“The Queen is Dead” is the classic “Once Upon a Time” tale. It contains an intriguing backstory, which includes a surprise, showcases Storybrooke in a parallel story line and gives us more insight into Neal, Rumpelstiltskin’s son and Henry’s father.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead!)
Rena Sofer portrayed Snow White’s mother, Eve, in the flashback portion of this episode. It is here where we learned that Snow was aptly named due to the intense winter that Fairytale Land experienced during her birth.
Sofer portrayed Eve with loving and care, which helped to highlight that her greatest legacy was Snow White.
When Eve becomes ill, Snow asks servant Johanna for advice. It is then Snow braves the wilderness in search of the Blue Fairy. When the Blue Fairy arrives, she is hesitant to help, as good magic will not work. Snow then picks up on the fact that the Blue Fairy does have a solution. The Blue Fairy lets Snow know that only dark magic can save Eve. She gives Snow a candle that will save her mother, but someone else must die.
Snow, being good and pure, turns down the offer.
This exchange reminded me of the exchange between Rumpelstilskin and the Blue Fairy last season, where the Blue Fairy lets it slip that a curse could transport Rumpel to his son.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Snow discovers that Johanna is alive. Snow also discovers that Cora and Regina are after Rumpestiltskin’s dagger.
She, David and Mother Superior (a.k.a. the Blue Fairy) seek out the dagger. With the help of Emma, who is still in New York City, they discover the dagger hidden in the town clock.
One interesting part of the exchange between Snow and Mother Superior is when Snow mentions that Mother Superior offered to use dark magic before. Mother Superior responds that she did not make such an offer.
Regina and Cora use Johanna as leverage to get the dagger for themselves. Snow gives in to protect Johanna, who dies anyway.
During this exchange we learn something valuable, Cora actually killed Snow’s mother.
Back in Fairytale Land past, the Blue Fairy visits Eve, during Eve’s wake. She turns into Cora. Her plan was for Regina to become Queen. She mentions that the candle would have worked, but Snow was too good to use it.
She also mentions that corrupting Snow would ensure that Eve’s legacy would die.
The Storybrooke plots end with Snow lamenting how they need to stop being so nice, after all, it has only caused them pain. With David’s help, she wants to kill Cora. It is in this exchange that we can see a slow corruption starting for Snow White.
Cora and Regina have a telling conversation at the end. Regina did not know that Cora killed Eve. Regina also finds out that her chance meeting with Snow was orchestrated by Cora. The surprising part of the conversation was that it seemed that Cora knew Regina was in love with Daniel, and used this to get Regina in position to save Snow.
Regina rightfully asks Cora what she needs with Rumpelstiltskin’s dagger if she only wanted for Regina to become Queen, which she already did.
There is doubt brewing in Regina’s mind. I would be surprised if Regina did not end up stopping Cora permanently.
In New York, Hook caught up with Mr. Gold (Rumpelstiltskin). He stabs Mr. Gold with his poisoned hook. The only help for Mr. Gold is to get back to Storybrooke and magic. A couple of nice explanations were thrown in here about Neal: Neal seems to know Hook, Neal can sail a pirate ship and Neal visited other lands before ending up in our world.
This is an important explanation as it is the only way to account for the hundreds of years between the time Neal left Fairytale Land and Rumpelstiltskin found him. As Neal stated, if our world was the first one he went to, he would be hundreds of years old.
(Spoilers ahead for next week’s episode.)
Next week’s episode is titled, “The Miller’s Daughter,” and will feature Cora’s backstory from Fairytale Land. We get a glimpse as to what makes Cora who she is. This is the episode that features Rose McGowan as a young Cora. In Fairytale Land past, we see young Cora meeting Rumpelstiltskin, who agrees to assist her, for a price, in spinning straw into gold.
Snow (Mark Margaret) is seen in the trailer (below) grabbing a heart from Regina’s mausoleum. According to the official synopsis, “Mary Margaret is once again tempted by dark magic.”