‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 6 Episode 17 Recap: Awake

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Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 17

Rebecca Mader, Lana Parrilla and Ginnifer Goodwin in ‘Once Upon a Time’ season 6 episode 17 (Photo Credit: ABC/Screenshot)

ABC’s Once Upon a Time season six episode 17 kicks off with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) on the run from the Lost Boys. He takes a tumble and is caught, then claims he has treasure and rum buried all over the island. The bribe doesn’t work because the Lost Boys want Hook to pay for what happened to Pan. As swords are drawn, Tiger Lily (Sara Tomko) arrives to save the day. When he thanks her for the rescue, she injects him and puts him to sleep – just as she did the Lost Boys.

Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Regina (Lana Parrilla), David (Josh Dallas), and Henry (Jared Gilmore) go over Henry’s hieroglyphics which Isaac has interpreted to mean the Savior must fight the final battle. David recalls that Rumple told him Emma was destined to fight the final battle and apologizes for not understanding what he was talking about. Emma and Henry are going to head to the library to research and when her hand trembles, Henry assures his mom it will be okay.


David and Regina are convinced Emma can’t fight the final battle without her family. With Hook gone, Emma really needs David and Snow to be awake and by her side. Regina’s sorry it’s taking so long to break the curse and explains the cure will need testing. David latches onto that and asks if Regina has the cure now. She admits she does and David all but demands they move forward and use it without going through the testing process. He then has a flashback to the original sleeping curse Snow was under when his kiss awakened her all those years ago.

Another visit to the past takes us to the “time of the dark curse.” Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) walks the streets and everyone seems to be in horrible moods. When she accidentally runs into Regina, the mayor tells her not to waste her money bringing flowers to the John Doe asleep in the hospital. Regina tells Mary Margaret it looks like he’ll never wake up, and then smirks as she turns away.

Mary Margaret finds a flower growing in the cracks in the sidewalk and decides to bring it to John Doe. It does the trick and Prince Charming awakens, immediately on guard against the Evil Queen. He tells Mary Margaret that Snow White is in her and that he loves her and she loves him. Snow takes his hand and remembers. They passionately kiss.

And now we’re back to current events, and Snow agrees with the now-sleeping David. They need to risk it and take the cure. Zelena (Rebecca Mader) helps and Regina warns it will hurt. Zelena and Regina grab David and Snow’s hearts at the same time. They immerse the halves in the cure and place the hearts back inside Snow and David. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and worse, now they’ll both be trapped in an endless sleep by the end of the day. Damn the Evil Queen! Neither parent will be awake to help Emma in battle.

David sees Leroy (Lee Arenberg) in the hospital hallway and calls him Grumpy, asking about the other dwarves. Leroy is insulted and Snow explains he’s a patient from the psych ward to smooth things over.

Snow believes she and David are the only ones who realize who they really are, and David asks about Emma. Snow sends David off to see Rumple, reasoning that if anyone else is awake, it’s probably Rumple. Meanwhile, she’ll keep Regina – who’s currently trying to find the revived patient – occupied. Snow and David make a plan to meet up in an abandoned farmhouse in half an hour. Snow lies to Regina and tells her David was sleepwalking and last seen heading into the forest.

Present time in Storybrooke, Emma, Henry, Regina, Zelena, and David talk about the cure that didn’t work. Emma’s pissed they tried it and made things worse, but then David figures out that Snow found the cure and probably didn’t realize it. He shows them the flower on her phone and Regina and Zelena say it’s “pixie petals.” The pixie dust could break the curse, but Zelena warns everyone those flowers only spring up as a reaction to great evil. Bad news for Storybrooke, for sure. Zelena adds that whoever Emma will be fighting in the final battle is already in town.

Over at Rumple’s place, the Black Fairy (Jaime Murray) arrives along with Gideon (Giles Matthey). Rumple’s disappointed in his son, and then Belle (Emilie de Ravin) arrives and she’s equally upset. When Rumple moves against the Black Fairy, she whips out his dagger and forces him to stop. She wants Rumple to join her, but she claims she won’t force him. The Black Fairy thinks he’ll change his mind once the darkness arrives.

Back to the time of the dark curse, David and Rumple meet and Rumple acts like he doesn’t know what’s going on. He claims he doesn’t know what David’s talking about and David’s about to leave when Rumple recognizes the name Emma, but he doesn’t know where she is. David informs Rumple the pixie dust woke him up, and Rumple says it can do the same to Emma. (It has the power to reunite anyone who’s in love).

