Sunday’s “The Evil Queen” set up new partnerships and impeding threats in Storybrooke. Meanwhile, a fairytale flashback revealed Regina’s surprising vulnerability and showed us when Snow White lost all faith in Regina.
Fairytale Land: “They’ll never love me.…Long live the Evil Queen.”
We pick-up shortly after Season 1’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” in which the handsome Huntsman failed to retrieve Snow White’s heart for Regina. Now, Regina is literally pillaging the Enchanted Forest in search of Snow White, who has now been dubbed a bandit, murderer and traitor. When Regina realizes that the people of the kingdom are more loyal to Snow White than they are to the queen, she shows “no mercy” and executes an entire village. Regina assumes that fear will inspire her desired response, but it only makes everyone hate her even more. Regina calls on Rumple for a little help and finds a new way to capture Snow White.
In another incredibly enjoyable exchange between the ever-entertaining Rumple and devilishly evil Regina, we see them agree to a clever arrangement. Since it will take too long for Regina to learn how to shape-shift on her own, Rumple disguises her as a peasant. However, there is a catch. When in disguise, Regina cannot use magic. In return, Regina promises to do Rumple a favor and bankrupt King George. (Interesting request, don’t you think Oncers? Could Rumple have planned Snow White and Prince Charming’s union so far in advance?) If Regina ever wants to be transformed back into her normal self, she just needs to call out for Rumple. With all of that said and done, Regina ventures into her kingdom as a simple pauper and is in for a very rude awakening.
All this time Regina believes that Snow White has made her seem evil. If only Snow was out of the picture, then everyone would see how kind Regina can truly be…Right? Think again. Regina gets an immediate slap in the face the second she walks outside of her palace walls. Everyone, including her own guards, think Regina is evil. When peasant Regina tries to stop people from burning her figure in effigy, the guards assume she is the culprit and prepare to behead her. Moments before Regina loses her head, she calls out for Rumple, but he doesn’t show. Instead, an armed archer swoops in to save Regina’s life. Regina is shocked to see Snow White come to her rescue and views this as a perfect opportunity to get inside the princess’ head.
Regina introduces herself as Wilma and says her family is from the mills. She admits that she doesn’t understand why Snow would help a stranger, so the princess tells the peasant a story while dressing her wounds. Snow White tells Regina about the time a woman saved her as a little girl (Season 1’s “The Stable Boy”). That was a life-changing experience for her because a complete stranger performed a selfless act of kindness. Queen Eva always told Snow to keep goodness in her heart and Regina proved to young Snow that there can be a “genuine selfless connection between strangers.” When Regina asks what happened to the woman who saved her, Snow says, “She is gone, but I hope she comes back someday.” For a moment, we think Regina can use this opportunity to turn her life around and become a good person, but if that were to happen, there would never have been a Storybrooke. So we begin to brace ourselves for the inevitable.
As Regina and Snow head out into the woods, the peasant is surprised that Snow is actually arming her with a sword. Regina is adjusting very slowly to the notion of not being her all-powerful self. Regina decides not to swiftly kill Snow and uses this chance to do a little digging. Regina says she heard about the Huntsman and wonders if Snow wants to kill the queen for wanting her heart. Snow White calmly explains that she doesn’t want to kill the Evil Queen. Regina’s problem is that she wants revenge more than she wants love. She is afraid to look vulnerable, but Snow still knows there is good inside of her. Snow White admits that if Regina wanted to change and be a family again, she would want to be a family too. Unfortunately, Snow White spoke too soon.
Regina and Snow White arrive at the site of the villagers’ mass grave and it devastates Snow. All of these people died protecting her. Snow takes back what she said about Regina. Snow declares, “It is too late for her…I could never forgive her.” That’s when Regina finally slips up. When the peasant asks Snow about the time Regina rescued her, Snow instantly realizes she has been helping the Evil Queen. Snow draws her arrow and aims at Regina. Regina calls for Rumple and when there is no response, she drops her sword and runs away.
