"Once you blacken your heart it only grows darker." So at the end of this week's Once Upon a Time, "Welcome to Storybrooke," the evil queen (Lana Parrilla) believes her revenge on Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) has ironically been set in motion, not by her own hand, but by Snow's own. And who knows better than Regina about taking the dark path through life?
"Welcome to Storybrooke" is an episode packed with information and answers as we are transported back to the first days of the town, a place that doesn't exist beyond its borders. To that very first day after Regina's curse is enacted, bringing them all to a modern-day (but slightly surreal) New England town.
Awakening in 1983, Regina is delighted with her "win." Everyone goes about their business as if they had done it "as long as anyone can remember." But what they don't remember, except for Regina, is their lives before Storybrooke.
But Regina has only gotten part of what she wanted. Yes, she's put an end to the happiness of the Charming family. But she, herself, has not gotten that happy ending she has for so long craved.
Realizing that her curse hasn't worked quite the way she wanted, she tinkers with it, but still, she acquires no happiness. No one loves her, and that is the one thing that has always eluded her.
Complaining to Mr. Gold in his shop, she insists this was not the deal they had made so long ago. But alas, it appears as if Mr. Gold, too has no recollection of life before Storybrooke. (Or does he, and is just not saying?)
The episode begins with a teaser that seems right out of The X-Files (and ironically guest stars John Pyper-Ferguson, who appeared on that iconic series in season five). A father (Pyper-Ferguson) and son, camping in the woods in 1983 experience a bizarre storm, but they soon discover the existence of Storybrooke. "It's as if an entire town was dropped right on top of us," says the bemused father to his son Owen.
Regina is surprised by their presence in her town; they don't seem to belong there. They worry her, but she is drawn to the boy. In her own perverse craving for love, she mistakes the boy's warmth for love, and schemes to keep him (and the dad) in Storybrooke. When she realizes that it's a bit more complicated than just desiring it, she uses her power and magic to hold them both--until she realizes she cannot, and lets the boy go.