The Evil Queen is back.
And that was easily one of the very best parts of last night’s episode. She is funny, sassy and ruthless in all her evil glory. “A Bitter Draught” told the story of the Count of Monte Cristo, who – in this tale – was hired by the Evil Queen to kill the Charmings back in the Enchanted Forest.
Consumed by his need for vengeance, he was an easy pawn in the Evil Queen’s hands, but before he could fulfill his contract, he escaped to the Land of Untold Stories. Now that he is in Storybrooke, however, his story will inevitably play out – especially with the even more evil version of the Evil Queen holding his heart captive.
Craig Horner played the role of the vengeful Count perfectly, which just made me miss LEGEND OF THE SEEKER even more. He arrives at Granny’s and leaves a note with Henry, addressed to the Charmings. It seems like an innocent enough invitation, but Regina immediately recognizes the Count’s M.O. And that started a running gag that was present through the entire episode, with Regina apologizing for having hired him to murder Snow and Charming in the first place. Their delivery was so on point in every scene that it had me laughing out loud every single time.
To make a long story short, the Evil Queen has the Count’s heart and has ordered him to finish his job and kill Snow White and Prince Charming. Even though the Count has already seen the error of his ways, he doesn’t have the strength to fight against the Evil Queen’s bidding and he has no choice but to keep trying to murder them. In the end, it all boils down to Regina saving them – and was that the ultimate irony/character development at its best or what? The woman who had dedicated her entire life to killing Snow White is the person who ends up saving her. Granted, she doesn’t have the Evil Queen inside of her anymore, but I don’t really think that matters.
Because it was like the Evil Queen herself said – no matter how hard she tries to fight it, there is darkness in all of us. So it’s impossible for one to be all good or all bad. That said, we need to take a moment to appreciate the wonderful job Lana Parrilla is doing at playing both characters flawlessly. They are the same person and yet they’re not. She plays the nuances between the characters perfectly and I absolutely love how sassy she has made the Evil Queen to be. Every time she was on my screen, I just had a huge smile on my face – even though the Queen was doing despicable things – because she was just plain funny.
While part of me is rooting for the heroes, I admit I just want to see the Evil Queen prance around town wreaking havoc in the best way possible.
Now, while all that was happening, Hook offered Belle his Jolly Roger as an accommodation – in order to protect her from Rumplestiltskin. He is trying to atone for his sins of the past and I just want to hug him really tight, because he has become such a wonderful, wonderful man. Emma has really done wonders for this character and it’s truly remarkable to see how love has changed him for the better.
However, speaking of Emma, can we please talk about what the hell is going on with her? What happened in this hiatus that made her take ten steps backwards in her character development? I get that she’s conflicted and she doesn’t want to worry her family, but come on, Emma. You’re a team! If you can’t trust your own family with your issues, then who are you going to trust to help you? You can’t go at it alone.
And if you don’t want to worry your parents, then at least tell your significant other, who is your freaking true love and would do everything in his power to keep you safe and help you figure out why this is happening to you. At least she’s seeing Archie and I am seriously keeping my fingers crossed that he will break doctor-patient confidentiality and tell at least Hook what is going on with Emma. But I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon, so we will just have to deal with the fact that Emma is lying to everyone she loves.
What is it with these tortured characters and their need to keep life-altering secrets to themselves?
Now, I know she told Archie that she’s afraid Regina might be the one under that hood and, ultimately, the one that kills her, but I don’t think that’s it. That would be way too easy of a guess and they would never just spring this on us at the beggining of the season.
My guess? The person under the hood is Emma herself and she’s fighting her own worst fear.
Too out there? I’ve been watching a lot of ARROW lately and that was something I saw last night and that I think could really be the case here. It would be fitting, really.
What do you think?
A new episode of ONCE UPON A TIME airs next onOctober 9 at 8/7c on ABC.