Once Upon a Time: Queen of Hearts


by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)


This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time has Cora and Hook continuing their pursuit to Storybrooke while Emma and Snow try to get back to Henry and David, respectively.

The episode begins with Hook breaking into a cell to find Belle. He asks how to kill Rumpelstiltskin, but she doesn’t know, thus making herself of no value to him. Just as he decides to kill her, evil Queen Regina intervenes, taking Hook aside to ask for his help in setting the dark curse. In return, Hook will be able to meet Rumple when he has no power and kill him at will. The catch: Regina needs him to go to Wonderland and kill her mother, whom she banished there.

Brought before the Queen of Hearts, revealed to be Regina’s mother, Cora; Hook tries to take her heart with the enchanted hook given to him by Regina, but Cora’s heart isn’t there. She’s hidden it to protect herself. In a bind—as Cora has a hold on his heart, the pirate explains the situation and Cora now has her way out. Hook brings her back under the guise that she’s dead, and Regina apologizes to her “deceased” mother. Once the queen leaves, Hook returns to the room, confused as to why Cora allowed her to live. Plans have changed. The curse Regina will set in motion will be broken in twenty-eight years and she’ll be there to help her daughter, who she expects will be defeated on her own.

In Fairytale Land, Emma, Snow, Aurora and Mulan look through Rumple’s old cell for the ink and find a letter with Emma’s name written all over it. Upon finding the letter, a mechanism was activated that closes the cell. Cora and Hook walk in right on time, taking the compass. They’ve been using Aurora for their own purpose by having control of her heart. Once the pair departs, Snow realizes not only is Emma’s name written in the squid ink David told her about, but it’s the same type of magical document she would see Cora use when she was little. She blows on the paper, causing the ink to rise up and free them from the cell.

Cora and Hook travel to the dried-up magical Lake Nostos, where the sorceress causes water to rise from the ground. A portal to Storybrooke is formed after adding the burnt wardrobe powder, but before they have a chance to jump in; Snow, Emma and Mulan arrive to stop them. During the battle, they are able to knock Aurora’s heart away from Cora, which Hook catches before it falls into the portal. He gives it to Mulan, who leaves to return it to the princess. Emma and Hook sword fight, and the ship captain nearly takes her out…until Emma finds the compass that had been lost the sand. She knocks him out and goes to help Snow, who is about to have her heart ripped out. The savior pushes her mother out of the way and Cora grabs her heart instead, but she’s unable to rip it out as Emma reminds her that “love is strength.” A shockwave of magic throws Cora back, and Emma and Snow jump into the portal. After picking themselves off the ground, Hook decides it’s time to rejuvenate the Giant’s dead bean in the water Cora released.

In Storybrooke, Gold knows where the portal will appear, should it be opened, and decides it’s best to destroy it to prevent Cora from arriving. Regina agrees as she believes it’s in the best interest of protecting Henry. She lies to Henry, saying she’s going to help Gold get Emma and Snow back and they head to the woods. Meanwhile, the seven dwarves notice the magic in one of the caves has gone missing, so they and Red tell Henry who realizes Regina lied to him. It’s up to him to save his family.

In the woods, Gold puts a spell on the well which will kill anyone that comes through. Henry and Red arrive, and Gold knocks Red out. Henry pleads with Regina to stop the magic and have faith in him, and after a change of heart, she removes the spell, which allows Emma and Snow to come through. After a family embrace, they all travel back to town to awaken David with true love’s kiss. Emma confronts Gold about his plans for her and he says he knew this would all happen but not how powerful she would be. She may be most powerful as she is the product of true love. While everyone—except Regina—goes to have a celebratory dinner; in the ocean, a ship is seen on the horizon. Cora, Hook and crew have made it to Storybrooke!

Once again we were back to some “character’s past” elements that have bombarded this season, but it gave insight into how Cora got back from Wonderland and the reason Regina needed her back. I continue to wonder as to the direction the writers have chosen to take the character of Regina. In the first season, she was all bad. Now she’s trying to make that change to good. In any series, you can’t have two all-evil rulers, that would make the story too complicated. Similar to the old adage: too many chefs in the kitchen. They’ve obviously given Cora the “evil” reigns now and Hook is her sidekick, though I predict there’s some good in him we’ll see at some point this season. And I’m still looking forward to the introduction of Peter Pan, whenever that will be. There’s still a lot of season to go and the plot continues to thicken. What will happen now that Cora and Hook are in Storybrooke? We’ll find out next week!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


  1. CaitlinDecember 4th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I do like that they are making Regina less of a villain this season; after all, as we’ve seen, she wasn’t always bad, rather driven by grief.

    Now that she has gotten “closure” with Daniel, along with the threat of her mother returning, she has little reason to continue on her path of evil.

    And also, it’s the winter finale, so we unfortunately won’t find out next week : (

  2. marcusDecember 5th, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Regina is an evil character who can do good when she wants or is compelled to and after this ep there is no doubt of her love for Henry. What I cant wait to see is how or if Cora will use that love and Henry to bend Regina to her will. Great review Justin.

  3. MelissaDecember 18th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I don’t know why but I just love Regina as a character, even when she was meant to be evil. And that she is starting to change because of Henry I find very cute, also I felt sorry for her in one of the last scenes when everyone leaves her to go for dinner :(.

    And just a heads up we won’t be finding out what Hook and Cora will do next week, because it’s the winter final, it will be returning on the 6th of Jan.

    Can’t wait, good review Justin!!

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