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Because when you... betray the people you love, when you make them see the worst parts of you, what you've done changes everything.

Mary Margaret to Regina

"Unforgiven" is the thirteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Kalinda Vazquez, and directed by Adam Horowitz. It is the seventy-ninth episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 8, 2015.


David and Mary Margaret suspect Cruella and Ursula have come to Storybrooke looking for something more than their own happy endings – something that threatens to reveal a secret they thought was long buried. Emma begins her own investigation of Cruella and Ursula, but she can't shake the feeling that her friends and family are keeping something from her. Regina and Henry continue their search for the Author, turning to Pinocchio and Marco in the hope Pinocchio might remember a clue that will help them. Meanwhile, in a flashback to Fairy Tale Land, Snow and Charming cross paths with the Queens of Darkness as the threat of the Evil Queen’s Dark Curse hangs over all of them.[2]


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

In present-day Storybrooke, Maine, Mary Margaret Blanchard awakens in her loft as the clock flips from 2:37 AM to 2:38. She reaches an arm over and, finding that David Nolan is not in their bed, rises. Baby Neal cries out, and his mother lifts him from his crib. As she comforts the infant, Maleficent compliments the baby. Mary Margaret responds by telling Maleficent to stay away from her son. Cruella De Vil and Ursula appear, telling Mary Margaret that the trio are not the ones she should fear, that something far worse looms over her son's head—according to Maleficent, the truth of what Mary Margaret did to her. Suddenly, Neal is in Maleficent's arms. A shaken Mary Margaret implores the women to not hurt her family. Maleficent replies that, when she's finished, Mary Margaret won't have a family left to hurt. The clock flips from 2:37 to 2:38 and Mary Margaret awakens with a start, realizing shes just had a nightmare. She reaches for David, who is not in their bed. She checks on baby Neal, who is in his crib, awake and calm. Mary Margaret calls out for David, who is sitting at the bottom of the loft's stairs.

David reveals that he hasn't slept because of Cruella and Ursula being in town. Mary Margaret agrees, telling him that the two women were in her nightmare, but with Maleficent. David moves to the table, pouring a glass of MacCutcheon whiskey. A distraught Mary Margaret tells him that Maleficent threatened their family, and David reassures her by reminding her that Maleficent is gone. Mary Margaret responds that the other two women are still around, and they know of the couple's past with Maleficent, and it can't be a coincidence. David replies that it doesn't matter, that all that matters is that they get the women out of town before anyone finds out their secret.

In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Snow White and Prince Charming return to the Royal Castle after their honeymoon. The couple dismounts at the entrance to the bridge leading to the palace, and Charming remarks that Snow White seems excited for their honeymoon to be over, and his wife replies that, while the Summer Palace was wonderful, it's time to return to reality and find a way to deal with the Evil Queen. Snow White notices that Sleepy, on guard duty, is asleep at his post. She laments that she told the other dwarves not to put him on guard duty. Charming takes a few steps, noticing and pointing out that another guard is also asleep. It dawns on the couple that they are under a Sleeping Curse. Drawing his sword, Charming mutter's the Evil Queen's name.

In the palace courtyard, Snow White and Prince Charming find that everyone has been placed under a sleeping curse. The couple calls for the Evil Queen to show herself. Maleficent appears behind the two, who turn to face her, swords drawn. Maleficent introduces Cruella and Ursula, who emerge to stand with her. Charming asks her what the women want with him and Snow White, and Maleficent replies that the trio are not there to fight—they wish to make a deal.

In present-day Granny's Diner, Mary Margaret and David sit a booth with baby Neal nearby. At the counter, Granny slices lemons, ignoring Cruella and Ursula. Cruella asks her how much longer their drinks will be, and Granny moves away from the women without a word. Will Scarlet enters the diner, greets Granny and asks for the "usual". Granny cheerfully hands him two coffee cups and Will leaves the diner. Regina and Henry Mills enter the diner, and Ursula requests a "heart rip" from the Mayor, telling her that Granny needs some encouragement in serving them. Cruella, in an attempt at flattery, recalls that Regina once ripped out the hearts of every villager in the North Woods. Regina turns to Henry and suggests he goes to her office and get started on the book. Henry reminds her about getting donuts and exits the diner. Regina moves closer to Ursula and Cruella, telling them that if they bring up her evil past in front of her son again, she will throw them out of town. Deciding to take their business elsewhere, the women leave.

David and Mary Margaret approach Regina, asking her what the plan is to do with this "latest crisis". Regina replies that they shouldn't worry about Cruella and Ursula. Mary Margaret asks if Regina truly believes the women are looking for redemption, and Regina replies that if she didn't think it was a real possibility, she would not have let the women into town in the first place. David declares that they have to be certain and keep "eyes on them 24/7. Regina replies that that is a job for the Sheriff's Department, and that she has bigger things to worry about.

