First Aired March 26th, 2017.
In a flashback, The Evil Queen (played by Lan Parrilla) is confronted by Tinker Bell (played by Rose McCulver) for throwing away her chance at love for a life of hate. In the present, the Evil Queen persona offers to send Robin Hood (played by Sean Maguire) back to his reality in exchange for his help.
While Emma (played by Jennifer Morrison) gushes to everyone about her engagement, Regina informs them the Evil Queen has escaped. The Evil Queen has Robin recover the magical scissors to separate herself from Regina and allow the Evil Queen to kill her. She then ties up Robin to use as bait to lure Regina into a fight. Henry (played by Jared Gilmore) attempts to use his power as the Author to stop the Evil Queen but she steals the pen. Flashbacks show the Evil Queen’s father Henry (played by Tony Perez) offer to help her kill Snow White (played by Ginnifer Goodwin). However, she is furious to learn it was a lie to help her find true love. Hook (played by Colin O’Donoghue) watches the memory of killing Prince Charming/David’s (played by Josh Dallas) father but Emma catches him. However, she is more upset that Hook kept the truth from her after all they went through and gives back his ring. Unable to cope with his loss, Hook asks Captain Nemo (played by Faran Tahir) if he can join his crew in an attempt to find himself.
The Evil Queen’s hunt for Snow White must have lasted years; every season there are several episodes devoted to it. The difference here, is the focus is on how this lifelong search for vengeance has affected the Evil Queen on an emotional level. Everyone tries to make her see she’s only hurting herself, but she’s evil and she wants her revenge. Regina has been fighting her evil self for most of the series and it’s surreal to see it finally coming to a head. I had forgotten Henry was on the show until that scene between him and the Evil Queen, but in true form, he continues to have no significant impact on the plot. Hook ended up pushing Emma away with his lies and not his past actions, but it does raise the question: have they rushed things? It’s not just that he didn’t feel he could tell her, but also that Hook decided to run off to the sea once she pulled away. It’s starting to look like Emma is as unlucky in love as Regina; first Hook dies and now he’s prepared to clear his head on the high seas.
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen manipulates the light magic to find love to find the person she hates most: Snow White. But the arrow leads to a mirror in her castle. The Evil Queen is full of self-hate, which leaves her devastated. In the present, Regina and the Evil Queen use the scissors to separate themselves and engage in a sword fight. Regina gets the upper hand and nearly crushes the Evil Queen’s heart but stops when she realizes she has still chosen hate over love. Instead, Regina combines their hearts, giving “love” to the Evil Queen and taking some of the darkness from her in turn. Regina now loves herself (as does the Evil Queen) and they embrace. The Evil Queen then reveals she sent Robin back to his reality. Although upset, Regina knows it’s best for Robin and her, while the Evil Queen ponders where she can go for a fresh start. Regina asks Henry to use his pen to send the Evil Queen somewhere she can start over. Everyone is skeptical about the Evil Queen until she appears and gives a heartfelt apology for everything she did to them and Henry sends her away. The Evil Queen is sent to the reality where Robin is and joins him for a drink.
Self-hate was an obvious problem for both Regina and the Evil Queen but it was finally dealt with head on. Their fight wasn’t entirely what you would expect; two powerful witches using swords instead of magic seemed odd. But for the first time in the series, Regina and the Evil Queen have managed to find a happy ending where they discovered how to love themselves. Even though the Evil Queen appeared to truly put her darkness aside, and the heroes appeared to accept it, she had no option but to leave. Unlike Regina, she hadn’t developed years of trust with everyone and even then there may always be doubt in their minds. But when Henry used that pen, it reminds us that it’s so hard to include him in plots that his ridiculous Author powers have to be used. And although it wasn’t the way fans expected it, Regina and Robin found their own happy ending. In fact, the Evil Queen is essentially living the life Regina could have had if she chose love over revenge years ago, which in a small way is a win for Regina.
Hook is about to leave when he learns from Snow White/Mary Margaret that the Evil Queen got her happy ending. Hook goes to see Nemo and tells him he decided to stay in Storybrooke and find his happy ending. However, the submarine suddenly begins moving; Gideon (played by Giles Matthey) uses his magic to send Hook away, leaving Emma to believe he left her. Turns out Hook will be going on his pleasure cruise, but against his will: so, he won’t enjoy the sea as much. Gideon has a smart idea to get rid of Hook and emotionally cripple Emma to make her an easier target. Although his plan isn’t moving along very quickly—possibly in an attempt to drag out the final battle in the finale.
“I’m going to do what we never could. I’m going to be brave for the both of us and choose love over hate.”
Regina may likely find love again, but, for now, she should focus on loving herself.
“Love can save even the darkest souls. You just have to believe in it.”
Hook’s secret getting exposed wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it would be, Emma was eerily calm during the whole exchange.
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