn't hurt to talk things after everything she's been through. At therapy, with encouragement from Archie, Emma opens up about the vision she's been having. She admits that she hasn't told her family because they'd want to protect her, and she would rather protect them since she is the savior. Archie asks her to consider who she is outside of the savior label, but Emma is not interested in this and just wants help to stop the vision from coming true. When he tries to persuade her that she is having an identity crisis, Emma leaves the session. After receiving word from Regina that the Count, who wants to kill David and Snow, is on the loose, Emma begins driving her parents out of Storybrooke, but the car is thrown back by a barrier at the town line. Regina, after realizing the ingredients for the spell came from the vault, relates her suspicions to Emma and Snow about Zelena overriding the vault's blood magic seal. Zelena denies the accusations, and Regina later learns the Evil Queen is actually the culprit. Having killed the Count to save David and Snow, Regina agonizes over what she did, but Emma offers support by saying she didn't have a choice since the Queen put her in that situation. Snow suggests that Regina needs to think like the Queen in order to know what her darker half's plans, and asks her what the Queen meant by everyone having stories that they don't want told. Suddenly, Emma sees her vision again, accompanied by the tremors. Snow and Regina notice, but she pretends to be fine. Emma returns to Archie and tells him about a theory she has, in which the cloaked enemy in her vision is Regina. ("A Bitter Draught")

While Emma and Hook are at the diner, Henry arrives to show them his compiled list of Untold Stories residents. When a new person comes in, Emma goes with Henry to get information. Emma then humorously notices Hook entertaining Ashley's daughter by dabbing his nose with cream and making funny faces at her. Despite how happy Emma feels, her worries turn again to the vision and knowing that her happiness will come to an end. She interrupts Archie's session with Leroy, but Archie ends his time with Leroy to help her. Emma is surprised to hear Leroy mention that Dopey is no longer a tree, but Leroy notes that the dwarves got him out and they weren't waiting for her to fix things. She tells Archie about what's bothering her, and her reluctance in asking Hook to move in with her because she can't offer him a future where the vision doesn't happen. Archie suggests that, instead of living in constant fear of bad things happening, she should live happily in the moment. Afterward, Sean tells Emma that Ashley has gone after her stepsister Clorinda, and he is worried she means to kill her. Emma uses a locator spell on Ashley's shoe, and as she is following the shoe, she is joined by Hook and Henry. They find Ashley at the harbor, where the blonde admits she, not Clorinda, was the wicked sister in their story, and she is trying to make amends to her stepsister now. When Emma's tremor acts up, Ashley takes the opportunity to run away, with Emma unable to use magic to stop her. They meet the Queen, who reveals her plan to keep Emma from intervening in Ashley's story, as all stories have bad endings once the savior is gone. The Queen teleports the trio to the woods, where Henry and Hook give her a pep-talk about her ability to find people even without magic. When Emma mentions her knack for finding people by trying to decipher their stories, Henry realizes the storybook can tell them how Clorinda's story was supposed to end, and this will reveal Ashley's location. The three show up to a pumpkin farm, where Ashley has been stabbed by Lady Tremaine. With reassurance from Henry, Emma calms down enough to focus her magic and heal Ashley. She and Hook spend time on the farm, where she takes Archie's advice and asks Hook to move in with her. ("The Other Shoe")

One morning at the loft, Emma is surprised when her father makes her an abundance of pancakes for breakfast and asks what's wrong. David admits worrying that he won't see her as often now that Hook is living with her, but she assures him this changes nothing with her family. After learning from Jekyll that Hyde has escaped his cell, Emma accompanies her father and Regina to a lab so Jekyll can finish the serum. Hook notifies Emma by phone that Mr. Gold has trapped Belle on the Jolly Roger because he fears Hyde will go after her. While Regina gets Mr. Gold's help with the serum, Emma and David search for Hyde and the Queen. The pair finds him in the woods, but he overpowers both of them before taking off. Following Jekyll and Hyde's simultaneous deaths, Regina tells Emma that for the Queen to cease to exist, she must die and that although she and the Queen are separate now, her own capacity for evil is still there. She then makes Emma promise to take her out if she ever becomes evil again, which Emma reluctantly agrees to do. ("Strange Case")

In the woods, Emma is following the red bird to the Oracle, as Archie tries to talk her into returning to therapy. She declines because, after so many sessions, her tremors and visions are still happening. Emma finds the Oracle, except that she is already dead. She spots someone running away and apprehends the person under suspicion of murder. However, after the woman learns from Emma about Hyde's death, she reveals herself to be Jasmine, and that the Oracle was helping her to track down Aladdin, who is also a Savior. Later in the day, Emma runs into Archie again, except this time the Evil Queen is disguised as him, and she tells him about the possibility of her vision not coming true if Aladdin is still alive. Emma meets up with her family in the loft, where "Archie" follows her in and persuades her to tell them the truth. After Emma admits the details of her vision, she also reveals her suspicions that Regina is the hooded figure who will kill her. Snow expresses hurt over Emma's decision to keep it a secret, but she forgives her. David receives a call from Leroy, who can't find Archie, which causes Emma to realize the person she saw earlier was actually the Queen in disguise. With Regina's locator spell, Emma becomes linked to Aladdin and is able to track him down at a crypt. After Jasmine finds proof of Aladdin's death, Emma's hopes of escaping her impending death are dampened, and she steps away to be alone. Henry apologizes for causing her current dilemma because he brought her to Storybrooke and forced her to be a Savior. However, Emma attests it was worth it since she got to be his mother and find her family. Aladdin, overhearing their conversation, comes out of hiding to give Emma the Shears of Destiny. He admits his reasons for hiding, and that he is ashamed of his decision to use the shears rather than face his fate. Emma encourages him to go to Jasmine and tell her the truth, which he does. At the loft, Emma vows to not use the shears, and instead, find another way or accept that she is meant to die. That night, she meets Hook at the dock, after he has disposed of the shears into the sea. However, after she walks off, he pulls out the shears in his jacket. ("Street Rats")

At home, Emma leaves to search for Aladdin at Jasmine's bequest and finds him attempting to flee town. She drives him to the Storybrooke welcome sign, which she crashed into during her first night in town, as an example of her own attempt to run away from her Savior duties. Aladdin blames himself for the fall of Agrabah, but he eventually decides to own up to his mistakes when Emma advises him to do as she did by facing those he disappointed and making up his errors. Later at the hospital, Emma and Henry meet up with Hook in the waiting room, after Hook helps reunite his half-brother Liam and Nemo with each other. Emma is confused by the turn of events, including Liam having a submarine, and why Hook and Henry were at the harbor in the first place. After Henry leaves, Hook reveals his selfish decision to keep the shears because they were the only thing that could save Emma, even if she hated him for making a choice for her that she didn't want. He apologizes for his mistake, something Henry helped him see, and they have since thrown away the shears for good. Upon learning all this, Emma forgives him, stating that she understands and would've done the same thing for Hook. ("Dark Waters")

In a race to defeat the Queen, who threatens to kill everyone with Acheron water unless Snow and David forfeit their hearts to her, Emma's parents track down a sapling born from a spark of true love, while Emma and Hook clear out Regina's vault, where they intend to imprison the Queen. Emma's hand tremor is triggered when she grows frightened of what will happen if their mission fails, but Hook calms her down by reminding her of the story of Snow White and Prince Charming, and how she was born from true love, the most powerful magic that enables her to do anything. When the sapling is destroyed by the Queen, Emma and Regina prepare to counterattack with their combined magic, except Snow and David decide to give up their hearts in order to save the townspeople. Emma is aghast at their choice to die, however, her parents reassure her they are at peace knowing their lives have led them to each other and back to her as well. Instead of killing the couple, the Queen casts a sleeping curse on both heart halves, causing Snow to fall into a deep sleep before she teleports her away to another location. Emma and David's search for Snow in the loft lead them to the woods, where David uncurses his wife with true love's kiss, only for himself to be affected by the curse once she is awake. ("Heartless")

