S1E11: Throughout the entire season, our Once Upon a Time characters have all suffered at the hands of the Evil Queen. In fact, there wouldn't be much of a storyline without her, given that she's the reason they all ended up in this alter-world in the first place -- and now it's finally time to find out why. Yes, sure we could chalk it all up to the fact that she's just plain evil, but there's more to the Queen's story than meets the eye. In several of the flashbacks, Snow White has made reference to how the Queen has blamed her for ruining her life, but we have yet to learn what actually happened between the two of them...until now.
If the heartache of love was the theme of last week, then this week's theme is all about revenge and the reasoning behind it. Tonight's episode gives us a real insight into the cause of the Queen's hatred and jealousy of our beloved Snow White, along with just how far she'll go to be free. I won't give it all away too fast, but let's just say the Queen doesn't take too kindly to being second place in her husband's heart (which might explain her highly competitive streak). Oh, and get ready for a lot wish puns and mirror, mirror references because we finally find out how the legendary Mirror on the Wall comes to be.
But the Evil Queen isn't the only one out seeking revenge. Emma and the entire town have been pushed around by Regina for far too long and it's time to fight back and expose her for the conniving woman that she really is. Emma teams up with a surprising new ally and gains some leverage on the mayor to help bring her down once and for all...well, that was the plan anyway.
"Emotional entanglements can lead us down very dangerous paths." - Mr. Gold
Tonight's series of flashbacks showed Snow White's father, King Leopold, discovering the Genie of Agrabah, who offers to grant him three magical wishes. But since he's the king and wants for nothing, he decides to use his first wish to grant the genie's freedom and then proceeds to wish for the genie to be given his third and final wish. Grateful for the kind gesture, the genie vows to never use the third wish, since he's seen countless wishes end in disaster and doesn't want to meet the same fate. However, the genie admits to the king that there is something he hopes to find now that he's human: true love. So the king brings him back to the palace in the hopes of helping him to find such love, and he actually does find love....with the king's wife (but you know her better as the Evil Queen).
That night, the king hosts a lavish dinner party and constantly dotes on his beautiful daughter Snow White the entire time, describing her as "the fairest in all the land." Of course, this hurts the Queen's feelings since we all know how much she wants that to be her title, so she leaves the party in tears -- she was practically being ignored anyway. But the ex-genie immediately goes after the Queen to comfort her. and gives her a beautiful mirror, so that she could see herself the way he does -- as the fairest in the land. (Are you getting all the "mirror, mirror" references yet?)
"You want to show this town who the mayor really is? I can help." - Sidney
Back in the town of Storybrooke, Sidney Glass (the alternate reality version of the genie) and Emma team up together in the hopes of bringing Regina's reign of terror to an end. Sidney blames Regina for losing his job as a reporter and he's s out for revenge. And since he knows Emma dislikes the mayor almost as much as he does, he enlists her as an ally. At first, Emma isn't too interested in the idea, but once she learns that Regina destroyed Henry's "castle" and possibly his now-missing fairytale book, she has a change of heart. So after some digging, Sidney discovers Regina had pulled $50,000 from the town's funds for what looked like her own personal use. Knowing that such a thing is illegal, Emma and Sidney set out to find proof and even present evidence at a town council meeting that shows Regina was using town funds to building something for herself in the woods. But after presenting their case, it's discovered that Regina was just building a playhouse for all the children of Storybrook, so they could have a safe and special place to play. And since the mayor doesn't take kindly to being threatened, she tells Emma she's no longer able to see Henry without her permission.
Now that Emma is made to look like a fool in front of the whole town with her not-so solid accusations of the mayor, she stops by the diner in the hopes of drowning her sorrows. While there, she runs into Sidney, who continues to offer his support in bringing Regina down. But it looks like Mr. Glass isn't as much of a friend as we originally thought. Afterward, he meets up with Regina, where they celebrate their victory on him gaining Emma's trust. That's right -- he was on Regina's side the whole time and now they'll be able to monitor Emma's every move now that she trusts him enough to count him as an ally. I guess we all should've seen that one coming.
On a side note, it's worth mentioning that our mystery visitor to the town once again made a brief appearance in the episode, where he talked to Henry about his stolen book. Not much happened other than Henry questioning what he's doing in Storybrook in the first place, but we did discover that he's the one who took the book of fairytales, not Regina. Although the question remains: what does he want with it?
"Well it looks like you got your wish. You will be with me, forever." - The Queen
After reading the Queen's diary, the king discovers that his wife has feelings for another man. And while he doesn't know exactly who the man is, he knows that it's whomever gave her the beautiful mirror. And since the king trusts the genie like a friend, he asks him to find the identity of this mystery man (who we all know is actually the genie himself), a favor to which the genie hesitantly agrees.
Knowing that she can no longer be trusted, the king locks the Queen away in her chambers, making her almost impossible to get to. But her father shows up with a locked box and asks the genie to bring it to her as it is the only way to free her. Since the genie is well-trusted by the king, he's able to easily go to her chambers and give her the box, which contains poisonous snakes from the genie's home country. It's then that the Queen realizes that the only way to be truly free would be to kill herself, since one bit from the snakes would bring instant death. But before she can place her hand in the box, the genie offers to kill the king for her, so that they can both be free to love each other.
Once the king is dead, the genie returns to the Queen's chambers only to learn that the guards found the snakes and know that he's responsible for the murder (given that the snakes are from his home country). She offers him a way to escape, but he realizes that this was her plan all along. She never loved him and only used his love for her to her own advantage. It was no coincidence that those snakes were from his own country -- she set him up to take the fall for the murder. But despite it all, he still loves her, so when the guards come to take him away, he pulls out the lamp and uses his third wish given to him by the late king. He wishes to be with her forever -- to look upon her face everyday and never leave her side. And as we all predicted, the wish backfires and he become the infamous Mirror on the Wall, allowing him to stare at her beautiful face for all eternity. Wish granted! I guess we now know why Sidney's last name is "Glass."
I have to say I particularly enjoyed the fantasy side of the episode, more-so than the "real world" storyline (although I could've done without the excessive amount of "mirror" references). Learning more about the Queen helps us to better understand what motivates her to continue to live in this alternate-reality world. Where before she felt powerless and trapped in the confines of a castle, now she's free to unleash her wrath on everyone and anyone that she pleases. The tables have been turned and now she wants her enemies to feel as powerless as she once was. I've found some characters to not have much depth in the show, but the Queen's character holds a substantial amount of intrigue. She's just one of those characters you love to hate and I'm glad we finally got more of a back-story on what made her the evil woman she is today. And I'm sure there's plenty more where that came from.
So what did you think of tonight's episode? Did you enjoy finding out more about the Evil Queen? Were you surprised that Sidney Glass was on her side the whole time or did you see that coming? What does that mystery guy want with Henry's book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!