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

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?

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