After the Evil Queen puts Snow White under a sleeping curse, the dwarves put Snow White's body to rest in a glass coffin to honor her in death, and as they are mourning her, Prince Charming arrives and unintentionally breaks the curse with true love's kiss. Later, Snow accepts Prince Charming's marriage proposal and voices her desire to take back the kingdom. ("Pilot", "A Land Without Magic")
Intending to win back her rightful place as the kingdom's ruler, Snow rallies villagers with a speech exposing the truth about the Queen’s evil ways, including King Leopold's murder and her own plight under the sleeping curse. The townspeople agree the Queen's reign of terror must end, but when she asks them to join her to reclaim the throne, no one speaks up. With the Queen's surprise appearance, the villagers scatter. Snow White and Prince Charming go for their swords, but Regina insists she isn't looking for a fight. Immobilizing Prince Charming, Regina then offers her stepdaughter mercy if she gives up her claim on the throne. Having spent years trying to kill or curse her, the Queen considers that having true power means sparing Snow White's life and gaining everything that was supposed to be hers. Regina orders her to swear on King Leopold’s grave that she'll revoke her claim to the throne, and when Snow White questions what will happen if she doesn't, Regina begins choking a peasant girl. After easily avoiding Snow White's blade, the Queen gives her until sundown tomorrow to revoke the throne, and for everyday she refuses, one of her loyal subjects will perish. Before taking her leave, Regina belittles Snow White for denying who she really is, a princess, but never a queen.
Snow White, doubting her inability to protect the kingdom's subjects, resolves to agree to Queen's offer. While she is practicing archery, Prince Charming informs her that he made a deal with Rumplestiltskin, and he later shows her the "Excalibur" sword, embedded in stone, which only the kingdom's true ruler can wield. After pulling it out, she starts to consider to turn down the Queen's deal. The next day, Regina shows up, fully expecting her stepdaughter will submit to her, but Snow White stands her ground, refusing to give up the throne. True to her prior threats, the Queen begins suffocating Grumpy as retribution for Snow White's defiance, and she throws back the other dwarves when they attempt to help him. With encouragement from Prince Charming, Snow White charges at the Queen, who magically dissipates and reappears from behind, just in time for Snow White's blade to cut into her cheek. Shocked at being injured, Queen’s drops her hold on Grumpy. No longer afraid to stand up to the Queen, Snow White boldly declares that she has stopped denying who she is, and then professes the kingdom is hers. The Queen hisses that they will meet again on the battlefield, and after Snow White responds with just as much confidence, Regina teleports away. ("Lost Girl")
Receiving news that Snow White is hiding in a hut within a village, Regina drops by, relishing the idea of finally ripping out her stepdaughter's heart. Her father Henry opposes the killing because it'll make Regina unfavorable in the eyes of her subjects, and he suggests sparing the girl to show mercy. Regina ignores his advice and goes into the hut, but finds a decoy dummy in place of Snow, whose location she suspects the villagers know. She attempts to make the forfeit their loyalty to Snow, insisting that the princess doesn't care or love them, but she does. Tinker Bell refutes these claims by recalling how Regina threw away her second chance at love, and tries to make her see that it's still not too late to find the man with the lion tattoo if she is open to the possibility of happiness. Regina declines, stating she is happy the way she is now, though Tinker Bell boldly points out that her reluctance is because she doesn't believe herself deserving of love. Despite being angered at the ex-fairy's analysis of her, Regina declares she is sparing Tinker Bell's life as proof she is merciful because she loves them all, but she warns Tinker Bell to not to cross her again or she will end her for good. ("Page 23")
On 1st February, the Queen pays a visit to another village, where her terrified subjects await her with birthday gifts. A girl presents her with a blueberry pie, which Regina deems subpar since it's not apple pie. However, the Queen only cares about a present no one in the village wants to give her: Snow White's heart on a plate. No one speaks up, except for a man named Blacktooth, who wants compensation for his help. Declaring that his reward will be a quicker death after he gives her what she wants, Regina magically chokes him, angrily beseeching him for an answer. When Snow White ambushes her, Regina drops her hold on the man, who dies instantly. Rather than fight her stepdaughter, the Queen decides to retreat, as she is feeling generous on her birthday. ("Souls of the Departed")
