Image credit: David Gray/ABC
WELCOME BACK, SHERIFF SKINNYJEANS Who knew those clothes would be in style again in the 21st century?
Thanks to a well-timed phone call from a concerned Stranger Greg, Regina gets to the woods just in time to prevent Henry from blowing the well and himself to pieces. (Don't lie -- some of you wish she had been too late.) Soon enough, the Charmings and Bae have also tracked down the boy. It looks like the two warring factions are about to engage in another epic brawl... until Henry walks between them, screaming that he won't move, "not until someone helps me destroy magic!!" I love Once, I really do -- but that line made me cackle like a madwoman, and I'm preeeetty sure it wasn't supposed to be funny.
Anywho, Henry's whole anti-magic crusade is over almost as soon as it begins. A chagrined Regina decides she doesn't want to win her son back this way and burns up Cora's evil spell. Everyone goes home. The blood feud seems to be forgotten for now, at least until one side steals the other side's pig.
But the action's still pulsing in Past Storybrooke. Graham, Regina, Kurt, and Owen are in a good, old-fashioned car chase, complete with hairpin turns and Chariots of Fire maneuvers. The Flynns are thisclose to leaving Storybrooke for good when Graham swerves in out of nowhere, blocking their exit. Kurt has just one move left in his playbook: screaming at Owen to run, run away, and never return! Though Regina could easily force him into submission, she elects instead to let the kid go. But since she's still pretty evil, the queen does continue holding Dad hostage.
Owen escapes, arriving at the town's limits a few days later with a couple of policemen in tow. This time, though, Regina is ready. She tosses up a glamour that hides both her and the road's Storybrooke sign. (Note: A commenter points out that this can't be the case, since Storybrooke didn't officially have magic until the end of last season. Regina always had limited use of magic, though -- notice her heart command of Graham in this very episode, for example. And if the town was simply hidden from outsiders for 28 years, how did the townsfolk get food and the supplies they'd need to slowly enter the modern world (cell phones, etc.) before the Savior arrived?)
Finding nothing but woods before them, the police just shrug and tell Owen that he's been through a lot. Owen, however, isn't so easily convinced. "I'll find you, Dad!" he says, just inches away from Regina. "I promise! I'll never stop looking!" Something about this plotline seems... familiar.
In the present, Snow goes to Regina and makes a peculiar offer: she feels so guilty about her role in Cora's death that she wants the queen to just go ahead and kill her, then and there. After a brief moment of consideration, Regina obliges the princess by straight-up ripping out her heart. Whoa! If only the previews hadn't spoiled this moment!
But before she crushes it into dust, the queen notices something -- there's a black spot on Snow's ticker, thanks to the White one's recent treachery. Regina then realizes that she doesn't need to kill the princess at all. Instead, she'll let her nemesis live in misery, slowly destroying her own family in the process. That's some next level villainy right there. "You see? I can have everything! Suck it, Anne-Marie Slaughter!" Regina says, inserting the damaged heart back into Snow's chest.
Little does Regina know that Stranger Greg has recorded her reverse hokey-pokey (you take the heart out, you put the heart in) on his phone... and that he's actually none other than Little Owen, all grown up and thirsty for some vengeance himself. The characters on this show would definitely benefit from following Philip Larkin's advice.
NEXT: So where's Papa Kurt? Just ask Breadcrumbs!