ABC’s Once Upon a Time season six episode two introduced us to the Count of Monte Cristo who arrives in Storybrooke with the mission of killing Snow White and Prince Charming. However, it’s the Evil Queen’s return that creates havoc among the heroes of Storybrooke as she’s behind the Count’s need to kill Snow and Charming and will be pulling the strings to set the heroes on edge. The episode kicks off with Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) taking a nighttime stroll through the graveyard to Regina’s vault. The Evil Queen is taking the magic Regina has stored up and believes Zelena won’t tell on her. The Evil Queen says she won’t hurt Regina; she’ll just be teaching her a lesson. And, she promises at the end Zelena will get a sister who appreciates all of her qualities.
Henry (Jared Gilmore) and Regina are ready to begin Operation Cobra Part 2 in which Regina’s no longer the villain. The people from the Land of Untold Stories are gathered in Granny’s diner where David leads the gang in distributing supplies. Regina enters and welcomes them as Mayor of Storybrooke, telling them that she realizes they were afraid their stories would play out and that’s why they were in the Land of Untold Stories. She confides she’s also unsure of the future and just getting a fresh start, but assures them they will face the future together.
Just then Belle (Emilie de Ravin) arrives and everyone’s happy to have her back. She needs a place to stay and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) says they’ll find her something comfortable. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) thinks he knows just the place but Emma can’t go with them because she has an appointment with Archie. Hook’s happy she’s going to counseling and Emma admits she needs it. Off Hook and Belle go to find lodging.
In walks a stranger and Henry asks for his name. He says he’s not in the book and while Henry looks, he disappears leaving behind an enveloped sealed with an ‘M’.
Flashback to a ball hosted by the Count of Monte Cristo (the stranger in Storybrooke). He toasts the Baron who doesn’t recognize him. Finally he does, calling him Edmond Dantès. The Baron put Edmond in prison after murdering his fiancée and burning down his home and now he’s back as the Count of Monte Cristo (Craig Horner). The Count wants revenge but needs to know who helped him. The Baron doesn’t name names and the Count kills him. The guests flee but the Evil Queen remains.
The Evil Queen’s impressed with the Count’s decades-long quest for revenge, and she offers him the names of the people who were involved in his fiancée’s death and destroying his life. All she wants in exchange is help getting revenge of her own.
Henry shows the letter to David (Josh Dallas) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Henry guesses the guy was Dracula. But no, it’s the Count of Monte Cristo and David has no idea why he wants to meet with them. Regina overhears and says the Count wants them dead. He wants revenge and the only way to get it is by killing David and Snow. Regina confesses she actually hired him to do it.
Emma reveals her secret about the tremors and visions to Archie who attempts to work her through the details. He thinks if she talks about it, it will stop haunting her. He wonders why she hasn’t told her family, but as the savior she doesn’t want them to have to protect her. She wants Archie to help her win the fight and protect her loved ones, but he doesn’t have an easy answer. She leaves, unsatisfied.
Regina, David, and Snow visit the Count’s room and find more letters as well as weapons. Regina didn’t realize he’d make it to Storybrooke and now she’s going to accept the invitation and meet him so she can fire him. Snow wonders if they even have to worry about him, given the fact it’s taken forever for him to find them. Regina says, “Well, that’s not exactly true.”
Flashback to Snow, Charming, and the dwarfs looking through the latest village to be ransacked by the Evil Queen. They come upon Edmond and Snow’s handmaiden, Charlotte, sets to work healing his wounds. He looks at her strangely, saying, “Your eyes.” Edmond wants revenge on the Evil Queen but Snow says they have to rise above that. They offer him the position of wine steward at their castle and he accepts.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Regina meets with the Count. She wants to call off their deal but Edmond doesn’t accept. She says he doesn’t need revenge but he advises her not even she can stop him at this point. He disappears, but not before throwing his sword at Regina.
Emma promises Regina she’ll keep David and Snow safe, and she attempts to drive them out of town against their will. It doesn’t work and the squad car crashes into an invisible barrier at the county line.
Hook offers Belle a place to stay on board the Jolly Roger. She doesn’t understand why he’d risk Rumple’s wrath – and possibly his own life – for her. He explains that long ago he tried to kill her at the Queen’s castle but failed. She tells him he’s changed since then, but he insists he’s still got a long way to go before he can be someone he’s proud of. He hasn’t forgiven himself yet. She accepts his offer of a place to stay.
Regina and Henry meet Emma at the Storybrooke county line. There’s a protection spell around the city and it’s the same spell Regina’s used before, a spell that can only be worked with ingredients she sealed in her vault with blood magic. Zelena shows up and Regina wants to know who would put up a protection spell by entering her locked vault. Zelena insists she didn’t do it but doesn’t say who did.
The Evil Queen is practicing her sword fighting skills and asks the Count for a lesson or two. He can’t because he’s off to a meeting with Snow White and Prince Charming. She hands him venom from a viper which is a slow and painful poison, and he doesn’t understand what they could have possibly done to deserve it. Despite his protests, she knows he wants his revenge and will do her bidding.