Outside the diner, Ursula and Cruella pass Emma Swan and Hook as the couple approaches the diner. Ursula and Hook exchange a look, and Ursula greets the former pirate by saying his name in a cold tone as Hook looks slightly distraught. Emma asks if Hook knows her, and he replies that he encountered many "vile creatures" during his travels. Exiting the diner, David approaches the two, telling Emma they need to go. Perplexed, Emma laments that she's there for lunch and has been "dying for a grilled cheese all day". David responds that Cruella and Ursula are up to something and they need to hurry to pick up their trail.

Cruella and Ursula enter Mr. Gold's Pawnshop, where Belle, at the counter, pulls out a bottle and threatens the duo that, if they do anything, she will turn them into toads. She asks the women why they are in her shop, if they're there to kidnap her again. Cruella replies that the women are there to congratulate her on "defeating" the Dark One. As they converse, Ursula, unseen by Belle, uses a tentacle to explore the shop. Cruella informs Belle that she did "quite a number" on Mr. Gold. Belle asks if she's seen him, and Cruella explains that he's been reduced to his old cowardly self, a bum. Ursula's tentacle picks up a box in the back room of the shop. Cruella asks Belle if she doesn't enjoy Gold's suffering. Belle responds that she would never take comfort in his suffering and Ursula's tentacle brings the box back to her hand. Belle asks if the women have come to the shop to buy something or just harass her. Turning away from the counter, Cruella pulls out her cell phone and types on it briefly as she tells Belle she's looking for a hood ornament for her car. Belle replies that she'll check the inventory and heads for the back as Ursula stands with the mysterious box in her hand, out of Belle's line of sight.

Deep below the Storybrooke Free Public Library, Mr. Gold enters the chasm where Maleficent, in her dragon form, was defeated by Emma. He receives a text message on his phone, "We got it". He uses his magic to manipulate the dirt beneath his feet, drawing together a pile of Maleficent's ashes. Picking up a handful, he declares that her "slumber is nearly over".

In the Mayor's office at Storybrooke Town Hall, Henry Mills examines the pages of his storybook containing the story of Pinocchio. Regina Mills places a box of donuts on the desk in front of him. She asks her son if he's found anything, and he replies that he hasn't, but if the Author has left clues as the Mother Superior suggested, they'll find them. He asks his mother how she's doing, pointing out that she didn't seem fine when they encountered Ursula and Cruella. Regina explains that the women remind her a time she'd like to forget—the time when she was a "true villain", and it makes it worry that her happy ending might not even be possible. She states she was the closest to happy when it was "just" her, Henry, Robin Hood and Roland, and she wants that feeling back. Henry assures her that she'll get that feeling back—they will find the Author and Regina will get an ending that will be exactly as she wants it to be. Henry takes a bite of a donut, and Regina tells him to be careful, as he is getting crumbs on the book. Walking around to the other side of her desk, she brushes off the pages of the open book. Looking perplexed, she fingers the pages of Pinocchio's story, commenting that it's different than the other pages of the book. Henry tells her that it's Pinocchio story, and Regina asks why that would make a difference. Her son replies that August added the story to the book, that he wanted Emma to know his story and believe. Encouraged, Regina hypothosizes that, if August took the book apart, he might know more about it. When Henry laments that August isn't around to ask, Regina replies that he might not be, but "Pinocchio is".

On Main Street, Emma Swan and David Nolan sit in the Sheriff cruiser, gazing at Cruella's car outside of the pawn shop. Emma asks her father if he knew the women in the Enchanted Forest, and he replies that he and her mother had "run-ins" with them. Emma tells him that she feels like he is leaving things out, and asks if he is. Before he answers, Ursula and Cruella exit the pawn shop. The women get into the car and drive off. David follows, instructing Emma to call Belle to find out what happened in the shop.

In the Royal Castle of the past, Prince Charming, Snow White, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula discuss the deal the women are proposing. Maleficent informs the couple that the Evil Queen has a way to make her promise to destroy their happiness a reality. Charming asks how Maleficent knows this, and she responds that the Queen has stolen "the darkest of curses" from her. Urusla tells them that it will punish everyone in the Enchanted Forest, including them. Charming asks them what their plan is, and Maleficent tells him of a magical tree in the forest, the "Tree of Wisdom", that will answer any question asked of it. Even, as Cruella tells them, a question about defeating the Queen and the Curse. Snow asks the women why they don't ask the tree themselves, and Maleficent explains that the tree's wisdom can only be unlocked by "two of the most valiant heroes". She makes a map of the tree's location appear on the table in front of Charming, explaining that the women will escort them there. Snow White and Charming confer together, deciding that, given the situation, they have no choice but to go along with the trio.

In Storybrooke, David and Emma follow Cruella and Ursula along a wooded road. Emma ends a call with Belle, informing her father that Belle is sure a wooden box is missing from the back of the pawn shop. David asks what was in the box, and Emma replies that Belle doesn't know. David turns on the cruiser's siren and lights, pulling over the women. He approaches the car and asks Cruella to step out. He searches the vehicle while the women stand off to the side with Emma. Searching under the passenger seat, he finds a secret compartment, the missing wooden box inside. He opens it, revealing an object—a small, silver raven's claw clutching an orb—that he clearly recognizes. Emma calls to him, asking if he's found anything. He responds in the negative, and Emma ponders if Belle just misplaced the missing box. David states they can't arrest the women for speculation, and Emma tells the two that they're free to go and apologizes. The women head back to Cruella's car, and Emma suggests going back to the sheriff's station to check any video footage to be sure. Her father hands her the key to the cruiser and asks her to drop him off at their loft so he can check on Mary Margaret. Suspicious, Emma asks him if everything is okay, and David replies "of course". Emma gets into the cruiser and David pockets the item from Cruella's car.

