Storybrooke, The Present--I'm pretty sure the house in the opening scene is Emma's house from the second half of Season Five onward. Right now, however, it is Charming and Katherine's house, and Katherine is bringing him home, where a "Welcome Home" party full of people he mostly doesn't know is waiting for him.
Henry and Emma sit in the back of the room, and Henry says Charming doesn't have his memories back because the curse isn't affecting him yet. Emma kind of does/kind of doesn't play along.
Charming is looking for Snow, but she didn't come.
Katherine is hiding in the kitchen, where Regina encourages her to go out and be with her husband. Katherine isn't so sure, because to her, it's like having him back, but not having him.
Thanking Regina for being such a good "friend," (haha!), Katherine goes into the living room to find Charming gone.
Where has Charming gone? To Snow's place. He finds her outside, and asks if she resigned as a volunteer because of him. He wants her to tell him his feelings for her aren't one-sided.
Snow: "You're married. It should be no-sided."
Have these people never heard of divorce, things not working out, growing apart, affairs? It could totally be two-sided, even if Charming thinks he is married to Katherine.
Charming wants to be with her, but Snow is against it, because she thinks he's married, and she walks away.
Charming looks super disappointed.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Charming, dressed in armor, fights a dude dressed in some weird, primitive kind of get-up, and seems to kill him.
There is an audience watching, one of whom calls Charming his son. It's Charles Widmore from Lost! There is another guy there, wearing a crown, who is consulting on Charming's abilities with Charles Widmore.
Crown Guy wants Charming to kill a dragon, and Charming assures him he can do it. It seems Charles Widmore's kingdom is short on gold, and Crown Guy's kingdom has plenty of it, and is willing to be generous with it if Charming delivers a dead dragon.
Turns out Crown Guy is King Midas. Of COURSE he has all the gold he needs.
Charming is talking to Charles Widmore and King Midas and the assembled crowd, when the guy he was fighting sneaks up behind him and runs him through with his sword.
Primitive Guy just walked right up behind Charming in front of everyone else. Didn't anyone in the assembled crowd see him coming?
(Midas, Widmore, and literally everyone else in the kingdom was watching. Why did no one see the primitive guy sneaking up on Charming?)
In Charles Widmore's castle, Charming's body is laid out on a table, and he is talking about how he has to keep Charming's demise secret from Midas. Ummm....didn't Midas just see Charming get slaughtered? Does he think Widmore is doing a resurrection spell in there or something?
Well, he kind of is, because Rumplestiltskin appears, telling Widmore he is disappointed in how he treats Rumple's gifts. It seems Rumple procured Charming for Widmore (kind of like he "procured" Henry for Regina).
Seems Widmore and his Queen couldn't conceive an heir, so Widmore did a deal with Rumple to get a son. Widmore wants Rumple to bring Charming back. Rumple wants a certain fairy wand in exchange.
Widmore: "Fine. How do I bring my son back to slay the dragon?"
Actually, Rumple can't do that. Magic can do a lot, but not resurrection. Widmore is bummed, because without his son to win all that gold, his kingdom is lost.
Oh, but Rumple can still deliver a son to the king. Charming has a twin brother!
Rumple: "Did I not mention there was another?"
So, the Charming we saw get killed wasn't Charming at all. It was Charming's twin brother, Prince James.
The REAL Charming is at home with his mother, on the farm they tend together. They have sheep. Hence, the title of this episode.
Storybrooke, The Present--Snow is scrubbing the SHIT out of some dishes in her apartment. She's frustrated about Charming. Emma comes in and says she saw him slinking away. She suggests Snow lay off the dishes and have a drink with her.
Emma's advice to Snow is that, in her experience, if you think something might be wrong, it probably is. So, she recommends staying away from Charming for now, until he figures out what he wants his life to be, post-coma. Snow seems cool with this plan. It doesn't leave her without hope. Maybe Charming will legit, on his own, decide to leave Katherine and be with her, once he's figured things out.
I mean, Charming seemed pretty sure about Snow to me, but Snow thinks it's just his subconscious memories of her reading to him and visiting him when he was in the coma. She doesn't believe his feelings are real, even though HE thinks they are real.
Emma and Snow clink wine glasses and drink to it.
At Charming's house, Charming is looking through photos, and Katherine comments on how his hair is longer. He always used to have a buzz cut, she says. He used to say long hair was itchy.
Katherine uses the moment to invite Charming up to bed, but he would prefer they sit and talk. Katherine pushes it by kissing him.
To give Charming credit, he tries to enjoy it, but eventually pushes her away.
