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“The Evil Queen” Is Still Evil: Once Upon A Time Review

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 10 years ago

If the title of Once Upon A Time’s “The Evil Queen” episode sounds like it might be a bit redundant, then it is well-chosen. It is nothing new to see Regina struggle between good and evil while she tries to kill Snow. The material is becoming recycled, and some of the ideas tossed around are so hard to believe that it makes it difficult to engage with the story. Many one of the one-liners are so cheesy it is cringe-worthy, and others are accidentally humorous. There is also very little of the always entertaining Rumple, which is a shame.

In the flashbacks, Rumple assists Regina in magically disguising herself so that she can hunt down Snow. The queen mistakenly gets herself arrested, and is about to be beheaded when Snow swoops in to save the day. While Snow tends to Regina’s injuries, the two of them talk about goodness and forgiveness.

Regina appears to be nearing redemption until the two of them find a pile of townspeople, all of them dead thanks to Regina’s previous orders. When Regina gives herself away, Snow contemplates killing her. Since Rumple does not come to her aid, Regina bolts. The flashback ends with Regina staring wickedly into the mirror, vowing to be an evil queen. Again, nothing new here. At least her outfit is fabulous.

Equally treacherous in present day, Regina plots to get rid of Storybrooke and its inhabitants (apparently there’s a failsafe for the Dark Curse), except for Henry. For some mind-boggling reason, she first tries to talk Henry into joining her in leaving and killing everyone. When Henry – frequently the moral compass of the show – turns her down, she wipes his memory. Henry sums up our thoughts pretty accurately when he says, “Why would you even tell me this?”

Hook is thrown under the bus – or rather, off a cliff – when he goes on a quest with Regina. He comments, “Do you ever wonder if this constant pursuit of revenge is the reason we have no one who cares for us?” No kidding.

It looks like Regina will be forced to do her evil deeds without the assistance of magic, as Hook, Greg, and Tamara manage to disable it. They do this by having her wear a leather cuff that has strong metals inside of it. They call this “science”. It is awfully convenient and doesn’t make much sense, but we have to go along with it anyway.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara. Image © ABC

Jennifer Morrison as Emma (left) and Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara. Image © ABC

Once seems undecided as to whether or not they should make Regina a true villain, or keep her bouncing back and forth long enough for us to root for her. Lana Parrilla is such a good actress that we’re kind of cheering for her anyway, but the indecisiveness is frustrating. Grey areas and complex characters make for good TV, but in this case it is done too sloppy to be effective.

Suspicious of Tamara, Emma and Henry try to find evidence that she is bad news. Their failure leads to an embarrassing moment with Neal, who wonders if Emma is still carrying a torch for him. She might very well be, but if she is, she’s in denial about it. That is a bit awkward, but so is pretending to be sly while having a stake-out in a bright yellow VW bug.

Charming and Snow chat loudly about the secret magic beans, so Regina – in disguise – overhears them. By the end of the episode, the beans are gone. One character’s comment that “nobody steals from a dwarf” falls rather flat considering that the beans have, in fact, been stolen.

Overall, it would be nice to see more development in both the plot and the characters of this show. Also, things should feel a little more exciting seeing as the season is drawing to a close. Since Greg announced that he has a secret plan and reason for being in Storybrooke, this could mean some interesting drama for next week.

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

Watch the First 8 Minutes of Once Upon a Time's "Second Star to the Right"

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