"Once Upon a Time" The Miller's Daughter (TV Episode 2013) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In the fairy tale world, Cora, the miller's daughter, seeks revenge against the royal family after they degrade her in public. Back in Storybrooke, as Cora and Regina continue their quest to find Rumpel's dagger, Emma, Neal, David, and Mary Margaret protect Gold and prepare for battle.

  • Mary Margaret is tempted by dark magic and David, Emma and Neal attempt to protect Gold from Regina and Cora, as flashbacks show a young Cora seek revenge against the royal family after they degrade her in public.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In Past Fantasy World: Young Cora goes to her mill and sees her father sleeping on a wagon full of sacks of flour next to a wheelbarrow full of sacks of flour. She tells him to get up and throws a bottle he has been drinking from. She tells him the flour was due to be delivered that morning and that she for one would like to be able to eat that week. Cora takes the wheelbarrow and goes to the castle. The royal family and princess Eva approach the door Cora is walking away from. When Cora walks by the royal family, princess Eva purposefully trips her causing her to fall spilling all the flour. The king makes Cora kneel before Eva. Cora does so, but refuses to apologize until the king threatens to stop buying flour from her. Cora apologizes and Eva smiles a malicious smile. The king tells Cora to stay on her knees until they have left the room, the royal family and princess Eva walk out of the room.

    Title Screen: A spinning wheel

    In Present Day Hook's ship: Henry is driving the ship with guidance from Neal (Baelfire/ Peter Pan or one of the Lost Boys). Emma goes below deck to talk to Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin) who has been stabbed and wounded by poison. Emma asks Gold about his knife, asking if Cora can use it to get Gold to kill them all. Gold says that they can use it to make him do such things and says that Emma probably wants him to bleed to death. Emma says that Gold is Henry's grandfather, that makes them family and so she will save him.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Cora and Regina are listening in on a call between David (Prince Charming) and Mary Margret (Snow White). David tells Mary Margret that Gold is wounded badly and that Emma is bringing him over to Storybrooke (the only place with magic {the only place he can be cured}) on Hook's ship. Mary Margret tells David to tell Emma that Cora has the dagger and "there's no telling what that wicked woman will do". Cora knocks over the speak that Regina and her are listening in on the call from.

    Cora says that she does not like what the "enchanted box" said about her. She says she's not wicked. Regina says it's not an enchanted box, but a phone tab. Cora says she doesn't care as Rumpelstiltskin and Emma have been warned. Cora says Rumpel is smart and has time to think. Regina says that Rumpel's injured, Cora looks at the knife and sees the "Rum" in Rumpelstiltskin's name fade away. Cora says that he's dying and that all his power is going to go away without a new Dark One. Regina says that have to hurry then, Cora says Rumpel can't do anything in his condition and that she, herself must stab Rumpel, becoming the new Dark One. Cora says with the power she can do anything. Regina says that "Henry is never going to forgive that and the whole point of this was-" Regina stops and asks Cora what the whole point of it was. She asks Cora if it's about her gaining power. Cora says that what ever power she gains is for them, so she can protect their family. Cora says that if they lose the battle they will spend the rest of their short lives on their knees, and that's something she will never do.

    In Past Fantasy World: The king is hosting a masquerade ball to find a wealthy and lovely lady to be his son's wife. Cora walks in in a red dress and puts on a mask. She walks up to Prince Henry (for the purpose of not confusing him with Emma/ Regina's son, we will call him Valet). She pretends not to notice that he is Valet. She says that the ball is a way for the king to find wealthy women to purchase his son. Valet says she's very frank. Cora turns around then pretends to notice that it's Valet. She says she is sorry and calls herself a goose. Valet asks her onto the dance floor. Cora says she doesn't want to stop someone from purchasing Valet. Valet asks why she came, she says it's because of the free food. The king cuts in and begins dancing with Cora.

    Cora says she did not expect such an honor. The king says it's not an honor and that a stolen dress and mask couldn't make it so he didn't recognize the Miller's daughter. He says that there is straw on her dress. Cora says he has some nerve telling her what's wrong when he's selling off his own flesh and blood. The king tells Cora that they need the gold. The king tells her to go, saying there is nothing she can offer them but pieces of straw. Cora lies and tells the king she can spin straw into gold and that because he insulted her, she will not use her talent for him. She walks away but he grabs her and brings her before everyone. He announces that she said she can spin straw into gold. The crowd laughs. He says that she will preform this talent for them. Cora says it takes time, so the king says that she will be locked in a room full of straw over night and that she will spin it into gold by morning. If she is successful she will marry the prince, if she fails she will die.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Ruby and Neal are carrying Mr. Gold off the dock. Mary Margret and David run up to them. David helps carry Gold by taking him from Ruby. Henry tells David that he drove a ship with help from his dad. Neal tells David that he is Henry's father. They put Gold on the back of a truck, David asks Gold if Cora is using the dagger to control him. Gold says that if she were, most of them would be dead. Mary Margret says that have to take the fight to Cora before she takes it to them. David tries to stop Mary Margret from continuing, but Mary says that Cora needs to be stopped. Cora needs to be killed. David says that Cora needs to be punished and that he has no problem with Cora dying, but not by Mary Margret's hand or out of vengeance. Mary asks why. David says that Mary would never be able to live with herself if she did. Gold has them take him back to his shop. Henry goes with Ruby while Emma, David, Mary, and Gold go to his shop.