When Regina wants to confront the Queen for casting the sleeping curse on Snow and David, Emma persuades her it won't do any good and that she needs to be there for Henry. After a failed attempt to find the Dragon, she and Regina plan to trap the Queen within a mirror. Henry offers to help by baiting the Queen and explains his desire to have a distraction from Violet, whom he believes no longer likes him. Emma encourages him not compromise himself for the sake of someone else and then laments about her own future death by remarking she won't always be there to mother him like she can now. However, Emma and Regina are imprisoned by in the mirror instead, after the Queen switched mirrors without them knowing. In the mirror realm, they nearly gain Henry's attention when he hears them calling him, but the Queen draws him away before he realizes anything is wrong. They meet the Dragon, who also confined in the mirror by the Queen, and he shows them a portal that a previously trapped Sidney was working on. As Emma and Regina work on fixing one of the mirrors, the Queen forces the Dragon to morph into his dragon form and orders him to kill them. The women hide behind a pillar, while the Queen gives Henry a hammer to smash the Dragon's heart to save his family. Going by Regina's suggestion that the Dragon's fire breath can break the mirror and allow them to escape, Emma prepares to bait the Dragon since she's fated to die anyway. Regina insists on being the sacrifice, revealing she fears raising Henry alone knowing the Queen is a reminder of the terrible mother she could've been, but Emma assures her it won't happen as long as she is there to help her. The two lure out the Dragon together, and from Henry's side, he smashes the mirror, just as the Dragon's fire breath hits the other side. As the mirror explodes, Emma and Regina are thrown out to safety. Later that night, Henry's moms watch their son dance with Violet, with both of them feeling relieved that he will be all right, despite the worries each of them had about him growing up. ("I'll Be Your Mirror")

While Belle is searching for a way to protect her unborn child from Mr. Gold, who wants to use a potion to accelerate her pregnancy, she shows Emma and Hook a book that she suspects is related to her son's message about how to defeat her husband. After Hook figures out the book is written in squid ink, Emma uses it to freeze Mr. Gold, before she and Hook search the pawnshop for the dagger and shears. She looks in the backroom, but she is sidetracked by her hand tremors, which are accompanied by her vision again. This time, however, she sees the handle of the sword that kills her has a red jewel on it. When Hook rushes in to check on her, Mr. Gold escapes after the ink's effects wear off. The couple regroups with Belle at the diner, where they learn Mr. Gold did not use the spell after all. In a private chat, Hook asks Emma about what happened earlier, and she fills him in on the vision's new details along with her suspicions that something in the pawnshop triggered it. When Belle accidentally ingests the potion and her pregnancy speeds up, Emma helps her through the labor, and afterward, she and Hook witness Belle give up her son into Mother Superior's care to protect him from Mr. Gold. Later that night, Emma and Hook enter the pawnshop, which has since been trashed by Mr. Gold and find the sword from Emma's vision. ("Changelings")

With the sword, Emma, Regina, and Hook head to the vault, in the hopes of learning more about the weapon, but they run into the Queen at Robin's grave. The Queen taunts Emma about her parents' joint curse, to which the fired up Savior jabs her with the sword and cuts her cheek. Learning the sword can hurt the Queen without harming Regina, Emma makes plans of killing her with it. Henry fears she will die like in her vision since the sword is the same one that eventually kills her, but Emma insists she won't back down even if this fight may be her last, and that she needs to be the Savior. Despite her son's reservations, Emma goes ahead with the mission, with David, Regina and Hook by her side. They rush to Jasmine after hearing her cries for help, but they soon discover this was a ploy by the Queen to draw them in. With the genie lamp, the Queen uses a wish to grant Emma's wish of having never been the Savior. Emma then disappears to an alternate realm, where her parents defeated the Queen, and she grew up as a princess. On her birthday, Emma tells her parents about a dream she had, in which the Queen was still a threat to them in a place called Storybrooke. She also shows them a sword she found under her bed, but her parents shrug it off as a coincidence since the armory was cleaned recently. Henry, her son, talks to them about his upcoming knighting ceremony, and they briefly reminisce about his deceased father, Baelfire. While out picking flowers, Emma sees who she believes is the Queen, though it's actually Regina. When Emma refuses to listen to her, Regina disguises herself as the Queen and arrives at the knighting ceremony, where she proclaims her intent to destroy them and implies only a hero like Emma can defeat her. Emma simply begs for mercy, so Regina attempts to force into her Savior role by kidnapping her parents. Even with this, Emma surrenders and offer her the key to the kingdom. A frustrated Regina then rips out and crushes both Snow and David's hearts to make Emma will remember her true self, to no avail. Only when Henry prepares to kill Regina to avenge his grandparents, Emma freezes him with magic, after realizing this world is fake because she would've never wanted her son to become a murderer. Afterward, they gain a magic bean from Rumplestiltskin to return home, but before they can jump into the portal, they dodge an arrow from none other than Robin Hood. As Regina becomes distracted by the sight of Robin, Emma tries to urge her back to the portal, which eventually closes, leaving them stranded in this realm. ("Wish You Were Here")

With the portal gone, Emma and Regina acquiesce to Robin's demands and hand over their jewelry to him before he takes off as Henry and some knights approach in search of Regina. The women hide long enough for Henry to leave and soon set out to find Pinocchio, who agrees to carve a new magic wardrobe to help them go home. After Regina disappears to find Robin, Emma goes with Pinocchio to the enchanted grove to extract the wood. Pinocchio shows her the tool he'll be using, his father's magic chisel, while Emma tells him about her destiny as the Savior to die in the future. An aged Hook attempts to "rescue" Emma, as there is a reward for whoever returns her to her family, but Emma knocks him out and teleports him away. The chisel, now broken after Hook dropped it, causes Pinocchio to give up the mission, out of doubt that he can live up to his father's name. As Emma attempts to chip away wood using a regular chisel, she finds Pinocchio's birthday gift to her: a wooden swan. Upon learning his reasons for carving a swan, Emma realizes August was the boy from many years ago who advised her on using belief to change her own fate. She uses the same advice to encourage Pinocchio into believing he is a master woodcarver, which helps him to infuse a chisel with magic by the power of belief. Regina returns with Robin once the wardrobe is done, and despite her fear of consequences if Robin comes with them, Emma convinces her to make her own fate. Emma and Regina arrive back to Storybrooke, but when Robin seemingly isn't there, Emma leaves to give Regina a moment alone. The grown-up Gideon, actually the cloaked figure in her vision, disarms Emma in a duel, with her arriving friends and family being frozen by Gideon. As Emma's hand tremor acts up, she stuns Gideon with a burst of magic and moves to kill him but stops when Mr. Gold begs for his son's life spared. After Gideon's escape, Emma reunites with her family, before talking to August about their past run-in. Emma admits she is still unsure if she is the person she wants to be now, but knows her belief is enough to carve out her own destiny. ("Tougher Than the Rest")

The same night of Emma's return, she joins her father Hook, Henry, and Regina in celebrating her defeat of Gideon and their unity as a family. At some point after this, Regina gives her a box of potions to aid in possibly breaking David and Snow's joint curse, which Emma stores in her shed. The next morning, Emma goes canoeing with Henry, but she returns to get life jackets from the shed and runs into Hook, who tries to distract her by flirting. When she playfully calls him out for lying to her, Hook tells her about visiting Archie in order to process his emotions about almost having lost her. Emma is touched by Hook's confession and shares a kiss with him, just after David has left the shed with the potions, which Hook was helping him to get without Emma's knowledge. After the kiss, Emma continues onto the shed, oblivious to what is going on. Over the course of the day, Hook gains David's respect and gratitude, which cumulates with David giving his blessing to Hook so he can propose to Emma. However, Hook becomes conflicted upon learning a man he killed long ago was actually David's father. Emma comes out to welcome Hook back and then pops back into the house to make a snack, while Hook stays outside to study the ring box with a conflicted expression before snapping it closed. ("Murder Most Foul")

While Hook is away from home, Emma finds the ring hidden in Killian's sea chest and realizes he means to propose to her. She greets him with a kiss when he walks through the front door and notices he has been drinking rum. Intending to come clean to her about David's father, Hook explains he needed it to give him courage since he's unsure how she will react in response to what he's about to say. Emma, believing he means the marriage proposal, declares that her answer is yes. She then shows him the ring she found and becomes momentarily dismayed when Hook looks upset at her, though Killian assures her he is not. Despite that she already gave him her answer, Emma returns the ring to him and gives him the opportunity to propose to her as he intended. Hook obliges by kneeling and asking for her hand in marriage before slipping the ring on her finger, just as Emma says yes and happily hugs him. ("Ill-Boding Patterns")

