|There's No Place Like Home|
|Season 3, Episode 22|
|Airdate||May 11, 2014|
|Written by||Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz|
|Directed by||Ralph Hemecker|
A Tale of Two Sisters
Commentators responded positively to the episode, commenting mainly on Jennifer Morrison's role, the time-travel storyline as a whole, and the introduction of a central character for the fourth season.
Upon airing, the episode was watched by 6.80 million viewers and attained an 18-49 rating of 2.3, placing first in its timeslot and first for the night.
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A new set of graphics highlights the "O" as a mirror, and features a swan in the forest.
In the Characters' Past
In 2001 Portland, Oregon, Emma Swan and Neal Cassidy are on a date at an amusement park after hours, where Neal picks a lock and the two sneak in to sit down on a swing ride. Neal then opens up to Emma about his past, and about home, telling her it is a place that you cannot shake, and that you just miss.
In the Enchanted Forest's New Past
As the story continues from the previous episode, Emma sees the woman across from her in the cell as the same woman who was arrested for helping Snow, and learns that they are both due to be executed immediately the next day. Using her tricks from the night Neal broke into the amusement park, Emma remembers she knows how to break a lock by using two spoons, and it works. Later on, Charming catches Snow in the rope trap, although the timeline of their introduction is thrown off, until Hook shows up to say that another woman (Emma) has his ring. Charming looks at Snow's fairy dust pendant while she tells him her backstory (another timeline that was thrown off), and comes up with a plan to break into Regina’s castle first, then rescue Emma and steal back the ring. Snow tells them to wait, which gives Hook and Charming time to talk about love. Moments later, Red Riding Hood shows up, revealing herself as a friend of Snow's, and who can get them into the castle. As they reach the place, Red, who transformed into a wolf, scares a guard into running away, but the escape plan goes awry when they run into Emma and her fellow inmate, prompting Hook to tell Emma that she deprived him of a dashing rescue. Seconds later, Snow and Regina prepare to face off, with Snow throwing her dark fairy dust, but Regina uses her magic to stop it in midair. Snow tries telling her that what happened to Daniel (when she told Cora) was a mistake, saying that she was only a child, but an unforgiving Regina talks about consequences and sets up a stake to burn her. Regina throws a fireball at the helpless Snow White, who appears to die. Her death causes Red to howl as a wolf and Emma to cry over her mother's death.
Hook tries to comfort Emma by telling her that when his brother died all he could do was live in the moment. But Emma wonders how she can be still alive if Snow died. All of a sudden, a ladybug buzzes around Hook and just as he is about to kill the insect, Charming shouts “wait!” Charming takes the ladybug, places it on his hand and it is transformed back into Snow White by the Blue Fairy, thanks to a special form of fairy dust. The Blue Fairy is also aware that Emma wasn't Leia all along, but says it’s all right, her secrets can be hers. Snow is startled when Emma hugs her with tears in her eyes, shouting, “You’re alive.” Snow and Charming seem to be warming up to each other, causing a slight restoration in the timeline. Emma looks at the prisoner and suggests that she and Hook take her with them back to Storybrooke, but the woman is not happy about that idea, prompting Emma to knock her out to kidnap her. As Emma, Hook, and their additional guest go their separate ways, both Snow and Charming reach the troll bridge, but thanks to the altered timeline Snow doesn’t have her dust as a weapon to defeat the trolls, so she goes towards them and bluffs. They drop their weapons and take off. The timeline is back on track as Charming is now smitten with Snow before they go their separate ways, with Snow holding on to the ring and trying it on. Emma watches from a distance and gets weepy. Hook says, “It’s ok, Swan. Not everyone gets a chance to watch their parents fall in love.” Emma opens the book, and discovers a picture of Snow and Charming getting married, and as expected Regina still seeking vengeance on Snow, resulting in the timeline being restored, only this time Regina turns the trolls into bugs with the dark magic and squashes them.
Emma, Hook and their guest return to see Rumplestiltskin in the hopes that he can open the time portal, but instead he tells them that only they can re-open it because only the people who came through the portal can re-open it, but they need to wield magic. Rumple gives Emma a wand and tells her to open the portal if she has magic, but she doesn't think she can. Rumple decides he’d rather forget everything he’s learned so as not to alter his future, then he sends Emma and Hook to a dark vault where he keeps dangerous and unpredictable magic, where their Storybrooke outfits are restored. Hook says that Emma still has some magic in her and after seeing what happened to her parents and realizing everything Henry did to bring her to Storybrooke, she's ready to return home. Hook and Emma then notice the wand lights up with magic and open up the portal, allowing Hook and the woman to escape first. Before she can leave, Rumple holds on to Emma and demands to know what happened to Baelfire/Neal. Emma tells him what happened, then she begs him not to take away the fact he died a hero. Rumplestiltskin drinks the forgetting potion and lets go of Emma where she is pulled into the portal, which sends her, Hook, and the woman back to Storybrooke.
As Emma and Hook return to the present day, Emma admits that her home is in Storybrooke and that she has been treating her parents like acquaintances for too long. Emma returns home and gives them a big hug and calls them mom and dad for the second time. Mary Margaret and David tell her that they are naming their new son Prince Neal in honor of Emma's first love and Gold's son who saved them all from Zelena. That evening, Hook tells Emma that he traded the Jolly Roger for a magic bean so he could bring her back to Storybrooke. Realizing this is the ultimate expression of Hook's feelings, Emma finally gives him a passionate kiss. Also that night, Gold and Belle are officially married, watched over by Belle's father Moe French and ordained minister Archie Hopper.
The prisoner Emma rescued is revealed to be none other than Maid Marian, who eagerly runs to embrace Robin Hood and Roland. A distraught Regina notes that Emma has done exactly what her mother did: unintentionally ruin her chance for happiness by naively trying to make things better. Reduced to tears, Regina ominously warns Emma that Marian had better be the only thing she brought back. Back at the barn, a container from Rumplestiltskin's vault (which Hook accidentally disturbed in the vault) is revealed to have fallen through the portal. The lid pops off and releases a blue liquid, which after a moment coalesces into none other than Elsa. She removes her gloves and unleashes an icy blast that destroys her former prison, before heading out of the barn, leaving a trail of frozen ground behind her.
- The episode title is a spoken phrase by Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
- Emma's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Princess Leia; a reference to one of the main protagonists of the original Star Wars trilogy.
- Hook's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Prince Charles; a reference to the current Prince of Wales, who is currently first-in-line to inherit the British throne.
- One of the items in Rumpelstiltskin's vault of uncontrollable/dangerous items is the statue of Pazuzu from The Exorcist.
- Emma's outfit in the jail cell is reminiscent of Odette, the original Swan Princess.
- The object/animal/person in this episode is a swan.
- At the very end, when the mysterious figure takes off her blue glove, it is foreshadowing to be Disney's Queen Elsa from Frozen because taking off her gloves in the movie was her way of accepting her icy powers