This was Lana Parrilla’s week, y’all. I’ve never really been all that interested in Storybrooke Regina because she just seemed so static and one-note Evil, and she wasn’t given that much really to work with. They turned me around on this one. I love what they’re doing with her now, since we didn’t get much of it before, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
So, last week we had the big, awesome opener, diving right in, and this week we get Regina backstory, which was pretty much what happened in Season 1, with 1×02 being all about Regina prepping to enact The Curse. (Hopefully this means we get a 3rd episode full of Snow being The Awesomest, and Snow/Charming).
I wasn’t so much a fan of 1×02 (I fell in love with 1×03 and the Pilot more), but I think Lana Parrilla has really settled so well into the role of Regina compared to then that this outing was much, much better. Also, someone else pointed out that the writing has finally come up (some) from the camp it was before, so it’s worthy of Lana’s awesomeness.
Note: this week seems especially gif-tastic, so be forewarned.
The Dwarfs have spray-painted the Storybrooke town border, and in order to “prove themselves” to Charming, they are going to Royal Guard it up, which begins by drawing straws to figure out which one of them will be shoved over the line to test what effects it has now that The Curse is broken. Sneezy’s the unlucky victim. “What if we got a turtle and sort of nudged it over first?” No, animal testing is bad! Sneezy gets pushed and gets all blue and glowy and shaky.
Back in town, Storybrooke is a fucking mess. There’s abandoned cars and rubble in the streets. At first I thought it was from people freaking out over The Curse, but now I realize it’s Wraith damage. Granny’s is closed, but upstairs…
AUGUST! PIN! I like your wood goatee! Geppetto’s out by the Town Hall, along with pretty much everyone else, posting a missing person’s flyer for Pin, and let’s just say Papa is a better wood-carver than he is pen artist, cause that looks nothing like young Pin.
Red’s trying to manage the chaos, both from post-Curse and post-Wraith, directing people looking for family members, people who need counseling from Archie and the Wraith-displaced. Blue is also freaking out about people freaking out, but Ruby’s keeping calm, “I have a feeling out Prince is working on something right now.” Can I just say how much I love Red’s costume now? She had great Enchanted Land costumes, but her Storybrooke ones were consistently terrible in the past. I really want that multi-strand necklace.
The Prince is… sort of working on something? He’s off to snark with Regina and ask about Jefferson’s broken hat. They vaguely threaten at each other, but Charming correctly surmises that the thing with the branches at the end of the last episode was “an anomaly” (fancy word, Charming), and that Regina doesn’t have her magic really back, and so isn’t a threat. “Right now, the only thing keeping you alive is that Henry wishes it.”
Regina claims she doesn’t recall where she got the hat. Mostly it just seems like she’s lying for lying’s sake; like, obviously when she’s like “the Enchanted Land is destroyed” or “what hat owner?” they’re not going to believe her and find out the truth anyway. It seems annoying and pointless. Regina asked how he’s taking care of Henry while obsessing over the hat. Charming: “Oh, because you took such great care of him?” Regina: ”I will not listen to childcare lectures from a man who put his daughter in a box and shipped her to Maine.” HA!
Charming takes some pleasure in Regina’s magic-less frustration: “You earned every bit of this.” Regina won’t have that, because as soon as she gets her magic back, she’s getting Henry back too. But, ”If you have to use magic to keep your son, you don’t really have him.”
Oh hey, that reminds Regina…
Once upon a time – probably more or less right after 1×18 where we saw Regina and Snow meeting for the first time, and we met Cora, Regina’s mother – Regina was trying to run away from having to marry Snow’s father, King Leopold. She’s nearly there, when some gnarly tree branches reach out and snatch her right off of her horse. Fucking Cora.
“Hello mother. What evil have you conjured?” Hey, that’s how I greet my mom too! Cora’s created a barrier spell so that Regina is trapped and can’t leave, except with King Leopold. They repeat the “Mama, I don’t want to marry the king. I don’t want that life. I don’t want power!” and the “you don’t know what you want. Mother knows best.”
Cora: “Power is freedom.”
Regina looks really pretty here; I especially love her braids and her earrings. Actually, all of Regina’s flashback costumes and hair this episode are particularly gorgeous. I know some people really dug her crazy Evil Queen get-ups, but I love the details on these ones more.