In the loft, Emma shows off her engagement ring to Snow and Henry before deciding to hold off on planning the wedding until Gideon is caught. Regina and Zelena arrive with bad news about the Queen, who has escaped, and Henry later receives a storybook page from the Queen that depicts Regina and the original Robin, the same one that Regina once had. Knowing the Queen is using Robin as bait so Regina will come face her, Emma offers to go instead since she feels responsible for persuading Regina into bringing Robin to Storybrooke, but Regina insists on finishing things herself before anyone else she cares about gets hurt. Emma returns home and walks in on Killian sitting by the fireplace with his dreamcatcher as the events of how Hook once killed her grandfather appear in the net. She confronts him about planning to destroy the evidence without even telling her the truth, and Hook confesses he was fearful over how she would take the news and his inability to face her and her parents knowing he had ruined their family once. When Killian implies he doesn't know how to live with his guilt, a tearful Emma angrily suggests he could've come to her for support so they could deal with the weight of the burden together. She expresses her belief that the man she fell for knew all this, and that they could lean on each other in times of crisis without secrets dividing them. Emma assumed this is the version of Hook whom she was marrying, but seeing as he not able to trust her yet, she returns the ring to him, telling him that they can talk when he is ready. Hook decides to join Captain Nemo for his sea travels, in an attempt to find himself again for Emma's sake, but changes his mind in the end and intends to go back to Emma, however, he becomes trapped on the Nautilus when Gideon causes the submarine to submerge underwater and travel to another realm. Emma, who arrives home to an empty house, peers out the window before turning off the lights. ("Page 23," "A Wondrous Place")

Learning from Leroy that Hook was spotted at the docks leaving on the Nautilus, Emma comes believe Killian has truly left her for good and then tells her father the truth about Hook's involvement in Robert's death. As she buries herself in work at the sheriff's office with David, Regina invites her to a girls' night out at Æsop's Tables with her and Snow. Emma declines to go because she's getting ready to go on patrol, even though Regina thinks she would benefit from getting a break to work through her emotions about Hook instead of running away from them. The blonde continues to stand by her decision, stating that Hook was the one who ran and there's nothing more to say about the issue. At home, Emma packs up Hook's belongings into a chest and longingly looks at one of his rings adorned on a necklace. After assuring a concerned Henry that she is fine, she answers her phone and learns about a fight that broke out at Aesop's Tables. Emma begins leaving for the bar, and on her way out, she asks Henry to take the chest to the shed later. Only after getting to the location, she discovers the fake fight was an excuse devised by Regina and Snow to lure her to the bar. Later, Emma remains tight-lipped about her emotions when Regina tries to get her to open up about what she is feeling. The two attempt to intervene when a drunk Snow confronts a group of vikings for not paying before leaving, but then they watch from the sidelines as Snow challenges them to best her in dagger throwing and whoever loses must pay for everyone's drinks. Emma decides not to break up the contest and instead enjoys the distraction. Upon ordering another drink, she talks with the bartender, Aesop, who is actually Gideon in disguise. He shares his supposed real-life love story, in which he was an artist who loved his wife but she didn't love him. This reminds her of Hook, whom she has always believed to be a survivor yet he left her when things got tough between them. Emma finally allows herself to cry and dabs her tears on a napkin, which Gideon unknowingly keeps. Returning home, Emma notices Henry forgot to move the chest to the shed, so she begins taking it out herself, only to hear Hook's voice coming from a conch shell inside it. She hears Hook tell her that Gideon forced him out of town and his plans to get back to her, but when she tries to respond back to him, he doesn't hear her. Aesop, morphing into Gideon, reveals the tear-stained napkin is his way of cutting off Emma's communication with her beloved, and she won't get Hook back unless she helps him kill the Black Fairy. ("A Wondrous Place")

As Emma grows increasingly angry over Gideon banishing Hook to another realm, she grabs his neck in a vice grip while demanding he undoes what he did. Gideon refuses unless she assists him with his mission, to which Emma, furious at Gideon attempting to blackmail her into helping him after previously trying to kill her, drops her hold on him and slaps him hard, drawing blood from his lip. Gideon instead tells her about his experience with the depravity of the Black Fairy's soul and what she has done to other enslaved children, all of whom he promised to save and Emma will either have to comply with his demands or never see Hook again. With no other options, Emma goes with her mother to Mr. Gold about the Black Fairy, who is the originator of the Dark Curse as well as all darknesses and his mother. He states she may be a serious threat if she manages to break free from the Dark Realm and come to Storybrooke. After Mr. Gold and Belle convince her to aid their son so he can be on the side of good, she agrees to help Gideon if he returns Hrunting and brings back Hook. Gideon leads Emma to the Sorcerer's Mansion, where he tricks her into opening a portal to allow Hook to return through, but instead, it brings forth a giant spider, which he claims was summoned by the Black Fairy. As the two hide from the spider, Gideon continues to build up Emma's trust by apologizing for trying to kill her and assuring her that all he wants is to free the Black Fairy's prisoners, however, when they reach a dead end, he shoves Emma into a sticky web, trapping her in place while he steals Hrunting, revealing that he can open a portal to go kill the Black Fairy once Emma dies. Despite escaping the web after Gideon leaves, Emma is overpowered by the spider, who spins her into a cocoon, causing her to slowly suffocate. As Emma's life ebbs away, Gideon's portal opens briefly, letting the Black Fairy through, before it closes when Mr. Gold saves Emma. With her and Mr. Gold's combined powers, they shrink the spider before Emma kills it by stomping on it. In the aftermath, Emma proclaims to Gideon's parents that their son is irredeemable while Mr. Gold vows to take her out if she tries to kill Gideon. ("Mother's Little Helper")

When Emma finds out about the strange symbols Henry wrote in his Author trance, she enlists him to come with her to the library to research them. As she passes him the book of symbols, her hand tremor returns. Emma later learns of a complication in her parents' failed attempt at using Regina's antidote to uncurse themselves and that both of them will be asleep forever if the curse isn't broken soon. In Snow's latest video message to him, David notices pixie flower petals and believes they can break the sleeping curse. Before David goes to sleep so Snow can be awake to help track the flowers, Emma asks him about he can cope with being separated from Snow for so long, to which he explains his belief in knowing Snow is fighting as hard for him as he is for her. Knowing Hook is on his daughter's mind, David persuades her that Killian is doing the same for her wherever he is. Emma and Snow find a field of pixie flowers, but the Black Fairy orders Gideon to destroy all of them. In the aftermath, Snow recalls the vow she made to never leave Emma alone again and that she can't keep her promise now that the final battle is near, although Emma assures her that there wasn't anything she could've done to change her fate. Snow knows to be untrue and she begins telling her about something that happened to her and David during the first curse, but she is cut off when Emma finds the last pixie flower. Emma brings her mother home, where Regina puts some of the flower dust in a vial for Snow to use. Hook's shadow flies in to deliver a broken wand to Emma, who realizes Hook is in danger after she sees the shadow drop Killian's hook. Snow tells her to use the dust to reach Hook and also reveals she and David once used the same dust to find her when she was just a child but that they ultimately sacrificed their happiness to save the townspeople. Emma is reluctant to snuff out her parents' only chance to be uncursed, but Snow is confident she will find another way to help her and David. Creating a portal with the dust, Emma arrives in Neverland to stop the Lost Boys from executing Hook before the both of them return to the loft. Emma forgives Hook for not being honest about her grandfather's murder and contemplating to leave. She accepts his proposal again when he asks her to marry him. To help dilute Snow and David's joint curse in the hopes of breaking it, she is one of the many people to ingest a liquid form of the curse. Emma and those who drank the curse fall asleep, but after David and Snow wake up, they awaken as well. ("Awake")

One morning as Emma makes pancakes, Hook playfully interrupts her before she returns his ardor with heated kisses. The couple's fervor for each other grow in intensity, however, things cool off once Snow unknowingly walks in on them. After Hook excuses himself, Emma is somewhat surprised when her mother shows her a whole binder of wedding plans she has been putting together since the first curse broke. Snow explains that her enthusiasm is due to her desire to be involved when she wasn't able to be there for other milestones in Emma's life. Emma, touched by her mother's sentiments, embraces her in a hug before she is phoned by Regina. At the sheriff's office, Emma breaks up an argument between Regina and Zelena concerning how they are dealing with the Black Fairy. Zelena, incensed that the fairy threatened to take Robin earlier, wishes to finish her off herself, but Emma reasons that Regina's plan to find the other half of the wand is more practical so they'll have a weapon to use against her. While Regina works on a locator spell for the wand, Snow involves Emma, Hook, David, and Henry in picking out a wedding venue. Snow suggests the diner, which David believes is too small for a princess like Emma, to which Snow offers the town hall instead. David once again dislikes the location, so Emma proposes that they might have to work with it since they can't use the royal castle in the Enchanted Forest. When David actually suggests they do that, Snow drags him outside to discuss what is really bothering him. Emma overhears her father telling Snow that he doesn't want to rush the wedding knowing Emma could be on death's doorstep shortly after it instead of looking ahead to her years of marriage. She then convinces her mother that she would rather wait for the right time to walk down the aisle, and for now, she and Hook are happy being together as a couple. Later at the sheriff's office, Emma hears from Regina about Zelena's botched attempt at killing the Black Fairy that resulted in the fairy creating dark crystals by imbuing them with Zelena's magic. When Zelena agrees to use the Crimson Heart to remove all her magic to help revert the crystals, she asks Regina to take care of Robin if anything goes wrong, which Emma backs up by promising to look after the infant as well. After the crystals return to their light form, Emma suggests getting Mother Superior's help to obtain more from the mines. Zelena eventually reveals the nun is in the pawnshop, where Emma crushes a fairy crystal over Mother Superior's body to restart her heartbeat. ("Where Bluebirds Fly")

