TV Review: Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 10
Or do they!?
Because this is Disney, dammit. ABC is owned by Disney, FYI.
TL;DR The murder mystery has legs until the inevitable “JK, he’s alive.” But we do get to see Queenie almost executed in a surprisingly affecting flashback plot.
A flashback plot that doesn’t suck because we already know that all these characters will survive because we’ve seen them in Storybrooke? Absurd.
The flashback plot this episode follows Queenie after the defeat of King Alan Dale by Snow and Charming. Queenie ambushes Snow, only to be ambushed herself and imprisoned. The Good Guys Council (Snow, Charming, Granny, Red, etc) decide that it would be totally cool to straight-up execute her. Which they almost do, except Snow gets cold feet and saves her at the last second. Hoping to prove Queenie’s inner worth, Snow sets up a secret test to prove that life-saving goodness is still within. It isn’t, and Queenie immediately tries to stab Snow after she is let out of her cell. Luckily, Snow had made a deal with Rumple for a protection spell from Queenie (because we’re still waiting for someone on this show to refuse his obviously dubious deals) and she is banished to be forever powerless to hurt anyone. Until Rumple shows up with a little tidbit about a curse. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Regina is still struggling to be accepted by anyone. After making some ground with Emma and Henry, Cora shows up to wreck some shit. She disguises herself as Regina and “kills” Dr Hopper. Emma uses her magic (because that’s a thing now, apparently) to view Hopper’s dog’s memories and with dog-memory-dreamcatcher-magic as evidence, condemns Regina. And totally ruins her relationship with Henry. The episode closes with Cora showing Hook a tied up and alive Hopper in her possession, who she believes will help Hook find Gold’s weakness so he can get his revenge.
I actually kinda like both plots this episode. They’re markedly darker than we’re used to, what with the council deciding execution is a viable option to dealing with their problems. And Emma’s confrontation with Regina resulting in her denouncing Regina as any kind of mother to Henry and consequently obliterating any trust he had in her by telling him she killed Hopper.
But this wouldn’t be Once Upon a Time if every punch wasn’t embarrassingly pulled. Hopper not actually dying, Queenie not getting actually executed, Queenie’s vicious stabbing of Snow not actually working because magic. Damn you, status quo television. This would never happen on American Horror Story.
Why I hate this episode:
A lot of the Storybrooke plot revolves around whether or not the good guys believe Regina has murdered Hopper. Emma initially is all Team Regina and actively tries to clear her name. Then she sees the dog memory and is unfortunately convinced that Regina is a killer, which leads to their heated confrontation and Emma’s proclamation that she is Henry’s only mother now. I know it’s not Emma’s fault that all the evidence points in the wrong direction (Cora has her shit together, natch) but the emotional weight and towering righteousness that Emma is trying to convey is utterly eroded by the fact that she’s, you know, wrong. Which makes Emma look like a fucking idiot. I really really think the writers just love Regina. Which is fine by me, but it’s not good when your protagonist (Emma, if you’d forgotten) is a screaming, dumb bitch.
In addition to her unexplained heart-stealing-stopping powers, Emma now has magic. Wut?
Charming is a huge tool about Queenie. His first option is execution, and even when Snow is like “Umm, that’s reprehensible” he’s like “Pfft, whatevs.” Rude.
Hopper’s dog is Pongo from 101 Dalmations. Fucking Disney.
Snow is an unbelievable dumbass when she makes her deal with Rumple. She explicitly states the ol’ “Magic comes with a price” line and is openly mistrusting of him. Then he’s like “But you should,” and she’s like “Oh, okay.” Ugh!
We see Snow and David in bed, post-coitus. Ew.
Oh, and here’s the quote from Emma and Regina’s fight. Get your groans at the ready:
Regina: “He’s my son!”
Emma: “He’s not, he’s mine!”
Reasons to watch:
Queenie does not take her impending execution lying down. She is given the chance to say something before she is shot and she totally uses it to happily spit her regret for not inflicting more harm on the fairy tale people. And for not killing Snow White. You go, bitch.
I also love that she instantly tried to kill Snow when she was being secretly tested. Stay true.
Although he does offer his help to Snow, Rumple does redeem himself when he visits a banished Queenie. He clues her in on a loophole in the protection spell (it states that Regina can’t harm them “in this land”). Her wicked smile says it all.
Cora gets all her shit done flawlessly. Barbara motherfucking Hershey. She also seems to show genuine concern for Hook when she suggests he wait on getting his vengeance so they can extract secrets from Hopper. It’s probably due to her selfishness and wanting to make sure Gold dies, but why should assistance and serving your own ends be mutually exclusive? It just makes sense.
When Emma comes knocking on Regina’s door, Blue Bitch tries to attack Regina with the same paralysis spell that worked on the Queenie ambush. Regina flicks it away like it ain’t no thang. Burn.
Up until the reveal, I was so happy that Hopper was dead.
Emma (briefly) puts her stupidity aside and deduces that Regina must be innocent because the evidence is too easy to find. Then, you know, dog memories viewed through a magical dreamcatcher via power that she doesn’t understand proves otherwise. Oh well.
Best line goes to Regina with this excellent tear-down of Hopper when he tries to say he didn’t breach doctor/patient confidentiality (he did, btw): “Doctor? Need I remind you that you got your PHD from a curse?” You can’t beat that.
Second best line goes to Snow when she is shocked that Emma invited Regina to the welcome home party: “She tried to kill us. Yesterday!” It’s true.
Oh, and Emma totally did invite Regina (against everyone else’s gasps of shock) to the party. Because for one fleeting moment, Regina might have finally been getting the treatment she deserves.