'Once Upon a Time' Season 3, episode 14 recap: Rapunzel lets down her hair (and fear) in 'The Tower'
Storybrooke of the present
To set her plan in motion, Zelena needed to get some of Rumpel's blood. Since she has Rumpel's dagger, that's why she can control him ... and shave him with it, nicking him to get a droplet of his blood. While she's giving him the closest shave of his life, she tells him that she's after something he searched his whole life for, and something she can't wait that long to get. "Luckily, [she] doesn't have to." Is she after Snow's baby? A son was something Rumpel spent hundreds of years searching for after losing Baelfire/Neal, and Snow's about to pop with her baby that Zelena's positioning herself near enough to steal.
Zelena uses Rumpel's blood to open his magically-locked safe to take ... something called Night Root that Robin Hood told Charming about in Fairy Tale Land of the past. She crushes the root and puts it in Charming's tea when she meets with Charming and Snow to talk about being their midwife.
While searching Regina's office for any physical evidence left by the Wicked Witch, Emma and Hook find berries tracked in, so they head out to the wood where the berries grow to try and find her. That allows them to share an intimate moment when Hook tells Emma he's glad Walsh was able to break her heart back in NYC -- by turning into an evil flying monkey -- because "that means it still works." Hook is still in the running for her heart! That seems to take her by surprise, but at least she didn't slap him. That's a step in the right direction.
After being dosed without realizing it, Charming heads out to the woods to help Emma and Hook, but before he meets up with them he realizes a hooded figure is tailing him. He thinks it's the Wicked Witch, and he stabs the hooded figure. But it doesn't do anything, and when Charming rips the hood off, it turns out to be ... him! What?!?
As we find out in Fairy Tale Land of the past (but Charming doesn't remember in the present), the Night Root takes the form of the drinker, forcing him or her to defeat him or herself in order to conquer his or her deepest fear. Charming realizes that he's afraid of being a good father, and that's when he's able to defeat it with the hilt of his sword ... but then it disappears.
Meanwhile, Emma and Hook found a farm house hideout, and enlists the help of Regina with her magic to take it over and defeat the Wicked Witch. They leave to help Charming, and he tells them it wasn't the Witch after all but a hooded figure that knew his deepest fears. He's proud of himself for defeating it but Regina tells Charming that the hilt of his sword disappeared because it's a symbol of his courage ... and the Witch stole it. That's why she dosed him with Night Root -- to get his courage.
On that ominous note, when they head back to the farm house and approach the storm cellar, they see that the lock's been broken since they first saw it, and whatever was in the cage escaped. The only thing left is a spinning wheel surrounded by straw and gold ... and they realize the Witch was keeping a still-alive Rumpel locked in there.
Fairy Tale Land of the past
Charming takes the news that Snow is pregnant not so well. He's drinking, can't sleep and tells Robin Hood that he can't escape a feeling of dread. Since he failed his first kid -- Emma -- he has anxieties about protecting this new one. That's when Robin Hood tells him about Night Root and he sets off to find some to get rid of his fears.
He finds the Night Root, and also discovers Rapunzel locked in a tower. He climbs up her hair when she calls for help, but then "the witch" keeping her locked in the tower appears and knocks him out. When he comes to, he realizes that witch is actually just Rapunzel since she had consumed the Night Root. She was afraid of ruling her kingdom in place of her older brother -- who died saving her. Charming convinces her to cut her hair and defeat herself, and she does, overcoming her fears.
Charming and Rapunzel climb back down the tower and Charming reunites Rapunzel -- and her newly-cut hair -- with her parents. Charming then confesses what he feared to Snow about being a good father this time around, and she puts his fears to rest by telling him they'll raise their child together. Too bad he doesn't remember that whole exchange nine months later when his fears resurface.
What do you think Zelena wants with Charming's courage? Why is she so obsessed with stealing Snow's baby? Did Rumpel escape or did Zelena let him go to toy with Emma, Hook, Snow, Charming and Regina some more? Also, where on earth is Neal?!?
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.