At the pawnshop, Emma watches Mr. Gold use an unhatched dragon egg to awaken Mother Superior. The nun provides a clue about the location of the other half of the wand, but before she can say any more, Snow starts to choke her and revealing the Black Fairy in disguise, with David as Gideon, before kidnapping her. With the real Snow and David looking for the wand, Emma goes to check in with Mr. Gold and Belle as they are attempting to talk to the restrained Gideon about where his heart is hidden. Since Gideon cannot reveal anything without the Black Fairy hurting him, Mr. Gold takes him to the dream world, where he also brings Emma to in order to keep her from going after the Black Fairy until he can find his son's heart. As the two look for Gideon, Mr. Gold recognizes an old shack as the place he was born, with Emma noticing that they are in his dream world instead of Gideon's. After Gideon suggests the Black Fairy's greatest fear is for Mr. Gold to discover the reason why she abandoned him, Emma encourages him to allow himself to be vulnerable for Gideon's sake in order to see the memories of his own past and find out the Black Fairy's secret. The trio is transported into a memory, where they learn Mr. Gold was destined to be a Savior and fight a great evil, but this evil turned out to be the Black Fairy. Later, when Mr. Gold returns after seemingly fulfilling his fate and offers up the fairy's blackened heart as proof that he killed her, Emma praises him for doing his duty as a Savior. With the final battle no longer an issue, Emma and Hook's wedding is resumed for the next day. Hook drops by her house to ask Henry to be his best man and then tells Emma that he's not staying over since it's bad luck to see the bride on the night before the wedding. ("The Black Fairy")

While Emma tries to pick out a dress to wear for her wedding, Snow offers her the dress she wore for her own wedding, but the Black Fairy ruins things by dyeing it black. The Black Fairy reveals her son never turned against her after all and she offers her the chance to forfeit her heart to her now instead of facing her in the final battle. She attempts to weaken Emma's resolve by bringing up her past as a lonely orphan who never stopped being alone, but when this fails, she directs her to the clock tower to get a taste of what is coming. There, Emma observes a cloud of dark fairy dust that is set to unleash a Dark Curse once the clock strikes six o'clock. After she makes plans to face the Black Fairy now and keep her loved ones safe, she says goodbye to Hook in case she dies. While Emma looks through old photos of her family to remind herself of who she is fighting for, Henry curiously presses her tape recorder, which plays audio of a young Emma humming a song. This reminds Emma of a period in her life when she felt truly alone and she turns the recording off without giving Henry an explanation for her reaction. When Emma faces the Black Fairy in the mayor's office, she loses her confidence upon seeing the frozen bodies of her family and friends. The Black Fairy broadcasts the audio of young Emma and mockingly notes the amount of misery she hears in it, to which Emma tries to magically choke her, but it doesn't work, as the fairy points out, because Emma finally understands the truth: that she can't fight alone. A shaken Emma opens up to Henry about the recording being a painful reminder of a time she was so alone that no one even cared enough to hear her sing. She describes how it was never about the little things she had to do by herself, but when she faced bigger things alone, she always ran away. Emma expresses regrets about not being brave enough to keep Henry at birth, but Henry emphasizes that she's changed since then and encourages her to believe she can still defeat the Black Fairy. To ensure her son will have the rest of his family after she is gone, Emma allows the Black Fairy to take her heart, however, the Black Fairy is unable to crush it into ash. Henry reveals with a new storybook page that Emma was never alone as her heart has always had the songs of those who love her. Equipped with this knowledge, Emma summons power from her own song to unfreeze her allies. Later, during the wedding ceremony, Emma recites her vows to Hook, telling him that her life changed when Henry brought her to Storybrooke and that although she was born from true love, she never expected to find it with Hook. The couple dance together after they are married, in which they sing about the future of a happy beginning as everyone else chimes in. When the curse arrives, Emma assures her husband that wherever it is taking them, they'll win in the end. ("The Song in Your Heart")

During Fourth Curse

Under the Black Fairy's Dark Curse, Emma believes herself to be a patient at Storybrooke's mental ward for two years now as she recovers from believing in Henry's fairytale delusions. In actuality, the more Emma's belief in magic fades, the more rapidly that magical realms cease to exist. As Emma is painting a swan, Nurse Ratched notifies her that her son has come to see her. Henry mentions not being able to find Snow, David, or Hook, but Emma reminds him that none of those people are real and insists that all she wants is to get better so she can finally be his mother. Henry asks her to retell what happened two years ago, to which Emma explains how Henry had eaten a poisoned apple turnover and recovered from it, thanks to medicine and Dr. Whale. When Emma receives her dose of medication from Nurse Ratched, Henry pushes it away and shows her the Author symbols that tell how the final battle can be won, but Emma remains unconvinced. Mayor Fiona, whom Emma knows as Henry's adoptive mother, arrives to shoo her son to school before making sure that Emma takes her medicine. With good prognosis reports about Emma from Dr. Hopper, Fiona believes she is mentally fit to be released from the ward soon, however, she suggests that Emma help Henry move on from delusions by burning the fairytale book. Despite knowing Henry's beliefs aren't real, Emma doesn't have the heart to hurt him by destroying his book and insists she isn't ready to do it. Later, Emma is doing pull-ups in her cell when Henry breaks her out for Operation Cuckoo's Nest and takes her to the rooftop where she married Hook in an attempt to snap her out of the Black Fairy's curse. Emma has flashes of her wedding and the groom she wedded, yet she is still unsure if what she saw was real and persuades him that it's best if she goes back to Boston since Fiona will lock her up again if she stays. Henry relents by agreeing to grab her car keys from Dr. Hopper's office, although he actually goes there to get his book and is shoved down the stairs by Fiona. At the hospital, Emma rushes to Henry, who has a broken arm and is disappointed to learn from Fiona that he hasn't given up on his fairytale nonsense. Henry insists Fiona pushed him and is trying to snuff out her belief, however, Emma ends up listening to Fiona, who laments that her son will do even more bodily harm to himself in the future if his wild imagination continues. Believing she has to do what is right for Henry, Emma puts the book in a furnace, unknowingly causing the rapid destruction of the Enchanted Forest and endangering her loved ones who are trapped there. She sees a picture of Hook as the pages are scorched and seemingly recognizes him as the man from her vision, but she does nothing as the page curls away under the heat of the flames. ("The Final Battle Part 1")

As Emma prepares to leave for Boston, she says her goodbyes to Henry, telling him that she is grateful to have met him but that his fairytale beliefs have landed them both in trouble and they have to go their separate ways in order to move on from it. After driving back to her Boston apartment, Emma notices Henry left a handmade book in her bag but then gets a call about a bail bondsperson gig. After accepting the job, she reads through the book which tells the tale of how she became a hero: from when she made the wish on her twenty-eighth birthday, to defeating a dragon and waking up Henry with true love's kiss. Returning to Storybrooke, Emma finds Henry armed with a sword as he is preparing to confront Fiona at the mayor's office. She admits that she doesn't remember the things he wants her to recall, but that the courageous and fearless person he depicted in the story is who she wants to be. When Emma attests to Henry that she does believe him, her last shred of belief is restored and this unknowingly helps to stop the destruction of the Enchanted Forest. Emma then takes the sword and bursts into the mayor's office ready to face Fiona, but upon finding no one there, she hurries out. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

