"Enter the Dragon" is the fourteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz, and directed by Ralph Hemecker. It is the eightieth episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 15, 2015.
In order to infiltrate the Queens of Darkness as a spy for the heroes, Regina must prove she's still willing to get her hands dirty. Meanwhile, Emma, David and Mary Margaret scramble to keep tabs on their undercover operative. Hook requests an unusual favor from Belle as Henry makes progress on his search for the Author. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, Regina befriends Maleficent and helps her to rekindle her lost spark.
In modern nighttime Storybrooke, Regina Mills passes Cruella De Vil's car as she enters Granny's Diner. Inside, Regina greets Maleficent, seated at a booth with Cruella and Ursula. Maleficent asks Regina what she's doing there, and Regina responds that she's making it "easy" for Maleficent to kill her. Maleficent disappears from her seat, reappearing in front of Regina, asking if the Mayor thinks she's there to kill her. Regina reminds Maleficent that she trapped her underground for nearly 30 years, and Maleficent is "not big on forgiveness". Maleficent responds that there are much worse crimes to be punished than Regina's. Cruella interjects that Regina is close with the "heroes", and Regina responds, "Not by choice". She reminds Maleficent of how much she wanted her revenge, claiming that, to survive in Storybrooke, she had to "play nice", as she watched the heroes enjoy the happiness she never had. She tells Maleficent that she wants in on their plans. A skeptical Ursula claims that Regina can't expect them to trust her, and Maleficent chimes in that that is exactly why Regina is there—she wants to prove to the trio that she's still one of them. Regina claims that she is. As a challenge, Maleficent gives her a shot of alcohol. Regina drinks it straight, crushing the glass in her hand.
In the Enchanted Forest of the distant past, a young Snow White gleefully gallops about the palace grounds as a distraught Queen Regina looks on from the stable. In a rage, she closes the door and tears down several of Snow White's ribbons—awards from riding competitions, and picks up a small book. Appearing in the stable, Rumplestiltskin comments on the irony—When Regina saved her life, Snow White was riding a runaway horse and now, she's the "best rider in all the land". A frustrated Regina claims the horse won the medals, not Snow White. Rumplestiltskin observes that good fortune seems to fall into Snow White's lap. Distraught, Regina reminds him that he promised to teach her magic so she could end Snow White's charmed existence. Rumplestiltskin responds that he is, and calls Regina impatient, magically making the book in her hand appear in his. Examining the tome, he recognizes it as Maleficent's spell book. Regina informs him that she found it in her mother's things, and gushes over the fact that Maleficent can turn herself into a dragon. She tells Rumplestiltskin that she is tired of watching Snow White grow up and wants to get her revenge. Laughing, Rumplestiltskin tells her that she doesn't even know what revenge looks like. Regina agrees, saying that his magic lessons are taking her "nowhere". Rumplestiltskin instructs her to look in the mirror—literally, not metaphorically. Regina obeys, and the mirror shows a barren field. Rumplestiltskin claims it was once a forest, a forest that Maleficent burned down. He claims that her "dragon flame burned so hot, there is one tree still on fire--half a lifetime later." Encouraged, Regina asks Rumplestiltskin how Maleficent accomplished such a feat. He replies that she cultivated her magical skill with "that most precious commodity--time." He tells Regina that if she just rushes into things, she will never be "ready".
Flustered, Regina theorizes that Rumplestiltskin may be simply making excuses, that he may not be a skilled enough teacher. Amused, Rumplestiltskin asks the Queen if she truly thinks Maleficent will help her, and she responds that she's tired of waiting. Rumplestiltskin tells her that her impatience is a problem. He wishes he luck and makes her appear in the wasteland he showed her, within sight of the Forbidden Fortress. A distraught Regina turns, gazing at a single burning tree. Encouraged, she heads toward the castle.
