It's (the day after) Tuesday and we have a mid-season finale to discuss! Ready, set, Queen of Hearts!
So, this was an interesting episode, wasn't it? I've read a lot of people's reactions with many stating that this is their favorite episode of Season 2 so far. I wouldn't go so far as to say that for myself, but it was highly rewarding in the questions it answered, as well as the cliffhanger it left us with until January.
* Cora as Queen of Hearts. We totally called it, didn't we? I think after Into the Deep that most fans had settled that fairly easily. But this confirmation does make me want to go back and re-watch Hat Trick where we are first introduced to the Queen of Hearts. I know she was only in that episode for a few minutes, but it would be interesting to re-watch it with this knowledge.
* How Hook and Regina met. Even though it didn't get much air time, I thought this was a pretty brilliant weaving together of past storylines. We now know for sure that Regina kidnapped Belle after Rumpel had turned her out. Poor thing had been rotting away in a cell for who knows how long before she was whisked away to another cell in Storybrooke. Man. I hope Belle gets some kind of major booty-kicking fierce storyline down the road to redeem all of the time she spent locked up!
Love that Hook had somehow figured out Belle might be able to help him find Rumpel. Did NOT love Hook smacking Belle. Just in case we needed to be reminded: HOOK IS A BAD BOY.
I thought the chemistry between Hook and Regina was fantastic, and OHMYLORD did Lana Parrilla look RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING as Evil Queen in this episode! I could watch an entire show of her as Evil Queen and never tire of it. That woman was made to rock evil decadence.
* How Hook stole Aurora's heart. I'm reading that many people were pleased with this revelation - that it was Regina who had enchanted his hook to be able to steal one heart and since he was unable to take Cora's (genius), he still had that power, one-time-use-only.
What do y'all think about that? I'm okay with it, although I still could see Cora teaching him that skill with as much time as they spent together. Speaking of which:
* Backstory on Cora and Hook. This was pretty darn rewarding. Between their first meeting when Hook tried to kill her and their eventual partnership and joint quest to get to Storybrooke, they've developed a much deeper relationship than we would have first guessed. Good stuff.
Thematically, we're still dealing with lots of regret and redemption stuff, most powerfully in how Regina struggles with if/how/when to use magic, and still falling prey to Gold's manipulations. I was a little heartbroken for her being left behind when the whole gang set out for burgers at Granny's, but it does make sense in light of the whole YOU CURSED US thing I'm sure everyone still feels towards her. Overall, Parrilla triumphed again in showing an incredible range of emotion and believability as both Evil Queen and Regina in this episode. I'm a fangirl 4EVER.
Another theme that was a little more blatant is the idea of Love Is Weakness/Love Is Strength. The show wasn't subtle at all in how this played out so I won't rehash too much, but it was a nice embodiment of a classic theme where Evil insists that love makes you weak and Good insists that love makes you powerful.
As I thought about Cora and Regina's relationship after the scene with Regina telling her mother goodbye is that this whole curse was based on Regina's unbridled rage toward Snow for telling Cora about her love for Daniel. Ultimately, it was Cora who killed Daniel, yet Regina's lingering love for her mother prevented her, on some level, from forgiving Snow (she was just a child!) and focusing her hate and rage on her mother. Just interesting.
Oh, there was so much more in this one: squid ink, Emma's inability to accept that she is the Savior, thoughts on sovereignty and whether we are all pawns in the hand of Rumpelstiltskin/fate/God, and Aurora and Mulan's friendship that I'm sure is spawning all manner of fan-fic across the internetz. (I'm scared to look.)
Is the wand that Gold has the one he took from Cinderella's Fairy Godmother? Am I remembering this right or did I dream that?
Thinking about Hat Trick has me re-bothered by something. Why did Jefferson have his full memory in Storybrooke? Was he still in Wonderland when the curse hit?
Is the end of the Aurora/Mulan storyline or will we have another alternate storyline playing out in the Enchanted Forest as they pursue the revival of Prince Phillip?
August? Neal? Where are ya, boys?
Pretty darn good episode to end the first half of the season with, so I'm a happy fan until January. What did you think? Let's hear your take!