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once upon a time recapping: the evil queen

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Lacey.

This week on Once Upon a Time, everyone has conflicting ideas about the fate of our favorite magical town. In Storybrooke, Regina begins work on her escape plan, but Greg and Tamara have other ideas. Meanwhile, Emma remains conflicted about leaving and instead focuses her energy on Tamara and “Operation Preying Mantis.” In the Enchanted Forest, we see more of Regina’s inner struggle to choose between good and evil.

Once Upon a Time, Snow and Regina

In the Enchanted Forest, Queen Regina is confused why people seem to hate her so much, even as she executes an entire village for refusing to give up the location of the “bandit” Snow White. Fed up with her incompetent minions, she decides to go after Snow herself. With Rumpelstiltskin’s help (and the price of cutting off trade with King George), she transforms into a peasant. The only catch is she doesn’t control the spell, nor can she use magic when it’s active. A disguised Regina comes across some villagers trying to burn and effigy of herself and tries to stop them, only to be blamed for it and sentenced to death. She is saved by none other than Snow White. A feverish Regina awakens to find herself hidden in the woods, tended to by her nemesis. As Snow cleans her wound, she tells of the time a stranger saved her from a charging horse and inspired her to be good. They head out and Regina uses the opportunity to inquire about Snow’s feelings, and is surprised to learn that Snow would forgive the Queen and be a family again if given the chance. This abruptly changes the moment they come across the slaughtered village. Regina pleads with Snow to remember the Queen who saved her from the horse – and gives herself away. She flees and returns to Rumpelstiltskin, prepared to embrace her title of the Evil Queen.

Once Upon a Time, Hook, Greg, and Tamara

In Storybrooke, Tamara and Greg inform Hook that Rumpelstiltskin is very much alive, and offer him a deal: a way to kill magical creatures in exchange for his help in finding someone. Meanwhile, Snow and Charming decide that Regina’s options are to be left behind, or to return to the Enchanted Forest and live out her life in a cell. Overhearing this, Regina decides on a third option: escaping to the Enchanted Forest with Henry via stolen magic bean and then enacting a “failsafe” in the Curse that will destroy Storybrooke. She communicates this to Henry, but he has a problem with the “killing everyone in Storybrooke” part of the plan, so she wipes his memory. At Granny’s, Emma literately bumps into Tamara and discovers a fairy tale cheat sheet in her purse. This, combined with her superpower, leads her to believe that Tamara is the “she” August was trying to warn them about. Snow dismisses her fears, but Henry is all about “Operation Preying Mantis.” Emma explicitly states she’s not getting back together with his father, despite accidentally letting slip about the magic beans and the potential return to the Enchanted Forest. Emma and Henry break into Tamara’s room and are discovered by Neal, who gave Tamara the cheat sheet. They find nothing and Emma slinks away looking like a crazy ex. Hook goes to Regina and offers to help with the self-destruct plan, if it means Rumpelstiltskin will be collateral damage. Regina and Hook go to the vault under the library. Regina reclaims her mother’s bracer from Hook, then pushes him off a ledge (seriously, how has he not broken every bone in his body?) to deal with the tender mercies of a spectral Maleficent while she retrieves the failsafe from Snow’s glass coffin. Regina returns to the library to discover a pissed-off Hook and his new friends Greg and Tamara. She tries to use magic, but the bracer she reclaimed is suppressing her powers – powered by “science” and the “toughest machinery and metals known to man.” Elsewhere, Snow, Charming, and Leroy discover the bean crop has been burned to the ground.

Once Upon a Time, Emma and Tamara

Next week, NEVERLAND!

Thoughts/Theories

  • I understand that a lot of this show focuses on the battle of good vs. evil, and I applaud the fact that many of the characters operate in a “grey area,” the sometimes extreme flips between the two are a little tiring.
  • Is it just me, or was Neal acting a little shady this episode? Considering he’s the mastermind con artist, it’s a little hard for me to believe that Tamara was capable of pulling one over on him, especially considering how collected she’s being over the “fairy tales are real” scenario.
  • I’m curious to see how the “science vs. magic” scenario is going to develop. I wonder if Greg and Tamara’s science operates in a similar way to Dr.Whale/Frankenstein’s.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently terrified of Stanley’s oddly-shaped head on Project Runway. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.