In the present-day Blanchard loft, Emma Swan confronts David Nolan and Mary Margaret Blanchard about Regina going undercover, asking why she wasn't informed. Her father claims there wasn't time, and Emma insists that they should have informed her. Mary Margaret asks Emma if she thinks she could have stopped Regina, and Emma responds that she could have helped, that her former job as a bail bondsperson required her to pretend to be someone else. Her mother replies that Regina can take care of herself. Emma asks when Regina is supposed to check in, and her parents look at each other nervously. Emma repeats the question, and her father tells her that Regina was meant to check in "about an hour ago".
The previous night, Regina, Cruella, Ursula and Maleficent drive along a fielded road in Cruella's car. Regina asks where they're headed, and Cruella replies that telling her would spoil the "fun". Regina changes the subject, asking how Ursula and Cruella resurrected Maleficent. Maleficent deflects the question, telling Regina that some of them don't trust her. Abruptly, Cruella stops the car on a set of train tracks, and a train's whistle is heard, approaching quickly. Regina asks what's going on, and Cruella replies it's a game--"Don't be a hero"—and the first to save the group loses. The train approaches the vehicle quickly, and just before impact an unhappy-looking Regina makes the car appear off the track. Cruella gives her a look, and tells Maleficent to "pay up", calling Regina "soft". Maleficent puts a diamond bracelet into her outstretched palm, claiming Regina is just "rusty" and it means nothing. She asks Regina if they're "playing too rough", and Regina replies that she thinks they should find some "real" trouble.
Act Two opens with Henry studying the page of his storybook with a magnifying glass. Belle approaches with some food, asking if that's the page August took out. As they look at the illustration of a door, Belle asks if he's found anything. Henry theorizes that the door has something to do with the author. Belle assures Henry he will find it and leaves him in the the Pawn Shop to investigate. Henry examines the fine details on the page with his magnifying glass. He wonders what August tried to tell him.
Emma pulls up in her car, as Hook exits Granny’s Diner. She rushes to him, asking if he found anything in there. The captain found a burned table, broken bottles, and a very irate Granny. Regina and the witches drank the place dry. Killian supposes Regina won them over. Emma fears that's what they wanted her to think. Hook assures her they don't even know what happened yet. That's what worries Emma as they can't find Regina anywhere. The Sheriff wonders why Regina hasn't come back yet if she had the undercover thing under control.
Over in the woods, David drives his truck. Mary Margaret supposes Regina going undercover might have been a bad idea because she may be hurt. David assures her that Regina can take care of herself. Snow points out something on the side of the road. They park beside a burnt-out sheriff's car. The couple gets out to investigate. Charming questions what happened. "Maleficent happened," Regina says, appearing from behind. Regina explains that's Mal's idea of a good time. Snow asks if Regina's okay and what happened last night. Regina had to prove herself, which meant lots of drinking, burning, and destruction. After apologizing about the car, Regina reminds the couple that they shouldn't be here and their next meeting has to be covert. "Next time? You didn't find out what they're planning?" Charming asks. Regina points out it has only been one night, but she found out they're hiding something powerful. Snow asks what it is. Regina claims to not know. "So the only thing you accomplished was property destruction?" Snow moans. Regina states she accomplished trust. Last time Regina came to Maleficent, but this time it'll be the other way around.
The Queen enters the Forbidden Fortress, calling out for Maleficent. When there's no response, Regina states that she is learning magic, beginners stuff, and she thought Maleficent could teach her. "Why don't you show me what you've learned and light that fireplace" a disembodied voice calls out. Regina moves over to the cold fireplace and holds out her hand, struggling to make fire. When she makes it, she shoots the ball and lights a fire; she smiles. "That's pathetic, but it'll do," Maleficent appears, looking like she's seen better days. Regina watches in awe. Maleficent sits beside the fire and comments that it feels nice since she hasn't had a proper fire in years. The powerful witch takes a needle from a pot and pricks her finger with it, leading Regina to ask what it is. "You won't read about this in any spell book," Maleficent explains a single drop of sleeping curse mixed with seawater and toadstool helps "take the edge off." As Maleficent sits back in her chair, Regina shows disappointment on her face. Maleficent laughs and asks if she's not everything Regina expected. Regina asks what happened to Maleficent. "A rose," Maleficent responds, "A Briar Rose." Regina points out that she's the girl she put under a Sleeping Curse. Maleficent explains that King Stefan ruined it all with true love's kiss. As Mal pricks herself again, she tells Regina that she doesn't even care anymore. A confused Queen says the Maleficent she read about wouldn't give up. Regina tells the witch she needs to remember who she is. Angry, Maleficent rises and approaches Regina. Regina backs away. Mal reminds Regina that the old Maleficent had a foul temper and if you insulted her she'd turn into a dragon and eat your flesh. Maleficent drops her head, commenting that it's good for Regina that she already had breakfast. "Take your dusty book and get out of my castle," she says, pushing Regina away.
