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"Best Laid Plans" is the sixteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Kalinda Vazquez & Jane Espenson, and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the eighty-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 29, 2015.

Plot

Opening Sequence

A unicorn is shown galloping in the forest.

In The Characters' Past

In the Enchanted Forest before the first curse, both Snow White and Prince Charming come across a unicorn and touch its horn to see what the future holds for their unborn child. However, as Charming does see a happy baby Emma, it's Snow who fears what will become of her daughter after she sees a vision of Emma ripping her heart out and crushing it to dust. Later on, the couple run into a merchant, revealed to be the Peddler, and tells him that Maleficent has transformed into a dragon, and eventually gave birth to a child that was conceived via an egg during the transition. The merchant then advises the couple to follow a path that leads them to the Apprentice's cottage. As the Apprentice welcomed the Charmings, he tells them that either one of their premonitions could come true but adds that it is possible to banish the darkness from a child, and in order to do that they would have to find another vessel that contains the darkness that dwells within the child. Snow begins to believe that the egg containing Maleficent's unborn child would become the one who would be born evil.

The Charmings later return to the cave where Maleficent, still under her state as a dragon, is guarding her egg with assistance from Ursula and Cruella. As they attempt to take the egg, Maleficent awakens and pleads with Snow not to take her egg away, but the Charmings go ahead and take the unborn child anyway, and bring the egg to the Apprentice, who then transfers the darkness to the unborn child with a powerful curse that eventually opens up a portal. At the same time Cruella and Ursula appears and are furious to stop his plan, only to see the portal open up and send the egg, Cruella and Ursula into the realm where they will not hurt anyone again.

The events of what happened afterwards would later take shape after Snow told Charming that she won't accept a unicorn-themed mobile for the baby's room, while Charming believes that they can become the best possible people that they can be.

In Storybrooke

With August now in a deep sleep because he has been changed by magic too many times at the Fairies' nunnery, Regina is left with no choice but to take a photo of the illustration of the door that was torn from the book, then shows it to Gold, Maleficent, and Cruella. The foursome then notice a glare on the image, leading Gold to believe that the Author is actually hidden inside the page. Maleficent then casts a sleeping spell all over Storybrooke so Gold and the Queens can steal the page, and as a favor for Gold but uses it as a bargaining tool; in exchange for her help, she requires Gold to find out what happened to her child after Mary Margaret and David "got rid of it."

Before Maleficent placed the curse on Storybrooke, Hook informed Emma about what they plan to do to her so she would become dark and no longer be the Savior, and are then placed under the spell just in time for Gold and the Queens to steal the page, only to discover it missing. They eventually learn that the person who has the book, Henry, is immune to the curse and has escaped. Henry later calls Mary Margaret and David, who are also immune to the curse because they can only be under the spell once, to tell them he is hiding at the Sorcerer's mansion. David believes that the only way they can keep Emma from going dark is to destroy the page, but that would mean it will keep the Author trapped inside the page forever. As Henry waits for his grandparents, he notices a light that begins to shine from the door after the page starts glowing, and it shines a light to a desk drawer that reveals a key, but as he takes the item out, Regina and the Queens arrive, with Regina demanding her adopted son to hand over the page and he complies, unaware that he gave them the fake page, which was actually forged by Emma. Mary Margaret and David then arrive to see an excited Henry as he shows the key to his grandparents, but after they tell Henry to leave them the key and for him to leave the couple become embarrassed that they had to lie to their grandson about they are planning to do, which is planning to toss the page into the fireplace, only to have Mary Margaret stop David because they can't destroy everyone's chance of a happy ending and that heroes should do what is right. The couple believes it's time to tell Emma the truth.

At the pawn shop, Gold decides to see Belle, who also fell under the sleeping curse, explaining that the reason for searching for the Author and change the destiny of the villains is to be safe in a world that is free of all villainous evil and vows to come back to her. Gold then steps outside to meet up with Regina, Cruella and Maleficent. Unfortunately he noticed the forgery and is onto Regina's deception, so Maleficent places her under the sleeping curse. Since the deal has fallen through, Gold decides not tell Maleficent about what happened to her child, saying that the pain would become worse if she knew the truth, but she begs him to tell her and he complies, as he shows Maleficent a vision that 30 years earlier that a man had adopted a baby girl, who he would eventually name Lily, the girl who would later befriend Emma.

