Wow! Well despite that ---
wait. Spoiler warning.
Okay, we good? The uninitiated have left the room? Let's proceed.
Despite the fact that we only got to see about 60 seconds of Snow, Emma, Mulan and Aurora, this episode was nonetheless full of really important stuff.
First of all, we know that August is alive - but wood.
Secondly, Jefferson is back! And still crazy.
Thirdly Charming and Ruby are doing their best to be awesome, and the dwarfs ROCK!
Fourthly, they can't leave Storybrooke without loosing their Fairy Tale Identity for good. YIKES. This means Rumple can't leave and search for Bae.
But the biggest stuff we learned in this episode was about Regina. Following where "The Stable Boy" left off, we saw how Regina dealt with her mother and started using magic. We also got two things indirectly confirmed.
#1. We already had pretty good reason to believe that Cora was the Miller's daughter from the original Rumplestiltskin, and this episode pretty much confirmed it. Regina was obviously supposed to be Rumple's payment, as he refers to their first meeting having taken place when she was much smaller and "portable."
#2. While there could still be a major switcheroo (like with the August/Bae/Pinnochio bit from last year), it seems pretty obvious that Cora is the Queen of Hearts, now that she has actually gone through the Looking Glass into what we can be 99% sure is Wonderland.
It was wonderful to see young Snow again (she is a fantastic actress!) and to see Regina go from young innocent girl to hardened woman on the path to magic. And to find out that Rumple was her teacher! It fits, but I'd never guessed that.
Meanwhile Snow and Emma are prisoners, although it looks like they'll be getting 'help' from an unlikely source. I can't wait for next week when Snow wakes up and recognizes Cora...