For 17 episodes we have been patiently waiting for Once Upon A Time to reveal the backstory of the Evil Queen. Why does she hate Snow White so, so much? Remember, Regina ripped out her own father's heart to enact her revenge on Snow White, so her hatred must have had a pretty epic reason, right? Wrong. Last night, Once served up a piping hot plate of pathologically displaced blame. What a crushing letdown.
So let's cut to the chase, shall we? This week, we got to turn back the fairyland clocks and see what Regina was like before she destroyed a whole world to get vengeance on one person. There we see little Regina, sporting a lovely smile and a glorious braid, riding her stallion like a man, as her evil witch Mother points out. Her mother is the perfectly cast Barbara Hershey. Honestly, these two couldn't be more suited for one another if we cast an actual mother and daughter. Which made the whole big twist only that much more disappointing.
Moving on... Regina is young and in love with the Stable Boy, but it's forbidden. Not by her kindly father, mind you, but her angry Mother who has sacrificed everything to get Regina where she is today. Regina carries on her secret love affair with the reasonably well-formed Daniel. But not a minute has gone by, before a raven-haired girl shoots by on a horse gone wild. Regina screws up her courage and saves the girl, and of course they immediately hug it out. Surprising no one on this planet, the little girl is Snow White (played by another stellar actress, Bailey Madison). Within minutes we find out that Snow is the King's daughter, and bada-bing-bada-boom, Hershey arranges a marriage between Regina and the King as a thank you. Sure, WHY NOT.
Meanwhile lovelorn Regina decides to run away with Daniel The Suitably Handsome Enough For This Show. While secretly smooching in the stables (because he's the STABLE BOY, DUH) Baby Snow spots them and IMMEDIATELY STARTS CRYING. Sigh. But then Regina is all "No, stop crying I love him, it's a secret." And Baby Snow says, "LOL Love is great. Me be secret with the secrets," then claps her hands and turns into a daisy. Or at least she should have — because right here is where this whole big reveal can go straight to hell.
Once Regina explains that she is in love with whats-his-horse, Snow is no longer sad to be losing her two-day-old new mother, or that this woman is seemingly betraying her beloved father. NO. Instead, she's happy for her and keeps the lover's secret (or at least she intends to). But after the weakest prodding ever, Baby Snow spills the beans to Hershey, because she doesn't want Regina to lose her mother the way she did, and Hershey basically tricks her into thinking all would be well. But instead, Hershey promptly sets out and murders Daniel Horsefeathers in front of Regina (see above clip).
This is where it gets worse — cut to the next day, when Regina is dead-facedly getting her wedding dress hemmed, and Baby Snow runs up and says "Horse Boy is going to love you in this," and then spills the beans that she told Regina's mother her secret to protect Regina from losing her mother. Thus turning Baby Snow into two white baby tigers cuddled in a sunbeam, and Regina into a sociopath. Regina blames Snow White, THE CHILD, for her mother dust-fisting her beloved. She blames. The child. Regina is an adult, Snow is a child. Grow the fuck up, the lot of you.
This episode really should have been titled "Regina Mills and the Case of the Grossly Misplaced Anger". What kind of emotionally stunted monsters are these people? Why couldn't Snow White have intentionally betrayed her for a slightly more selfish reason? What if Snow White spilled the beans, because she selfishly wanted Regina to be her new mother (after maybe a few more minutes of Regina and Snow bonding time) believing that Regina would be simply ordered to stay by her mother (instead of her loose lips leading to murder)? What if Snow White had to choose between the life of her Father versus the life of Regina's mother? Those are both pills we could have swallowed. If this series showed years and years of Regina's mother systematically abusing her in such a way that Regina could actually blame a child for the fact that an adult murdered her lover, that we could also swallow. Instead of blurring the lines of good and evil in the fairy tale world, Once just built a canyon of space between them.
I don't actually care that The Mayor is taking so much joy in torturing Mary Margaret in the real world. Because I now know that she's a demon who should be drowned in a well. All the sympathy I had for her loving a child (Henry) who didn't love her back? Gone. Along with any other grey area that clouded the Mayor's world. All sympathy is lost for Regina, the moment the little child told Regina she was trying to save her relationship with her Mother. You have to be on team Snow White now, or you're a monster.
You know what was fun? When Mary Margaret was having an affair, staining her Snow White reputation with a bit of yellow snow. Granted the entire town's response was entirely too much, but the stuff leading up to that was a lot of fun. I like to watch my fairytale characters roll around in the dirty mud that is real-life decisions. Now all the writers are doing is reinforcing, rather than perverting, fairy tale tropes. True Love is good, lose it and your evil. What a colossal disappointment. And to think, this is what she killed her father for, to ruin Show White's life.
On a side note, I do think the Hershey might be the Queen of Hearts — anyone?
Meanwhile back in the epically more entertaining, but still completely ridiculous "real world," Emma realizes she probably should have looked for clues and not sent a waitress to do her job for her back when they found the heart in the ground.
Also, NOTHING SUSPICIOUS HERE!
Team Leather Jackets finds a clue that links the murder to Regina. But because of this huge cartoon-sized bug implanted inside Emma's flowers, their sleuthing is ruined. AW MAN!
There's a wonderful showdown in the jail between Mary and the Mayor in which Goodwin totally loses it (and steals my heart). At this point the Mayor is just torturing a baby bunny because Mary has no idea why she's being framed, but you know what fuck it! Good vs. Evil, right?
And none of it matters anyways because the nice blonde lady is ALIVE! Until next week, when Regina ties Snow White to the train tracks and maniacally twists her evil mustache for an hour!