"The Queen Is Dead" is the 37th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Upon discovering Cora and Regina's plan to find and take possession of Rumplestiltskin's dagger, Mary Margaret, with the aid of David and Mother Superior, makes it her mission to find it first; and while Mr. Gold continues his quest in New York to reunite with son Bae, Hook devises a plan to rid himself of a crocodile. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, the Blue Fairy offers Snow White an unconventional enchantment that could help save her dying mother, Queen Eva.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Hook asks Cora and Regina, in the latter's house, where Rumplestiltskin's gone, and Regina wonders if he thinks he'd just be able to stab him in the heart with his hook. Hook states that he'd prefer his hook, but he can't find that, and Cora says that with the Dark One gone, they can search for his dagger. ("Manhattan") Emma, Henry and Gold witness the latter's son climb down a New York fire escape and Emma chases him. She eventually catches up and discovers that he's in fact Neal Cassidy, Henry's father. ("Manhattan") Neal tells Gold to get out of his apartment, and when Emma approaches her former flame, Gold realizes that the two of them know each other, and wonders how. Henry soon enters the room and asks his mother what's going on, leading to Neal's realization that Henry's his son. ("Manhattan") In the fairytale land that was, as the seer is laying on the floor, dying, she tells Rumplestiltskin that a young boy will be his undoing, at which Rumple shrugs, "Then I'll just have to kill him." ("Manhattan")
Snow White and mommy.
A group of white flowers are seen in an expensive flower pot amongst the many decorations surrounding the room that a young Snow White, who's wearing an extravagant pink dress, is seen walking through. She approaches her mother, Queen Eva, who is talking to some servants, and when the servants disband, Eva turns to her daughter and is speechless due to how her daughter looks. Snow asks her mother if she likes it, and Eva states that she is an absolute vision, telling her that she will be the talk of the ball and not just because it's her birthday. The queen's arms open and Snow hugs her mother with a grin on her face, and after the hug ends, the two girls begin walking, during which Eva comments on how fast Snow is growing. Eva suddenly gasps, turning to Snow and saying that she's just been reminded of something, telling her that she has a gift for her, explaining that it was her mother's once, and her mother's mother's before that. The queen places her hand on Snow's face, stroking her cheek, telling her that soon it shall be hers.
Snow scolds her servant for wearing her tiara.
Elsewhere in the palace, a tiara is seen resting in a jewelry box as a couple of hands are seen grasping it. Snow White's handmaiden, Johanna, lifts the tiara to her head and places it there, before looking at herself in the mirror and smiling. She savors the moment, but her name is soon heard being called, and she removes the tiara from her head in shock, frantically apologizing to Queen Eva and her daughter, who have just entered the room. Snow approaches Johanna as she begs forgiveness and asks her, "How dare you?" Johanna frowns as Snow exclaims that the tiara is hers, and not for a servant, and so Johanna says that it was her mistake, and places the tiara back into the jewelry box. As she turns back, Snow lifts her head high and states that servants don't wear crowns, at which Queen Eva declares enough. Johanna apologizes to her majesty once more, but Eva dismisses it, saying that she was talking to Snow. The young princess turns to her mother, confused, as the queen says that she thought she raised Snow better than that, and explaining that it doesn't matter whether one is a servant or royalty, everyone in the kingdom deserves their love and respect. Snow argues that Johanna took her tiara, but Eva exclaims that she apologized, and points out that it isn't Snow's yet. Johanna cuts in, assuring Eva that it's alright, and the queen says that she's kind, but that Snow must learn. "My dear, we are all the same," she tells her daughter. Snow looks at her mother, and says, "But I thought we were royals." Eva assures her that they are, but that it doesn't make them better than anyone else.
The queen takes a fall.
The queen takes the upcoming ball for instance, asking Snow if she can tell her what it's for, and the princess states that it's to honor her on her birthday. Queen Eva denotes this as wrong, explaining that it's for Snow to honor the people, by showing them that she will be a kind and benevolent leader when that time comes. "Please," Eva says, extending her arm to Johanna, and the handmaiden hands over the tiara. Eva holds it before her daughter and explains that when she is crowned with it, on her birthday, it will be a symbol that she will always hold goodness in her heart and rule justly. The queen asks if her daughter understands, and Snow nods, saying that she does. Eva smiles, handing the tiara to Snow who gives Johanna a gentle smile as she walks past her to look at the tiara in the mirror, and her mother stands behind her. Snow comments that it's beautiful, and Eva adds, "And it's heavier than it looks." Suddenly, Eva falls, taking a deep breath as Johanna catches her, and Snow calls out for her mother. As the queen stabilizes herself, she assures the two of them that she's fine, but Johanna refuses to believe this, escorting the light-headed queen over to the nearby chair and sitting her down on it. Johanna states that she's getting the doctor before running off, and Snow kneels down beside her mother who assures her she's fine. Snow looks over to where Johanna has gone in worry.
Mary Margaret receives something from her childhood.
Mary Margaret stares at herself in the mirror in her apartment as David is seen working in the kitchen behind her. She notices this, and turns to her husband, asking him what he's doing as she walks over to him. David slides a pancake onto a plate before telling her that he's making breakfast, but Mary Margaret wonders why, at which he tells her that he's hungry. She asks if he thinks she doesn't know what he's doing, reminding him that they talked about "this" and had a deal. David turns to his wife, assuring her that he knows, but says he thought that with the curse broken, she might have changed her mind, and Mary Margaret tells him that she didn't. She walks on over to the table where the sees a wrapped package, asking David what it is. He tells her that it's a birthday present, and Mary Margaret appears upset with him. Charming assures her that it isn't from him, but Snow says that no one else knows. He points out that apparently someone does, and they also think she should celebrate, explaining that the gift was left outside the door that morning, and Mary Margaret begins to open it, albeit, seeming extremely discomforted. She soon opens the box beneath the wrapping paper and David asks her what it is, at which she pulls out the tiara she was given by her mother as a child, and begins to tear up looking at it.
David wishes his wife a happy birthday.