Back in Storybrooke, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula enter a small cabin where Mr. Gold prods a fire. He asks where the hell they've been all night. Maleficent tells him not to be nasty as Regina came to find them and they had some catching up to do. Gold asks what she was after. Ursula explains that she was sniffing around for information. "I assume you didn't tell her I'm what you're hiding?" he asks. Cruella assures him they were careful and she doesn't know a thing. "Very interesting plan bringing us all together," Maleficent comments. Gold states his plan is only beginning and Regina presents an intriguing possibility. Maleficent asks if he believes she'll help them. He explains that heartbreak turned her into a monster once before and now her heart is broken anew. He comments that she's lost love and is in great pain. Maleficent adds that she and him both know pain makes you stronger. "Indeed it does," he agrees. He claims when war hits Storybrooke everyone will have to choose a side, including Regina. "And what war is that?" Maleficent asks. "The one we're about to start, and tonight we're going to throw the first punch," Gold replies.
Act Three opens with the defeated Queen walking down an Enchanted Forest road. A passing carriage stops per the passenger's request. The Duke opens the window and asks the Queen what she's doing in the middle of nowhere. The Queen answers that she's walking home to Leopold's castle. The Duke comments that it's a long walk. He offers her a ride as far as the next kingdom as he's headed that way for the royal wedding. The Queen wonders which wedding he's talking about. The Duke explains that Princess Aurora is to be wed. This news upsets the Queen.
The Queen storms into the Forbidden Fortress with Aurora's wedding invitation. Regina tells Maleficent that a whole new generation is getting their happy ending while she rots in her castle. The defeated witch asks why she cares so much. The Queen explains that if someone as powerful as Mal can't get their revenge, then neither will she. Maleficent stands up and caresses the Queen's chin, asking if Regina had someone taken from her too. The Queen sadly confesses that she has. Regina adds the girl responsible still lives and breathes and she still doesn't have her revenge. Maleficent asks if she wants some advice. The Queen nods, taking the witch's hand. "Give up, find another" Mal says, disappointing the Queen. As Maleficent walks away, Regina states "No!" grabbing the invitation and claiming it's a reason to get up, turn back into a dragon, and fight. "I can't," the witch says meekly. The Queen asks if the invite makes her blood boil. Maleficent snaps and calls the young queen stupid, repeating that she cannot turn back into a dragon anymore as she lost the fire a long time ago. "Then let's get that fire back," the Queen finishes.
Back in Storybrooke, Regina picks up the mess in her mausoleum caused during her night with the queens of darkness. Maleficent enters and apologizes for them not being able to stay and clean. Regina assures her it's okay because she needs the beauty sleep more than she does. Maleficent smiles and tries to brush off the playful insult, moving on to tell Regina it's nice to see her again and she hopes she had fun last night. "Last night, yes, this morning...no" she replies. Maleficent supposes she can help with "this world's version of magic." She pulls out two pills and assures Regina that they're aspirin, not poison, explaining that they help with the pain. Regina says she knows what they are but points out that Maleficent isn't usually nice. "Nice has nothing to do with it," she tells her as she fixes her hair in the mirror, "I need you sharp tonight." Regina wonders if it's for more games, but Maleficent tells her there are no more games. "You wanna know why we're in this town? The fact is we are after the same thing as you, the author," she reveals, shocking Regina, who asks how they know about him. Maleficent explains that Gold explained the whole story to Cruella back in New York. Regina wishes her luck finding him, explaining she's been searching for months. Maleficent tells her she's been going about it all wrong and what she needs is some new allies with new leads. Regina wonders if the new leads have anything to do with the powerful magic they're hiding. Maleficent says that before she lets her in on that secret, she has a job for her.