Charming: "This isn't right."
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Charming wrangles sheep. His mother returns from the market with news that the grain merchant has a daughter who would be PERFECT for him.
It seems the farm is struggling, and the grain merchant's daughter has a dowry that would save it. Charming insists he must marry for love, not money, and he will find another way to save the farm. Mom Charming is skeptical.
Rumple chooses that moment to show up and tell them HE has a way to save their farm.
Cut to AFTER Rumple tells Charming he had a twin brother. He is horrified his parents sold his brother to Rumple. Mom Charming says Rumple offered to save their farm then, too, in exchange for one of the twins. (*In Season Six, this is revealed to totally NOT be the reason Mom and Dad Charming gave Rumple one of their twins, but oh well. These writers like to contradict themselves and destroy their own mythology.)
Mom Charming says Dad Charming regretted it as soon as Rumple took a twin. This actually DOES turn out to be true in later seasons.
Charming sends his mom inside while he deals with Rumple. Rumple wants Charming to pretend to be his brother and slay the dragon, then he can come home the conquering hero. Assuming he lives, of course. Rumple's reasons for wanting to do this deal are his own, and he will not reveal them when Charming asks. His reasons are never actually revealed.
Charming says he is no dragon slayer. Rumple counters that his brother was, and if Charming is successful, Mom Charming will want for nothing.
Charming says he supposes he has no choice.
Rumple: "Everyone has a choice, dearie. Just make sure it's the right one."
Storybrooke, The Present--Snow reads the Daily Mirror, with a big, front-page headline about Charming, which reads, "Welcome Home, John Doe."
Way to ruin Snow's day, Mirror.
Dr. Frankenstein comes up to Snow and says he hopes she didn't resign her volunteer gig because he didn't call her after their date. She assures him this is not true. Frankenstein says he's up for another date if she wants one.
After he leaves, Regina waltzes in and chews Snow out because Charming left his wife. Snow knows nothing about this, which Regina believes. Still, Regina warns Snow that before she wrecks multiple lives by getting involved with Charming, she let him figure out who he is.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Charming is training to be a dragon slayer, and is doing a piss poor job of it. One of the king's guards tells him to just stand back and let them do the work when it comes to dragon slaying. All he has to to is accept the glory for it, so Midas will heap gold on their kingdom.
It's dragon slaying time. Charming tries to ask the guards what his brother was like as they trek up the mountain, but all he gets is a "He was the bravest man I ever knew," from one of them, before the dragon appears.
Dragon quickly takes out some guards, and, despite other guards trying to hold him back, Charming goes rushing in to save the ones who are injured and/or still in dragon danger. He takes a sword from an injured guard, hides the guard behind a rock, and lets the dragon chase him through a canyon until it narrows enough that Dragon is stuck.
Charming then proceeds to take Dragon's head. He smiles.
Storybrooke, The Present--Charming enters Snow's classroom as she's getting ready to leave, and assures her he did not leave Katherine because of her. He insists he doesn't want to cause Katherine pain, but that it would be worse to pretend with her. He says Katherine deserves someone who feels about her the way he feels about Snow.
Snow isn't having it. But, Charming is insistent. He says he didn't choose Katherine, that some other man did, and he is not that man anymore. He asks Snow to meet him that night at the toll bridge where they met if she wants to be with him. Whether she shows up or not, he will have his answer.
Meanwhile, at the Storybrooke jail and police station, Emma is doing some reading, when Graham comes in to bring her donuts.
Graham: "Some cliches are true."
It seems he promised Emma no night shifts, but needs to ask her to do one, because he volunteers at an animal shelter and has a shift of his own there that night. She agrees only because he gave her a bear claw.
Snow comes dashing in, all excited that Charming left Katherine for her. She wants to know Emma's opinion on the whole "meet him at the bridge" thing.
Emma says go for it. Charming actually left Katherine, so Snow wouldn't be interfering in their marriage.
Snow says it would piss off Regina, which to Emma is just another reason to do it.
Snow: "Is this really happening?"
Charming is at his house, in the bedroom. He looks at himself in the mirror, then out the window at the once more moving town clock, waiting for his meeting with Snow.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Widmore and Midas discuss how awesome it is that Charming killed the dragon. Charming wants to go home, but Widmore whispers to him that this is not the time to discuss it.
Too bad, because Midas wanted more than just a dragon slayer. He wanted a hero, someone worthy to marry his daughter, Abigail. Abigail is brought into the room.
It's Katherine, guys!
Abigail is unimpressed with Charming.
Abigail: "I guess he'll do."