After Fourth Curse

As Emma steps through a hallway in the town hall building with Henry behind her, she unexpectedly regains her memories when the Dark Curse is lifted because of Mr. Gold killing the Black Fairy. Gideon shows up to attack her and manages to corner her into the mayor's office, but Henry knocks his uncle down, allowing Emma to escape out the door. Emma enacts a barrier to keep Gideon trapped in temporarily, and as she and Henry flee the building, Henry reveals that the Black Fairy still has Gideon's heart but he'll stop coming after her once Mr. Gold finds it. The two reach the town square, where Emma reunites with her parents, Hook, Regina, and Zelena. Regina persuades Emma to remain hopeful that there may be a third way to finish the final battle since the two known options, whether killing Gideon and darkening her own soul or being killed in combat by Gideon thus eradicating all light magic, will not end well either way. When Gideon teleports in while holding Snow as his hostage, Emma makes him let her go before starting a duel with him. Gideon taunts her about having no one to save her this time, to which Emma boasts that she is the Savior and doesn't need saving from anyone. As she fights him, Emma swears to protect her loved ones, to creating light from darkness, to not kill innocents, and to bring hope to others no matter what the cost is. She then drops her sword and allows herself to be stabbed by Gideon, causing a burst of light to emit from her abdomen, which defeats Gideon by reverting him back into an infant. Emma dies but is revived with the power of Henry's kiss of true love. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

Sometime after final battle has been won, Emma and Regina walk Henry to the school bus stop, with each of them saying goodbye to him before they both watch him head off. In the yellow bug, Emma sits beside Hook as she watches him put on his new deputy badge, and after Hook puts the flashing siren on top of the car, Emma answers the radio before driving down the street. During one night, she joins her expansive family at Granny's for supper. ("The Final Battle Part 2")

Emma later attends baby Gideon's first birthday, providing the cake with Hook. ("Beauty")

Sometime during when Zelena's daughter Robin is older, she steals the yellow bug in the hopes of driving it to New York. However, Robin only manages to have the car for eight minutes before Emma manages to find her and make her return to Storybrooke. ("The Girl in the Tower")

After Henry graduates from high school, Emma and Regina take him on a celebratory trip. ("Leaving Storybrooke")

Later, Emma watches as Henry and Hook spar on the Jolly Roger. Henry is able to corner Hook and Emma compliments him, stating he fights like his grandfather, but the distraction is enough for Hook to knock Henry's sword away. Henry becomes frustrated with himself for losing and storms off, stating he'll never be good enough. Emma expresses concern about Henry's attitude towards Hook and Hook reminds her that he's nearly grown, leading her to understand that he'll be leaving soon. Hook stops her before she can go try and talk him out of it, assuring her that it's something he has to do. Emma expresses concern that she won't get a second chance, having been absent from her son's life for ten years, but Hook eases her worries by revealing a magical item he's found: a message in a bottle that can contact someone across realms. ("A Pirate's Life")

Henry eventually does leave for the New Enchanted Forest, and after becoming a fully grown man, he uses the message in a bottle to call for Emma, Regina, and Hook's help to escape Lady Tremaine, who has framed him and Cinderella for the death of a prince. When the trio receives the message, Hook insists that Emma stay home and rest because of her pregnancy, which Emma agrees to in part due to her reluctance to let her son know about his half-sibling, as she believes if he knew, he would abandon his travels to return home for her sake. Emma eventually goes against this and shows up after Henry has been saved, just as he is questioning Hook on whether or not she is okay. She assures her son that she is fine and announces her pregnancy to him. Henry is delighted by this revelation but Hook begins acting weird and soon runs off, leaving Emma confused about his behavior. Emma soon learns this Hook is actually the Wish Realm Hook, after she goes to nearby port town, where her Hook who shows her his counterpart, who was stabbed in a scuffle and asks her to heal him. Emma reminds Hook that her magic may not work in this realm, as Regina's didn't, but Hook begs her to try because he deserves a second chance. With some persuasion, she encourages the man to believe in his capacity to be the person that the other Hook has become, which allows her to connect with him and heal his wound. Emma and the two Hooks then return to Henry to say goodbye, but before she leaves, she suggests Henry and the Wish Realm Hook can team up to help each other's missions. Regina also decides to stay with Henry, while Emma and Hook return to Storybrooke on their own. ("A Pirate's Life")

After Sixth Curse
After Regina unites all the realms, providing easy access to and from one land to another, Snow White and Prince Charming bring her to the royal castle to elect her as the new Queen before her subjects. As Snow puts the crown on Regina's head, a flustered Emma bursts in through the door with a carry-on bag as Killian follows her in with their new daughter Hope in his arms. She apologizes for being late before proceeding down the aisle and telling Regina that she wasn't going to miss her coronation. As Emma greets Henry, she asks him to give Killian a hand with the baby, while she slips off her red jacket, unveiling her white gown. Upon being crowned by Snow as "the Good Queen," Regina shares a few hugs with members of her family: Sir Henry, their granddaughter Lucy, and daughter-in-law Ella, and Henry. When Regina gets to Emma, the blonde greets her as "Madame Mayor." Killian suggests "Your Majesty" is more apt, though Emma jokes that Regina will always be Madame Mayor to her. Emma congratulates her on getting her happy ending, which Regina prefers to think of as a second chance since she doesn't like endings and everyone's stories are far from over. As the crowd gives a resounding applause to Regina's speech about the wonders and losses that are a part of life and make people who they are, Emma cradles Hope as she and Killian watch on. ("Leaving Storybrooke")

Magical Abilities

  • Belief - Ability to mildly alter reality (usually in Neverland) by believing strong enough.
  • Foresight - Ability to see the future in bits and pieces.
  • True Love - Ability to kiss one's True Love and break a curse.
  • Age Manipulation - Ability to accelerate or reverse the aging process or a pregnancy.
  • Conjuration - Ability to conjure objects out of the blue.
  • Energy Blasts - Ability to create magical blasts to harm the enemies and the objects in the most effective way.
  • Heart-ripping - Ability to rip someone's heart out in order to control/kill them, among other purposes.
  • Locator Spells - Ability to cast a spell that will aid in finding something or someone.
  • Protection Spells - Ability to magically protect a location, an item or a person through various ways.
  • Shapeshifting - Ability to alter the appearance of oneself or others.
  • Telekinesis - Ability to control the movement of the environment.
  • Teleportation - Ability to magically teleport oneself and/or others from one location to another.

Former Magical Abilities

  • Enhanced Traits - Augmented strength, agility, durability and fighting skills.


Queen Eva
King Leopold
Evil QueenRuth
RobertKing George
Snow White
Mary Margaret
Prince Charming
David Nolan
Prince James
Prince NealKillian Jones
Emma Swan
Neal CassidyRegina Mills
Jacinda Vidrio
Henry Mills


  • Solid lines denote parent-child blood relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriages, adoptions and relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Both Prince Charming and Prince James were adopted by King George
  • Emma and Neal have never been married
  • Henry Mills is the adopted son of Regina Mills



  • In the original "Pilot," script, Emma's first name was Anna.[5] The name was changed to Emma after the legal department told the show creators that the name did not "clear" – according to Adam Horowitz, it probably meant that someone named Anna Swan lived in the Boston area.[6]
  • Emma adopted the last name "Swan" after reading the story of "The Ugly Duckling." ("Tougher Than the Rest")
    • According to the show creators, Emma's last name is symbolic of the journey they have created for the character as Emma is somebody who has had a very tough time and her journey is to become a swan.[7]
    • The name is also a reference to ABC's Lost island Swan Station.[8]
    • Emma's last name and identity as the Dark One is also an allusion to the Black Swan from the Swan Lake ballet.[3]