David approaches his wife slowly, saying that he thought the tiara was lost when the curse hit, and Snow tells him that she did also. As Charming takes the tiara, Mary Margaret frantically searches for a label concealed within the present, and soon pulls out an envelope which she quickly opens and takes out the birthday card inside. She looks at the card, as does David, to read "Thinking of you today,'" and sees that it's from Johanna. Charming says that he didn't know she was in Storybrooke, and Mary Margaret tells him that neither did she, before inspecting the address on the envelope. David reminds her that after the curse, she was gone for a while, and everyone was still finding each other. He tells her that it hasn't been easy, and Mary Margaret quickly grabs the tiara from her husband and tells him that she has to go. She goes to her coat, but David stops her, wishing her a happy birthday before kissing her, and Mary Margaret thanks him for understanding. She grabs her scarf from the hook and puts it on as David grabs her coat, applying it for her. As he does so, she tells him that he should go to work as it's getting late, and he says he knows but that he just wishes this day made her happier. "I know," Mary Margaret says, "But we both know it can't." She then turns around and walks out of the door, leaving David to sigh heavily.
The captain regains his hook.
David is seen walking through the halls of the sheriff's station before entering the office and turning the lights on. As he takes his jacket off and places it on a coat rack, he hears a penny drop on the floor and turns to it, before Hook is suddenly seen emerging from around a corner with a crowbar. In an instant, David is knocked out by Hook and a single blow of the crowbar to his face, and the pirate throws his weapon on the ground before taking David's keys from his pocket. "Apologies, mate. But I think you have something of mine..." he states, looking around before entering the office. He is soon seen placing the key into the lock on David's drawer and twisting it, allowing him access. Inside, he sees a sheet of black material and lifts it to reveal his hook. The captain grabs it before placing it down on the desk, removing the fake hand his has applied in his mechanical socket and placing it down, lifting the hook once again and reapplying it to where his left hand should be. He proceeds to leave the station.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Snow and Johanna exchange a joyous reunion.
In a lovely garden in the town of Storybrooke, Snow White's former handmaiden Johanna is seen planting a flower bed filled with little white flowers that were previously used to decorate Snow's birthday ceremony. As Johanna continues to dig at the soil, Mary Margaret is seen approaching her, before uttering Johanna's name. The maid approaches stunned, standing up and uttering, "Snow..." in return. "It's Mary Margaret here," she says, but Johanna tells her that she'll always be her dear Snow. The two of them quickly exchange a heartfelt hug. Snow says that she never thought she would see her again, and as the two of them lean out of the hug, she adds, "Or this," and begins to rummage through her handbag, eventually pulling out her tiara. Johanna explains that she came across it in Mr. Gold's shop and knew how much it meant to Snow and knew she had to have it. Snow smiles, thanking Johanna before her attention is drawn down to the flower bed, where she comments that she hasn't seen those flowers for a long time. Johanna tells her beloved Snow that they reminded her of her because they can survive the harshest winters and she was born in the harshest one of all. Mary Margaret nods, a tear rolling down her cheek, and says, "That's why she named me Snow..." Johanna nods, telling Snow that the thought this garden would be a nice way to honor Queen Eva, and Snow pauses, assuring her that it is. The two of them hold hands, and Johanna tells her, "I miss her too," referring to Eva, and Snow smiles at her maids joyously. Johanna proceeds to wipe the tear from Snow's cheek when a noise is suddenly heard, and the two women turn to the town forest behind them in shock. Johanna asks what that was, and Snow tells her to stay there as she's sure it was nothing. Johanna appears cautious but Snow begs again for her to say there before walking into the woods, leaving her former maid to look on after her in worry.
Mary Margaret discovers what the villains are up to...
Deeper in the Storybrooke woods, Mary Margaret is seen walking through the trees as the sound of a shovel digging at the earth draws closer and closer. Soon enough, Mary Margaret hides behind a tree, poking her head out so that she's able to see Regina and Cora, the former of which is digging before taking a map from her pocket and unfolding it. Mary Margaret watches in confusion as Cora asks her daughter if she's sure that they're digging in the right place, and Regina folds the map up once more after a closer look, answering her mother positively, saying that Hook marked clearly that Rumplestiltskin's dagger is where they're digging. She digs her shovel back into the ground and moves a few more mounds of dirt, and Cora suggests that Hook may have lied to them. Regina sticks the shovel in the ground, taking out the map once more and naming it useless as Gold is the only one who can translate it. Cora tells her daughter not to worry, saying that Hook could have saved them a lot of effort with honesty but the truth is that they don't need anyone. She says that she can reconstruct the map but it may take some more time. "And when we find it," Cora assures a hopeful Regina, "I promise you: I'll use that dagger to force the Dark One to kill anyone you like." Mary Margaret continues to watch this conversation from behind a tree, becoming extremely worried.
Mary Margaret warns David of the threat that Cora and Regina pose.
Back in the sheriff's station, David is seen lying down unconscious as Mary Margaret walks in, looking for him. She sees him in his state and becomes shocked, throwing her handbag to the ground and running to his aid where he soon comes to. His wife asks him what happened and Charming tells her that it was Hook, before standing up and stating that the pirate ambushed him. Mary Margaret worriedly asks him if he's hurt, but David assures her that he's fine, checking the bruise on his head and saying that it's not him who Hook wants: it's Gold. He then looks over to Hook's detachable hand on the sheriff's office's desk and adds, "And his hook." The prince says that he's going to enjoy throwing his ass in jail as he sits down on a chair and Snow tells him that Hook isn't the problem. David asks her to tell that to his head, but Mary Margaret tells him, "It's Regina; she's been lying to us. She's working with Cora to find Gold's dagger." David appears stunned, stating that the dagger controls Rumplestiltskin and that if Cora gets it, she can force Rumple and all his power to do her bidding. As David stands up, Mary Margaret adds that Cora could also become the Dark One herself, and Charming states that neither one of those options sounds good. He says that, lucky for them, they can call the man himself as he's in Emma, but as he reaches for the phone, Mary Margaret tells him that she's already tried that and sent a message, and David hangs up the phone, telling his wife that they can't just wait. Snow agrees, saying that they have do bide time until they call them back or return, and David asks how. "Regina," Mary Margaret suggests, "She doesn't trust her mother; never has. If we can put some doubt in her about Cora's motives, it might slow them down." David asks Mary Margaret if she thinks Regina will so easily trust her, but Snow responds, "She doesn't need to trust me, she just needs to listen to me... and I know how to get her to do that."