Later Regina confronts Rumple for not appearing. He says he told her she could call, but he never agreed he’d answer. Regina is disappointed by her experience and Rumple simply rubs it in that he warned it would be “unpleasant.” Regina realizes that they will never love her. Once again, Rumple refrains from sugar-coating and bluntly agrees that it is sad, yet true. So Regina decides to do what she does best and punish them all. Regina embraces her identity and majestically rejoices, “Long live the Evil Queen!” Cue the maniacal laughter and devilish finger tapping. Mwah-ah-ah…
Storybrooke: “Revenge is an end, not a beginning.”
Hook is back and he is playing a very tricky game. Tamara and Greg hold Hook captive and persuade him into working for them. They show Hook that he did not succeed in killing his crocodile and they offer him help. Tamara and Greg know how to kill magical beings. They will help him kill Rumple if Hook agrees to assist them in return. Since Hook has already warmed up to Regina once before, she will likely confide in him about Greg’s father. Hook agrees and goes off to pay Regina a visit. Meanwhile, Regina snoops around Storybrooke, hoping to gain information about the Charmings’ secret plans.
Regina overhears David and Mary Margaret’s conversation about leaving Storybrooke. David says they can give Regina a choice: either she will return to the Enchanted Forest and stay in Rumple’s old cell or she can be left behind in Storybrooke. Upon hearing this disturbing news, Regina decides to secure her own fate.
Regina has an unnerving chat with Henry. She tells him what his family plans on doing with the magic beans and proposes her alternative plan. Regina tells Henry that she will activate the curse’s failsafe, which will destroy Storybrooke and everyone in it. Naturally, Regina and Henry will return to Fairytale Land before she presses Storybrooke’s self-destruct button. She tries appealing to the boy’s emotions and explains that everyone will always see her as the Evil Queen and she still believes it is everyone else’s fault that she turned evil. Henry disagrees and calls her a villain for wanting to kill everyone. Henry says he will tell everybody about her intentions, but she stops him. Regina just needed someone to talk to and bounce her idea off of. Naturally, Henry would not have agreed to Regina’s plan. The wicked woman erases Henry’s memories of their conversation and starts over, saying she just stopped by to see how he was doing on her way back home.
When Regina returns home, we see that she has been growing a mini beanstalk in her office. Moments later, Hook swaggers in and suggests forming an alliance with Regina. He tells her about Tamara and Greg’s plans and says he’d rather skip the betrayal and just team up with Cora and Regina again. Upon hearing the sad news of Cora’s passing, Hook offers Regina his condolences and reveals that Cora wanted to see her daughter win. He looks at the beans and says that was part of Cora’s plan. She brought Anton over so that Regina could harvest magic beans go back home. Regina opens up to Hook and tells him about her plan to completely eradicate Storybrooke. Hook is totally on board, as long as that destruction includes Rumple, which it obviously does. While Hook and Regina start bonding, Emma’s spidey-senses starting tingling as things continue to grow more suspicious in Storybrooke.
Emma bumps into Tamara at Granny’s diner and sees she has a list of everyone’s fairytale identities in Storybrooke. When Emma shares her suspicions with Mary Margaret, Mama Charming shuts her down and chalks it up to good old-fashioned jealousy. Emma insists that she does not have feelings for Neal and argues that she has an instinct for sensing who can and can’t be trusted. Nonetheless, M.M. cautions Emma to keep quiet until she has some proof or else Henry will raise his hopes for a family reunion. Once Mary Margaret leaves, Henry rushes downstairs and tells Emma he wants to help take Tamara down. Henry is super excited to be back in business and initiates Operation Preying Mantis. Elsewhere, Regina and Hook conduct their own covert operation.
Regina takes Hook to her secret lair beneath the library and explains that she will need his help retrieving the failsafe. Before they board the elevator, Hook shares some wisdom with Regina. He tells her that once he kills his crocodile, there will be nothing left to look forward to afterwards and his life will feel empty. He assures Regina that revenge is an end and not a beginning, so she better prepare for the consequences. As he speaks, Regina notices her mother’s cuff on Hook’s arm. He said Cora enchanted it and gave it to him as a gift. Regina insists that Cora was her mother and demands that he return the cuff, so Hook gives her what she wants. They finally go downstairs and Regina exposes her real plan to Hook. She merely brought him along to distract Maleficent, while she retrieved the failsafe.
