This episode had a ton of ground to cover, just to bridge the gap between Snow and Emma's return, and Hook and Cora's sailing to Storybrooke. It started off really slow and sadly boringly sentimental, but picked up some steam on the back end. I'm still not convinced the show isn't going to rely on the same old sappy tricks to keep us hooked (get it, HOOKED? Ahem).
Granny has a welcome home party for Emma and Snow. Regina shows up and Grumpy gets even grumpier. Snow and Emma argue about why Regina is even there, and Emma says she wants her there. No one will talk to Regina, so she leaves, all sad. Emma comes out after her and tries to be nice, but fails miserably. She blabs that Archie has told her how well Regina is doing with the cold turkey quitting of magic. Regina storms off.
Regina confronts Archie on the pier for spilling her secrets to Emma. She tells him he's lucky she's changed.
Cora kills Archie and frames Regina for it by masquerading as her and “doing the deed.” Archie’s dog Pongo clues us in that the Regina we see is not really Regina.
Regina is called into the police station and questioned. She is surprised and saddened by the murder and maintains her innocence.
We see a flashback of the Evil Queen (EQ, otherwise known as Regina) being captured by Snow and Prince Charming (PC) after a silly but detailed game of cat and mouse. The Fairytale Land council decides she should be executed, with Prince Charming completely on board. Snow, however, is not convinced. But the execution goes forward and even our old pal Rumpelstiltskin shows up. Regina's last words are venom filled and the Prince calls for the archers. At the last minute Snow stops the execution and sends EQ back to her cell.
Later that night, she walks in the courtyard and who should show up??? Rumpelstiltskin, in all his chittering maniacal finery—ye gods I have missed this character! Between giggles and prancing about, he convinces Snow that he can fashion a test to see if the Queen is redeemable. He conducts the test and finds out apparently she isn't, at which point she is banished to the farthest reaches of Fairytale Land. In addition, Rumpelstiltskin has also fashioned a curse so that she may never harm Snow or PC in Fairytale Land again. Ever ever.
Emma, Snow and PC decide Archie’s house is yielding too much easy evidence so they deduce that Gold must have actually killed him and framed Regina. (sigh, predictable much?)
They pounce on Gold and accuse him, but he proves his innocence and suggests they ask Pongo who killed his owner. Gold uses a dreamcatcher, some memories and Emma’s magic to show them just what Pongo saw! Pongo see Regina, Regina kill Archie...Pongo sad...
Emma and Snow and the Prince go to Regina’s home to arrest her. Emma and Regina have a magic bitchslap fest that ends in Emma getting hurled across the front yard. Emma retaliates by throwing Henry in her face, telling her she will never see him again and that she ISN'T his mother. Regina splits in a cloud of blue smoke.
Cora tells Hook she's ruined Regina and also left him a little surprise in the ship's cargo hold. They go look, and guess who it is?? Yup, ARCHIE!! I mean come on, who would kill Jimminy Cricket anyway? Cora tells Hook he knows all of Gold's secrets and it's time to make this Cricket sing.
Snow and PC are in bed having an intimate moment (it seems the bed is in the living room at Snow's house) and Henry and Emma walk in on them. Emma is aghast. It's a really corny useless moment.
There were numerous scenes of the vigilante group made up of Emma, Snow and PC going from one suspect to another, completely half-cocked and full of accusations. It was truly ridiculous.
In a missing plot hole flashback Rumpelstiltskin goes to the angry banished EQ and reminds her that she cannot hurt anyone in Fairytale Land, but in other lands...all bets are off. He has to repeat it three times before she gets it. When she finally does, he disappears in a cloud of red smoke.
In general, I found this episode a bit repetitive and silly. I did enjoy the reappearance of Rumpelstiltskin in all his glory. Hook seems like an ineffectual sycophant, with all his bowing and scraping after Cora. I don't find Cora very threatening, I would like to see her jump off the edge a bit more.
So tell me, what did you think? And what do you want to see in the rest of this Season?
When she’s not herding cats or creating art, she works as a part-time bookseller. You can find her on twitter as @psynde.