“Once Upon a Time” recap: “Lady of the Lake” (2.3)

Previously on Once Upon A Time, we learned that Regina has a much more layered past than we realized, Mary Margaret tried to be a badass but was out-badassed by Mulan and Emma met her future mother-in-law, who makes Mommy Dearest look like Carol Brady.

We begin this week’s story in the Enchanted Forest, but in a flashback. Team Charming is huddled around a map when Red runs in to warn them of incoming danger. The Team decides to split up (always a great plan) and Snow goes and gets herself kidnapped by Lancelot, formerly of the Round Table.

In the present-day Enchanted Forest, Mary Margaret is still out cold and Emma finds herself face-to-face with a mild-mannered Cora, who (if last week’s revelations are to be believed) is playing our sheriff like a fiddle. Snow comes to and puts herself between the two of them as though her tiny body was any bigger than her daughter’s. Emma fierce-whispers something about Henry into Snow’s ear, and when Cory inquires she says, “My son. I kind of share him with Regina.” Share! My shipper heart be still!

Emma and Snow have been beckoned by the “leader” of this haven, which ends up being Lancelot. Snow White runs into his arms like they’re best friends. Unless this is Stockholm Syndrome, I think we may be missing pieces of the story. Aurora is PISSED because she wants their heads on spikes, but Mulan warns her not to confuse vengeance with justice and they make such intense eye contact I can barely stand it.

Snow, Emma and Lancelot are at the table, and while Snow and Lancelot are discussing portals and ogres and plans, watching Emma not take any of it seriously was hilarious. She’s like “riiiight, ogres, more wine please”. Lancelot assigns Mulan to protect Emma and Snow as they look for their portal and I pray to the gods, old and new, that she takes Aurora with them.

In a beautiful moment of juxtaposition, Snow says something about Lancelot always having her back and then we flash back to just after that one time he KIDNAPPED HER. And accidentally helped the King poison her. Snow almost bashes his face in, but he warns her that her prince and his mother are in danger.

In Storybrooke, Henry is up to no good. After finding out Regina had a secret vault, he tricks her into leaving her office so he can look for it. I didn’t realize that I had officially gone from loving to hate Regina to rooting for her until she skipped off all happily to meet her son for lunch and then Henry slithered into her empty office, clearly intending to blow her off, and my heart broke for her.

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, the Trio of Badassery have picked a place to camp for the night. Snow doesn’t trust her city-girl daughter in the magical wilderness, so they leave her behind. Since splitting up always works out so well. As if to prove this point, Aurora appears out of the darkness and presses her dagger into Snow’s throat. She also presses her lips against her ear, which didn’t feel entirely necessary, but was very much appreciated.

Then a slew of subtextually gay things happen: Aurora whispers angrily in Snow White’s ear, Snow flips and pins Aurora to the ground and tells her to release her anger a different way, then Mulan pulls Snow off of her and says she’ll deal with her later. Then Emma comes and ruins everything because even though she was JUST told that ogres hunt by sound alone, she shoots of her VERY NOISY gun into the air when a “HEY. STOP THAT.” would probably have sufficed.  While they’re running away, they split up AGAIN and Emma trips over a root. Instead of immediately getting up and running again, she decides to chillax in the grass until the ogre is all up in her face. Good going, Swan.

Back in time, at their cabin, Prince Charming hears the knights coming and tells his mother to go inside. Then he proves he is not entirely useless and skillfully defeats the bad guys on his own. Then his mother stumbles out with an arrow through her heart and it’s like, bitch, he TOLD you to stay inside! Lancelot and Snow rush up just as she lies dying and it looks like Emma isn’t the only one with an awkward future-mother-in-law encounter in this episode.

Present-day Snow White was not kidding around when she said she wasn’t about to lose her daughter again, so just as the ogre was about to have a Swan Snack, she whistles at him and looses an arrow right into his big ugly mug. It was pretty hardcore.

As they head off on their way, the four of them looking like the gorgeous women they are, Mulan scolds Aurora and tells her to keep up. Aurora complains of being cold and Emma takes off her jacket to give to her, even though she’s just wearing a tank top. I don’t know if it helped Aurora at all, but it certainly warmed ME right up.

Emma and Snow finally find the wardrobe that Baby Emma went to Storybrooke in, and when they do, Lancelot appears. However, Snow quickly realizes that this is not the gentle giant who performed her marriage to Charming over his mother’s dead body (literally). No, that Lancelot has been gone for quite some time. This wolf in sheep’s clothing is actually Cora, up to her old magic tricks. She pins Snow against a wall with her spidey-web of magic and Emma lights the wardrobe portal on fire. Cora tries to throw the fire at Emma instead, but Mulan JUMPS IN FRONT OF THE FIREBALL to save her. Someone calls out Mulan’s name and it might have been Emma but for the sake of my newest ship (I believe it’s being called SleepingWarrior), I’m going to pretend it was Aurora.

After Emma burned the closet that was keeping her and Regina apart (it’s fine, she’ll come out when she’s ready), she has a revelation that Snow didn’t abandon her for selfish reasons. She sees now that she really was – and is – loved, and it’s something new to her. She literally goes, “I’m not used to someone putting me first.” And I clutch at my heart and want to hug her but thankfully Snow White does it for me.

Mulan appoints Snow White as acting leader for the land of misfit fairytale characters, and her and Aurora promise to help them find a way home.

And, because we didn’t have enough bad guys floating around, back in Storybrooke we see the King, looking seedier than ever in his business suit, creepily watching Grandpa Charming and Captain Whinypants play-swordfighting in the street.

What did you think of “Lady of the Lake”?

On the next page are some of our favorite #SwanQueen tweets of the night.