Later that day, at their loft, David shows Mary Margaret the object he recovered from Cruella's car. Recognizing it, Mary Margaret comments that it belonged to Maleficent, and meant a lot to her. David theorizes that Ursula and Cruella would want an item of Maleficent's for one reason—to enact a spell to resurrect her. Mary Margaret asks if it's even possible, and David replies that it doesn't matter—since they have Maleficent's totem, the witches can't do anything. Perplexed, Mary Margaret suggests that, when the women discover the item is missing, they will just find something else. David suggests that they take Maleficent's remains to thwart the witches' plans, that if they dump the ashes into the harbor they'll be gone and it might drive Cruella and Ursula to leave town, taking the couple's secret with them.

In the woods guards stop Snow White, Prince Charming, Maleficent, Cruella and Ursula at a bridge over a large ravine. Charming informs the group that the guards will not let them pass. An incredulous Cruella asks if the guards know who they are—travelling with Snow White and Prince Charming should "open some doors". Snow White responds that they do, but the also know who they are, and they will need to find another route. Charming suggests walking south to avoid the ravine, a plan Ursula says will set them back two days. Cruella suggests Charming show the guards how "skilled" he is with his blade, and Snow White retorts that the guards are just trying to do their jobs and she would do the same. Looking about, Snow White realizes Maleficent is no longer with the group. A rumbling is heard, and Snow White and Charming approach the edge of the ravine. As they look down, Maleficent, in her dragon form, swoops up and over them. She flies toward the bridge, unleashing a breath of fire upon the guards. Charming and Snow White run to their aid, but only helmets and shields remain. Maleficent emerges, again in her human form, announcing that the detour won't be necessary. Angrily, Charming shouts that she should have given them another chance to talk to the guards. Maleficent replies that while Charming was unwilling to do what was "needed", she was.

In Storybrooke, Emma Swan sits at her desk, working on her computer. Hook arrives and presents her with a grilled cheese and onion rings from Granny's Diner. He asks her what she's working on, and she replies that she's reviewing ATM security footage to determine if Ursula and Cruella stole anything from Gold's shop. Remembering their earlier encounter, she asks him how he knows Ursula. Hook replies that Ursula was just someone he encountered back when he was a pirate. Clearly skeptical, Emma asks him what that means. Hook replies that he doesn't recall, Emma doesn't accept that answer, and Hook replies that that's "all there is to know". Emma responds by saying he's holding something back and Hook replies that he doesn't know what to say. Clearly perturbed, Emma replies "neither do I". Her computer pings, alerting her that the video download is complete, and she says she should get back to work. A distraught-looking Hook wishes her luck and leaves.

In front of their loft on the main street of town, David Nolan and Mary Margaret pack up his truck, intending to visit the cavern containing Maleficent's remains. Emma approaches her parents and shows them video from the ATM at Gold's shop; video that shows Ursula and Cruella carrying a small box with them. David deflects, saying "we don't even know what that is." Perplexed, Emma points out that just a few hours ago, her parents were so concerned about the women that they interrupted lunch, and Mary Margaret interrupts that she and David are going on a hike and Ashley Boyd is watching Neal. Clearly skeptical, Emma asks what is going on. David claims that he and Mary Margaret have decided to step back from their "crusade", and Mary Margaret agrees, saying that the women were villains back in the Enchanted Forest, and they've treated them that way since they arrived in town. David tells his daughter that they have been seeing the worst in them, and they've decided to give them a chance. Still skeptical, Emma asks her parents if they're really going for a hike. Her father replies that it may seem odd, but he and Mary Margaret have decided to "back off" of Cruella and Ursula. Emma tells them she'll be at the station and walks away. Mary Margaret asks David if they're doing the right thing, and he replies that it's the only way to keep Emma from finding out their secret.

In the Mayor's office, Pinocchio, his father Marco by his side, examines the pages of the storybook that contain his story. An impatient Regina asks him if anything is coming back to him, he shakes his head, and Regina suggests he look at the pages again. Emma enters the office and asks how it's going. Distraught, Regina replies that "it's not", Pinocchio doesn't remember anything. She suggests that since August and Emma spent a lot of time together, maybe Pinocchio seeing her will jog his memory. Emma takes Pinocchio aside and explains to him that back when he was "older", he and Emma were friends. She explains that August took the book apart and added a story, then put it back together. She asks Pinocchio if he remembers doing that, and he replies that, while he knows everyone wants him to, he doesn't remember. A frustrated Regina shouts at Pinocchio, reminding him of who August was. Emma says her name in an effort to calm her, but Regina claims that Pinocchio isn't trying hard enough. She tells him to concentrate, and snaps, "Or is that head of yours still made out of wood?" Marco, having had enough, tells Regina to not speak that way to his son. Regina snaps back that maybe he needs some "motivation". Emma stops her, and takes a visibly shaken Pinocchio and Henry out of the room.

