Once Upon A Time
Season 1, Episode 18
Original Airdate: 4/1/2012
The Stable Boy

By OBS staff member Nakeesha J. Seneb

We open in Storybrooke on Regina. She’s agonizing over a ring. Gold comes in needing a favor. If she’ll make his charges go away he’ll help her with her Mary Margaret problem. If they can frame Mary Margaret for Katherine’s killing and then give her a way to escape jail, then Mary Margaret will leave town. And when anyone leaves town, bad things happen to them. Evil grins spread across their faces and the audience realizes we’re viewing a flashback.

In the fairytale world, a young Regina is riding a horse with her proud papa watching. This Regina is soft and girlish. Her mother, Cora, approaches. Mommy-dearest is critical and cynical; she resembles more of the Regina that we have come to love/hate. As Cora continues to rail on her daughter, a stable boy, Daniel, interjects taking Regina’s side. It’s Regina that puts him in his place and sends him off. Good thing because Cora takes her anger out on Regina. Using magic, Cora dangles Regina in the air as she continues to chastise the girl. “I don’t care about status,” Regina insists. She just wants to be herself. When Regina breaks free of her mother she runs off to the stables. Daniel is there and kissy-facing begins.

Back in Storybrooke, David corners Emma and insists Mary Margaret misunderstood him when he accused her of killing his wife. Yeah okay, but Mary Margaret still doesn’t want to see him. Inside the jail, Mary Margaret has another visitor: Regina. Regina wants Mary Margaret to confess to make it easier on everyone. Mary Margaret wants to understand what she ever did to make Regina hate her so much.

To answer that question we head back to the fairytale world where Daniel is getting tired of sneaking around with Regina. Regina is afraid of her mother and her magic. Daniel insists that true love is the most powerful magic of all. In the distance they see a terrified young girl on a runaway horse. Regina leaps into action and rescues the girl. Once off the horse the young girl swears she’ll never ride again. Regina insists the only way to face fears is to…wait for it…get back on the horse. The little girl tells us her name. She’s called Snow White.

Back in Storybrooke, Gold advises Mary Margaret to submit to a pretrial interview. He wants to employ their most valuable asset, which is her personality. She doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. Sidney turns up. Remember he’s supposed to be helping Emma find evidence? Well, he’s found nada, but he gives her a consolation price: a vase of flowers. As the audience, we know both Gold and Sydney are playing both sides. But we have to wonder who’s zooming who? In the end, Mary Margaret agrees to speak with the DA. When he turns up we learn he’s…Katherine’s father from the fairytale world! Here he’s called Spencer. Let’s just say the Q&A turns out badly. By the end of it, Spencer has twisted Mary Margaret’s answers so much that she’s shouting that she did indeed want Katherine gone.

In the fairytale world, Snow’s father has come to meet Regina. In less than five minutes, he’s proposing. Huh? Regina’s just as stunned as we are, so Cora accepts the King’s hand for her daughter. Regina finds Daniel in the stables and asks him to marry her. She wants to run away to do it but Daniel wants to do it properly. They embrace and Snow walks in. The little girl is all prepared to get back on a horse. Snow sees them. She’s shocked, confused, horrified and she runs off. Regina chases after her. When Regina catches up, she tells Snow that she didn’t love her father and explains the magic of her love with Daniel. Snow accepts this and gives Regina her blessing. Then she offers to tell her father for Regina. No! Regina tries to explain to Snow that running is the only option for her and Daniel’s love to survive. Snow promises to keep the secret.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma is pondering the facts of the case when August turns up. As an author, he suggests that she re-read her first draft. Since the case started as a missing person, then a murder, and now a cover up, she should go back and look at it with this new perspective. She heads to the (troll) bridge and August tags along. Only he’s having some trouble with his legs. Curious? When they find the un-police-taped spot where Mary Margaret’s jewelry box that contained Katherine’s heart was found, they conveniently find a piece of a shovel in the dirt. Curiouser and curiouser? Back at the mayor’s house, Regina checks in on a sleeping Henry. Once the door to his bedroom is closed, he signals Emma with a walkie-talkie. Emma and August enter Regina’s garage and find a shovel with a chipped piece. It’s a perfect match!

In the fairytale world, Cora has cornered little Snow White. Cora’s insisting Regina will be a great mother and, as a mother herself, she’d do anything to make her daughter happy. Snow’s is no match for Cora’s manipulation, the girl spills the beans.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma shows up with a search warrant for Regina’s shovel. Ofcourse it’s gone. Regina can only smile as Emma accuses her of sabotage. “That woman has destroyed the last life she’s ever going to destroy,” insists Regina. She’s talking about Mary Margaret. At August’s doorstep, Emma blames him for the breach even though he insists on his innocence. A triumphant Regina goes to the jail and gloats. The trial starts tomorrow and justice will finally be served. Mary Margaret is in tears. “You’ve always seen yourself as innocent,” Regina is almost sympathetic as she says this. “I know you didn’t kill Katherine, but you do deserve this.”

In the fairytale world Regina and Daniel are running away, but Cora catches them. Cora insists she’s only doing what’s best for Regina. Then she reaches in, takes Daniel’s heart from his chest, and pulverizes it. “Love is weakness, an illusion,” Cora says as though she’s teaching class. Her daughter is in shambles as she watches the life go out of the man she loved. Cora teaches on: only power endures and with it you don’t have to rely on anyone. In the next scene, Regina is getting fitted for the wedding gown that will make her queen. You can see in her face that inside she’s dead. Snow comes in and gushes over her beauty. The little girl thinks she’s still marrying Daniel. Listening to the child, Regina realizes where the blame for her misery should be placed. She should have let the girl die on that horse.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina is holding the ring Daniel gave to her. “We got her,” she tells the ring. Mary Margaret is being hand cuffed and lead out of the jail. Emma blames Gold, but he insists it’s not over, that there’s still time to work some magic. Emma breaks a vase in her frustration. Out pops a bug; the technical kind. The vase was given to her by Sydney. She‘s been played. Emma finds August and apologizes. And then there’s a scream. The scream came from Ruby. There’s a body in the alleyway. It’s Katherine! And she’s alive.