Charming isn't into it, and tries to defer, but Widmore warns him if he says no, Widmore will kill him AND his mother, and destroy their farm.
Charming is literally speechless.
Storybrooke, The Present--Charming is looking for the toll bridge, but he bumps into Regina. She gives him directions. The evil music playing in the background indicates Regina does not have good intentions toward Charming.
Snow waits and the bridge, smiling.
Charming is still trying to find the bridge, and walks into Rumple's shop. Gepetto's creepy puppet parents are there, but there is no sign of Rumple.
Charming spots Emma's unicorn mobile, that was to go over her crib in the Enchanted Forest. He fingers it. Rumple shows up and offers to let him buy it, but Charming just wants more directions. Rumple says Regina gave him the wrong way, and provides the right one.
Charming turns to leave, but stops when he sees a windmill lawn ornament.
Suddenly, he remembers his past life with Katherine. It's totally because Regina enchanted it with fake memories and directed Charming there so he would find it. Rumple doesn't seem to be in on it, but he DOES seem to know what Regina was doing when she directed Charming to his shop instead of the bridge.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Charming comes riding home to his mother's farm. Only, it is not a happy homecoming. He is there to tell her he must marry King Midas's daughter and never see his mother again, or Widmore will destroy her, him, and their farm. He has to pretend to be Prince James from now on. No one can know he is merely David the Shepherd.
Mom Charming is naturally displeased with this turn of events.
Things have been good in Charming's absence. Mom Charming is dressed well, and she's told Charming how generous Widmore has already been with them. Yet, she doesn't care about any of this, and offers to give up the farm.
Mom Charming tells Charming to not marry Abigail and to run away. Charming tells her he can't, because Widmore would kill her. He won't let anyone hurt her.
Mom Charming is broken-hearted. However, she gives him her wedding ring, assuring him true love goes wherever the ring goes. Even though he doesn't know his wife, it may bring true love to them, like she had with Dad Charming. If Charming takes it, Mom Charming says, she will know wherever her son is, he has love and is happy.
He takes the ring.
It's clearly the wedding ring he ended up giving to Snow, because....
Storybrooke, The Present--Snow waits at the bridge, smiling and twisting the ring on her finger, which is Mom Charming's ring.
Charming comes dashing up to meet her.
Charming: "You came."
Snow notes how he sounds disappointed.
Charming says he remembers Katherine (Abigail), and their life together.
Snow: "And, you love her?"
Charming says he did....at least he remembers feeling that way. He believes he has to honor that. He still has intense, passionate feelings for Snow, but feels he must do the right thing.
Snow is hella pissed. "The right thing to do would be to not lead me on," she snaps.
She storms off, leaving Charming by the river.
Elsewhere, Emma is driving along, doing her night shift thing, when she spies someone sneaking out of Regina's upstairs window. The guy jumps down from a tree, and Emma tackles him.
Emma correctly surmises he was having sex with Regina. What she doesn't understand is why he is sneaking out the upstairs window.
It's because Regina doesn't want Henry to know.
Emma: "You do this with Henry in the house?"
Emma is disgusted, and gives Graham the patrol car keys, telling him to finish the shift, because she is done working nights.
Graham takes the keys and watches her go.
Meanwhile, David goes home and knocks on his own front door. Katherine answers. He reveals he remembers their life together. He says he wasn't leaving her when he left the night he disappeared. He just wanted time to work things out. He apologizes, and so does she. They agree to try to make their "marriage" work.
Enchanted Forest, The Past--Charming and Abigail walk hand-in-hand into the throne room of Widmore. Midas is there, and tells them to go home to his castle while he and Widmore work out the wedding details.
Widmore whispers to Charming he is glad he made the right decision...."Son."
Charming: "Thank you....Father."
Charming suggests to Abigail they take the scenic route to the castle. Widmore congratulates Charming and says he is on the road to true love.
As Charming and Abigail make their way to Midas's castle, they come across that cut tree in the road from "Snow Falls."
Widmore was right. Charming IS on the road to true love. He is about to meet Snow White.
Storybrooke, The Present--Snow is sitting alone at the bar at Granny's diner, when Dr. Frankenstein walks in. He sits next to her and tries to make small talk. She isn't interested. He pushes. Snow reveals how stupid she feels about the whole Charming thing, because she should have known better (she does this without ever mentioning Charming's name).
Frankenstein cannot relate to this, because he makes a point to never do what is expected. It keeps things interesting that way.
He asks if he can buy Snow a drink.
Snow: "You can buy me two."
Next: Season 1, Episode 7--"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
*All photos are Creative Commons.