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.