Now it’s time for David to go to sleep because the gang needs Snow’s tracking skills. Emma asks how he and her mom can work together when they’ve been apart for weeks, and David says it’s because he knows Snow is fighting for him like he’s fighting for her. He also tells her Hook is fighting for her wherever he’s trapped.

Speaking of the sexy pirate, he’s held captive by Tiger Lily and she won’t let him go until he agrees to deliver a piece of driftwood that’s a powerful weapon which will allow her people to win the upcoming war. Hook tells her he has to get back to the woman he loves because she’s in trouble, but Tiger Lily refuses to believe Hook could be dedicated to a woman. She insists he deliver the wood, telling him if he doesn’t do it, the Savior will die. That stuns Hook and he reveals he’s in love with the Savior. Tiger Lily believes him after seeing the engagement ring, and she says he must get the wood to the Savior because it’s the only thing that can defeat the Black Fairy. But, the problem is he’s still under a curse and can’t leave the island. Tiger Lily thinks Pan has a cure, but they’ll have to take on all the Lost Boys to get it. No problem says Hook – the boys don’t stand a chance.

Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) helps Regina and Snow search for “John Doe,” but they aren’t having any luck. Regina sends Dr. Hopper off to the mines to look, and Regina confronts Snow about being awake. Regina will blow up the tunnel she’s just sent Dr. Hopper off to explore if Snow doesn’t admit she and David are now awake. Before Snow can stab Regina with scissors she has concealed, other townsfolk show up to help search. Snow makes her escape, unseen.

Present day, Emma and Snow search for the pixie petals at night and find a field of them in the snow. The Black Fairy arrives, saying she’s been waiting to meet Emma. “I created the dark curse; you were born to break it. We’ve been destined to clash since the beginning of time,” says the Black Fairy. Gideon shows up and wipes out the field of pixie petals, with the Black Fairy taunting Snow that it’s better she and David can’t watch their daughter die. Before Snow can shoot her with an arrow, the Black Fairy vanishes along with Gideon.

Over in Neverland, Tiger Lily and Hook watch the Lost Boys dance around a fire. Tiger Lily says the piece of wood is part of the most powerful wand ever made, revealing she knows this because she used to be a fairy and when she failed at stopping the Black Fairy, she gave up her wings. Tiger Lily points out the tree containing the magical sap Hook needs and tells him she has a plan. She draws the attention of the Lost Boys and they charge after her, while Hook uses his hook to tap into the tree. However, before he can leave he’s spotted and the Lost Boys return to attack. He’s able to conjure up his shadow and passes the piece of wood to it to take to Emma.

Back in time, Snow and David reunite in the cabin. Rumple arrives and interrupts their plan to use the pixie petal to find Emma, revealing that it’s 18 years too early and if they wake her now, everyone will be trapped in this town forever. If they find her now, she’ll never fulfill her destiny and become the Savior and no one in town will get their memories back. Rumple suggests they drink a potion that will put them back to sleep until they’re supposed to wake and find Emma.

In the woods, Emma tells Snow it’s not her fault but Snow believes it is. Suddenly, they find one lone pixie petal flower still alive.

In a flashback, David and Snow use pixie dust to see Emma through a portal. The 10-year-old Emma is on a bed listening to a tape and seems happy. David wants to go through the door and rescue her but Snow knows if they go through the door, they’ll change everything. Emma will not become the Savior and fulfill her destiny. David doesn’t care but Snow is convinced leaving Emma alone for now is the right thing to do because everyone in town – all the people she’s grown to know and like – are separated (for now) from their loved ones. Snow doesn’t want to sentence them to this life forever and she tells David they have to believe Emma is strong enough to grow up without them. David finally agrees and they whisper their goodbyes to the child who doesn’t know them and can’t hear them.

Before the search party catches up with them, David and Snow swear they’ll always find each other and believe Emma will find them. They take the potion and their memories of who they are are wiped.

Emma and Snow arrive home and hand the pixie petal to Regina. She thinks it’s enough pixie dust to break the curse, but before they use it Hook’s shadow flies in through the window. Emma thinks it’s the Black Fairy but Henry recognizes it’s a shadow. Emma then sees that it’s Hook’s shadow and he hands her the piece of wood. Emma’s scared Hook’s in trouble, and when the shadow drops his hook to the floor, Emma knows something’s wrong. The shadow reaches out and caresses her face before flying off, leaving Emma with a piece of wood and no answers.

