“Hyperion Heights” is the first episode of the seventh season and the 134th episode overall of the American fantasy–drama series Once Upon a Time. Directed by Ralph Hemecker and written by series co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, it premiered on ABC in the United States on October 6, 2017. This episode marks a soft reboot in the series, with a new storyline being settled in with new characters and a new setting.
The seventh season revolves around an older Henry Mills, who moved from Storybrooke to another realm in order to figure out what his story is. This episode opens this storyline, introducing reimagined characters, such as Cinderella, and a new curse which turned some of the New Enchanted Forest characters into citizens of a Seattle neighborhood named Hyperion Heights.
With everyone’s story now fulfilled, Henry plans on setting out to find his own story by travelling to new realms described in the storybooks found in the Sorcerer’s mansion. He explains that he discovered that there’s different versions of characters they’ve already met and know, but that there are no other versions of him. He is unique among all the versions of all the realms and he wants to find his own place among them. Though Regina worries he’s too young to be leaving home, he assures her that he will be fine, taking August’s motorcycle with him as he uses a magic bean (given to him by Tiny as a graduation present) to open a portal into another realm.
Years later, as Henry rides through a forest, he narrowly avoids a collision with an oncoming carriage, resulting in the woman inside being thrown to the ground. Realizing he has met this realm’s version of Cinderella, he offers her a ride to the ball as an apology. Cinderella, however, knocks him out and takes the motorcycle once she’s been shown how it works, with Henry chasing her. At the same time, Lady Tremaine is about to set off for the palace, having clipped the Fairy Godmother’s wings and taken her wand. When questioned why she is doing this, she explains to Drizella that magic has no power compared to fear, a point she drives home by destroying the Fairy Godmother.
As Cinderella arrives at the ball, she tries to make her way to the prince, but is confronted by Henry. When pressed why she stole his bike and a dagger of his, she admits that she had an ulterior motive for coming to the ball; she plans on killing the prince, as vengeance for ruining her family and driving her father to an early death. Henry tries to talk her out of it and gives her a hyacinth flower for luck, telling her that he is returning to his own realm at midnight, and that she could start a new life there. Before he can pursue her any further, however, he blacks out and learns that his drink was drugged by Alice, a mysterious woman ordered by Rumpelstiltskin to keep an eye on Henry. Despite her warnings of the dangers of meddling in someone else’s story, Henry chooses to stay and help. As Cinderella meets the prince, she pulls out the dagger, but eventually has a change of heart. Unfortunately, Tremaine takes the opportunity to kill him for turning down Drizella, and frames Cinderella for the murder. As the guards close in, Henry breaks out of his trance and helps Cinderella to escape, reiterating his offer and telling her to meet him where her carriage crashed.
After escaping the palace, Henry returns to the carriage and prepares to open a portal, assuming Cinderella has abandoned the idea. Upon discovering one of her glass slippers, however, he takes it as a sign, and chooses to remain in the new realm to undertake “Operation Glass Slipper”.
Henry is now making ends meet as freelance cab driver, struggling with writer’s block after the failure of his book, Once Upon a Time. When Lucy arrives at his apartment, she tells Henry that she is his daughter and that his family needs him, although Henry refuses to believe her and turns her away. The next day, Jacinda, Lucy’s mother, shows up late for work at Cluck’s Chicken, but quits when calling out her boss for his bad temper. When she returns to her apartment, she tells her roommate, about having quit her job, but is stunned to find that Lucy has snuck out without her knowledge. In Belfrey Tower, Jacinda’s stepmother Victoria grows increasingly irritated with what she sees as Jacinda’s irresponsibility, and plans on taking full custody of her granddaughter, all while buying out smaller businesses and raising rent to push the cursed inhabitants out of the neighborhood.
Later on, Henry discovers his laptop missing and finds a note to meet at Roni’s Bar to get it back from Lucy. After a brief encounter with a woman named Tilly (Alice from the ball) he goes to Roni’s, and is greeted by the eponymous owner, who happens to be Regina with her memories stripped by the curse. Meanwhile, Jacinda finds Lucy at the wishing well in the community garden, who tells her that she found Henry, despite her mother’s skepticism. Jacinda then returns the laptop back to Henry, and the two are encouraged by Roni to share a drink. However, Victoria shows up, ready to buy out Roni’s bar and to deal with Jacinda, telling her that she’ll be taking full custody of Lucy. Henry attempts to defuse the tension between the three, but is warned by Victoria to stay out of her business. Afterwards, Lucy meets him at the garden, and attempts to convince him about the curse, only for Henry to reveal that his wife and child perished in a fire years ago. Finding that his car has been stolen, Henry goes to the nearby police station, and reports it missing to a cursed Killian Jones, who now lives as Officer Rogers with no memories of his past life. In another part of town, Tilly enters an abandoned warehouse to find her boss, Rumpelstiltskin, now living under the cursed identity of Detective Weaver, and informs him of Henry’s arrival.
Back at the garden, Lucy is planting seeds around the well, when Jacinda arrives to take her to Bainbridge Island across the sound, so they can be together and escape from Victoria. When they arrive at the town line, Jacinda’s car breaks down and the elevator to the docks has been closed, which Lucy believes means they’re trapped in Hyperion Heights, much like the residents of Storybrooke were. At the police station, Victoria interrupts Henry and Rogers to ask the officer to help find Lucy and Jacinda, believing that Henry knows something. Victoria’s daughter Ivy and Officer Rogers find the pair, who have decided to stay and fight Victoria’s claim. As Ivy gives Rogers Lucy’s Once Upon a Time book, and insists that it be thrown away, Rogers catches sight of a specific page featuring a picture of Emma Swan.
Later that night, Victoria returns to Roni’s with a contract to have Roni sign over the place. Unfortunately, Roni changes her mind and tells Victoria that she is not selling out. Having been inspired by Jacinda’s decision, she tells Victoria that she won’t be ordered around by her, and this is just the beginning. At the same time, Rogers examines a picture of Emma Swan in Lucy’s book, and learns that his new partner is Detective Weaver. Henry begins work on a new story, and Jacinda returns to her job at Cluck’s Chicken. On her way home, Jacinda finds a quarter and uses it to make a wish at the well, causing a hyacinth flower to sprout out of the ground.