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Going Home
Season 3, Episode 11
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Airdate December 15, 2013
Written by Edward Kitsis
Adam Horowitz
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Episode Guide
Previous
The New Neverland
Next
New York City Serenade
Going Home is the eleventh episode of the third season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 55th episode overall. The episode served as the season's winter finale, and marked the first time in the series that six different story lines were used: four involving the character's past, one in the present, and a combined alternate past/fast forward outcome, the latter setting things up for a new chapter in the series.

In this episode, Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) hatches a plan to stop Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) from destroying Storybrooke with Regina's (Lana Parrilla) curse; the end result has Regina making an action that will forever change Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and Henry (Jared S. Gilmore).

The episode – written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz – received critical acclaim from critics, mainly due to the episode's ending and Rumplestiltskin's role; however, the episode saw a significant ratings drop, with 6.44 million viewers watching, and attaining an 18-49 rating of 1.9.

Plot

Opening Sequence

Emma Swan's Volkswagen Beetle drives into the emerald-tinted forest.

In the Characters' Past

Snow White and Prince Charming

As the Curse prepares to take place within hours, Snow White and Prince Charming tell the Blue Fairy that they are worried about the Curse. The Fairy tells them that there was nothing she can do except try to save the baby and that someday everything will be okay... someday. This was not the answer that Snow wanted, but Charming keeps on assuring her that everything will be okay. Snow looks at Emma's crib and believes the only thing her daughter will have is hope.

In Neverland

While he and Mr. Smee attempt to find a way off the island, Hook is unaware that someone has been following them, and uses a branch that takes Smee out. Hook looks at his unconscious mate and is surprised by Tinker Bell, who pulls out a knife in front of him. However, Hook, figuring out that Tinker Bell is a fairy, tells her that he has only one thing on his mind, which is to seek revenge on Rumplestilskin. He offers her a bottle of rum.

Rumplestiltskin and Belle

At Rumplestiltskin's castle, Rumple is marking Baelfire's birthday, and Belle approaches him. She says that maybe Rumple and his son can someday be together again, but Rumple, who did not want Belle to bother him, doubts that will ever happen.

Henry and Mary Margaret

In the days prior to Emma's arrival to break the Curse, Henry is talking to Mary Margaret, saying that he is frustrated that no one else in Storybrooke can see that their lives are just following a predictable pattern, referring to the entire town repeating everything since he arrived. As a way to get Henry to believe in himself, Mary Margaret gives him a large book called Once Upon a Time, which will set things up for Henry to bring his birth mother to Storybrooke, this after Henry starts seeing Mary Margaret as Snow White.

Emma

Real – In the prison hospital, Emma gives birth to Henry, but when she is asked by the doctor if she wants to see the baby, Emma refuses.

New – In 2001, Emma finally gives birth to Henry at the prison hospital. However, the outcome takes a different twist: Instead of giving up Henry, she decides to keep him instead after she sees her son for the first time and she holds him, thus altering the outcome of her destiny thanks to Regina's spell.

In Storybrooke

At the well, Pan (who still occupies Henry's body) and Felix are talking about casting the Curse, as Pan drops the ingredients he took from Regina's vault in the well. He takes the final element needed to enact it, which was Felix's heart, because of his loyalty to Pan. Pan rips out Felix's heart, crushes it, and drops the ashes into the well. Back at the Vault, Gold explains that the only person who can stop it is Regina, but she will need the scroll to do it and since she was the one who enacted it in the first place, Regina is only one who can destroy the scroll. However, Gold warns Regina there will be a price. Gold also tells the others that he may be able to switch Henry and Pan's bodies back, but he needs the one thing that will reverse it, which is the wand of the Black Fairy. As everyone involved begins the search, Snow talks to Emma, lamenting that she never got to raise her daughter, while at the church (where the other fairies/nuns are gathering for Mother Superior's wake), David, Tinker Bell, Hook, and Neal are looking for the wand, unaware that another individual is also looking for it as well: Pan's Shadow. When Hook spots the Shadow he attempts to stop it but can't, prompting Tinker Bell to come to his aid and she uses some of her Pixie Dust to fly up to the Shadow, and she traps it and throws it into a nearby fire, apparently killing it. Her actions also bring Mother Superior, whose shadow was taken by Pan's Shadow, back to life. She restores Tinker Bell as a real fairy and gives them the Black Fairy's wand.

Back at Gold's Pawn Shop, everyone gathers again to plan another course of action as Gold puts a special bracelet on Henry (who is occupying Peter Pan's body) so that when they swap bodies again, Pan will not have any magic. Gold then uses the wand and swaps Pan and Henry's bodies back. After they see Peter Pan back in his original body, Gold stands over his unconscious and powerless father, saying that he has some "unfinished family business" as everyone leaves to find Henry and the scroll. They find Henry (now in his original body) at the library, but as he hands the scroll over to Regina, a flash of light comes over her and she is knocked out. Around the same time at the Shop, and as Pan wakes up, Gold taunts him because he wants Pan to see a bit of what life could have been like if they had just been father and son, but Pan wants none of it, telling Gold how horrible it was having a child that crushed his dreams. Gold picks up a sword and approaches Pan, unaware that he is able to remove the bracelet (since Pan created the device) and places it on Gold, rendering him powerless, and then tosses Gold across the room, leaving his son cowering in the corner. Gold attempts to find a way to regain his powers, and the only way he can break free of the bracelet is by chopping off his hand.

Later at the street, Regina wakes up and says she knows what must be done to stop the Curse, however, Pan shows up to retrieve the scroll and freezes all of them. Pan decides to take out his grandson Neal, only to be thwarted by Gold, who shows up to stop him. After vowing to Neal and Belle that he is finally ready to pay the price to keep them safe knowing that means killing himself, Gold's shadow appears, carrying the Dark One's Dagger and hands it to Gold, and stabs both Pan and himself at the same time. Pan transforms back into Malcolm, who urges Gold to stop before it is too late, but Gold tells his father "Ah but, I am a villain and villains don't get happy endings." He twists the knife and both men vanish in a burst of light. As Belle cries after they disappear, Neal asks a hesitant Regina if there is a way to stop the Curse, to which Regina reveals that the only way to stop it is to give up the one thing she loved the most: Henry. As the Curse approaches, Regina tells Emma that she and Henry will have to leave Storybrooke forever because once the Curse takes place everyone will return to the Enchanted Forest and since Henry was born in the Land Without Magic, he won't be able to go back with them, but Emma will be able to stay with him because she's the savior and the only one who can escape it. As everyone says goodbye to Emma and Henry, Regina gives the two a spell that will give them good memories but they will not remember the events that broke the Curse in the first place. As Emma and Henry drive away, Regina destroys the scrolls as the Curse consumes everyone and Storybrooke disappears.

Outside Storybrooke

One year later after the Curse, in New York City, Emma and Henry are in an apartment, and as she makes breakfast for Henry, she receives a knock on the door. When she opens it, she sees Hook standing outside, saying that he needs her help. This time around Hook warns Emma that her family is in trouble, but she has no idea who this person is or what he is talking about. Hook, believing that "true love's kiss" will bring her memories back, attempts to kiss Emma, but the shock results in Emma kicking Hook in the groin, pushing him away, and immediately slamming the door in his face.

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