Gold asks Emma to talk to Neal.
Over in New York City, Neal and Henry are seen crossing the street together as the former asks his son if he likes pizza. Henry answers positively, guessing that Neal's going to tell him that the best pizza's in New York and he's got to try it, but Neal says it's actually in the Kingdom of Damarian on the North Shore of the Dragon Fields of Zorn, before revealing he's joking and stating that the best pizza's of course in New York. Henry smiles as his father and he walk into a pizza joint and Emma and Mr. Gold, who are walking behind their respective sons, stop outside. The blonde asks Gold if he thinks that they should go in, but Rumple shakes his head, telling Emma that if they were welcome he feels confident an invitation would have been extended. He goes on to tell her that it's a sad truth that those closest to us are the ones capable of hurting us the most, naming it their "common ground". Emma states that it looks like her lying's caught up with her but Gold assures her that, with time, Henry shall forgive her. She wonders if that's him projecting his own hopes, but Rumple shakes his head, saying that his son and he have some way to go. Emma tells him she can see that before Gold requests that she speak to Neal and try to convince him to come back to Storybrooke with them. The blonde says that, if she recalls, there was only one favor she owed him, and she thinks she's paid up. Gold says that this isn't about him anymore as she'll do it for Henry, and Emma wonders how the pawnbroker figures that.
"It's delicious, cheesy and doesn't lie."
Rumple tells her that if she doesn't, she's going to wake up one morning only to discover that her son's hopped on a bus back to New York, reminding her that he ran away to Boston to be with her (See "Pilot") and will do the same thing for his father. "Until Neal lets him down," Emma says, "Which he will. And it'll be a hard lesson, but at least Henry'll understand that I lied to protect him." Gold warns her that she's beginning to sound a lot like Regina, going on to say that he thinks the real reason she lied was to protect herself. She asks him what that's supposed to mean, and he adds, "From getting hurt again." She assures him that that's not what's happening but Gold argues that Emma wants a second chance with Neal. The blonde wonders what makes him think that, and Gold smiles, telling her that it's the look in her face. She tries to tell him that he has no idea what he's talking about but stops mid-sentence as Neal and Henry step out of the shop, each with a slice of pizza. Neal asks his father and his ex what they were talking about before Henry tells his mother that Neal wanted to show him the museum, asking if they can stop by the apartment to grab his camera. Emma looks to Neal, confused, and he asks her if kids like culture, and she tells the two of them that it's fine. She then asks her son if he likes the New York pizza, and he tells her, "Yeah. It's delicious, cheesy and doesn't lie."
Good and evil have a little chat.
Back over in Storybrooke, Regina walks into Granny's Diner where Mary Margaret is seen sitting at a table. The mayor approaches her and stands opposite, asking how Henry is and wondering if he's alright. Snow assures her former stepmother that he's fine, as is everything else, and Regina wonders what her son said. Mary Margaret then reveals that she didn't actually talk to him and Regina sits down, wondering why she's there. Mary Margaret tells her that she knows she's been lying and thought it was about time they talked about it, but Regina tells Snow that she doesn't know what she's talking about. "No more lying," Mary Margaret insists, telling Regina that she knows she's been with her mother and she knows she's looking for the dagger, but the mayor tells her teacher that what she's doing is her business. Snow warns Regina that there's a war starting and the latter agrees that that much is clear; Mary Margaret goes on to say that, lucky for Regina, she's earned enough good will with her to be given one last chance to choose the right side - the side of good. "Have you ever considered that maybe, perhaps, I am good? I was always the Queen, it was you who added 'Evil' to my name."
Regina refuses to listen.
Mary Margaret tells Regina that good doesn't do what she does, and asks her why she would go back to being this way after how hard she's tried. The mayor asks what it got her: "Dinner with a bunch of hypocrites who pretend they'll forgive me when, in their hearts, they know they never will. You're giving me a chance? How about I give you one: stay out of my way." Regina stands up from out of her seat and begins to leave before Mary Margaret tells her that listening to her mother is a mistake, but Regina doubts that listening to Snow will work out any better. "She doesn't care about Henry. All she wants is power," Snow assures her, but Regina says that power's how you get things, before Mary Margaret adds, "She doesn't care about you." The mayor then leans in and asks Snow what she would know about mothers, and Mary Margaret remains silent as Regina leaves the diner and the shot moves down to the princess' hands, which are gripping each other tightly on the table.
Snow remains at her mother's bedside.
In the fairytale land that was, young Snow White is gripping her hands in the same fashion, still clothed in the dress she planned to wear to her birthday ball. She asks the royal doctor if he knows what's wrong with her mother, who's lying down in her bed seeming weak, and he replies that he doesn't know yet but has hope that they shall soon. Snow asks if her mother will be alright once they do find out, and the doctor remains speechless, before Eva calls Snow to her. The little princess runs to her mother's bedside as the royal doctor tells Johanna, who was standing back with Snow, that she should call for the king immediately. Johanna wonders what message she should give him and the doctor advises her to say that whatever business he's attending to can wait as he should be at his wife's side. Johanna leaves as Snow begins to talk to Eva, telling her that they'll cancel the ball and turn it into a celebration once she's better, but the queen states that they cannot cancel her birthday. She assures her daughter that she will be well by then, saying that she wants to see her walking in in that tiara, but Snow kisses her mother's hand and tells her that she doesn't care about her birthday, as all she cares about is her. Eva smiles at her daughter before coughing heavily into a napkin, and Snow steps back from her mother as she chokes, being advised to do so by Johanna who kindly tells her to leave her mother alone as she needs her rest. The doctor re-approaches Eva as Snow watches, being dragged out of the room by Johanna, and he begins to check over her as we see she's coughed up blood onto the napkin.
