Once Upon a Time Recap: Evil Is as Evil Does -- Plus: Here Comes [Spoiler]!

LANA PARRILLAThis Sunday on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Regina planned a trip for her and son Henry — only to see it take a most unexpected detour. Meanwhile, Emma stuck her nose in Tamara’s business and in the Fairytale Land That Was, the Evil Queen’s masquerade party couldn’t disguise a dark truth.

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IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | Determined to hunt down Snow White and unable to comprehend why villagers refuse to help her in that quest, Queen Regina asked Rumplestiltskin to “disguise” her as a peasant girl. (The price: No magical skills while undercover.) Alas, Regina is soon enough apprehended by her own guards when her unrecognizable self is arrested for fashioning an effigy of, well, her. But before Rivers or Barkley can have her beheaded in the square, Arrow Snow White interrupts the execution with a blast of badassery and rescues the “peasant girl.”

In hiding, Snow shares with “Wilma” the story of how she herself was rescued by a stranger, from a runaway horse. “Wilma” — upon being armed with a sword — later asks Snow if she would kill Queen Regina on sight. Snow says no, that she believes everyone has good inside of them, even the malevolent monarch. In fact, she’d welcome the chance to be a family again with her stepmother! But just as Regina is privately touched by this unbelievable belief in her, Snow stumbles upon the queen’s recent slaughter of an entire, unhelpful village. She promptly withdraws her kind words for Regina… and subsequently gleans that her adversary and “Wilma” are one and the same. Snow pulls an arrow on Regina, who attempts yet fails to counterattack with a fireball, then scurries away.

Back at her castle, Regina shares with Rumple her undercover mission (“Have the peasants no soap?”) and her realization that her subjects will never love her. Ergo, she’ll just “punish them.” “The queen is dead,” she pronounces. “Long live the Evil Queen.”

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IN STORYBROOKE…. | Disguised as the Gorton’s fisherman, Regina overhears David and Mary Margaret discuss their plan for the magic beans — to hightail it back to FTL either without her or take her along as a prisoner. Regina apprises Henry of the Charmings’ plot to separate them, and counters with her own getaway plan for just her and him, using one bean she saved after apparently razing the field. The catch: Storybrooke is subsequently destroyed, along with everyone left behind. Henry wants no part of that madness, so Regina uses magic to erase the rugrat’s memory of their convo and then aligns with the returned Captain Hook to retrieve the “trigger” she needs to destroy Storybrooke.

Elsewhere, after seeing that Tamara has a “cheat sheet” for who’s who in Storybrooke, Emma deduces that Neal’s fiancée is the “she” August warned everyone about. After an unsolicited Henry signs on for Operation Praying Mantis, Emma breaks into Tamara’s room, only to find nothing… and get busted by Neal, who explains away the cheat sheet and calls into question Emma’s lie detector “superpower.”

Venturing together to the cave beneath the library, Regina throws Hook to the wolves (or whatever new form it was that Maleficent, whom I thought was killed by Emma, took) while she tracks down the “trigger.” But upon returning topside, Regina sees that Hook survived — with the help of Tamara and Greg. What’s more, the leather cuff of Cora’s that Regina grabbed back from Hook is now loaded with “science” and fancy-pants metals and “machinery” that negates “every magical bone” in her body. “Now, here, you’re nothing,” Greg aka “a man on a mission” taunts. So what is Tamara and Greg’s master plan? “I’m not telling you,” Greg hedges.

What did you think of “The Evil Queen”? I reckon that the first Regina/Rumplestiltskin scene in the castle is the one Lana Parrilla alluded to as being so much fun for her and Robert Carlyle — the zingers kept a-flying. And it was nice to have the dots connected on when/why the queen went full-on evil. Cute Emma/Neal banter, too. On the flip side, Mary Margaret’s refusal to buy into Emma’s theory was a bit clumsy, as was her expressed concern that Henry would want his ‘rents back together. And is it me or is Henry starting to sprout? Walllllllttttt?!?!

