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Once Upon A Time -- The Stable Boy
First off, I have to say the child actor they cast as child Snow White was incredible. When they showed a close-up of her talking, her facial expression and gestures made me think I was actually watching Ginnifer Goodwin as a child. The girl must have studies GG playing Snow White and copied all her gestures and facial expressions. She did a lot better than a lot of actors I've seen.
Anyway, in this episode we met a different Regina. A sweet and nice Regina who believed in true love and happily ever after who had a grasping social-climbing horror of a mother named Cora. Really don't know how Cora and Regina's father Henry ever got together. Maybe it was an arranged marriage. Henry and Cora didn't even belong in the same species; let alone married to each other.
Cora has a fit when Regina is out riding her horse bareback. To punish her, Cora uses her magic to make Regina levitate off the ground and then wraps bands on leather around Regina's arms. Only when Regina promises to be obedient does the vile woman let Regina come back to the ground and removes the bindings from her. Storybrooke's Henry should have Cora for a mother and he'd realize he doesn't have it that bad with Regina.
Regina was in love with the stable boy, who was named, Daniel. Regina was terrified of her mother finding out, because Cora wanted her to marry someone rich and powerful, not someone who tended horses.
Everything takes a change for the worst when Regina hears a child screaming while out riding a runaway horse and rushes to her rescue before she's killed. The child turns out to be Snow White. Yes, the person Regina once saved the life of the person she hates most in the world.
That act of kindness is the first step Regina takes on the path that lead her to curse all of Fairy Tale Land to take away Snow's happily ever after, the way she took hers from her. Snow's father, King Leopold, comes to thank Regina for saving Snow's life and he proposes marriage to her. While Henry shakes his head no in refusal for the King's proposal, Cora accepts the man's proposal for a shocked Regina.
The first chance Regina gets she runs down to the stable and begs Daniel to marry her to stop her mother from making her marry the old King. Daniel agrees to running away with Regina, and gives Regina a wedding band she still cherishes to this day in Storybrooke. Unfortunately, while Daniel and Regina are kissing, Snow enters and sees them.
Regina catches her before she can tell anyone, but she begs Snow not to tell anyone, especially her mother, what she saw. Snow promises to keep Regina's secret. It's a promise she doesn't keep, however.
Cora must has suspected something because she plays little Snow like a fiddle and it isn't long before Snow is spilling her guts, revealing Regina is planning to runaway with Daniel. Just as Regina and Daniel are about to leave, Cora shows up. Regina stands up to her and insists Cora let her marry the man she loves. Cora pretends like she's changed her mind and even goes to hug her future son, but instead of hugging him, she rips Daniel's heart out of his chest and crushes it in her hand. Nothing is going to stop Cora from making this royal marriage happen, not even her own daughter's happiness.
Snow might have actually kept herself from Regina's wrath if she could have kept her big mouth shut. As she sees Regina being fitted for her wedding gown, she tells Regina how she told Cora everything because she didn't want Regina to be without her mother. Somehow, Regina stops herself from striking the child down then and there and tells her Daniel wasn't her true love, King Leopold was. She also tells Snow that Daniel ran off without her.
After Snow leaves, Regina wishes she had let her die. She also realizes her mother set up the whole thing. From the runaway horse to Regina rescuing her so the King would propose. If Regina sought revenge against the King and Snow, she must have surely sought revenge against her evil mother, as well.
I really think Cora was the veiled Queen of Hearts in Wonderland. What perfect revenge on the evil woman who wanted to be queen but had to settle for her daughter being queen instead. Cora as Queen of Hearts, but Cora's fondest wish is now her worst nightmare. Trapped in Wonderland as the queen. That's why she wants Jefferson to make a hat that can be used to leave Wonderland. She wants to escape the nightmarish place as much as he does.
In Storybrooke, Emma was still determined to prove MM's innocence. I'm terrible, but I wouldn't mind her going down for the crime. She's just so irritating with her belief she didn't do anything wrong. August gets Emma to take a new look at the case and they discover a broken part of a shovel where the heart was buried. Henry spies on Regina for Emma to let her know when she can sneak into the garage where she finds the broken shovel and is already to lower the boom on Regina when the broken shovel is gone.
Emma accuses August of betraying her, until she knocks over some flowers Sydney brought her and realizes he bugged her office and that he's been working with Regina all along. Gold promises to use his magic to create a miracle so MM doesn't go down for the crime.
You know, I'm feeling bad for Regina. Granted, Regina maybe be a strict mother, but she's nowhere near the horror that her mother was to her. Yet he has no problem believing she's the evil queen and plotting against her to help the woman that gave him away when he was born.
Gold is sort of on Regina's side, but that's because they cut a deal. She drops the battery charges against him, and they'd set up MM to escape and to try to leave town, knowing what happens to someone if they try to leave Storybrooke. But it seems Gold may be regretting his deal when he gets MM to talk to the DA aka King Charlie Widmore and she basically just helps his case against her to the point Gold puts a stop to the questioning.
Regina also pays a visit to MM to tell her she's getting exactly what she deserves. Of course, MM is all what did I do to deserve this. I wonder if Regina ever told Snow White the truth about what happened to Daniel. That because she couldn't keep her mouth shut, her mother ripped Daniel's heart right out of his chest. That's why Regina wanted Graham to return the favor and rip the heart out of her chest.
Anyway, just as MM is being transported out of town to certain destruction is she tries to cross the county line, Ruby screams when she finds a very much alive Kathryn on the ground. Was this the miracle Gold promised to make happen? And if so, what is Regina going to do to him when she learns he'd double-crossed her?