Johanna tells Snow how to contact a certain fairy.
In the hallway, Snow is walking with Johanna and asks what will happen to her mother, tearfully wondering if she's going to die. Johanna quickly hugs Snow in a comforting embrace, telling the crying girl that she doesn't know, as she attempts to calm her down. Snow says that she doesn't want to lose her, and another tear rolls down her cheek, at which Johanna tells the princess that they must hope the doctor will help her. Snow points out that he doesn't even know what's wrong with her, wondering how they can place hope in him and saying that there has to be something that can save her. Johanna hugs Snow once again as the girl cries more heavily, before telling her that maybe there is. The princess pulls away, intrigued, as Johanna says that if medicine can't cure the queen, then perhaps magic can. Snow seems surprised by this as Johanna and her begin to walk through the hallway more quickly, and the latter explains to the girl that her mother has a confidant that few know about who's schooled with the most powerful of magic, saying that she's not even supposed to know of this. "Please, Johanna..." Snow begs, and the handmaiden goes onto say that there is a benevolent fairy who'll grant a person's wish if their heart is true. The young girl swears that hers is, and Johanna nods, before Snow asks her where she is to find this fairy. "Tonight," Johanna begins, "Go into the woods where the sky is clearest, wish upon the blue star... and she will appear to you."
Hook arrives in Manhattan.
As they walk through along a Manhattan sidewalk, Henry asks Mr. Gold if he should call him grandpa now, and Rumple begrudgingly replies that he can call him whatever he likes. Behind these two, Neal and Emma are seen walking together as the former tells the blonde that Henry's a good kid, and she agrees. He then tells her that he's trying his best and she says she knows and that they all are, but that they're going to have to go back to their home soon. Neal argues that he's only just getting to know his son and Emma suggests that maybe he should come with them. "To Storybrooke?" Neal asks, and Emma reminds him that she's seen his apartment and states that he's not got a lot going on in New York. Neal assures her that looks can be deceiving before turning to her and saying that there's something he's been meaning to tell her, and it's complicated. However, before he can say anything further, Henry approaches the two of them and asks his father if he thinks they could take the subway, and Neal allows it, saying that they should go and get that camera. Henry merrily runs over to the apartment building, soon followed by his parents and grandfather, and Neal opens the security gate to allow her and his son through. As they go up to the apartment, Gold asks Emma if she talked to Neal, and Emma tells the pawnbroker that Bae said it's complicated, suggesting that maybe he just needs some time. Suddenly, the doors to the apartment building open and Captain Hook runs through, quickly pushing Emma out of the way and causing her to slam into the wall. He then sees Rumplestiltskin and pushes him up against the security gate before jamming his hook into the Dark One's chest. As Rumple slides down the gate, Hook satisfyingly states, "Tick tock," and pulls his bloody Hook from out of the wizard's chest before adding, "Time's up, crocodile."
Hook is still standing over Mr. Gold raising his bloody hook in the air, having just stabbed him. He tells the Dark One that he took Milah, his love, his happiness, and for that he is now taking his life. Suddenly, Emma comes to and picks up a trash can, she then approaches Hook with it and uses it to whack him across the head and knock him out. After Hook collapses, Emma throws the trash can to one side before crouching beside Gold and asking him if he's alright, at which he inspects his stab wound. Neal suddenly runs down from his apartment, apparently having been alerted by the ruckus, and asks what the hell is going on. He opens the security gate and crouches beside his father and Emma tells him that one of his dad's enemies found them, looking over to Hook. Bae utters the pirate's name, signifying that he knows him, and Emma asks him if he does, but Neal doesn't answer. He takes a look at Gold's stab wound and sees the blood on his finger after touching it, wondering what happened.
Rumple blames Henry for his fate,
Gold is quickly rushed into Neal's apartment by his son and laid down on the couch as Henry watches. Emma then walks in and tells them that she found a storage room and locked Captain Hook inside so that he won't be causing anyone else anymore problems. She pulls some paper from out of her pocket and goes on to say that Hook had a map on him and it looks like he sailed his ship there. Neal asks how one is able to get a pirate's ship into New York, and Emma tells him that it's cloaked. As Bae tends to Rumple, Emma approaches her son and tells him not to worry as Hook isn't going to hurt any of them, but Henry wonders if Mr. Gold is going to be okay. Neal assures his son that his grandfather will be fine as he steps away from the pawnbroker to grab something and the pawnbroker himself removes his tie and removes the top buttons on his shirt for a better look at the wound. Henry approaches Rumple and asks him if he's alright at which Gold grabs the child viciously and orders him to get away from him as he caused this by bringing them back there. He then pushes Henry away and the kid backs up in fear as Neal re-approaches his father and Emma hands her son her cell phone, telling him that the battery's dead and requesting that he search the other rooms for a charger.
Neal knows how to sail a ship.
Henry takes the phone and leaves the room as Neal, who's cleaning the wound, states that they've got to quickly get him to an ER. Mr. Gold feels the wound and sees that it's filled with mounds of yellow goo which is mixing with the blood, and he tells them that it's pointless. Emma looks at the wound also, wondering what the hell it is, and Gold explains that it's poison of Hook's own making and there's no antidote in this world as it's not from there. Neal states that there's got to be someway they can save him and Gold assures him that there is, at which Emma says, "Storybrooke. There's magic there now. We need to get him back." Bae says that he'll get a car to take him but Gold tells him that they don't have time and need something fast, suggesting that they take the captain's ship. "The Jolly Roger instead of a car?" Emma asks, and Gold tells her that it's the fastest ship in all the realms. The blonde says that that's great but asks who's going to captain it since the only guy qualified wants Rumple dead, and Neal states that he can do it. Gold appears surprised by this and Bae again states that he can do it; Emma too seems surprised that Neal know show to sail a pirate ship, and Neal says, "Yeah, I do."
