Finally! This is the dark and exciting Once Upon A Time I’ve been craving all along. Starting with the final few episodes of season one and continuing through the premiere and this episode, the show has finally tapped into the potential I always knew it had. I was seriously impressed by this hour which has me remarkably excited for the rest of the year.
The highlight of this hour was undoubtedly Regina who had her best episode yet. Lana Parilla was phenomenal in this as she conveyed Regina’s many layers beautifully. I’ve harped on her a lot since the show began but really it was the writers’ fault for saddling her with a one-note villain a lot of the times. But here, Regina got to face her inner demons (thanks to her vile mother), as well as take her first steps towards redemption. The character got a range of spectacular moments in the episode from finally regaining her magic and attacking the townsfolk (I especially loved her grabbing the arrow in midair and setting it on fire) to letting Henry go in the end and vowing to win his love back truthfully.
Although I found myself wondering why the writers would completely ignore the premiere’s cliffhanger with Snow and Emma in fairytale land, I realized by the end of this episode that it was an inspired decision. By getting to know Cora throughout the hour and all the evil that she was capable of, it made her arrival at the end that much more impactful and thrilling. I for one can not wait to see what this Big Bad has up her sleeve as she’s just what the show needs in terms of a full-on antagonist (Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t do that for me). Also, how badass was Snow as she tried to escape by kneeing Miss Sleeping Beauty? And we thought Emma was the show’s heroine.
A wonderfully layered hour that has me immensely excited for the rest of the season.