Character Notes

  • Emma claims to have an extra-special ability which is being able to tell when someone is lying to her. The show creators have stated that she has to be actually looking for a lie, and emotions cloud her ability, which is the reason why it has been failing her in her interactions with people.[9] ("Pilot" et al.)
    • Mary Margaret alludes to this when she points out that Emma's "superpower" has been known to be unreliable, especially when she's emotional. ("The Evil Queen")
  • Based on her mugshot on the cover of the newspaper, Emma is approximately 5'7" (170 cm).[10] ("The Thing You Love Most," "Desperate Souls")
  • Has a flower tattoo on the inside of her left wrist.[11] It is similar to her father's crest.[12] ("The Thing You Love Most" et al.)
  • Likes hot cocoa with cinnamon, just like her mother and her son. ("The Thing You Love Most" et al.)
  • According to herself, Emma has been in many relationships that failed. When asked if she has heard about ogres, she responds that she is pretty sure she has "dated a few." ("The Shepherd," "Lady of the Lake")
    • She also tells Mary Margaret to "trust her because dating with a married man is not worth it," implying that it is also one of her failed relationships. ("7:15 A.M.")
  • The newspaper clipping in Emma's case file says:[14] ("True North," "The Stranger," "Family Business," "Firebird")
Baby found by Chantey's Lobster House.
A local boy discovers a newborn wrapped in a blanket on
a roadside. Police ask public for any information
regarding parents' identity.
Yesterday afternoon, a young boy
found a newborn infant by the side of
the interstate highway when taking a
shortcut home from school.
The boy, whose identity is not being
released, first thought that the baby
girl was a plastic toy, but upon
further examination he realized it
[illegible word] fact a child. "I didn't
hear any crying so I thought it was
[three illegible words] kid," he said,
"but when I got closer I saw its hand
[illegible word] I [illegible word] home and called
the [illegible word]."
[two illegible words] that the baby was
wrapped in a blanket with the name
"Emma" embroidered into it. The
[three illegible words] immediately to the
[three illegible words] inspection and
[two illegible words] appears to be
[illegible word].
[three illegible words] being referred to as
[two illegible words]" was but hours old
[five illegible words] any of
the local hospitals and it did appear
that the birth took place at the scene.
Authorities also are looking into early
departures of pregnant patients from
area hospitals but none have been
reported at this time.
A search is underway for the child's
parents and the sheriff’s department is
asking for the public’s help in identify-
ing her. Anyone with information
regarding the identity of either [obscured]
mother or the father of Baby [obscured]
should contact the police inf[obscured]
The mother will not n[obscured]
charged if she is loca[obscured]
Sheriff's department. [obscured]
would like to make [obscured]
talk to her about th[obscured]
birth. The immedi[obscured]
insight into the ch[obscured]
Baby Emma is e[obscured]
Of the local sheriff’s [obscured]
being looked after at [obscured]
more information co[illegible] [obscured]
  • Emma likes Froot Loops; she can be seen having it for breakfast several times.[15] ("7:15 A.M.," "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree," "Welcome to Storybrooke")
  • Emma likes grilled cheese sandwiches. ("Red-Handed," "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Unforgiven")
  • The day after the curse, the newspaper Regina reads is dated October 23, 1983[16] (the show premiered on October 23, 2011). This means Emma's birthday is either October 22, or October 23, depending on whether she was born before or after midnight. ("Welcome to Storybrooke," "Selfless, Brave and True")
    • Adam Horowitz has been quoted as saying that Emma's birthday is October 23.[17] However, the show itself indicates that her birthday is on October 22. In "Pilot," Emma celebrates her twenty-eight birthday on this date; the day she arrives in Storybrooke (which was the day before she spends the night behind bars and decides to stay; she even says to Regina that "yesterday was my birthday"). This is further confirmed when August's wooden state is triggered in Phuket, Thailand at 8:15 A.M. on October 24—the very same moment that Emma accepts the room key at 8:15 P.M. on October 23 (as mentioned by August, the time zone in Phuket is twelve hours ahead of Maine's timezone). ("Pilot," "The Stranger," "Selfless, Brave and True")
  • According to Jennifer Morrison, Emma is like an overgrown teenager who doesn't know how to eat properly or take care of herself properly, because she's never had a family unit. When Jennifer does not know what to do with Emma, she thinks, "What would a 14-year-old boy do?"[18]
  • Emma likes the color yellow. That's why her choice of car ended up as yellow back in 2001. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")
  • Emma's goodbye letter, whose envelope is titled "for my family,"[19] says:[20]

I'm sorry but I can't let you
all pay for my mistake.
Deep down, you know I'm right.
So please, promise me you'll
move on and find happiness
and help Henry grow into
the best man he can be. That's
enough for me. To die knowing
the family I always wanted
is safe.
I will love you all forever.
("Swan Song")

Storybook Notes

  • The text page next to Emma's illustration in Henry's storybook novel is a retelling of the scene where Emma leaves the Underworld in "Firebird." Some of it appears on-screen,[21] while the rest of it can be seen on a prop photograph from an online auction[22] (the missing text is set in fuchsia, or, in the case of links, underlined). It reads:

Emma and her family raced across the cemetery,
the ground quaking beneath their feet. In the distance,
the portal in the face of the fallen clock tower was
going dark. It was about to close! Emma helped
Henry and Regina through. They were getting out of
this place if it was the last thing she ever did. Emma
turned to her father with steely resolve in her eyes and
zipped up her red leather jacket.

"When I bought this jacket, it was meant to be an
armor to protect me from getting hurt by those I
love," Emma told David. "But now it's just a
reminder that I have to protect those I love."

Looking down at that trusty armor, it struck Emma for
for the first time how far she had truly come. And while
she may have lost much, she had gained a family. She
was not going to lose anyone else. Because she was the
Savior and there were people who still needed saving.
Emma led David through the fading portal. And with
one last look behind her, Emma wiped the tears from
her eyes. She knew what her mission was. And with
she stepped into the clock-faced portal and disap-
peared into the void. The portal was gone, replaced
once again by an ordinary clock face. Then.... tick. It
was 8:15 once again in Storybrooke.
("Hyperion Heights," "A Pirate's Life")

Production Notes

  • The in-show inspiration for the character of Emma relates to the story of "The Ugly Duckling."[23]
    • Fittingly enough, Henry's bedside lamp has a shadow figure of a swan,[24] ducks[25] and three ducklings.[26] ("Pilot")
  • Actress Katee Sackhoff auditioned five times to play Emma. When she quit, Jennifer Morrison won the role.[27]
  • According to show writer Adam Horowitz, Emma was supposed to have three children, which eventually evolved into just one.[28]
  • The scars featured on Emma's chest in the Enchanted Forest tavern scene in "Snow Drifts"[29] are a direct result of Jennifer Morrison herself having multiple moles removed.[30]
  • In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jennifer Morrison stated that Emma going to the dark side, had been planned since the end of Season Three, although it was always meant to start in Season Five.[33]
  • In order to prepare for her portrayal of dark Emma, Jennifer Morrison did lots of research with mythology books and old fairy tale books, and read about the history of swans and the etymology of "swan." She also read about research about swans in general, and the psychology of fairy tales.[34]
    • According to Jennifer, there is an old fairy-tale that she has been using as a reference for Dark Swan, "The Queen and the Murderer," which sort of parallels Emma's journey.[35] This fairytale is also known as "The One Handed Murderer," and is from Italo Calvino's collection of Italian Folktales. In the story, a woman is haunted by a murderer, and her father does not believe that the murderer is threatening her, so the murderer haunts her her whole life until she finally stands up to him and actually has kill him.
  • Emma appears in a special, non-canon promo for Season Five, in which she is imprisoned in Rumplestiltskin's Cell. A jailer brings her food, and she grabs him through the bars. The jailer says, "They said you were a monster," and Emma replies, "Only on the inside," before she rips out his heart and crushes it.[36]
    • The scene parallels a deleted scene from "Pilot," where an imprisoned Rumplestiltskin, watched over by the Jailer, is brought food by a guard. As the guard places the food in the cell, Rumplestiltskin grabs him and tells him, "It has begun."
  • The Dark Swan's white hair, was achieved by using a powdery spray color, which gave the hair a special kind of depth and texture.[37]



Popular Culture

Props Notes

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • In "Pilot," Emma has a mole on her chest.[123] In "The Thing You Love Most," it is gone.[124] (In real life, Jennifer Morrison has had many moles removed from her body.[30] The scar from this particular surgery, can be seen in a few episodes, including "Snow Drifts."[125])
  • There are lots of mistakes about Emma's flower tattoo, as in some scenes of some episodes, it appears and disappears:
    • In "Pilot," during Emma's date with Ryan, her left wrist has a flower tattoo[126] (briefly glimpsed in this episode, but more visible in other episodes[127]). When she opens the door for Henry, the tattoo is gone.[128]
    • In "The Thing You Love Most," when Emma is drinking hot cocoa with Mary Margaret, she has a flower tattoo on her wrist.[129] When she opens the door for Granny earlier in the episode, it can barely be seen.[130]
    • In "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," when Emma is pressing a pack of ice against her wound, her flower wrist tattoo is missing.[131]
    • Emma's tattoo is missing when she's climbing the beanstalk with Hook in "Tallahassee."[132]
  • In "The Stable Boy," as Emma runs through the alleyway to investigate, the back camera view shows she is wearing bright red gloves.[133] When the camera angle switches to the front after Emma reaches past the alley, her gloves are gone.[134]
  • In "The Stranger," in the first shot of Emma and August actively riding the motorcycle with the vehicle headlight on, it shows their stunt doubles.[135]

Other Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. File:622TranslatedNotes.png
  2. "The Dark Swan" title, "The Bear and the Bow," "Birth," "Ruby Slippers," Once Upon a Time, ABC
  3. 3.0 3.1 Abrams, Natalie (March 13, 2015). 'Once Upon a Time' bosses answer Yes/No/Can't Say (or a little more) to your Twitter Q's. Entertainment Weekly. “If Emma goes evil, does that make her the Black Swan? KITSIS: Yes.”