COMING SOON: Below, thanks to the quietly resurrected Television Promos YouTube site, is the teaser for Season 2’s penultimate episode, titled “Second Star to the Right” and featuring (a freaky CGI) Peter Pan, Wendy (Hemlock Grove‘s Freya Tingley) and… Bae-as-lost boy?

Want more scoop on Once, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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60 Comments
  1. Mike says:

    I enjoyed this one more than last week, and I’m not one to hate TV characters, but I think I hate Greg(Owen) and Tamara more than I’ve ever hated TV characters, they are just awful, and their acting in te first scene was questionable. I actually like Henry’s scenes with Emma, and I usually can’t stand the kid, and of course Regina was great as always.

    • Alice says:

      I get that Ethan Embry is probably excited to get to play a villain, but he and Tamara need to dial it back. I felt like they needed mustaches to twirl, the line reading was THAT painful. I’m not opposed to someone shaking up Storybrooke, especially if it forces more scenes with Regina and Rumple, but the newcomers are just bad actors. It didn’t help that their dialogue was so bad. “You’ve been trapped…by science.” Oooh, I quiver in fear. Are we back to the LOST magic v science thing, again? Can Hook just do all their talking from now until he kills them in another double crosss?

    • Thanh says:

      Oh, I so agree. I HATE Tamara & Greg. They are among the worst villains ever. And yeah, part of that is the acting. Their characters come off as stereotyped cartoons or something, esp. Greg’s contorted facial expressions. They were laughably bad at the library, while confronting Regina. Regina was the only one giving a good performance in that library. I hope the writers kill off Tamara, Greg, and their secret organization either by season’s end, or next season premiere. I really don’t want this awful storyline to continue through season 3.

  2. lb says:

    Bae isn’t a lost boy per say. He is one of Wendy’s brothers. Which actually does line up with the creators claiming that hadn’t seen anyone guess that yet.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      “One of Wendy’s brothers” was my very first thought seeing the promo, EXCEPT she seems to be talking to him as if a stranger — and as someone who has been to Neverland already (“It’s different from where you came from”). Although I guess that line makes sense if Wendy had found/”adopted” young Bae after he plopped into her realm.

      • lb says:

        Precisely, or at last that’s my best guess. There is always the one brother in the story that doesn’t want her to go with Peter…maybe he had a better reason seeing as Bae would be against all things magical.

    • kavyn says:

      I guess you mean adopted brother, since Bae is Rumple’s son.

  3. iMember says:

    Good episode of Once tonight and AMAZING episode of Revenge tonight. Can’t wait for next week.

  4. ollie says:

    yea henry had a big growth sprut out of nowhere it seemed. I could care less what greg really wants just as long as him and tamara are gone at the end of season( not meant as a slam against the actors). I lol at emma’s “superpowered lie detecter” since it seems she has been only right twice( first time when she left hook at bottom of the beanstalk).

  5. Alichat says:

    I think the episode was kinda boring.

  6. Kate says:

    Anyone else obsessed with how much chemistry Hook & Regina have or just me?

  7. lyn says:

    Rumpel always has me in stitches! “Have the peasants no soap, then?” after getting a whiff of Regina. This week was much better than last week. Side note: I love the Friesian horses that the Queen’s guard ride. I kept saying Maleficent wasn’t Dead dead. [YAY] Did anyone else think that when the Charmings first got to the bean field, the beans looked green and the next shot they were all burned. Was that an oops. or did I imagine that?

    • Meg says:

      I saw that too, about the bean field. Maybe because there was some magic portal they had to cross through, the beans looked green from the outside?

      • lyn says:

        I thought the entire field had a masking spell. When they went through the beans looked fine, then the camera cut to Snow and she reacted, and then the next shot was the devastated crop. I didn’t DVR it, so I can’t check.

  8. Name That Tune says:

    Just watched the extended preview. Next week looks to be very good. Bae’s first land wasn’t Neverland but he seems to have met Wendy first. And hates Gold for his mistreatment of the local folks. Greg &Tamara have the beans. Thumbs up for next week.

