I don't just have birthday issues, I have a lifetime subscription. Apparently I share both with the Fairest of Them All. "The Queen Is Dead," which features Snow White's birthday and all the
joy pain associated with it, airs on my late father's birthday. This recaplet will be published the day after -- on my birthday. Dad was a twin, so the three of us always celebrated our birthdays together. My uncle died first and too young. With his passing, our birthdays became bittersweet. Four years after my uncle passed, Dad's father died on his twin sons' birthday. As Grampy lay dying, I prayed that he would hold out until my birthday in hopes that Dad's birthday wouldn't be quite so lonely for him, but it wasn't to be and now that I'm older, I know it wouldn't have made a difference.
Dad has been gone 10 years now -- 10 years and 26 days. As the anniversary of his death approaches, I take a deep breath and hold it for a month or so until the birthdays have passed. My father's birthday also happens to be my mother-in-law's birthday and I have three kids, so I don't exactly have the option of going to bed for a few days and telling the world to screw (which would be my ideal way to "celebrate"). As I was sitting down to watch "The Queen Is Dead," I was looking for a little escape. I must have met an impostor Blue Fairy out in the yard. Isn't that always the way? Seeing as I just remembered that this isn't my diary, let's get to the episode, shall we?
In the Enchanted Past, young Snow (the impossibly perfect Bailee Madison) and her beautiful mother Queen Eva (Rena Sofer) prepare for their kingdom's celebration of the young princesses's birthday. When Snow gets a little too high and mighty with their servant, Johanna (Lesley Nicol), Eva is firm, yet gentle as she corrects her daughter.
After Queen Eva falls ill, Johanna tells Snow to appeal to the Queen's friend, the Blue Fairy. Before Snow even figures out which star to wish on, the Blue Fairy appears. She claims fairy magic cannot save the Queen, but dark magic can. Swearing the young girl to secrecy, she presents her with an enchanted candle. If Snow burns it for her mother, it will save her life, but only at the expense of another life. Snow may be young, but her heart is true. Knowing how much stock Eva has put in raising her daughter to be good, Snow refuses to sacrifice a life to save her mother. When Snow tells her dying mother the whole tale, Eva commends her daughter's strength. "We all reach a moment in our lives when we are not meant to get better." Shut up, Dead Mommy! I've learned that lesson over and over again.
After the Queen's funeral, Blue appears, but she isn't truly Blue at all. After morphing into Cora, she crows over the corpse of Her Royal Deadness. During the maniacal monologue, the Mother of All Evil even manages to reveal that she is -- as we've long expected -- the Miller's Daughter. Given the pleasure Cora takes at Eva's death and her plans to darken Snow White's soul, I suspect this is not the last time we'll see the lovely and talented Rena Sofer.
Manhattan. Present. Hook finds Rumpy and Emma in the lobby of Neal's building. He knocks down Emma and stabs Gold with his Hook, which he retrieved from the Sheriff's Office after knocking out David. The hook injected some nefarious poison into Gold. He will die unless the gang gets him back to Storybrooke. Luckily, Neal knows how to sail Hook's ship. Suffice it to say that this world wasn't his first stop when he left L'enchantement.
Neal calls someone and asks to use a car so that he can drive the ailing Gold to Hook's ship. Being a lying liar who lies, Emma has already been disqualified from the Mother of the Year Awards, so she leaves Henry with Gold and heads out with Neal to pick up the car. Just as Neal is about to tell Emma something he neglected to mention before, they meet up with the fetching Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green), whom Neal introduces as his fiancée. The flash of pain in Jennifer Morrison's eyes is priceless.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, it's Snow's birthday, but she'd really rather ignore it, thank you very much. David tries to sneak in some happiness, but Snow is not in the mood. She's particularly perturbed when she sees a gift she assumes is from him. When she opens it, she sees it is the heirloom tiara Eva gave her right before falling ill. The accompanying note is from Johanna.
While David is getting his lights knocked out by Hook, Snow sets out to find Johanna (does anyone else keep thinking of Strega's friend). After their touching reunion, Snow overhears Regina and Cora in the nearby woods. As is the wont of fictional villains, the Gruesome Twosome conveniently discuss enough of the Dark One Dagger Caper so that Snow knows what's going on.
Snow meets with Regina and in one of the best scenes of the night, tries to talk her into leaving Team Evil, but it is of no use. Later, Snow texts Emma, fills her in and asks her to get Gold to tell her the dagger's location, so they can keep it secret. It seems (thank goodness!) that the treasure map was just a red herring.
It seems Gold hid the dagger behind one of the hands on the library clock tower. Just as Charming and Snow retrieve it, Cora and Regina appear. When Snow won't hand over the dagger, Cora magics up Johanna as a hostage. When Snow again refuses to give Cora the dagger, Regina rips out Johanna's heart and begins to apply pressure. Even though she is in pain, Johanna begs Snow not to give in to Evil's demands, but Snow knows the right choice, in that moment, is to save Johanna's life. This and my ensuing conversation with my oldest son (which I'll probably mention in the recap, because I think I failed to teach him something) bring me right back to my discussion of choosing good over evil and how sometimes even when you've done the right thing, bad things happen anyhow.
