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ONCE UPON A TIME She Did a Bad Bad Thing…


Episode 215 “The Queen Is Dead”


[photos: Jack Rowand/ABC.com]

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three kinds of Once Upon a Time episodes. There’s the “Holy Greenjeans, Batman!” episodes that leave everyone with their mouths hanging slightly ajar. There’s the “Oh! So That’s why that’s the way it is” explanation episodes. And then there’s the “Backstory/Filler” episodes.

This one seems to be a combination of the latter two. It’s essentially another filler episode with backstory to explain why certain things are the way they are. And it’s possibly the setup to a big episode or two that would fit the first category.



This one’s a little bit of a letdown after last week, but there’s still a lot to recommend it. Most especially Bailee Madison’s performance as young Snow White. Her turn as a pretentious snob is a nice departure from the Lawful Good character we’ve seen before. It’s an interesting twist on the old “Snow White is always good” meme, that she’s the way she is because of the influence of her mother, played by Rena Sofer (Heroes, 24) — although I wonder what Jaime Murray would have brought the role…

[And if correcting a pre-teen was that easy, I’d bottle it and sell it…]


Anyway, the whole Fairy Tale Land piece of the story has us in the kingdom just before Snow’s birthday, at which she’ll be crowned princess of the land. And that’s when the Queen falls ill, giving us the beginning of the arc that pays off in “We Are Both” — where Regina the Nicer rescues Snow White and ends up in the running to be the new queen. Something that turns out to have been a big megaplot by Cora from the very beginning.


This is the main thrust of the show, to establish that the entire Snow White/Evil Queen Regina/step-mother thing was planned from the get-go, with Cora poisoning Snow’s mother and trying to get Snow to join the Dark Side by using Dark Magic to save her.

This, it seems, it the whole point: Cora wants to get Snow White to join the Sith, for whatever reason she has (and I’m sure we’ll get more of that in the next episode). And Regina’s rescue of young Snow was planned from the start, as well, something Regina finds a bit troubling. And yet, it doesn’t keep her from staying with Cora after they get the upper hand on Snow and Charming — holding Snow’s trusted maid Johanna hostage in exchange for Rumplestiltskin’s dagger.

And speaking of Rumplestiltskin… he’s still in New York with Emma, Henry and Neal. Where Hook manages to come into the apartment complex and attack the wizard with a hook to the heart. Wha-huh?


Wait a minute. OK. Hook ambushes Charming at the sheriff’s station to get his hook back, then takes not very long at all to get all the way to New York City to attack Rumplestiltskin? All the while, knowing that Cora and Regina plan to control the Dark One with the dagger? And he sailed his ship all the way to New York by himself? Plus, he knew exactly where to find the Storybrooke gang, and it appears that Neal/Baelfire knows Hook. How? Could he have been a Lost Boy before making it to the Real World? And he knows how to sail the Jolly Roger?


And this is the episode that introduces Tamara, played by The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green. Remember, we told you she was coming to the show back in January. Who’s apparently Neal’s fiancée. Oh? This is a wrinkle, isn’t it? I wonder if she’s aware of Neal’s otherworldly background. Or if mayhaps she’s got a little otherworldly in her as well. Could she be Princess Tiger Lily? If Neal spent time as a Lost Boy… hm. Could Baelfire also be Peter Pan?

Now, that would be an interesting scenario, given that Baelfire’s father is the Crocodile from that same story. Hm.


Of course, that part of the episode is just a flash really, as most of the hour circles around Snow White and the great pains the show takes to give you the “Snow White is Always Good” theme, so the last few minutes should be a Big Gasp moment. Except it’s not, really, because the entire episode has beaten us over the head with “Snow White is Always Good”, and her decision to Finally Go Bad and make efforts to kill Cora is almost anticlimactic.


And that still doesn’t address the fact that all of this is really pointless from Regina’s angle, because she’s already Henry’s family, and there’s no need to go through all of these elaborate schemes to get him back. Which means there’s got to be something more complex brewing at the heart of Cora’s scheme.

Random thought: Why doesn’t anyone in Storybrooke have a cell phone? Have we ever seen anyone except Emma with a mobile device of any sort? What’s up with that?

Random thought 2: Another Star Wars sneak… as Snow White quotes Princess Leia. And then Cora throws Johanna out the window in the same way Skywalker went out the window in The Empire Strikes Back.

And I still think Jaime Murray needs to do a guest run here…


[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “Manhattan”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

2 thoughts on “ONCE UPON A TIME She Did a Bad Bad Thing…

  • I’m almost sure Neal is Peter Pan ever since ”Tallahassee”!

    • Given that the writers have already done the “more than one” with Rumplestiltskin being both Beast and the Crocodile, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that other characters will have multiple roles as well.


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