"Please, Mother Superior, you're our only hope."
David Nolan's animal rescue van is seen driving along the road and slowing down as it approaches the Storybrooke nunnery. It soon pulls over and Mother Superior is seen escorting the building, heading towards the vehicle in an apparent hurry. Mary Margaret quickly steps out of the truck, slamming the door behind her, and rushes over to Mother Superior, hastily followed by David. Snow tells the fairy that she needs her help, and Mother Superior tells her that she knows something's wrong as she feels a great deal of dark magic has been expelled. David tells her that that's why they're there, explaining that Cora and Regina are trying to find Gold's dagger, and the Blue Fairy realizes that they want to control the Dark One. Mary Margaret tells the nun that she hopes her magic will be able to find the dagger first, and Mother Superior nods in agreement to help them. Snow begs the fairy, "Please, Mother Superior, you're our only hope."
Snow White encounters the Blue Fairy.
In the Enchanted Forest, the young Snow White is seen wandering through the woods dressed in a traveling cloak with a lantern in her hand, looking at her night sky. She asks herself, looking at a star, if it's the right one, but soon sees another, and wonders if it could be that one instead. She continues to search the forest when a glistening sound is heard behind her, and a voice says, "Worry not, Snow White. I have found you." Snow turns to see the Blue Fairy hovering before her, glowing brightly and flapping her wings. The young princess says that she knew Blue would come, but points out that she hasn't even made her wish yet. Blue tells the girl that she knows when she's needed, going on to say that Snow's mother, the queen, is sick. Snow confirms this, assuring the fairy that if she doesn't help her with magic, she'll die. Blue says that she can tell Snow loves her mother very much, but explains that fairy magic is the purest magic of all and, alas, cheating death is the darkest of undertakings. The girl begs the fairy not to just let her mother die, but Blue tells Snow White that it is the way of the world. Snow states that there has to be something that the fairy can do, and Blue sighs, remaining awkwardly silent, which leads Snow to believe that she's holding out on her. "What is it?" the young princess demands, begging, and the Blue Fairy tells her that she may be able to conjure a remedy using a type of magic that is forbidden to fairies except under the most dire of circumstances.
The Blue Fairy offers Snow an unorthodox method to save her mother.
She orders the girl to keep it a secret as no one must ever know, and Snow nods, agreeing to do anything to help save her mother. The Blue Fairy gestures for Snow to hold out her hand and the girl does so, and in a blue puff of magic and sparkles, a double-ended candle appears in Snow's hand, one end white, and the other, black. Blue explains that the candle is infused with magic that could save Queen Eva's life, but warns the young princess that all magic, especially magic this powerful, comes at a price. Snow wonders what it is and Blue tells her that in order for one to live, another must die, and Snow becomes shocked, saying that she doesn't understand. Blue explains further that to salvage a life from beyond is to break the laws of nature, so if she is to save a life, then she must lose one in return. Snow tearfully asks who must die, but Blue tells her that that is for her to decide, instructing the girl to hold the candle over the heart of her sacrifice and whisper their name, and when the candle is lit, that person's life will be traded for Eva's. "All she ever wanted was for me to be good..." Snow says, staring at the magic candle and tearing up further, saying that she can't trade someone else's life for her mother's. Blue stares at the girl blankly and states, "Then I'm afraid she will die."
Emma levels with Gold.
Back in Neal's apartment, Emma is sitting with a weak and dying Gold as Neal texts on his cell phone. The blonde soon asks him what he's doing and he tells her that he's getting them a car. She says that she thought he was a pirate and that they were going to get a ship, but he points out that they still have to get Gold's ass to the ship. Emma asks if Neal knows Hook and Bae tells her that it's a long story (See "And Straight on 'Til Morning") but that the short version is that this world wasn't his first stop when he left home. "No?" Emma says, and Neal tells her that if it was, he'd be a couple hundred years old by now. Neal receives a text on his phone and tells Emma that that should be their ride before leaving the room. Henry then walks in and tells Emma that she needs to see something, handing her her cell phone and saying that it's a text from David and Mary Margaret that she has to read. The blonde does so and tells Gold that there's more bad news, and he wonders if it's worse than incurable poison. "I don't know, you tell me. You got a dagger hidden somewhere in Storybrooke that's the source of all your power?" she asks, and Rumple requests that she get to her point. The blonde tells him that Cora's after it and that the only way to stop her is to let David and Mary Margaret get to it first. Gold tells her to let Cora try, clearly skeptical, and Emma tells him that he can't be seriously willing to risk this with his son coming back with him to Storybrooke. "Miss Swan, that dagger has not left my possession for centuries. It's not about to now." Emma looks to Henry and back to Gold before sitting next to the pawnbroker on the couch he's on, telling him that he's dying and right now they are his best hope, the time's come for him to start trusting someone and if she were him she'd start with family.
Mother Superior attempts to help the Charmings.
The "CLOSED" sign is in view on the door of Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer as we see Mother Superior standing outside it with her wand in her hand, and David and Mary Margaret are either side of the powerful fairy. The nun aims her wand at the door of the shop and begins harnessing her magic through it, the wand glows blue and the leaves rustle, however, as the wand glows brighter, the Blue Fairy merely calls out in pain and drops it, allowing it to land on the pavement. He tells the royal couple that Gold's cast a protection spell and Mary Margaret suggests that they try something equally powerful. "Dark magic?" David asks, turning to Mother Superior, but the nun tells the prince that he doesn't know what he's saying. Snow states that Cora cannot get that dagger and that if dark magic is the only thing that can break that protection spell then they need to make an exception and use it, "just like you told me once before". Blue stares at Mary Margaret in confusion, assuring her that she never told her any such thing, and Snow tells the fairy that she kept her secret, however, this causes Mother Superior to become confused even further. David's cell phone is heard ringing and he tells everybody to hang on, answering to Emma and hearing that Gold told her where the dagger is. Mary Margaret looks at her husband in anticipation as he listens to Emma and turns to the Storybrooke clock tower.
