A young Cora approaches her sleeping father outside of their miller's hut. She angrily awakens him and insist that they need food. Cora then delivers the flour to the local castle and Princess Eva trips her. King Xavier and Prince Henry come over and make sure that Eva is unharmed. When they refuse to pay Cora for the flour, she objects, pointing out that Eva tripped her. Xavier explains that Eva is a visitor and orders Cora to kneel and apologize, threatening to withdraw his business if she doesn't. Cora has no choice but to apologize and the king and his entourage go on their way.
As Neal pilots Hook's ship back to Storybrooke, Emma checks on the dying Hook. She asks him about his dagger and what Cora and Regina can do with it. he admits that they can use it to force him to kill them all. When Gold wonders if she wants him to die, Emma reminds him that he's family now and will do what can to save her.
Emma calls David, who calls to tell Mary Margaret what is happening with Hook. Regina has tapped the phone and listens in with her mother. When Mary Margaret says that Cora is wicked, she knocks the speaker box over and complains that she isn't wicked. She is worried that Rumplestiltskin will figure something out now that they've been warned. Cora notices Rumplestiltskin's name fading from the dagger and warns that if he dies then his magic will be lost. She tells Regina that she will stab Gold with the dagger, take his power, and become the Dark One. Regina points out that Henry will never forgive her and wonders if her mother is using her to gain power. Cora says that she only wants power to protect Regina and Henry, and warns that if they lose then they'll spend their lives on their knees to the others.
Once Upon a Time
At the palace masquerade, Cora comes in wearing a dress. She dons a mask and approaches Prince Henry. When she comments on all the women gathered there, he comments on her honesty and Cora "realizes" that she didn't recognize him. Henry invites her to dance but Xavier soon cuts in. He tells her that he knows who she is despite the mask, pointing out the straw on her dress. Cora points out that he's selling off his son in marriage for a dowry, but Xavier says that he is still miles above her socially. When he asks what she can offer him, Cora claims that she can spin straw into gold but won't since he insulted him. Xavier grabs her and announces to the crowd that Cora will demonstrate her ability to create gold. She says that it will take time and Xavier tells her that if she can spin straw into gold by morning, she will marry the prince. If Cora fails, she dies.
Mary Margaret and David drive to the dock to meet Emma and the others. Neal introduces himself, while Mary Margaret insists that she will kill Cora to protect their family. David objects and warns Mary Margaret that she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she killed someone. Meanwhile, Gold tells them to take him to his shop so that he can protect them with magic. Ruby takes Henry away for safety.
Once Upon a Time
Cora looks out the window of the tower and realizes that there's no escape. Rumplestiltskin appears behind her and offers to spin straw into gold for her. She doesn't believe him until he demonstrates, and Rumplestiltskin presents a contract demanding her firstborn child in payment. He assures her that he can spin as much gold as she needs, but Cora demands that he teach her instead. Rumplestiltskin agrees and gives her a quill to sign.
Gold has Emma bring him a jar with invisible chalk and instructs her to draw a line at the door. The others go to prepare, and Gold asks Mary Margaret to get him a blanket. When she goes to the cabinet, she finds the candle that Cora tried to trick her into using years ago. When Mary Margaret asks Gold why he has it, he says that he's been saving it for a rainy day.
Emma draws the line with the chalk while Neal approaches her and admits that he's surprised she's magical. When Emma complains, Neal figures that she's upset about finding out that he's engaged to Tamra. David comes back and they tell him that everything is okay.
Gold tells Mary Margaret that only the candle will save him. he figures that Mary Margaret will use it to kill Cora to save him. She says that there's no coming back from murder, and Gold warns that none of her family will come back from death. Gold tells her to use the candle over Cora's heart, which is separate from the body, and then put it back inside of her. Mary Margaret suggests that she use the heart to force Cora to do the right thing and let Gold die, and Gold says that he'd be interested to see Henry's face when he learns that Mary Margaret killed Gold.
Emma comes back and asks what she does next, and Gold tells her that she'll have to cast the protective spell. He assures her that the magic is in her and tells her to try. Emma concentrates but Gold tells her that it's emotion, not thinking. He tells her to feel why she's doing it and who she's protecting, and Emma relaxes and summons up the emotions. There's a rumbling noise and the mystic barrier goes up. They both realize that Emma has done it.
Once Upon a Time
Rumplestiltskin tells Cora to feel the emotion and summon up the anger she felt that would have made her kill. She asks if Rumplestiltskin feels that way and who he was trying to kill. Rumplestiltskin smiles and explains that he imagines going back to rip out the throat of the man who forced him to kiss his boots in front of Bae. Cora goes back to work, spinning the straw, and describing how Xavier made her apologize to Eva. As she explains how she knows she'll never be more than she is now, and wants to make them bow, the straw turns to gold. When Cora realizes that she's going to live, Rumpelstiltskin tells her that she can do so much more and to continue until they're on their knees.
The next day, Cora demonstrates her ability as Rumplestiltskin watches from the crowd. Xavier is surprised that a miller's daughter can do it and he tells her that she's earned Henry. Henry kneels to her and proposes to her, and Cora accepts.
