“Pour Unfortunate Soul” begins with a flashback of Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) on his ship when he was still working for Peter Pan. The crew begins to hear a mermaid’s tune, distracting them until they almost strike rocks. Nearby, Poseidon (Ernie Hudson) scolds his daughter – a young Ursula (Tiffany Boone) – for ending the song just in time for the ship to escape.
Back at Rumple’s cabin, Regina (Lana Parilla), Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Cruella (Victoria Smurfit), and Ursula (Merrin Dungey) interrogate August (Eion Bailey) about the Author. He talks about a mystic called “the Dragon” who was also searching for the Author. Once the Dragon died, August stole his research, which is currently in Storybrooke.
Regina then – briefly – takes over Mary Margaret’s body (Ginnifer Goodwin), to tell Emma (Jennifer Goodwin), Hook, and David (Josh Dallas) that August is safe, Rumple is back, and the villains have something big planned next, but she doesn’t know what it is.
The crew meets with Belle (Emilie de Ravin), assuming she will have the Dagger and will be able to summon the Dark One. She explains that she gave it to Hook, who of course that never happened. They realize that Rumple disguised himself and is back at full power.
Hook reminds them of his mysterious past with Ursula, saying that now is the time to take advantage of it. He says, concerning happy endings – that he took hers. Hook uses a conch shell to summon Ursula, who appears quickly, constricting him with her tentacles. She releases him, and Hook offers up a deal. He’ll give her “what she’s looking for,” if she tells him what Rumple is up to.
The flashback continues, with young Ursula singing in a pub. Hook recognizes her voice and buys her a drink. She explains that her father kicked her out of his kingdom for disobeying him, so she stole a magical item that allowed her to walk on land. A pirate killed Ursula’s mother, which is why Poseidon demands Ursula use her voice to steer them awry.
Hook says that listening to her voice was the only thing that has ever taken away his lifelong pain. She shares her plan to sing in a specific city, and he offers to take her there on his ship.
Later, Poseidon gives Hook an enchanted seashell, which will take away Ursula’s singing voice, giving her no reason to leave the ocean any longer. Poseidon offers Hook “squid ink,” which can paralyze anyone, even the Dark One. All he has to do is steal Ursula’s singing voice in return.
Back in the present, Ursula asks Hook where her treasure is buried. He says it’s still inside the Jolly Roger, which is in the Enchanted Forest. Ursula opens a portal in a lake to the Jolly Roger but all that floats up is a small bottle with a model ship inside of it.
Hook and Ursula pursue Will (Michael Socha), who thinks he can restore the ship to its full size.
Next, Regina wakes from a nightmare, in which she fights the “Evil Queen” version of herself over the affections of Robin Hood. Rumple (Robert Carlyle) returns, saying August lied about “the Dragon” and his “research,” feeding him a temporary, painful potion that turns him back into wood.
More importantly – now that he’s ingested the potion, his nose will grow every time he lies. Rumple holds him to the fire, prompting August to admit that the Sorcerer trapped the Author behind a door. He doesn’t know where the door is, exactly, but he’s positive that it’s in Storybrooke. Also, it was in one of the pages that Regina has seen.
Hook and Ursula are able to restore the Jolly Roger with Will’s help. He gathers the shell with Ursula’s voice and returns it to her, but the magic doesn’t work. Her voice does not return. She claims that the deal is over, since it didn’t work. Ursula knocks Hook out and throws him overboard, but Ariel saves him.
When he comes to, she explains Blackbeard used the Jolly Roger to terrorize people, including some from Arendelle, so Queen Elsa contained the ship in a bottle, accidentally trapping Ariel as well. She has now been freed.
The flashback continues again, with Hook revealing Poseidon’s plan to Ursula. He refuses to break his personal code but asks that she steal the squid ink from her father’s storage. Poseidon catches her, and in return, he takes away Hook’s only chance of revenge. Hook steals Ursula’s voice to hurt Poseidon.
Later, young Ursula snaps, grabbing Poseidon’s trident and using it to transform herself into the powerful Ursula we know today, making her even stronger than Poseidon.
In the present, Emma and her parents break into Rumple’s cabin, knocking out Cruella. Ursula begins to strangle Mary Margaret with one of her tentacles. Hook tells Ursula that only the person who enchanted the shell can reverse it, and Poseidon appears. Ariel helped him through a portal to be able to walk on land.
Poseidon apologizes to Ursula for everything, wanting to return her voice so that he can hear the voice of his wife, and her mother, one last time. The magic works, and Ursula’s singing voice is returned to her. Ursula leaves with her father, now that they’ve been reunited.
The anger Hook felt with Ursula earlier in the episode reminds him that he was once a villain, and he’s worried that his current happy ending will be stolen from him. Emma asks him what “happy ending” he is referring to, and he admits that his happy ending is being with her.
While Emma and company were rescuing August, Cruella escapes and meets up with Rumple, Regina, and Maleficent. She tells them about Ursula, accusing her of being the mole, much to Regina’s relief.
Ursula reveals Rumple’s plans to Hook right before he leaves. Because Emma gave everyone in Storybrooke their happy endings, the Author will be unable to give villains their happy endings, while there is still a “savior” present. Rumple plans to fill Emma’s heart with darkness, forever.
At the end of the episode, Regina meets with Emma to ask her if she can help track down Robin. They ask August about the door’s whereabouts, in order to keep up Regina’s undercover status. He says that the picture of the door isn’t just an illustration – it is literally the door. The Author is trapped inside the Book.