Storybrooke, The Present--Henry and Emma are meeting up at Henry's "castle" by the beach, and he assures Emma that Regina knows nothing about the castle.
Henry: "It's our secret."
Of course, that's when Regina shows up, looking for Henry, ostensibly because he has an appointment for counseling with Jiminy. In reality, it is just an excuse for her to berate Emma for letting Henry play at such an unsafe (in her opinion) location.
Snow later assures Emma that Regina is just jealous that Emma and Henry share something special. Snow then gets a text from Charming, wanting to meet at "their" spot (where that is isn't clear yet).
As soon as she's gone, Sidney shows up and asks Emma if she wants to expose Regina's corruption as mayor. He is SO over Regina (so am I, Sidney, so am I....did I mention that Regina is the WORST?).
Emma is interested.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Ooh, look. This is going to be a Sidney Glass backstory. It seems our friendly neighborhood newspaper owner and publisher used to be a genie in a lamp. Lucky for him, he gets found by the kindly King Leopold, who is Snow's father. Leopold comes across as sweet and innocent, almost to the point of being a bumbling idiot (I guess he had to be to marry Regina).
So, since King Leopold wants for nothing except the happiness of his kingdom and loved ones, and Sidney (whose real name is never revealed) is clearly miserable being a genie and trapped by the bottle and his succession of masters, Leopold wishes Sidney free. Then, he gives the remaining two wishes of that particular bottle-finding to Sidney, who promises to never use them, as he knows the price of magic (*drink).
All Sidney wants is true love. This is significant later. Also, Sidney is a douche in both the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke.
Leopold takes Sidney back to his castle, where he meets Snow picking flowers and Regina tending an apple tree. Both women look serene to the point of possibly being drugged.
Storybrooke, The Present--Regina has Henry's castle knocked down. Henry is devastated, because he was hiding the storybook there, and now he doesn't know if he will get it back. Regina argues the castle is a safety hazard for Henry, but Emma thinks Regina is just being a bitch (which she is).
Once Regina leaves, Emma calls Sidney and says she is "in" on exposing her.
Meanwhile, Charming has arranged a picnic in the woods for Snow.
Emma meets with Sidney, who says $50,000 is missing from the mayor's budget. He believes that is just the tip of the iceberg of Regina's corruption. Emma says she will look into it, but within the confines of the law she now follows as sheriff of Storybrooke.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--It's Leopold's birthday, and he announces to the assembled revelers that his greatest gift is Snow, who reminds him so much of her mother, "truly the fairest of them all."
Regina leaves the room, KNOWING Sidney will follow her, as they exchanged a "look" earlier, and Sidney finds her outside by her apple tree. Regina cries about being trapped in the castle, not really belonging there, because Leopold will never love her like he loved his first wife.
Sidney is clearly in love with Regina at this point, despite having talked to her exactly twice, and shows her a mirror. She looks into it, and he tells her that she is "truly the fairest of them all."
Storybrooke, The Present--Emma and Sidney go through Sidney's boxes of financial records at Snow's apartment, and Snow comes in making thinly veiled metaphors to feeling guilty about sneaking around with Charming.
At Emma's suggestion, she and Sidney go talk to Regina, who tells them the records for the missing money were destroyed in a fire "three weeks ago," which got Emma elected sheriff. So, Emma has been sheriff for three weeks. Seems like longer.
Emma leaves with Sidney, but reveals outside that she bugged Regina's office.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Leopold thinks Regina is cheating on him. He found her diary, which talks about how a man gave her a mirror as a gift, and how she loves him and not Leopold.
Leopold enlists Sidney in finding the man who gave Regina the mirror. He declines to say what he will do to the man when he finds him. It's implied it won't be nice. However, Leopold seems too stupid to rule, and way too kind to hurt someone, even someone doing his wife.
Storybrooke, The Present--Emma and Sidney listen in on the bug as Regina talks about boring things, and then hear her say she is handing off money in cash to some person for some unknown reason, and she emphasizes the money must be kept quiet.
Emma and Sidney go to this meetup and confront her, but the brakes go out on her car. Sidney discovers the brakes were cut, and Sidney thinks Regina discovered the bug and did the brake cutting.
Emma goes to kick Regina's ass (rightfully so for a number of reasons), but she and Sidney bump into Rumple in the woods. HE was the one Regina was meeting. It seems she was buying some of his vacant land.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Henry, Sr., Regina's dad, approaches Sidney at the palace gardens, and tells him Regina is a prisoner in her rooms, and he is not allowed to visit her. He gives Sidney a box with a key, and asks him to set Regina free.
