After Regina tells him not to write anything to change her happy ending, Isaac uses the pen's ink to teleport to the pawnshop, where a dying Mr. Gold conjures the Heroes and Villains book for him to record new happy endings. Opening the book to the first blank page, Isaac begins by writing, "Once upon a time...". ("Mother")
Writing in the last details of Mr. Gold's new life, Isaac concludes the storybook with the words, "The end". As result, a bright flash fills Storybrooke and everyone, aside from Henry, is whisked into Heroes and Villains, where they have alternate lives. In Isaac's story, Snow White reigns as the Evil Queen after losing her true love because of a secret Regina told. As a consolation, Snow White takes the heart of her beloved's twin brother, David, nicknames him "Charming" and makes him not only her henchman but her lover. In her council, the Queen's underlings include the seven dwarves and Granny. Regina, on the run from the Queen, lives as a thief, while Robin Hood is her constant competition since he manages to beat her to her own heists. The Blue Fairy remains a powerful entity, except she and the other fairies harness dark fairy dust instead of light fairy dust. Instead of the charismatic pirate he once was, Hook is a cowardly deckhand serving Black Beard, captain of the Jolly Roger. Rumplestiltskin, a benevolent knight known as the Light One, uses his magic to save villagers from ogres. In this reality, he remembers trying to save Baelfire from the Ogre War, only to lose him. Belle remains married to Rumplestiltskin, and together, they have a young son. Emma, retaining her true memories, is locked up by the Queen on a deserted island with Lily as her guard. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")
Meanwhile, Isaac breaks the cardinal rule of the Authors and writes his own happy ending in his homeworld, where he gains fame from the paperback edition of his book, Heroes and Villains, although he loses the quill's power forever as as result of writing his own happy ending. Remaining behind in Storybrooke alone, Henry seeks out Isaac and threatens the truth out of him, later using a magic key on the Heroes and Villains storybook, whisking both of them into it. Henry then sets out to restore the original set of events. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")
After freeing Emma, Henry convinces Regina that Robin is her true love, and she must kiss him to reverse Isaac's stories. However, Isaac persuades Rumplestiltskin to stop them, resulting in him fatally wounding Regina inadvertently. Following an ominous chime of bells, which signals the very end of the story, Henry harnesses the quill's magic and becomes the next Author. Using Regina's blood as ink, he undoes the alternate reality, returning everyone to Storybrooke. As a result of the alternate reality being undone, the Heroes and Villains book becomes completely blank. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")
Much like the first Dark Curse, Heroes and Villains takes away all memories of its victims' previous lives, providing them with new lives, "punishing" or "rewarding" them each in a way that Isaac sees fit.
- Rumplestiltskin- Is known as the Light One, a heroic knight and slayer of ogres, and no longer a victim of the Darkness. He is much loved by the other inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest and lives contently with his wife, Belle, and their infant son.
- Regina- Believes herself to have been abandoned by her mother as a newborn. Regina accidentally destroyed the happiness of her stepmother who continues to hunt her down, which forces her to live as a bandit.
- Seven Dwarves- Work as thugs to the Queen, Snow White.
- Snow White- Believes her true love, James, to be dead as a result of Regina telling an unnamed secret. She becomes an evil monarch, reigning as Queen, and powerful witch who frightens and torments anyone who crosses her.
- Prince Charming- After the death of James, Queen Snow White takes his heart and forces him to be her lover and executioner.
- Robin Hood- Remains leader to the Merry Men, but is separated from his true love, Regina, and is her "competition" as thieves. He is in love with Zelena and wants to leave his life as thief behind in order to marry her.
- Zelena- Becomes a normal woman who is in love with Robin Hood, who wants to give up his place with the Merry Men to marry her.
- Emma Swan- Is aware of the alternate reality's changes, but is powerless to do anything about it. No longer the savior and with no magic, she is trapped on a virtually impenetrable island prison in the middle of the Bottomless Sea.
- Belle- Retains her original personality. She is the beloved wife of the Light One, Rumplestiltskin, and a proud mother of a son.
- Prince Neal- Becomes the child of Rumplestiltskin and Belle.
