Sunday, March 17, 2013

Once Upon a Time...Searching for Treasure

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 15: "The Queen Is Dead"

Summary: In New York, Bae takes Henry to do a bit of sight-seeing, while Rumpel asks Emma to try to convince Bae to accompany them back to Storybrooke.  When the group returns to Bae's apartment building, Hook rushes into the lobby and stabs Rumpel in the chest, although Emma manages to knock Hook unconscious before he can do any more harm.  The hook had been laced with poison and without magic, Rumpel cannot heal himself.  Left in New York, he will die.  However, Bae reveals he has experience sailing ships and offers to commandeer Hook's ship in order to sail to Storybrooke and save his father.

While Emma secretly hopes to reconcile with Bae, he reveals that he is engaged when they go to borrow his fiancee's car to drive the group to the harbor.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, it's Snow's birthday.  She never celebrates it because her mother died on her birthday when she was a child.  So she is surprised to receive a gift: her tiara from the homeland, sent to her by her old nurse, Johanna.  While visiting Johanna later that day, Snow hears something in the woods nearby and goes to investigate, learning of Cora's and Regina's plan to steal Rumpel's dagger.

She goes to the police station to tell David what she has learned and finds him unconscious, having been attacked by Hook (who pilfered his hook and escaped to New York as mentioned above).  The two decide to try to find the dagger before the witches can.

First, Snow meets with Regina, warning her that Cora likely has ulterior motives for wanting the dagger, but Regina blows Snow's concerns aside.  Snow and David then meet with the Blue Fairy, but even she cannot break the protection charms on Rumpel's shop.  Receiving a call from Emma, the location of the dagger is relayed to them, and the two rush to the clock tower, where Rumpel has hidden the dagger behind one of the clock hands.

Soon after, Regina and Cora appear with Johanna in tow.  Regina rips out Johanna's heart and demands the dagger in exchange.  After a tense moment of deliberation, Snow gives up the dagger, Regina returns Johanna's heart, and Cora shoves Johanna out the clock face.

In the fairybacks, it is Snow's birthday and she is to be presented to the kingdom.  When her nurse Johanna wears her tiara, she berates her, acting quite the spoiled brat, until her mother intervenes.  The queen admonishes her behavior before collapsing.

The doctors don't know what is wrong with the queen, but they suspect she is dying.  Snow goes into the woods to beg help of the Blue Fairy, who gives her a candle made with dark magic.  If Snow burns both ends and whispers the name of another person, her mother will live and the person mentioned will die.  Snow  is told never to reveal this information to anyone, but she confesses to her mother that she cannot do it.  The queen tells her it is the right choice and dies.

After the queen's funeral, the Blue Fairy arrives to pay her respects, but it actually Cora, using the same spell that led to Regina's incarceration earlier in the season.  She reveals that she had poisoned the queen so her own daughter could rule and that she hopes to turn Snow's heart black.

The writers really surprised me this week.  I was not expecting Hook to attack Rumpel at all.  Considering that I can usually predict this show with my eyes closed, this is a huge compliment.  Keep it up, writers!  Surprise me!

What surprised me even more was the allusion to one of my favorite Grimms' tales, "Faithful Johannes."  Johanna is a feminine form of the name, and she acted very much the part of the faithful servant here.  Although it wasn't Johanna herself who warned Snow of the witches' plan for the dagger, it was because Snow had visited Johanna that she learned of it.  I am hoping the writers follow through with the rest of the story and revive her, but I'm not keeping my hopes up.

What disappointed me, though, was Snow's failure to make the right decision regarding the dagger.  What happened to the greater good?  Sometimes, one must die so that others may live.  And yes, it's terrible and painful, but it's necessary.  And where did trusting the deal get Snow?  She had neither the dagger nor her nurse.  At least it appears that she's finally learned her lesson, if the funeral scene is any indication.

I also appreciated the revelation that Cora was the mastermind behind everything from the death of Snow's mother to Regina's rescuing Snow from the frightened horse.  I am curious if she did this merely for her own desires, or if it somehow aligns with Rumpel's plans for the curse.  Given that he was once her teacher, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter, but I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

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