Upset, Marco asks Regina if she's considered that her quest may be "ill-fated"—that, after "ruining everyone else's happy ending", she has no right to a happy ending. Regina snaps back that she could ask him the same, as he lied about the wardrobe to send his son into the Land Without Magic. Marco replies that he wouldn't have needed to if it wasn't for Regina's Dark Curse, and tells her to stay away from his son. He storms out of the office.

In the mine tunnels deep below Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David make their way toward the cavern that holds Maleficent's remains. Mary Margaret asks David if they should be doing this, and he replies that he didn't expect to need to gather her remains either. Mary Margaret replies that she means lying to Emma, saying that Cruella and Ursula have been in town just two days and they've lied to Emma "more times than I can count", and she wonders when the lying will stop. David replies that it will stop once they complete their task and the two witches are gone.

In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella emerge from their tent in the forest. Maleficent approaches another tent, calling to Snow White and Prince Charming. Receiving no response, Maleficent peers into their tent. Finding it empty, she beats her staff into the ground, releasing a small ball of fire into the air that is seen by Charming and Snow White as they run through the woods away from the trio of women. Find the Tree of Wisdom, the couple approaches it, discovering two rocks side-by-side with a golden handprint etched in each. The pair each put a hand on a rock, and Snow White asks the tree how to stop the Evil Queen's Curse. The handprints glow a golden hue, and the magic flows along into and through the tree. Unexpectedly, the glow turns red and Snow White and Prince Charming are thrown back from the Tree of Wisdom. Confused, Snow White wonders why the tree didn't answer their question. Charming says the witches must have lied, and Snow White asks if it was a trap. Maleficent, accompanied by Cruella and Ursula, responds that there was no trap, and the trio didn't lie. She suggests that couple may not be as valiant as they believed.

In the present-day, Mary Margaret and David enter the cavern, finding the pile of ashes on the ground. They approach the ashes, David pulling out a bag to collect them in, and Mary Margaret excitedly declares that they've stopped the witches. Ursula and Cruella appear behind the couple, Ursula replying "Not exactly," before using her tentacles to knock out the couple.

Act Five opens with Marco sanding a wooden chair when he notices the Mayor lurking outside the large entranceway of his workshop. Regina enters. Marco thought he made it clear he doesn't want the Mayor near his boy. Regina says she didn't come to talk to Pinocchio, but Marco. He clarifies that he knows nothing about the book. Regina tells him to shut up and let her finish her apology. Marco notes she's off to an interesting start. Regina says if someone talked to Henry the way she spoke to his boy then she would have done a lot worse than yelling at them. Regina knows she was out of line, but defends herself by saying that it seems every time she progresses towards her happy ending she hits another dead end; however, she'll never find it if she reverts to her old ways, so... "I'm sorry." She turns away. Marco tells her to wait. He removes a tarp covering August's motorcycle. Marco kept it after the Blue Fairy turned August back into a boy, in case Pinocchio woke up. The old carpenter presents the motorcycle's satchel to the Mayor. Marco suggests that something inside will help Regina find what she's looking for. He suggests if his boy can't help her then hers can. Regina smiles. Marco wishes her good luck. Regina takes his hand in gratitude before leaving with the satchel.

Over in the cavern, Mr. Gold watches the unconscious David and Mary Margaret. Gold asks if the Charmings suspect his hand in all this. Ursula says that they had no reason to. The Dark One wonders if Belle had any suspicions while they were in his shop. "You mean, did she ask about you?" Ursula questions. Cruella adds, "She didn't even mention your name, darling. I'd say she's moved on." Gold remains stoic as he hands Cruella a switchblade. He says Cruella knows what she must do. Cruella nods and stares down at the Charmings while Gold walks away.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming aim their swords at the Queens of Darkness. Snow exclaims that they were fools to think they could work together. Charming orders the trio of witches to stand aside and let them pass. Maleficent lifts her staff from the ground, blasting the royals' weapons out of their hands. Mal declaims that no one's leaving until they figure out why the Tree of Wisdom didn't answer their question. Cruella suggests that they got the rules wrong. Maleficent refutes this, sure that the plan should have worked unless there was some interference. "Unless the tree sensed..." The dragon witch stops, having noticed something. In an instant, she stands right in front of startled Snow. The sorceress asks herself how she didn't see it sooner, pointing out the sparkle in Snow's eyes, the glow of her snow-white skin, and the fact that she's radiant. Based on the Charmings' look, she assumes that they don't know, before revealing that they're with child. They are shocked. Maleficent explains that's why the Tree of Wisdom knocked them back.

