Sleeping Beauty and Mulan became concerned once they realized Prince Phillip didn’t actually return, and Mulan revealed that Phillip was marked by the soulsucker. Back in Storybrooke, Regina was visited by the dark spectre while in jail, which held out its hand to begin sucking the life from her. Prince, Snow, and Emma showed up just in time, and for some inexplicable reason rescued Regina from her fate. Regina called it a wraith, and told them it’s regenerating elsewhere, but won’t stop until it devours its prey: her. “You can’t kill something that’s already dead,” she said, and Prince assured he votes they let it kill her. Emma said she made a promise to Henry, and thus can’t let the Evil Queen be killed, thus ensuring Regina will be with us a little longer.

Back at her home, Regina asked Emma if Henry really asked her to protect her, while opening a hatbox that belonged to Jefferson. “It will open a portal to our land,” Regina explained, while setting the hat down in the middle of the room. In sending the spectre back to their land, and thus oblivion, she theorized they could be rid of the creature. Considering Rumple summoned the creature using a relic from their old land, the premise seemed unlikely. Back in fantasy land, Mulan was tracking Prince Phillip while being followed by a determined and slightly delusional Sleeping Beauty. Mulan, who seems truly disgruntled and unimpressed with Sleeping Beauty, questioned her understanding of sacrifice. Sleeping Beauty accused her of being in love with the Prince, which Mulan naturally denied, even while Regina and Prince battled with the soulsucker elsewhere with fire and the magical hat.

Prince Phillip seemed a bit perturbed to see Mulan and Sleeping Beauty arrive. Lots of crying, pleading, bargaining and angst ensued, with Phillip’s noble sacrifice of himself over the woman he loves – whichever it might be, considering his token “I love you” was aimed rather vaguely over his shoulder. The spectre arrived and quickly devoured his soul, leaving him in the arms of a weeping Sleeping Beauty. Fortunately for Regina, their battle with the wraith was going much better, and the hat actually activated.

However, instead of banishing the wraith into a land that allegedly ceases to exist, Regina managed to shove the wraith into oblivion with its hand wrapped around Emma’s ankle. Snow jumped into the void after them, and Prince attempted to only to faceplant on the floor with a thud of fail. Obviously, the writers can’t be simply killing off the two biggest stars and crucial characters of the plot, so it seems their homeland isn’t entirely destroyed.

Prince Phillip also failed pretty badly at survival, and the story jumped to the faraway land with Mulan and Sleeping Beauty preparing his body for burial. “You should have it,” Mulan told her, handing her the medallion that indirectly killed her beloved.

“Are they dead?” Prince screamed at Regina, who flung him against the wall and wrapped vines around him. With her magic having returned, at least enough for horticulture, Regina seemed determined to kill Prince then and there. Henry arrived just in time, walking in on the scene and asking where his mom and grandma had gone. “You really are the evil queen,” he told Regina, “I don’t want to see you again.” He told Regina to get Emma and Snow back, and left with grandpa – I mean, Prince Charming.

Belle came back to the shop to see Rumple, who told her “the beast is gone.” She picked up the teacup with the chip, another little nod to the Disney classic, and Rumple told her it’s the only thing he “truly cherishes.” He told Belle she must leave because he’s still a monster, which she countered by saying that’s the reason she must stay; a rather twisted hallmark moment, perhaps inspiring women to stay in questionable relationships worldwide.

Mulan informed Sleeping Beauty that Regina casted a curse on the land, ripping everyone away to a different world. “This corner of the land was untouched, and no one knows why.” She spoke of dangers beyond imagine, but that a safe haven exists within their pocket of land immune from Regina’s spell. She found Snow and Emma in a pile of rubble, and told Sleeping Beauty that they had brought the wraith that killed their prince.

Things don’t bode well for Snow and her daughter, but perhaps their accidental voyage to a faraway place and the one convenient corner of the world immune to Regina’s magic will give them a chance to bond as mother and daughter. I’m sure the writers have big plans for ‘Once Upon a Time,’ and hopefully it won’t take an entire season for the characters we enjoy to figure out basic secrets and plot devices. Check back with us weekly for another recap of ‘Once Upon a Time,’ and chat with me on Twitter during the show’s Sunday evening airings at @WriterLoriMay and #OnceUponaTime.

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