For the Season Six episode, see "Mother's Little Helper".
For the Storybrooke character, see Mother Superior.
"Mother" is the twentieth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson, and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the eighty-sixth episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 3, 2015.
Emma returns to Storybrooke to reunite Lily with Maleficent while Regina and Robin Hood struggle to cope with the implications of Zelena's pregnancy. When Gold's health takes a turn for the worse, Isaac looks to a new ally for help procuring the magic ink he needs to re-write history. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, Cora returns from Wonderland to beg Regina's forgiveness on the anniversary of Daniel's murder. Cora vows to help her daughter find true love, but Regina remains suspicious of her mother's intentions.
Before the first curse, the Evil Queen stumbles upon an illegal wedding on her palace grounds. As punishment for the intrusion, she crushes the groom's heart in front of the wedding party. Regina finds a flower on Daniel's grave and spots Cora, who pays her a visit on the anniversary of Daniel's death. Cora apologizes and says she reconcile with Regina by finding her the love that Tinker Bell spoke of. But Regina, still upset with Tinker Bell, says she'll believe it when she sees it. Later at the bar, Cora learns from the Sheriff of Nottingham that Robin is a married thief. Cora glamours the sheriff with Robin's tattoo and clothing style. Regina notices the fake magical tattoo. The Queen makes the lion tattoo come alive and attack the sheriff to confess that Cora hoped Regina would fall in love and have a child.
The Queen ties the sheriff upside-down above a boiling pot in the dungeon as punishment. Cora magically sends him home and confronts Regina. Regina sacrifices her hopes to bear any children, by taking a potion that will leave her unable to do so, to "hurt" her mother and to prevent Cora from manipulating her. Cora explains all she ever wanted was for her to be happy. A pained Regina tells her mother that she doesn't want to hear any more. Then, she tells Cora to return to Wonderland, and that she doesn't need her.
At a New York City bar, Regina discusses with Robin, who had moved on with Zelena because she's pregnant with his child, and because he didn't realize until recently that "Marian" was Zelena in disguise. Robin tells Regina that Roland won't understand where his mother had gone, and Robin feels heartbroken to have lost his beloved Marian because Zelena killed her back in the Enchanted Forest. As a result, Regina agrees to use a forgetting potion on Roland to make him forget about the time he spent with "Marian" after Emma Swan brought her to Storybrooke, so he won't have to go through the pain of losing his mother again. At Neal's apartment, Emma holds the dreamcatcher and tells Lily about Neal's having lived in the place and tells her that Zelena was responsible for his death. Zelena, who heard the conversation, feels the baby kick in her tummy, and taunts her by telling her not to trouble an "expectant mother." Regina and Robin arrive back at the apartment, and tells Emma, Lily, and Zelena to pack up because "We're going to Storybrooke tonight." Emma drives her bug with Lily and Zelena, while Regina drives Robin's black minivan with Roland.
In Storybrooke, Emma can reunite Lily with Maleficent. Meanwhile, Regina and Robin Hood must find a way to deal with Zelena, even if they can find a way to be together. At Granny's, Lily asks her mother about what they are going to do about David and Mary Margaret, as she still has a grudge against them, but Maleficent states that she isn't up for revenge, and tries persuades Lily to stay in Storybrooke, begging her to stay because she won't be able to return if she leaves, and because Maleficent would turn back into dust if she tried to leave town with Lily. Lily decides to leave, so Maleficent approaches Mary Margaret and David for help.
