Once Upon a Time—209

Queen of Hearts

"Queen of Hearts" get 4 stars, with an added star for wrapping up the arc.Thank you, OUaT, for wrapping up the story arc before the mid-season break.  I so appreciate not being left in the lurch—unlike… oh, every other scifi show on television.

Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Hook.

I guess he really is a bad guy.

So now we know how Hook had the mojo to take Aurora’s heart.  And how some of Fairly Tale Land avoided the curse.  And I guess I’ll have to succumb to the realization that Hook really is a bad guy.  Then again, on this show, there are varying degrees of bad.  For example, who would you root for in the Rumpelstiltskin / Hook conflict?  (Hey, that sounds like a good poll for the hiatus!)

In pre-curse Fairy Tale Land, wearing the most awesome dress ever, Regina enchants Hook’s… er, hook, just enough to remove one heart.  It’s supposed to be Cora’s, but that doesn’t work, what with Cora being the Queen of Hearts and all.

(And may I just say, curse you ABC for not having photos for this episode!  Or of Regina’s form-fitting purpe dress with the fish tail and beaded back.  Bad network! Bad!)  [End mini-rant.]

Long story short:  Cora learns of Regina’s curse and creates a magic biodome that protects herself and Hook, and a wide swath of Fairy Tale Land from it.

Cora blows magic ink.

Ah, it’s the magic ink technique passed down from Cora to Snow.

In present-day Fairy Land, the Four Musketeerettes search for the magic ink in Rumpelstiltskin’s old cell.  They find a piece of parchment with the word “Emma” written over and over on it, but the ink well is dry. (Duh!)  Being under Cora’s spell, Aurora traps them in the cell.  Cora and Hook then show up, reveal Aurora’s heart, and steal the magic compass.  It takes a while before Snow realizes the magic ink is actually the “Emma” written on the parchment.  She uses the “blow on the writing” technique learned from Cora to set them free.

In Storybrooke, David is still under the sleeping curse; and Regina and Gold are worried that Cora will find a portal to Storybrooke.  The two decide to destroy the Storybrooke side of the portal.  (It’s the wishing well in the woods, don’t ya’ know.)

At dried up Lake Nostos, whose waters have restorative powers, Cora actually finds water, and opens the portal.  Just in time, Snow, Emma, and Mulan arrive to prevent Cora and Hook from escaping.  Fighting ensues; Hook saves Aurora’s heart and gives it to Mulan; Emma knocks out Hook and prevents Cora from taking  Snow’s heart;  Cora’s unable to destroy Emma, but something inside Emma blasts Cora backwards.   Snow and Emma grab the compass and jump into the portal together.

It's swords and Starbucks for Emma

Swords and Starbucks—and advertising (photo by Ginnifer Goodwin)

On the Storybrooke side, Henry finds Regina and Gold at the wishing well, using magic to prevent anyone from coming through.  Henry convinces the kinder, gentler Regina to remove the magic, which she does.

Snow and Emma return to Storybrooke, Snow awakens Charming with True Love’s Kiss, and everyone (except Regina and Gold) head to Granny’s Diner for a reunion dinner.

In Fairy Tale Land, Mulan restores Aurora’s heart; and with the knowledge that a Wraith-taken soul may be able to be reunited with its body, they set off to save Phillip.

Back at the lake, Hook still has the magic bean retrieved from the giant a few episodes back.  It is yet another portal.  And the mid-season finale ends with Hook and Cora sailing into Storybrooke.  I hope this doesn’t negate return trips to Fairy Tale Land, because I want to know if Aurora and Mulan are able to save Phillip from the Wraith.

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the softer sides of Regina and Gold.  Robert Carlyle is so much better when playing a multidimensional character, and Lana Parrilla has done a beautiful job of showing us Regina’s vulnerability.  I hope we don’t lose at least some of that goodness in the rest of the season.

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