ABC performs a massive reboot of Once Upon a Time with season seven’s first episode. Season seven episode one begins with a farewell to the teenage Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore). Henry and Regina (Lana Parrilla) reluctantly say goodbye, with Regina wishing he’d go to college but Henry reminding her he’s still the author. Now, he needs to figure out his own story and he knows that’s not in Storybrooke. When he finished the book, he found hundreds of other books in the Sorcerer’s mansion. There are endless possibilities for the fairy tale characters, different worlds and nationalities, but he’s the only author. He needs to figure out where he belongs.
Henry, looking much more mature, heads off on his motorcycle after tossing a bean and opening a portal. He tells Regina he loves her and speeds off on an adventure.
A New Realm Years Later – A grown-up Henry (Andrew J West) is still racing around on his motorcycle. Cinderella (Dania Ramirez) is in a carriage and nearly crashes into him. She’s thrown from her carriage and knocked unconscious.
Seattle, Present Day – Henry’s driving at a much safer speed, earning money as a Lyft-type driver. At home, he’s trying to concentrate on writing when a small child knocks at his door. She introduces herself as Lucy (Alison Fernandez) and says she’s his daughter. He doesn’t believe her, but she tells him the curse changed his memories. She calls his place a dump, and isn’t at all impressed with her favorite writer. She then explains his life is like his book – he can’t remember because he’s cursed and not living his own story.
Lucy wants him to go to Hyperion Heights where the other fairy tale characters live, including her mom, Cinderella. He tries to convince her he never met any of the fairy tale characters, never flew with Peter Pan, and never did any of the fantastic things he wrote about. She’s desperate for his help because Victoria Belfrey (Gabrielle Anwar) is trying to force all the fairy tale characters out by making other people move in.
Henry keeps trying to get Lucy to leave, telling the young girl her mother has to save herself.
In Hyperion Heights, Jacinda/Cinderella is running down the street, racing to show up at work before her boss, Louie, notices. She’s late and gets in trouble and when she defends a fellow worker he threatens her job unless she apologizes. She won’t and he taunts her saying she has to apologize because this job’s the best she can do. Jacinda stands her ground and quits.
Back in the other realm, Henry helps Cinderella up and she insults him, his driving, and his motorcycle. He says he has to get through the portal and Cinderella informs him she also has somewhere to go and a Prince to find. He offers her a ride on his motorcycle and she breaks into a smile before taking him up on his offer.
Back in the present day, Henry discovers Lucy has stolen his laptop and left a note telling him where to meet her to retrieve it.
Henry’s forced to visit Hyperion Heights and watches incredulously as a young woman jumps from the top of a building and lands in front of him on the sidewalk. She doesn’t say anything. He then heads into Roni’s bar, owned by none other than Regina (Parrilla) who goes by Roni in this world. They don’t recognize each other and she reveals she’s sold the place to Victoria Belfrey, and this is her last day as owner. Victoria’s buying up everything and Roni admits they can’t fight it. Comparing bad days, Henry asks what she’d say if he walked through the door and told her he’s her son.
Cinderella hops on the motorcycle and before they take off, she asks how her story ends. He tells her she usually leaves a sign – the glass slipper – and that’s how the Prince finds her. She punches Henry in the face and takes off on his motorcycle. Henry smiles and most likely regrets telling her about the gas and brakes.
Jacinda returns home and tells her roomie she quit. They’re worried what Jacinda’s stepmom, Victornia Belfrey, will say since she was reluctant to let her have custody of Lucy in the first place. Jacinda heads to Lucy’s room to wake her up, but of course she’s not there.
Victoria arrives at Belfrey Towers and everyone in the office hurries into place. No one is allowed to look Victoria in the eye, and Victoria warns her assistant, Ivy (Adelaide Kane), she has to find her granddaughter or else she’s out of a job.
In the other realm, Lady Tremaine (also Gabrielle Anwar) cut off Cinderella’s fairy godmother’s wings. Drizella (also Adelaide Kane) is ready for the ball and looks gorgeous. Lady Tremaine uses the fairy godmother’s wand and sends her away, telling Drizella to chain up Cinderella if she ever returns.
In the present day, Lucy makes a wish in what’s now a sad and abandoned lot. Jacinda catches her and lets her make her wish even though she personally doesn’t believe in miracles. Jacinda reminds her it’s time for ballet class and Lucy confesses she found her dad.
Jacinda arrives at Roni’s place and hands Henry back his laptop, apologizing for her daughter. He’s thankful and admits he started to wonder if he actually had a kid, but he would have remembered meeting her. They toast with drinks courtesy of Roni.
Back in the other realm, Cinderella has made it to the ball and watches as Tiana turns down frog legs. She spots the Prince just as Henry asks her for a dance. He brought her her lucky flower, a hyacinth, and they dance. He’s less concerned about his motorcycle than he is his dagger she stole. He figured out she’s not there to fall in love with the Prince; she’s there to kill him. She reveals the Prince took everything from her and she’s out for revenge. Henry warns her she won’t get her happy ending that way. He thinks maybe she can start over and suggests she accompany him to a new land where she can find her own story.
Cinderella doesn’t give in and says, “It sounds lovely but if you knew what he’d done, you’d understand.”