Charming decides to show up at the Town Hall and everyone’s got a zillion questions for him, while he’s focused on finding another portal to the Enchanted Land. He asks about the tree they sent Emma through, and while Blue doesn’t know (lacking fairy dust), this gives me a theory*.
Henry, ever the optimist: “You’ll find another way. In the book things always look worse right before there’s good news.”
“TERRIBLE NEWS! TERRIBLE NEWS!”
Grumpy and the other Dwarfs are back from their start-of-the-episode adventure, which makes me think they ran back instead of driving. Anyways, after getting blue and shaky, Sneezy no longer remembers he’s Sneezy.
Everyone freaks out, again. Charming tells everyone to calm the fuck down, he’s got this. He’ll reveal his Secret Plan To Fix Everything, but at a meeting in 2 hours. Red follows him, asking what the plan is. “I don’t know, but I’ve got 2 hours to figure it out.” That’s practically an Archer moment:
Sterling Archer: Hey! You idiots want to hear my plan or not? Alright. So. Suggestions?
Cyril Figgis: About what?
Sterling Archer: What are we talking about? Stopping my mother from selling ISIS to ODIN.
Cheryl: You said you had a plan.
Sterling Archer: My plan is to crowdsource a plan.
He and Henry run off to brainstorm. We’re in such good hands.
Regina tries to Matilda a candle with her mind but only does for about a second.
She sneaks out of her house, but Archie decided to deal with his panic by lurking by her house and asks if she wants to talk. “Oh. Right. The conscience thing.” Regina’s not in the mood, which is too bad because that girl straight up needs some therapy to deal with her mommy issues. Or as Archie puts it, “talking about your pain might be very helpful. Might help you learn who you truly are.” Regina’s pretty sure she knows who she is, though.
But she wasn’t always that way. Even though she said she “should’ve let her die on that horse”, she was hanging out with bb!Snow in their scary, pointy castle. She’s doing Snow’s hair with a crown of flowers and they’re both in white and basically could actually be mother and daughter and my heart breaks, again. Snow reaches in a jewelry box and pulls out the ring Daniel gave to Regina, strung on a chain, and puts it on.
Regina explains who it was from, and reveals that he didn’t leave her but was killed by Cora, because of Snow not keeping the secret. Snow is totally horrified and heartbroken for Regina, for the fact that Cora is a terrible mother. “My mother corrupts young souls.” Regina pulls backwards on the chain and chokes Snow. “If you were stronger none of this would have happened.”
Just kidding! That was horrible, and it was horrible because Cora has broken Regina and made her go crazy with rage and vengeance. No, Regina snaps out of that vision, looked shocked, and instead when Snow asks about the ring she doesn’t say.
Regina complains to her father, that Cora is trying to turn her evil, and reaffirms her desire to get away. Henry Dad think it’s just cold feet, because apparently he’s the dumbest of them all. “This is insanity. I don’t want her life.”
Regina finally thinks to ask how Cora got to be The Worst, and Dad cops that it was “not quite a man” who she knew before Cora and Henry met (and why did they get married?), who gave her a book of spells. Dad doesn’t know his name, but the book is the key.
So this book is kind of a stupid retcon, yes? Because none of the magic we’ve seen from either Cora or Regina involved a book, but now they needed some sort of prop for the Storybrooke magic, so now there’s a book? It’s sort of like they’re trying to place limitations on the magic/power, but it feels vague, not in a mysterious way, but in an if we don’t say then we won’t be wrong later” kind of way. Like, does the magic Cora and Regina have come from the book, and if they don’t possess the book they don’t have magic? What does that mean for the end of the episode?
Anyway, Regina searches Rumple’s shop for the book and he teases her, as he does, “so it’s come down to that, eh? You need your mummy’s help?” They start ramping up the magic = drugs metaphor, and also I think sex, but more drugs? “Do you really need the smell of the written word to get the magic flowing again, love? Maybe if you relaxed it would just happen.” He’s not interested in helping her get her magic back, for obvious reasons, and he tries to magic word.
