Emma Swan's world is turned upside down on her 28th birthday when the son she gave up 10 years earlier knocks on her door. Holding a book of fairy tales he claims are real, he tells her that she's not only in the book but that she is the only hope her people have of being freed from an evil curse.
At Henry's urging, Emma convinces Mary Margaret to pay a visit to a comatose John Doe in the hospital and to read to him from the storybook. But Mary Margaret is stunned at the outcome of her visit. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world, Prince Charming meets Snow White for the first time in a most unexpected way.
As Sheriff Graham deputizes Emma, the ground shakes and a giant sinkhole mysteriously appears at the edge of town. But a curious Henry's life is placed in danger when he decides to explore the innards of the sinkhole to see if its contents can link the inhabitants of Storybrooke to the fairytale world. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world, Jiminy Cricket yearns to leave the family business and transform into the person he wants to be.
David - aka John Doe - must choose between staying with Kathryn or leaving her to be with Mary Margaret, with whom he's fallen deeply, and inexplicably, in love; and Emma catches Sheriff Graham in a lie. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Prince Charming is about to encounter a life-changing event that will forever alter his destiny.
One of the town's residents begins to remember their fairytale past, and Storybrooke mourns the loss of one of their own. Meanwhile, in the fairytale world that was, the Evil Queen attempts to find a heartless assassin to murder Snow White.