‘Once Upon A Time’ recap: ‘A Bitter Draught’
Contains spoilers from “Once Upon A Time” Season 6, Episode 2, “A Bitter Draught”:
After a brief appearance in last week’s season premiere, the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) was back in full force this week — manipulating several Storybrooke residents and revealing her evil plan. With the refugees from the Land of Untold Stories inspiring her, the Queen is planning to let the heroes’ own untold stories play out and tear them apart.
The Queen and Zelena (Rebecca Mader) journey to Regina’s vault — sealed by blood magic — to retrieve some magical items since the queen says she’s depleted everything taken from the Dragon. She appeals to Zelena’s desire to have a sister who is like herself and asks her to keep the visit under wraps.
At Granny’s, the new arrivals are sorting out accommodations for their time in Storybrooke. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) discuss her afternoon appointment with Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) to discuss everything that’s happened recently. In reality, she still hasn’t told Hook or her family about the visions she’s been having where she foresees her impending death. Also, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) returns to town after splitting from Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Hook promises to help her find more suitable living arrangements. To compensate for trying to kill her in the past and his quest to be a better person, he offers to let her stay aboard the Jolly Roger.
Before entering the diner, Henry (Jared Gilmore) informs Regina (Lana Parrilla playing dual roles) that he has a new name for their mission — Operation Cobra Part II. Regina addresses the group, telling them she was once just like them — she got a fresh start and they can too.
“We don’t have to be afraid of anything, we’re going to face it together,” she said.
Henry speaks to a mysterious man who comes in, who assures him that his story isn’t important enough to play. The man leaves behind a wax sealed envelope addressed to Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas). When Charming opens the letter, we learn the man is actually Edmond Dantes (Craig Horner) aka the Count of Monte Cristo. He wants to meet the couple later, but Regina then drops a bombshell — he was hired to kill them — by her.
Meanwhile, Emma talks to Archie about the visions and he continues to tell her it’s important to let her family know what’s going on. She knows they’ll want to help her, but being the Savior, she thinks it’s her job to help everyone else. She also suspects the hooded figure who kills her is the only person she didn’t see standing with her family — Regina.
“If I don’t help people, then who am I? I have to figure out how to win this fight and protect the people I love,” Emma says as she puts her emotional walls back up.
In a flashback
We see the Count exacting revenge for his wrongful imprisonment and the death of his fiancee by running a Baron through with a sword. Immediately after, he is confronted by the Evil Queen, who strikes a deal with him — she can give him the names of everyone who has wronged him if he agrees to help her get her revenge — killing the Charmings. In preparation of casting her first curse, Rumple put a protection spell on the couple so the Queen couldn’t hurt them. Knowing this and unwilling to wait to enact the curse, she gives the Count the remaining vile of poison to murder them for her. However, after gaining the couple’s trust and getting a job, Edmond gets the perfect opportunity to pour the poison into glasses of wine. But, the Charmings’ handmaiden, Charlotte, reminds him of his late fiancee and he is unable to go through with it.
Rumple shows up with an already poisoned Charlotte, giving Edmond an ultimatum — he can either take Charlotte and enter a door where their tales will cease to be told, or he can stay and Charlotte will die. He, of course, chooses to go to The Land of Untold Stories.
Back in Present-Day Storybrooke
Knowing they’re now targeted by the Count, Emma tries to drive her parents out of town. The car is thrust back as they reach the town line, leading them first to believe it’s the Count, but Regina recognizes the magic as identical to the one she initially used when she created Storybrooke. She accuses Zelena of entering her vault, which her sister denies, but also refuses to divulge that the Evil Queen is back in town. Later, Regina and Henry to meet the Count in the woods, and finds a poisoned Charlotte. The Evil Queen then reveals herself and the reason the Count is still obsessed with carrying out the mission to kill the Charmings — she is controlling his heart.
The Queen pays a visit to Mr. Gold’s shop and after an uncomfortable few moments of flirtation, barters a coin in exchange for agreeing not to harm Belle or their unborn child.
The Charmings meet up with Edmond at the docks and try to convince him that Regina has changed and canceled the debt. He assures them the Evil Queen is still controlling him and the trio battle it out. As he knocks them unconscious, Regina shows up to try to convince him to spare the couple.
He goes in for the kill and Regina desperately hurls her sword through the air, fatally wounding the Count. The Queen smugly shows up, and is pleased to let Regina know that her plan was never to kill Snow and Charming, it was to expose that even Regina still has a dark side, even though she split herself from the Queen.
“We all have stories we don’t want told,” the Evil Queen warns.
The Queen fully intends to turn the heroes against one another and says Regina will be the one to destroy everyone’s happy endings. As Snow and Emma console Regina about having to kill the Count, Charming is accosted by the Queen outside of Granny’s, who gives him the coin she acquired from Gold’s shop. It turns out, the coin was always with Charming’s father when he died in a cart accident. The Queen plants doubt in Charming’s mind that his death was indeed an accident.
I was thrilled to see so much screen for the Evil Queen this week, although I wasn’t expecting the Count’s story to end so soon. Although creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have said this season is contained in Storybrooke, so there won’t be too many multi-episode character arcs. And next week’s promo shows a shotgun-wielding Cinderella (Jessy Schram), which should prove very interesting.
“Once Upon A Time” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on ABC.