That night, Snow, David, Emma, and Hook enter the Storybrooke Free Public Library. Towards the back, David calls out that they are "here." Regina emerges from behind the shelves and scolds Emma for bringing her family to their covert check-in. Snow says they worry about her. Regina tells them to worry fast as she cannot be seen with them all. Emma warns this is a bad idea as Maleficent is dangerous and Regina doesn't know the first thing about going undercover. Regina assures Emma she's a quick study. Regina explains that Maleficent already told her why they're in Storybrooke; they're after the author too. Regina only wants him to change her fate, whereas they want to shift the entire balance so that villains win and heroes lose. Emma wonders if they can find the author. Regina tells her the Queens to have a lead that the heroes don't, and tonight the Queens want Regina's help to steal it. Emma claims these things never end well. Regina insists she has to. After a short pause, Emma is in too, shocking Regina. Emma says she'll stick by the ex-mayor through this. Regina fears that it's too dangerous. Emma insists she's a part of Operation Mongoose so she will help whether Regina likes it or not. "Whatever she has planned tonight, I'll be there," Emma finishes. Regina shakes her head, thinking this is a bad idea.
A short while later, Regina stands outside the library. As she waits, she looks over to the distance to see Emma keeping watch inside her father's truck. They turn towards the sound of a revving engine and see Cruella's car driving down the road. Regina readies herself for what's to come. When the car reaches Regina, the doors open and nobody appears to be inside, confusing the evil queen. "Ready to take a drive?" Maleficent says, appearing behind her. "You want me to get in that?" Regina asks. Maleficent explains that Cruella enchanted the car to drive itself. Mal offers Regina the wheel if she prefers. Regina says she much prefers that before asking where the other two are. Maleficent assures her that it's only them two tonight like old times. Regina smiles. Maleficent follows her towards the car.
Act Four opens with Belle and Will in a booth at Granny's Diner. As Belle recommends her date try some of the cake, Hook sits next to Will, shoving further into the booth. Will stares at the pirate. The Captain says hopes he isn't interrupting. Belle introduces Hook to Will but asks if they've met, sensing the tension. Will confirms that they have and then suggests taking "it" outside away from Belle. "And you clearly don't get along..." she notes. Hook sneers that as much as he'd enjoy blooding Will again, he's here for Belle and they need to talk in private. Belle watches in confusion.
"And no one knows what these three witches want Regina to help them steal?" Belle asks Hook in private. He tells her they don't know for sure, but they're powerful witches seeking more power. He rhetorically asks who is more powerful than the Dark One before asking if his dagger is still in town. She asks if he thinks they're after it. The pirate points out there's no better way to find the author than getting the Dark One to do it for them. Belle questions how that's possible as the dagger is useless while Rumple is out of Storybrooke. Hook supposes they found a way to lure him back. Belle begins to fear that any of them could use it to control him, or worse, kill him and become the Dark One their self. Hook assures her that won't happen and asks if she hid the dagger somewhere safe. She confirms that she did. Hook tells her they need to move it as the witches knew Rumple on the outside, so they may have learned about where she might hide something. He tells her they need to put it somewhere they'd never think to look, so a conflicted Belle asks where. Hook assures her that if she wants to hide buried treasure where nobody can find it then she can leave it up to a pirate.