Sometime after this, the Evil Queen makes an allegiance with King George against Snow White and Prince Charming. ("The Cricket Game")
Despite what the Evil Queen promised, King George learns that Prince Charming has broken free and sends men to search for him to no avail. By the way, with the Evil Queen out of the way, Snow White and Prince Charming lay down further groundwork for gaining back the kingdom. From Red Riding Hood, they hear about King George's hit-man called the Leviathan. When King George's forces storm their camp, Prince Charming offers to stay behind and tells Snow White to meet up with him at his mother's cabin. While fleeing, she is apprehended by the Leviathan, Lancelot, who brings her to King George. King George orders Lancelot to give her a cup of "water", which she later drinks from. He tells Snow White about his past with wife who he fell in love with and married, but she was cursed to never be able to bear children. As revenge, since his attempts to harm Prince Charming fail, he makes Snow White barren from the water she drank. Even Lancelot is shocked at the king's actions, and after Snow White leaves, he renounces his title as general and goes to follow her. Afterward, she is let go, but Lancelot follows her into the forest. Furious at his affiliation with King George, she attacks him, but he begs her to spare him as he, too, was unaware of the poison in the cup. She allows him to come with her.
After the fight, he arrives at the cabin shortly before King George's army arrive to capture him. Although he emerges victorious, Ruth, worried about his well-being, runs outside and is shot by a poisoned arrow. Once Snow White and Lancelot rejoin the mother-son pair, they travel to Lake Nostos to find the cure for the wound caused by the poisoned arrow. However, the water have dried up some time after Prince Charming, came to the lake in the past and killed the guardian of the lake. Lancelot is able to find a small portion of water and brings it over to Ruth. She drinks it, but it has no effect. Knowing death is near, Ruth admits her only regret is not seeing her son get married to Snow White. Honoring her wish, Snow White asks Lancelot to perform a marriage ceremony. During the ceremony, Snow White drinks from chalice rumored to give eternal life while Ruth dies peacefully following the union. After that, Prince Charming shows her his mother's necklace, which has the ability to predict the gender of a person's future child. Unknown to him, King George previously cursed Snow White with barrenness, and as she begins to break the news to him, the necklace sways, proving the curse is broken. This is a result of Ruth's secret sacrifice of switching out the lake water into the ceremonial chalice for Snow White. ("Lady of the Lake")
As the war continues, the Queen's allies, King George's army, is defeated. Regina meets Snow White in the woods, not realizing it is a trap, until the Blue Fairy freezes and binds her with fairy dust. Snow White and Prince Charming lock her up in a cell in their castle while deciding her fate with their council. There, Regina is visited by her father, who says that it is his fault that he did not take care of her properly. She affirms her love for him before being brought to the scaffold for her execution. In a discussion in the war council, Snow and Charming try to decide the Evil Queen's fate. Snow White is against killing the Queen, but she is outnumbered, as the others believe death is a fitting punishment.
To the public, the Evil Queen gives her last testament by voicing her she regrets in not causing more pain and misery and that she was not able to kill Snow White. She is blindfolded, and as the executioners' arrows are fired, Snow White calls for them to stop and the Blue Fairy immediately stops the arrows with an immobilization spell. Prince Charming is adamant that Regina is simply too dangerous and will never change, however, Snow believes there is still some good left in her, and then recalls a moment in the past when Regina saved her life.
While Regina is in her cell, Snow White visits to give her a chance to redeem herself; surrendering her evil ways and turning back to the person "who saved her life". Once allowed out of the cell, Regina steals Snow White's dagger and attempts to stab her with it, but it has no effect. Prince Charming arrives to inform Regina that Rumplestiltskin made a protection spell
with the help of her hair. Snow White says that it was a test to see if she is still evil and unwilling to change and as long as they are in this land
, the Queen cannot hurt them. Snow White makes a final speech to Regina, that she saved her life once, and now Snow saved hers, so they are even; but if she ever tries to hurt anyone in their kingdom, she will kill her. Then together, they banish the Evil Queen for good to live alone with her misery. ("The Cricket Game")