Snow watches her mother die.
A young Snow White is seen quickly running through her palace's halls and to her mother's bedside, crying as she does so. Eva, who seems even weaker now and is dressed in a nightie with her hair down, hears Snow say that she's sorry as she's done an awful thing. The queen asks her what it is and Snow explains that she went to the Blue Fairy and begged her to help by saving Eva with magic, but what she gave her was dark magic - a candle that could restore her life by taking away someone else's. She tells her mother that it was the only way, but that she couldn't do it, and she apologizes to her mother, who appears relieved. "I could have healed you, but I was too afraid!" Snow exclaims in shame and more tears, but Eva assures her daughter that that wasn't fear - it was strength. "Strength to resist darkness. I am so proud of you." Snow points out that now her mother won't get better, but the queen tells her daughter that they all reach a moment in their lives where they are not meant to get better. "And with or without me," Eva continues, "Someday, you will be a great queen." The young princess smiles before tearfully begging her mother not to leave her, but Eva assures the girl, "As long as you hold the spirit of goodness in your heart, I shall never leave you." Snow smiles again, her hand remaining on her mother's cheek as Eva draws her final breath and her eyes close. As Snow realizes that her mother is dead, she sobs even harder and utters, "Oh, no..." Not knowing what to do, the girl becomes frantic, and Johanna pulls her away in an attempt to calm her down, before hugging the young princess yet again. Snow continues to cry in Johanna's arms.
A deadly choice.
The lift inside the clock tower is seen opening and David and Mary Margaret step out among the gears and cogs and quickly race up a small flight of stairs to a platform the rests just beside the inside of the clock face itself. David removes a segment of glass from the face and tells his wife that "it's" hear before removing Rumplestiltskin's dagger from the clock hand, naming it a "clever hiding place for a very clever man". Mary Margaret smiles as David hands her the dagger and she inspects it, stating that they did it, and Charming adds that the Dark One finally can be controlled. "Indeed he can be," says Cora, startling David and Mary Margaret as she and Regina appear within the clock tower opposite the royal couple. "But by whom?" Cora adds, and David tells the witch that she's too late. Cora tells them that it actually seems as though they found them just in time, and Mary Margaret reminds Regina that she told her to pick her side carefully, stating that good has won, just as it always does. Laughing is heard coming from Cora and Mary Margaret and David turn to her as she tells Snow that she thinks the day has finally come that she learn a long, overdue lesson. Cora raises her hand and a cloud of purple smoke appears, and within that cloud appears Johanna, who appears dazed and confused as the smoke dissipates, now standing within the clock tower in between Regina and Cora. Mary Margaret exclaims her old handmaiden's name as Cora tells the former princess that in the end, it isn't good or evil that wins: it's power. Regina proceeds to face Johanna and plunge her arm into the woman's chest, before pulling out her glowing, beating heart. Johanna appears in pain as Regina turns to Mary Margaret, who grips the dagger more tightly, that it's now her choice. Snow remains speechless within the situation as the clock hand ticks.
Snow applies a family heirloom.
In the fairytale land that was, Johanna, who's dressed in black, removes Snow White's tiara from her jewelry box and tells the young princess that it's time, Snow herself also wearing a black gown. The girl tells her handmaiden that today was supposed to be a day of celebration, and Johanna tells her that the kingdom needs her more than ever, and will find strength through her goodness. Snow wonders where she will find her own strength, and Johanna tells her to draw it from where she always has: "From your mother." Snow turns away from Johanna before taking the tiara from out of the servant's hands, slowly placing it upon her own head. As she stares at herself in the mirror, she tells Johanna that her mother was right, as the tiara is heavy, and Johanna nods comfortingly.
Snow White leads her mother's funeral.
We are shown the back of Snow's head as she walks through the aisle of people at her mother's funeral. The subjects are dressed in black as well and sobbing into their napkins, clearly grieving over the queen's death, and Snow walks out of the front of the aisle and up the stairs of the platform that her mother's tomb lays upon. She stares at her mother's body and begins to tear up, telling the queen that she misses her a lot before placing a single, white-petaled flower upon her corpse. The little princess proceeds to turn around and nod to her people, before turning back around and kneeling before her mother's tomb, signalling the other attendees to do the same. The camera closes up on Snow's face as she closes her eyes, and as time passes, the people in the palace fade away and Snow is left kneeling alone as Johanna's hand is seen reaching for her shoulder. Snow opens her eyes and the handmaiden tells the young girl that the ceremony is over, wiping a tear from her cheek. "It's time to let her go," Johanna says, and Snow stands up before leaving the room with her handmaiden, giving her mother one final glance as she does so.
Cora promises to destroy Eva's legacy.
Once the princess and the maid have gone, a blue light is seen flying down from the ceiling as the Blue Fairy approaches the coffin, however, she is soon surrounded by purple smoke and the fairy is revealed to in fact be Cora in disguise, who states that she hates that outfit, wondering how the Blue Fairy can stand it. She then walks up the platform containing Eva's tomb and looks into the queen's face, telling her that poison looks good on her and death is most certainly her color. Cora takes the flower from Eva's corpse and sniffs it, telling the queen that she raised her daughter well and that her own daughter doesn't love her the way Eva's does her. The witch says that Snow would have been a great ruler someday, but that that will never happen because her daughter, Regina, will be queen, and all Snow will be left with is knowing how Cora felt - "How it feels to be the miller's daughter." Cora then throws the flower to one side and leans in towards Eva, assuring her, "I'll turn Snow White's heart black as coal. That candle won't be her final test. And once I've darkened her soul, it won't just be you I've destroyed. It'll be your legacy." Cora then kisses her index and middle finger before placing them upon Eva's cold, dead lips.
Mary Margaret is at a loss.
