Once Upon A Time 2.15 "The Queen Is Dead" TV Review
Writers: Daniel T Thomsen, David H Goodman
Director: Gwyneth Horder-Payton
THE ONE WHERE In the past: Young Snow White faces a test when her mother is dying – should she use dark magic to save her, or not? Naturally, being Snow, she refuses, and her mother dies. In Manhattan: Hook catches up with Rumplestiltskin and stabs him. In Storybrooke: Snow tracks down Rumple's knife but Cora and Regina steal it from her... killing her old friend Johanna in the process, just to prove how evil they are (in case you'd forgotten).
VERDICT “The Queen Is Dead” could quite easily be re-named “The Crying Game”, given that so many tears are shed during this episode's runtime that they could have filled an ocean. We've mentioned before how wonderful Bailee Madison is as young Snow: she continues the trend here, summoning up buckets of blub as she watches her beloved mother die. Madison really is astonishingly believable as the little version of Ginnifer Goodwin – even the way both actresses cry is virtually identical – and every episode that features a young Snow flashback has become a pleasure, even when it's as sad as this one. Madison's so good that she even manages to deliver the ridiculous line, “Where do I find this fairy?” with just the same steely resolve as Goodwin would have done. Bravo!
Rena Sofer doesn't have much to do as Snow's mother except hand out wise, queenly advice, but she's effortlessly charismatic and it's easy to feel a little upset when she carks it. (She also wears possibly the prettiest dress in the history of the show; it's sad she had to wear it as a corpse, but oh well.) Emotions also run high when her maid Johanna is so casually murdered by Cora; it's a real shock, particularly in what is ostensibly a kid's show. It's a bit of a pity we weren't introduced to her earlier in the series, though, so the shock would have been greater. Imagine if it had been one of the regulars being thrown out of a window like that? Granny, maybe? There would have been riots on the streets!
In Manhattan, Henry and Neal are doing a sweet job of bonding while Emma frets about things, and Rumple shows that he's going to be anything but a sweet, loving grandad when he viciously snaps at Henry and blames him for getting him stabbed. Ouch! Perhaps the only letdown in this storyline is the fact that Hook is so easily knocked out by Emma – one day, bad guys will learn that you have to kill your victim immediately, rather than stand there speechifying over them first. Still, he had the foresight to poison his hook, so Rumple may still be done for.
A MAN OF MANY TALENTS We've got a lot to learn about Neal, it seems: apparently he knows how to sail a pirate ship! Also, how on Earth will they know where Hook moored the Jolly Roger? It's invisible and Rumple doesn't have magic to find it. Can Neal help them with that, too?
WAS IT JUST US, OR...? Did anyone else know it wasn't really the Blue Fairy giving young Snow the candle? The Blue Fairy isn't a “dark magic” kind of gal, is she? Although a misfiring dark spell would explain her bizarre outfit...
ISN'T THAT...? Queen Eva is played by Rena Sofer, who was Nathan Petrelli's wife in Heroes . And Johanna is played by Lesley Nicol – Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey .
GONE TO THE DARK SIDE, SHE HAS Having two birthdays ruined thanks to Cora's murdering ways seems to have flicked a switch deep inside Snow White. She's now vowed to kill Cora after realising that her “good” ways have just brought trouble, time and again (forgiving Regina so many times does get a bit silly after a while). Will this new Snow go through with her plan and become a murderer, though?
THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE The library. Not the most exciting of openings, we must admit.
Emma: “You like the New York pizza?”
Henry [who is annoyed with her]: “Yes. It's delicious, cheesy and doesn't lie.”
Snow: “I'm going to kill Cora.”
• New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm
• Read our other Once Upon A Time reviews