“Once Upon A Time” recap (4.20): The Lily Means “I Dare You to Love Me”

Previously on Once Upon A Time, BabyGay Emma met a girl named Lily and they had an incredibly true adventure of two girls in love, Zelena revealed herself to be both alive and posing as Marian, Regina was forced to choose between Robin Hood and Emma but refused to do so and found a way to keep them both, and Emma killed Cruella de Vil.

A long, long time ago, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice goes to see his boss, who looks like Cloud!Mufasa and Zordon from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Apprentice confesses that the author is being a terrible writer and making everyone’s story worse than it was, and mentions that he may or may not have shoved two people’s worth of darkness into a tiny human and shipped them off to an untold hell dimension. He assures the Sorcerer that the author is locked between the pages of a book now, forced only to record stories, but the Sorcerer stresses the importance of him never being free to mess with fate again.

Cut to present-day Storybrooke, where the Author is being recruited to do just that. The Author and Gold lower Cruella’s casket into the ground, and Gold says she was a worthy sacrifice for their endgame of turning Emma dark. In fact, it already seems to be working, since Emma is lurking nearby looking like a bonafide psychopath.

OUAT 420-1 J.Mo has NAILED the dead-behind-the-eyes look.

Emma goes back to the Charming Loft, pissed. She is seething, but she says it’s with anger and regret, not darkness. She wants to stop Gold and the Author, and she wants to do it now. Maleficent pops by and says she’s heard Emma has a particular set of skills, and while she thinks the whole human-lie-detector thing sounds suspect, she could use her bail bondsperson people-finding skills to find her daughter. Mary Margaret and David are blown away by the fact that the baby survived, but Emma has no time for their emotions and asks Maleficent what she knows about her daughter. Mal says all she knows is that her daughter was banished 30 years ago, was in Minnesota, and was named Lilith by her adoptive parents. Emma can’t believe her ears and rushes off to confirm what she thinks she knows. She finds the baptism announcement in the paper, complete with star-shaped birthmark, and know it’s her Lily.

Flashback Emma, ever in her flannel shirt, is excitedly packing for a camping trip with her foster family. She goes into the garage to get a sleeping bag and hears a noise. Her first instinct is to grab a bat, but luckily she didn’t start blindly swinging, because it was Lily hiding in the corner. She says she’s in trouble and didn’t know where else to go, because once Emma said they’d be friends forever, and Lily is really banking on that kind of hospitality now. When Emma’s foster parents catch them in the garage, Lily lies as easy as breathing, saying she got placed in a foster home nearby and came to surprise her friend.

Present-day Regina is amused at fate’s weirdness, bringing the friend Emma told her about resurfacing, and as Maleficent’s daughter no less.

OUAT 420-2We’re a duo, it’s true-o.

Regina gets it, she’s been there; she adopted the son of the daughter of the reason she was evil in the first place.

Regina says, since she has to go to New York, and Emma has to find Lily, why don’t they make an adventure of it? It takes a little nudging—actually, no, it takes Regina tells Emma that she needs her—but finally Emma agrees to go on what will henceforth be known as the SwanQueen Road Trip. Regina says they’re going to beat fate together.

OUAT 420-3 Wanky.

Henry says goodbye to his moms, and Hook tells Emma to hold on to something to help her stay on the good path, the way he used her to stay on his. She’s going with Regina, though, so she knows she’ll be just fine. Regina has the Snow Queen’s scroll so they can get back into Storybrooke without a hitch, and Emma has Lily’s last known address, so they’re ready to roll. What’s weird about the address, though, is that it’s from five years ago, and about 30 minutes from where Emma lived at that time. Knowing now that their fates really were intertwined, Emma regrets pushing her away more than ever. Regina asks her what happened, exactly, but Emma just starts the car.

Flashback to dinner with Emma’s foster family, where Lily eyes the chore wheel while passing more lies with the mashed potatoes. She tells the family that her and Emma were meant to be together, and Emma drags Lily into the kitchen so fast she almost dislocates her shoulder. She hisses at her that she can’t just out her to a new family like that, and she certainly can’t lie to them for her. Their fight is interrupted by a news report that shows two suspects in an armed robbery and one of them has Lily’s big beautiful eyes poking out from behind a ski mask.

Present-day Emma finds Lily’s old address and it is in shambles. Regina is horrified; Storybrooke was the best she could come up with for a torturous existence, she had no idea somewhere worse already existed. Emma finds the landlord and asks about Lilith Page, but he said she’s been dead for years, and that she was probably the only one looking for her. Lily was weird, a loner. Emma launches herself at him but Regina pulls her off him just before he gets socked.

OUAT 420-4Why is this so adorable?

Regina gently asks if Emma is okay, in a tone of voice that could have calmed the wildest beast, and looks worriedly after her as she stalks back out to her yellow bug.

Back in Storybrooke, Gold catches up to Will Scarlet and asks him to steal Belle’s heart back from Regina, saying it’s being guarded in the mayor’s office by Maleficent. And by ask I mean he orders him to do it, or else.

Regina asks about Emma’s outburst, but the Savior chalks it up to mourning a friend. Emma feels responsible; Lily got an unfair amount of darkness, darkness that was meant to be shared between them.

Emma almost crashes the car when a wolf trots in front of her car, and for half a second I thought it would transform into Ruby so she could say “JUST KISS ALREADY AND ALSO TAKE ME TO BELLE” but alas, sometimes a wolf is just a wolf. Emma thinks it’s an awfully strange coincidence, but Regina suggests they just need a new tire and some coffee.

Emma orders two coffees and some Advil and is surprised to see a star-shaped birthmark pouring the coffee. Emma looks up, confused, at this girl whose nametag says Starla. First of all, she just learned Lily was dead. Second of all, Regina just pointed out that this would be one hell of a coincidence if there was something or someone important in this particular coffee shop, and third of all, the Lily she knew as a child was Latina and this woman looks pretty white.

OUAT 420-5 I mean, pretty PRETTY, but still pretty white.

Speaking of little Latina Lily, flashback Emma FLIPS OUT on her, but Lily insists that it was her boyfriend’s idea, that she got caught up in it, that somehow everything she does blows up in her face. She asks Emma to get her necklace from her birth mother from her boyfriend’s place and Emma agrees on one condition: Lily leaves for good as soon as she gets back.

OUAT 420-6 Fine whatever I’ll just grow up to take baths with Jaime Murray without you.

Present-day Emma follows Starla outside and calls her Lily, and mentions the store where they met. Lily is surprised it’s Emma, and even more surprised she found her post-mortem. Emma says it was fate, that she knows it sounds insane, but Lily used to say it all the time, that they were drawn together like magnets in this wild and crazy universe. Emma says all the bad stuff in Lily’s life might be indirectly her fault, but Lily says she has a husband and a daughter now and hardly ever thinks of Emma at all anymore.

Regina comes back from the tire shop and says it looks like Emma didn’t ruin Lily’s life after all, but what looks like a mother and daughter from where they stand is actually Lily bribing a girl who is a regular at her diner to forget everything she learned about Stranger Danger and come with her.