“The fact remains: jump-starting your magic is not in my best interests.” “You know what else isn’t in your best interest? Having everyone know the Enchanted Forest still exists. Knowing that you and I are keeping that little secret.” (Called it, btw. And I think she means all of the Enchanted Land, not just the part we saw last week.) She knows he’s up to something, something that doesn’t involve going back home, something that involves the chest he was packing.
He conjures up the Retcon Book. “Careful dearie, these are straight-up spells. Rough on the system.” So, yeah, like meth. That explains why Rumple’s teeth look like that. “I don’t care if they turn me green.” Shout out? She storms off to get Henry, but not before Rumple cuts her, “it’s just holding that… I told you once you didn’t look like her, but now, now I can see it.” Lana Parrilla does this amazing tiny gasp at that.
Why did the castle look like the goddamn Iron Throne before Regina was evil?
Hmm, I wonder who he’s talking about? Turns out, Regina stole her mom’s magic plot device and summoned Rumple on the eve of her wedding. “What are you?” “What what what? My, my, what a rude question. I am not a what.” He introduces herself, but he already knows Regina. Apparently people say she looks like Cora when she was younger; Rumple: “really? I don’t see it.” He knows her from “long ago” but he knew this day would come and he’s been waiting for it. Or more like ‘Ah been waitn’ fer it’. Seriously, his accent goes crazy Cockney, and I don’t know if that was an intentional thing or a Carlyle slip. Maybe he was just so happy that he and Regina are back where they belong, “together”.
In Storybrooke, sitting outside her house, Regina looks at the crack-pipe/book plot device with concern.
Charming’s giving his great, inspiring speech… to a mirror, at home, with Henry. Which is good, because he sucks at speechifying. “I did the fighting, Snow did the talking.” He goes back to the broken hat, but Henry recognizes it as the Mad Hatter’s realm-jumping hat. Prince Charming didn’t know Hatter/Jefferson in the Enchanted Land, but his fake David memories included him reading Alice in Wonderland in school. Interesting. Unfortunately, Henry never figured out who Hatter was, but thinks they can check at the crisis center after “the thing”. “What thing?” “The meeting? Where you tell us all your plan? Remember? The speech you were doing?” But Charming has a bit of Dug in him, and is easily distracted, so her leaves as Henry yells after him, “Gramps, you gotta use me! Come on! The curse was broken cause of me! Let me help! … Or not.”
I love that Henry calls him ‘Gramps’.
Rumple is continuing to pack, this time maps of the Eastern seaboard, including New York (don’t know if that’s a clue to the opening of last week’s premiere, but there it is) when Charming comes by for some magical assistance of his own. “It appears when I bought that ‘closed’ sign I was just throwing my money away.” “Looks like it.” Charming’s sass is his greatest quality, right after that face.
This is a great scene. Rumple asks about the commotion outside, but Charming ain’t spilling more about the “problem crossing the line” (which seems to concern Rum); he’s there for a magical GPS like the one Rumple made out of the ring to help him find Snow. Charming’s smart, and won’t tell Rum who he’s trying to find, out what he has of theirs to find them. Rumple’s chuckles, and gives him
some glittery blue hair gel a potion to sprinkle on the object and then follow it. “So simple, even David Nolan could do it.” Burn.
Rumple’s price: “Peace… a non-interference guarantee”. Charming agrees, as long as it’s mutual: “you and I, we stay out of each other’s way.” Before he leaves, Rumple asks about the border problem: “What happens when you try to cross the border?” “You lose your memory of everything of our old lives. Looks like we’re stuck here.” That’s not great news to Rum, who proceeds to have a hissy fit, breaking glass display cases with his pimp cane.
Back in the Enchanted Land, Rumple says that he knows everything about Regina.
Theory time: Cora is the miller’s daughter from the OG Grimm Rumpelstiltskin story and Regina is the first-born originally promised to Rumple.
Rumple asks what she wants. “The death of your enemies? The death of your friends?”
“Hard to believe you’re from the same family.” He senses she is kind and gentle, but also capable of great power. She doesn’t know how, but he’s ready to show her the way and conjures a giant wrapped thing. “Magic. It can set you free.” But Regina doesn’t want that, because she doesn’t want to end up turning into her Mom. He’s like, that’s cool, this thing will do all the work, promise.
