Regina looks out over a burning city when a messenger arrives to inform her that Snow and Charming have defeated King George and that Regina’s forces stand alone – and out matched. (Regina, in deference to it being a battle, is wearing a scale mail collar which still doesn’t cover her plunging neckline. At least it’s better than a chain mail bikini. Actually the worst I’d seen is a plate thong – can you even imagine the chafing?). Since Snow and Charming have been separated, she orders her men to keep them apart while she hunts Snow.
She catches up with Snow and Snow offers to parlay with her for Regina’s surrender. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Regina prepares to kill Snow and is ambushed by the Blue Fairy who imprisons her with magic – it was a trap.
Together, the magical council gathers to decide what to do with Regina , after passing ideas back and forth, Charming says the only way they can be safe is to execute Regina, despite Snow’s misgivings.
In prison, Regina is visited by her father and they have a touching declaration of their love. He begs her to show regret for what she’s done, to show she can change, to convince Snow and Charming not to execute her.
When taken out to execution, Jiminy Cricket urge Regina to clear her conscience as she stands on the block. Yeaaah doesn’t quite work out that way and Regina has a villainous rant instead. Despite that, Snow can’t bring herself to allow the execution to go forwards.
Snow argues with Charming that the Queen was once good and can be good again, she holds out hope that Regina may change. Time for Rumplestiltskin to drop in and add his take on matters. He offers Snow a test to see if the Queen can be redeemed (despite – apparently – wanting her dead, though Rumplestiltskin laughs at the idea that she knows his motives, which is probably true).
She goes to see Regina (“defying” her prince. Why is it defiance? Aren’t they supposed to be equals?) to let her go and express her believe that Regina can change. Regina leaves her cell, bemused by Snow’s trust and grabs her by the throat – Snow pulls a dagger but Regina takes it off her and stabs Snow. Who doesn’t die or bleed or nothing – the guards and Charming pop up, Rumplestiltskin cast a defence spell using Regina’s hair, meaning she can’t hurt Snow or Charming. They banish Regina with the magic preventing her ever from hurting them.
Of course that leaves her free to destroy their kingdom, kill their friends or, say, curse the whole lot of them but Snow and Charming were never the brightest ruling couple.
She returns to her dark castle – and is visited by Rumplestiltskin to cheer her up on Snow White’s and Charming’s wedding day – by pointing out the clause in the protection spell, Regina can’t hurt them “in this land” in another land? They’re not protected.
Therefore motivating the Queen to find the curse rather than to keep attacking them in this land and therefore transporting them to Storybrooke where Rumplestiltskin can look for his son. Oh, that’s some quality plotting.
Hook and Cora have arrived in Storybrooke – looking awfully dramatic. Hook instantly sets off to kill his Crocodile (Rumplestiltskin) and Cora appears in front of him in a puff of blue smoke telling him not to. He huffs that she’s stopping him getting his vengeance, she points out she’s doing that using magic – which means magic is here, which means Rumplestiltskin is far from helpless. Time for a more careful plan (and turning the harbour master into a fish, because).
Charming and Snow are in bed together, finally getting it on when Emma and Henry walk in on them. Line of the week, shockingly, goes to Charming “It’s impressive we can still provide her with a few traumatic childhood memories at this stage in the game.” See, this is why open plan houses are a terrible idea!
On to Grannies for the party (and the relief of cooking food you didn’t have to kill first). Everyone parties, has a toast – and Regina arrives with a dish and ringing silence descends. Grumpy wonders why she’s there but Emma tells Snow that she invited her – that they wouldn’t be home if it weren’t for Regina (thank you! Someone finally recognises Regina’s worth and her efforts!). She makes an impassioned plea on Regina’s behalf to Snow and Charming.
Regina stays and everyone eats her lasagne – but no-one talks to her. As she leaves, Emma runs after her and tries to convince her to stay for cake. They talk and Emma is glad Regina spent some time with Henry and Regina wishes Henry could spend the night occasionally. Emma is hesitant and Regina snaps, since Emma has only looked after Henry for 5 minutes compared to the years Regina has. Emma turns to leave and Regina apologises. Emma acknowledges Regina’s attempts to change – and reveals Dr. Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket) has talked to Emma about Regina (umm… I think Regina is supposed to be able to expect some confidentiality from the doctor.)
Through a telescope Cora and Hook watch Regina and Hook asks Cora if she’s broken – Cora says not yet.