As David and Mary Margaret wait, he realizes that she's upset and asks what Gold told her. Mary Margaret worries that Cora will hurt them and David promises that he'll do what it takes to stop her. She agrees... and the building shakes. Outside, Cora and Regina combine forces and blast the door open. Emma, Neal, Mary Margaret, and David are waiting for them, swords drawn. However, as Emma tries to get through to Regina, Mary Margaret slips out.
Regina easily throws David outside and Cora knocks Emma down. When Neal swings at Cora, she teleports away. Emma manages to grab Regina and threaten her with the knife, and Cora wonders what her mother will do. Cora knocks Emma down, forcing her to drop the knife, and Emma and Neal retreat behind another magic barrier. As she prepares to attack, Cora clutches at her heart and tells Regina to go to the vault where someone is threatening her heart. She turns to the barrier while Regina runs to the vault.
Once Upon a Time
Rumplestiltskin appears in Cora's chambers on the day before her wedding and kisses her. However, Cora admits that she's realized that she's gained nothing and that she's fifth in line to be queen. She asks Rumplestiltskin if he can give her love, and he suggests that he amend the contract so that she owe him his child. Cora agrees to make the deal but admits that she wants to kill Xavier for humiliating her. She asks Rumplestiltskin to show her how to remove Xavier's heart and show it to him before she crushes it, and Rumpelstiltskin says that's why he loves her.
Mary Margaret goes to the vault and realizes that there are dozens of coffers, all holding hearts.
David wakes up outside and calls Emma, who tells him that she's drawn another protective spell. They realize that Mary Margaret has left.
Mary Margaret searches the vault and finally locates a chest holding a glowing heart. She takes it out and studies it for a moment, then lights the candle, holds it over the heart, and whispers Cora's name.
Once Upon a Time
Cora goes to Xavier's chamber where he's counting his treasure. She tells him that she doesn't love Henry, but Xavier is unsurprised. However, he assures her that it's about alliances, not love. Xavier tells Cora that love is weakness and figures that she's a hard woman that understands. He asks if she plans to run off with Rumplestiltskin, who he knows about, or stay and rule over an empire. Cora puts her hand to his chest and says that love is a liability.
Later, Cora takes a coffer back to her chambers, opens it, and looks at the glowing red heart inside.
Cora tries to breach the magical barrier, while Neal and Emma wait inside. Gold figures that it's for the best, and that his power will leave the world, and asks Emma to let him talk to Belle. Emma calls her at the hospital and Gold tells her that he's dying. Belle still doesn't remember him and Gold tells her that she's a hero who helped her people and loved an ugly man who encouraged him to go back to what he was. He hangs up and Neal admits that he didn't know his father had it in him. Gold tells him that he spent a lifetime trying to find Neal and tell him that he loved him, and Neal admits that he's surprised that Gold went back on a deal. His father says that he made a wrong choice and asks to take his hand. Neal admits that he's still angry but finally clasps Gold's hand, crying.
Regina enters the vault and finds Mary Margaret holding the coffer. She insists that Mary Margaret has no right to that, and Mary Margaret says that she's going to give it to Regina. Mary Margaret says that Cora can't love Regina because she doesn't have her heart, and tells Regina to think about how Cora could change if she had her heart. Regina insists that Cora always wanted the best for her, but Mary Margaret tells her that with the heart back, Cora could love for real. She hands Regina the coffer and tells her to make her choice.
Once Upon a Time
That night, Cora goes to the forest and finds Rumplestiltskin waiting for her as they agreed. She kisses him and he realizes that something isn't right. Cora tells him that she could have taken Xavier's heart, but she chose not to. Rumplestiltskin stares at her as she tells him that she is going to her wedding. He asks whose heart is in the box and Cora finally tells him that it's hers. She did it because she wouldn't let anything stop her... including her feelings for him. Rumplestiltskin says that she never loved him and will take her baby, but she reminds him that he changed the contract and now he can only claim his own child.
Cora watches as Rumplestiltskin's name continues fading from the dagger. She concentrates and tries to break through the barrier.
David finds Mary Margaret outside the vault, holding her head in shock. He wonders what she's done and Mary Margaret admits that it isn't her.
Cora breaks through the barrier and teleports Neal and Emma into the middle of the woods. She then advances on Gold, who says that he had a vision that the day would come. However, the vision didn't tell him what he really wanted to know. Cora asks what that is and he asks if she ever loved him. She admits that she had to rip her own heart out because he was her weakness. Cora tells him that Rumplestiltskin was the only man she ever truly loved and then prepares to stab him. However, Regina drives Cora's heart into her chest. Cora drops the dagger as Rumplestiltskin's name reappears on it, and then smiles at Regina in true love.
Once Upon a Time
Cora presents her daughter Regina to the court and announces that one day she will be queen. The entire kingdom bows down before her.
Cora laughs in happiness... and then clutches at her chest. Meanwhile, Gold discovers that his wound has healed. As he picks up the dagger, Regina cradles her mother in her arms. Cora's tells her that she would have been enough and then dies. Regina asks Gold what's going on but he simply looks down at her and says that Cora did her no favors. He tells Regina that he did nothing, just as Mary Margaret runs in and tells Regina too late that she has to stop. Regina realizes what Mary Margaret has done.
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