Rumple (Robert Carlyle) confronts the Evil Queen right after the Count leaves, telling her h3 didn’t train her to have someone else do her dirty work. He gave her the dark curse so she could take Snow and Charming somewhere where she could hurt them. Still, she’s not worried Rumple will stop the Count because she placed a protection spell on him just like the one he put on Snow and Charming.
Back in Storybrooke, Rumple spies an open cabinet. He knows he’s been visited by the Evil Queen and she appears, believing he should be happy she’s back. She gives him back what she just took, and he offers up a deal. If she leaves Belle and his unborn son out of it, she can take the coin she wants to steal. Then in a strange and unsettling twist, she comes on to Rumple, saying their own story never played out. She thinks he’ll eventually get tired of waiting for Belle and “that’s when the real fun can begin.” Meow!
The Count puts the poison into the wine, and right before Snow and Charming take a drink they invite Charlotte to the table for a toast. He pours a glass for them, but pauses before pouring one for Charlotte. They raise their glasses to toast and he says, “Wait!” right before they sip. He removes their wine, saying he has a better bottle in the cellar.
Regina and Henry walk through the woods by the crashed ship and she blames herself for how things are turning out. They stumble upon Charlotte who’s been poisoned. She touches Charlotte and the Evil Queen appears and says, “The handmaiden’s story is catching up with her, just like yours is catching up with you. Miss me?” She then looks at Henry and tells him mommy’s back, and Regina’s completely confused as to how the Evil Queen survived. The Evil Queen can’t believe Regina threw her away, and Regina tries to use her magic but can’t because the Evil Queen laced Charlotte’s gown with a magic dampening spell. Regina puts two and two together and realizes the Evil Queen has been controlling the Count. The Evil Queen laughs and says he’s about to kill Snow and Charming.
Down at the dock, Snow and Charming tell Edmond it’s all a big misunderstanding. They try to convince him the Queen is their friend and she doesn’t want him to do this but he continues his attack. They fight back and he reveals she – the Evil Queen – has his heart. They continue fighting and Edmond gets the better of them, knocking them both out. He confesses this isn’t the ending he wishes for any of them.
In a flashback, Rumple wants to know why the Count didn’t poison Snow and Charming and he says it was because of Charlotte. He won’t try again because they don’t deserve to die. Rumple needs Snow and Charming alive, which means he has to make sure the Count won’t be tempted to kill them ever again. He poisons Charlotte instead, telling the Count there isn’t any cure. However, a special key will allow him to go to a special world. If he goes through there to the special world where all the stories stop, then Charlotte won’t die. He agrees and off they go.
Back in Storybrooke, Edmond is about to kill Snow and David when Regina stops him. Another sword fight breaks out and he says he can’t fight the Evil Queen. Regina says Charlotte has died but she wants to save him. Her magic doesn’t work and Henry can’t use his phone to call Emma (the Evil Queen did something to it). Edmond’s just about to kill Snow and David when Regina throws her sword and kills him. Henry comforts his mom and just then the Evil Queen appears. Snow and David can’t believe she’s back, and Regina threatens to rip the Evil Queen’s heart out. Regina figures out the Evil Queen actually wanted her to kill the Count to prove she still has darkness inside her. The darkness that’s been awakened will only grow, says the Evil Queen, gleefully. Snow confronts the Evil Queen and tells her they’ll defeat her again. But the Evil Queen threatens that the people from the Land of Untold Stories aren’t the only ones with tales they want to keep hidden and she’ll watch the heroes tear themselves apart.
Snow and Emma tell Regina it’s not her fault, that’s just what the Evil Queen wants her to believe. Snow says you can’t beat her by running; you have to get ahead of her plan. Snow suggests Regina should try to think like the Evil Queen and figure out what she meant by having stories they don’t want told. Emma touches Regina’s arm and once again she has a vision of her own death. Just then Hook and David enter the diner and join Henry at the counter where he’s beating himself up over the ending to the Count’s story. Henry says they need to find out why these people ran from their own stories and why they don’t want them to play out. David spots an envelope with his name on it and inside is the coin the Evil Queen took from Gold’s shop. She’s waiting for him outside the diner and he tells her the untold story attached to that coin has played out. It was his dad’s good luck charm and he’s made peace with the way his father died. She asks him if he’s sure his father’s death was an accident.
The Evil Queen gives Zelena a baby rattle her mother owned and Zelena wants to know why she’d give her a gift. The Evil Queen admires Zelena’s ability to keep a secret and now she won’t doubt her again. The Evil Queen’s convinced she’s actually the sister Zelena wants, not Regina.
Emma visits Archie and tells him he’s right. She should tell her family about her visions. They discuss the Evil Queen and Emma’s worried about who it is under the hood. She thinks it’s the one person who wasn’t with her family in the vision: Regina. Archie wonders if she’s worried about Regina or the Evil Queen. Emma’s not sure of the answer.