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ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: ‘Best Laid Plans’

The big reveal…

The seventeeth episode of the season,”Best Laid Plans”, starts with a flashback featuring our favorite Charming couple. Following Maleficent’s revelation that Snow is pregnant but that the child has a high probability of being evil, the worried duo seek out a unicorn because apparently touching its horn shows the future. Luckily, the mythical creature didn’t try to impale the couple; rather it showed the future as expected. While Charming sees a happy smiling baby, Snow sees an older Emma who reaches forward and pulls out her own mother’s heart and crushes it. It looks like Maleficent was right, but there’s no telling how that other version of Emma got to a point where she was willing to betray her mother. Was it a trick to get Snow to cooperate with Maleficent? Who knows.


They meet up with a merchant in the woods who tells them that Maleficent has been wreaking havoc in the west–the direction where their home is located. The merchant also tells them that she has transformed into a dragon and laid an egg. He suggests that, instead, they follow a path to a cottage that houses a man who can help them out. The man in question is actually the Apprentice, who ends up welcoming them. He sensed that they were at a loss with their child, so hopefully something he does will help.

Back in Storybrooke, the heroes are having a hard time reviving August. For some reason or another, he won’t wake up due to having been “changed by magic too many times.” Unable to help him out at the moment, they turn their attention to the Author saga. Considering the baddies don’t know that the door holding the Author is actually the illustration, and she can’t come back empty-handed, Regina thinks on her feet and snaps a quick pic of the page to bring back to Rumple, Cruella, and Maleficent. Hook tells Emma that the villains are planning to turn her heart dark in order to carry out their plan. She assures them all they have nothing to worry about because she won’t go dark.

While Regina’s plan was pretty good, it wasn’t foolproof. When she shows the picture to her crew, Cruella complains about Regina’s photography skills because of a glare which Rumple then explains is actually a product of magic. He then comes to the conclusion that the Author is actually hidden in the book. Well, the cat’s out of the bag–but the Author is still in the book.

Since Regina tells them that the page will be pretty hard to pry from the savior’s hands, Maleficent decides to put a sleeping curse over all of Storybrooke. Knowing her worth, she tries to strike a bargain with Rumple to get intel on her child’s fate in exchange for her help. Meanwhile, David and Mary Margaret are still awake–apparently immune to the sleeping curse because they’d been under one before. When the villains show up to where Emma and Hook are sleeping, they can’t find it. Rumple reasons that Henry, who’s also immune to the sleeping curse, probably took off with it.


Henry calls his grandparents to tell them that he is hiding out in the Sorceror’s mansion, thinking it would be the best place to keep the page safe. David tells his wife that they should destroy the page in order to keep Rumple from turning their daughter dark. Mary Margaret reasons that it would trap the Author forever and that Regina would never get her happy ending. But, David tells her that’d be a small price to pay.

Back in the flashback taking place in the Apprentice’s cottage, Snow and Charming discuss their dilemma. He believes that either of their premonitions could come to pass and reveals that it is possible to banish the potential for evil in a child. All they’d need is another vessel to fill with said darkness. Snow offers Maleficent’s freshly laid egg as a possible idea for the vessel they need. She figures Maleficent’s child would be likely to follow in her mother’s evil, draconic footsteps anyway, so it wouldn’t be that bad.

Snow and David sneak over to the nest where Maleficent’s egg is nestled. Just when they are about to snatch the egg, the protective mother appears in her dragon form, ready to pounce. However, once Snow grabs the egg, she transforms back into her human form and begs, mother to mother, for her child back. Snow refuses and takes it back to the Sorcerer, who begins to enact the curse to transfer the evil within the child in Snow’s belly to the egg. Suddenly a portal opens and the couple realizes they’ve made a terrible mistake.

The Sorcerer tells them that a child with that much evil should be sent somewhere else where it couldn’t hurt anyone–presumably earth. Cruella and Ursula show up, furious about the cradle-robbing committed by the Charmings. Then, the portal opens wider and sucks the egg, Cruella and Ursula into its vortex. Ahh, now we know how they ended up on earth. It wouldn’t be surprising if they knew where Maleficent’s child ended up too.


Meanwhile, in present day, Henry is hiding out under a table in the Sorcerer’s mansion. Suddenly, a light shines from the book to a nearby desk. Upon opening the drawer, he discovers a key. Regina shows up with Cruella and Maleficent in tote. Henry obeys his mother’s command and hands over the page–which we later find out is the page Emma forged to look like the original.

Mary Margaret and David finally show up to the mansion and Henry explains what happened. With the original page still in his possession, along with the recently discovered key, he now has the ability to free the author. David tells him they should leave it alone for a while because they don’t know what’s going to happen when they let him out.

Rumple shows up at the pawnshop and tells a sleeping Belle that he needs to change the world in order to get his happy ending. He also promises to come back for her if he is able to. When he exits the shop, he runs into the queens of darkness, who question him about his whereabouts. Telling them to mind their own business, he takes the page from Regina. He immediately remarks that it is a fake and that Regina should have known better. This leads him to call Regina out for not being on their side and Maleficent puts her to sleep.

Just as David is about to destroy the page, Mary Margaret stops him, telling him that they can’t destroy everybody’s happy ending. She tells him that heroes are supposed to do what’s right, not what’s easy. With that being said, they decide to tell her the truth. Surprise, surprise, Emma doesn’t take the news very well. In anger, she leaves and heads off to blow off steam. When August finally wakes up, Hook rushes to get Emma.


Even though Maleficent didn’t actually fulfill her end of the bargain by getting the page back, Rumple reveals what happened to her child 30 years ago, against his better judgement. He shows her a vision of her daughter’s adoption. The man who adopts her ends up naming her Lily. This name should sound familiar to you as she is actually Emma’s childhood friend. In fact, we’ve already been introduced to her.

When Emma shows up to check how August is doing, he informs her that there is actually more than one Author. He was the last in generations and generations of Authors. According to the flashback shown at this moment, he was locked in the book by the Sorceror and his apprentice because he took too many liberties manipulating the stories.

Emma decides to use the key to let him out. Once he pops out, Snow and Charming instantly recognize him. He’s the one who told them to go see the Sorcerer. He refers to himself as “The Peddler” and then takes off.

What do you think of Snow and Charming’s big secret? Are you interested to see what happened to Lily? Let us know in the comments below.


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