    In Past Fantasy World: Cora is looking out the window of a tower. Rumpelstiltskin says that she'll escape but the fall would kill her. Cora asks how he came in so she can escape. Rumpel tells her instead that he will spin the straw into gold. Cora doubts his ability to do that, but Rumpel quickly spins some straw into gold. Cora asks him what he wants. Rumpel says, "funny you ask, can you read?" he teleports in a contract. Cora reads it, it asks her to give first born child. Rumpel says that she'll be able to marry the prince and get him to kneel before her like she wants. Cora says she doesn't want anyone to kneel before her. She also says Rumpel can't spin the straw to gold, he has to teach her. Rumpel agrees.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Emma finds the jar Gold asked her to find. she says it's empty and reaches her hand into it. Gold says that it contains invisible chalk. He tells Emma to draw a chalk line at the door. Emma, Neal, and David leave the room. Mary turns to leave, but Gold asks Mary to put a blanket over a cupboard. she opens the cupboard and finds the candle that kills one to give life to another. Mary asks Gold why he has it, Gold says he was saving it for a rainy day.

    Emma is drawing a line at the door. Neal tells her she missed a spot neal says missed a spot. "very fun" says Emma. David comes and says it's all clear outside.

    Gold tells Mary that candle is the only thing that can save him nothing else will do. Mary why she should do it, she couldn't do it for her own mother. Gold tells her that she is grown up now and their interests are aligned now. Mary says there's no coming back from murder. Gold reminds her how the candle works she has to hold the candle over Cora and whisper name Cora's name. Mary asks how she can do that when Cora's heart isn't in her. Gold says doing it over the heart will do. After, Mary has to use a body curse the heart then put heart in Cora, Cora will die and Rumpel will live. Snow asks Gold why shouldn't she use the heart to control cora, with heart and let Rumpel die, get rid of two evils. Gold says "Imagine Henry's face when he learns you killed his grandpa". Emma comes Gold tells her to cast a protection spell. Emma says she can't cast the spell. Gold says she can do it and tells her to stop thinking. He tells her emotion brings magic, not thoughts. Emma casts the spell.

    In Past Fantasy World: Cora tries to spin the straw into gold, but it's not working. Rumpel tells her to stop thinking about it, magic is emotion. He tells her to think about when she wanted to kill. Cora asks him if that's how does it? rumpel says yes, he tells her that a man once made him kiss his boot infront of his son and he wanted to rip out the man's throat. That's how magic is made Rumpel says, bloodlust. Rumpel puts his hands on her shoulders Cora talks about kneeling to Eva, how she was not doing anything wrong. How the king made her apologize and that she realized that no matter how good or hard she worked, she would never be better. Rumpel asks her what she wanted to do? Cora says make them bow, have their knee caps break on the stone. she spins straw to gold. She says "I did it, I'm going to live". Rumpel tells her not to stop until they are on their knees in a flirting way. Later, Cora spins in front of the king and hands him the gold. "Did you really do it?" asked the king. Cora says you saw it. The king tells her she earned him. Valet kneels and proposes to Cora. Cora agrees to marry Valet, Rumpel is watching this unfold.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Mary is looking out window. David asks her what's wrong. David asks her if Gold told her something. Mary says Gold said Cora's determined to hurt them. The store begins shaking. David goes to Emma and Neals and says it's them, Regina and Cora are there. Outside of the store, Cora is holding dagger. Cora and Regina use fire to open door. Emma, Neal, Mary, and David are in the store with swords. Emma tells Regina to think about what she's doing. Regina tells Emma not to talk to her. Mary runs out the back door. The battle begins, David is knocked out of the store unconcious. Regina uses magic to choke Emma in a force choking way. Emma breaks free and holds a knife to Regina's neck. The dagger is next to Neal. Emma asks Cora "who's it going to be?" Cora takes dagger. Emma throws Regina, causing Regina to be knocked into display case. Emma and David run into the back room. Emma casts a spell that stops people from entering the back room. Cora senses that someone is in Regina's vault with Cora's heart. Regina leaves the store and runs to the vault

    In Past Fantasy World: Rumpel and Cora kiss. Rumpel says he loves the dress Cora's wearing. Cora says "well rags have to be snow white". Rumpel laughs and says "when you see the future there's irony every where." Cora loves Rumpel and tells him. Rumpel says he can offer nothing, but darkness. Cora says she doesn't care. Rumpel believes she loves him and says what if he amended the contract to be that Cora owes him his child instead of her first born. Cora agrees. Cora tells Rumpel how she hates the king and wants to kill him. She says she wants to show him his heart so he can see it and know what she's going to do. Rumpel says that's why i love you. Cora asks show her how to do it. Cora says she will do it that night. they kiss.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Mary is in the vault, looking around for the heart.

