Last week, we learned that Regina would be going undercover to find out what the Queens of Darkness are really up to – all at the behest of her former enemy, Snow White, who we learned caused Maleficent to lose her child! Scandal! Lies! Intrigue! Regina gets right to it, meeting up Mal, Cruella, and Ursula at Granny’s diner for a night of shots and bad decisions! Her infamous “evil melody” is even back. We all love a dark Regina, so this is great. Will she succeed?
Emma is NOT okay with Regina going undercover and wants to find out if Regina is okay and she cannot drop it. Snow and Charming, still lying to their daughter, try to reassure her. As this happens, Cruella drives her car, containing herself, Regina, Mal, and Ursula, onto the train tracks and an oncoming train. It’s a test for Regina to see if she has gone soft and will save them by poofing them all away. Regina does, but this is only the first test.
Meanwhile, in the flashback to the Enchanted Forest, we catch up on a seething and jealous young Regina, angry about Snow White’s continued horse competitions wins. She wants to rush her revenge and learn as much as she can. Her teacher, the Dark One himself, tells her she must have patience. He shows her a barren land with a single burning tree, explaining that the evil sorceress, Maleficent, destroyed it all. He then poofs Regina to her land. At first she is pissed, but then is happy as she can finally meet Mal.
When she goes to Mal’s castle, she finds Mal looks disheveled, drugged up, and out of sorts. She has lost her ability to turn herself into a dragon after failing to ruin both Briar Rose and her daughter, Aurora’s, happiness. Mal has basically given up on life and evil, which shocks young Regina.
Back in Storybrooke, Emma continues to worriedly search for Regina and doubt everything. I know everyone else is lying to her, but can’t Emma have a little faith in Regina for once? Meanwhile, as Snow and Charming search for Regina, they too have their doubts about this plan. They secretly meet up with Regina by a burned out cop car (courtesy of the Queens of Darkness). Regina reports she is making strides, but doesn’t have the answers yet. Snow and Charming are relentless and I wish Regina would poof them away for not trusting her. Seriously, they suck.
As those three speak, Mal, Cruella, and Ursula rendezvous with Rumplestiltskin in his cabin (their hideout). He is practically giddy with excitement about his plan – a plan to bring war to Storybrooke, starting tonight. He has a plan for Regina and Mal to find out who the author of the storybook is. Henry has been examining a certain page in the book with a magnifying glass that he is sure August/Pinocchio has left a clue for him about the author on. Keep on doing that Henry cause all your other storylines are gone.
In the flashback, having left Mal’s castle, Regina sadly walks along the road when she is stopped by a man who offers her a ride to the wedding of young Aurora! This causes Regina to return to Mal. She is pissed that Aurora and Briar Rose get their happy ending and Mal doesn’t! She continues to encourage and push Maleficent into getting mad and becoming her old self But then Mal reveals she has lost her powers! She can no longer turn into a dragon. She has lost her fire. But Regina remembers the eternal tree of fire and tells Mal they can get it back for her.
In Storybrooke, Maleficent visits Regina as she cleans up the mess they made last night. (Who else wants to see drunk Queens of Darkness? Or is it just me?). Mal gives Regina aspirin (ha!) and tells her that they, too, are after the author, which shocks Regina, and they have a plan for tonight. Regina meets the “heroes” gang (Emma, Snow, Charming, Hook) in the library to tell them the plan. Apparently, the villains want the author because they want to shift the entire balance, giving all the villains happy endings, while destroying the heroes. They want Regina to steal something tonight. Emma is against everything but Regina tells her she is going through with it, so Emma annoyingly says she is coming along, potentially ruining everything at a moment’s notice.
Meanwhile, Hook approaches new couple Belle and Will Scarlet at the diner. He and Will still do not get along. In private, he reveals his concerns about the Regina plan and wonders about the Dark One’s dagger. Maybe they should move it somewhere new to keep it safe? Hmm.
Later the night, Regina waits for Maleficent while Emma watches from her nearby car. Suddenly, Cruella’s car pulls up by itself and takes Regina and Mal to Marco’s house. The plan is to steal/kidnap young Pinocchio because he is the only one who has info about the author. Mal says Regina didn’t ask the questions the first time forcefully enough. But Regina has to do it and save face if she wants the plan to continue.
In the flashback, Mal breathes in the fire from the eternal burning tree before suddenly King Stefan arrives to arrest her and Regina. Mal attempts to turn into a dragon, but can’t. Later, Regina feels inspired, burns through the ropes binding her and fireballs one of the guards. This act of defiance finally gives Mal the boost she needs, and she turns back into a giant dragon and attacks the men! Yay! Oh…wait…why am I rooting for the villains suddenly? Uh, oh! Mal and Regina then pay a visit to young Aurora and Mal puts her under a sleeping curse, wanting to watch as her parents suffer without their daughter.
Back in Storybrooke, even though now good Regina may not like it, she goes into Marco’s home, puts him under a sleeping spell, and proceeds to kidnap Pinocchio. Who should interrupt? Emma! She bursts in saying that she’ll take Pinocchio and hide him. Regina is all like, “I got this! GET OUT!” Jeezum, Emma, have a little faith in Regina! Regina tells her they have to break some rules in order to find out the truth. Emma reluctantly agrees, letting Regina leave with the boy. Regina decides to ditch her cellphone, with which Emma had been tracking her. So, now Emma is truly in the dark.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, young Regina returns home to her master. She has a new found confidence and patience for her revenge. She happily puts Snow’s winning horse under a 100 year sleeping curse realizing death is too easy. Taking away what someone truly loves is the best revenge and she is ready to learn now. Delicious stuff.
Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, gullible Belle leads Hook to the dagger, but shares her uneasy feeling that Rumple might already be back in town. So, Hook tells her use the dagger to call Rumple to her right now. She does, and nothing happens, so she willingly gives the dagger over to Hook. Oh, Bell. Aren’t you supposed to be bookish and smart? She drives away, and Hook transforms into Rumple himself. OF COURSE. We all knew that was coming and now he has the dagger. Good job, Belle.
He transforms back into Hook and makes a “pirate’s oath” with Belle, promising to never talk about this to each other or anybody else. I’m sure that’ll stick. He then not so subtly asks if Belle is over Rumple and about her deal with Will. C’mon Belle! HAVE A LITTLE AWARENESS!
Mal and Regina, with kidnapped Pinocchio in tow, arrives at Rumple’s cabin and Rumple, holding the dagger, finally reveals himself to Regina! He greets her as a teacher greets an old student and announces they are finally all on the same side. Does he not see through Regina’s cover? Hmm. Cruella and Ursula join the group and they gather around Pinocchio. Rumple waves his dagger around as Regina watches nervously. He turns young Pinocchio back into adult August Booth – for he has the answers!
That’s it for this week. August is back! Yay…or is the a bad thing? What did you guys think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below. I felt like the episode easily moved the plot along and was quick-paced. It’s always good to see Regina-centric episodes and she has really come into her own. If anything, it makes Snow, Charming, and even Emma, seem annoying and boring. Emma has become so neurotic and panicky, that it is hard to root for her. Regina definitely is becoming the hero of the story. Anti-hero? Whatever. Also, Belle continues to disappoint and let us down. I mean, come on, lady! Let’s hope we find out more about the mysterious author soon. And most importantly, who are you guys rooting for now – the villains or the heroes?
Once Upon A Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. Watch full episodes on ABC.Go.com, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video.