Cora is still staring at Mary Margaret with a smile on her face in the present day as Snow begs the witch not to harm Johanna as she has nothing to do with this. Cora states that of course she does, and Johanna tells Snow that whatever Cora and Regina want, she shouldn't give it to them. "Quiet, handmaid!" Cora exclaims as David reaches for his gun and aims it at Cora. Regina, who's still gripping Johanna's heart, warns her mother to watch out, and Cora merely waves her hand and causes the gun to fly out of David's hand and into the cogs of the town clock. As Regina grips the heart tighter, Johanna cries out in pain, and Cora declares enough, ordering Mary Margaret to surrender the dagger as they all know she will follow her mother's example no matter the cost, as all she ever wanted was for her to be good. Something dawns on Mary Margaret when she hears these words and she asks Cora where she heard them, at which the witch asks her where she thinks. Snow recounts that the Blue Fairy made her swear never to speak of the magic candle again, not because it was a secret, but because it wasn't her. Cora, who doesn't deny this, merely holds out her arm and requests the dagger as Mary Margaret comes to the realization the Blue didn't give her the candle: Cora did. Cora remains silent as Snow pieces it all together, saying that her mother wasn't sick at all but Cora laughs, assuring Mary Margaret that Eva was quite sick.
"I will not let you win! Not again!"
"You... did... all of this! You killed my mother!" Snow exclaims, nearly in tears, causing Regina to turn to her own mother in surprise as Cora tells Mary Margaret that, actually, the candle would have worked and she could have saved her. "But you knew I wouldn't!" Snow exclaims, "Why? Why did you take her from me?" at which Cora merely shrugs, telling the former princess, "To make my daughter the queen." Regina turns back to her mother with even more shock, this all being new information to her, and Snow turns to her former stepmother, who orders her to hand over the dagger, still keeping a tight grip on Johanna's glowing heart. Mary Margaret, who's still gripping the dagger, refuses, assuring the two villains that she will not let them win - "Not again!" Cora reminds Snow that she's already lost her mother and asks how many connections to her she has left, gesturing Johanna, wagering that she doesn't have many. Mary Margaret stares at her former handmaiden with tears in her eyes as David tells his wife that if they give up the dagger, they can still win, but Mary Margaret ignores him. Johanna begs Snow to let her go, telling her that it's alright, but Regina squeezes the heart and makes Johanna scream in pain yet again. Mary Margaret can't seem to bear the sound of Johanna's pain as Cora asks Snow what her mother would say if she could see her now - if she wasn't dead.
Johanna after being thrown out of the clock tower by Cora.
Regina continues to squeeze the heart as Cora again extends her arm, requesting the dagger from Mary Margaret who takes one last look at the dying Johanna before throwing the dagger on the ground, falling to her knees and declaring enough. At this, Regina relinquishes the heart and Johanna's pain ends, before Cora lifts her hand and causes the dagger to fly into it. "Such a good girl," she names Snow who tells the two witches that they have what they came for. Cora looks to Regina who plunges the heart back into Johanna's chest, but as Johanna makes her way to Snow and Charming, Cora adds, "Not quite everything," and with a giant flick of her wrist, Johanna is sent flying into the clock face, smashing through it and falling to the pavement beneath. Mary Margaret immediately runs to the broken clock face and stares out of it, seeing Johanna's dead body lying on the ground and becoming overwhelmed with emotion, before David pulls her away. "Well, there you go," Regina tells the Charmings with a grin, "You see where good gets you?" Cora and Regina then disappear from the tower in clouds of purple smoke as Mary Margaret continues to weep uncontrollably in her husband's arms.
Regina realizes all that Cora has done over the years.
Regina is seen walking into her office, followed by Cora, who enters holding Rumplestiltskin's dagger. Regina comments that it's nice to be back as hiding is quite wearisome, and Cora sets the dagger down on the desk and sits behind it, telling her daughter that she likes what she's done with the place. "I'm so happy you approve," Regina says, but Cora senses that she's troubled, and asks her daughter what it is. The mayor points out that Cora never told her about her history with Snow's mother but the witch behind the desk argues that she spared her daughter that burden like any good parent would do. "You didn't think I deserved to know exactly what it took for me to become queen?" Regina asks, but Cora points out that now she knows. Regina begins, "That day at the stables, when I rescued her... That wasn't an accident was it?"
Cora manipulates her daughter.
We are suddenly taken into flashback of a young Regina sitting in her mansion reading a book on horsemanship when her mother approaches her, telling her that it's time for her riding lesson. Regina reminds Cora that she has no lesson today but Cora says that she thought she'd be happy as she arranged for her to have more time with Rocinante. At this, Regina discards her book and appears thrilled, thanking her mother before telling her that she'll send the stable boy for her saddle right away and standing up, vacating the house with a large grin as the shot moves in on Cora.
You made sure I'd be in the pastures when Snow rode past...
Snow grows tried of the endless journeys.
Suddenly, the scene changes to the woods outside Regina's house as young Snow White sits upon her horse, with Johanna and her horse beside her. Snow tells her handmaiden that she's tired of these endless journeys, but Johanna reminds the young girl that her father, the king, is a lonely man. Snow looks over to her father and his men as they tend to his horse, and Johanna assures the little princess that she should have faith as someday his wanderings will end.
You had to make sure when I met Snow White...
Cora's up to no good...
Snow's horse whinnies suddenly in extreme violence as the princess gasps and screams. Quickly, the horse rides off with Snow White and runs into further pastures, apparently spooked by something. Johanna appears shocked at the situation as it happens, powerless to stop it, and Cora is seen watching the scene from behind a tree, poking her head out from behind the trunk, having made the horse go wild herself. Cora smiles as Snow is carried further by the horse, into the field that Regina is in.
...her father would be searching for a new queen.
Snow is seen being carried by the wild horse through Regina's fields as Regina herself is kissing her lover, Daniel. She warns Daniel that someone's there and the two of them turn to see the young Snow White calling for help from her runaway horse, which springs Regina into action. (See "The Stable Boy")
Regina begins to question her mother's motives.
