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Once Upon a Time Recap: Regina's Road to Redemption Begins in "We Are Both"

Robert Carlyle, Once Upon a Time ABC/JACK ROWAND

"Magic, it could set you free," according to Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle). 

Or, you know, it could cause you to lose everyone you love and turn you into a bitter fake-Mayor, which is something we learned during tonight's episode of Once Upon a Time, titled "We Are Both."

With Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) stuck in Fairy-Tale Land, Charming (Josh Dallas) begins his quest to find them, which led to the return of a fan favorite, Jefferson (Sebastian Stan), and a town meeting. Plus, viewers got to see Rumple and Regina's (Lana Parrilla) first meeting.

OUAT bosses tease Emma's flashback episode

Memory Loss: The fairy tale characters—the seven dwarves to be exact—are trying to leave Storybrooke, something the curse prevented them from doing. Sneezy is the guinea pig that gets sent over the line and loses his memory all over again. Basically, their cursed selves become their only selves. (Curiously enough, no one is more upset over this development than Rumple.)

Of course, the town is in panic-mode, unsure of what to do, and turn to their Prince for help. Unfortunately, Charming is a little preoccupied trying to find a way to save his wife and daughter, saying, "I need my family." 

Though he says "Snow did the talking," Charming gives an impassioned speech to convince the townsfolk to stay in Storybrooke. "David and the Prince, I am both. Just like you. The town is both. We are both," he says. And just like that, all the townsfolk decide to stay and rebuild. #Charming4Prez. Also of note, the dwarves are on a mission to find fairy dust to reclaim Sneezy's memories, which could also help Charming get to Fairy-Tale Land.

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Regina's Rebirth: This episode's flashback was dedicated to Regina and learning how she became so evil. It's pretty simple: mommy issues. After Cora (Barbara Hershey) had her love Daniel killed, so she would marry the Prince, Regina wants to escape, telling her power-obsessed mother, "I don't want power. I want to be free." Cora's response? "Power is freedom."

Regina learns that a man named Rumplestiltskin taught Cora everything she knows, so she summons him to help her, leading to their first meeting. Kind of. Turns out, Rumple has been waiting for their meeting for a long time. (Translation: She was definitely one of the kids he sold.)

Though Rumple points out how powerful she is, a timid and soft-spoken Regina says she doesn't want magic, just her freedom. He gives her a way to get rid of her mother: a portal to "another world," which she can send Cora to. Regina eventually goes through with it and you can tell she really likes the feeling of magic, so she takes Rumple up on his offer to teach her all of his tricks.

Magic's return to OUAT brought bittersweet reunions and a huge twist

Of course, this flashback relates to what Regina is going through with Henry in Storybrooke, as she's using the same tricks as Cora did to try and keep him.  "I don't want to be you," Henry tells her after she uses magic to force him to come home with her. Later, Regina decides to let Henry go with Charming, saying,  "I don't know how to love very well…If you hold onto someone too hard, that doesn't make them love you…I want to redeem myself." (Probably Lana Parrilla's best acting moment to date, no?) However, she still doesn't' destroy her mother's book of magic, so we're not sure she's quitting her day job as a villain quite yet. 

Mother-Daughter Bonding: And by bonding, we mean Snow and Emma were tied up and forced to walk all the way to Mulan's (Jamie Chung) homebase in Fairy-Tale Land, where they were promptly locked up after trying to run away. And who else would be locked up in the same prison cell, but Cora! Dun-dun-dun!

Hot Men Update: Charming's investigation of the hat that acted as portal to Fairy-Tale Land leads to Stan's highly anticipated return to OUAT. After being rescued from an over-turned car by Charming, he repays the favor by not helping at all (thought he does reveal that they are in the enchanted forest). "Two lives forever at odds. Double the pain, double the suffering," Jefferson says of their lives, before running off to be crazy (and crazy hot) somewhere else. Don't worry, he'll be back next week! As for August (Eion Bailey) aka Pinocchio? He woke up still wooden in the beginning of the episode and was nowhere to be found when Gepetto arrived later. Did he leave Storybrooke behind? Discuss. 

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