Hours later, Mary Margaret finally comes clean to Emma, and it leaves Emma disappointed and she leaves angrily. And as August awakes, Hook chases after Emma with the news and they return to see August about having found the key, which could help Emma learn more about her past. August however reveals that there was more than just one author and the person who was trapped inside the book was the last Author, who eventually manipulated the stories that resulted in the Sorcerer and the Apprentice condemning him and other authors to the book. As Emma opens the door with the key, a person emerges, and the Peddler, who encountered Emma's parents back in the Enchanted Forest, escapes before he can answer Emma's questions.

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Media
Shows: Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland

Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the QueenReawakened: A Once Upon a Time TaleOnce Upon a Time - Behind the MagicOnce Upon a Time: Out of the PastOnce Upon a Time: Red's Untold TaleOnce Upon a Time: Regina Rising

Character
Once Upon a Time: Emma SwanSnow White/Mary Margaret BlanchardPrince Charming/David NolanRumplestiltskin/Mr. GoldThe Evil Queen/Regina MillsBelle/Lacey FrenchKillian Jones/HookHenry MillsHappySneezy/Tom ClarkBashfulDocDopeySleepy/WalterJiminy Cricket/Archie HopperStealthyVictor Frankenstein/Dr. WhaleAuroraPrince PhillipFa MulanBlue FairyWidow Lucas/GrannyKing George/Albert SpencerGenie/Magic Mirror/Sidney GlassMad Hatter/JeffersonMilahPrince Henry/The ValetMaid MarianKnave of HeartsSheriff of Nottingham/KeithFairy GodmotherPeter Pan/Malcolm/The Pied PiperWendy DarlingArielZelena/The Wicked Witch of the WestGlinda/The Good Witch of the SouthThe Wizard of Oz/WalshElsa the Snow QueenAnnaKristoffHansGrand PabbieSvenTinker BellBlackbeardLumièreAbigail/Kathryn NolanUrsulaRed Riding Hood/The Wolf/RubyHuntsman/Sheriff GrahamBaelfire/Neal CassidyPinocchio/August W. BoothFrederick/JimSevere NurseMayor TomkinsQuinnAnitaHansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava ZimmerThe Woodcutter/Michael TillmanMartinMyrnaStephenDonnaPrince JamesJackBlind WitchKing XavierPeterSirenPongoWilliam SmeeDorothy GaleThe Witch of the EastGastonGreg MendellTamaraGeppetto/MarcoThe DragonRapunzelThe King/Mitchell HermanRapunzel's MotherRapunzel's FatherKing LeopoldQueen EvaLost BoysJohn DarlingMichael DarlingThe ShadowThe Sheriff of HamelinKing MidasNanaMary DarlingGeorge DarlingMedusaGus/BillyMarshmallowZosoPrince Thomas/Sean HermanPrince EricLittle Bo PeepThe ApprenticeIngrid/Sarah FisherLily PageNovaSeerGraceDaniel ColterLancelotColetteStephenLiam JonesOakenThe King of ArendelleQueen GerdaCruella De VilPoseidonThe Duke of WeseltonHans' BrothersChernabogBriar RoseKing StefanIsaac/The AuthorMadelineMerlin/The SorcererMeridaQueen EleanorKing FergusHarris, Hubert and HamishThe WitchYoung MacGuffinYoung MacintoshWee DingwallRuthKing ArthurSir KayGuinevereCharonBrennan JonesMegaraHerculesHadesCerberusThe ScarecrowCleo FoxAuntie EmDr. JekyllMr. HydeEvil ReginaAladdinGideonJasmineIagoCaptain NemoLady TremaineClorindaTisbeJacobOracleRoyal GuardsThe SultanGenieBlack FairyTiger LilyRobert

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: AliceCyrusAnastasia/The Red QueenPercy/The White RabbitJabberwockySilvermistThe Sultan/The Old PrisonerTweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMrs. RabbitElizabeth/LizardAmara
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of HeartsCinderella/Ashley BoydRobin HoodLittle JohnFriar TuckGrumpy/LeroyCora/The Queen of HeartsCaterpillarMaleficentJafarDr. Lydgate

Episodes
Season One: "Pilot" • "The Thing You Love Most" • "Snow Falls" • "The Price of Gold" • "That Still Small Voice" • "The Shepherd" • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" • "Desperate Souls" • "True North" • "7:15 A.M." • "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" • "Skin Deep" • "What Happened to Frederick" • "Dreamy" • "Red-Handed" • "Heart of Darkness" • "Hat Trick" • "The Stable Boy" • "The Return" • "The Stranger" • "An Apple Red as Blood" • "A Land Without Magic"