- Hook- Serves as a cowardly and timid deckhand of Black Beard on the Jolly Roger who is allergic to rum.
- Black Beard- Continues to be a notorious pirate who bullies his underling Hook and captains the Jolly Roger.
- Lily Page- Serves as one of Queen Snow White's Black Knights and is tasked with guarding Emma in the tower. Her true form is a dragon, which she transforms into after Emma attempts to escape.
- Blue Fairy- Becomes a powerful dark fairy who supports the bandit Regina by using dark fairy dust to keep the Queen's underlings from harming her.
- Granny- Is a member of the Queen's council who is constantly at odds with Grumpy.
- Will Scarlet- Becomes an associate of Robin Hood. He appears to be the best man at Robin Hood's wedding to Zelena.
- According to the paperback edition, Heroes and Villains is a "New York Ledger bestseller". New York Ledger was a nineteenth century story paper, published in New York City. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")
- The reviewers quoted in the book blurb for Heroes and Villains are Once Upon a Time graphic designer and productions staff member Neil Westlake, art director Cheryl Marion and conceptual designer Keith Lau:
his writing is sharp, and his characters are alive on the page.
A sophisticated and meaningful book.”
- Neil Westlake, Hudson Bay Herald
“Great reading...ranges from Knights slaying Dragons, to the
fight of the common person against evil and oppression.
- Cheryl Marion, New York Ledger
“Heller takes attack or be beaten ideologies to new heights in
this heavy-hitting first work. I had the sense that I had learned
something new about the fight against evil...”
- Keith Lau, New York Bugle
("Operation Mongoose Part 1")
- Neil Westlake is also listed as a complainant in a police report in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", and is credited as a land surveyor on a document in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", a photographer on the front page of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror in "The Stable Boy", and as a former entrepreneur from Storybrooke on a sign by the town hall in "Last Rites". It is also the name of the author on the cover of book Robin Hood: Myth & Legend from "Only You".
- "New York Bugle" is a reference to the Daily Bugle, a fictional New York City tabloid newspaper that is a regular fixture in the Marvel Universe, most prominently in Spider-Man comic titles.
- The reviews quoted, are directly adapted from four real-life reviews used to promote the novel Poison Pill (2013) by Glenn Kaplan. The original reviews read thus:
and his characters come alive on the page. A sophisticated and thoughtful
thriller.” —Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author
“Great reading… ranges from Russian oligarchs to the American worlds of drug
research and the equity markets, all of it in a mode of high suspense.” —Scott
Turow, New York Times bestselling author
“Kaplan takes kill-or-be-killed business ideologies to psychopathic new levels in
this deftly plotted corporate thriller.… It's Donald Trump meets Hannibal Lecter,
with highly engaging results.” —Publishers Weekly on Evil, Inc.
“A fine thriller ripped out of today's Enron-like headlines. When I finished Evil,
Inc., I had a sense that I'd really learned something about corporate America and
the men and women who run the show.” —David Hagberg, USA Today bestselling
author of Dance With the Dragon on Evil, Inc.
- An excerpt from the fairy tale of "The Golden Bird" can be glimpsed when Henry flips through the Heroes and Villains storybook. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1")
- The accompanying illustration is a picture by the famous English book illustrator Arthur Rackham, from a 1922 edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's children's book A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. It depicts a scene from the story "The Paradise of Children".
- The same excerpt, with the same illustration, is in the Once Upon a Time storybook, indicating that the same book prop was used for the interior of Isaac's book. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", "The New Neverland")
|Once Upon a Time: Season Four|
on the Edge
|"Unforgiven":||"Enter the Dragon":||"Poor|
|"Best Laid Plans":||"Heart of Gold":||"Sympathy|
|Once Upon a Time: 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":|
|Once Upon a Time: 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":||"The Final Battle Part 1":||"The Final Battle Part 2":|
|Once Upon a Time: Specials|
|"Magic is Coming":||"The Price of Magic":||"Journey to Neverland":||"Wicked is Coming":||"Storybrooke Has Frozen Over":|
|"Secrets of Storybrooke":||"Dark Swan Rises":||"Evil Reigns Once More":||"The Final Battle Begins":|
Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.