    TwitterLogo Melissa Hastings (@MelissaIsUberA) on X, formerly Twitter: Can you confirm? Was Dark Swan inspired at all by Swan Lake? (December 28, 2017). (backup link; the user's account and the original post have been deleted) (archive screenshot)

    TwitterLogo Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson) on X, formerly Twitter: At all? Well, we did notice the name, so I guess... yes? (December 28, 2017). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  4. "Save Henry," Once Upon a Time, ABC
  5. ONCE UPON A TIME "Pilot" by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (PDF) pp. 8. Retrieved on September 9, 2018. “Through the front door walks a woman who is, let's not kid ourselves here, a PRESENCE. This is ANNA SWAN. Late 20s. Beautiful, with great strength behind classic features.”
  6. TwitterLogo Adam Horowitz (@AdamHorowitzLA) on X, formerly Twitter: Legal department told us the name did not "clear" -- probably meaning someone named Anna Swan lived in the Boston area. Glad that happened. Emma Swan is a better name. (August 18, 2018). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  7. Monica (October 31, 2013). Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis Talk New Seasons of OUAT and OUATIW. CableTV. “Q: On Twitter, everyone was sending me questions about Emma and why you chose the last name of Swan? Any significance? Kitsis: Yeah you know. It's a Swan. Horowitz: It's a very symbolic and fairy tale name and it just felt right for her and for the journey we are creating for Emma. Kitsis: She is somebody that has had a very tough time and so her journey is to become a Swan.”
  8. NYCC | Once Upon a Time Pilot Screening and Panel. Comic Book Resources (October 15, 2011). “After the screening Kitsis and Horowitz briefly discussed the show with the audience, revealing Once Upon a Time will include many Easter eggs from Lost. They specifically cited Emma Swan as being named after the island's Swan Station, the town clock being stuck at 8:15 (an allusion to Flight 815), and a character's house number being 108 (the sum of the six recurring numbers from Lost).”
  9. WonderCon 2012 Quickie: Co-Creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz Talk ONCE UPON A TIME. The TV Addict (March 22, 2012).
    TwitterLogo Adam Horowitz (@AdamHorowitzLA) on X, formerly Twitter: emotions cloud her ability. also, she has to be LOOKING for a lie. She had no reason not to trust them. (October 28, 2013). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  10. File:102EmmaOnFrontPage.png
  11. File:115YouCanDoThis.png
  12. File:503CoatOfArms.png
    Abrams, Natalie (November 22, 2012). Lightning Round 3: Once Upon a Time Bosses Answer Your Burning Questions. TV Guide. “Will we find out about Emma's tattoo? Adam Horowitz: I would say probably not. Kitsis: It's the same flower that's on her father's crest, but how she got it and why she chose it is probably not something we'll get to this year.”
  13. Sparks, Lily (September 28, 2012). Once Upon a Time Q&A: Jennifer Morrison Drops a Few Hints About Season 2. TV.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. “Does Emma have a jail tatto? [sic] (Laughs) JAIL TATTOOS? No she has a tattoo, but that tattoo she's had since she was probably 14. I think you've seen glimpses of it, it's on her left wrist, it's a flower on her left wrist. It hasn't been featured in any situation yet, you'll see it more in Episode 6. Just kind of by circumstances, but yeah, it's definitely a youthful decision on her part but ends up being meaningful in the long run.”
  14. File:109Articles.png
  15. File:110ImSureIf.png
  16. File:217DailyMirror.png
  17. Mitovich, Matt Webb (August 15, 2014). Once Upon a Time's Two Most Burning Frozen Questions Answered. TVLine. “As Horowitz explains, Once "occurs in a semblance of real time," starting with Emma Swan's Oct 23, 2011 birthday aka the series premiere.”
  18. Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic, London, Titan Books, October 2013, p. 32. Facsimile by Google Books.
  19. File:511LeavesLetter.png
  20. File:511EmmaLetter.png
  21. File:701WhatABetterLife.png
  22. Once Upon a Time - Emma Storybook Page (1317). iCollector. Archived from the original on August 31, 2021. Retrieved on November 8, 2020. File:702Prop8.jpg
  23. Loggins, Emma (September 5, 2012). Jennifer Morrison On Being The Skeptic In ‘Once Upon A Time’. Fanbolt. “I think [show creators] Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz knew what they were doing when they named her Emma Swan. They told me they thought it was a cool name and they were moved by the idea of The Ugly Duckling story, so it appeared to fit. Emma has had a really rough upbringing because she was abandoned as a child, yet she blossoms into this beautiful swan that is destined to hopefully save everyone from an evil curse.”
  24. 24.0 24.1 File:101Swan.png
  25. File:101Duck.png
  26. File:101Ducklings.png
  27. Wilkens, Selena (May 28, 2012). ‘Battlestar Galactica’s’ Katee Sackhoff: ‘I walked away from ‘Once Upon a Time’ role’. Hypable.
  28. TwitterLogo Adam Horowitz (@AdamHorowitzLA) on X, formerly Twitter: ten years ago. Original idea -- Emma had 3 kids. As we developed show, the 3 became Henry. (June 8, 2013). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  29. File:321Playing.png
  30. 30.0 30.1 Simpson, Leah (April 17, 2013). Not afraid to show some skin! Jennifer Morrison displays plenty of flesh in a sheer coral gown ... after THAT naked photo shoot. Daily Mail. “Confessing her favorite body part is her abs, Jennifer says she has a lot of scars, due to having moles removed. 'I have anywhere between 15 and 20 scars on my body,' she says. 'I go to my doctor every six months to make sure.'”
  31. File:101LessCalm.png
  32. File:102YourMove.png
  33. Jennifer Morrison for Entertainment Weekly New York Comic Con 2015. YouTube (October 15 2015).
  34. Corriston, Michele (June 17, 2015). Jennifer Morrison Is Reading Old Fairy Tales to Play 'Dark Emma' on Once Upon a Time. People. “"In order to build Dark Emma, I've been doing a bunch of research there with some of their mythology books and old fairy tale books and just looking back through the history of swans and the etymology of ‘Swan,’ " she tells PEOPLE. "I was given the opportunity to go to the rare books department, and they showed me some of the most incredible first editions of old fairy tale compilations that were just stunning," she says. "There were some stories in there that I'd never heard of, so I have yet to read them. I have a list of them that I’m working my way through now!"”
    Abrams, Natalie (July 15, 2015). 'Once Upon a Time': Emma is the Dark One, but there's a catch. Entertainment Weekly. “To get into the mindset of evil, Morrison spent much of the hiatus doing research. "The New York Public Library was amazing," she says. "A couple of the curators there pulled tons and tons of research of the psychology of certain fairy tales, some of the older more obscure fairy tales that we wouldn’t necessarily have in a normal storybook nowadays. There's some really great parallels for Emma. I looked at a lot of research about swans in general and just tried to pull little things from mythology, and from fairy tales, and psychology of fairy tales to have a well of things to pull from.”
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Wright, Matthew (October 9, 2015). Once Upon a Time Comic Con panel: 10 things we learned. Entertainment Weekly. “Jennifer Morrison helped create Dark Swan's signature outfit — though we will see her in a much lighter outfit on Sunday.”
  36. File:SDCC Season 5 Dark Swan Promo
  37. Jennifer Morrison on the Season Five Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "The Dark Swan"
  38. File:321ArriveInStorybrooke.png
  39. Scneticer, Mark (May 28, 2014). Season Finale Awards: 'Once Upon a Time' creators dish on Hook, Elsa. Entertainment Weekly. “For us, we kind of look at Captain Hook as our Han Solo. We say he's Han Solo with guyliner.”
  40. TwitterLogo Andrew Chambliss (@AndrewChambliss) on X, formerly Twitter: with a nice little nod to the Han/Leia "I love you" from Empire Strikes Back (October 4, 2015). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  41. File:503MyFirstQuestion.png
  42. File:101Ridiculous2.png
    TwitterLogo Adam Horowitz (@AdamHorowitzLA) on X, formerly Twitter: it's also been on the back of Emma's bug since season 1 (April 26, 2015). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
    Dove, Steve (October 24, 2011). Storybrooke Secrets: Pilot. ABC. Archived from the original on May 5, 2014. “Before Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke, the town's clocktower is stuck at 8:15. Show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz both worked on ABC's LOST, which followed the survivors of the crash of Oceanic flight 815. Emma's car has a Geronimo Jackson bumper sticker. That's a reference to a fictional band whose hit song "Dharma Lady" was featured on LOST.”
