‘Once Upon A Time’ S2 Ep 3 recap: Mama knows best

S2 Ep 3
Meet ‘OUAT’s’ Lancelot! (Photo credit: ABC) 

Last night’s “Lady of the Lake” finally gave us a look at how life is treating Emma and Snow White in post-curse Fairytale Land. Throughout their trials, Emma learns how to adapt to a whole new world, realizes the sacrifices her parents truly made, and begins opening up to her mother. Fairytale Land flashbacks provide some back-story on Snow and Lancelot’s introduction, reveal Snow and Charming’s impromptu wedding, and expose another threat that has followed the Charming family to Storybrooke. Meanwhile, in the recovering Maine town, Henry pleads with David, hoping they can work together to find their family.

Fairytale Land: “Parents put their children first.”

A newly engaged Snow White and Prince Charming stand firm in their fight to take back the kingdom. As they camp out in the Enchanted Forest, Red rushes to them with a warning. King George (P.C.’s faux-father) has sent his most feared knight after them: Lancelot (a.k.a. The Leviathan). Charming and Snow split up, planning to meet at his mother’s cabin later. As Snow flees, she runs into Lancelot, who has gone from honorable knight of King Arthur’s Round Table to a sword-for-hire. Lancelot doesn’t inflict any harm; he simply follows orders and takes her to King George.

Snow White confronts the king, telling him he knows nothing of True Love and cannot understand why Charming betrayed the cruel king to be with her. King George begs to differ. He was in love once, but the woman he loved was cursed to be barren. Now, the king has cast the same curse on Snow. He poured the same potion in Snow’s chalice and she will never be able to have children. Lancelot clearly didn’t see this coming and feels horrible for what happened. When the king’s men drop Snow off in the Enchanted Forest, Lancelot appears and offers to take her to Charming. He says the king planned an attack on Charming and his mother at her cottage.

Prince Charming’s happy reunion with his mother is violently interrupted by an ambush of the king’s guards. P.C. single-handedly fights them all off, suddenly his mother runs out, thinking he was calling for her in pain. She gets shot by a poisoned arrow. As Charming cradles her in his arms, Snow and Lancelot arrive. Mama Charming is delighted to meet the princess who captured her son’s heart, even if it is on her deathbed. Snow think she could be healed with fairy dust, but P.C. believes she needs something stronger, like the magic water from the lake that cured Abigail’s statuesque sweetheart, Frederick.

As they journey to the lake, Charming questions Lancelot’s “fall from grace” as one of the kingdom’s most well-respected knights. Lancelot, like Charming, fell for a woman. Enough said. (Hopefully this means we will get to learn more about his past with King Arthur and Guinevere sometime this season.) Meanwhile, Mama Charming gives Snow an heirloom. A gypsy had given her necklace that predicts the sex of your future children. Since she will not live long enough to meet her grandchildren, Mama would at least like to know if her future grandchild will be a boy or a girl. Snow is hesitant and Mama soon realizes why. Mama Charming tells her the water will heal them both and assures Snow that she will be a “wonderful mother.”

Once they reach their destination, they discover that the lake has dried. Charming killed the Siren who guarded the lake and deceived him. It seems that without the Lady, there is no lake. Nonetheless, Lancelot follows his mother’s age-old advice, water can always be found if you search deep enough. They find a tiny shell, containing one last drop. In another private conversation, Mama Charming tries to convince Snow to drink the last sip, arguing that she can die in peace knowing her son has found true happiness in his life. Mama says, “Parents put their children first, and tells Snow to think of her future.” But Snow won’t have it and hands Mama the flask to drink.

Moments later, Mama’s condition has not changed. It appears the drop was not enough. She only regrets not being able to see them marry. Snow says Lancelot can marry them. Following his custom, he weds them and has them drink from a chalice. Mama Charming dies happy and the Charmings begin their new life together as man and wife.