It’s a portal, “a passage between lands” one to “a specific annoying little world. Useless to me, but for your purposes? Perfect. You’re unlikely ever to see her again. All she needs is a little push. The question is, can you do it?”
Regina’s still outside, under her dying tree with the rotting apples, staring at the book. Finally she decides to open it up and take a hit. Seriously. She blows on a random page and magic smoke comes out of it, which she inhales and then her eyes glow purple and the apples on the tree turn from black to red. Yay
Charming pours the potion on the hat and his phone buzzes, but before he can answer it, the hat starts floating away, so he has to go chase the broken, floating hat.
He runs like, half a block to where it lands on an over-turned car, from which he hears yelling. He yanks the door off and it’s Jefferson! Hey Seb Stan!
Meanwhile, it’s the town meeting Charming called. Henry was the one calling Gramps, while Red continues to step up while the actual leaders are off not leading. Also:
Here we get another great parallel scene to the one from the Pilot when Regina crashed the Snow/Charming wedding, same blocking, music and all.
Red steps up, because she’s awesome. Oh man, I wish she would wolf out or something.
But it’s Henry she wants, and it’s Henry she gets. He agrees to go with her, as long as she leaves the rest of the town alone. “That’s my boy.”
And then nobody puts up any more sort of fight, so… great job, townies. I mean, sort of understandable, but still.
Charming tries to make Jefferson to spill about the hat: “Can you get me through? Can you get them back?” Jefferson’s like “bitch, I went fucking cuckoo for cocoa puffs trying to do that”.
(I can’t even imagine what’s going on with Jefferson post-curse-broken. I can’t wait until we get more into that. And he’s another one who I wonder about the border issue, since he never forgot his original self in the first place) Charming tries to play on Jeff’s loss of family, noting the tea set and stuffed rabbit he had in his wrecked car. So either he has a daughter, or he’s a pedophile.
Jefferson confirms that the Enchanted Land still exists, but it doesn’t matter because there’s no way to get there.
But if magic’s back, why can’t he make a new hat, the way he tried to get Emma to do? Emma hadn’t tapped into to her potential for magic then because she didn’t believe, but her touch seemed to be what got the hand to work in the premiere, so I’m wondering. I’m also wondering if Jefferson doesn’t actually want to go back now, because going back might mean he’s stuck in Wonderland again, away from his daughter, while in Storybrooke they could potentially be together.
Charming gets handsy, continuing the theme of his base state probably not too far off from Regina’s; he’s got a dark and twisty background. Luckily, he got Snow, who probably saved him from becoming Regina-esque. You wonder maybe how Regina could have turned out if she hadn’t had The Worst Mother, or at least one decent parent (because Charming had his mom, who probably helped him as well, while Regina’s dad Henry was a pussy).
Charming: “I’m the closet thing left to a Sheriff here, so I can just throw you in a cell until you figure out a way.” Jeff: “Then all we’ll do is both sit, stuck, two lives in our heads. Cursed worse than ever. Two lives, forever at odds. Double the pain, double the suffering.” I’m glad they’re dealing with the psychological trauma that is underlying here, the same thing that I think prompts the townies to do what they (try to) do at the end.
And Jefferson’s out.
Charming’s in hot pursuit, but Red intercepts him to let him know how badly he fucked up by being obsessed with the hat and not paying attention to the town.
She’s like, “stupid, pretty Charming. If everyone leaves there won’t be anything for them to get back to.”
Regina and Henry get back to the mayor’s house and she starts talking about how things will be different now, but he books it upstairs and tries to Rapunzel his way out of there. I don’t understand why this season’s Henry is so different from Season 1, so erratic. This was the kid who came up with “Operation Cobra”, and the walkie talkies and hiding the book. Why wouldn’t he wait until nightfall to try to escape? And why is he suddenly so concerned with Regina’s well-being now, when he didn’t seem to care if she died last season?
Of course Regina stops him in the most ironic way possible, the exact same way her mom stopped her from leaving.
That’s a tough one. Because in a lot of ways, maybe that’s true for this realm in general, because without magic the playing field is leveled and maybe it really is fair, but there’s also the social inequality aspect, which you could argue makes our world even more unfair. It’s also tricky because in Storybrooke, except for Regina it was the very opposite of fair, because she controlled everything.