Meanwhile, Regina and Maleficent ride in Cruella's car. Emma tails them in her father's truck. As they continue to drive, Emma tracks Regina's location on GPS. The two witches arrive at the town handyman's house. Confused, Regina says it can't be right as the only magical item they'll find at Marco's house is duct tape. Maleficent assures Regina they are after "someone" far more valuable. "That naughty little piece of pine he calls a son" Mal reveals, confusing Regina. Maleficent reveals that the Queens intend on making Pinocchio reveal his information on the Author. Regina tells Mal she already tried but failed, because August's memories were wiped when he turned back into a boy. Maleficent supposes the trouble was her not asking the questions more forcefully. Regina asks what that's supposed to mean. Maleficent begins to worry Cruella and Ursula were right about Regina going soft. Regina warns the witch to be careful about questioning her commitment. Maleficent says if Regina wants to prove she's still the Evil Queen that Mal remembers then she has to kidnap the boy.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Maleficent asks the Queen why it matters if her tree is still burning. Regina says Mal's spark will reignite the dragon inside of her. The Queen walks past the witch and picks up her old horned helmet that sits on her throne. The Queen passes it to Maleficent and orders her to get dressed. Maleficent looks at her horned helmet and then up at Regina, determined.
A while later, Maleficent, in her black dress, stands before the burning tree with the Queen nearby. Mal readies herself before spreading her arms and inhaling the fire, hoping to regain her power. After inhaling all the flames, she lets out a big gasp for air. The excited Queen asks if it worked. Maleficent tells Regina that she isn't sure. The Queen, noticing people approaching on horseback, says they're about to find out. The two women turn to see King Stefan and his guards riding towards them. Maleficent and Stefan greet each other. The King warns Mal that if she plans on taking away Aurora's happiness, she'll fail as she did with Briar Rose. "You made sure of that, didn't you" Maleficent snarls before the King orders his men to seize the women. As they step forward, Maleficent slams her staff into the ground. A black smoke surrounds her, growing large as it does when she turns into a dragon. Yet, once the smoke fades, Maleficent is still in her human form; she failed. Left defenseless, the guards aim their swords at the women. King Stefan says Maleficent appears to have made a fool of herself again. She looks up at him with rage.
Back in Storybrooke, Marco and Pinocchio make a wooden rocking horse together in their garage. Marco tells his son that the horse is ready and the only thing left now is to "see how she gallops." They test it out. The results please them both. There is a knock at the door. Regina enters, asking if she can come in. Marco kindly lets her in and then wonders if everything is all right. But, before responding Regina flicks her hand, causing the father and son to drop to the floor unconscious. An upset Regina regrets what she's doing.
Act Five opens with the regretful Regina standing over an unconscious Pinocchio, conflicted. Before she can decide Emma enters through the back door, shocking Regina, who asks what she's doing. Emma reveals that she saw her cast a sleeping spell she got the feeling something was wrong. Regina warns that something will be if Emma doesn't leave. Emma insists on staying until Regina reveals what Maleficent has her doing. The former mayor explains that they are after Pinocchio. Emma reiterates that "these things" never end well, suggesting they take him out the back to safety. Regina questions what will happen when the dragon realizes what happened. Emma reminds her they're dealing with a child so it's too big of a risk. Regina assures the blonde that it won't be if she's there to protect him, which she will if they try to harm him. Emma points out that it would be three versus one. Regina promises she isn't in over her head, pointing out that Emma doesn't know them as she does. Emma points out that since they came to town her superpower has been going haywire. It seems like everyone, including her parents, is lying to her. Regina assures her that the only ones lying are Maleficent and her friends. She explains that they've "taken a page from the heroes playbook" and started working together, which means they need to "take a page out of theirs" and break some rules. Emma seems conflicted for a moment but decides to trust Regina. Emma explains that she'll be on Regina's tail and if she sees anything she doesn't like she'll "come in blazing." Regina nods.
