ONCE Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 17 SPOILER ALERT!!!!

The Enchanted Forest is great for flashbacks, but what about some flashbacks that also involve time travel to see the future? If that doesn't seems complicated enough, Once Upon a Time season 4, episode 17, “Best Laid Plans,” also has the Author communicating through a locked door in storybook. As the second half of the season begins to pick up the pace, the stories are literally starting to unravel.

On #OnceUponATime, in the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Charming run through the woods. She points out the unicorn they were chasing. She’s trying to protect their unborn child from having a dark heart. She holds an apple out to lure the creature so she can touch its horn to get a glimpse of their child’s future. They touch it and Charming sees a baby in a basket.

He picks the child up and coddles it. He snaps back to the present and tells her that their baby will be all right. But Snow sees something different. She sees a teenage girl who rips out her heart. She tells her that she’s her mother and the girl says she doesn’t care and crushes the heart killing her. Snow says the baby is evil but Charming thinks otherwise.

Emma, Regina and Henry wonder how they can get the author out of the page before Gold does. August has slipped into some sort of comatose state. They bring in Blue who says he has been changed by magic too many times. Regina tells Henry and Emma that she has to go back to the witches and convince them of something. Emma conjures up a forgery of the page for her to take.

Regina thinks Gold won’t be fooled. Emma says to pull out if she thinks she’s in trouble. Regina snaps a photo of the real page to take it with her thinking that may be easier to use to fool them. Regina hugs Henry and she tells him not to worry and that she’ll be fine. Emma finds Killian and her parents waiting for her at the loft.

Killian says Ursula told him the villains plan to turn Emma’s heart dark. Henry says they can’t un-savior her but Killian says they plan to use the author to do it. She says she won’t turn dark but Killian says darkness is a funny thing and can come on your slowly. Her parents whisper and worry about the omen they saw back in the EF. She says the author could affect Emma’s future.

Regina shows up to meet the other villains and she says the page was under a protection spell by Emma and says she has to flee or be caught. Gold doesn’t quite believe her since she came back empty handed but she says she’s not and shows them the photo. Cruella says the glare on the photo ruins it but Gold realizes it’s magic and says the Sorcerer has imprisoned the author in a book.

She says she can’t get past the savior but Maleficent says she can take care of it. Killian asks Emma about August and if she cares for him. She tells him it’s no time to be jealous and says he’s just a friend. She tells him August has been the rare exception to her making friends in her life. Killian sees magic out the window and Killian and Emma fall into a sleep.

Back in the ED, Charming tells Snow to tell him what she saw but she says saying it out loud will make it real. A peddler calls to them for help with his cart that’s stuck in the mud. Charming helps him and offers him some brandy. He tells them there’s a terrible sorceress the way they’re going named Maleficent. He says she turned herself into a dragon and laid an egg then holed up in a cave.

He tells them to go the other way but that’s the Infinite Forest. He tells them how to navigate it and says to look for a cottage with a kindly old man. They go as he directs. Charming spots the cottage and the door opens – it’s the Sorcerer’s apprentice! Maleficent talks to Gold and says he doesn’t care about Ursual being gone since she only needs him. She tells him he needs her and wants info.

She wants to know what happened to her child that the heroes did something to. She says she’ll help him get the author and makes them pay for what they did to her child. David follows Mary who is very upset. She says they’ve done nothing but lie since the villains returned. She says their actions could help them turn Emma dark. They find everyone is asleep.

They figure they’re immune because they’ve both been under a sleeping curse before. The villains go to Emma’s place to look for the page. The don’t see it and Gold says someone may have walked out with it. He says Henry is resourceful and is likely wide awake. We see Henry running to the Sorcerer’s house across town. Regina tells the others to leave Henry to her.

Gold tells Cruella and Maleficent to follow her and make sure they get the page. Gold says he has other business and walks off. David and Mary watch the witches leaves. Henry calls and says he’s at the Sorcerer’s Mansion. Mary says as long as he has the page he’s in danger then says they’re on the way. David says he thinks they should destroy the page. He says that puts an end to this.

Mary says that would trap the author forever. Mary says that means no happy ending for Regina but David says they can find another way. Back in the EF, Charming and Snow tell the Apprentice about their different visions and he says either can come true. Snow asks how they can ensure their child’s goodness. The Apprentice says there is a way to banish the potential for darkness.

But he says all magic comes out at a price. Snow says they will pay it. He says he can’t just send her child’s darkness away but another vessel must absorb it – another blank slate like their baby. The Apprentice says they have to bring another vessel. He tells them to think carefully because it can never be undone. Charming tells Snow this sounds wrong but Snow says maybe it doesn’t have to be a child.

Snow says maybe they can use Maleficen’t dragon egg since it’s not a child. Now, Henry looks at the page and sees a light under the door. It points him to a drawer where there’s a key. The witches come in and Regina tells Henry to give her the page. She speaks all three of his names and tells him to hand over the page (did she use a name that wasn’t his to give him a hint).

He hands over a page and the witches go. Fingers crossed he handed over the counterfeit page. Back in the EF, Snow and Charming knock out Cruella and head into the cave. They see a nest and the egg in some rocks. They creep closer and look at the egg. Charming starts to touch it but then the great dragon unfolds that was coiled around it and turns evil green eyes on them.

