“I see you brought the entire Charming softball team, and their pirate mascot!” – Regina
Remember, dearie, all spoilers come at a price~
The time has come for Regina to put on black leather and go reclaim her spot at the Evil Big Girl table! She is able to track down the Queens of Darkness, who do not appear to be making even the slightest attempt to hide, inside Granny’s Diner after hours. Though they broke in they were kind enough to leave the door unlocked, allowing Regina to simply strut in and mark her territory as the Evil Queen. She does this by taking a shot, and then crumbling the glass in her hand. Which seems really impressive until you realize she is wearing leather gloves. Still, it makes a statement.
Somehow, the Queens of Darkness decide that the best way for Regina to convince them she has not been corrupted by heroic influences is to commit mass suicide. Seriously. Cruella drives into the path of an oncoming train, because Storybrooke has a train now, and says Regina has to prove herself by not being a hero.
I am not sure when lack of self-preservation became the marks of a villain, though I am sure it probably explains some of the behavior exhibited by previous Once Upon a Time villains.
Of course, Regina has more sense than to let herself be run over by a train, and poofs herself and her companions out of the way. Though the Queens question Regina’s resolve after this act, they decide to have a night on the town that includes excessive amounts of alcohol and burning a police car. Amidst the property destruction, Regina learns that they are hiding some form of powerful magic as a means to their happy endings, but she needs to go deeper in order to learn what.
Meanwhile, Rumplestiltskin tells the Queens of Darkness that Regina presents an intriguing possibility. Since she is suffering heartbreak from Robin Hood leaving, she could easily return to her evil ways. Since the villains plan to declare war on Storybrooke in order to seek their happy ending, Regina would prove to be a valuable ally. To help sway Regina to their side, Maleficent goes to her and states that the Queens of Darkness have new leads in finding the Author. However, before Maleficent can reveal what she knows, Regina must undergo one more task.
Of course, the Charming family is worried about Regina’s involvement with the Queens, despite Regina being adamant that she can handle herself. Emma, worried about Regina, asserts that she will follow Regina to make sure everything is all right.
This show of emotion was met with great jubilation from “Swan Queen” shippers on Twitter, who reminded me that “Swan Queen” was a thing, and also informed me that the ship is actually part of an “March Madness” Zimbio bracket deciding which TV couples are the best. And, in case you were wondering, “Swan Queen” has a large lead on their opposing couple, Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother, so it looks like Emma and Regina will make it to the next round.
Going back to the episode, it turns out that Maleficent’s task for Regina is capturing Pinocchio. Though Regina claims the boy does not know anything, Maleficent says that Regina was not using the proper methods. Emma intervenes and tries to stop the kidnapping, but Regina promises she will protect Pinocchio from the Queens of Darkness. However, she does not let Emma follow her, eliminating any form of backup the Savior could have provided.
Finally being accepted as a member of the Queens of Darkness, it is revealed to Regina that the powerful magic the Queens are planning to use to achieve their happy endings is Rumplestiltskin. Of course, how exactly is he going to help them? By using his dagger, of course, which he conned off of Belle by pretending to be Hook. With the power from the dagger Rumplestiltskin is able to turn Pinocchio back into the man he was before the curse was broken: August. Now that August is back, with a little bit of prompting, he can reveal all he knows about the Author.
The parts of this episode that were in the past followed a similar pattern to most things that involve Regina in the early years of learning magic. Regina is annoyed at Snow White’s happiness. Regina wants revenge. Regina refuses to take things slow and learn magic properly. Regina gets mad at Rumplestiltskin. Rumplestiltskin is sassy and does something drastic to make Regina learn her lesson. Regina comes back more patience and a renewed passion for revenge.
What differed from other episode is that this flashback involved Maleficent, specifically Regina helping Maleficent regain her powers in order to seek revenge on Briar Rose’s family by putting Aurora under a sleeping curse. Blah blah blah, Maleficent turns into a dragon, blah blah blah, magic and stuff.
To be honest, the most interesting thing about the flashbacks for me was Sebastian Roche as King Stefan. And that is mostly because every time I see Sebastian Roche I immediately think of him as Balthazar from the TV show Supernatural, who is one of my favorite angels in the garrison. If you do not know who Balthazar is I suggest you look him up, because seriously an episode of Supernatural was practically dedicated to his hatred of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Which, in comparison to other episodes of Supernatural, is not really that strange.
Basically, what I am getting at here is that the flashbacks in Once Upon a Time are getting boring. Back in season one and two they were exciting because the larger story was still being established. Now that we know the characters and their pasts the flashbacks fall into a predictable pattern. Though they offer new information, they can still come off as boring and a bit tedious. Especially when the main focus is Regina getting revenge on Snow White, a plot point that has been ground down so far that I am surprised there is any dust left over to make the smallest line connecting two new ideas.
Luckily, however, the events in the present are picking up. Last episode I wanted to beat my head into the wall the story was so repetitive and dull. After this week, however, we have Regina dipping back into the dark side and August back from wherever his adult consciousness was sent to. Also, even though Ursula and Cruella were practically nonexistent this episode, aside from a snide remark or two, their characters still show great potential in the story. Season 4b is starting to get its footing in the developing story, and has a lot of potential.
Also, does the Author’s door look familiar to anybody else? Like the wallpaper and the flooring? Kind of like the inside of the Mad Hatter’s Hat?
Just a little something to think about.