Storybrooke, The Present--Emma and Sidney break into Regina's office after dark, and download all the records of the land she bought from Rumple from her computer. Emma finds a really LARGE keyring, with a bazillion keys on it.
While Emma goes to look for Henry's storybook, Regina comes in (of course she does), and Emma says some kids threw a rock through her office window, Sidney is a witness, and they are there to investigate.
Regina dismisses it as a harmless prank and kicks them out of her office.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Sidney goes to Regina, who opens the box her father sent. What does it contain, you ask?
The Agrabahn viper snake, the most venomous in all the realms. It can kill anything with a single drop.
It seems irresponsible to leave the lid on that box open.
Regina tells Sidney she is going to use the snake to kill herself and escape the palace. She pretends to love Sidney, and says maybe they will meet again in another life.
Sidney the former genie ain't having that. So, he suggests they free Regina by using the snake to kill the king. You know, the guy who FREED HIM from his genie lamp prison.
Nice guy. Didn't I tell you he is a douche?
Storybrooke, The Present--The Stranger approaches Henry at Granny's diner, where Henry is drawing pictures and writing to recreate his missing storybook. Stranger asks Henry about the book, and Henry is shrewdly suspicious as to why Stranger is so interested in his storybook. Stranger doesn't answer.
Meanwhile, Sidney reveals pictures to Emma of Emma and Henry at Henry's castle. She knew about the castle all along. She had Sidney follow her and Henry and take the pictures.
So, Emma and Sidney go to the town hall meeting Regina is having, and Emma accuses Regina in front of everyone of using the missing money to build herself a lavish house in the woods.
Regina admits it is true....she is building a playhouse. In fact, she is using those missing funds to build a playground where Henry, and all the children of Storybrooke, can play safely.
Having thus humiliated Emma in front of the town, Regina walks away, Storybrooke style (*drink), as the rest of the town oohs and aahs over how wrong Emma was about Regina.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Sidney puts the snake in Leopold's bed, and waits as it bites him. Sidney has the nerve to try to comfort Leopold as he dies, and he thanks Leopold for freeing him and giving him a chance at love with Regina. He adds that just as Leopold freed him, he must now free Regina by killing Leopold.
What a stand-up guy. Grrr.
Leopold grabs Sidney's hand and tells him he was right....Leopold should never have made a wish (as, you know, Leopold wishing Sidney free led to all of this).
And that is how Snow loses her father. Thanks, Sidney.
Storybrooke, The Present--Rumple tells Emma if she wants to dig up dirt on Regina, she will need more eyes working for her. Emma isn't interested in working with Rumple.
And, just to add to the bitchiness thing she's already got going for her, Regina forbids Emma from seeing Henry until she says it is okay, and Regina is not sure when that will be. She tells Emma that Emma has lost the high ground, and no judge in the world would take her side on seeing Henry right then.
Emma pulls up her yellow bug to the new playground and talks to Henry at a distance, using the walkie-talkies Rumple gave them a few episodes ago. She tells him Regina forbids her from seeing him, and she really does have to stay away this time, because she messed up. Henry is bummed, but Emma promises to keep looking for his storybook. Henry doesn't think it can be found.
Only, it is already found. The Stranger has it.
Emma and Sidney meet up at Granny's diner for a drink, and promise each other to continue to look for evidence of Regina's bitchiness to take her down.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Regina tells the hapless Sidney that the palace guards know the snake was from his home country of Agrabah, and they will execute him when they find him. She offers to send him away from the kingdom on a boat.
He knows she set him up, but refuses to leave her, saying he loves her. Regina admits she used him, because she wanted the king dead, and Sidney did it for her. She no longer has any use for him, and he should be grateful she is offering him a way out, because she doesn't have to.
Sidney still refuses to leave her. He uses his last wish from the bottle (although I'm not clear on where he used his second one) to wish himself at her side always and forever.
The wish puts him in the mirror he gave Regina, which pisses him off, because it is just another bottle-type prison for him. Regina, though, is pleased with her new spy.
And, that is the story of how Regina got her Magic Mirror.
Storybrooke, The Present--Regina and Sidney listen in on Emma, who Sidney bugged. Sidney also cut the brakes on Emma's car to make it look like Regina did it. They plan to use the bug to spy on Emma. Regina will know wherever Emma goes, when she goes there, and what she says while she is there.
Even without his original memories, Sidney is still Regina's spy. See? I was right. Sidney is a douche.
Next--Season One, Episode 12: "Skin Deep"
*All photos are Creative Commons