    David wakes up and calls Emma. He asks if Mary is okay? Emma says she's not with her and that she though Mary was with him. David wonders where is she.

    Mary finds the heart in a box in a chest. She pulls out the box holding the hear. opens the box and sees the heart. She closes box and begins breathing heavy. She opens it again and lights the candle. She holds candle over the heart and whispers Cora, then blows out candle.

    In Past Fantasy World: Cora find the king. She said they told her she could find him counting his treasure. She tells the king that she doesn't love his son. The king tells her it's not about love, but about alliances. He tells her that love is weakness and that should make her choice easier should make her choice easier. he says she can run off with the imp she thinks no one knows about or sit with Valet with citizens at her feet. Cora says if it's a choice of love or power, having a heart is a liability. She puts her hand on king's chest. "Don't you think" she says. Later, she walks out of the castle with a box, the box is glowing due to the heart in it.

    In Present Storybrooke: Gold says his dying may be for the best. he asks to talk to Belle. Neal asks who Belle is. Emma tells Neal it's his dad's girlfriend.

    Belle and Gold are on the phone. "Mr. Gold, I told you, I don't remember you." says Belle. "I know, It's just that I'm dying. I'm so sorry. I know you're confused about who you are you are a hero who helped your people, your a beautiful woman who loved an ugly man. really really loved me. You made me want to go back, back to the best version of me and that never happened before," says Gold. Belle begins crying. "Thank you," says Gold before he hangs up.

    "I didn't know you have that in you," says Neal. Rumpel says he loves Neal (his son) and that he is sorry. "I didn't think you'd go back on our deal," says Neal. "I made a wrong choice," says Gold. Gold reaches out to Neal with his hand. Neal takes it, both are on brink of tear.

    Regina finds Mary in vault. "You have no right to be here or to that," says Regina. "I was going to give it to you. she can't love you because she doesn't have her heart" says Mary. Mary tells Regina that Cora doesn't have heart so she can't love Regina. Mary asks Regina if she'd have a mother and a start on a family with Henry a part of it, or she could have her mother be the dark one. Mary holds the box containing the heart out to Regina.

    In Past Fantasy World: Rumpel is by tree waiting for Cora. She comes and they kiss. Rumpel senses that something's not right. "What happened did you take the kings heart?" asks Rumpel. "I was able to do it, but I chose not to. sorry I'm not going with you. I have a wedding to go to my own," says Cora. "Who's heart is in the box? you lied to me!" says Rumpel. Cora tells Rumpel that it's her heart. "I had to you told me not to let anything stop me. my heart was stopping me," says Cora. "You never loved me, never. we had a contract, I'll take your baby," says Rumpel. "You changed it, you only get your own and any I have won't be yours," says Cora.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: The letters "in" are the only ones left on the dagger.

    David finds Mary and asks her if she is okay. He sees her troubled and asks her what she did. Mary says the he was right, she wasn't being herself.

    Cora breaks spell stopping her from getting to back room. Emma and Neal stand between Cora and Gold. "you two out of the way," says Cora. they are teleported else where. Gold says he knew this day would come because of a vision, but it didn't tell him everything. It didn't tell him what he wanted to know. Cora asks him what it was. Rumpel asks her if she ever loved him? Cora asks him why do he think she had to rip her own heart out? She says he was her weakness the only man she ever loved. Cora raises the dagger. Regina puts Cora's heart in Cora. Rumpelstiltskin's full name reappears on knife. Regina smiles and says mother.

    In Past Fantasy Land: Cora is holding her new born daughter. Valet asks Cora what the the baby's name is. Cora says her name is Regina for one day she will be queen. The people in the castle bow to Cora and the baby.

    In Present Day Storybrooke: Cora laughs with joy and says Regina's name before Cora collapses. Rumpel grabs the dagger. Regina holds onto Cora and asks her what's wrong. "This would have been enough, you, you would have been enough," says Cora. By saying that, Cora shows that she would chose love over power, but it's too late, Cora dies. Regina asks Rumpel what's going on and begins crying. Rumpel stands up and tries to say something to Regina. Regina tells him to shut up "You stole her life!". Rumple says he did nothing. Snow and David burst in, and Mary yells, "Regina STOP!" Mary looks at Regina holding Cora's body. Regina looks at Mary Margaret with a face full of hate and says, "You did this."

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