The Charmings wonder why their child prevents them from getting an answer. Maleficent explains they might be heroes, but that doesn't mean that their child will be. Charming warns the witch to be careful. Mal says as the product of true love, their child could grow to be a powerful hero capable of great good, but, with the potential for that good also comes something else: the potential for great darkness. "Your child might turn out to be just like us," she finishes, standing tall with Ursula and Cruella. The thought that her daughter could grow up to be a villain, darker than any this realm has ever seen, disheartens Snow. Maleficent then tells her associates to come along, for it looks like they'll have to find another way to evade Regina's Dark Curse. Bored, Ursula asks to choke the Charmings first. "I have a feeling they have plenty of suffering in their future," Maleficent assures, "Let's go." The trio of villainesses leaves while Snow worries for her child.

Over in Storybrooke, Cruella uses Gold's knife to slash open Mary Margaret's and David's hands, the pain of it causing them to come to. She then allows the blood of the knife to drop onto the pile of Maleficent's ashes. Sitting up, Mary Margaret asks what the hell Cruella did. Cruella explains that the dark magic they're using to raise Maleficent doesn't need some silly little trinket from Gold's shop - that was a ruse to get them down here; they need something with a little more kick. "The blood from the people who wronged her most," Ursula reveals. Mary Margaret grows fearful as said blood melds with the ashes. Soon enough, a massive grey whirlwind bursts forth. The Charmings and the Queens of Darkness step back and watch as molecules draw together in the air, developing into the form of a screeching zombie in a torn pink dress and golden horned crown (see "episode"). The noise she makes fills the cavern as she grows massive. David and Mary Margaret are disgusted. Maleficent then breaks down and re-materializes into her preferred dragon form. She flies about the cavern, breathing fire. Ursula and Cruella are overjoyed. It isn't long before gray smoke consumes the raging dragon. The whirlwind lands on the ground, swirling around a woman's form. The smoke soon dissipates, and there stands Maleficent, in all her resurrected glory. She takes a deep sigh of relief. The Charmings are less than happy to see her standing there. Ignoring them, she takes in her surroundings and says, "It's good to be back."

Act Six begins with Mary Margaret and David approaching the newly-resurrected Maleficent. Mary Margaret says that whatever Maleficent thinks they did, she doesn't know the whole story. Maleficent assures Mary Margaret she knows enough, as she circles the Charmings. Cruella tells Mal to be careful, for they have a plan. Mary Margaret says if Maleficent has to hurt anyone it should be her, to which Mal replies, "Hurt you? No. That would be far too easy." "You're going to tell everyone what we did first..." Mary Margaret dreads. Maleficent reveals they keep their secret as long as they like. Mal only cares about one thing... "Your pain. And that it be as long and terrible and unyielding as my own. The pain you caused." Ursula forgot how much she missed her. Cruella agrees it will be entertaining. Maleficent tells Snow that she will revel in every torturous moment. "And you? You're gonna watch your world crumble." She then walks away, backed by Ursula and Cruella, and tells the Charmings that she'll see them soon. As the Queens of Darkness exit the cavern, Mary Margaret tells her husband that this is all their fault. "If we hadn't been so determined to keep our secret... if we'd just asked for help..." David agrees, "We can't keep lying... We have to tell Emma everything." Mary Margaret nods.

Over at the Sheriff's Station, Captain Hook enters and asks his girlfriend why she summoned him. Emma puts away a file, declaring that she knows he's not telling her something about his past with Ursula and that's okay. Hook is surprised. Emma adds that what's not okay is him lying to her about it. The pirate concedes that she is right, admitting that he hasn't been forthright with her; the truth is that he remembers his ugly history with Ursula. Emma wonders if he broke her heart, to which Hook says, "Worse." Emma shrugs off her concern and assures him that, whatever he did, he's not that person anymore and it won't change anything between them. Hook points out that that's quite a lot of faith she's putting on him. Emma realizes this, pulling him over to the nearby couch and informing him that there's a reason for it. "What's that?" he asks. Emma tells him, "My parents." At this, David and Mary Margaret appear at the doorway, there to talk with their daughter. Seeing that she's with Hook, they lurk unknown to Emma or the pirate.

Emma explains she had this moment where she believed Snow and Charming were lying to her about going for a hike. Hook asks if they were. Emma denies this, knowing that her parents would never do such a thing, but the fact that she could think that reminded her that she has this tendency to expect the worst of people. Emma delves into her childhood, where people always let her down. Hook assures her that he doesn't intend to let her down. Emma knows this. She adds that he can tell her on his own time whatever it is that happened with that sea witch, because - no matter what - she will do what her parents always do, and choose to see the best in him. This affects David and Mary Margaret. Hook expresses a likewise sentiment to Emma. They go to kiss one another at which Mary Margaret, tries to leave, thus causing Emma to see that she and David are standing there.

Mary Margaret apologizes, defending that they didn't want to interrupt. Emma encourages them to do so next time as opposed to standing there and watching. David breaks the bad news that Cruella and Ursula were up to something. "They resurrected Maleficent," Mary Margaret says. Emma remembers the dragon she slew under the clock tower. Hook remembers the dragon as being some sort of mummified beast (see "The Evil Queen"). David says that, whatever Maleficent was, she's back to her old self now. Mary Margaret adds, as long as she's in town no one is safe. Emma doesn't understand why these witches are waging war against them, and her mother, fretting for an answer, soon makes it clear by saying: "Because they're villains... and we're heroes."

