Once Upon a Time, Ep. 2.09, “Queen of Hearts”: “In this land she goes by Your Majesty!”

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Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 9: “Queen of Hearts”
Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC

Winter finales of shows are getting to be just about as nail biting as their actual season finales and that’s definitely the case with Once Upon a Time. This Sunday’s episode definitely delivered a punch on all ends, leaving us with answers, but questions in response to those answers. Now we are nine episodes into the second season and the writers are determined to avoid a sophomore slump, doing everything in their power to make sure that that does not happen. They’re trying their hardest to make us come back for more and they are certainly succeeding.

The story contains a small adventure in the past Enchanted Forest, letting us know how the infamous Captain Hook and the deliciously evil Cora got together. It turns out Regina actually enlisted Hook to eliminate her mother. She was the one who actually enchanted his hook so it could retrieve a heart, from one person that is. Regina then sent him off to Wonderland where we discovered that Cora had appointed herself the Queen of Hearts. Props need to be given to the costume department- Cora’s outfit, mask (CREEPY) and her minions’ clothes are certainly something you would expect them to wear in Wonderland.

Other than that small backstory the rest of the episode is all about present day Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke. Everyone is given their chance to shine, especially Lana Parrilla, who sadly has been utterly overshadowed this season. With Cora and Hook pulling the reins on the villain front, Parrilla’s Regina is left on the heroes side, not exactly knowing where she stands or what her place is. It is refreshing to see her bumped back up to the regular that she is supposed to be. Talent and skill are definitely not lacking in this episode; everyone is on their A game. Parrilla is just a nice touch of icing on the cake.

Everything that we would expect in a somewhat finale happens in this episode. It is full of suspense, questions, anger/frustration, and even a little bit of fighting. The episode actually flows pretty freely back and forth, something that the writers have been excelling at this season. There is hardly any downtime; it keeps us on the edge of our seat, wondering how things are going to turn out and if everything is going to fall into place. Perhaps one of the highlights is getting to see Emma’s swashbuckling sword fight with Hook. Jennifer Morrison also excels this episode. It looks like Emma is actually starting to come to terms with the fact that she is the daughter of fairy tale characters. Plus getting to inform everyone that you beat up Hook would not get old quickly.

In typical Once fashion though, after questions are answered more and more are raised. What’s going to happen when Hook and Cora dock in Storybrooke? Now that Snow and Emma are back what is the second half of the season going to be about? Are Mulan and Aurora going to find Prince Phillip? And exactly what is Regina going to do? She looked a little saddened at the end of the episode. Will she be vindictive and lash out at the group? Or with her dear old mum coming to town is she going to band together with them? And just how is Cora planning to take over Storybrooke?

The writers undeniably knew what they were doing with the winter finale and have left all of us chomping at the bit for more. Sadly though, none of our questions will be answered until the start of the New Year. So while intermission is taking place, get up to stretch, discuss the first act, maybe take bets on what characters are going to be introduced in the second act of season two, and just give thanks that Cora isn’t coming for you!

Josh Bouye

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