Image credit: Jack Rowand/ABC
TREE URCHIN You know what? Regina's sort of making the whole "gnarly haired peasant" thing work.
Fairyback Regina is launching into a new scheme as well. We've joined the timeline sometime after the Huntsman -- RIP, Sheriff Skinnyjeans! -- set Snow free; Regina is searching high and low for her darling stepdaughter, letting no thatched-roof cottages stand in her way. But even though she's massacring folks and innocent buildings left and right, Regina is still puzzled as to why her subjects are siding with Snow. As Rumpel helpfully reminds her, the massacres might have something to do with that.
Clearly, there's only one solution: Murder the princess, which will automatically make the people love Regina. (Those two steps must be separated by a gigantic question mark on the ol' brainstorm board.) Regina asks Rump to teach her how to shape shift, allowing her to get close enough to make Snow fall. And though the spell's too complicated for her to learn quickly, the imp offers her the next best thing: He'll transform her so that she looks like another person, then change her back once the deed is done. The disguised Regina will still be played by Lana Parrilla, though; guess another actress couldn't do the Evil One justice.
Ah, but the best laid schemes of queens and giggling sprites often go awry. Regina's barely been playing peasant for like, three minutes when she spots a group of commoners embroiled in a game of "Shoot the Queen Through the Heart." And unfortunately, the queen herself isn't as good an actress as Parrilla. She demands that a group of nearby guards put a stop to the game, then acts shocked when the guys don't recognize her as their fearsome leader. Regina is even more surprised when telling the guards what idiots they are doesn't immediately endear her to them. The queen, magic-less in her new guise, is about to get Anne Boleyn'd when she's suddenly saved by a skilled fighter in a similarly ratty wig. That's right: Regina now owes her life to her worst enemy. Cue "Javert's Suicide."
Back in Storybrooke, two merry plotters join forces when Hook shows up in Regina's office unannounced. He tells her all about Tamara and Growen's plan -- leaving out the important fact that they know how to disable magical creatures -- and proposes reestablishing their old Triumvirate of Evil. Though she tells Hook that Cora's gone, Regina does agree to join forces with him -- rather too quickly, though we'll learn soon that she's only done this because she intends to turn him into Maleficent chow.
Speaking of: Regina and Hook descend beneath the clock tower, where she says her fail-safe is hidden. After a quick jewelry exchange -- Regina notices Hook wearing a cuff that belonged to Cora, and demands he give it back to her -- the queen lets the pirate know the real reason she's brought him along. See, getting the trigger is a two-person job. It takes one person to, you know, actually acquire the trigger... and one person to serve as a distraction. Ruh roh.
NEXT: Oh yeah, also Emma has a storyline