After last week’s unbelievable episode of Once Upon A Time, ‘The Queen is Dead’ had a lot to live up to. This story introduced us to Snow’s mother, Eva, played by the stunning Rena Sofer and we got to see where Snow got all of her charm and kindness. So let’s jump into ‘The Queen is Dead’.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
In Fairytale Land, young Snow (Bailee Madison) prepares for a ball to celebrate her birthday. (By the way, has anyone else noticed how much Madison has grown? This is supposed to be before Regina becomes queen, which is a backstory in 'The Stable Boy' and that kid is taller and thinner than she was when started. Clearly, this is going to be one of those suspend disbelief moments because that kid is way too of good an actress to ever be replaced.) Back to the story, apparently Snow has a brat streak because she puts her servant, Johanna in her place when she's caught trying on her crown. Eva quickly reprimands her and teaches her that she is equal to everyone including servants.
Suddenly, Eva collapses. It seems she has consumption (or that least that’s what I’m guessing she has because she coughed blood into a hankie and that exactly what happened to Nicole Kidman’s character in Moulin Rouge.) The doctors don’t know what it is.
Johanna tells Snow to visit the Blue Fairy and she might have an answer to save her mother’s life. So Snow travels to the forest and the Blue Fairy finds her. She reluctantly offers her black magic in the form of a candle to save her mother. The catch is that someone else must die in her place. Snow can’t bring herself do it so Eva dies.
They say goodbye to her on the day Snow was supposed to celebrate her birthday and place a singular snowdrop flower on her chest. After Snow and Johanna leave, Cora shows up in the form of the Blue Fairy. It seems the nefarious woman poisoned Eva so that Regina could be Queen. Actually, she killed her so she didn’t have to be the miller’s daughter anymore.
"Snow would have been a great ruler one day but that’ll never happen because my daughter will be queen and all your's will be left with is knowing how I felt, how it feels to be the miller’s daughter," says Cora.
Wow, Cora! I’m continually surprised by the ferocity of your character.
A Birthday Surprise
In Storybrooke, it’s adult Snow’s birthday and she’s in no mood to celebrate it. She gets an unexpected gift from someone she didn’t even know made it to Storybrooke, her former servant, Johanna. It’s the crown from her childhood. She leaves David and finds Johanna. They reminisce while overlooking a patch of snowdrop flowers that Johanna planted to remind her of the Queen and its revealed that Snow’s name came from being born in the harshest winter although you would think she was named for the flower. Still, nice touch writers.
Snow hears a noise in the woods and investigates. She finds Regina and Cora and overhears them discussing their plan to get Rumplestiltskin's dagger. So she rushes over to tell David and she finds him knocked out at the police station. It seems Hook paid him a visit in her absence and stole his hook back.
Snow and David let the Hook thing go since he’s after Rumplestiltskin but they formulate a plan to stop Regina. Snow meets Regina at the diner and informs her that she knows everything. She tries to sway Regina’s opinion of her mother but Regina isn’t having it.
“Have you ever considered that maybe, perhaps, I am good. I was always the queen. It was you that added evil to my name,” said a defiant Regina.
So Snow and David go to plan B, finding the dagger before Regina and Cora do.
Manhattan state of mind
In Manhattan, Baelfire takes Henry out for pizza while Rumple tries to convince Emma to get Bae to return to Storybrooke with them. (We already know that’s going to happen.) Bae almost agrees but he has a secret, which he’s about to tell Emma before Henry interrupts him. They head back to Bae’s place and while Bae and Henry head upstairs, Hook attacks Rumple as Emma watches. He stabs him in his chest with his hook and almost kills him. Emma saves the day and knocks Hook out. (Why is Hook always getting knocked out? Shouldn’t he have added a helmet to his wardrobe by now?)
They take Rumple upstairs and see that the wound is oozing green goop. The hook was poisoned so the only way to save Rumple is to sail Hook’s ship back to Storybrooke for the magical antidote. Bae volunteers to captain the ship and Emma is shocked (1) by the fact that he knows Hook and (2) that he knows how to captain a ship. I’m not shocked because I called it months ago that Bae is actually Peter Pan.
As they are finalizing the plan, Emma gets a text from Storybrooke telling her about Regina’s plan. So Emma coaxes Rumple to tell her the location of the dagger.
The clock is ticking
Snow, David and The Blue Fairy head to the clock tower in Storybrooke where the dagger is hidden behind one of the hands on the clock. Cora and Regina show up just in time and their not alone. They bring Johanna and Regina rips out her heart. Now Snow must choose between the dagger and her dear friend.
As Snow is considereing her options, Cora utters a line that triggers Snow to rethink her mother’s death.
“All she ever wanted was for you to be good,” says a black-hearted Cora.
It's then that Snow learns the truth about Cora killing her mother and the shock forces her to choose Johanna. She surrenders the dagger and Regina restores Johanna’s heart. Of course, Cora can’t play nice. She tosses Johanna out of the clock tower glass, killing her. Snow is devastated. She vows to kill Cora.
The conspirators convene
The two evil sorceresses leave in a puff of purple smoke and arrive at Regina’s office. That's when Regina figures it all out. Her mother killed the Queen, which set up the King to find a new wife (by the way, love how the King wasn’t present for his own wife’s funeral but he apparently has time to scour the kingdom to look for her replacement.) Then she spooked Snow’s horse causing Regina to save Snow and catch the eye of the king. Regina looks puzzled and there is a hint of distrust in her eyes but whether or not she will forsake her mother is unclear. I guess we’ll have to find out next week when Cora’s story, ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ airs.
1. Cora may have killed the Queen but she still can’t make her own daughter love her as much as Snow loves Eva. That is the great tragedy of this story. The other great tragedy is that Cora is so insecure that she can’t handle being the miller’s daughter so she takes from someone who can handle her position and replaces Eva with her daughter purely for selfish reasons. Wow!
2. We were introduced to two characters in this story only to have Cora kill them both. They were like the red shirts in Star Trek. Come to think of it, Sofer wore red the entire time.
3. That interaction where Rumple blames Henry for getting him stabbed was beyond scary. I mean come on! He’s your grandson!
4. The complication that Bae was talking about was his fiance, Tamara. How much do you want to be she's Tiana from the Princess and the Frog? If that's the case bring on Prince Naveen!
4 out of 5 stars. They get an extra star because the episode was good but not as good as 'Manhattan' and I realize the unfairness in comparing the two episodes. This was a building episode whereas 'Manhattan' was reveal episode and reveals trump building episodes every time.
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