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The Queen Is Dead: Once Upon A Time Review

By on March 4, 2013

Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White and Josh Dallas as Prince Charming in Once Upon A Time. Image © ABC

Every episode of Once Upon A Time, in part due to the fact the show revolves around fairy tale characters, carries on a theme of good versus evil. That is particularly true in this week’s episode ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

It is Snow’s birthday in both present day and during the flashbacks. She is not in a celebratory mood, and the peeks into her history explain why. During the first flashback, we actually see a foreign and entirely unlikable version of Snow as a child (Bailee Madison). She talks down to a house servant, Johanna, before her mother (guest star Rena Sofer) chastises her.

Any annoyance the audience feels with the princess fades quite quickly as little Snow watches her mother succumb to poison. Snow pleads to the Blue Fairy for help, though it turns out the fairy was actually Cora in disguise. When Cora offers Snow the chance to use dark magic in order to save her mother, Snow cannot bring herself to do it.

This history is very relevant in the present day storyline. Charming and Snow race to find Rumple’s dagger before Regina and Cora can beat them to it. Even when they successfully do get there first, the evil team of Regina and Cora threaten to kill Johanna if Snow doesn’t hand it over. The moral dilemma causes Snow to hesitate, but she ends up giving them the dagger. The episode takes another tragic turn when Cora flings Johanna out the window to her death anyway.

Little Snow at her mother's side. Image © ABC

Little Snow at her mother’s side. Image © ABC

Meanwhile in New York, Henry and Neal’s father/son bonding time is cut short when Hook arrives to kill Rumple. Emma nails him with an umbrella holder before he can finish the job, but Rumple is still badly poisoned. In order to heal him they need to get to Storybrooke as soon as possible, so Neal decides to captain a pirate ship. Yes, apparently he can do that.

Tensions between Emma and Neal are a little awkward, particularly when Neal’s fiancée (guest star Sonequa Martin-Green) makes an appearance. Is Emma feeling conflicted about Neal’s relationship because of Rumple’s earlier prying, or because she is a tad jealous? We’re going to guess the latter.

At the end of the episode, Snow mourns the loss of Johanna with Charming. This is an interesting scene as Snow questions her strategy of always making the “right” decision. She has had enough of watching the people she loves die, and essentially says that enough is enough. Charming looks a little apprehensive as she declares that she is going to kill Cora. Seeing Snow embrace her dark side (does she have one?) sounds intriguing, but ultimately far-fetched.

As for Cora, whatever she is planning to do with the dagger can’t be good. Barbara Hershey is, as usual, chillingly good as the corrupted Cora. Regina is along for the ride out of a desire to keep Henry, but she may be getting a lot more than she bargained for.

What did you think of the episode? Catch Once Upon A Time Sundays on ABC.

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