But also, it’s a fun call-back line, so.
Henry calls her out on her shitty behavior: “You ruined lives. You sent away Mary Margaret and Emma.” “That was an accident.”
But worse than that, the worstest, is the way Regina treated Henry. That in order to keep the Curse intact, in order to keep her power, she sacrificed Henry. “You made me feel like I was crazy.”
She promises things will be different now. “You can know all the secrets. You can live in a house with magic.” She conjures up a crazy-looking giant cupcake. “And I can teach you. You can do this, and so much more. You can have all the friends you want come over anytime, and you can show them everything in your book.”
He’s like, “bitch, you crazy. First, you know I don’t have any friends because, again, you made everyone think I was nutter. And second, you’re THE EVIL QUEEN. No one wants to be anywhere near you and your poisoned apple tarts.” She’s like “you can make them love you! With
drugs magic.” But, no…
And this is the one that really gets to Regina (we’ll see why in a second), and why I think her choice at the end is genuine.
Because on her wedding day, Regina had another choice to make. Cora came by to be awful some more and reveals the “gift” portal Rumple left. “I wonder sometimes if the people really love you.” “I’m doing my best mother.”
And this is great, because even though these aren’t the actual lines, they may as well be, because Cora starts talking all about her plan for Regina to build up a personal guard, and seize all the power from the weak king, and “you’ll hold the hearts of your people in your hands.” Literally!
Regina just isn’t down with mom’s evil plan.
She whips around and tries to push Cora into the mirror, but Cora magic-binds her like she’s done before. “What are you doing? You think it’s that easy to get rid of me? You’re stuck with me forever, darling, because I’m your mother and I know best.” Seriously, if that’s not a Tangled reference, I’d be shocked. That also brings up the possibility of a hint that Regina might not be Cora’s biological daughter (even though Barbara Hershey and Lana Parrilla do look scary alike)?
Anyway, Rumple appears behind Cora in the mirror, urging Regina to push Cora in, and Regina finally summons her power, break free of the bonds and pushes her in. The mirror sucks her up and shatters, while Regina looks at her hands in horror.
Charming and Red manage to beat the rest of the townies to the town border and uses his truck to block them leaving. Archie’s the first in line, claiming that they have the right to go. Blue and Geppetto are also there, and it’s probably just because they’re the townies we recognize, but I don’t understand why those three would be so desperate to forget their old lives (especially Geppetto, still looking for Pin).
“If you cross that line you’re going to be lost. Everyone who loves you will lose you. But there’s something worse. You’ll lose yourself. Look, I get wanting to leave here, I do. And I get that it’s easier to let go of bad memories, but even bad memories are part of us.”
“Stay here and every choice is open to you. Live in the woods if you want. Hell, live in a shoe if you want. Or eat frozen burritos and write software. Let’s open Granny’s, and the school and get back to work.
Nice speech, dude. And it works, and the people go back to town and open us their shops again. Yay.
Finally, Regina’s preparing to leave the Iron Castle when Rumple shows up to interfere. She gives him back the magical crack book, a “gift”. “It can’t be a gift, it was mine to start with.” He loves nothing more than to meddle, so he asks her how it felt to use magic.
Yep, that crack is addictive alright. Rumple: “You’ve discovered who you are. You could do so much now, if you let me show you how.” Rumple’s prerogative is that someday she’ll do something for him (enact the curse, so he can find Bae?). He’ll be her magic mentor/drug dealer. She’s still worried that she’ll end up like her mom, but he says that it’s entirely up to her.
David bursts into the mayor’s house, sword a-blazin’.
But’s it’s not necessary, because Regina has realized there’s nothing worse than becoming your mother, and she’s going to let Henry go home with David. Lana Parrilla proceeds to shut the whole damn thing down.
Goddamn you Lana Parrilla and your amazing face. I believe her, I really do. David wants proof she’s reforming.
And they bounce.
The town gets back to work, including the Dwarfs, who are off to go mine some fairy dust in order to return Sneezy’s memories. “Come on, boys. It’s off to work we go.” This is why I love that this is an ABC/Disney-approved show.