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One Blu-ray/DVD Commentary for "Pilot"
  44. File:617WatchingTheirDaughter.png
  45. File:101Awake.png
  46. File:102Thanks.png
  47. Dove, Steve (October 31, 2011). Storybrooke Secrets: The Thing You Love Most. ABC. Archived from the original on May 5, 2014. “Emma's room number at Granny's Bed & Breakfast is 4. The number 4 is a reference to John Locke's number on LOST.”
  48. Dove, Steve (November 14, 2011). Storybrooke Secrets: The Price of Gold. ABC. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. “Regina mentions that Emma lived in Tallahassee for 2 years. This is a reference to the LOST episode, "The Man from Tallahassee."”
  49. File:106HeresTheThing.png
  50. File:311Wait.png
  51. File:312MotherAndSon.png
  52. File:501What2.png
  53. File:419TheTake-Out.png
  54. Dove, Steve (October 2012). Storybrooke Secrets: The Doctor. ABC. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. “Keeping it literary, when Emma is interrogating Captain Hook, she says "So much for fortune favoring the brave,." That's a reference to the Latin “AVDENTES FORTVNA IVVAT”, allegedly the last word of Pliny the Elder as he left the docks at Pompeii to rescue people from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, quoted in Virgil's Aeneid.”
  55. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the Season Three Blu-ray exclusive Audio Commentary for "There's No Place Like Home"
    TwitterLogo Adam Horowitz (@AdamHorowitzLA) on X, formerly Twitter: yes! good catch! (July 18, 2014). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  56. File:617GrowUpWithoutUs.png
  57. File:621PullUps.png
    Screenshot from Terminator 2: Judgment Day for comparison
    Screenshot from Terminator 2: Judgment Day for comparison
  58. File:101WelcomeToStorybrooke.png
  59. File:508Frozen.png
  60. File:512Room8.png
  61. File:104DialingNumber2.png
  62. File:115GoHome.png
  63. File:108BeenTwoWeeks.png
  64. File:108ANewSheriff.png
  65. File:203FollowMyLead.png
  66. File:103KnightHitsGround.png
  67. File:615Target.png
  68. “Emma Swan” (2) prop boot knives from Once Upon a Time Season 1, Episode 3 and Season 2, Episode 3.. iCollector (May 2019). Archived from the original on December 16, 2018.
  69. File:209ComeOn.png
  70. File:215KnewYoudCome.png
  71. File:408DoesHaveSkeletons.png
  72. File:621SwanPainting.png
  73. File:W102IsThat.png
  74. File:120PretendingToDrown.png
  75. File:120PinocchioLeaves.png
  76. File:205You.png
  77. File:210ShipGone.png
  78. File:303ThanThatSwan.png
  79. File:321ItsSoGold.png
  80. File:702Title.png
  81. File:322TitleOriginal.png
  82. File:322TitleOriginal.png
  83. File:420Calming.png
  84. File:608VeryLongTrip.png
  85. File:312QuietTonight.png
  86. File:313AnotherOne.png
  87. File:319TheStorybook.png
  88. File:417LampOn.png
  89. TwitterLogo ενα✨🧁 (@GlindaLoveShoes) on X, formerly Twitter: New memories and experiences influence Emma's clothes #ouatvan (March 25, 2017). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  90. Eduardo Castro Talks Designing the Costumes of Once Upon a Time. Music in the Dark (February 25, 2017). “I always communicate with the actors. Jennifer Morrison, in particular, is very specific on what she likes and we collaborate on a lot of her modern clothes. Her date dress was custom made as well as several of her leather jackets and wool coats.”
  91. ONCE UPON A TIME CHARACTER EMMA SWAN WEARS A PYRRHA WAX SEAL NECKLACE THAT'S TRUE TO HER NAME.. Pyrrha (December 13, 2011). Archived from the original on January 16, 2015.
  92. SWAN. Pyrrha. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
  93. TwitterLogo Maggic c (@maaggiie) on X, formerly Twitter: What's the meaning behind Emma's necklace?Not the one with the Swan,the Circle one. Is there a meaning at all? (June 15, 2013). (backup link; original post has been deleted) (archive screenshot)
    TwitterLogo Jennifer Morrison (@jenmorrisonlive) on X, formerly Twitter: @maaggiie in ancient celtic art swans are pictured with rings around their neck to represent the connection between divinity and humanity (June 15, 2013). (archive screenshot)
    TwitterLogo Jennifer Morrison (@jenmorrisonlive) on X, formerly Twitter: @maaggiie i chose that necklace with that in mind knowing that emma is the connection between fairytale and reality (June 15, 2013). (archive screenshot)
  94. File:110Hands.png
    TwitterLogo Vαʅҽɾҽҽ (@Valeree22) on X, formerly Twitter: @jenmorrisonlive what happened to Emma's tattoo!? #askonce #lostgirlemma #savehenry (October 6, 2013). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
    TwitterLogo Jennifer Morrison (@jenmorrisonlive) on X, formerly Twitter: . @valkillam its [sic] always there. soetimes [sic] you cant [sic] see it behind the shoe lace that she wears on her wrist from Grahams [sic] boot. (October 7, 2013). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  95. File:114PowerCompany.png
    FacebookIcon Jennifer Morrison (@JenniferMorrison) on Facebook: A common theme that came up in the memoirs that I read written by people who had beed raised in the foster system, was that they held onto small significant objects that they kept with them their whole lives. (August 14, 2014) "Graham was extremely significant to Emma and I wanted to find something she could keep with her in memory of him. The shoelace was something that @jamiedornan and I came up with while chatting about this idea. His boots, missing one lace, are still in Emma's office in the sherif station as well." (backup link) (archive screenshot)
    Whitney, Alyse (December 11, 2015). What to Expect When 'Once Upon a Time' Heads to the Underworld. Hollywood Reporter. “Unfortunately, Jamie Dornan will not return for the big 100. The Fifty Shades of Grey star's schedule is too busy, but Kitsis told Variety that Graham will "be there in spirit as Emma wears his shoelaces on her wrist."”
  96. Once Upon a Time: Reader Qs Answered!. TVLine. Retrieved on September 11, 2018.
  97. File:116EmmaLooksAtHenry2.png
  98. File:206IThink.png
  99. File:103EmmaInCar.png
  100. File:222ClutchesBean.png
  101. File:314TheBall.png
  102. File:321Occupied.png
  103. File:603Jacob.png
  104. File:321MakeOver.png
  105. File:719ExploringHouse.png
    InstagramIcon Craig Clarke (@vfxsup) on Instagram: Scrambling to get to the next location for blocking we pass this doorway.... always time for a quick photo with Emma ?? (September 21, 2018). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  106. File:321NotGoingAnywhere.png
  107. File:314MeToo.png
  108. File:416LookAtYou.png
  109. File:621RightBeforeWe.png
  110. File:622DestructionStops.png
  111. File:416YoureSoBeautiful.png
  112. File:505VioletEntersDiner.png
  113. File:422TellMeMore.png
  114. File:502AllowedTo.png
  115. File:210YesIDo.png
  116. File:501Swan.png
  117. File:322WeDidIt2.png
  118. Roffman, Marisa (September 9, 2015). 'Once Upon a Time' Creators, Jennifer Morrison Discuss Dark Swan's "Constant Conflict". Hollywood Reporter. “With the extra time to prep, the creators and Morrison were able to collaborate on Dark Swan's very distinctive look. "I've never felt so trusted by my bosses," Morrison said. "We spent a long time going back and forth through images [and pieces of writing]… we picked out the things we loved, and from that, we built Dark Swan."”
  119. File:510YouToldMeThat.png
  120. Aguilera, Leanne (February 23, 2016). 'Once Upon a Time' Fashion Spotlight: 4 Secrets You Need to Know About Emma Swan's Magical Wardrobe!. E!. “Fashion Fun Fact: It was actually Morrison's idea to create the ethereal-inspired gown for Emma. "She had some ideas and she brought in some sheets and fabric ideas," he said. "Jennifer is very good at sending me ideas and we sort of work together and we morph a look together."”
  121. TwitterLogo ενα✨🧁 (@GlindaLoveShoes) on X, formerly Twitter: Emma's closet changed bc they were thinking about what emma has access to in SB. So the clothes got a vintage touch. #ouatvan (March 25, 2017). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  122. TwitterLogo ενα✨🧁 (@GlindaLoveShoes) on X, formerly Twitter: Emma is letting her walls down and that's why she's also changing her wardrobe. She's softer as is her clothing #ouatvan (March 25, 2017). (backup link) (archive screenshot)
  123. File:101LessCalm.png
  124. File:102YourMove.png
  125. File:321Playing.png
  126. File:101LetMeGuess.png
  127. File:115YouCanDoThis.png
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