Once Upon a Time recap: 'Page 23'
With the Evil Queen back in the picture and vicious as ever, Regina must battle her nemesis and finally put her evil half to rest.
You know what they say — if you can’t beat her, separate yourself from her, wait until she gets herself turned into a snake, bites your lover-turned-alternate-world-lover, comes back ready for business, and then battle her. That’s right. In Once Upon a Time world, nothing is easy and some things are maybe even a little unbelievable… even for a show about magic. But this week is about putting things to rest, including Evil Queens and thememory of murdering your fiancée’s grandfather. Like I said… complicated world. Let’s talk about it.
We pick up with the Evil Queen looking for Snow White in the past. She’s naturally looking for Snow White so she can steal her heart, but by the time she nearly gets to her, she’s gone. The Evil Queen argues with the townspeople that Snow White doesn’t care about them, but she does. But she’s interrupted by Tinkerbell, who reminds her that she should be with Robin Hood and won’t take a chance on love. The Queen spares Tinkerbell but warns her not to be meddling like this again.
And that leads us to present day in Storybrooke, with the Evil Queen walking back into town with Robin Hood. Robin of course argues that they need to go to New York, concrete forest where dreams are made of, but Regina says he just needs to go back to the realm that she wished into existence. And she’ll help him, but first, he needs to help her dig… more on that later.
At Snow’s house, everyone is admiring that incredible ring that Hook gave Emma. Snow is so excited for her daughter when she’s interrupted by Zelena and Regina, who quickly lets the team know that the Queen is back in town and ready to cause havoc. But how exactly? Well, with Robin on the graveyard shift uncovering something in the woods, we hear his shovel hit a metal box. Inside? Those shears that can separate you from your fate. She plans on using them to separate Regina and Robin’s fate because with that broken, she can finally destroy Regina and Storybrooke and probably even how great puppies are. Girlfriend is that vicious.
Meanwhile at the docks, Hook takes a moment to say goodbye to Nemo before he sets sail. But before Nemo can leave, Hook admits that he has a pretty heavy secret about the woman he loves and the family she keeps. He doesn’t know what to do, but Nemo urges him to seek forgiveness. It’s never that easy, though. Nothing is easy. It’s why the Evil Queen nabs Henry’s authorial pen that could write Regina out of history. But in their back and forth, he makes a valid point… why keep going? Nothing will ever make her happy. Even she agrees, before handing Henry a note to deliver to Regina, followed by the caveat that no matter what anyone says, she’ll always love him.
That flashes us back to the Evil Queen and her father. He also argues that revenge will never make her happy, but he will agree to help her find Snow White. In the present, Regina reveals that what the Evil Queen passed off was page 23 of the storybook, which signifies a happy ending that Regina was never actually able to get. It’s a reminder that the Evil Queen has found Robin, and with him captured, it means that Regina is going to have to address all this in person. That’s exactly what the Queen wants because she plans on killing her… again. It’s a tale as old as time, even with Robin trying to convince her that her plan isn’t going to help her in the end.
We flash back to the Queen and her father, who has led her to a portal that has nothing to do with revenge. The portal was shown to him by Tinkerbell, whom he’s working with to try to lead Regina toward Robin. But she’s not interested in that… she’s interested in her revenge. She turns Cupid’s arrow, designed to point you toward the person you love, into a tool to point you toward the person you hate. It begs the question… exactly how many times can the Queen come back as the primary threat to Storybrooke and try to ruin this world? Answer: as many times as complications will come between Emma and Hook. Hook sits next to the fire, looking at the memory of him killing Emma’s grandfather as he’s about to burn it in the fire, but Emma catches him. In a twist, she’s not upset with him for, you know, MURDER. She’s upset because he was trying to burn the memory of the murder. With that, she hands him back his ring because life isn’t easy, y’all.
With everything all messed up, Hook returns to visit Nemo on the docks, admitting that he took literally none of Nemo’s advice because he needs to discover the man he needs to become. Asking for a spot on his ship, Nemo welcomes him back on the Nautilus. Speaking of bad ideas, Regina goes and visits the Queen to help Robin, but the Queen admits that she can’t help Robin because she’s going to snip Regina with the shears so she can RUIN her. So Regina allows it, and the Queen snips away their history before jumping into battle.
That arrow that old-school Evil Queen launched toward the person she hates the most heads straight toward her own castle. She’s convinced that Snow White is hiding in her castle, because of course she is. But when she gets there, it only leads her to look in a mirror because Cupid is hella harsh, guys. Flashing back to the present, Regina and the Evil Queen are still in battle. Regina fights her off with a bowl full of apples and eventually tethers her to a wall, admitting that she’ll never be able to take away all the things she loves. But with the Evil Queen’s heart in her hands, she can’t destroy it because she refuses to hate herself any longer. She chooses love over hate and combines their hate and love and splits it. It ends with the two of them hugging, because two people who have the capacity to love do that sometimes! Hooray for Lana Parilla playing the same character in two outfits!
So they sit down, like two proper ladies, and talk about how to move forward. Robin has been sent back to his land, where he wants to be. She even apologizes to Regina that she didn’t get to say goodbye. Regina admits that she’s okay with everything turning out the way it has, and that’s when the Evil Queen says that she wishes she could make a fresh start. Step one would be letting that Evil Queen hair loose and getting a less aggressive wardrobe. Step two would be having Henry use his authorial pen to send her somewhere else. Admittedly, everyone is pretty confused about how they could trust the Evil Queen again, but Henry and Regina lead the way and argue that they have to try.
Now, let the record show… girlfriend is almost definitely going to come back and try to ruin Storybrooke. But Henry does it and writes, “The Evil Queen goes to a place where she can get a fresh start,” leaving Regina, Zelena, and Snow White behind. The whole thing is sort of meta in a way that Once rarely allows us to see, and it’s kind of hilarious. But that line sent her back to the pub where she never walked through the door and talked to Robin. They share a drink, and for now, the Evil Queen gets herself a happy ending. It’s even enough of an upper that Snow forgets how awful it is to be napping opposite of her husband. Sure, they’re working on breaking that curse, but for now, she can live off the hope of Hook and Emma getting married. She congratulates Hook without realizing that he’s about to go all aboard on the Nautilus. Emma goes home and discovers that Hook is gone, and she’s hurt, but it’s okay guys because Hook is going to go home and fight for Emma.
LOL JUST KIDDING.
The ship begins to submerge with Nemo and Hook on board because Gideon willed it to. Why would he do that? Because he has plans, presumably with Emma, that Hook can’t be around for. So there we are, guys. Emma is in danger. Jasmine, Aladdin, and Ariel return next week, and the Evil Queen is happily ever after… for now.
Once Upon a Time
Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.