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White startles awake to find Maleficent standing at the foot of her bed. Snow begs her husband to wake up. Maleficent tells her that he won't, at least not until morning. Snow demands to know what the dark sorceress is doing there. She then asks where her friends are, referring to Ursula and Cruella. Maleficent reveals that they don't know she's visiting her, and there's a reason she came to her alone. "Why?" Snow wonders, still looking quite frightened. Maleficent approaches, saying the two of them have something in common; something that the other two Queens of Darkness would never understand: "You and I... are about to be mothers." Snow is shocked to learn that the dragon witch is pregnant. Mal sits on the bed, saying now Snow gets why they must stop the curse - for their children. Together they will find a way to defeat Regina. Snow considers the woman sitting in front of her, but then she shakes her head and tells her "no." Maleficent is confused. Snow says, "Not with you." She demands to know why not. Snow explains that it's because of what she is; "If we succumb to darkness just to defeat this curse, our child will be doomed to that darkness as well." Maleficent points out that Snow would be sacrificing the kingdom to ensure her child grows up a hero, but Snow assures the villain, "Charming and I will win... but we won't compromise ourselves to do it. I won't become like you."

A car pulls over on the other side of another car parked beside a Storybrooke lake. Regina stands on a bridge under an umbrella. Mary Margaret steps out of the second car and makes her way onto the same bridge. Regina asks her old stepdaughter what's with all the "cloak and dagger". Mary Margaret reveals that Maleficent's back. This does not come as good news to Regina, who says that she should have known "fish-sticks" and "pound-puppy" were in town for more than a second chance. Mary Margaret adds that they want to destroy their happy endings; all of them. "How do they hope to do that?" Regina wonders. Mary Margaret replies, "That's where you come in. We need to find out what they're planning. We need to get someone close to them. Someone they believe to be a villain. We want you to go undercover with them and help us stop their plans." Regina doubts the Queens of Darkness will welcome her into their coven with open arms. Mary Margaret points out that she used to be one of them. Regina insists that she's a hero now, so the trio of villainesses will never believe that she wants in. Mary Margaret says that she has to make them believe. Regina frowns, asking what makes her so sure they're hellbent on destroying them.

"Because of something David and I did a long time ago," Mary Margaret admits. There is then a pause, and it is obvious that what is coming up is hard for the princess to say; "Regina, you once asked me to..." she can barely continue, but she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and tries, "Regina, you once asked me to keep a secret... and I couldn't. But I'm gonna ask you to keep one for me. One Emma can never learn." The Mayor takes a step forward, shielding the schoolteacher with her umbrella, and asks what this secret is. The latter explains that Emma was born with the potential for great darkness. Regina points out that she's the savior; a hero; her magic is as light as it gets. Mary Margaret knows this, but it's only because she and David went to extraordinary lengths to make sure that it was. Regina wonders why Emma can't be told if they're so sure of her goodness. Mary Margaret says that it's for the same reason that she doesn't want Henry hearing of all the terrible things she did in her past... "You wanna protect him, so he doesn't lose faith in the person you've become. The person he always believed you could be."

In Regina's office, Henry pours the contents of August's satchel onto the desk. Amidst the possessions is a sheet of paper. Henry stares at it in awe. It's a drawing that depicts a door; on it is a post-it note which reads, "Author?" Henry smiles.

"That's why Emma can never find out what I'm about to tell you. She's finally starting to open up her heart, and if she learns the truth, if we let her down... she'll lose faith in us. And it could send her tumbling down a dark path."

Emma and Hook take a late-night stroll on Main Street. She holds his arm, content, and rests her chin atop his shoulder. He smiles as she does so, and she smiles as well.

"Because when you betray the people you love... when you make them see the worst parts of you... what you've done changes everything. There's no going back. You've shattered the bonds you worked so hard to forge."

Mr. Gold stands outside Granny's Diner, staring at his shop across the road. He smiles at Belle in the window, but then he frowns when Will Scarlet appears as well. Belle looks at him and smiles, and he smiles back; the two of them proceed to share a loving kiss. Gold looks hurt, continuing to watch as they become invisible from the window. He takes a step back, destroyed to learn that his wife has moved on.

"The stronger those bonds once were... the more difficult they are to put back together."

The Queens of Darkness stand atop a forest hill and watch over the sleeping Storybrooke. Maleficent, who's depicted in the center, outstretches a single hand and, in a black swirl of her magic, the dragon-clawed totem appears in it. She then takes out the rest of the snapped dragon claw and reattaches it, shaking the object with tears in her eyes to reveal its true function: it's a baby's rattle. She holds it close to her heart, her face brimming with devastation.

"If they can be repaired at all." Mary Margaret Blanchard says at the bridge. Regina doesn't understand, needing to know what exactly Mary Margaret did to Maleficent. "Because of us," Mary Margaret finally reveals, "Maleficent lost her child."

Deleted Scenes

"Camp Site"

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.