They grab the egg and then Maleficent asks them what kind of people they are to threaten a child. Snow says it’s a monster like her, not a child. Mal begs Snow to have mercy and says she can’t move her child. Snow says she’ll bring it back when they’re done. They run as Maleficent tries to crush them with falling stones.

Now, David and Mary show up and Henry says the villains were there and he gave them the fake page. He hid the real page in a book and then says he found the key so they can free the author. He tries to push it into the lock in the page and it begins to glow but David tells him no and says it’s too dangerous. He demands the key and tells Henry to go. He leaves.

Mary says they’re no different than Gold by lying to Henry. Gold goes to his shop and knocks out Belle with magic. He lays her down out of the way and calls her love. He says he needs to tell her something. He says his magic comes at a cost as she knows and says he’s racked up so much debt he can never be clear of it. He tells her he has to find a way to change the rules.

Then he says he has to change them quickly. He kisses her and promises he’ll come back for her if he can. The lady villains pull up and Regina says she found him and has the page. Gold takes it and says it’s a fake. He tells Regina she should have known the difference and she tries to say they tricked her. Gold tells Mal to knock her out. She does and Gold tell them to bring Regina to the vault.

Back in the EF, Snow and Charming take the egg to the Apprentice who says this will work. He works the spell and the language is strange. He mentions the darkness will find its way on light of day on distant shores, something about mortals and others. The Apprentice says he sent it to where it belonged. Snow is horrified and says they promised to take it back to its mother.

The Apprentice says the spell is done. Then he opens a portal just as the egg cracks open and they hear a baby crying. Cruella and Ursula are suddenly there. They fall into the portal with the baby who’s hatching. The Apprentice tells them it’s lost to them forever but says their child is pure of spirit. He tells them to guide it and keep it in the light. Snow says they told Mal they would bring it back.

Charming says they didn’t know he was going to send the egg to the other land. Snow says they made a terrible mistake. Now, David kneels by the fire ready to toss the page in – he says they should burn it then make up a story. Mary says she can’t do this and can’t tell more lies. She says she gave Henry that book to give him hope and says Regina is finally their friend.

She says Regina has risked their life for them and they can’t risk her chance at a happy ending. Mary says after she killed Cora, Regina saw the darkness in her heart and thought it was from killing Cora but Mary says it started long ago. She says they have to tell Emma the truth because heroes do what’s right not what’s easy.

Emma listens then says she was right and they’ve been lying. She says she wanted to believe them and believe in them. David says they were just trying to protect her. Killian tries to comfort Emma but she snatches her arm back. Mary says she’s her mother but Emma says (like in the vision) that she doesn’t care. The villains discuss Regina’s fate. The ladies want to kill her but Gold says no.

Gold says he has something in mind that will make Regina do his bidding. Emma sits at the dock where Killian finds her. She says she needs some time but he says August is awake and will be fine. Emma hugs Killian and asks why her parents sent him. He says they didn’t think she’d listen to them and Emma says they’re right.

Back in the EF, Snow complains about a mobile Cinderella sent with unicorns on it. Snow says she doesn’t want a reminder of the unicorn that made them rip Mal’s baby away and says it’s already hanging over her own head. Charming says maybe Maleficent deserved this for lying about Regina’s dark curse. Snow says what matters is what they did. She says they were brave but not kind.

Snow says they were selfish and are not heroes anymore. Charming says they can fix it but Snow says they can’t. Charming says they can’t raise their child weighed down like this but Snow says she’s not sure redemption is possible. Charming says he has to believe it is but says they have to be the best people they can and spread hope and faith every day so this doesn’t stain them and affect their child.

Now, Maleficent says it’s time to take care of her needs. Gold says she didn’t get him the page so she didn’t earn her answer. Mal says that was the deal but she has more than earned her answer. Gold says he will give her a last chance to preserve what she has. She says all she has is pain. Gold says pain feeds unless you feed it and says this could be the meal she really doesn’t want.

Mal says she’s never seen her child and doesn’t even know if she had a boy or a girl. Gold works some magic and says this was 30 years ago. He creates some magic and she sees a crying child. A man hugs the daughter he adopted. He says he’ll call her Lily. OMG – that’s Emma’s friend. Now, Mal cries and says her daughter lived and is in this world. Mal says she has to find her and says there must be a way.

Mal says someone must know her. Emma runs to see August to ask how he is. He says he’s tired but better then asks what’s wrong with her. Emma shows him the key that fits the door. Emma says she wants to let out the author but Mary begs her not to do it since Gold wanted to use this to turn her dark. Emma says she has questions about herself too and the author can tell them.

August says there have been many authors – he says it’s a job not a person and may not be the one that wrote her story. He says this is just the last one. He says the job has gone on for eons since cave men drew on walls. He says it’s a sacred job that men and women have had. He says this last one started to manipulate rather than record. We see the Apprentice confronting the author.

He says he made him do that to the egg child and says he can’t believe he made him do that. The Apprentice locked him into the book and August says the Sorcerer and the Apprentice choose the author. Emma says the author can still alter the book. August says she’s come far from the woman who wouldn’t believe. Emma uses the key to unlock the magic door. The author springs out.

He says it was cramped and he couldn’t even reach this. It’s the peddler that Snow and Charming met on the road. Emma says they have a lot of questions. He says he bets they do then he knocks over the curtain rod and then runs out while they’re distracted. Emma gives chase but when she reaches the street, he’s nowhere to be seen.