As Cinderella leaves to find the Prince, Henry falls to the floor, poisoned. He drank Alice’s potion and now he’s in Alice’s Wonderland tied up.
In real life, Alice (Rose Reynolds) visits the weaver (Robert Carlyle) and tells him there’s someone new in town.
Jacinda and Henry discuss relationships, and she said it was a fling that gave her Lucy. He wants to know what about her story she would change, and she confesses she always imagined having a little home on a nearby island with Lucy. Henry tells her he thinks it sounds perfect.
Victoria interrupts, demanding to know why Lucy snuck out of Jacinda’s place to see a strange man. Victoria tells Jacinda she’s taking Lucy back, permanently, causing Lucy to run out of the bar.Henry says, “I’m starting to understand the whole Cinderella thing.”
Victoria warns him Lucy isn’t there to fill a hole in his life and he needs to go back to his writing and his fairy tale lands. She warns him if Lucy gets hurt, he’ll be sorry he came to Hyperion Heights.
Henry leaves the bar and can’t find his car. He tells a cop, but the cop couldn’t care less. And now we get to see Colin O’Donoghue for the first time this season. He’s Officer Rogers who is much more helpful. He tells Henry his car is likely stripped and in a parking lot somewhere. Henry and Rogers head out to look for it.
In the other realm, Alice is angry Henry thinks she’s only from Wonderland. She’s from other places too, and she knows he’s Henry Mills. Rumple told her and she knows Rumple is his grandpa. She warns him this isn’t his story and that bad things will happen. Alice tells him to forget Cinderella and go home, but Henry is determined to help her.
Lucy scatters beans around the vacant lot when Henry finds her and asks if she helped steal his car. She has no idea where it is and tries to stop him when he says he has to go home. Henry says he’s not the one to save her and Lucy tells him it didn’t happen right away with Emma, either. He yells at Lucy, telling her it’s not a curse. He remembers he had a family and he lost them. He had a wife and a kid and he lost them in a fire. They died, but Lucy says that’s a curse memory. She’s his daughter and her mom is his wife – his true love. She tells him to just start his new story.
Henry leaves Lucy as Jacinda drives up. She tells Lucy they’re about to go live their story. Of course, her car breaks down so they can’t leave and Lucy says it’s not the car, it’s the curse. Jacinda says they’ll walk instead.
In the other realm, Cinderella dances with the Prince and he’s charming. She whips out Henry’s dagger and reminds him he destroyed her family. She can’t stab him but Lady Tremaine can and does. Cinderella’s stunned. Lady Tremaine says the Prince rejected her Drizella and so she took matters into her own hands. Henry races up and tells Cinderella to take his bike and meet him at the portal at midnight. As she tries to flee the ball, a fight with the guards breaks out. She and Henry are involved in a sword fight, and she flees as Henry remains and holds them off.
Back to current events, Victoria demands Officer Rogers find her granddaughter. She suspects Henry knows where her stepdaughter and granddaughter are, and she claims she’s just trying to help them. She says if he wants his car back, he’ll help find her girls.
Lucy refuses to leave the city but Jacinda is adamant they can’t stay. Jacinda reveals Victoria wants Lucy to live with her permanently. Jacinda wants to go live on that island, but she understands why her daughter needs to believe in fairy tales. Jacinda begs her to just this once believe in her, and Lucy says she does. As they hug, Rogers and Drizella arrive in Rogers’ squad car.
Drizella announces that Henry told them about the island fantasy and that’s how they found them. Lucy can’t believe Henry would do that, but Rogers said Henry thought he was helping. Drizella takes Lucy’s “Once Upon a Time” book and gives it to Rogers to destroy. He looks through the pages and is soon lost in thought.
Henry gets his car back and there’s not wrong with it. Jacinda arrives and tells him she hopes giving away her secret was worth it. She wishes him luck on his second book.
In the other realm, Henry arrives at the portal and calls out for Cinderella. She’s doesn’t reply and his cellphone alarm tells him it’s midnight. The portal opens and then he spots one of Cinderella’s glass slippers. He lets the portal close and says, “Operation Glass Slipper is a go.”
Back at the station, Rogers is informed he’s made detective after impressing Victoria Belfrey. He’s introduced to his new partner, Rumple. They shake hands as they’re introduced, and Rumple says he believes they’ll do great work together.
Roni is signing the paperwork to turn over the bar to Victoria when she stops, deciding she’s no longer going to sell it. She thinks it’s time Victoria felt what it’s like to have someone fight back. Roni says it’s her bar, her home, her life. She doesn’t care if it’s seen better days; it could have better days again.
Jacinda heads back to her old job at Mr. Cluck’s and her boss takes her back.
Henry has a bouquet of flowers but the address – 10th and Oak – no longer has a cemetery. A passerby says she doesn’t remember a cemetery ever being there.
Rogers looks through the “Once Upon a Time” book, staring at a picture of Emma.
Jacinda sweeps the floor and finds a quarter. She takes it to the well and makes a wish.
Henry sits down to work on his new book which currently only reads, “Poetic opening line goes here…” He erases that and begins writing.
Roni says the first step to a new beginning is imagining one is even possible. She rips up the contract, determined to not let Victoria take her dreams away.