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Once Upon a Time 2-20: The Evil Queen

“The Queen is Dead. Long live the Evil Queen.” So says Regina at the end of our flashback to the Enchanted Forest. And that part of the episode finally filled in a gap of her back story we’d had yet to see. And in Storybrooke? Oh boy, are things out of control.

But let’s start in Enchanted Forest.

Regina is hunting for Snow White. She’s gotten to a cottage where Snow was hiding but too late. Again. So she has her soldiers round up the nearby peasants. When they refuse her offer of gold in exchange for information about Snow, she orders them all killed.

Back at the palace, Regina decides she needs to go out as a peasant to track down Snow, so she calls on Rumplestiltskin. She wants to learn her mother’s shape shifting spell, but Rumple tells her it will take too long. So Regina has Rumple transform her. She will lose her magic and she will have to call on him to undo it when she has killed Snow. Rumple tries to warn her that the results might be eye opening, but Regina doesn’t care. All Rumple asks in exchange is that Regina cut off trade with King George’s kingdom, thereby making it poor and desperate, which is all part of Charming’s back story.

Sure enough, in the first village the disguised Regina visits, she finds people throwing arrows at the heart of an effigy of the Evil Queen. Along the way, she hears what these people really think of her. But when they decide to burn this effigy, she steps in to stop them, only to be arrested by two of the guards for burning the effigy in the first place. She tries to tell the guards who she really is, but they don’t believe her and are ready to behead her instantly. She calls to Rumple, but he doesn’t come.

Someone, however, comes in with arrows and a sword, injuries or knocks out the two guards, and rescues the disguised Regina. And this person? Snow White. When Regina realizes this, she faints.

Of course, she fainted for a second reason. She had gotten nicked by a dirty sword, and the wound is infected. She wakes up in a shelter built by Snow, who spends the next few days nursing this stranger back to health.

Along the way, Snow tells Regina the story of how they met, but from Snow’s point of view. Snow explains how the experience taught her that there is good in everyone, something she tries to live out in her day to day life.

When Regina heals, she and Snow set out since Snow can’t stay in one place too long. Snow gives Regina a sword, the perfect chance to kill Snow. However, Regina can’t quite bring herself to do it. Instead, she starts quizzing Snow about whether she would be willing to give her step-mother a second chance. Snow says that yes, if Regina truly did repent, she’d be willing to try to be a family. But Snow doesn’t think Regina would ever change that much.

And as if to prove her point, they crest a hill and find the bodies of the villagers that Regina ordered killed. Snow is disgusted. And while they are talking, Regina slips up, and Snow realizes who she has been helping. She gets an arrow cocked, but Regina drops the sword and calls for Rumple. When he doesn’t appear, she runs off – straight to his house.

Once she arrives, she demands that Rumple change her back, which he does. And she has changed. Here’s where we get the quote I started the recap with. Regina has decided to stop thinking she is a hero and act like a true villain. This can’t go well from here, and we know it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke

Mary Margaret and David are talking about the magic beans and what to do with Regina when they go back. They don’t want her running around, but they know that not bringing her could hurt Henry. So they agree to offer her a choice – stay behind or go back and be imprisoned in Rumple’s old cell. What they don’t know is that Regina overheard them.

She goes and talks to Henry, telling him that she has a fail-safe in the curse she intends to enact. It would destroy the town, killing everyone in it. However, she intends to escape with Henry back to Enchanted Forest before that happens. He is upset that Regina intends to kill everyone else, so she erases his memory of the entire conversation.

Back in her office, she is growing some of the magic bean plants. She is looking at them when Hook walks in. As we saw in the first scene of the episode, he has learned that Gold is still alive, and Greg and Tamara offer him a deal. But he isn’t willing to take it. Instead, he tries to make a deal with Regina once he learns of her plans to kill everyone in Storybrooke – including Gold. And Regina does need his help to get the fail-safe.

Along the way, Regina notices the arm band that Hook is wearing, which Cora gave him to climb the beanstalk. She insists that Hook give it to her, which he reluctantly does.

The fail-safe is located in the cavern under the library. It is guarded by a creature with regenerative properties – Maleficent. So she isn’t dead, although she isn’t looking too good. She looks like a Mummy at this point. Hook’s job is to keep her distracted while Regina goes and gets the fail-safe, which was hidden in a glass coffin. It looks like a vile of some sort.

Meanwhile, Emma has run into Tamara at Granny’s – literally. And as Emma is trying to help Tamara pick things up, she sees a list of the various citizens in town and who they really are. When Tamara tells Emma that Neal has nothing to fear from Tamara, she doesn’t buy it. And suddenly she knows that Tamara is the “she” that August was trying to warn Emma about.

She shares her theory with Mary Margaret, who doesn’t buy it, even when Emma reminds her of her superpower of knowing when people are lying. But Henry overhears, and he is on board with helping Emma prove it even though Emma keeps trying to explain she has no desire to get back together with Neal.

So to two of them break into Neal and Tamara’s room at the inn. Emma searches and has found a lose floorboard when Neal returns. Emma tries to explain, but Neal isn’t buying any of it. He doesn’t believe in her super power, and he gave Tamara that list. Emma talks him into looking under the floorboard, but there is nothing there.

Emma has agreed to drop it, but she still knows she is right, and Henry is still on her side.

And as Leroy, David, and Mary Margaret go out to check on the beans, they learn that someone has destroyed the crop. Meanwhile, at one point Emma asks Henry how he’d feel about going to live in Enchanted Forest, and he immediately works out the existence of the beans. Was it because Emma’ weakness is keeping secrets? Or will his memories of the conversation he had with Regina come back to him.

The final scene of the night was in the library. Regina returns with the fail-safe vial, and Hook is there waiting for her. She is surprised to see him, figuring Maleficent would have killed him. And about that time, Tamara and Greg come strolling in as well, talking about how they know how to deal with magical powers. Regina tries to blow them away, but she can’t. They’ve used “science” (Greg’s term, not mine) to get rid of her powers, administering it via that arm band Hook was wearing. They consult their list to see which character she is, and when they confirm that she is the Evil Queen, they bag her – literally.

So, what are Greg and Tamara really up to? Heck, does Greg even want to know where his father is or not? And why is he called Greg now when he was Owen before?

I’ve got to admit, there were several issues I had with this episode. Emma’s “superpower” sure seems to come and go at will. As all of you pointed out, she sure did believe Greg without issue when he claimed he was leaving town. Yet she immediately knows that Tamara is lying. Pretty convenient even if she is right.

And what about that disguise? I know that what everyone else saw was the reflection in the mirror, but I felt even that was weak. They could have used someone much different in the mirror, and then I would have believed that part of the story more.

What is up with Maleficent? Is there something I’ve missed about her being a Mummy? If she’s under a revitalization spell, why not just have her back as the dragon?

The teaser for the final two episodes of the season promised something devastating. I’m wondering if I even want to know what it is. Any theories? Honestly, I’m not sure I have any theories on how they will finish off the season, so please share. Give me something to think over this next week.