  9. Aly says:

    I really enjoyed the ep. The FTL scenes between Regina and Snow were absolutely brilliant.

  10. That looks more like Peter’s shadow.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ah, I now see the confusion. The above YouTube rip crops out Peter Pan’s glowing eyes, which are seen in the broadcast version. (Not a shadow.)

  11. M says:

    I like this episode better than last weeks. I’m really hoping they don’t kill Neal and hope they bring him back as a regular

  12. Spencer says:

    The only thing I didn’t like was Henry. He is by far the weakest link of the show, and that’s saying something. His acting is hideous and the character is useless. I really don’t see why Regina and Emma are so intent on fighting over him, anyway. He’s notmthat great. It really bugs me how he said “oh hi mom” but then treats her like crap. Just because you met your actual mother does not mean that Regina isn’t also your mother. He, and everyone else in the show needs to respect the fact that Regina raised this kid for 10, 11 years. She is as much, if not moreso his mother than Emma.

    • chistosa says:

      As the mother of two adopted children, I appreciate what you say about the fact that Regina is his mother and has been for years. But I also acknowledge the fact that Henry went looking for Emma outside of Storybrook because Regina was doing things that disturbed him. She was his mother but I don’t think she would have been nominated for mother of the year. I think that it is credible that Henry distrusts Regina and resents the use of magic she has used for years. Even biological children turn on parents who are evil.

    • Cass says:

      Yes, the horror! How dare Henry call Regina a villain when she informs him she’s going to kill the entire town, everyone he knows and all the rest of his family. What a mouthy, ungrateful brat!

      • Spencer says:

        Trust me, I’m not saying Regina is a drop of sunshine. I’m just saying that, most of the time, this show shows a terrible description of adopted parents. A lot of times they’re spreading the message that ‘if you get mad at your adopted mom or dad, forget them completely and go find your biological parents instead!’ which is not the right message to send.

        • lyn says:

          I don’t think the show is an indictment of adoptive parents at all. However there are probably just as many unqualified adoptive parents as there are unqualified birth parents and Regina is one of those.

          • sara says:

            No, there probably AREN’T as many unqualified adoptive parents as unqualified birth parents. Don’t be ridiculous.

          • lyn says:

            Think what you like, but people’s reasons for adopting are not always altruistic. Social services records are filled with documented abuses.

          • sara says:

            Sure. But let’s be real here, any sixteen year old can get knocked up, like our dear Emma is an example of. Not everyone can adopt. It’s much, MUCH harder since, you know, it involves more than a broken condom. And foster care is much more rife with problems than adoption is.

          • lyn says:

            I completely agree with you about foster care. My original point was that I don’t think Regina is an example of all adoptive parents. On the distaff side we have Rumpel as an example of a horrid natural parent.

        • Fairy Tale. Evil Stepmother. sort of a natural segue.

  13. Babybop says:

    I wonder what will be so “devastating” about the season finale?

    • ej says:

      Henry gets kidnapped by Greg and Tamara.

      I liked this episode more than many this season. The flashbacks were all right and didn’t take up as much time as they often do. There was still too little of Neal, considering Adam and Eddy promised LOTS more Neal, and I am once more annoyed that the writers left out an interesting conversation between Emma and Neal; suddenly, the Bug makes an appearance in a scene which kind of implies Neal is aware of it, since Emma and Henry are spying on him and if he walked out and saw it for the first time, wouldn’t he logically come over and notice them? So, we don’t get the stolen money conversation or the “you kept the car” conversation, and is this season really worth the DVD on the off chance those are deleted scenes? I could have done with more Emma/Neal/Henry and even more Greg/Tamara (much as I dislike them) over that lame CGI whatever the heck Maleficent was.

