[Cross posted at Agony Booth.com]
It’s a great week to be a villain in Storybrooke. This week on Once the writers are handing out happy endings to garbage people, like Oprah Winfrey occasionally hands out cars. Also, if you remove all the obvious concerns about multiple personality disorder, Regina has a nice conversation with herself about the importance of self-love that would make any psychologist giddy with glee. In less joyous news, Captain Hook is trapped on a Bluish Submarine, and Gideon is still a massive douchebag.
In Which the Evil Queen’s Dad Desperately Tries to Get His Daughter Laid . . .
After six seasons, Once is clearly running out of ideas for Meaningful Flashbacks That in Some Way Add Insight to Present Day Plotlines. (See example, last week, where they literally re-played the same flashback from a few seasons back, wrote a different ending to it, and then had one of the main characters “forget” the new ending to avoid the inevitable retcon it produced.) This week’s flashback finds the Evil Queen, once again, hunting for Snow White, and generally being sh*tty to everybody she encounters, including her sweet, but utterly ineffectual, father. Then, once again, Tinkerbell appears, so that she can remind the Evil Queen, for the third time now, that the only possible antidote to the villainness’ garbage person-ness, is for her to find the one man willing to bone her regularly. How’s that for a feminist message, ladies?
Evil Queen, to her credit, doesn’t buy that crap. She doesn’t need a man to complete her! She just needs . . . to commit lots more murders, and continue making everyone around her as miserable as possible!
Evil Queen’s dad (who, to his credit, seems vaguely uncomfortable with his daughter’s penchant for merciless dictatorship and serial murder, but not uncomfortable enough to say use his mother’s spell book to ground the Evil Queen, and keep her locked in a high tower until she reaches menopause) has an idea!
Under the guise of helping Evil Queen find Snow White using his wife’s spell book, Dad brings his awful daughter to visit the statue of a fat naked baby carrying a bow and arrow. It’s Cupid . . . obviously. And apparently looking into Cupid’s arrow will lead you to The Person You Love the Most. Dad believes that once Evil Queen looks at the arrow, she will find Robin Hood, and that he will instantly bone all the garbage-personness out of her. But, more importantly, he will knock her up, and keep her at home, Barefoot and Pregnant Ever After like a good Disney Princess.
[Pause: Am I remembering things wrong? Wasn’t it actually determined in an earlier season that the Evil Queen’s dad is actually The Person She Loves the Most. And this is why she eventually had to kill him, in order to effectuate the Season One curse that started this whole show? Now, we are suddenly supposed to believe that the Evil Queen loves someone she never met more than her own father, who literally stuck by her through six seasons of suffering through the exact same flashback together approximately one million times?]
Anyway, Evil Queen is so not interested in fat babies and their luuuuuuuve arrows. So, she spells the arrow into something that leads you to The Person You Hate Most, assuming the arrow will take her to Snow White. But, SURPRISE! The arrow actually ends up showing the Evil Queen the mirror image of herself. Apparently, no one hates the Evil Queen more than the Evil Queen.
If I didn’t make it clear earlier, this episode is basically a Freshman Psychology Major’s wet dream . . .
A Tale of Two Reginas
Speaking of self-loathing, back in the present day, the now separated into two distinct beings, Evil Queen and Regina are both dead set on murdering one another ASAP. Evil Queen conveniently has Bad!?Robin Hood dig up the Cut Off Your Fate scissors from a few episodes back, so she can murder her better half without suiciding in the process. Evil Queen then ties up Bad!?Robin Hood and uses him as bait to lure Regina into her clutches, so the two can have yet another “Epic” Split-Screen Showdown.
By the time Regina arrives, Evil Queen has actually already sent Bad!?Robin Hood back to the fake Alt World from whence he came. This was a surprisingly nice thing for a garbage person like her to do, except when you consider the fact that Bad!?Robin Hood is still marked for death by Alt World Rumple, which is why he left Alt World in the first place?
Anywhoo, Regina and Evil Queen alternate between sword fighting and throwing their trademark purple magic farts at one another for a few minutes. But eventually Regina bests Evil Queen, and actually has the opportunity to kill her forever. Of course, she doesn’t do it, because killing people is “bad,” and Regina is no longer a Malevolent Serial Killer. Rather, since she cut out the garbage-personness in herself, Regina has proudly joined the ranks of the Friendly Neighborhood Serial Killers.
