TV RECAP: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Episode 220 – ‘The Evil Queen’

LANA PARRILLA

After weeks of focusing on the extended family of the Charmings, last week we got a great character study of Rumple/Gold. This Sunday we’re just a lucky to get a Regina centered episode.

We open with Hook tied up in the clock tower with Tamara and Owen/Greg (Oweg? Growen? Owengreg?). The charming swashbuckler is being offered a Bad Guy for Hire job. The pirate sees nothing in it for him saying smugly that he already killed Rumplestiltskin so his job’s done. Not so fast, they say. We get our one and only glimpse of the episode of Mr. Gold, looking very happy with racy Lacey on his arm.

Hook is less than pleased that his crocodile still lives and possibly that he’s now with a hot young woman who is turned on by his evilness. Oweg wants Hook to find his father, via Regina, and in return Hook will be given the duos power to defeat magical creatures. Do they mean the fancy TAZER?  Whatever it is, Hook agrees.

Speaking of the Mayor/Queen, she overhears the Charmings, who are discussing how to solve a problem like Regina. The answer is, apparently, lock her in Rumple’s old cell back in the Enchanted Forest. Regina isn’t having it. She decides to use the curse’s fail safe and destroy Storybrooke. Obviously.

Her first brilliant step in this plan is to tell everything to Henry who is at overjoyed that they’ll be going to the Enchanted Forest and then disgusted to hear that everyone else will die at the hands of his mom. Why did Regina think that Henry would be for this plan? Kudos to her for being honest, I guess. Or not, because after Henry tells her she’ll always be the villain, Regina wipes his memory of their conversation. Just what that kid needs, more chances to have a blank look on his face.

Back in old Fairytale land (aka Fairyback) the always impeccably dressed Regina is doing her evil thing. Scouring the land for Snow White, the Queen decides that killing an entire village because none of them knew (or would say) where her stepdaughter was is fair punishment. Also, a surefire way to make everyone love her. Seriously, she’s confused about why the people continue to hate her and call her capital-e Evil all the while loving Snow.  Rumple appears to offer some friendly advice: she might want to stop slaughtering villagers. Okay, Regina says, then she’ll just kill Snow White! Then everyone will have to love her! Or she could just wipe their memories?

Rumple agrees to disguise the Queen so that she can get close enough to Snow. Her sweet dress and hat disappear replaced by rags and ratty hair. To everyone else she’ll look like a random young woman but we still get the pleasure of Lana Parrilla because, let’s face it, she’s awesome.

The concealed queen has barely stepped a peasanty foot into a village before she sees an effigy of herself hanging up for people to throw darts at. Confounded as to why the villagers would do such a horrible thing to the ruler who loves (and kills) them, she intervenes with a torch. Then she forgets about her clever disguise (and totally gives away the game to everyone) by ordering around some of the queen’s guard. Only they don’t listen to her because they don’t recognize her and her magic doesn’t work either because she’s a peasant. It’s the chopping block for Regina. But wait! A hooded hero has rescued her. No not Robin Hood, as I had so fervently hoped. It’s Snow White.

In Storybrooke, Hook swaggers into Regina’s office and tells her about Tamara and Oweg’s plan. Kind of. He proposes they join up again, to happy cheers from me and my couch mates. She tells him her mother is dead but that she’ll pair up with him. Huh. That was easy.

They head down through the library escalator to where Regina says the failsafe is located. Along the way, she notices a cuff on Hook’s wrist that belonged to Cora and demands he give it to her. Hook gives it up even though he reminds her that Cora was his friend and maybe he wants to keep it to remember her by. Yes, I typically like to keep mementos of people who foiled my plan to rip out their heart, used me to get to another land, and then basically ditched me so that I could get beat up by an old guy and his cane, hit by a car, and lose my hook.

Down in the depths of Storybrooke Regina speaks more about the failsafe while Hook stands stupidly close to the edge of a cliff. She says that retrieving the failsafe is a two person job. One person gets the trigger, the other is a distraction. Hook barely has a moment to ponder which person he is when Regina shoves him over the cliff. Turns out he’ll be distracting Maleficent, who’s still alive and now a Nazgûl. Cool, but why couldn’t she just be a dragon again? Not sure. Apparently though there’s a spell that keeps her from actually dying, which is a problem for Hook.