      And I agree with you, Matt, Mary Margaret’s argument was rather weak, but then ever since she killed Cora, her character has been (IMO) regressing to her weak-willed curse persona; Snow would never have run from her problems and let her husband emotionally blackmail her (and their emotionally distraught daughter) into going to a world over-run with ogres to escape some unknown threat. Actually, David’s being kind of a jerk too about this whole mess, so I’m not really liking the Charmings and their parenting skills much lately. Also, Regina telling Henry everyone would die was just groan-worthy; how completely in sociopathic denial is she thinking he’d be cool with that? I’ve almost given up rooting for Regina’s redemption… while rooting for her to have a shag with Hook, because her villian-ness is getting close to matching his on the ineptitude scale. She’s really fallen off her game while Hook, perhaps, at last, has finally got some, but I suspect his plans will go pear shaped like they always do in the end.

      I’m really hoping the next episode will be good with Neal’s backstory. I’m pretty sure, though, that Adam and Eddy’s “no one’s got it” backstory with Neal having lived with the Darlings and gone to Neverland from there was proposed at least somewhere on tumlbr or in a fanfiction I read after the rather curious comment by the duo at PaleyFest that Wendy’s London is of a different world than this one… which would only be important if we would be seeing it, and if Bae went right to Neverland, why would we see that world? At least now that it’s confirmed, it makes sense how Hook got to Neverland before Bae. I wonder if Bae took the name “Neal” in Alternate London? I’m kinda hoping that Hook kills Wendy or something, just for shock value!

  14. A says:

    OMGGGG!!! THAT EPISODE WAS FANTASTIC!! So much better than the last few episodes.
    First off, Maleficent was so creepy and weird. I never thought I’d see her again in Storybrooke especially in that form. It was pretty sick how the spell preserves her in whatever form she’s in (including skeletal!). I wish she had been a bigger character in the show because she is my all-time favorite Disney Villain.
    I really loved Regina’s turning into the peasant just like when the Evil Queen turns into the hag in the movie. It’s nice to have a little bit of the original story being shown.
    And was I the only one detecting some sexy chemistry between Hook and Regina? I actually bought Hook being on Regina’s side, but I’ll admit I was fooled (which I love when that happens because I love being shocked)
    I didn’t fully understand the whole science and metal thing withdrawing Regina’s magic. I thought they would accomplish that somehow with her magic taser.
    This Greg guy is annoying. Although Tamara intrigues me a bit for some weird reason. I kind of want to find out a bit more about her.
    The Charmings are idiots. Enough said. Lool I laughed at their reaction to the burned beans. They really need to stop being surprised by these types of things. Its getting old.
    Can’t wait for NEVERLAND next week!!!!!

  15. Dan says:

    Easily the dumbest episode in two seasons. The”science and stuff” explanation for the wrist band was cartoon level stupid and super hero Snow just standing there as Regina scampers away cackling after murdering 50 plus people…there are no words. Seriously lazy, third grade level story telling. I think I’m done with this mess.

    • lyn says:

      Speaking of dumb, how did Regina come up from the elevator pit if her magic was on hold and how did Hook get up there without Regina? Curiouser and curiouser.

    • Thanh says:

      I agree. Don’t forget how Regina was acting so uncharacteristicly stupid in the public square after being transformed into a peasant. It really annoys me when the writers are inconsistent with characters like this.

  16. Louise says:

    Easily one of my favorite episodes of the season. I admit I liked the fairytale story better the Storybrooke one though. Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle were pure brilliance. There’s so much energy between them, it almost jumps at you through the screen. Rumple and Regina were hilarious and yet there was a hint of tragedy in it as well (the whole “making a monster” theme) and Regina and Snow was just incredibly touching and sad.
    Regina looked so hopeful for a moment when Snow said she believes there’s still good in the queen and then of course it all went to hell when it became clear that Regina had all those people killed. All the wrong choices… can’t help but hope that one day Regina wil learn to make the right ones again.
    I used to like Greg and even more so after we got his backstory, but Tamara’s just crazy and I can’t be on board with whatever torturing they got going on next week. I just want someone to stop them for good. I hope Greg gets some closure and finds out what happened to his dad, but I have no interest in watching them torture people for more than one (or two since it’s a two-parter season finale) episode and won’t be sad to see that story go.
    One thing I find lazy in the way it’s being written and repetitive to the beyond of being annoying is everyone wanting to tell Emma how she feels about Neal. Is Storybrooke full of mindreaders now? At least she told Henry what she really feels, but I wish she would stand up and tell them to let it go when the adults around her do the same. I was a bit disappointed in MM to be honest. No one has the right to lecture Emma about her feelings. And Neal doesn’t get to speak before he’s finally managed to at least apologize for what he has done to her anyway as far as I’m concerned.