Hook reminds Gold that he will do whatever it takes to keep Emma from going dark. Isaac tells Mr. Gold that Emma has to produce the ink since she has yet to succumb to darkness. Hook taunts Gold, saying he knows that each time he does a bad deed, his heart will grow darker, so he won't be able to do anything to stop Hook. After Hook leaves, Gold falters, as his heart grows darker, and he uses his magic to transport him and the Author to his shop to look up information on obtaining Blood Magic, in case they can't get Emma to turn dark. But, Gold's health continues to decline, due to his dying heart. Regina arrives, wanting Isaac's services since she was the one who wanted to find Isaac first, only to have Mr. Gold offer to Regina to help her find the Magic Ink for Isaac, to get both of their happy endings, displaying the magic quill. Regina states that she'll find the Magic Ink on her own and get her happy ending by herself. Gold objects, saying that if his heart dies, "Rumplestiltskin" will die, along with all his goodness, and warns her that she would not want to deal with an evil Dark One. Regina says he is in no position to bargain and takes Isaac and the quill as Gold passes out. In her vault, Regina learns that Emma's impending darkness is needed to get the substance. Isaac tells Regina that he worked for Mr. Gold because he protected him. Regina shows Isaac a picture of Regina being with Robin Hood. Isaac states that it was one of his "experimental writings," which he was planning to write about it in a separate book, but never got the chance, which gives Regina an idea. Regina approaches Lily after she walked out on her mother at the diner (after Maleficent refused to help Lily carry out her revenge plans, option to restart their life as mother and daughter), and tells Regina that she wants Mary Margaret and David dead. Regina tells Lily that most of her darkness came from Emma and that she needed it to be all worked up, which Lily responds to by telling her to buzz off. Unable to reason with her, Regina cuts Lily's hand to get her blood to get a sample of the darkness in her and turns it into magic ink. Then, she smiles and disappears while quoting "Welcome to Storybrooke." After Regina leaves, Lily's eyes glow yellow. She becomes reptilian, as rage consumes her.
Shortly afterward, Maleficent, Mary Margaret, and David encounter Lily in her dragon form. Mary Margaret runs after Maleficent, convinced that she may not be safe around Lily. David shouts to Mary Margaret that Lily is out of control as she knocks Mary Margaret out. Lily uses her fire to prevent David and Maleficent from reaching the unconscious Mary Margaret, before flying off. Emma shows up and immediately comes to her mother's aid, and uses her powers to heal her. Lily regresses to her human form. Maleficent confronts Lily, giving Lily her baby rattle, which she never got the chance to give her. Lily claims that she destroys everything she touches ever since Snow White and Prince Charming put Emma's darkness in her and that no one would want to be with her. Maleficent wouldn't mind "a little darkness." Maleficent convinces Lily to stay for a week to teach her some tricks. Emma forgives Mary Margaret and David for what they did.
After extracting Lily's blood, Regina and Isaac visit Zelena's cell at the Storybrooke Hospital. Regina plans to write an ending for Zelena and vows to have her written out of the story. Zelena says she got to know about Cora through Regina, claiming that she was exactly like Cora. As the ink dries, Regina tells Zelena that Cora wasn't a better mother and that she had wronged them both. Robin Hood comes in. Regina spares Zelena for now, albeit locked up. Regina realizes she no longer needs the Author to find her happy ending. This allows Isaac to write his way out of the hospital and leaves a message indicating a plan to write a new story that could change destiny. At his shop, Gold instructs Isaac to write a new story in which villains win, in a new book, titled Heroes and Villains. Isaac already has a new chapter for in store for everyone involved, beginning with the phrase, "Once Upon A Time..."
The Once Upon a Time Wiki encourages users to rewrite the summary in their own words.
"Things Can Change"
This scenes is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.
Returning home from New York, Regina is welcomed by Henry, while David gets Zelena out of the yellow bug. Robin Hood is skeptical about Zelena's inability to use magic, but Regina assures him that the enchanted bracelet will keep her powerless. Near, Emma reunites with Hook, just as Maleficent informs that she is taking Lily to the diner. Before the two leave, Emma calls Lily aside and threatens to use magic against her if she ever does anything to David and Mary Margaret. Regina then sends Robin Hood to retrieve a forgetting potion from her office so that Roland's recollections of the fake Marian are erased. David prepares to take Zelena to the sheriff's station, but Regina decides to take her herself somewhere else. As they all part ways, Robin Hood once more remarks that things can still work out, to which Regina replies there are things about her that he doesn't know.