David and Henry stop by Granny’s, and when Henry sees Geppetto sitting there he finally decides to tell him that he knows August is Pin, and that he’s at Granny’s. Why didn’t he do that before, like when they were both in the town square and Geppetto was crying about Pin? Of course now, when Geppetto goes to August’s room, he’s gone, but he left his old hat. The question is, is he still wood (but puppet-y) or did he get all manned up again?
*My tree theory has to do with this, because August knows exactly where the tree is (because we saw him bring Emma there in 1×20), and since he’s special like Emma, it would make sense that he could leave the town again and not forget (because he never was cursed). so maybe he disappeared off back to the tree and might show up in the Enchanted Land to help out Emma and Snow? Fingers crossed.
Rumple is out looking sullen by the border. Theories on why he wanted to leave so badly? To go look for Bae? Or something else.
Regina’s about to burn the magic crack book, but instead locks in in a cabinet. My bet is that it’s the gun in Act I, but when it comes back it will be for good and not evil. People (Henry, Charming) will still be pissed that she kept it, but it might be the key to bringing Snow and Emma back, maybe?
Henry and his Gramps have another cute bonding moment. Charming tells Henry that yes, the Enchanted Land still exists, and Charming knows that Emma and Snow are there and that they’re okay, because he can feel it. And then they be cute.
And Charming’s right, but less about the ‘okay’ part. Mulan and Fake!Aurora tied up Emma and Snow and are dragging them behind their horses to their “home”. Aw, shoot, it’s way pretty. I wonder where they filmed that.
The village proper… well, it kind of looks like a medieval LARP venue.
Emma’s just like “I can’t even, man.” Could you? At that point I’d probably just sit down on the ground and lose it, and then curl into a fetal position. The fact that she’s even still standing is amazing. ”It’s like they’re refugees.” Mulan: “We’re survivors.” Oh my god, SHUT UP YOU TWAT. Then my favorite moment of the episode (besides those having to do with Lana’s face): Snow rolls her eyes and then goes into badass mode.
She and Emma try to run and then Mulan is The Worst some more and sling-shots something at Snow’s back the knocks her out, and orders them taken to “the pit”. Okay, it is ludicrous to me that NONE of them recognize Snow, especially since Mulan and Fake!Aurora knew of Regina (confirmed at the end of last episode). I think this will be resolved next episode, but fucking still. Ridiculous.
They are dragged to the dungeon pit cave-thing, which is handy for a refugee camp. Emma tries to wake up Snow, and a voice offering help comes from the shadows. “Who are you?” “A friend.”
(Although: Rumple called his mirror portal ”a passage between lands” one to “a specific annoying little world”, but did that mean to this outskirts place, or did Cora end up here after traveling from where she was originally sent? Because it seems like there’s still magic in this part of the realm, so did/does Cora still have that, and if so, how is she a prisoner? Also, will Snow remember Cora? Methinks yes.)
Bits & Bobs
Oh, David Anders, you slay me. I’m excited to get to your episode.
- There are a couple of great Easter Eggs on the bulletin board where Geppetto posted his missing person’s sign for Pin. The most noticeable one is the one searching for “Pyramus & Thisbee” [sic], and one below that is looking for Peas-blossom (which could either be a reference to a minor character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 4) (where Pyramus and Thisbee are also mentioned), but there’s also apparently a Hans Christian Andersen story called The Pea Blossom.
- There’s another one that is 1/2 around the corner, but I think it is looking for Pierre Abélard. Poor Heloise. (Okay, I’ll admit I only know them because of The Borgias, but still…).
- I don’t except anything to come of those notices, but I do love this show and its production design for including fun bits like that.
- Another reference, but the credit for this one goes to someone on tumblr. I know Regina called her horse by name at the beginning, but because she was riding a fucking horse it was hard to hear. Apparently, her horse’s name is Rocinante and this is also the name of Don Quixote’s horse
- I love Dopey’s Storybrooke outfit. Not only does he have his floppy purple hat as a beanie, but he’s wearing pajamas, which is totally a Dopey thing. <3
Oh man, this show makes me talk too much. There’s just so much to say! So many questions! So many theories! I want to hear yours, so tell them to me!
Here’s the promo for next week (where, like I said, it looks like they address my issue pretty quickly). Also, swordfighting. I fucking love swordfighting; it makes everything better. And here’s the Canadian promo, which is veryyyy interesting.