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once upon a time recapping: a land without magic

Previously on Once Upon a Time: An Apple as Red as Blood .

This week on Once Upon a Time, it’s the SEASON FINALE! In Storybrooke, Emma finally believes. She and Regina must put aside their differences to save Henry, and they turn to Mr. Gold for help. In the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Charming are reunited, taking us back to where the series began, leaving the door open for the story of how they took back the kingdom in season two.

Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin

In the Enchanted Forest, Charming makes a daring escape on the way to his execution, with the help of the Huntsman (!). The Evil Queen uses her magic mirror to drop Charming in the forest. He runs into Rumpelstiltskin, who after a brief battle offers to enchant Charming’s ring so that will lead him to Snow, if he stashes a true love potion (the one made from Charming and Snow’s hair) in a safe place. That safe place happens to be within Maleficent, or rather, Maleficent in her dragon form. He succeeds, and Rumpelstiltskin gives him the ring (and his fancy outfit) and sends him after Snow. Just as in the pilot, he revives her. Afterwards, he proposes to her, and they vow to take back their kingdom.

Once Upon a Time, Snow White and Prince Charming

In Storybrooke, Henry is taken to the hospital but Dr. Whale has no explanation for his symptoms, leading Emma to conclude it’s “like magic.” When Regina appears, Emma snaps and drags her to the supply closet, confronting her about the curse and poisoned turnover that is killing Henry. With no magic, Regina concludes that only Mr. Gold can help. Mr. Gold tells them that true love is the only thing that can transcend realms and break any curse. He bottled some (a drop of which he wove into the curse, thus creating Emma as the Savior), and offers Emma her father’s sword so she can retrieve it from “her.” Regina visits Henry at the hospital, where Jefferson tries to collect on their deal with no success; Emma goes to August for help, only to watch him completely turn into wood before her eyes. They go to the abandoned library (with the stopped clock tower), and Regina lowers Emma down into a cavern to face the dragon Maleficent. Emma eventually succeeds in retrieving the potion, but Mr. Gold betrays her and takes it for himself. Henry takes a turn for the worse, while Jefferson releases the Storybrooke Belle from her cell in the basement of the hospital and tells her to find Mr. Gold. By the time Regina and Emma make it back to the hospital, Henry is gone. Emma kisses him on the forehead, Henry wakes up, and the curse breaks. The Mother Superior warns “her majesty” she should find a place to hide, so Regina tells Henry she loves him, and flees. David and Ms. Blanchard find each other, kiss, and I cry. Belle finds Mr. Gold’s shop, and he is amazed to see her alive. He takes the true love, and Belle (who remembers him mid-journey) to the well that “returns that which one has lost.” He drops the true love inside, and a purple smoke emerges – bringing magic (and power, Mr. Gold gleefully notes) to Storybrooke. As the smoke engulfs the town, the clock tower ticks forward once again, and Regina grins from her window.

Once Upon a Time, Emma and Henry

That’s it until next season!

Thoughts/Theories
o So, the curse is broken, but everyone remains trapped in the real world. Why? I have to wonder: Did Rumpelstiltskin want to break the curse, or just use Emma to obtain the means to bring magic to the real world? And how does this help him find his son?
o What happened to August? How did the combination of the lifting the curse and the unleashing of magic affect his wooden body?
o Side point: Who is Dr. Whale supposed to be? Seeing him after the curse was lifted reawakened my curiosity about him. He’s the only recurring character we have no fairy tale equivalent for.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She enjoys a challenge and is currently re-watching all 15 seasons of ER. Follow her @nicolemnelson

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once upon a time recapping: an apple as red as blood

Previously on Once Upon a Time: The Stranger

This week on Once Upon a Time, just about everyone reaches their breaking point. After her small kidnapping attempt, Emma decides she’s making things harder on Henry and the best thing she can do is leave. Regina will do anything to hold onto her son and protect the curse, including sacrificing her last bit of magic to get Emma permanently out of the way. Henry, unwilling to let Regina win or Emma give up, takes a huge risk to make the savior believe. In the Enchanted Forest, Snow risks everything to rescue Charming only to be thwarted by Regina, and makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect her love.