After Charming buries his mother, he gives Snow the gypsy’s necklace and holds it above her hand to see which way it will sway. Snow opens her mouth to tell him the truth when she suddenly sees that the necklace is working. The curse has been lifted and she tells Charming that the sex of their baby will be a surprise. She then looks to Lancelot for confirmation and he admits he worked with Mama Charming to make sure Snow drank the lake’s last sip. She happily tells Lancelot that she will have a baby girl.

Post-curse Fairytale Land: “I’m not used to having anyone put me first.”

Snow White awakes in the pit to find Emma being too trusting of Regina’s mother, Cora. Snow warns her to keep quiet, but Emma spills the beans about Henry and her joint-custody with Regina in Storybrooke. Cora promises there is nothing to fear from her, but Snow knows better.

Emma and Snow are removed from the pit and taken to meet the leader of the survivors, who turns out to be Lancelot. Snow is happy to see her old friend and he apologizes for tossing them in the pit, he didn’t know they had captured Snow. Off to the side, Aurora shares her concerns with Mulan. She wants justice for Phillip’s death and she doesn’t like how kindly Lancelot is treating Snow and Emma. Mulan cautions her not to confuse justice with vengeance and tells her to trust Lancelot because Phillip did. Meanwhile, Lancelot fills Snow White and Emma in on what happened when the curse struck Fairytale Land.

Depending on the location, the curse cast out some people, sending them to Storybrooke, while leaving others behind in the rubble that once was a beautiful kingdom. This small island has become their safe-haven because this area is protected from the ogres that have gained control over the Enchanted Forest. Snow asks about Cora and Lancelot says the curse stripped her of her powers, so she should no longer be feared. Snow tells Lancelot that she needs to find a portal to Storybrooke. He agrees to let her venture out of the safe-haven as long she takes Mulan along for their protection. Snow agrees, despite Emma’s hesitation, and they prepare to head out into the forest.

Mulan opens a chest full of weapons for them to choose from. Snow grabs a bow and arrows, but Emma prefers her gun, which Mulan thinks of as magic. Emma laughs off the thought of ogres, but Mulan warns her of their dangers. When an ogre kills you, you can see your death in the monster’s eyes. They may be blind, but their other senses make up for their blindness and they should be feared. While Emma is still processing all of this surreal information, she pulls Snow aside and wants to know what portal she is searching for. Snow White plans on finding the wardrobe they used to send Emma to Storybrooke, but she doesn’t want anyone else to know about it. Snow excitedly tells Emma that they are going home to her castle.

Once they reach the clearing, Snow wants Emma to stay behind where it is safe. Snow slowly heads into the forest only to be ambushed from behind by a dagger wielding Aurora. Snow throws her down and tells her to find another way to channel her anger because Snow is not her enemy. Emma sees the scuffle and fires a shot in the air to settle the skirmish. Emma quickly realizes that was the wrong move. If your enemy is blind, do not make loud noises to draw him out. A huge, strange-looking CGI ogre starts chasing Emma. Snow calls out to him from behind and fires an arrow in his. You have to hit them in the eye to kill them. With one ogre down, the quartet heads for Snow White’s castle.

Emma enters her nursery and finally understands the magnitude of her parent’s sacrifice. Snow had so many hopes for her daughter, so much to teach her and many milestones to share, but they never had the chance to be a family. Suddenly, Lancelot enters the nursery and starts asking questions about the wardrobe. Snow grows suspicious and calls him out on his curiosity. Surprisingly, Lancelot morphs into Cora. She killed him long ago and has been posing as the knight to gain people’s trust. Emma immediately burns the wardrobe before Cora has a chance to get to it and Cora vanishes.

Snow mourns the loss of her friend and an honorable knight. Mulan says that Snow can lead the survivors now that she has returned to her kingdom. Together, they will find another way to Storybrooke. Emma apologizes to Snow for burning the wardrobe, but she had to put Henry first and protect him from Cora. She looks at the rubble, seeing what her life could have been. Emma finally opens up to Snow saying, “You gave up everything…I’m not used to having anyone put me first.” Snow sweetly tells her to “get used to it.”