A little while later, Regina carries the unconscious Pinocchio out of the garage. Maleficent waits beside Cruella's car. Regina places the child in the back seat, wrapping his clothes around him so he's warm. Maleficent tells her old friend it's good to have her back. Regina nods with a smile in return before Maleficent gets into the car, ready to leave. But, before Regina gets in, she pulls out her phone which Emma is using to track her location. She looks down at it with reluctance as she gets an idea.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Maleficent and the Queen walk through the baron landscape with their hands bound. King Stefan and his guards follow. As they walk in silence, Maleficent notices Regina focusing and trying to free herself with magic, so she asks what she's doing. "I'm not going out like this," the queen says as smoke emits from the ropes around her wrists. Maleficent asks if she's going to fight, pointing out that there are too many of them. Regina hopes her fireballs have improved. Maleficent insists she can't defeat them, "You're right, not without a dragon's help," she adds before burning the ropes off her hands. The two witches stop. Regina conjures a fireball, taking out one of the guards with it. Yet, when Regina fails to conjure another, leaving her defenseless. Spotting this, the guards and Stefan draw their swords to kill her. Regina is left scared until she hears the sound of magical smoke next to her. She looks up to see that Maleficent has transformed into her dragon form. The dragon roars and takes off into the air, causing Stefan to order his men to retreat. "Look who's back" Regina smiles. She watches Maleficent swoop in the air and breath fire at King Stefan, who deflects it with his shield.
In Storybrooke, Emma watches the tracker and waits for Regina and Maleficent to leave Marco's garage. Emma grows frustrated and questions what the hold-up is. She realizes that something isn't right, stating "No!" before rushing outside. Once outside, she sees that the car is gone. As she looks around, she finds Regina's phone on the floor. She picks it up and reads a message left by the former mayor reading "I GOT THIS". Emma asks herself what Regina is doing. In the woods, Maleficent and Regina drive down a dirt road.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Princess Aurora, whose wedding dress is ready nearby, sits in her chamber, brushing her hair in the mirror as she hums a song to herself. Maleficent approaches the oblivious princess from behind, pointing out that she must be Aurora. The princess turns in fright as Maleficent calls her "Briar Rose's sweet-smelling bud of a daughter". Aurora stands to face the witch, aware that she is Maleficent, "But my father..." she says before being cut off by Maleficent, who points out that he was going to protect her but failed. The princess panics. Maleficent explains she was going to kill her parents until she realized their suffering would be far worse when they see what she's going to do to Aurora. The princess attempts to run. Maleficent grabs her. Aurora tells the witch her mother defeated her, and so will she. Aurora states it will take what she has, and Maleficent will never have. "True love?" Maleficent asks, telling Aurora not to count on it as she has her special curse in mind for Prince Phillip. Maleficent pricks Aurora's finger with a needle coated with a sleeping curse before she can retaliate. The young princess immediately falls asleep. Maleficent rests her body on a bed. The Queen approaches, having watched everything and tells her friend that it was inspired. Maleficent explains that it would've never happened if it wasn't for her, as she reminded her who she is. "Thank you," she says with a sincere smile.
In Storybrooke, Belle unearths and unwraps the dagger. She tells Hook she's glad it's safe. She wonders where he will hide it. He tells her the less she knows the better, ordering her to take Gold's car, and then the next time they'll see each other is when it's hidden. Belle thanks Killian, stating she wouldn't know what she'd do after everything that happened if Rumple returned. Hook says she doesn't have to worry about that, holding out his hand to take the dagger. Belle goes to pass it, but pulls away, worrying that Rumple may already be in Storybrooke. Hook questions if that's even possible. Belle explains that she has a terrible feeling and the dagger is her only protection. Hook supposes that there's one way to tell if he's in town, use the dagger to command him to come and face her. Belle holds out the dagger and commands the Dark One to come and face her if he's here. With that, Hook's head instantly turns to face Belle... and Rumple isn't summoned. Belle supposes she was wrong and proceeds to hand the dagger over to "Hook" before heading back to the car. After she gets in the car and drives away "Hook" looks down at the dagger and lets out a wicked smile. A cloud of purple smoke surrounds him and he turns back into Rumple. It was him deceiving Belle the whole time.