Once Upon a Time, Regina and Charming

In the Enchanted Forest, we pick up where Heart of Darkness left off, with Charming held captive by King George. The King decides to execute him via guillotine, but the Evil Queen appears at the last moment and offers to pay for Charming, so she can make him suffer and enact her revenge on Snow, and King George agrees. Charming offers to die for Snow, but Regina has a different punishment in mind. Snow, the dwarves, Red and Granny, and the Fairies launch an all out assault on King George’s castle. When Snow gets to the dungeon, Charming is there – only in a magic mirror. He tells her he’s been taken to the Queen’s palace, and then Regina appears in the mirror, offering a parlay. Snow agrees, despite the misgivings of her friends. She meets Regina at the stable where Daniel died. Regina takes her to his grave, and tells her she was responsible for his death. She gives Snow a choice: eat an apple that will trap her in nightmares of her regrets, or she will kill Charming. Snow congratulates her, takes a bite, and collapses. The apple rolls out of her hand and disappears. Her friends find her, and since she is not breathing, think her dead.

Once Upon a Time, Snow White

In Storybrooke, Regina is sitting down to dinner with Henry when there’s someone at the door. It’s Emma, and soon many of Storybrooke’s residents are behind her. It’s clear she’s having a nightmare as they tie her to her rotten apple tree and Emma cuts her head off. Meanwhile, Henry realizes that Emma intends to leave Storybrooke <i>right now</i>, and refuses to go because the people of the town need her. The next morning, Regina notices her apple tree is dying and complains to Mr. Gold. He doesn’t care much, and suggests giving up Henry to Emma might be her price to keep the curse alive. Regina would rather get rid of Emma, but killing her would break the curse – a nice little loophole Mr. Gold has no means, or desire, to fix. Emma comes back, and Ms. Blanchard lays into her, calling her out on her irresponsible behavior. Regina summons Jefferson (who didn’t disappear into his hat?), offering to restore his daughter if he retrieves something from the Enchanted Forest.  Jefferson agrees, but only if Regina writes him and Grace a new story, with no memories of their previous life. Henry goes to visit a dying August, who admits he tried everything and Emma just won’t believe. Emma, meanwhile, consults with Archie about gaining custody, but he apologetically tells her she doesn’t have a case, and if anything, her presence has made Henry’s delusions worse. Regina takes Jefferson to a vault where she stores her last magic items. The hat won’t work, until she sacrifices the ring Daniel gave her – but even then there is only enough magic to reach through for something – an apple. Jefferson snatches the apple from the Enchanted Forest as it rolls out of Snow’s hand. Regina uses the cursed apple to make a pastry. Emma shows up at her door, and offers to leave Storybrooke if Regina will still let her see Henry. Regina agrees and gives her the pastry for the road.  Regina goes to Mr. Gold to gloat, and he reminds her that all magic comes with a price. Emma invites Henry over to apologize and tell him she’s leaving. He argues that Regina is trying to trick her, and when he sees the apple turnover, he decides to prove it to her. Upon taking a bite, he collapses on the ground and Emma loses it.

Once Upon a Time, Henry

Next week, season finale!

Thoughts/Theories
o Is it just me, or did this episode have more holes than swiss cheese? Jefferson suddenly reappears after falling out of a 2 or 3-story window (and disappearing into the hat, I thought)? Red and Granny, who were separated when we last saw them, have mysteriously reunited and joined Snow? If Regina has little to no magic in the real world, how does her heart vault work? As always, I can’t tell if this is shoddy writing or we’re only getting parts of the story.
o What will happen to Henry?! I love that little guy.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She enjoys a challenge and is currently re-watching all 15 seasons of ER. Follow her @nicolemnelson

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once upon a time recapping: the stable boy

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Hat Trick

This week on Once Upon a Time, we finally discover what Snow did to set Regina on a path of evil and revenge. In the Enchanted Forest, Barbara Hershey reprises the “crazy overbearing mother” role she perfected in Black Swan, ensuring that Regina’s youthful love affair with the stable boy ends in tragedy. In Storybrooke, Ms. Blanchard is set to take the fall for Kathryn’s murder, much to Regina’s delight, until some startling new evidence is found.