While we leave the one-handed man to deal with the Ringwraith, we return to Fairyback where Regina is being carefully nursed back to health by Snow. She tells “Wilma” the story of how a sweet woman whom she loved that had saved her as a child. Regina is clearly warmed to know that young Snow loved her and that Snow thinks Regina could someday give up her evil ways and become that kind woman again. The Evil Queen’s façade melts. For just a moment Regina is, once again, close to reformation. Then Snow sees that the whole village that is dead by Regina’s orders and takes it back. “”It is too late for her! I could never forgive her! There’s no good in that woman!” The disguised Queen is crushed. Well, massacre has a way of changing peoples’ minds.

Then “Wilma” gives herself away for real by referencing that Regina saved Snow’s life but the princess never told Wilma it was Regina. Whoops. Raising her bow at her stepmother, Snow doesn’t fire even as Regina yells for Rumplestiltskin and then runs away. Regina scurries to Rumple’s castle where he initially refuses to change her back even though she reminds him that he said she could call him and he’d do it. Rumple is delightfully taciturn, as always, saying, “I said you could call. Didn’t say I’d answer.” Regina just wants him to get on with the backformation and concedes that he was right; people are never going to love her. In a rush of purple smoke, Regina is back in her awesome riding dress and fantastic hat. She stares at herself in the mirror and says, “The Queen is dead. Long live the Evil Queen.”

We break from the Regina action to see Snow, Charming and Grumpy skipping off to take a look at the magic beans. Which are not burnt and shriveled stalks. Charming gives his obligatory Captain Obvious quote of the episode by pointing out that all of the beans are gone. Yeah, we figured that out by all the dead stalks in front of us. Grumpy notes that, “nobody steals from a dwarf!” (or tosses one). Snow, mystified, wonders who could’ve possibly done something so terrible.

This is as good a time as any to mention Emma and Henry’s very brief adventure. After bumping in to Tamara and seeing a list of Storybrooke residents’ fairytale identities, Emma is concerned her baby daddy’s fiancé is up to something because her constantly-on-the-fritz lie detector spidey sense tingled. She and Henry restart Operation Cobra (now possibly Operation Tiger) and spy on the couple. Then they break in to Neal’s apartment but are quickly caught by the man who says he helped Tamara make the list. He agrees to let Emma check under a loose floorboard for clues but she finds none, supposedly. I say that because she barely reaches in or looks. Mom and son leave Dad in his apartment and back at home, Henry says he still believes Emma about Tamara.

And with good reason. A triumphant Storybrooke Regina revels in the failsafe gem she holds. But guess who’s waiting in the library? Hook not only survived Maleficent but beat Regina back up. She looks miffed and then pissed when Oweg and Tamara emerge. Regina tries to magic them away but nothing happens. Turns out the Cora cuff is some kind of scientific contraption that blocks Regina’s magic. Oweg says that even if she got rid of the leather the machinery (or whatever) underneath can’t be stopped. He, unlike every other villain ever, refuses to reveal his plan to her only saying that he is indeed looking for his long lost papa. Regina gets one last sneer before they put a bag over her head.

Quemmentary (questions and comments)

–          Was the guy Emma caught in the pilot the only skip she ever nabbed? Because her staking out Tamara and Neal in her bright yellow bug in the small town kind of indicates that she wasn’t a very good bounty hunter.

–          Was Tamara’s list a hit list or just a reminder list? If a hit list, she’s planning on killing Jiminy? He doesn’t even have magic!

–          So is the Cora cuff manufactured by Tony Stark or something? Just wondering what billion dollar genius has the time and resources to create a wrist sized magic stopper.

–          So Belle is already with Rumple when Regina comes to visit. No wonder he didn’t answer when she called.

–          Clever viewers online noted that the start of this week’s episode is right after the end of last week’s. Lacey’s wearing her sparkly blue dress with Mr. Gold. So they’re all cuddly because he just stole a dude’s tongue (that was minutes before in Lacey’s mouth) and beat him up with his cane. Ah, true love.

–          Is it just me or is Hook a little excited at the prospect of torture at the hands of Tamara?

–          Was anyone else confused about what Regina was pointing too when she noticed to the cuff on Hook’s wrist? I was like, “His sleeve, his hand, his rings?” I also don’t remember Cora giving him this extra special cuff to climb the beanstalk.

–          Was the plant in Regina’s office a salvaged bean stalk?

–          The absence of Mr. Gold was lessened by the fantastic ten minutes of screen time by Rumplestiltskin. Also, Lana Parilla’s ability to carry this show even as she sways between psycho and just damaged.

–          Favorite line of the night: “So little bitty Owen does grown8-up magic of his own now.”

What did you think of The Evil Queen? And what the heck is that cuff?

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