The big question of the season for me has been, what did Snow White do to Regina to make Regina hate her so much. That was finally answered last night. (And I really did think they’d hold that until season two.) It fits with the universe they’ve created, and I can understand much of what has come since. However, it was predictable. Which is probably why they focused more on Storybrooke.

What the story lacked in, well, story, it more than made up for in makeup and casting. They did a great job of giving us a younger version of Regina. And the actress they hired to play the young Snow White was amazing in how she captured the looks and mannerisms of Ginnifer Goodwin. If I didn’t know better, I would have said they used the regular actress, but the budget wouldn’t have covered the special effects needed to create her as a child.

And let’s start in Fairy Tale.

When we first see Regina, she is riding a horse and jumping over obstacles. Her father praises her, but then her mother appears and starts to berate her for not acting like a proper young lady. When Regina starts to argue, her mother starts using magic against her, first raising her off the ground and then squeezing her until she backs down.

Regina returns to the barn, where we learn she is in love with Daniel, their stable boy. They intend to marry, but they are afraid of her mother (with good reason).

A few days later, their secret meeting is interrupted when a young girl goes flying by on an out of control horse. Regina takes off after her and rescues her.

That girl turns out to be Snow White, and the next day the king shows up to thank Regina for saving her life. He then explains that Snow’s mother has died and he’s been looking for someone who cares about Snow as much as he does. Obviously, that woman is Regina, and he proposes to her. Regina is stunned, but her mother is overjoyed and accepts for her.

Regina heads to the stable and tells Daniel what is going on. They agree to run away together to get married. They lean in for a kiss, and Snow appears. Upset, she runs off, but Regina chases her down and explains what is happening. Once Snow has calmed down, Regina swears her to silence from everyone, especially her mother.

But Regina’s mother is more manipulative than a little girl can understand. She cozies up to Snow and talks about how wonderful she thinks it is that Regina and Snow are already so close. But she fears she is losing Regina. It would be a shame for Regina to lose her mother the way Snow did. Snow falls for it and explains about Daniel and the plan to run away.

So when Regina sneaks out of the house to leave, her mother shows up to stop Regina and Daniel. She worked hard to get Regina to the point where she is, and she won’t see it all thrown away on a stable boy. They try to explain things to her, and it appears that it works. But it’s just a trick to let their guard down. When Regina’s mom gets a chance, she reaches in, takes out Daniel’s heart, and crushes it to dust, killing him.

Our final scene is Fairy Tale finds Regina getting ready for her wedding. Snow comes in and learns that things didn’t work out with Daniel and Regina will become Snow’s step-mother. And Snow spills the beans on how exactly that happened, although she doesn’t know what she has done. A delighted Snow runs off to pack, although Regina is obviously furious with Snow. Regina’s mom comes in, and Regina suggests that Snow’s horse running away with her wasn’t an accident. Her mom doesn’t deny it, although she doesn’t confess either.

Okay, I can understand why Regina is furious with Snow. Although to hold an adult responsible for the actions of a child (I would have said Snow was 8 at most here) seems a bit much. Besides, it was Regina’s mom who was truly responsible. I wonder if Regina ever did anything to her mom over all this? It really doesn’t seem quite enough for all Regina has done to Snow.

Meanwhile in Storybrooke….

Actually, the episode starts a week ago and answers the big question at the end of last week’s episode. We see a meeting between Mr. Gold and Regina in which Mr. Gold outlines the plan to frame Mary Margaret for Kathryn’s murder. Interesting. So he’s been in on it the entire time. His idea was to destroy her by getting her sent out of town, which the curse won’t let happen. And what did he get out of this deal? His assault charges were dropped thanks to Regina’s influence.

Now back in the present, David is trying to get back into Mary Margaret’s good graces and use Emma to deliver the message, but she won’t have it. Instead, she returns to her office to find that Mr. Gold is meeting with Mary Margaret and suggesting that she talk to the DA (the first appearance by James’ “father” in Storybrooke) before the trail to show that she is cooperating. Mary Margaret goes along with it, but then is so upset by his hostile questions that she flies off and “confesses” to the crime in an angry, sarcastic manner. You know, “Is this what you want me to say?” kind of way.

Emma has had Sidney working on the case, and he shows up with a vase of tulips (to add some color to the office) but news that he can’t find anything to help Mary Margaret.

Emma is out of ideas, so she sits and reads through Henry’s book to try to come up with something that will help her figure out how to free her friend. That’s when mysterious author August shows up. He suggests that when he has writer’s block, he rereads what he’s written to try to find a thread to move forward. Emma takes his suggestion and begins the murder investigation again. They return to the toll bridge where Ruby found the heart. Digging a bit more, they find a broken off piece of a shovel. That night, they break into Regina’s garage and find a perfect match. They’ve got her!

Not so fast. We’re only half way through the episode. (Don’t the characters ever pay attention to these things?)

The next morning, Emma returns with a search warrant based on an “anonymous tip” and returns to the garage, only to find a brand new shovel. Frustrated, she accuses August of telling someone, but he denies it. “Who else knew?” she asks.

Meanwhile, Regina is visiting Mary Margaret in jail just to rile her up and gloat. In that last of these scenes just before the trail is supposed to start, Mary Margaret apologizes for “whatever I did to hurt you so much.” You can feel the venom as Regina replies, “Apology not accepted.”

As Mary Margaret is led out for the start of her trial, Emma is frustrated to have once again hit a brick wall. Angry, she grabs the vase of tulips and throws it against her filing cabinets, breaking it and revealing a bug.

She immediately heads to Granny’s bed and breakfast to apologize to August. She shows him the bug and explains that she now knows she’s been trusting all the wrong people.

Before they can regroup and figure out what to do next, they head a scream. It’s Ruby who comes running out of an ally saying “she” is in the ally. Emma heads into the ally to find a woman lying face down. Emma rolls her over and sees that it’s Kathryn. Just as Kathryn’s eyes blink open, the episode ends.

For three weeks! The next new episode isn’t until the 22nd!!!!!!

Okay, so obviously I’ve been saying all along that Kathryn had to be alive somewhere somehow. I really want to know just how that happened and who has been holding her. My guess is Mr. Gold, but why he released her now is beyond me. From the way she was lying, I don’t think Kathryn escaped but instead was let go. And I feel like she was drugged for much of the time. I’m wondering if she even knows what happened to her.

Whether she knows what happened or not, this is going to make for a very interesting episode next time.

So, do you agree that Snow’s big sin against Regina wasn’t bad enough to justify all this? Or am I being a guy and should see Regina’s side more? Again, I think Regina has a case against her mom and Snow definitely did betray a confidence. But she was young and manipulated.

Any theories on where Kathryn has been and why she appeared now? I’m thinking it was Mr. Gold for some reason, but I can’t quite figure out his motives.

Anything I missed that needs to be pointed out or discussed?

Meanwhile, if you’d like to see what else I like to do, come visit my blog where I’m talking about my weekend mud run.