Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Raphael Sbarge, Eion Bailey
Writer: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz
Director: Dean White
Network: ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: April 1, 2012
One of the things I have loved most about ONCE UPON A TIME is that characters like The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla) have real reasons for being evil. Note, I didn’t say good reasons, after all, good reasons take the stuffin’s out of being evil and that can put a nasty hit on your cred as an evil character, but in “The Stable Boy,” we finally see where Regina gets it all, too.
The episode starts with a bit of a flashback – namely Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) promising Regina to “take care of” Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), currently in jail for the murder of Kathryn (Anastasia Griffith). Now, we know Mr. Gold and Regina hate each other. We know Mr. Gold appears to be one of the few citizens of Storybrooke, Maine, who actually remembers he was a fairy tale character (Rumpelstiltskin) before being sent to Storybrooke by Regina, aka The Evil Queen, who also remembers. So what the heck is going on here?
It doesn’t matter. We go to the fairy tale world, where a young Regina is happily riding astride on a galloping horse. Pity her mother Cora (Barbara Hershey), isn’t so excited about Regina’s riding habits. Turns out Cora has some pretty intense magical powers and even more intense ambitions for her daughter. Oh, and did you catch the aside that Cora is a miller’s daughter who’s made some hefty deals and sacrifices to get the wealth the family now has? Think back to your original Grimm’s Fairy Tales – no mention is made, but methinks we know what the connection is.
Regina (not yet an Evil Queen), however, is more interested in marrying the stable boy Daniel (Noah Bean). But then, while Regina’s out riding, a young girl gets caught on an out of control horse and Regina rescues her. But it isn’t just any young girl, it’s Snow White (Bailee Madison) – and, man, did they get a good match for Ginnifer Goodwin in this kid. Snow and her dad, the widowed King Leopold (Richard Schiff) happen to be in town, and Leopold is trolling for a step mom for Snow. So he proposes to Regina and Cora says “yes.”
In the meantime, back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret agrees to be interviewed by the local district attorney Albert Spencer (Alan Dale), whose fairy tale counterpart is King George, the guy after James Charming who’s his adopted son. Spencer pushes Mary Margaret into saying something she shouldn’t have. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), for her part, is looking for evidence to prove that Regina is setting Mary Margaret up, and August (Eion Bailey) helps Emma dig some up – a shovel bit that Emma confirms is part of a shovel in Regina’s garage. Problem is, when Emma gets the search warrant, sure enough, there’s a new shovel in the garage. Oh wait, Sidney Glass (Giancarlo Esposito), newspaper editor and Regina stooge, dropped some flowers by the Sheriff’s office. The good news is that Emma finds the bug.
Regina, for her part, is busy torturing Mary Margaret, who has no clue what she has done to earn Regina’s hatred. Regina even says that she knows Mary Margaret didn’t kill Kathryn. But then we see what got Regina so angry. Back in the fairy tale world, Snow stumbles onto Regina and Daniel as they plan to run away and get married. Snow’s all for it, too, and promises not to tell anyone. But back at the family castle, Cora manipulates Snow into telling her about Regina. And just as Regina and Daniel are about to take off, Cora shows up and rips Daniel’s heart out. Gee, where have we seen that before? Only this time, Daniel doesn’t survive.
So Regina agrees to marry Leopold and Snow accidentally lets on that she spilled the beans. And, OMG, we see Regina’s anger and hurt turn her to dark side. Seriously, you can literally see it in Parilla’s face. It’s beautifully done.
Back in the modern world, Emma confronts Gold, insisting that he isn’t helping, and Gold assures her that he just needs “time for me to work a little magic.” So the next thing we know, Emma and Arthur are discussing the situation, there’s a scream and sure enough, Kathryn turns up in the alley, spaced out but very much alive. I called it! In the review for “Heart of Darkness” I pointed out that just because it was Kathryn’s heart in the box, that doesn’t mean Kathryn was dead.
This is one of those episodes that not only moves the story along (yay!), it also leaves you dying to see the next episode. You want to see how this plays out. The only bummer is that we’ve got to wait ’til April 22 to see it.
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Article: TV Review: ONCE UPON A TIME – Season 1 – “The Stable Boy”