Once Upon a Time "The Queen Is Dead" Review: Birthday Girl

By Lily Sparks

Mar 05, 2013

Once Upon a Time S0E15: "The Queen Is Dead"

Am I crazy, or has OUAT never been better? Maybe it's my adjusted expectations, but in the last couple episodes, the show has really been on a roll with making things happen. Sure, the dialogue is still insanely awful (Henry on NY Pizza: “It’s delicious, cheesy, and doesn’t lie.”) but at least we’re spending all our time with the main characters these days, give or take Johanna.

Oh, poor innocent Johanna. She didn’t get a moment’s peace this episode. Baby Snow bitched her out for trying on her tiara before her big Quinceanera celebration, and her mom made it this big learning moment for Snow. 

Turns out the good queen had remarkably progressive ideas about royalty and equality and whatnot that I’m pretty sure no royal has ever had, but, you know, whatever. Then halfway through her speech she slumped over and Johnna had to nurse her and summon the doctor and half the staff of Medieval Times to help and then she had to get Snow dressed up in, like, a Lolita baby blue lacy ensemble just to take a stroll in the woods and then hurry and dye Snow’s Quinceanera gown black when the party became a funeral. That’s a lot of costume changes for one day. I mean, what WAS the timeframe of the flashbacks? Her party wasn’t canceled, it just became a funeral, right? Or it was canceled? How long was her mom sick?

It did make me laugh that the Good Queen didn’t take off her shoes when she was recuperating on the bed, she was still wearing her little platforms. They also made an appearance at her funeral. I don’t know why, just made me smile.

And then in the real world, after this happened...

...Snow and Charming changed into appropriate all-black ensembles too, I’m assuming, straight up buried the body in the graveyard without bothering with a headstone or embalming, presumably. Or was Storybooke’s storyline going a couple weeks at a time and Emma and Neal and Rumple in New York were moving through a single day?

I mean, to sail from Storybrooke to New York City and track the three of them down while wearing a leather tuxedo seems like it would take at a bare minimum four hours.

OUAT is sort of conceptual. You have to just let it wash over you and remember that once you start questioning the logic of the show, you’re doing more work than the handsomely paid writing staff has, and that’s not fair. Just let the insane costumes and concepts take over, like music sung in a language you don’t know. It’s pure spectacle. That’s the only way not to rip your hair out and scream, “Wait if there’s no magic outside Storybrooke how can Hook use magic, incurable poison?! How?!”

I did love that when Hook finally did track down Rumple, he just kicked Emma straight in her kidneys and then sank his hook into Rumple. And then she clobberd him with a trashcan, I think. It was like the Three Stooges. However Rumple got the biggest gold star for manhandling Henry, who was in full effect last night.

I’d been waiting for someone onscreen to finally shake that boy like a maraca and Rumple is a hero for beating everyone to the punch, despite realizing Henry was wee Bae’s wee boy. Emma didn’t seem to mind too much either, as Henry was being a class-act asshole in his insanely emotionally manipulative way by fawning over the man who left her pregnant in jail.

Looks like Regina will have a whole other parent to deal with now that Neal is coming to Storybrooke (he can steer a ship! He knew Hook! This wasn’t the first time he’d run from home! Can we assume he’s a lost boy then? Or straight-up Peter Pan, which would explain the aging discrepancies? Or will he contact Peter Pan, as played by, I hope and pray, Zac Efron?)

Rumple is going to have a lot to sort out when he gets home, period. Like the pair of dumdums they are, Charming and Snow led Cora and Regina straight to the clock (if they’d never gotten involved, this mother-and-daughter team would have just spent the episode digging out in the woods while wearing pantsuits). And then of course, this happened to poor Johanna:

Poor Johanna. Who, let’s not forget, only got dragged into this mess because she was nice enough to send a birthday gift to Snow. She was apparently doing pretty well for herself since the curse lifted her out of the feudal system. Anyway, it was sort of preposterous that they needed to threaten Snow with killing her mom’s ex-waiting woman to get the dagger. You are two all-powerful witches, basically. We’ve seen Cora drain a lake with a flick of her wrist. Why can’t she just pull the dagger over to her with magic? “Accio dagger!” etc. Why does she need to emotionally manipulate Snow to get the dagger? It makes no sense, but what in this show does? Maybe she just likes the look on Snow’s face when she pushes her to her moral boundaries and then effs her over anyway, I know I do.

Speaking of expressions… I really don’t want to sit here and criticize a child actress, but I feel like I have to point out that Baby Snow is terrifying. TERRIFYING! She had a homicidal grimace on her face almost the whole night. Every time she came onscreen I started getting worried she would glower straight into the camera and pull my soul into the TV. Don't get me wrong, the actress is amazing and gorgeous and I see big things for her. She's just sort of like a little Tilda Swinton in terms of intensity. It's a compliment. She's intense. 

Very intense. Very intense.

I love that Snow has sworn to kill Cora, although now that Cora has the dagger that proposition is infinitely more tricky. The writers inserted a clunky scene where Cora morphed out of her blue fairy disguise and had next week’s episode title as a line of dialogue (clunk, clunk, clunk), but honestly I couldn’t be more thrilled if we keep going this route. Backstory that concerns the main characters and pushes the action forward. Yes. Keep weaving this crazy web OUAT, you’ve caught me.