Snow White and Prince Charming are journeying through the Enchanted Forest with Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella. Snow White whispers to her husband that their companions are cold-hearted killers and they can't keep working with them, but Charming doesn't think they will take their rejection lightly. As they arrive at a clearing, Maleficent says that they will make camp there for the night. With a wave of her staff, two tents manifest. Cruella says that they'll "take the nice one" and she and her fellow Queens of Darkness walk toward one of the tents, while Snow and Charming look at each other exasperatedly.[3]



Guest Starring





Production Notes

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


Fairytale and Folklore

  • 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.

Popular Culture

  • When meeting up with David and Mary Margaret, Regina says, I should've known fish sticks and pound puppy were here for more than a second chance", referring to Ursula and Cruella. Pound Puppies was a toy line of plush stuffed dog dolls, popular in the eighties and nineties.

Props Notes

Having defeated the Evil Queen's men and now the
Trolls, the Prince and Snow White walk solemnly along
a path under the Troll Bridge, neither knowing what to
say. The Prince, grateful that she returned to save his life
now knew that Snow White could never be what the
Evil Queen said she was. Holding out the bag of gold he
mutters, "So... You probably want this." Snow turns to
him with the jewels, "And you can't get married with-
out this." He spills the jewels into his palm. The wed-
ding ring
glistens in his hand. Snow eyes it. "Not your
style?" the Prince chides her. "Only one way to find
out." Snow takes it from his hand and slips it on her
finger. It glistens. A perfect fit and for a moment she
thinks... but no. "Yeah. Not me at all," and she dis-
misses the butterflies inside her stomach.
But wasn't this what she had always dreamed of?
Someone who saw beyond her status and through the lies
spread about her? Someone who would protect her, who
would be her companion for the rest of her life. He had
unflinchingly saved her from the Queen's men. Perhaps
there was more to this CHARMING. If she could only
accept the fate ripening before her. She was
certain in his smile that he felt the same. But what would
that lead to? How would their lives turn out? Snow
knew that the Evil Queen would not be satisfied until she
was dead. As long as there was a price on her head

she would be safe in no kingdom. To fall in love he
would have sacrifice his status to live like a fugitive.
He would have to forsake his family and break vows
which would lead to a war between nations. There are
lives on the line, she told herself. The responsibility of a
royal is great. Bigger than one's self. And though she
was no longer of the court and her kingdom seemed to
have turned against her, Snow was nonetheless raised as
a princess and expected to be a queen one day. This
would never be taken from her. She knew instinctively the
choice she must make.
Snow takes the ring off her finger and hands it to
him. Where ever you go from here, if you need me,
I'll find you", the Prince offers, "always." And Snow
wants to believe it. "Goodbye, Prince Charming," Snow
replies Charming grins, "I told you. It's James." Snow
White turns to leave, "I like Charming better." She
looks back over shoulder and they stare into each
other's eyes, they didn't need words to express what
they felt in their hearts. For it was here, in the shadow
of the Troll Bridge, that their love was born. Where
they knew, no matter how they were separated, they
would always find each other, and true love.

  • Parts of the excerpt, were read aloud by Mary Margaret when she was reading to an unconscious John Doe in "Snow Falls": "...They didn't need words to express what they felt in their hearts, for it was here, in the shadow of the Troll Bridge, that their love was born, where they knew, no matter how they were separated, they would always--"
  • The prop auction reveals that the back of the page contains a scene from the Season One episode "The Stranger":[17]

One day Geppetto and Pinocchio
set out upon the sea with their
wooden wares. Though the waters
were calm when they left port,
soon the sky darked with angry
clouds. The sea churned under the
fierce wind and rain, and their float
was tossed violently amongst the
waves. Despite this, Geppetto remained calm. He had made
this journey many times before, and under far stormier
circumstances. But then Geppetto saw something that made
his blood run cold. Underneath their float, a monstrous dark
shape circled in the water, drawing ever closer.
"Father, what is that?" whispered Pinocchio.
But Geppetto had no answer. The dark shape circled once.
It circled twice. And on the third time, it bucked up against
the bottom of the ship, sending Geppetto and Pinocchio
flying into the air! Had they not held onto the mast for dear
life, they would certainly have gone overboard. Geppetto
looked down into the water to see a massive eye pass, so
close he could have reached out to touch it. It was a whale!
And an angry one at that.
Knowing the whale would not give up until their float was
reduced to splinters, Geppetto handed Pinocchio the ship's
only life preserver. They had to abandon ship if they were to

survive! Pinocchio refused. He could not let his father
sacrifice himself. Pinocchio then leaped into the water. He
knew that, being made of wood, he would float. And he
wanted desperately for his father to take the life preserver for
himself. Geppetto screamed, fearing for his son's life. But
it was already too late. A massive wave signalled [sic] the
approach of the whale. As Geppetto turned, he saw a set of
giant jaws open, ready to swallow him and his beloved son,
all in a single monstrous bite!
And with that, their world went dark…

  • MYSTERIOUS WRITINGS: The golden symbols carved into the rocks in front of the Tree of Wisdom are Anglo-Saxon runes.[40] However, they produce nothing but gibberish when translated.
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The walls and floor on the storybook page with the door,[41] which Henry finds, have the same design as the inside of Jefferson's hat.[42]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Maleficent's baby rattle is shaped like a dragon's foot holding an orb.[43]

Set Dressing

  • MYSTERIOUS WRITINGS: Anglo-Saxon runes are etched into the wooden beam prop: ᛚᛁᚳᚾᛁᚹᚳᛉᚳᚾᛁᚠᚱᛁᚳᛁ[20][44] (note that some of the characters are mirror-inverted, and the first character is mirror-inverted and upside-down). However, they produce nothing but gibberish (LICNIWCXCNIFRICI) when translated.

