Once Upon a Time
The Queen is Dead

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: A- | 6 USERS: B
YOU GRADE IT
Happy Birthday

Since the Palace is hosting a big ball on Snow's birthday, she's laboring under the assumption that it's to honor her, but Eva sets the child straight. "No. It's for you to honor them, by showing them you will be a kind and benevolent leader when that time comes." Taking the tiara, Eva says, "When you are crowned with this, on your birthday, it will be a symbol that you will always hold goodness in your heart, and rule justly. Now do you understand?" Snow, to her credit, does.

Appropriately chagrinned, Snow takes the tiara from her mother, gives Johanna a sheepish look then stands before the mirror. When she says the tiara is beautiful, Eva cautions, "And it's heavier than it looks." Before Snow can even try on the tiara, Eva gasps and doubles over. Johanna catches her. When Eva insists she fine, Johanna pshaws that and seats the Queen in a handy chair, then heads off to get the doctor. We flash forward to...

Storybrooke. Mary Margaret's Hovel. Lost in thought and surely memories, Snow is looking at herself in the mirror when she notices that David is cooking pancakes. She reminds him they had a deal. The thing is, girlfriend doesn't like her birthday, and I feel her. Spying a present on the table, Snow again gives David the stink eye, but he insists it isn't from him. He found it on the doorstep that morning. When Snow opens the gift before opening the accompanying card, I expect a flashback to the Enchanted Forest, in which Queen Eva rolls over in her grave, and am...gravely disappointed.

Anyhow, Snow's tiara is in the box. When her Royal Rudeness finally gets around to opening the card, she sees it is from Johanna. They didn't realize she'd been brought over. David offers some lame exposition about why they're just now figuring out that Johanna is in Storybrooke, but it's not worth our time. Snow tells David she has to go. He grabs her arms and wishes her a happy birthday. Kissing him, Snow thanks him for understanding and reminds him that he has to get to work. David wishes this day made her happier. Snow says, "I know, but we both know it can't." Okay, I was determined to leave all my birthday issues in the recaplet, but allow me this small...

Sidebar. Look, when someone has painful events associated with his or her birthday -- particularly big ones like death -- the memories are not going to fade away just because it's a birthday. If you're old enough to read this, I imagine you've probably lost at least one person close to you, so you know this. We can't help but mark the anniversaries of deaths. We can't. The death of a close loved one is bigger to most of us than our own birthdays. It just is. I know David is happy Snow was born. Heck, Snow is probably usually happy she was born -- despite all her hardships -- but she is going to be sad on this day. People who insist that those of us in the Very Buffy Birthday Club be capital-H Happy on our birthdays sometimes stress us out and leave us feeling guilty and unappreciative. We need your love and appreciate your thoughtfulness, but please understand we're still hurting, and that's not your fault. I think David strikes the perfect tone in the last scene. If I could sit down with Snow at Club 33, I'd tell her to let her family get her a little gift and make her a little breakfast or a cake, have a nice dinner with them, and then I'd tell them to let her cry or remember when she needs to, and not to lay a lot of happiness expectations on her. I mention this because I'm feeling relieved on Snow's behalf that Emma and Henry are out of town for the first birthday she's endured since her memories were restored.

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Once Upon a Time

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