  17. AL says:

    If Tamara and Greg are using “science and stuff” to block Regina, how long until someone tries to enlist Whale against them?

  18. Shannon says:

    This is the first episode I have actually liked Hook in. For some reason it feels like they started writing for him seriously and he isn’t a gimmick anymore.
    Other than that, I loved really seeing the world through Regina’s twisted perception, but hate that Henry’s getting put into the middle of it. I also thought Jared did a fantastic job this episode and that he was spot on.
    Also, Snow is an idiot. She is slowly becoming, in my opinion, one of the lamest characters on the show. I really hope they fix that because I liked her at the beginning.

    • Alice says:

      I love Hook, but I’m beginning to think his OTP is the floor. Any floor. When he landed in Maleficant’s cavern I could almost hear the floor say “Oh Captain, I’ve missed you.”

  19. Daniella says:

    If you watch the extended promo on Abc.com you’ll see that Tamara and Owen are working for someone else entirely..They refer to a homebase and getting instructions from someone..I wonder who this someone or someone’s are. Can’t wait for next week!

    • lyn says:

      I’m keeping fingers crossed that the writers don’t cross over to outer space/alien overlords territory. Frankenstein was bad enough.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Yes. I think we’ll see them climb up beanstalk.
      Maybe Regina will have to a dry spell with no magic until she figures out here to get that thing off. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

    • Joey says:

      Supernatural vs. Science didn’t work in Buffy S4, so I’m very skeptical it’ll work here.

    • Thanh says:

      I could care less about this “home office”/secret organization. This story needs to end pronto. Tamara and Greg are terrible villains.

  20. sara says:

    And this is the episode where it was finally confirmed that they have zero idea what they’re doing. SCIENCE! FOOLPROOF BEAN PLAN!

  21. LaLa says:

    I liked the episode – I like the way the storyline is advancing. However, I thought the “science” explanation given by Greg/Owen was ridiculous. It didn’t make sense to me that Regina could not remove the cuff – especially because we didn’t hear any distinctive “click” or notice anything that would have signaled that its properties had been activated. Also, Henry REALLY annoyed me in this episode. I’ve read others’ growing hatred of his character, but he was over the top for me in this one. I mean, going straight to Emma and Neal getting back together – we all know he should be less childish – I mean really. He’s lived with evil personified for most of his life – he should know that things don’t always work out like that. And, I am beyond irritated at the number of times Snow has had opportunities to stop Regina and never has.
    But all of these irritations were resolved with my favorite line of the night: Neal: “Awww, HELL NO! I taught her that!” I was rolling.

    • Alice says:

      I LOVED that bit. Favorite part of the episode.
      I hope he makes a better apology to Emma once they find out she was right about Tamara than he did in Manhattan.

  22. Leanne says:

    This ep was definitely better than last week’s!! Glad to see Bae/Neal is one of the Lost Boys, makes for a whole new storyline! Am v excited for the finale, as long as there are some more twists, like who Tamara and Greg are working for and what’s going to happen with the beans. And for those of you who mentioned fireworks between Hook and Regina, I saw it too! Would love for that to happen, although I was rooting for Hook&Emma too. As long as she doesn’t get back with Neal, no chemistry there at all. Bring on Neverland!

  23. Jeff says:

    I think the writers crossed a line last night with Regina’s character, taking her from evil fairy tale character to mass murderer. How can anyone (Snow, Charming, Henry) thinks that there’s any way she can be redeemed after Regina has done something like that? I think the writers took it too far with that scene – it’s like saying you can forgive Idi Amin or Pol Pot for what they’ve done (they haven’t taken Regina to the scale of a Hitler or Stalin – yet).