Regina Spares Zelena: Alternate Version
The scene where Regina decides to spare Zelena's life, was originally filmed with Robin staying in the hallway outside her cell listening. Regina then went out to him after finishing her story about Cora. It was changed to Robin entering the cell during their conversation.
Belle was originally set to appear in a scene where she is standing on/walking down the street outside the pawnshop, but the scene was cut. However, the scene can still be seen in an official promotional photo from the episode.
- The title card features Lily under her dragon form.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on March 4, 2015.
- The title of this episode references to lots of relationships, including Emma and Mary Margaret, the Evil Queen and Cora, Zelena and her daughter, and Lily and Maleficent.
- The original opening scene was supposed to be the one with Regina and Robin Hood at the bar, but the editing room decided it was much more exciting to begin with the Evil Queen.
- Kylee Bush, who plays the bride whose wedding the Evil Queen interrupted, is one of Michael Coleman's acting students.
- The bar where Regina and Robin are at the beginning of the episode is supposed to be the same bar where Emma and Neal were in "Manhattan". However, the real bar was not available for the shooting, so another bar was faked to look like the original bar.
- The little exchange between Emma and Zelena in Neal's apartment in the beginning of the episode, was written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis.
- Footage from filming of the establishing shot of Storybrooke in the morning was re-used for an establishing shot in the Season Five episodes "Our Decay" and "Only You". This can be seen from purplish color of the sky, and the parked cars in the streets, which are exactly the same. The time on the CGI clock tower is identical in "Only You", but was changed for "Our Decay". Footage from this shot was also used for an establishing shot in "Our Decay".
- Beverley Elliott's daughter Sally and her friend Freya were background performers during one of the diner scenes.
- The scene with Isaac and Mr. Gold at Granny's Diner, was originally supposed to end with them walking out of the building, but it was changed into Gold teleporting them away instead.
- Originally, the scene where Emma and Regina are coming back with Zelena, Robin, Roland and Lily was set to happen at the town line, sort of "pre-dawn, misty, and everybody meeting up almost in slow-motion". Because of production issues, it had to be moved to daytime, to the center of Storybrooke.
- Originally, the scene between Regina and Isaac at the mausoleum was set to happen in the backroom of Any Given Sundae. The original set had a big mirror in it, and when Regina teleported herself and Isaac to the ice cream store, she was going to tell him not to hide where there was a giant mirror, because Regina could see him through it. But the set was unavailable, so the scene was moved to the mauseoleum.
- For the scene where Cora comes to Regina with news about her "soulmate", the Valet was originally going to put papers in front of Regina to sign. Someone came up with the idea of him brushing her hair instead.
- The Evil Queen's date with the Sheriff of Nottingham was originally set out in the same meadow where Regina interrupted the wedding. Halfway through the date, the Sheriff would notice the rice that was spilled when Regina killed the groom, and say, "Is there rice in this grass?". However, they could not get that set, so the scene was moved to the apple tree instead.
- For her date with the Sheriff, Lana Parrilla wanted Regina to have a young Cora look and essence, with the way she moved and leaned, and styled her hair. She asked the hair stylist to make her look like Rose McGowan, who plays young Cora on the show.
- For the scene where the Sheriff's fake lion tattoo comes to life and crawls under his shirt, the special effects were done with a tube taped along Wil Traval's body, which went up his arm, around his neck and down the other arm. A crew member pulled an object on a string, to make his shirt ripple.
- The scenes where Regina takes out her anger on her mother for setting her up with the wrong soulmate, was originally written as a single, long scene. It was edited into several scenes in post-production.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and "Heart of Gold", and before "Lacey". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Land Without Magic and Storybrooke events take place after "Lily" and before "Operation Mongoose Part 1". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- Daniel's grave was first seen in "An Apple Red as Blood".
- Daniel was killed in "The Stable Boy".
- Cora was banished to Wonderland in "We Are Both".