Henry tells his mom they’ll find Hook, but Emma doesn’t know how. Snow, who is just about to fall into an unending slumber next to David, says Emma can use the pixie dust to bring Hook home. She explains that she and David used it when Emma was a child, but didn’t go to her. Emma understands what happened and isn’t angry, knowing her mom and dad had to do what was right and put everyone else first. Snow says this time she’s putting Emma first, handing her the pixie dust.

Snow says she knows Emma will find a way to wake her parents, and that she knows Emma needs Hook for the final battle.

Emma lunges out of a portal on Neverland as Hook is being tied to a stake and sentenced to death by the Lost Boys. Hook and Emma fight their way through the Lost Boys and escape through the portal, while Tiger Lily smiles and makes a run for it the other direction. Emma and Hook return through the portal to Storybrooke where they land in David and Snow’s place. Hook apologizes for not telling her right away when he learned what he did to her grandfather, and that he shouldn’t have considered running away. Emma accepts his apology and Hook takes the engagement ring out once again, telling her he will always be by her side. He gets down on one knee and asks if she’ll marry him and she says yes. They kiss and he places the ring back on her finger.

Hook wants to tell David the truth and learns both Snow and David are in the sleeping curse. But, Regina now believes she might have figured out how to wake them.

The citizens of Storybrooke are gathered around David and Snow in Regina’s office while Regina thanks them for coming and apologizes for not always making their lives easy. She explains Snow and David sacrificed for the good of the town and now she wants the town to do something to help out the sleeping couple. Regina believes if everyone has a sip of the Evil Queen’s sleeping curse, then they might all share the curse and dilute its power. Hook’s the first to step up and say he’ll do it, followed by Regina, Emma, Henry, Leroy, Dr. Hopper, and the rest of the group. It works! David and Snow awaken and kiss. David thinks Snow did it but she’s just as confused as he is. They get off the table to find everyone asleep on the floor. Just seconds later, everyone wakes up and they’re all fine.

Hook asks if David knows the truth about his father, and David confirms Emma told him. David tells Hook that he believes the pirate is a changed man, something everyone noticed. David puts his hand on Hook’s shoulder, and Emma smiles.

As everyone hugs, Regina tells Snow and David it wouldn’t have worked if they hadn’t inspired the townspeople. Snow says no matter what, Emma will not face the Black Fairy alone.

Out in the center of town, the Black Fairy waits and Rumple arrives, now understanding the Black Fairy has Gideon’s heart and that’s why his son has turned to the dark side. The Black Fairy asks how Rumple figured it out, and he says he discovered the truth when he learned Gideon was able to keep one pixie petal alive. Gideon figured out a way to disobey the Black Fairy and she’s shocked. Rumple says Gideon was able to do it because he has his real mother, Belle, in him. The Black Fairy warns Rumple if he takes her on, it could be devastating for the town. Rumple admits that’s a price he’s willing to pay.




Rebecca Murray

Rebecca Murray

Editor in Chief at Showbiz Junkies
Journalist covering the entertainment industry for 19+ years, including 13 years as the first writer for About.com's Hollywood Movies site. Member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and President of the San Diego Film Critics Society.
Rebecca Murray
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  • MALCOLM MERLYN JR

    I must rate Once Upon A Time “Awake” as 1.50 stars out of 5.00. Drivel indeed of the highest order. I can’t imagine who on earth penned this trash and why. Going back to the Dark Curse to make it all about Snow Stupid and Prince Idiot? How droll. And the method used to awaken both Stupid and Idiot? Can’t for the life of me imagine how everyone else in town drinking a portion (lots of portions to go around I see) of the sleeping curse had any chance of lifting said curse from the shared heart of Stupid and Idiot. There were only two scenes in this episode worth watching. And they both involved the Black/Dark Family of Storybrooke. Jaime Murray is simply outstanding as the Black Fairy and as always, Robert Carlyle shines as Rumplestiltskin. Wish there was more of them shown during this outing. Lana Parilla as Regina is boring, she performs better as the Evil Queen. Too bad the Evil Queen was unceremoniously dumped with some cock-a-mamie nonsense of starting anew with a fake Robin, when in Season 5 all versions of him were “wiped” from existence via the Olympian Crystal. Forget the UnSavior Emma, (my hands are shaking again due to Meth Withdrawal) Swann, the battle I want to see is the Dark One vs the Black Fairy. I really am curious to find out how much, if anything, of Storybrooke would be left after an epic encounter between these two. Fireball for fireball, who would win? Or will The Black Fairy lure the Dark One to her way of thinking?