“Once Upon A Time” recap (4.4): Hang In There, Joan

Previously on Once Upon A Time, Anna set off on a mission to find Rumpelstiltskin, Henry and Regina kicked off Operation Mongoose, and Captain Hook started blackmailing Gold because he knows the dagger he gave Belle is a fake.

We begin a long time ago, where an old man is sweeping with a little wooden broom. The Dark One comes in looking for a sorcerer, but only finds his apprentice. They fight, and the hood falls back to reveal that this Dark One is not Rumpelstiltskin. He tries to open the starbox, but it is protected by white magic, and the apprentice said no Dark One will ever possess it.

Flash forward to the current Dark One turning the starbox into a magic hat.

Across town, Emma makes a stop at Granny’s and when she leaves, she notices a puddle of water around her buggy. When she looks around and sees no rain or water anywhere else, she identifies it as snowmelt, and knows Madame Scoops has been nearby.

In Gold’s shop, Hook blackmails Rumple into restoring his hand, despite Rumple’s warning that the hand belonged to a very different man, a rougher man, and might be a bad influence on the swashbuckling but otherwise fairly harmless Hook.

In the Charming Loft, Emma puts on a dress and does up her hair to get ready to go out to dinner, and Mary Margaret takes a polaroid, which confuses the heck out of Elsa. Elsa is also confused as to why Emma’s idea of a fancy dress only has one thin layer to it.

OUAT 404-1Speaking of, can we get Elsa a modern dress like this?

Emma tries to get them to give her a reason to cancel last-minute, but Elsa tells her she’s put people through enough trouble, and to go on living her life. When Hook answers the door, he’s in normal clothes and has two hands, so Emma takes to calling him Killian. After they leave, David wonders if his almost-stern send-off was too harsh, and Elsa makes a joke about making Kristoff sweat when he first started dating Anna.

Speaking of Anna, we flash back to when Anna finds Rumpelstiltskin. She says her name is Joan and asks about his skin in her honest and rambly ways, but Rumple knows her name is Anna and that she wants to know why her parents came to the Enchanted Forest. Rumple tells her that he did indeed see her parents, but that he requires a deal in exchange for the information. Anna says she’ll do whatever it takes, so he gives her a vial of liquid and tells her to put it in a man’s tea. She’s worried about what it will do to the man, but she signs the contract anyway, for Elsa.

Anna knocks on a cottage door, and the old man who answers is the sorcerer’s apprentice.

OUAT 404-2 Hi! Hello, how are you, kind sir? I’m here to kill you!

After a few minutes with the man, Anna can tell Rumple lied, and is so moved by his kindness, she dumps the vial into the fire instead of putting it in his tea.

Present-day, in a restaurant that isn’t Granny’s but still doesn’t have Ruby as a waitress, and has a billion people in it who we’ve never seen before but are obviously Storybrooke residents because the ice wall prevents them from being anything else, Emma and Killian happen to be there at the same time. Killian offers to get them a drink, but Emma wants to stay on her A-Game in case Madame Scoops makes an appearance. He takes both her hands and Emma looks mildly alarmed.

OUAT 404-3Her hair, though.