After taking a short break, ABC’s Once Upon a Time returned with the ninth episode of season six airing on November 27, 2016. The episode titled ‘Changelings’ finds sisters battling each other, Aladdin making a life-changing decision, and Gold still set on being a part of his son’s life no matter what. Plus, the reason Rumple hates fairies is finally revealed.
Episode nine begins with Gold (Robert Carlyle) being interrupted by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) as he threatens a fairy. She wants to know why he despises them so, and he changes the subject by reminding her she needs to kill her sister or they can’t be together. They can rule as partners if she gets rid of Zelena. But first, he needs to send a message via a fairy. He ages the captured one up and sends her back to Mother Superior.
Mother Superior (Keegan Connor Tracy) and the gang discuss Gold and the Evil Queen’s plan, and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) knows Gold’s end game is their son. He’s going to use the Shears of Destiny to sever their son’s ties and corrupt him. Belle believes Gold is trying to scare her and that’s why he’s revealing his plan.
Back in Fairy Tale Land, Rumple tosses a baby in a basket to Belle to be taken care of. He says the child is his now and Belle’s stunned he stole a baby. Gold doesn’t even know the child’s name and warns her the baby’s not going to be around for long.
In Storybrooke, Belle looks through books at the library and finds one with instructions on how to defeat the Dark One. Page one says to follow the strand and when she closes the book, a red strand of ribbon appears on the floor. She follows it into a cave and it leads her to the Shears of Destiny. When she tries to pick them up, they disappear. She realizes she’s in the dream world again and sees her son. They hug and he says he’s there to warn her about Gold’s plan to cut the strand (which represents his fate) as soon as he’s born. He says the answer to saving him is inside her, but she must do so quickly.
Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) is excited over her students’ grades but Princess Jasmine (Karen David) is too distracted and worried about the lamp Aladdin found to think about teaching. They both know genies are unpredictable and their magic comes at a high price, but Snow reminds Jasmine it’s never too late to be a hero.
Belle’s still in the library but now Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) have arrived to help her. She tells them about her dream and shows them the book she was reading. Hook immediately recognizes the ink in the book is squid ink which can stun Rumple. When he’s stunned, they can get the shears from him. Although Belle wants to help, Hook and Emma don’t want to put her in jeopardy.
Back in time, Belle has bonded with the baby and tries to steal it away before Rumple can do anything with it.
In Storybrooke, the Evil Queen pays a visit to Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Zelena immediately realizes Gold sent her. Zelena knows she’s in deep trouble, kisses her baby, and confronts her sister. They step outside to do battle with magic and as the Evil Queen attempts to kill her sister, Regina shows up and holds their shared heart in her hand. The Evil Queen grabs her chest in immense pain. If Regina crushes their heart, then Zelena will live. Of course, that also means she and the Evil Queen will die but Regina’s willing to do what it takes to save her sister. Regina demands to know why she’s attacking Zelena, and Zelena reveals Rumple made the Evil Queen kill her if she wanted to be in a relationship with him. Regina tells the Evil Queen Gold lied to her, and she figures out the Evil Queen has a hole in her heart that she’s desperate to fill.
Hook shows up at Gold’s shop, telling Gold he wants to stop him from ruining the life of another of his sons. As Gold begins to attack Hook, Emma stuns him and they quickly begin their search for the dagger or the shears. As they’re searching, Emma has another disturbing vision of her death. She’s weakened by the vision and neither notice Gold is no longer stunned and has left the shop.
Gold’s now at the library and he tells Belle dried squid ink isn’t powerful enough to hold him. He swears he won’t lose another son and he has brought the fairy dust with him that will age Belle so she’ll immediately deliver their baby.
In another flashback, we see Belle reading a note about the Black Fairy. It’s yet another trick pulled off by Rumple who deliberately led her to the tower room and to the note. She can read fairy, he can’t, but now he knows what the note said. He takes the baby and locks Belle in the tower.
In Storybrooke’s library, Belle tries to escape but Gold stops her. She tells him it doesn’t have to be like this and he replies that it does. He has decided he’s a man no one can love, but he can start over with this son. Maybe their boy will love him. Belle says she just wanted him to try, and Gold said that’s what he’s been doing. She warns him that if he uses the magic fairy dust, he’s not just pushing her away. He’ll be losing her forever. Surprisingly, he doesn’t use the dust after she asks him if that’s a price he’s willing to pay.