Regina kicks Hook off the ledge and as soon as he hits the floor, little pieces of Maleficent’s shattered dragon corpse begin reforming into a new ghostly skeletal shape. We are left to wonder how Hook defends himself against the beast, as our attention shifts back to Regina’s findings. She had hidden the failsafe in Snow White’s glass coffin and this token of catastrophic destruction looks like a little black stone. It will be interesting to see exactly what it is and how it works, but that doesn’t mean we want to see Storybrooke destroyed. Now that Regina got what she wanted, let’s see if Emma does the same.
Henry plays look-out while Emma breaks into Tamara’s room to search for evidence. Henry is already excited by the idea of going to the Enchanted Forest and living together as a happy family in the castle, but Emma urges him not to get his hopes up. Naturally, Neal catches them and laughs when he sees Henry try to use the same tricks he taught Emma years ago. Emma swears she is not a jealous ex and asks to just look under Tamara’s floorboard. Unfortunately, there is nothing there and Tamara is still in the clear, at least in Neal’s eyes. Henry supports Emma and hopes they can find the proof they need. However, we soon discover that time may be running out.
Regina pops back upstairs and is shocked to see that Hook survived his encounter with Maleficent. How did he get out alive? Tamara and Greg saved him using their weapon of magic destruction. Regina impulsively moves to save herself with magic, but it doesn’t work. How could this be? We’ll find out in a minute, first the Charmings discover a problem of their own.
David, Mary Margaret and Leroy check on their harvest and realize that Regina has stolen all of their beans. Leroy grimaces, “Nobody steals from a dwarf.” Leaving us to wonder how Charming & Co. will get their beans back or find another way home. We also learn that they might have even bigger problems to face when we realize what Tamara and Greg are really capable of.
Tamara and Greg rigged Hook’s cuff with their secret magic-blocking weapon, which turned off Regina’s powers. Greg argues that it is all a science and vaguely says that some sort of metals and machinery counter-act magic. To make matters even worse, Greg drops another perplexing factoid on Regina. Greg is a man on a mission, but finding his dad is not the mission. Dun, dun, dun…
What do you think, Oncers? How did you feel about this episode? Was it upsetting, annoying, interesting, disappointing? Do you have any theories on Greg and Tamara’s mission?
- Tamara and Greg: Twist! Greg isn’t in Storybrooke just to get his dad back. That seems to be a bonus. They’ve come for the magic and they’ve got back-up. If you’ve watch ABC’s extended preview of the first eight minutes from “Second star to the right,” then you already know that more trouble is in store for Regina and magical people in general. Who are Tamara and Greg working with? Who developed this magic-blocking science? Is it someone from Fairytale Land? We already know why Greg has a beef with magic, but what happened to Tamara?
- The Evil Queen: Regina may have met her match in Tamara and Greg. They kind of share the same philosophy in that other people have driven them to perform such desperate and morally questionable acts. The fairytale flashback did not do her any favors. Whenever Regina has been on the cusp of turning good, she takes the easy way out and chooses to be bad instead. No matter how many people reach out to her, she turns them away. Could this life threatening experience be a turning point that will change Regina for the better?
- Hook: Well played, Captain. You can never tell which side Hook is on because he so slick and convincing. However, how long will he be willing to wait for his revenge? Tamara and Greg can’t dangle the Rumple carrot before Hook and not expect him to act on his persistent desire for revenge.
- Love and Revenge: Hook’s conversation with Regina about revenge was really interesting. It seems that there have been two parallel driving forces in ‘OUAT’. These characters are almost always acting out of love or revenge. The irony is that their revenge stems from a place of love. Regina lost her True Love and wants to get revenge on Snow White. Hook lost his beloved Milah and wants revenge on Rumple. How far will this cycle go?
‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.