When Cora demands that Snow surrender the dagger, she taunts her about following her mother's example at all costs. "All she ever wanted was for you to be good." Upon hearing that, Snow realizes that years ago, it wasn't Blue who gave her the dark magic candle and that Cora was behind Eva's death. Even Regina is startled at this revelation and Cora's admission that she did it all to make her daughter the queen, but Regina bounces back quickly. She tightens her grip on Johanna's heart and demands the dagger. After some back and forth with Cora, Snow throws down the dagger and falls to her knees. When Cora snatches it up, Regina restores Johanna's heart. But do we all live happily ever after? No. Because then Cora, the Mother of All Evil, defenestrates Johanna, which is horrible, but it does give me the chance to use defenestrate. Happy birthday, to me.
Back at her office, Regina wonders why Cora never told her about her history with Eva. Regina realizes that rescuing Snow White, Once Upon A Time was no accident, but all part of mother's machinations. She wonders why, since Cora won, she still wants the dagger. She points out that they can no longer use it to make Gold kill off the Charmings and reclaim Henry, without the boy finding out they were behind it all. Cora deflects the question and advises Regina to have patience. "By the time Rumpelstiltskin returns, Emma Swan and the rest of them will be nothing more than a vaguely unpleasant memory and Henry will be yours."
After burying Johanna in a hastily dug grave, Charming tries to comfort Snow, but she's losing heart. Charming, whom many paint as a dim bulb, already understands the game: Cora wants Snow to lose faith in who she is (i.e. someone who does the right thing). Snow recalls all the right decisions she has made and how still, harm has followed. When Charming reminds her that they keep beating Team Evil, Snow wonders, "At what cost?" She claims she no longer cares about justice. "We keep thinking that people will change. What if that's wrong? What if I'm the one who has to change?" Charming is taken aback at this and asks, "Change, how?" Staring off, Snow says, "I'm going to kill Cora." Dun dun dun!
This is another strong episode from our sophomore series. Aside from the improbabilities of Hook finding Gold and Emma leaving Henry alone with Gold, I can't remember rolling my eyes too much. Gold's hostility toward Henry, Emma's slight softening toward Neal and Henry's residual bitterness are pitch perfect, character-driven moments. Again, the scene between Snow and Regina at Granny's is a sight to behold. Watching Rena Sofer play Snow's mother furthers my suspicion that someone in Casting practices the dark arts. Be careful, dearies. Magic always comes with a price.I will be back with the full recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where we're blowing out the candles, just to be safe.
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In "The Queen Is Dead," Snow White joins my Very Buffy Summers Birthday Club (see recaplet for membership requirements). Since my birthday is over and my month of wallowing in self-pity is complete, let's go on with our show.
Previously on Once Upon A Time, Hook wants to find Rumpelstiltskin in the outside world, where magic isn't an issue, but Regina and Cora talk him into searching for the dagger. In Manhattan, Emma catches Baelfire for Gold. Her only thanks is the gut punch of realizing that Rumpelfrickingstiltskin's son is her baby daddy. Neal orders Gold out of his apartment. Gold and Henry learn that Neal is Henry's father. In the Enchanted Past, the dying Seer tells Rumpelstiltskin that a young boy will lead him to Bae. When she says "The boy will be your undoing," Rumpy says he'll just have to kill him. And now on Once Upon A Time...
In the Enchanted Past, we open on a shot of Snow Drops. The lovely and talented Bailee Madison again takes the reins -- and as a princess. I suppose she expects to reign one day, which I just mention because they are different words, people. They have different meanings and spellings, and yes, I've just doomed myself to make some ridiculous error(s) that neither Editorial nor I will see, but hell's bells, people! I saw someone use irregardless in the forum, and no, as far as I can tell, that person hasn't been banned, because TWoP Tennison is a benevolent dictator... oh crap, where was I? Ahem. I'll start fresh.
The lovely and talented Bailee Madison takes the reins as wee Snow White. Yes, this week's flashbacks are set prior to "The Stable Boy" and "We Are Both," yet as a living, breathing, human child, Ms. Madison has grown and aged. Deal with it, Gentle Readers.
No. Seriously. Deal. I cover The Vampire Diaries -- the premise of which requires me to accept not only that Paul Wesley's character, Stefan, was vamped at age 17 and Ian Somerhalder's character, Damon, was vamped around age 21, but also that neither Stefan nor Damon have aged a day since turning. Now, Wesley and Somerhalder are ridiculously easy on the eyes, but as thirtysomethings, neither man looks his character's physical "age." In comparison, ignoring the changes in Bailee is child's play. Just stare at her extremely pink gown. Now, wait 'til her mother comes into view wearing a sparkly red number that on its own is fine, but saying it clashes with Snow's gown doesn't begin to describe the visual assault. I'm sorry I had to shock some sense into you, Gentle Readers, but desperate times and all that.