Instead of murdering her self(?), Regina actually takes some of the garbage personness out of the Evil Queen’s heart and trades it for some of her slightly less garbage personness. So now, thanks to some impromptu open heart surgery that would make the makers of the childhood game Operation Proud, the Evil Queen sucks a little bit less than she did before, and Regina sucks a little bit more. Oddly enough, this makes everybody happy.
“I love myself now,” Regina admits to the now only slightly more garbage version of herself.
The pair then hug one another, clean up the mess they made in Regina’s office from all the purple fart throwing and open heart surgery stuff, then sit down for tea together to gossip about boys. Because, of courses, self-love, forgiveness, and self-acceptance are really only important if they can help you get laid right?
Regina has somewhat of a difficult time convincing the rest of the main cast that the lady who spent all of eternity trying to murder them all is now her new bestie. But in less than five minutes, everyone reluctantly allows themselves to be convinced, because we still have another plotline to wrap up after the last commercial break.
Then, Henry calls the Evil Queen “mom” for the first time, hugs her, and uses his Author powers to give her a “fresh start.” I’ll give you two guesses as to where that “fresh start” leads Evil Queen. You got it: back to Alt World, and the bar where Bad!?(BUT CONVENIENTLY SINGLE) Robin Hood is busy nursing his latent alcoholism, and possibly waiting for Alt World Rumple to find and murder him.
But hey, True Wuv conquers all right? So, I think these two sort-of-garbage, arguably not-real, people might just make it to their Happily Ever After together!
In less happy news, Captain Hook is still stewing over the fact that he murdered Emma’s grandfather, and hasn’t found the courage to tell her yet, because he thinks it might screw up their impending nuptials. Then, Captain Nemo (Seriously? This guy is still around?) pops by to offer Hook some sage advice. “Tell Emma the truth,” he says. “Or don’t tell her, and forgive yourself. But please stop whining about it, because this storyline is getting wicked depressing.”
Hook decides on a third option. He tries to use a dreamcatcher to suck the memory of the offending murder out of his brain. This way, Emma never has to know, and he no longer has to feel guilty about this senseless killing (or any of the other 900 or so people he murdered throughout his eternal life). It’s a win / win? Right?
(I mean, at this point, us viewers are all kind of wishing we can forget that Hook killed Emma’s grandfather. So, how can we really blame Hook for doing something we’d all want to do for ourselves!)
Unfortunately, Emma walks in on Captain Hook using a kitschy hood ornament to suck out part of his brain. This is how she finds out that Hook killed her grandfather, and she’s kind of pissed about it. Note: She’s not really mad about the murder, as much as the whole brain-sucking thing, because that’s just tacky. Emma takes Hook’s willingness to inflict permanent brain damage on himself, rather than tell Emma a tough truth, as a sign that he’s not ready to be her husband. So, Emma sadly returns Hook’s engagement ring to him.
Now fiancé-less and with a woefully un-sucked brain, a Super Depressed Captain Hook tells Captain Nemo he wants to leave with him, possibly forever, on the Bluish Submarine . . . because running from your problems is always the most brave and manly way to deal with them. But then Snow White finds him standing out in the snow, and tells him about how the Evil Queen found her happy ending with Bad!? Robin Hood this week despite both of them being kind of garbage people.
“Hey! I’m a garbage person too!” Hook exclaims excitedly. “That means I can also get my happy ending, despite having murdered your husband’s dad!”
“What?” Snow White asks, shocked.
“Ummmm . . . I said, I think the Evil Queen’s clothes are really rad?” Hook covers poorly.
With a renewed zest for life, Hook rushes to the Bluish Submarine to tell Captain Nemo he’s not going to go on “tour” with him. Rather, he’s going to face the music with Emma, and prove to her that he’s still f*&kable, despite having slashed and burned a portion of her family tree.
So, of course, that douchebag Gideon has to magic himself onto the Bluish Submarine and make it submerge, so Hook can’t get off of it, right? Gideon is the friggin worst!
Once the Bluish Submarine is submerged Gideon magics himself off of it, so he can murder Emma in peace. Once, Gideon is off the ship, Captain Nemo can regain control of it, and bring it back to the surface, so Hook can get off the ship and help his girl . . . or, at least, that’s what Nemo would do if this show had any sense of logic to it. But it doesn’t, so Captain Nemo and Hook sail away on the Bluish Submarine, while Emma stands by the door of her home, looking sad and awaiting certain death . . .
Until next time . . .