1. Would killing Cora in essence be good or is all killing bad? Feel free to quote philosophers.

2. Neal: How well does he know Peter Pan?

3. Neal: How did he snag that hot girlfriend?

4. Can anyone explain the timeline of the FTL flashback/Storybrook threads to me?

  • Comments (196)
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  • BereniceAndrea Mar 10, 2013

    I like that idea that Bae is either Peter Pan or a lost boy, but my money is on the latter....

  • googlehoop Mar 09, 2013

    1. By now we all know someone is going to die in the next episode, and it had better be Cora! The writers dropped a hint with that magical candle that can save a dying person and kill someone else instead. My guess is that Snow will use that candle (perhaps it's in Gold's shop) to save Gold and kill Cora instead. Go for it Snow...it has to be done! And the fallout for commiting this foul deed will be interesting to watch for the character and for her relationship with David.

    2. Neal may be Peter Pan, but I think he's probably a lost boy. Peter Pan will likely be revealed at the end of the season or the beginning of next. Bring it on...I have always loved this story!

    4. I don't give a rat's ass about the timeline (can I say that on here?). If you're thinking about that kind of thing while watching the episode, then you're missing out on all the fun. It's fantasy, for God's sake, it doesn't need to make logical sense every second. It has its own form of logic. Just go with it!

  • InsanelyMe Mar 09, 2013


  • InsanelyMe Mar 09, 2013

    1. Kill Cora. I don't really like her, but seeing her as the miller's daughter who pretends to spin gold will be interesting. But I don't like her as an old lady.

    2. How well does he know himself?

    3. Because he's lovely. Period. F*** you, Tamara or Tammy or whoever you were. I instantly Didn't Like You.

    4. Maybe the evil villains take, like, coffee breaks and just chill and wait for the good guys to do something so that they can do evil things like laugh and throw people out of clock towers.

  • Dracomom Mar 09, 2013

    What if Bae's journey first took him to another black-and-white dimension- one of the early gangster films? Being the Dark One could have been an advantage in that milieu... and the chance to see James Cagney or Humphrey Bogart is (at least in my imagination) a real treat! Plus, if it was "On The Waterfront", Bae could sail out of there into Neverland...

    Or the Errol Flynn pirate movies? That's somewhere he could have met Hook...

    Maybe he landed in the black-and-white Kansas of "The Wizard of OZ"? Neatly ties in "our" world and a magical one...

    The more I think about this, the more bizarre places I come up with. Maybe I need to get some sleep!

  • svr Mar 08, 2013

    Hi fellow fans, I may have missed something. Has Emma told Neal that she had given Henry up for adoption, or is he under the impression that she raised Henry?

  • Dracomom Mar 08, 2013

    Not sure; but I think he doesn't know about Regina yet. THAT will make for an interesting scene!

  • twirl0408 Mar 08, 2013

    Did anyone else think Snow's mom looked a whole lot like Bae's mom?

  • svr Mar 08, 2013

    Yes! I did, the resemblance is uncanny! I hope the characters aren't supposed to be sisters! That would mean Henry's great-great-grandparents on his Mom's side are the same as his great-grandparents on his Dad's side. (Yes, I had to sketch that out on paper first). :)

  • Dracomom Mar 08, 2013

    At one point, the heir to the Spanish throne had 11 great-great-grandparents instead of the usual 16, because the royals had intermarried so often. Wish I could remember which one...

  • Dracomom Mar 09, 2013

    Still can't find the reference: but I'm willing to bet it's one of the crazy ones...

  • Milaneh Mar 07, 2013

    I just came here to say this:

    Emma's face pretty much sums it all up :D

  • beccajohnsonf Mar 07, 2013

    The thing that annoyed me the most was the backflash to when Baby Snow was younger, even though she's obviously older. They can get away with it for adults, but she was like a foot taller. Maybe she was wearing heels? I dunno.

    As for Peter Pan. I totally called it. Maybe he's just a lost boy but Peter would be more interesting.
    Maybe it's like Harry Potter and Floo Powder, and he just got out at the wrong grate. He could have easily made his first stop in our world, and Peter could have whisked him away to Neverland at the first drop of a hat. As a kid without a home, he would have been willing to escape for a while. Maybe after he got to our world, he realized how lame a world without magic was and embraced the pixie dust in an attempt to get back to fairy tale world?

    Either way....you're right...trying to reconcile this show with itself is much too complicated.

  • angeleys151 Mar 07, 2013

    I've got $10 that says the Good Queen and Cora are sisters and Rumple took one just like with Charming and his brother.
    Anyone else notice that the Good Queen was never changed for her funeral? she wore the same dress wandering around the castle that she wore while sick in bed and while on display for the funeral. The only character that didn't get a million costume changes.

  • Dracomom Mar 09, 2013

    Makes sense- or was it like "Toads and Diamonds" where 1 sister gets rewarded for being nice and the other one gets punished for being mean to a "lowly" old woman who happens to be a mage? I'd really like to see some powerful "good" mages around here. The Blue Fairy hasn't done anything lately, and no one else has shown up to play the Merlin/Gandalf/Glinda role here. I'd love to see sorcerors' duels on Storybrook's main street!

    Maybe Greg is scouting for someone like that? *sigh* A girl can dream...

  • angeleys151 Mar 09, 2013

    I like the toads and diamonds theory better than mine. It would be new, and I also would like to see a good wizard/witch. Right now it seems like magic corrupts every one who uses it, and I would like to think that Emma has a chance to stay good if she figures out how to harness the magic in her.

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