Act Six opens with Mr. Gold walking towards his pawnshop. As he enters, he transforms back into Hook. Belle, who is sniffing a rose, turns to him and asks if the dagger is safe. He assures her that it is, explaining that they must now swear a pirate's oath and never talk about what happened today again as it's the only way to assure the dagger stays safe. Belle nods and then looks with confusion as Hook takes her hand and places it on his chest before placing his hand on her chest. The pirate steps closer to Belle, assuring her that she has his word. In return, she assures him that he has her word. Hook smiles. They step away from each other before the pirate asks if the rose is from her admirer Will. She chuckles and tells him it was outside when she arrived. Hook asks if things are serious. She smiles that it's new, but beyond that, she doesn't know. She tells him that after Rumple, it's so nice to spend time with someone who is no more than they say they are. A disheartened "Hook" asks if she's over Rumple. She explains that she doesn't think she'll ever be over him, but for now, Will makes her smile. Hook says he's glad to hear that and wishes her goodnight before walking away. Belle stops him as he leaves, asking what happened between him and Will, referring to their clear history. Hook tells her that he took something he cares for. A short moment later, after leaving the shop, Hook stops and looks inside as Belle talks to Will on the phone. Rumple, now back in his normal form, looks heartbroken before walking away.
"How did you get here so soon?" Rumplestiltskin asks the Queen, who is back in her stable. "On the back of a dragon, how else?" she responds. Rumple asks if she means Maleficent as he was certain she'd lost that power. The Queen, who strokes a sleeping white horse, tells her teacher it was more forgotten until she helped Mal remember who she was. A confused Rumple points out that he thought the Queen was the one seeking a teacher, not the other way around. The Queen reveals that she was, but then she realized she already had one who was doing quite well with her. The Dark One is glad to hear it, saying the Queen's doing quite well too. Rumplestiltskin then asks why he gets the feeling the horse is not just taking a nap. The Queen explains that he is as she pulls out a needle, adding that it's for another hundred years or so. Maleficent helped the Queen see death is too good for Snow White, so Regina needs to take away what she loves. Rumple tells her that's a lesson he's been trying to teach. The Queen says she's finally ready to learn and she'll do it no matter how long it takes. "I can get my revenge. I can get my happiness," Regina smiles. Rumple smiles in return.Back in Storybrooke, Regina asks what they're doing in Gold's cabin. Maleficent explains that they needed somewhere out the way. This little place came available to them. Realizing what this means, a shocked Regina utters, "No...". The former mayor realizes that their dark magic isn't a spell or an object, "That's right, dearie. It's me," Gold calls out from behind her. Regina turns to face Gold, who emerges from the darkness holding his dagger. "You didn't really think I'd stay banished for long, did you?" he asks. Regina tells him she didn't. Gold says he learned a bit about himself on his journey in the outside world. He says Regina's right, sometimes the teacher needs to learn from the student, and sometimes you need to fall very far to finally see the light. Regina supposes Gold has finally accepted the same truth she has, that they cannot get their happy endings without the Author, stating they must be on the same side. With that, Cruella enters the cabin, holding the unconscious Pinocchio, followed by Ursula. She places the child down onto a chair as Rumple explains that now they have the boy, they can finally take their first steps. Regina asks what he's going to do. He tells her to step aside so he can show her, "Or have you gone soft?" he asks, testing her. Regina clenches her first, and says "never". She steps aside to Gold's "relief". As the Dark One steps forward, he explains they won't ask young Pinocchio to remember anything, because he can't. "No amount of torture will work on him, but it will succeed on the man he used to be" he reveals. Gold then holds his dagger in front of the child and uses it to transform him back into his adult form. "Welcome back August," Gold says, awakening the returned man, "Now, shall we begin?" he asks, causing August to look around in fear.
- The title card features the tree burnt by Maleficent.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on December 11, 2014.
- Once Upon a Time writer Jane Espenson has stated that it was actually Hook who was in the library scene, and not Mr. Gold masquerading as him.
- According to Kristin Bauer van Straten, the chemistry between Maleficent and Regina was intentionally portrayed to hint at them having a romantic relationship.
