Image credit: Jack Rowland/ABC
SMILE, THOUGH YOU'RE BEING POISONED Rena Sofer's Queen Eva shows young Snow how to die with dignity. Sniff!
Cora conjures up Johanna, and Regina quickly rips out the poor lady's heart. If Snow hands over the dagger, she'll live to reminisce with the servant another day; if she doesn't, Regina will send Johanna off to play Eva's shortstop. And to make matters even more dramatic, it's at this very moment that Snow realizes she never actually conferred with the Blue Fairy all the years ago -- it was only Cora impersonating (imfairinating?) Blue. Cora's also the reason that Eva is dead; she killed the queen to pave the way for Regina to take the throne. And giving Snow the power to kill someone in exchange for her mother's life was just a sick little side game.
Yet even armed with this knowledge -- which proves just how completely, irredeemably, Scar-times-Jafar-to-the-power-of-Ursula wicked Cora is -- Snow can't bring herself to flee with the dagger. She throws the knife to the witches, and true to their word, Regina re-inserts poor Johanna's heart. Phew! And then Cora defenestrates the servant, just because she can (and perhaps because the Dead Disney Moms Intramural Softball League could really use another infielder). Come on, Cora -- hasn't Downton Abbey suffered enough loss this year?!
Regina seems a little shaken up by Cora's flagrant cruelty -- and her hesitance only increases when she slowly realizes that the events of "The Stable Boy" were far from coincidental. Regina carefully plotted every move that led to Regina meeting King Leopold that fateful day, arranging for Regina to be on her horse at precisely the right moment and magicking Snow's own pony so that it would carry the girl right to her future stepmother. Anyone else getting the urge to watch Cora and Frank Underwood play a game of chess?
There's some tension as Regina asks why Cora's still plotting, since she basically won already; Regina became queen, after all. Cora notes that her daughter is worried that their interests no longer align -- then dodges Regina's question, once more assuring her that their actions will help secure Henry. Regina definitely thinks they took the word "gullible" out of the dictionary.
Meanwhile, Snow and David mourn at Johanna's hastily dug grave. Storybrooke's cemetery manager must have a weird sense of humor, because he's buried his newest tenant just steps away from the Mills family mausoleum. 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. No good deeeed... shall she dooooo... agaiiiin!
Oh, and also: Snow's gonna kill Cora. An eye for an eye, and a mom for a mom. Looks like Once is about to get a little more Grimm.