As I attempt to get through a hectic (to say the least) workweek, the lovely Leah has volunteered to share her talents with us once again as this week’s Once Upon a Time reviewer!
Hi, everyone! Once again I am back to talk with you all about Once Upon A Time, and this week was crazy as usual. So let’s get started!
Title The Queen Is Dead
What Happened? In New York, bonding time for Emma, Henry, Neal, and Mr. Gold is interrupted by Hook, who stabs Gold with his recently reacquired and poisoned hook and forces them to figure out a plan to get Gold back to Storybrooke before he dies from the magical poison. In Storybrooke, Snow White deals with the simultaneous anniversary of her mother’s death and her own birthday, and she and Charming discover Cora and Regina’s plans to cause havoc and control the town. In the flashbacks to Fairytale Land, we see the circumstances that surround the death of Snow’s mother.
Charming: And we keep beating them.
Snow: At what cost? All I want is our happy ending.
My Thoughts To be completely honest, this episode mostly left me sad. There was not a lot of humor, and as you can see by my favorite lines there were not many snappy one-liners to break up the dramatic tension, as the whole episode was mostly drama-filled. While I immensely admire and enjoy the way that the Once Upon a Time writers are able to tie everyone’s backstory together so well and create all these connections that have great continuity with the series as a whole, this episode left me feeling depressed. Which, to be fair, was probably the point, as it has to spark the catalyst for Snow White’s next story arc as well as truly set up the big clash of good and evil that is likely on its way.
First, let’s talk about Regina and Cora. The end of this episode left me wanting very badly for them to just disappear and leave Storybrooke alone, because they apparently only create despair for my favorite characters. I do, however, find them to be interesting and complex characters even though I hate them at the moment. (Bravo, Once writers; this is how you write good villains.)
We learned a bit more about Cora in this episode, and how she, for some unknown reason, hated the Queen (Snow’s mother) and was responsible for her death. Cora definitely has a backstory I want to explore, as it seems like she has somehow created a family feud situation, and we still don’t know much about Cora as a girl other than that she was the miller’s daughter. I really want to know what the tipping point was that took Cora from being the innocent young girl she presumably once was, to the cruel, master manipulator we know now.
While I was not surprised in the least that Cora had been posing as the Blue Fairy that had appeared before young Snow (something about the fairy had just seemed off in that encounter to me, and while I didn’t assume it was Cora right away, the reveal was not a shock), I was surprised by the level of manipulation Cora has been operating on throughout the whole series. I had always known she was quite smart and cunning, of course, but this puts her on the same level as Rumplestiltskin in my opinion. (Which brings up the question – is Rumplestiltskin where she learned to be manipulative? We know Cora had contact with him at one point as he trained her in the use of magic.)
Now to talk a little about Regina. Personally, I feel like after this plotline has played out, and Cora is (I’m assuming) eventually defeated, there is no way that Regina can have a redemption arc unless it is an extremely, extremely long one that takes place over several seasons. Or unless Regina does something drastic to save them all from Cora, proving that she now knows right from wrong, is on the side of good, etc. There is absolutely no way anyone else will trust her anymore after this, not even Emma or Henry once they find out what’s been going on in Storybrooke, and I find that quite sad. I think we saw during the first few episodes of this season that she has the potential to be at least somewhat good, if not for herself then for her son, but this is completely destroying all of that.
I also think that she is completely deluding herself into thinking that Cora’s plan will work in terms of getting Henry, and that Henry will still like her if all of his loved ones are dead or gone, because for the most part he is a quite smart kid and would likely realize that Regina was involved in that somehow. It makes me wonder whether Regina’s deep desire to truly believe that she has her mother’s love is why she is able to believe that Cora won’t end up betraying her at some point.
The other main part of the show this week was the evolution of Snow’s character to this breaking point of wanting to kill Cora, no matter the cost. While I loved seeing Charming and Snow acting as a couple and how he tried to support her through the intense moments of this episode, my heart broke for Snow and all the suffering she has gone through in her life. It makes complete sense to me that she would now head towards the darker side of her nature and become completely focused on killing Cora no matter the moral cost for herself. I just hope that, since they’ve already done a descent into darkness plot with Snow before (last season’s “Heart of Darkness”), they make this plotline distinct and different enough from that first one.
Other Notable Observations:
• People I Miss: I really miss seeing Red/Ruby on my TV screen, and I hope we see her in an episode again soon, as she’s a great ally to Snow and Charming, and it would be nice to see our rulers not have to always take on Cora and Regina by themselves.
• Holding Grudges: Henry is still mad at Emma, which continues to make me sad. I do want to point out though that I believe this is still the same day as when Henry learned about Neal, so perhaps he will forgive Emma with some time. Henry and Emma’s relationship is one of my favorite things on the show, and seeing them fighting hurts my heart.
• I’ll Never Grow Up!: With the revelation in this episode that Neal knew Hook from where he went previous to our world (Neverland!), I think it is becoming more and more likely that Neal is Peter Pan, or at least one of the Lost Boys, and I am very excited to see more of his story from the time between falling into the portal and meeting Emma.
• Being Hooked: Hook’s stabbing of Gold with the magical poison is a good way to get Neal to go to Storybrooke, as it fits in with Hook’s revenge plot, and it lets Neal have the possibility of running into more people he knows from Fairytale Land. I’m also looking forward to seeing if Hook reappears in Storybrooke, and where exactly his loyalties will lie once the fight for Storybrooke really gets going.
• Remember Me?: August has been mentioned several times this season, especially lately, but we haven’t seen our Pinocchio yet. I’m still hopeful that we’ll see him at some point before the season ends, because I want to know what happened after he disappeared at the end of last season when the curse broke. Where has he been? Why has he fled Storybrooke? I’d love to see him back for at least one episode before we wrap up Season 2.
Those are all my thoughts for now! What did you all think? Do you want to know more about Cora’s backstory? And between Rumplestiltskin and Cora, who do you believe is the better manipulator—or do you believe they are equals in that regard? Do you see Regina as still able to redeem herself at some point, or has she lost all her chances in your opinion? And what do you think of Snow’s new plot direction? Do you like her more ruthless side, or does it make you sad to see her starting to lose her goodness?
Let me know your opinions in the comments below, and until next time, enjoy Once Upon a Time!