- CUT CONTENT: Noah Beggs, who played a Mob Guy in the Season Two episodes "Broken" and "Child of the Moon", was cast as a bartender for this episode, but his part was cut during post-production.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Quite a Common Fairy" and before "Labor of Love". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Unforgiven" and before "Poor Unfortunate Soul". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- Mary Margaret persuaded Regina to go undercover in "Unforgiven".
- Regina's cover is blown in "Best Laid Plans".
- Emma mentions having experience as a bails-bonds person, a job she first demonstrated during "Pilot" and later had "New York City Serenade".
- Maleficent was resurrected in "Unforgiven".
- Aurora awakens from her slumber in "Broken".
- Prince Phillip's fate is revealed in "The Outsider".
- August was turned into Pinocchio in "Selfless, Brave and True".
- Belle had possessed the Dark One Dagger since "Heroes and Villains".
- Maleficent's past with Briar Rose was first alluded to in "The Thing You Love Most".
- Rumplestiltskin began teaching Regina magic in "We Are Both".
- Rumplestiltskin mentions Regina saving Snow White's life, which happened in "The Stable Boy".
- Belle finds out about Mr. Gold's deception in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- August is freed in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- While sitting at her dresser, Aurora hums the tune of "Once Upon a Dream" from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the "Sleeping Beauty" fairytale, with the princess, the wicked fairy, and the king.
- This episode features the evil queen and Snow White from the "Snow White" fairytale, Rumplestiltskin from the Rumpelstiltskin" fairytale, the sea witch from "The Little Mermaid" fairytale, Cruella De Vil from The Hundred and One Dalmatians story, the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, and the Knave of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, who is also Will Scarlet from the Robin Hood ballads.
- Maleficent is referred to as a dragon, a mythological creature from European, Asian and Middle Eastern folklore.
- STORYBOOK CONTENT: A tiny excerpt from the fairytale of "The Golden Bird" can be seen next to the mysterious drawing of the door in Henry's storybook.
- The same excerpt appears in dozens of episodes; read the trivia section in the article for Henry's storybook for more information and a transcript.
- Belle receives a rose from Will, a reference to the flower that Beauty's father steals from the Beast's rose garden in "Beauty and the Beast".
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The design on Maleficent's spell book is reminiscent of the horns on her headpiece.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: A rose is pictured on the royal wedding invitation that the Evil Queen shows Maleficent.
- PAUSE AND READ: The text on the invitation is extremely hard to read. A partial deciphering goes:
- HIDDEN DETAILS: According to Emma's GPS, Marco's shop is two blocks away from the Storybrooke library.
- BRAND INFO: Regina is wearing an AKIRA Black Label Pleated Bomber Jacket over a J.Crew Leather panel dress (both are no longer available).
- HIDDEN DETAILS: Maleficent wears a brooch of a Chinese dragon and her scaly gloves are reminiscent of a dragon's scales.
- SECONDHAND CLOTHING: Aurora's wedding dress is the same as Cora's wedding dress in the Season Two episode "The Miller's Daughter" and Cecelia's party dress from the Season Seven episode "One Little Tear", but with different sleeves.
- When Regina is waiting outside the Storybrooke Library, as Cruella's car is making its way down the road, a vertical sign on the building next to the Storybrooke Cannery says "Steveston Hotel".
- When Emma is following Cruella's car, as Cruella's car turns right, the Storybrooke Cannery can be seen in the background. However, the sign on the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, the real life cannery which doubles as the Storybrooke Cannery for the show, has not been updated properly: The first word of the real business name can still be seen on the building, and the first three letters of the fictional name are missing. The sign literally says "Gulfrybrooke Cannery".
|Finnish||"Lohikäärmeen paluu"||"The Return of the Dragon"|
|French||"Le Retour du Dragon"||"The Return of the Dragon"|
|German||"Maleficents Geschichte"||"Maleficent's Story"|
|Italian||"Il ritorno del drago"||"The Return of the Dragon"|
|Portuguese||"A volta do dragão"||"The return of the dragon"|
|Spanish||"Dentro del dragón"||"Inside the Dragon"|