The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 19: The Return

Mr. Gold is desperate to find out August’s true identity, while Baelfire seeks to reverse Rumpelstiltskin’s status as the Dark One so that they can go back to their normal life together.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Jared S. Gilmore, Raphael Sbarge, and Robert Carlyle

Season 1
Episode 19: The Return

The Enchanted Forest

In the Enchanted Forest, Rumple is terrorising the small village that he and Bae live in, despite the fact that he managed to call a truce in the Ogre War. Bae wants nothing to do with magic, and wants for Rumple to go back to normal, who claims the only way to get rid of the magic is to kill him using his dagger. He promises, however, that if Bae manages to find a way, then he will go along with it. In the forest later on, Rumple kills the housekeeper who overheard him talking about the dagger, to Bae’s abject horror. A friend of Bae’s suggests that he call upon the Blue Fairy, who give him a magic bean that will take him and Rumple to a land without magic so that Rumple would be human again.

Bae tells Rumple the plan and the two use the bean in the woods, opening a vortex. Bae jumps in, but Rumple resists, saying that he cannot go through with it. Bae calls him a coward and lets go of Rumple’s hand, going through the portal alone and leaving Rumple behind. Rumple realises he has made a mistake and calls the Blue Fairy himself, who reveals that the magic bean was his only chance and that there is no other way to the land without magic. Rumple suggests that a curse might make it work, and the Blue Fairy’s expression tells him all that he needs to know. He vows to create a curse that will allow him to travel to the land without magic.


August, still suffering from leg pain, goes to Mr. Gold’s shop with Henry. While Henry distracts Mr. Gold, August searches through the back of the shop for something, but Mr. Gold manages to catch him before he finds it. Regina confronts Mr. Gold about breaking the deal to frame Mary Margaret for Kathryn’s murder, which is now impossible since Kathryn has been framed. Regina fears that the setup and fake DNA test will be linked back to her.

Mr. Gold breaks into August’s motel room to discover a drawing of the Dark One’s dagger, making him think that August wants to kill him. He stalks August to the Mother Superior, who tells Mr. Gold that August was asking for advice over reconnecting with his estranged father. Mr. Gold turns to Archie for counsel over this matter, and is advised to ask for forgiveness from his son. Mr. Gold and August meet, with Gold admitting that he deeply regrets letting Bae go and begs for forgiveness. August accepts it and the pair hug. August admits that he was searching for the dagger, as, if Gold still had it, it would mean that he had not changed at all. Gold leads August to a spot in the woods where he had buried the dagger. Once digging it up, he offers it to August so that it can be destroyed. As soon as he gets the dagger, however, August tries to use it to command Gold, and Gold realises that August is not, in fact, his son as Bae would know that the dagger has no power on Earth. August admits that he needs magic to help cure his illness, and that he had hoped the saviour would believe in magic, but he is running out of time for this happen. Gold decides to let August live, as he has a decent chance at getting Emma to believe.

Meanwhile, Emma, eager to get to the bottom of the framing situation, confronts Sidney over the bug that she found and deduces that Sidney does Regina’s bidding because he is in love with her. The next morning, Emma finds Regina, who offers a confession from Sidney. Sidney admits to kidnapping Kathryn, to setting up Mary Margaret and for faking the DNA results. Emma does not believe any of the story, and believes that he is merely covering up Regina’s crimes because of his feelings for her. She tells Regina that she is not going to win against her in this game, so instead she is going to start a new one. Emma then announces that she is going to take back Henry.

Elsewhere, Mary Margaret doesn’t want to talk to David at her welcome home party, but he eventually manages to catch up with her to apologise for doubting her. Mary Margaret is still deeply hurt by it, and the two do not make up.

In Short

  • Baelfire finds a magic bean that will take him and Rumple to a land without magic, so that they can live a normal life together.
  • Baelfire goes through the portal, but Rumple is too scared and does not go through.
  • Rumple learns that a curse can take them to a land without magic.
  • August pretends to be Bae so that he can find Rumple’s dagger, revealing that he needs magic to cure a deadly illness that he has.
  • Sidney confesses to kidnapping Kathryn and setting up Mary Margaret, as well as doctoring the DNA results.
  • Emma decides to fight Regina for custody of Henry.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? Oh…he’s here. Very helpfully sitting down and letting Gold talk out his feelings over Bae.
  • Gold’s backstory is an interesting one. We finally have a sense of what happened to Bae, as he travelled through a vortex to our world. How old would we expect Bae to be though, realistically? We already know that Rumple getting his powers was a while enough into the past such that Geppetto was at most a young child, so surely Bae, similarly, should be an older man in this time period? I suppose it depends when the magic bean eventually spit him out.
  • Rumple’s quest for power in the past is an interesting one, and this contextualises his behaviour towards Belle. It makes more sense, now, that he would not have wanted to cede any of his power or to love, since the exchange was not making a curse that would entail him getting back to Bae. If he became too entangled, he wouldn’t have been able to go through with such a curse, knowing that he could have been separated.
  • So we now know that Rumple’s desire to enact the curse was to get him in the same realm at Bae. It also means that he is actively working against Regina at this point, eager to break the curse so that he can actually find Bae, wherever he is.
  • Robert Carlyle does another fabulous turn here as Mr. Gold/Rumple, showing us even more facets to his multi-layered personality. It’s evident that his son is his Achilles Heel, though we also do have to bear in mind the fact that Belle is hidden in Storybrooke, without him knowing about it and thinking her to be dead.
  • It seems that the Kathryn storyline is pretty much done and dusted by now. With Sidney’s confession earning him jail time, presumably, as well as David and Kathryn getting closer with their relationship, I’m glad we’re out from underneath that cloud so that now we can focus upon what happens next with breaking the curse, which Gold and August seem to be eagerly working towards.
  • I love that Emma is actively going against Regina now. She has essentially declared full-on war with the mayor, which is absolutely brilliant. While Regina thinks that she has the whole town in her pocket, she is still unaware of Emma’s status as the saviour – if she was ever aware, in the first place, that there was a saviour who would break the curse.
  • I’m not sure how far Emma would realistically get with taking Henry back. Sure, Regina is a sociopath – there is no denying that, but she doesn’t have any legal rights, having given Henry up for adoption. And also, Regina is mayor and they cannot leave Storybrooke for any sort of proceeding, so that makes it a bit tricky.
  • Gosh, there are only 3 episodes left! Everything’s getting tense now, and I’m honestly so enraptured to work out how the curse is going to get broken. Hopefully we also get some answers as to August’s true identity.

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