Previously on Once Upon A Time, Cora and Regina ditched Hook to find the Dark One’s dagger, there was an awkward family reunion in Manhattan and a creepy seer told Rumplestiltskin that a boy would be his undoing.
We open in the Enchanted Forest, where a Young Snow is getting ready for her birthday with her (stunning) mother. The Queen tells Snow that she is going to receive a tiara that has been passed down in their family, but they walk in on a cheerful-looking servant trying it on for size. Pint-sized Snow is sassy, telling Johanna the Maid that she is too lowly for such fine headwear. Snow’s mother, however, is awesome and tells her she’s being brat.
She tells Snow that there’s nothing more important than being good and kind and that a good queen respects her subjects. As soon as her point is made, the Good Queen collapses.
In present-day Storybrooke, Mary Margaret finds a birthday present waiting for her on the kitchen table. She’s confused, since no one but Charming knows when her birthday is, and he insists it’s not from him. She’s even more confused when she tears into the package without reading the card and finds her tiara. Snow finally opens the card and it reads, “Thinking of you today.” and is signed by Johanna, which sends Ms. Blanchard scurrying off to find her.
Charming heads to the police station, where he is promptly bonked on the head by Captain Eyeliner himself, who retrieves his hook from the very unlocked desk. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret finds Johanna planting a garden to honor Snow’s mother. Appropriately enough, this little garden consists solely of Snowdrops.
Cut to Regina shoveling in the woods in killer boots.
I think it’s funny that Cora, magically cloaked as Regina, can leave a magical pirate ship, magically cloaked to be invisible, to magically kill a miscellaneous unknown person magically cloaked as Dr. Hopper, but still needs a shovel (and a dutiful daughter) to dig a hole in the ground. But I’m not complaining. Regina should be though, because Cora is being very unhelpful as they realize, six feet later, that it’s possible Hook had lied to them while decoding the map.
Mary Margaret overhears Cora and Regina plotting to find the dagger and runs to tell her husband everything. They agree that Cora becoming the Dark One is not any more appealing than Cora controlling the Dark One, but Snow has an idea that will hopefully save the day.
Down in Manhattan, Neal and Henry are getting pizza while Emma and Mr. Gold chat outside in what has now changed from an Awkward Family Reunion to an Awkward Family Vacation, apparently. Gold points out that it’s obvious Emma wants a second chance with Neal, but Emma denies it and asks why he thinks that. He just raises an eyebrow and is like, “Possibly because every thought and feeling you ever have scrolls across your face like a news ticker.”
As it turns out, Mary Margaret’s idea was to trick Regina into meeting her at Granny’s. Snow has her hands neatly and firmly folded as she confronts the mayor about her evil deeds. She offers her another last chance to redeem herself, to choose good over evil. Regina is perched on the edge of her seat, clearly not intending to stay long. She offers the possibility that she’s been good all this time. She says, in what might be my favorite quote of the season, “I was always the queen, it was you who added ‘evil’ to my name.”
However, much like Elphaba in Wicked, she is owning the title she was given, and even throws in a dig about Snow not knowing much about having a mother before storming out.
Speaking of Snow’s mother, we now flash back to the lovely queen lying in a gown, looking as beautiful as ever. That is, until she starts coughing like Satine from Moulin Rouge.
Johanna pulls Young Snow aside and tells her that there is one thing that could possibly save her mother – magic. She instructs Young Snow to wish upon the blue star, saying the magic will only work if her heart is true. Off to the woods our little Snow goes, trying to figure out just which blue star she’s supposed to wish on, when the Blue Fairy finds her. Honestly, this didn’t seem too weird, since I trust things blindly and also because Pinocchio wasn’t specifically looking for her when she appeared to him, but maybe I shouldn’t have because I don’t remember the Blue Fairy having cleavage that would make Tinkerbell blush.
The Fairy says that, while evading death is a magic darker than she tends to deal, there is a candle that can save Snow’s mother – the only catch is, Snow would have to choose a person to die in her mother’s place. Snow’s hope is shattered, because her mother was JUST telling her this morning to be nice and whatever, so she probably shouldn’t be murdering people already.