Once Upon a Time, Regina and Cora

In the Enchanted Forest, Regina is a free spirit with a love of horseback riding (and let me just say, Lana Parrilla plays the genuine innocence superbly). Her mother, Cora, disapproves. She wants to Regina to act like a lady and marry, and she uses her magic to punish her daughter until she promises to “be good.” Shaken from the abuse, Regina runs to the stable and into arms of her stable boy lover, Daniel (played by Noah Bean, who suffered a tragic end on Damages also). Regina and Daniel later meet for a secret rendezvous. He wants her to tell her parents about their love, but she’s terrified of her mother, who believes her social trajectory must only go up – and a stable boy doesn’t fit the bill. Screaming interrupts them, and Regina saves a little girl on a runaway horse, a little girl named Snow White. The King comes to thank Regina for saving his daughter, and asks her to marry him – and Cora accepts. Regina goes to Daniel, asking to run away together, and he gives her a gold saddle fastening for a ring. They kiss, but Snow sees. Regina runs after her, saying that though the King Leopold is noble man, Daniel is true love, and true love is magic. Snow is impressed by that, and Regina makes her promise to keep the secret. Cora has other plans, and manipulates Snow into telling her about Regina and Daniel. The two lovers attempt to flee, but Cora has made too many “deals” to let Regina throw it away. She gets the two of them to drop their guard long enough for her to rip out Daniel’s heart and crush it. Later, Regina is trying on her wedding dress when Snow says how happy she’ll be with Daniel. Regina confronts her, and Snow admits she told Cora. She swallows her rage, putting on the false Regina face we know so well, and tells Snow they’ll be a family. Her mother is pleased, and Regina concludes she concocted the whole proposal scheme, and wishes she had let Snow die on her horse.

Once Upon a Time, Regina and Snow

In Storybrooke, we flash back to a week ago to learn the nature of the deal between Regina and Mr. Gold. In order to have the charges against him dropped (for beating Mr. French a few weeks ago), he’ll make Ms. Blanchard disappear – and he gives Regina the whole plot: Kathryn’s disappearance, the key in the cell, the curse destroying Ms. Blanchard when she tries to flee. Very interesting. Regina, of course, accepts. Back in present day, Mr. Gold convinces Ms. Blanchard to agree to an interview with the D.A., and Sidney stops by to give Emma some flowers. The D.A., Albert Spencer, turns out to be the Storybrooke version of King George, which does not bode well. He bullies Ms. Blanchard into admitting she wanted Kathryn gone. Emma is desperate, and August tells her to go back to the beginning of the story – the troll bridge. They find a bit of broken shovel where the heart was buried, and later with the help of Henry they match that shovel to one in Regina’s shed. Emma comes back with a search warrant, but the shovel is gone, and she blames August. Regina stops by to gloat to Ms. Blanchard, admitting she knows she’s innocent, but deserves to be punished anyway. Regina clutches the ring Daniel gave her, pleased that they finally have their revenge. The police come to take Ms. Blanchard away. Emma throws her flowers against the wall in a rage, and discovers a bug Sidney planted. She goes to Granny’s to apologize to August. Ruby screams, and in the back alley they find Kathryn, alive and well.

Once Upon a Time, Ms. Blanchard

New episodes return on April 22, where we just might learn why August is really in Storybrooke. See you then!

Thoughts/Theories
o Despite clearing up some major plot points, this episode fell flat for me. Maybe they’ve teased out the threads for so long that it just fails to impress when they’re concluded?
o As I guessed, the heart they found was the one from Regina’s vault, and Kathryn was alive all along. The question is, who brought her back?
o Hats off to Bailee Madison, who played the young Snow. She copied Ginnifer Goodwin’s mannerisms so well, it really was like watching her as a little girl.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She enjoys a challenge and is currently re-watching all 15 seasons of ER. Follow her @nicolemnelson

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once upon a time recapping: hat trick

Previously on Once Upon a Time: Heart of Darkness

This week on Once Upon a Time, Emma is confronted with the truth once again, and may actually be starting to believe it. While out searching for Ms. Blanchard, Emma is kidnapped by the Mad Hatter, Jefferson, who is fully aware of the curse. He wants her to use her “magic” to recreate his world-jumping hat that would allow him to return home and restore his daughter. In the Enchanted Forest, Regina tricks Jefferson into taking her to Wonderland via his hat, and it does not end well for him.