- Isaac, who is from New York City, is not impressed with the bagels at Granny's Diner. New York City is often considered to have the best bagels in the world. Neither was Henry, who also used to live in New York, and he commented on this in "The Tower".
- Cora talks about how Tinker Bell helped Regina find her soulmate; something that was explored in "Quite a Common Fairy".
- Zelena's cell at the psychiatric ward is the same as the one Belle lived in during Skin Deep" and "A Land Without Magic". In "The Savior", Mr. Hyde is imprisoned in the same cell.
- The tavern that Cora visits is the same tavern that Robin Hood used to own in "Heart of Gold".
- The Sheriff of Nottingham describes Marian as "sickly". Marian's sickness was cured in "Lacey".
- Infertility potions first appeared in "Lady of the Lake".
- Regina's inability to bear a child is indirectly touched upon in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
- The location where Lily transforms back into a human and reconciles with her mother is the same location where Emma had a date with August in "What Happened to Frederick" (note that the Storybrooke Wishing Well appears by this tree in this episode; in later episodes, the well appears in a different location), and where Merida is sparring with Mr. Gold in "Dreamcatcher".
- The Evil Queen tells her subjects that "next time there is a wedding, book the church".
- Lily says that Snow White and Prince Charming sent her through the portal in her eggshell, "like baby Moses in his basket"; a reference to the Biblical story of the birth of Moses, from the Book of Exodus.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features the evil queen from the "Snow White" fairytale, the miller's daughter from the "Rumpelstiltskin" fairytale, the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham from the Robin Hood ballad, and Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story.
- This episode features Nurse Ratched from the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The man sweeping the floor at the psychiatric ward looks like Chief Bromden from the 1975 movie of the same name.
- Lily angrily tells her mother that she "doesn't need grooming advice from Annie Hall". This is a reference to the 1977 romantic comedy of the same name, where the titular character wears an outfit similar to Maleficent.
- Interestingly, the movie contains an animation scene in which Annie is portrayed as the evil queen in the "Snow White" fairytale.
- According to Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, this film inspired them to write.
- When Jane Espenson wrote the episode, she "went back and forth between Annie Hall and Marlene Dietrich. Kids love Marlene Dietrich references."
- The Dark Star Pharmacy is named after the song Dark Star by Grateful Dead. Once Upon a Time co-creator Edward Kitsis is a noted fan of the rock band.
- Regina is wearing a Short Leather Jacket with a Python Style Embossed Collar from The Kooples. (no longer available). She was also wearing it in the previous episode, "Lily", but in that episode, it was covered by her coat. She continues to wear it in "Operation Mongoose Part 1" and "Operation Mongoose Part 2". She also wears it in the Season Five episodes "The Dark Swan", "The Bear and the Bow" and "Birth" and the Season Six episode "The Song in Your Heart".
- Maleficent's jacket is emblazoned with a Chinese dragon.
- Mary Margaret is wearing a DL2 by Dawn Levy Hannah Belted Alpaca Coat (no longer available). She continues to wear it in "Operation Mongoose Part 1" and "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
- The doublet worn by the Sheriff of Nottingham is the same garment worn by Lancelot on Guinevere's birthday in the Season Five episode "The Broken Kingdom" and by Nottingham's Wish Realm counterpart in the Season Six episode "Tougher Than the Rest". The main reality version of Nottingham also wears the garment in the Season Two episode "Lacey".
- When Emma and the others arrive in Storybrooke, in the first shot of the scene, on the left side of the screen, there is a sign that says "Steveston Museum and Visitor Centre".
- When everyone arrives in Storybrooke, the license plate on a car parked outside the diner is 40F5TH, which is the same as Regina's in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", Jim's in "What Happened to Frederick", a car next to August's motorcycle in "The Return" and Archie's license plate in "We Are Both".
|French||"Des Héros et des Méchants"||"Heroes and Villains"|
|German||"Solange es Mütter gibt"||"As long as there are Mothers"|