Synopsis of 4×20: Lily’s backstory is told, Regina heads to New York to save Robin, and Emma’s darkside grows strong.
The Apprentice goes to a mystical glowing cloud to tell it what the Author has done and the cloud determines that the Author must never be allowed out of the book again, lest he continues to toy with fate. Meanwhile, in the future, the Author and Gold stand at the side of Cruella’s grave. Gold is much less caring, and is only intent on keeping Emma on the dark path she has started to go down.
Emma, the Charmings, Regina, and Hook meet up at Granny’s, where Emma is bent on defeating Gold. Mal comes in and wants to make an alliance to take down Gold. But in exchange for Mal’s help, Emma must find Mal’s daughter. The only details known are that she was named Lilith by a couple in Minnesota. Emma has a flashback and knows immediately who it is.
Back to little Emma, she is packing to go on a camping trip with a new foster family. She heads to the garage to grab her last item, and finds Lily hiding out. Lily spins a tale of how she needs help and is in big trouble, and pulls the friends forever line. Emma, being the soft heart she is takes up her side, and helps lie to her foster family about who she is and what she’s doing.
In Storybrooke, Regina comes in and finds Emma staring at the page. She tells Emma it’s a cruel world, and fate controls us all. She proposes a road trip to New York to save Robin, find Lily, and prove Gold wrong. So to beat fate, they decide to help each other out and go on this trip (SwanQueen shippers, we can hear you sigh). They are sent off by their family, mostly Emma’s family. Hook gives Emma a warning to try to stay on the good path, because vengeance is tempting and hard to come back from. Emma snubs Snow, saying to watch Henry and refusing a proper goodbye.
Back in little Emma time, the foster family, Emma and Lily eat dinner together. Lily spins tales of how they were in a group home together, and how they were meant to be friends. They leave to go get seconds and Emma confronts her about the lies. As they argue, a news special comes on and shows some kids robbing a store. Lily’s face shows up, and she swears she can explain. They run out to the garage, and Emma says Lily can’t stay there and she’ll give her all her allowance to leave. Lily swears her boyfriend made her do it, and says that every move she makes is just bad. Lily says she can’t go, not without a necklace she has from her birth mother. Emma caves and says she’ll go get the necklace if Lily will just leave.
Regina and Emma find the place where Lily lived. Regina quips about how she should have cursed everyone there instead of Storybrooke. They find Lily’s apartment and find a neighbor to ask about her whereabouts. The guy says that she hasn’t lived here in a while, and isn’t even living. He says that she was a person you wanted to stay far away from, and died from a car wreck that was most likely caused by drinking. Emma loses it and goes to pummel the guy, but Regina is able to calm her down.
Back on the road, Regina confronts Emma about what happened. Emma goes on about how the darkness that affected Lily’s life was really meant for her. Before she can go on, a wolf appears in the road and Emma spins out trying to avoid it. She says that this has happened before, when she was trying to leave Storybrooke. Regina says to chalk it up to just an accident, and unless fate brought them to a diner, she should ignore it. At the diner, a waitress pours a cup of coffee for Emma, and that waitress just happens to have a star birthmark.
Emma confronts “Starla” in the parking lot, and says her real name. Lily freaks out and asks how she knows her name, and Emma reveals the story of the birthmark. Lily asks how Emma found her, and she says fate. Emma goes on about how all Lily’s problems aren’t just hers, but also all of Emma’s. She tries to convince Lily to go with her, and Lily says that she has an awesome life, with a great husband and kid. She hasn’t even thought of Emma in years. Lily goes to pick up a girl from the bus, but not all as it is seems as she bribes the kid with free burgers for a week.
Young Emma enters a sketchy house and finds Lily’s bag and grabs the necklace. She sneaks back into her foster home, whispering for Lily to show herself. Instead of finding Lily, her foster parents show up and tell her that Lily stole all of their vacation money. They tell her that they have called her social worker, that they know that she has lied about where they met, and that Lily was a suspect in a robbery. She says that she knew, that’s why she was trying to get Lily to leave. Her foster dad asks why Emma would endanger their children, and Emma sees the meaning and leaves.
Regina and Emma find Lily’s trailer and go looking for her. Regina says she may have bolted because knowing you’re Maleficent’s daughter is probably hard to swallow. Emma concedes that may be very true, and it did take her a long time to get used to the idea that fairy tales are true. Regina finds the back room filled with maps, pictures and connection between the characters, and says that Lily may have already known. And had been looking for Emma. They hear the bug start up and find that Lily has stolen it. Emma breaks the window of another car to chase down Lily.
Young Emma sits at a bus stop, and Lily finds her. Emma tells her to stay away, to stay out of her life. Lily says she was doing her a favor and showed the true nature of the foster parents. She says they can take the money and run away to wherever they want. Emma throws the necklace at Lily and says to leave and go home to her family. Lily says she can’t because they kicked her out, and since she met Emma every choice she makes, even the good ones, turn bad. She begs Emma to help her, but Emma refuses and leaves.
Regina and Emma catch up to Lily in the bug and cut her off. They all burst out of the cars and Lily tries to run. Emma confronts her about knowing who they are. They start to fight, and thanks to Emma and her family, Lily’s is all messed up. Emma pulls a gun on her and Lily says she should just end it before Lily can really destroy her life. Regina is the voice of reason, and reminds Emma that if she shoots Lily, Gold wins and Emma is thrust down the path of darkness forever. After a bit, Emma puts the gun down and makes Lily come with them.
Young Lily is on the bus looking at her necklace when an old man compliments it. He asks if she has ever noticed how it compliments her birthmark. He tells her not to panic as he calls her by name. He says he knows who she is, and why she is miserable. He tells her he owes her the truth about why the deck is stacked against her no matter what she does. She says she wants to know, so he starts with the necklace. He asks if she would like to know more about her.
Grown up Lily asks why Emma didn’t just kill her when she had the chance. Emma says that she would like to believe that Lily wouldn’t have shot her either. Regina comes up and says that she’s lost the leverage over Gold, and they have to get to Robin fast. Back in Storybrooke, Will comes in and shows Belle her heart. Gold comes around and says Regina had it to use as leverage over Belle. Belle says he should leave, but Gold says not before he gets to tell her a few things. He tells her that he spent every day of their marriage deceiving her, and had he spent time making her happy and not being, well, evil, his heart wouldn’t be so black. He gives her back her heart, and says that Will will be the one to protect it. He leaves and Belle takes a couple steps after Gold.
Regina pounds on the apartment door calling for Robin. He opens the door, and asks why they are there. She asks where Marian is and they have to talk about what to do. She tells Robin that Marian is really Zelena, and this is all a huge revenge plot on Regina. Marian comes in and acts like she doesn’t know what is happening. Robin says that this is the new reality, that he is with Marian. Marian takes a step back to reveal herself as really being Zelena. Regina says to get Rolan and to leave. Robin hesitates, and says he can’t go, he can’t leave Zelena here. Zelena asks if he wants to tell her, or if she should. He tells Regina that Zelena is pregnant.