Regina heals a cut on her sister’s face while Zelena admits she should have been the one to reach out and apologize. Regina confesses she was actually at Zelena’s to find a cure for an aging spell, and Zelena wonders why she even bothered saving her. Regina reminds her that’s what heroes do, even if the person they save has hurt them. And now the siblings are back to fighting about Robin’s death. The wound is still fresh and Regina tells Zelena she can never forgive her. She’ll pity her, hate her, and spare her life, but she won’t forgive her.
Over at the Charming house, Princess Jasmine rubs the lamp and two gold bracelets fall to the floor. There isn’t a genie inside the lamp which means she can’t get back to Agrabah. Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) picks up the bracelets and slaps one on his wrist while Jasmine tries to stop him since that means he’ll become a prisoner of the lamp. He’s okay with that, and he’ll model his behavior after the greatest genie they ever met. He places the second bracelet on his wrist and is sucked into the lamp.
The Evil Queen is back at Gold’s shop and she sees that he didn’t use the fairy dust on Belle. She tells him she knows he’s just using her, just like Regina said. The Evil Queen says Belle will always realize that Gold is not the man she wants him to be and that after she has their baby, she’ll leave and Gold will be alone. That will be just like what happened with Baelfire. (That’s a pretty low blow, even for the Evil Queen!) Gold tells her not to question him again and sends the Evil Queen away.
Flashback to Fairy Tale Land and Belle’s still stuck in the tower. She calls out for help and the Blue Fairy arrives to save the day. Belle tells her about the baby who’s in danger, and Blue explains the Black Fairy has a dark heart and steals children. Rumple will be trying to lure the Black Fairy out and Blue needs Belle to save the baby, so she sets Belle free.
Over at Granny’s diner, Hook and Emma pledge to keep Belle safe. Hook then pulls Emma aside to discuss what she saw in her latest vision. She tells him the sword that was used to kill her had a red jewel at the bottom of it. Just then Belle breaks her tea cup and her stomach rapidly expands. She begs, “Please no!”
Returning to the saga of the stolen baby, Rumple says an incantation to the night sky and the Black Fairy arrives. Belle watches from the woods as the Black Fairy lands near the baby. Rumple freezes her with squid ink and asks her why, since she steals babies all the time, she abandoned the one child who was hers. Rumple is that child and this is definitely not a happy mother and child reunion. She didn’t give him a name and he demands to know why he was abandoned. She says she chose power over love, and then tells him he’ll have to keep on wondering before flying off. Belle picks up and cradles the baby, protecting it from Rumple.
In Storybrooke, Belle is being taken care of by the fairies and Mother Superior. Emma is assisting with the birth as Belle enters the dream world to visit one more time with her son. He tells her she knows what she must do in order to stop Gold from using the Shears of Destiny, and she hugs him tightly telling him she loves him more than anything. He swears he’ll never forget it and reminds her not to forget the book.
Belle’s baby boy has arrived and Belle asks Mother Superior for help. She wants her to be his fairy godmother and to take him somewhere safe. Emma doesn’t understand what’s going on, but Belle wants her boy safe until this is all over. She believes that time will eventually come, and Mother Superior agrees to deliver the boy to safety. Hook hands Belle the book she asked for and Belle makes Mother Superior promise to read it to him. She says good-bye to her baby boy and calls him a “hero for all time.” Gold enters the house and watches as Blue flies off with their baby, accusing Belle of abandoning their son. She tells him it’s over and there’s nothing left for him to say, and when he asks for his child’s name, she refuses to reveal it. Gold says he’d never hurt her but promises he will find their son.
Back in Fairy Tale Land, Belle delivers the baby Rumple took back to the worried parents.
The Evil Queen’s waiting for Gold when he returns to his shop. He tries to send her away but she says she’s going to enjoy watching what happens since he poisoned his love. She confirms she’s the one who dosed Belle’s tea, but claims he forced her hand. The Evil Queen is fully aware Belle won’t believe he didn’t do it and he swears he’ll make her pay for what she’s done. Gold tells her he plays a long game and she’s just a pawn, and the Evil Queen wishes him good luck finding his son. “I hear fairies make wonderful mothers,” she says before walking out of the shop. Angry, Gold starts tearing up the shop.
Hook meets up with Emma at Granny’s and says Belle’s doing fine. Emma really wants to know what happens to her in the future, so she and Hook return to Gold’s shop hoping to find the sword from her vision. It’s there and as she touches it, she sees her death again. She picks it up again and they wonder why it’s in Gold’s shop. They hope the sword will lead them to who’s responsible for her death so they can stop him/her.