Snow takes one last look at the nursery, remembering the way it looked before the Evil Queens curse destroyed everything and she walks out to join the others on their journey to find a way back to Storybrooke. Meanwhile, Cora reappears in the nursery and collects the wardrobe ashes in a potion bottle. Leaving us to wonder if Cora will be able to find a way to Regina?

Storybooke: “I can’t find them without you.”

Henry discusses their options with David, saying that he is working on Operation Scorpion. Henry believes there must be a way for Jefferson to help them, but David said he tried talking to Jefferson and it is no use. Grandpa Charming wants to keep Henry away from magic because it is too dangerous. He drops Henry off at school, where he will be safe. However, Henry has other plans.

Jefferson looks at his daughter Grace’s drawing of him asking, “Have you seen my papa?” Henry sits beside Jefferson on the bench and says he should go to his daughter. Jefferson fears she will hate him for leaving her, but Henry explains that she will not. Speaking from experience, Henry explains, “Anything is better than nothing. Not knowing is the worst.” He also talks to Jefferson about finding a portal in Regina’s vault. Jefferson admits there might be something in there, but he can’t help. So Henry takes it upon himself to find a way.

Henry calls Regina and says to meet him for lunch in ten minutes. Regina leaves her office in the middle of packing things up because she has been officially dethroned as mayor and she rushes to see Henry. Once she is gone, Henry sneaks into her office and steals he large ring of keys. Using the story-book as a map, Henry finds his way to the crypt. He sees the markings on the ground and pushes his adoptive grandfather’s tomb to reveal a passage to Regina’s underground lair.

As he walks by the vault of hearts, he can hear them beatings. He looks around and finds a chest. He opens the chest and a two-headed viper starts hissing in his face. Thankfully, Charming appears and saves Henry from being attacked. Regina sent him because she assumed Henry would not want to see her. Grandpa Charming has had a change of heart. Henry feels sad to have been left behind, he wants to be in Fairytale Land with them, so they can all be a family together. Charming tells Henry that from now on they will work together to find Emma and Snow White.

Later, Henry looks on from across the street as Jefferson reunites with Grace. With tears in his eyes, he scoops his little girl up in his arms and they can finally be a family again. The look on Henry’s sweet face says it all. He just wants to be with his family too. Suddenly, Charming appears with a gift. He has brought a pair of wooden swords. He tells Henry that he is the grandson of prince, so he should learn how to fight like one. Charming then tells Henry something he should have said from the start: “I can’t find them without you.” As the two of them start play-fighting, we see King George hiding in a car, watching them from afar.

What did you think of “Lady of the Lake”? What surprised you? Did anything disappoint you? What did you think about Lancelot? How do you feel about Cora’s return? Share your thoughts below!


  • Family Matters: This episode did a lovely job of intersecting the various families that have been affected by Regina’s curse and the life-changing sacrifices that have been made. There were beautiful parallels between Jefferson’s reunion with Grace, Mama Charming’s selflessness and gratitude for her son’ happiness, and Emma’s appreciation and understanding of her parent’s sacrifice.
  • CGI Beef: CGI plays a large part in the fantasy genre, but the ogre came off as silly. It might have been better not to have seen it all. Snow could have murdered the monster off-screen and something could have been left to our imagination. Was anyone else bothered by the ogre?
  • New nemesis: Now that there is hope for Regina’s redemption, Cora and King George have entered the picture with new villainous plans. Will Cora find a way to Storybrooke? What will George do to Charming and Henry?
  • Lancelot: Sinqua Walls did a great job in this role and had an interesting introduction into the series. Lancelot seems like a nicely layered character. Hopefully, he will be featured in future episodes.

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