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

  • CUT CONTENT: Originally, two sleeping guards where going to appear by the entrance bridge[57] (in addition to Sleepy), but only one appears in the actual episode.

International Titles



  1. Baron, Steve (March 10, 2015). Sunday Final Ratings: 'The Last Man on Earth', 'Bob's Burgers', 'Family Guy', 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' & 'Revenge' Adjusted Up. TV by the Numbers. “ONCE UPON A TIME (...) 6.72”
  2. LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, March 08, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#413) "Unforgiven".”
  3. S4 Deleted Scene Camp Site. Dailymotion (August 12, 2015).
  4. File:413Title.png
  5. File:W107Title.png
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (November 26, 2014). "Here's a holiday #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler ! New ep Sunday! Hope to see ya!" (screenshot)
  7. File:413ADarkPath2.png
  8. File:422StorybrookeAtNight.png
  9. File:622GoldsShop.png
  10. File:413PinocchioGeppettoStorybook.png
  11. File:413DavidSheSaid.png
  12. Dragon. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on November 17, 2021. “Dragon, in the mythologies, legends, and folktales of various cultures, a large lizard- or serpent-like creature, conceived in some traditions as evil and in others as beneficent. In medieval Europe, dragons were usually depicted with wings and a barbed tail and as breathing fire. (...) In general, in the Middle Eastern world, where snakes are large and deadly, the serpent or dragon was symbolic of the principle of evil. (...) In East Asian mythologies the dragon retains its prestige and is conceived as a beneficent creature. (...) Both Chinese and Japanese dragons, though regarded as powers of the air, are usually wingless. They are among the deified forces of nature in Daoism. Dragons also figure in the ancient mythologies of other Asian cultures, including those of Korea, India, and Vietnam.”
  13. 13.0 13.1 File:413GoldenBird.png
  14. File:413HiddenDrawer.png
  15. File:413ForMyVehicle.png
  16. File:413ItsDifferent.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 Once Upon a Time - Storybook Page Prop (3273). iCollector. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. (Page from "Snow Falls") (Page "The Stranger")
  18. 18.0 18.1 ONCE UPON A TIME ABC TV Series Cruella Parking Ticket Prop. eBay. Archived from the original on March 13, 2020.
  19. Actress Glenn Close poses with a Dalmatian November 13, 2000 at the premiere of "102 Dalmatians" at Radio City Music Hall In New York City.. Getty Images. Retrieved on March 14, 2020.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 File:413RaisingShields.png
  21. File:413MyAssociates.png
  22. File:504TakingTheDagger.png
  23. File:703GoingIntoTent.png
  24. File:706HenryElla.png
  25. File:708WontFightDirty.png
  26. File:710APrincess.png
  27. File:712WhoAreYou2.png
  28. File:716GoldSilver.png
  29. 29.0 29.1 File:413BeautySleepsOver.png
  30. File:105EnchantedForest.png (you may have to look at the picture in full size to fully see the details)
  31. File:106OurSavior.png
  32. File:105AGoodYear.png
  33. File:106Here.png
  34. File:114WhatsMoreSymphatetic.png
  35. File:506CementTheRule.png
  36. File:607Sir.png
  37. File:703AtTheReady.png
  38. File:708LeavingTent.png
  39. File:710YouAllToMeet.png
  40. File:413HowCanWe.png
  41. File:413ThatsWhy.png
  42. File:117Doors.png
  43. File:413TheMoreDifficult2.png
  44. 44.0 44.1 File:103Bridge.png
  45. File:103CharmingBugs.png
  46. File:413TheyResurrectedMaleficent.png
  47. 'Elmwyn' Leather Trim Fit & Flare Wool Blend Coat. Nordstrom. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  48. 48.0 48.1 File:415Look.png
  49. File:416UnderASleepingCurse.png
  50. File:417YouDeserved.png
  51. File:418Okay.png
  52. File:413NeitherDoI.png
  53. Once Upon a Time: Season 4 Episode 14 Emma¨'s Zip-Shoulder Cashmere Sweater. shopyourtv. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  54. ARITZIA Babaton Howell Coat in Charcoal Grey. Poshmark. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  55. File:416WhatIsIt.png
  56. Screenshot from iZombie: "Maternity Liv"
  57. 57.0 57.1 FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Once Upon A Time December 10, 2014 (December 10, 2014).  "Once Upon a Time set photos from Central Park, Burnaby, BC taken on December 10, 2014.(archive copy)
  58. The French translation of "Unforgiven" is a pun: "Maléfique" is an adjective, which means "evil", but it is also the French name of Maleficent. It is impossible to give an exact translation of this pun in English.