The next day, Regina confronts Archie about his breach of confidence. She also reminds him that his PHD is from a curse – which is when Ruby decides to run up and check if everything’s ok (underlying implication, she’s there to protect Archie from Regina). Regina makes the ominous statement that Archie should be happy she’s changed.
Later that night, Ruby spots Regina going to see Archie. She asks to talk with him and his dog, Pongo, barks at her (I’m laying odds on it being Cora in disguise). She freezes Pongo and uses some black magic smokey stuff on Dr. Archie before leaving and transforming into Cora (told you).
The next day, Pongo runs to Red and Emma and, using Red’s wolf skills, communicates something’s wrong – the find Archie’s dead body.
Regina is brought in for questioning by Emma and Regina is shocked that Archie is dead and she insists she was home all evening – and why would she throw everything away. Besides, she’s a devious, capable killer, if she wanted Archie dead he would be dead and she wouldn’t be caught. Charming doesn’t believe her (why’s he even there? When did Emma need his help?) and insists Regina’s incapable of change.
Outside the cell, Emma (with her super lie detection power, remember) rejects locking Regina up – she didn’t do it. Regina was genuinely shocked, she’s also in prison with all her magic, the old Regina would have reduced the building to ashes. And Emma, as someone who changed her life, knows the look of someone who genuinely wants to change. Charming points out they know her better and Emma counters that – in the kingdom she was the evil queen, here she’s Regina and Emma is sheriff and is holding to “innocent until proven guilty” (uh, if you want to hold to that principle you might want to have a court and a trial, just saying.)
They search Archie’s office and find that Regina’s file is missing. Charming – who really needs a new name because that doesn’t fit – is all for condemning Regina on this massive amount of proof (they have massive amounts of proof? Does he have proof I haven’t seen?) But Emma is suspicious by how easily all the evidence has been acquired. So who would frame her – and resort to killing to do it?
They go to see Rumplestiltskin (oh, c’mon isn’t framing Regina a bit basic for him?) Rumple denies all knowledge, naturally but offers a spell they can use to get information from Pongo the dog. And he wants Emma to use it, since she apparently has magic inside her and it will free him from accusations of tampering. Using a dream catcher, he harvests Pongo’s memories and has Emma will them into being – and we see Regina kill Archie. Emma accepts Regina’s guilt and goes storming out after her
They confront her and Regina proclaims her innocence and warns Emma there’s always a price to pay with magic. She also demands to speak to Henry to give her side of the story, she doesn’t want Emma poisoning his mind against her. Emma screams that Henry isn’t Regina’s son and the Blue Fairy throws fairy dust at Regina to imprison her. Regina catches it and casts it aside – same trick doesn’t work twice and throws Emma aside with magic for trying to keep her son from her. Emma holds this up as proof that Regina hasn’t changed and will always be the same (ugh, she used magic when you threatened to take her child from her? That hardly makes her evil – you are still alive after all). Regina vanishes in a puff of smoke.
Waiting for Henry arriving on the bus, Emma panics about how hard it will be to tell Henry that someone he loves was killed by someone else he loves and that she’s not a good mother and doesn’t know how to be. Charming reassures her that she’s a great mother (he knows from his own 5 minutes of parenting experience).
Emma takes Henry away to break the news to him, while Regina watches tearfully from a car
Cora returns to Hook, successful because her daughter has now lost everything (“mum of the year” as Hook points out). She also has a captive who they can use to reveal all of Storybrooke’s deepest secrets – and Rumplestiltskin’s weaknesses: Dr. Archie Hopper. Yes, he’s still alive. She did kill someone but “how should she know who, she’s only just arrived!” and Hook adds “disguised in death to look like him, as if death weren’t bad enough”. These 2 have some real zingers.
I am extremely glad to see Emma reaching out to Regina. Though I’m also glad that Snow and Charming aren’t just brushing aside the whole “hey she tried to kill us repeatedly” but, particularly how the last episode ended, I think this was more than needed. It gives me a lot more hope. I’m also glad to see Regina’s temper fraying over Emma deciding she knows what’s best for Henry. It was an excellent scene with lots of depth and nuance and layers. Regina’s evil past but also her past as Henry’s actual parent – far more so than Emma.
Well that was my initial thought and then we have the frame on Regina, all that redemption ruined and Emma screaming “he’s not your son” at her. 2 steps forward, 20 steps back. Surely the fact they aren’t all dead shows how much she’s changed?