Once Upon a Time, Emma and Jefferson

We start in Storybrooke, where Ms. Blanchard is on the run in the forest. Emma goes after her, because if Ms. Blanchard misses her arraignment, she’ll be branded a fugitive. Emma nearly runs over Jefferson (played by Gossip Girl’s Sebastian Stan) on the road. She offers him a ride home, and he offers her some drugged tea. When she comes to, she breaks her bonds, sneaks down the hall, and slips into another room only to find a bound and gagged Ms. Blanchard. Before they can escape, Jefferson – now with a gun – finds them. Ms. Blanchard is tied back up, and Jefferson needs Emma’s help. She questions his motives, and he reveals he knows about the curse and he needs her magic to make a hat “that works.” Emma puts two and two together, and figures out that Jefferson is the Mad Hatter. Despite her claims of this being the “real world,” he counters that it is a world in a string of worlds that all connect, some with magic, some without it. Interesting. Emma puts together a hat, but it doesn’t work. Jefferson explains his curse is knowledge of the world he lost, and a daughter who doesn’t know him. He needs the hat to set it right. Emma acts like she believes him just long enough to knock him out. She releases Ms. Blanchard, but Jefferson comes back, and in the resulting struggle he gets thrown out the window – but there’s only a hat and no body. Emma begs Ms. Blanchard to trust her, saying she doesn’t want to lose her family. She ends up back in her cell, foiling Regina’s plans, but Mr. Gold promises “her majesty” she’ll get the results she wants. Emma visits Henry, and upon learning of the Hatter’s fate in the book, asks to borrow it. Henry is ecstatic that she might be starting to believe.

Once Upon a Time, Ms. Blanchard

In the Enchanted Forest, the Mad Hatter is living a happy but poor existence with his daughter, gathering mushrooms. Unfortunately for him, the Evil Queen (rocking an awesome feathered collar) needs a favor. She promises him luxury if he helps her retrieve a stolen item, but magic cost his daughter Grace her mother and he’s not willing to dabble again. Disguised as a crone, the Queen refuses to sell a toy to Grace because the Hatter is too poor – it’s the push he needs to agree to her deal. He leaves to help Regina, but promises to be back for tea. At the palace, he uses his hat to create a portal that takes them to Wonderland. The catch is the hat only allows the same number of people to enter or leave, so he’s forced to go with the Evil Queen. Their target is in the Queen of Hearts’ maze, but with the help of the Queen’s magic they grab a box (from a vault that looks suspiciously like Regina’s heart vault) and escape. Regina opens the box, and with the help of a magic mushroom, her father is restored. Jefferson does the math a little too late – the Queen and her father go through and while gets left behind. He is brought before the Queen of Hearts, who in addition to cutting off his head (which doesn’t kill him), demands he makes a new magic hat. The episode ends on the poor Hatter, making hat after worthless hat, going insane.

Once Upon a Time, Mad Hatter

Next week, we finally learn what Snow did to inspire Regina’s wrath. Maybe.

Thoughts/Theories
o Here I thought Mr. Gold and Regina were going to battle it out, but now it seems they are working together as part of a deal (the one with Henry? A new one?) to make sure Snow is punished for whatever she did to Regina.
o I really like Jefferson. I hope he comes back, because: A. I want to know where he went, and B. I want to know about his shady past involvement with Regina.
o I’m glad we got to see the emotional side of Emma this episode. With Henry in the background these past several weeks, and her disapproval of Ms. Blanchard’s affair with David, she’s been a little cold. As much as she refuses to believe, you know there is a part of her that really wants Ms. Blanchard to be her mom. Her speech at the end about family made me love Emma again.

Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She enjoys a challenge and is currently re-watching all 15 seasons of ER. Follow her @nicolemnelson

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