Once Upon A Time: “Queen of Hearts”


Grade: B

Airdate: 12/2/12

Going into its midseason finale Once Upon A Time had a lot of questions to be answered and a couple problems left to be solved. Most of those questions have been answered and almost all the problems are solved. Is that a good way to head into the second part of the season? I’m not really sure yet.

The episode starts in the past in the Fairytale World. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) tries to get Belle (Emilie de Ravin) to help him kill Rumple (Robert Carlyle) but that only gets him capture by Regina (Lana Parrilla).

Regina is about to enact the curse and says she will bring Hook to a land without magic with her where he could easily kill Rumple. But, he has to go to Wonderland and find her mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey) and take her heart. Regina enchants his hook so he can do that, which explains how he took Aurora (Sarah Bogler)’s last episode. I already expected Cora was the Queen of Hearts and I was 100 percent certain at this point. The episode waits a little bit longer to tell us, though.

Hook goes to Wonderland using Jefferson’s hat and is instantly taken to the Queen of Hearts. No surprise it is Cora. He tries to take Cora’s heart but it isn’t in the regular place. I’m not even sure if it is in her body at all. That was a weird detail and I liked it. Cora responses to Hook’s threat by grabbing his heart and making him tell her everything. She seemed genuinely surprised that Regina sent him to kill her and that she was evil. Cora quickly turns Hook, because he is a pirate and his loyalty switches every couple seconds, and tells him to take her to Regina so she can take her heart.

In Storybrooke, Charming (Josh Dallas) is still under the sleeping curse, waiting for his wife to return and break it. Rumple tells Regina that they need to booby trap the portal in case it is Cora who comes through because she would only cause trouble for both of them and the ones they love most–Belle and Henry (Jared Gilmore). Regina doesn’t like the idea at first because it would also kill Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) if they are to come through first. Rumple points out that might not be so bad for Regina because then she would be Henry’s only family.

In the present Fairytale Word, Emma, Snow, Mulan (Jamie Chung) and Cora-controlled Aurora make it to Rumple’s cell but can’t find the enchanted squid ink. They do find a piece of parchment that Rumple wrote “Emma” on over and over again. I instantly thought, “I bet that is written in the squid ink,” sadly our heroes did not think of it so quickly. Aurora closes the door, trapping the four of them in the cell just as Cora and Hook arrive. Cora shows them she has Aurora’s heart and squeezes it, getting a freak out from Mulan and angry backlash from Snow. Cora quickly steals the magic compass from Emma and heads off the Lake Nostos, the lake with the siren and magical but dried-up water.

Our heroes have a pity party for a while, with everyone blaming themselves for their situation. Emma realizes her whole life has been planned out by Rumple. He had the ink so he could of escaped, but it didn’t matter because he needed Regina to enact the curse and Emma to come along and break it so he could travel to a land without magic and go find his son, Bae. Emma says she’s no savior and only broke the curse because Rumple helped her. Someone in that explanation of motives, Snow realizes the “Emma” paper was written in the magic ink. She blows it off and the cell door disappears. Aurora decides she is too dangerous to go after Cora and Hook with them. Mulan ties her up and promises to get her heart back.

In the past in the Fairytale World, Hook has brought Cora’s “body” to Regina. She asks for a moment alone with Cora and tells her she had to kill her because she couldn’t risk her coming to Storybrooke and messing up her plans. Regina says that she still loves her and love is weakness. After Regina leaves, the obvious not dead Cora tells Hook that she couldn’t kill Regina because she also still loves her. They then go and put a counter curse of the safe haven as Regina’s curse takes away the rest of the Fairytale World. Cora says she is going to wait to go to Storybrooke until after the curse is broken and Regina has nothing because then she will need her mother again. So, Cora’s motive aren’t entirely bad? I was not expecting that.

Back in Storybrooke, Rumple and Regina collect enough magic to put a trap on the portal, which is the well in the woods. Henry finds Regina and Rumple right after they death trapped the portal. He pleas with Regina trying get her to turn off the death function because he thought she wasn’t using magic for evil anymore.

Meanwhile in the Fairytale World, a fight breaks out between Cora and Hook and Emma, Snow and Mulan at the lake right after Cora got the portal to Storybrooke working. Just as Emma is able to knock out Hook and get the compass back, Cora tells Snow she is going to take her heart to give to Regina. Emma pushes her out of the way and Cora ends up with her hand around Emma’s heart. Cora tells her love is weakness but she replied with, “No, it’s strength,” after Cora tries to take her heart but can’t. And then she knocks her out with some kind of force field spell thing–Rumple later says it is magic that Emma has because she is the product of true love. Emma is super confused and so is Snow but she says they can discuss it at home and they jump into the portal.

On the other side, Regina tries to prove she isn’t evil to Henry and uses as much magic as she has to stop killer trap. I thought it was going to kill her and I actually had a freak out moment and realization that I still feel sorry for Regina. The rest of the episode is really a fairytale ending. Snow and Emma get back safely. Snow breaks Charming’s sleeping curse with true love’s kiss. Everyone goes to Granny’s to celebrate but they don’t invite Regina. I felt sorry for her again.

Somewhere in the crazy lake fight, Mulan was able to get Aurora’s heart from Hook. She gets back to Aurora and prepares to put her heart back. They have a cute moment of nervousness, but Mulan is able to successfully put it back. There seemed to be a weird amount of sexual tension between the two of them in this scene. Was I the only one who noticed that? Probably, I just really want the show to make at least one Disney princess gay. Alas, they set out to find Philip’s soul because Cora told Aurora it is trapped in a different land.

The episode ends with everyone walking down the street just like they did in the first episode. But, just off shore Cora and Hook are riding to Storybrooke on a pirate ship. Hook had stolen the dried-up magic bean from the giant and apparently it worked.

A lot happened in the episode, but some of it was predictable, a couple problems were resolved to quickly and a couple questions were answered too quickly. Also, if Cora just wants to be there for Regina is the only threat she and Hook bring is Rumple’s possible death? Because after he was fine with killing off Emma and Snow in this episode, his likability has decreased a bit.


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