Long Live the… Once Upon a Time Review/Recap: The Queen is Dead

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Sunday brought a lot of revelations to Once Upon a Time, both in the past and in the present day of Our World. We dig deeper into the past of Snow White, Regina and Regina’s mother Cora (AKA the Miller’s Daughter) and how just how deeply woven together they all are. We also get some exposition into Henry’s father Neal (also Rumplestilskin’s son Baelfire) past and present as it relates to Emma. Rumple in Our World features heavily though we don’t get any flashbacks to his giggling impish Enchanted Forest self. Hook makes a few brief but dramatic appearances. There is no advancement of the stranger Greg Mendell in this episode.

Before going further, because Snow White features so heavily in this episode and in next week’s episode I want to get a few things out of the way. I previously mentioned my growing impatience with Snow White in Our World this season. And Snow White hasn’t done anything to make me change my mind thus far. She continues to be this mopey, emotional stock character. She claims to be good but seems to be dedicated to destroying the hopes of everyone else in town. One big sign of her selfishness is her insistence on everyone using their cursed names. And everyone just goes along with it because she’s Snow White. What, nobody wants to go back to the names that they used for decades from birth or for centuries for some characters? She insists on staying in Storybrooke over the objections of Prince Charming; she makes a good point that Emma might not want to go to the Enchanted Forest with her and David, but as far as I can tell she hasn’t made ANY effort to ASK Emma about it. She just assumes that because she doesn’t want to leave Emma won’t want to either. Sure there is a distinct possibility Emma won’t want to go back to the ruined Enchanted Forest. If you were raised with electricity, indoor plumbing, antibiotics and non-stop internet access you probably won’t want to leave. Though I assume magic can take the place of a lot of that. When I am in a charitable mood I just assume that Snow is afraid of rejection by Emma. But most of the time I suspect she just likes having satellite TV and doesn’t want to give it up. Or she has decided restoring her former home just isn’t worth the effort.

In season 1 Snow White was a dynamic character. OK, as cursed Mary Margaret she was kind of dull but had emotional depth. She wasn’t my favorite character but she fought soldiers, she pursued her love with James/Charming/David and she led a revolution against Regina and King George. Even when she and Emma were stuck in the Enchanted Forest this season and she was killing ogres and fighting Cora she STILL took the time to mope and whine. Give me back season 1 Snow White. Please?

OK, rant over. Now onto a quick recap of this episode. We learn that Cora was behind the death of Snow White’s mother. After cursing her mother with a disease, Cora masquerades as the Blue Fairy and tries to get Snow to use black magic to save her mother’s life. This is in the form of a candle that can steal the life of one person and give it to another, killing the first person. Young Snow initially agrees to use it because she loves her mother so much but can’t bring herself to do it because her mother has raised her to be “good.” Instead she lets her mother die and has no idea that the Blue Fairy who swore her to secrecy about the use of black magic was actually Cora in disguise.

Hook breaks into the sheriff’s station and knocks out David so he can get his hook back.

Things continue to be awkward for Henry, Emma, Rumplestilskin and Neal. Henry is sore at Emma for lying to him about Neal. Neal is still unwilling to forgive Rumple for abandoning him. While Emma and Rumple are alone in the lobby of Neal’s building Hook appears and plunges his hook into Rumple’s chest. Emma knocks out Hook and stuffs him into a storage unit. Neal reveals that he knows Hook and spent time in Neverland, which is how he isn’t dead despite the fact that Rumple abandoned him centuries ago. It turns out that the hook was poisoned and Rumple’s only chance for survival is to return to Storybrooke.

Meanwhile Regina and Cora continue to search for the dagger that controls the Dark One. After seeing them together, Snow confronts Regina to give her a chance to repent but is rebuffed. Eventually Rumple reveals where he has hidden the dagger and Snow and Charming attempt to retrieve it. They are confronted however by Regina and Cora who threaten to kill a handmaiden who was very close to Snow in childhood unless they are given the dagger. Snow figures out that Cora was the one who actually gave her the dark magic candle as a child and killed Snow’s mother, so that Regina could become queen eventually. To save the handmaiden Johanna’s life, Snow relents and gives them the dagger. But Cora kills Johanna anyway.

Emma and group decide to take Hook’s ship which Neal says he can captain, to Storybrooke as it will be faster than driving (magic ship and all). While procuring a car to get to the docks Neal is forced to introduce Emma to his fiancée Tamara. Emma is visibly conflicted about how to feel about this as she has repeatedly said she has no interest in getting back together with Neal.

Gregory Hartmann