Back in the office, Cora asks her daughter what this knowledge changes for her, and Regina approaches the desk, telling her mother that it means she won, as she is the queen, and if that's what Cora wanted so badly, Regina asks why she wants Rumplestiltskin's dagger now. Cora realizes that Regina's worried their interests are no longer aligned, but Regina states that her only interest now is Henry. "And I've told you," Cora reminds her, "You'll have him." Regina asks how, saying that now Mary Margaret and David know they have the dagger, they can't use Gold to kill them without Henry finding out. "Have patience, my love. By the time Rumplestiltskin returns, Emma Swan and the rest of them will be nothing more than a vaguely unpleasant memory. And Henry... will be yours," Cora assures Regina as she remains entranced by the dagger.
Emma and Neal make their way to the car.
In New York City, Neal and Emma are seen walking along the sidewalk as the former tells the blonde that the car should be one block west. Emma asks what they're to do with Hook once they get the car and Neal reminds her that he made his way to New York, being sure that he can make his way out of a basement, wondering if the blonde has a problem with leaving him behind. Emma tells him that, actually, she's done it before (See "Tallahassee") before saying that she has to admit, after some of the things Neal's said, she's surprised that he'd rally to his father's side like this. Bae tells his ex that there's a difference between running away from your father and watching him die in front of you, saying that he may be a monster but he's his blood. Emma asks what's going to happen once Gold is healed and Neal says that he doesn't know and that forgiveness doesn't seem like something that's possible for him. Emma points out that somewhere inside him he hopes someday it will be, and Neal states that life's full of surprises. The blonde then says that no matter what, it'd be nice for Henry to be around his father a little bit, even if it is just for a visit, and Neal tells her that they've reached the car, before running towards it.
"Please tell me we are not gonna hot wire this thing," Emma begs, but Neal tells her that it belongs to a friend. Emma points out that it's a generous friend and Neal goes on to say that they need to finish their conversation from earlier as there's something she needs to know about him before they get on the ship. "Neal," calls a woman as she runs towards him, and he asks her what she's doing there as they embrace. The woman tells him that she was just a little worried after talking to him, as he can't just say he's leaving town for a while. Neal assures the woman that everything's fine, as Emma stands by awkwardly, and the woman wonders what's going on. Emma cuts in and the woman extends a hand to the blonde, introducing herself as Tamara. Emma shakes Tamara's hand, giving her name also and smiling a smile that doesn't want to be. She then looks to Neal, who tells her that Tamara's his fiancee, and Emma is taken aback by this.
Mary Margaret buries Johanna.
At the Storybrooke graveyard, Mary Margaret is seen crouched down beside a freshly filled-in grave as she adds the final pieces of soil around the white-petaled flowers that she's placed into it. She stands up tearfully, staring at where Johanna has just been buried, as David puts his hand on her back, telling her that it was a beautiful service, but Snow states that it's one that never should have happened as Johanna was an innocent. David tells his wife that she can't blame herself as she did the best she could do in an impossible situation, but Mary Margaret merely stares at Regina's family mausoleum, commenting that that remains untouched. "Mary Margaret..." David tries, but Snow ignores him and says that she's had the same role her entire life: to hold on to goodness, as it's what her mother taught her. She asks how many more lives following that lesson is going to take away from her, but David tells her that she can't let Cora make her lose faith in who she really is, which is someone who does the right thing, as that's exactly what she wants.
"I'm going to kill Cora."
"I made the right decision when I stopped Regina's execution all those years ago... when it could have saved us all of this heartache. I made the right decision when I sent Emma through the wardrobe alone, and we didn't see her first steps. I made the right decision when I let my own mother die from Cora's poison..." Mary Margaret points out, but David points out in return that they keep beating them. Snow asks what the cost is for this, saying that all she wants is their happy ending as it's time and they've earned it - "No more lives lost. No more hearts broken," she declares, but David tries to change the subject by telling his wife that the dagger is useless until Gold returns to Storybrooke, assuring her that they have time and will get it back, and when they do, they will bring Cora and Regina to justice. "I don't care about justice anymore," Mary Margaret states, "We keep thinking that people will change... but what if that's wrong? What if I'm the one who has to change?" Charming asks her how she's going to do this exactly, and Snow tells him, "I'm going to kill Cora."
- The title card features the Storybrooke library and clock tower.
- The same title card is featured in "Dark Hollow".
- Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Belle French/Belle) and Meghan Ory (Ruby/Red Riding Hood) are absent from this episode.
- This episode posted a 2.2/6 among 18-49s with 7.39 million viewers tuning in, reversing a decline from the last outing.
- Entertainment Weekly critic Hilary Busis give it a good review and added "The juxtaposition isn't lost on Snow, who starts ruminating on all the horrible things that have happened as a result of her trying to do what's right. As a wise man might say, she tried her best, and she failed miserably. The lesson is, "never try." But wait -- Snow's actually going in a different direction with this. Maybe the true solution is to stop listening to her conscience, to forget her mother's dying words, to let Snow Dark take over once more." 
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave the episode an 8.1, stating that "Bailee Madison’s resemblance to Goodwin in physical features and mannerisms is uncanny. The young actress nails portraying the younger version of Snow and she’s so precious that seeing her face down evil and witness her mother’s death breaks your heart." 
- Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club gave it a B and give it a good review: "Now, it’s time to work with the characters that are already on the board, and “The Queen Is Dead” does strong work building up character motivations and moving pieces in place as the season nears its conclusion. It’s a Snow White-centric episode with a fairyback that looks at her mother’s final days; both Bailee Madison and Ginnifer Goodwin give genuine, emotional performances that make Snow seem like a real human being, largely thanks to their chemistry with new character/cannon fodder Johanna." 
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'The Amazing Race', 'Celebrity Apprentice', 'Red Widow', 'The Cleveland Show', 'America's Funniest Home Videos' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes', 'The Simpsons' Adjusted Down" from TV By The Numbers/Zap2it (March 5, 2013)
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: The Mother Lode" from Entertainment Weekly (March 4, 2013)
- ↑ "Evil gets the upper hand - again." from IGN (March 4, 2013)
- ↑ "The Queen is Dead" S2 / E15 , by Oliver Sava, A.V. Club (March 3, 2013)