One of the things I like about ‘Once Upon a Time’ is how they explore a fairy tale character’s backstory. As kids, we read the simplistic version of a tale and as we become adults, we realize that life is not always as simple as the stories make it seem. Last night’s episode reveals another layer of Regina that actually makes the viewer see her not as the Evil Queen as we’ve grown up to believe, but rather a misunderstood one.
Here, we learn more of the reason why Regina is the way she is. See, a long time ago in Storybrooke, the evil queen leaves no stone unturned as she tries to locate Snow and even tries to have the princess’s subjects turn against her buy spewing out lies about her step-daughter but to no avail. The townspeople continue to stay loyal to their princess.
Determined to find her step-daughter, Regina asks Rumple to cast a shape shifting spell so that she can get close to the princess and kill her. Rumple does warn the evil queen that if he does what she asks, she’ll have no magic at her disposal and that once the deed is done, she will need to find him as he is the only one that can turn her back to her majestic self. For payment, he tells her that she will need to cut off all ties to King George’s kingdom as he needs him to be bankrupt. Regina agrees and the deed is done.
While strolling through the village as a lowly peasant girl, Regina sees how the villagers revile the queen and wish that Snow was their ruler. Not liking the fact that the people around her are willing to burn their queen in effigy, Regina tries to stop them but instead, gets arrested with the misunderstanding that she is the one that wants to burn the queen. The guards decide to make an example of her and cut off her head, but who comes in storming to protect the “peasant girl”? None other than Snow! You can image how upset that made Regina!
The next thing Regina sees is that she is in the forest with Snow White tending to her wounds. As they talk, Snow tells the story of how she met this stranger who saved her life when she was young and that this woman was indeed a good person. Regina’s eyes tears as she realizes that Snow was talking about how they first met.
After a few days of rest, Snow and Regina move to get ahead from the queen’s guards. Regina decides to ask Snow about her opinion of the queen and soon realizes that the princess actually sees the good in her. What surprised Regina more was the fact that Snow would even welcome a family reunion if Regina showed she had changed to be a good person. Much like the Grinch’s heart that grew 3 times as big on Christmas day, the ice around Regina’s heart began to melt… that is until they come across the mass murder that was ordered by the queen earlier.
Snow is appalled and sickened at the dead bodies of the villagers who chose to protect her. She tells the peasant girl that she was wrong. That there is on good in Regina and she can never be forgiven. It’s then that Snow realizes that the peasant girl is really Regina. While she aims an arrow at her step-mother, she still can’t bring herself to shoot it and allows Regina to run away.
Not happy, Regina finds Rumple and demands to know why he didn’t come when she called. She tells him that she now knows that the kingdom will never love her and is now hell bent on punishing everyone.
When we last left Storybrooke, Tamara had brought back a little “package” back from New York – Hook! She and Gary hide the pirate captain in the clock tower hoping to convince him to help with their cause and to sweeten the deal, they show him that Rumple is still alive. Hook is livid as he thought the crocodile ordeal was over when he stabbed the Dark One. The duo dangles the carrot that they can help him kill Rumple once and for all and all they ask in return is that he helps Gary find his father.
Regina is none too happy to find out that David and Mary Margaret plan to return to the Enchanted Forest with their little family, thus leaving Regina without Henry. David does give another option of allowing to bring Regina back with them but she will be locked up in Rumple’s old cell. Not liking any of this at all, she decides to use the fail safe option of her curse that will allow her to return to the Enchanted Forest but will destroy Storybrooke and all who reside there.
She finds Henry and decides to tell him of her plan as she can’t keep it to herself. He’s horrified that his adopted mother will let everyone die. She tries to reason with him stating she is just the misunderstood queen who really is good but everyone else has labeled her as evil. With her failsafe plan, she can return to the Enchanted Forest and show everyone the hero that she was destined to be. Henry exclaims that he could never love anyone who would let other people die like she plans and doesn’t understand why she’s telling him all this. Regina is not worried as he will never remember their conversation and places a forgetful spell on her son.
Over at Granny’s diner, Emma literally bumps into Tamera and quickly sees Tamara’s list of the townspeople and their aliases before Bae’s fiancée quickly grabs it back. She’s concerned that Tamara is the woman August tried to warn them about and sets out to find out if her hunch is correct with Henry as her sidekick helper.
Later, Hook pays a visit to Regina and asks for her protection. He tells her of Gary and Tamara’s plans but as usual, he’s always looking out for himself, so he tries to form an alliance with the once evil queen. Regina reveals her plans to him which include the destruction of the town and Rumple which, of course, just guaranteed Hook’s help.
So Regina takes Hook to an underground cavern to pick up the trigger to her failsafe but tells the pirate that in order to do so, he will need to keep the person guarding the treasure busy as she goes and retrieves it. Without warning, she pushes Hook down a hole where he comes face to face with Maleficent’s undead corpse. Fun stuff, kids! A battle ensues and Hook realizes that this undead queen will not be so easy to defeat. Doesn’t matter, as Regina gets what she is after.
Back at library, Regina returns up the elevator only to find Hook waiting for her. Shocked (as she thought Hook would not survive the encounter with Maleficent), Regina watches as the pirate brings out Tamara and Gary. She tries to form a fire ball to eradicate them all, but finds that her magic doesn’t seem to be working. Hook gleefully lets her know that his associates have a way against magic. See, the cuff that she said belonged to her mother and that she demanded Hook to give her was treated with “science” and contains metal and such that is able to counteract any magic that Regina may have. Owen tells her that finding his father is not his true mission and he doesn’t plan on telling her what it is. He then orders Tamara to bag the prisoner.
‘The Evil Queen’ was the episode before the penultimate episode next week and it seems that its purpose was to endear the viewers to Regina so that fans can get behind her as Gary and Tamara proceed with their own evil plot. Here, we see that all Regina is really aiming for is for someone to believe in the good in her, just like David does for Snow even with the black spot on her heart. Heck, even Rumple had someone who believed there was good in him too, that is, until Regina took Belle’s memory of that away from her.
But poor Regina. No one will give her a chance and with that, she is determined to live the part that those around her have boxed her into. For Regina, why bother to change if no one will believe that she can? Only by going somewhere to start all over does she feel she can really reach her goodly potential.
So now there is an evil greater than the queen. We’ll soon find out what Tamara and Gary really have in store for Storybrooke, but in the meantime, next week we’ll meet another foe of Captain Hook’s as we’ll be introduced to the land that is located at the second start to the right and straight until morning. That’s right! Neverland!
Until next week, what do you all think Gary and Tamara’s plans are?