    • sara says:

      It’s easier once you realize that the show motto of “it’s good versus evil!!11!” isn’t as true as “this is a show about a bunch of moron a-holes doing crappy things to each other.”

    • ER says:

      I mean, I honestly don’t think she’s much different than Hitler. She’s a SERIAL KILLER. She’s basically a rapist – she took away Graham’s ability to give informed consent to sex. She’s stupid; she forgave her mother (the ACTUAL person who killed Daniel), and still has had a vendetta against Snow White for 50+ years because when she was a CHILD, she gave Cora information that led to her killing Daniel. I just can’t feel sorry for her anymore.

    • AL says:

      Actually, I thought the episode made the point that she really is evil — not just misunderstood, or a matter of perspective — and that *everyone* sees her as such, not just the Charmings. Her machinations aren’t just about getting power from Snow and revenge for Daniel’s death — she’ll order entire villages slaughtered. So the common peasant, who may never have heard of Snow White, feels the queen is evil.

      I’m not dismissing anything she’s done to Graham, Snow’s father, her *own* father, etc. But those were more private acts of evil, whereas killing the villagers was a public one.

  24. katie says:

    So was it Tamara and Greg that got rid of the magic beans or was it Regina?

  25. David says:

    This show just keeps getting worse and worse. The writers and writing are pathetic. It will be pure luck if it gets renewed for a 4th season. Why am I still watching?…to see how bad it’s going to be…like watching a train wreck….

  26. Allison says:

    What on earth does Hook say to Tamara, right before he laughs after they say they are offering him a job? I can’t make it out, no matter how many times I replay it.

  27. kath says:

    I loved this show last year. It was something everyone in the family could enjoy together.

    This episode, I started channel flipping during the show. I am so tired of these endless villains I’m supposed to sympathize with.

    This season, the core seems to have got lost in endless tales about more and more tertiary characters and a fascination with evil that’s not balanced by stories about the good characters. Both Rumple and Belle lost my sympathy and interest last week with Rumple’s cruelty and Belle/Lacey’s fascination with it. Now we have yet another Regina-focused episode (as if we haven’t had endless Regina/Cora episodes already this season).

    There wasn’t a single scene this episode that wasn’t about the villains. Snow and Charming worried about Regina, Emma took Henry on a Tamara stake-out, Snow saved Regina’s life yet again (stupid, stupid). Add to that Rumple, Tamara, Hook, Greg (who is the one I should be feeling sorry for but the show orders me to sympathize with Regina) and even Neal who is far from being a good guy in his treatment of Emma. The preview for the next episode leave me wondering if I should just tivo it so I can fast forward through the Regina/Tamara/Greg scenes.

    Yes, Adam and Eddy, I do want a scene of Emma washing dishes with Snow or Charming and talking about the changes in her life over the past year. Focusing just on good may be boring, but so is all this endless evil.

    • Ellen says:

      Kath, I couldn’t agree more. Regina was fun at first, but now that she has gone flat-out “Evil Queen” in Storybrooke, too, she’s become very tedious, especially when she can’t even do simple things like opening a door without theatrics. I’m tired of all the focus on the villains, too. It didn’t take long for over-the-top Evil Cora to be replaced with over-the-top Evil Tamara, and I don’t even care are about Greg or his father because there are so many tertiary characters right now that take us away from the core characters. (And by “core characters,” I don’t mean Regina, Regina, Regina, Regina, and Regina.) I don’t dislike all the villains; I think Hook can be fun because you never know what he is going to do or who he is going to help, and he has a wicked sense of humor. (And he’s cute!) I am still amused by Rumple, too, mainly due to the fabulous Robert Carlisle. I know there are a lot of reasons for the falling ratings, but it seems to me as if the show as it is now is much different than the show I fell in love with. Too many characters, and not enough Emma, Henry, and the Charmings, who should be the heart and soul of Once Upon a Time.

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