Season Two: "Broken" • "We Are Both" • "Lady of the Lake" • "The Crocodile" • "The Doctor" • "Tallahassee" • "Child of the Moon" • "Into the Deep" • "Queen of Hearts" • "The Cricket Game" • "The Outsider" • "In the Name of the Brother" • "Tiny" • "Manhattan" • "The Queen Is Dead" • "The Miller's Daughter" • "Welcome to Storybrooke" • "Selfless, Brave and True" • "Lacey" • "The Evil Queen" • "Second Star to the Right" • "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
Season Three: "The Heart of the Truest Believer" • "Lost Girl" • "Quite a Common Fairy" • "Nasty Habits" • "Good Form" • "Ariel" • "Dark Hollow" • "Think Lovely Thoughts" • "Save Henry" • "The New Neverland" • "Going Home" • "New York City Serenade" • "Witch Hunt" • "The Tower" • "Quiet Minds" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "The Jolly Roger" • "Bleeding Through" • "A Curious Thing" • "Kansas" • "Snow Drifts" • "There's No Place Like Home"
Season Four: "A Tale of Two Sisters" • "White Out" • "Rocky Road" • "The Apprentice" • "Breaking Glass" • "Family Business" • "The Snow Queen" • "Smash the Mirror" • "Fall" • "Shattered Sight" • "Heroes and Villains" • "Darkness on the Edge of Town" • "Unforgiven" • "Enter the Dragon" • "Poor Unfortunate Soul" • "Best Laid Plans" • "Heart of Gold" • "Sympathy for the De Vil" • "Lily" • "Mother" • "Operation Mongoose"
Season Five: "The Dark Swan" • "The Price" • "Siege Perilous" • "The Broken Kingdom" • "Dreamcatcher" • "The Bear and the Bow" • "Nimue" • "Birth" • "The Bear King" • "Broken Heart" • "Swan Song" • "Souls of the Departed" • "Labor of Love" • "Devil's Due" • "The Brothers Jones" • "Our Decay" • "Her Handsome Hero" • "Ruby Slippers" • "Sisters" • "Firebird" • "Last Rites" • "Only You" • "An Untold Story"
Season Six: "The Savior" • "A Bitter Draught" • "The Other Shoe" • "Strange Case" • "Street Rats" • "Dark Waters" • "Heartless" • "I'll Be Your Mirror" • "Changelings" • "Wish You Were Here" • "Tougher Than the Rest" • "Murder Most Foul • "Ill-Boding Patterns" • "Page 23" • "A Wondrous Place" • "Mother's Little Helper" • "Awake" • "Where Bluebirds Fly" • "The Black Fairy" • "The Song in Your Heart"
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Down the Rabbit Hole" • "Trust Me" • "Forget Me Not" • "The Serpent" • "Heart of Stone" • "Who's Alice?" • "Bad Blood" • "Home" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dirty Little Secrets" • "Heart of the Matter" • "To Catch a Thief" • "And They Lived..."

Locations
Once Upon a Time: Dark PalaceDark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's CastleLibraryPrince Thomas' CastleCinderella's ChateauDwarves' CottageDwarf MinesNew YorkKing Stefan's CastleThe BeanstalkGiant's LairNeverland Skull RockHamelinBoston, MassachusettsVault of the Dark OneLand of OzYellow Brick RoadEmerald CityArendelleArendelle CastleWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaBald MountainRing of StonesDunBrochWitch's CottageCastle DunBrochUnderworldMount OlympusPoppy FieldsAuntie's Chicken & WafflesCave of Wonders

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland CastleThe Mad Hatter's HouseWhite Rabbit's HouseUnderlandTulgey Wood
Both series: StorybrookeMaineEnchanted ForestForbidden FortressWonderlandWonderland MazeAgrabahSherwood ForestThe Sultan's Palace

Objects
Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book)Maleficent's StaffMagic WandGlass SlipperPoisoned AppleSpinning WheelMagic LampDark One's DaggerChipped CupJefferson's HatCaptain Hook's HooksEnchanted CandlePixie DustDreamshadePandora's BoxSilver SlippersSorcerer HatEnchanted BroomTridentEnchanted ShellHeroes and Villains (Book)Merida's BowMagical RoseExcaliburOlympian CrystalCinderella's DressGolden Scarab Beetle

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal BladeJafar's Lamp
Both series: Jafar's Snake StaffEnchanted Hearts

Songs Featured
Give a Little WhistleHeigh-HoWith a Smile and a SongBeauty and the BeastPart of Your WorldFathoms BelowCruella De VilSome Day My Prince Will Come
Vehicles
The Jolly RogerMagic CarpetCruella's carNautilus
Species
FairiesUnicornsDragonsBridge TrollsWraithOgresMermaidsKrakenFlying MonkeysRock TrollsWill O' the WispsFuriesMunchkins

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