I was expecting something to happen this week, but to be honest, I wasn’t expecting what actually happened to happen….at least not yet. This week we get to learn more about Cora, which loosely follows the actual Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. Sort of. Anyway, I’ve kind of been wondering about Cora’s past and what exactly made her so…bitchy and power-hungry. Rose McGowan guest stars this week and the young Cora and I actually had to do a double take. She looked like Rose McGowan…but didn’t. Anyway, we’ve known that Rumps and Cora had a past, but this shows just how sordid it actually was. I have to say, I actually felt a little sorry for Rumple at one point.
I’ll be honest here and say that OUaT was on hit this week. This was probably one of the strongest episodes of the season so far and I attribute that to the fact that it was written by the great Jane Espenson. The thing about Espenson penned episodes is that they focus on character. That’s exactly what The Miller’s Daughter was all about. Also, as usual, there were some lessons to be learned as well. Through the course of the series, the viewer has been told time and again, and the characters have learned time again that all magic comes with a price. The same can be said for power and ambition as well.
We start out in FTL this week, where a young Cora delivers flour to the castle in place of her father, who’s passed out drunk at home. As she hauls her wares, Princess Ava, a guest of the King, trips Cora. Cora ends up on the ground amidst the flour that spilled everywhere, and Princess Ava blames Cora for getting a few specks of flour on her precious slippers. The King (played by Joaquim de Almeida) demands that Cora kneel and apologize, which she begrudgingly does.
Later on, Cora dons a mask and a fabulous red gown and sneaks into the ball that is being hosted at the castle by the King. She dances with the prince, but the King cuts in and tells her that even dressed up, he knows who she is and points out the straw stuck to her dress. Knowing the end result isn’t going to be good, Cora stops the King from throwing her out by telling him that she has the ability to spin straw into gold. The King decides to call her bluff and locks her in the tower to prove it. Cora realizes she’s in a bit of a pickle once she’s locked in the tower, but then, as told by the original fairytale, gets a visit by Rumpelstiltskin. He tells her that he actually can spin straw into gold and proves it. She demands that he show her how, but of course, there is a price to be paid….her firstborn. She willing agrees (who does that?!?) and begs him to teach her. He tells her that magic is all about emotion and that she needs to focus on one moment where she felt nothing but hate and to see the end result. Her moment is when Princess Ava made her kneel and her wish is to do the same to all those who think they are better than anyone else. Needless to say it works and she proves her worth to the King, who in turn promises her to his son.
The wedding day is approaching and Cora is trying on her gown in her chambers. Rumpelstiltskin shows up and the two share a nice tender moment full of love. Cora wants him to change the contract they made and instead of giving him her firstborn, she wants it to read that he gets their firstborn. To which he readily agrees. Cora still wants revenge and says that she needs to kill the King, and goes on to explain in detail how she wants to remove his heart and show it to him as she does the deed. Of course, Rumpelstiltskin instructs her how it’s done.
Cora goes to see the King and proceeds with her plan. Later on, she meets Rumpelstiltskin in the forest, carrying a box that contains a heart. Rumpelstiltskin kisses her and immediately notices a difference and she tells him that he was her weakness, so she removed her own heart instead of the King’s. Appalled he reminds her of their deal, but she stops him, reminding him that their deal was changed and any child she has, will not be with him. Ouch.
Fast forward approximately 9-10 months and Cora stands before her court with the Prince as they present their new-born daughter, Cora, who will one day become Queen.
Emma, Henry, Neal and Gold are heading back to Storybrooke via the Jolly Roger. Gold is slowly dying in berthing and he makes a crack about how Emma must be happy that it’s happening. She reminds him that he’s Henry’s grandfather, so therefore they are family and she isn’t going to let him die. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Regina and Cora listen in to a phone conversation that Emma has with Mary Margaret. Cora realizes that the name on the dagger is slowly disappearing much like Marty McFly did in the picture when he went back to the future. Cora tells Regina that she’ll have to stab Gold with the dagger in order to take his power, otherwise it’ll disappear if he dies.
Mary Margaret, David and Ruby meet them at the docks and Emma sends Henry with Ruby. The rest head back to Gold’s shop and he instructs Emma to place a protection spell over the building. After some coaxing, she manages to do it, but it doesn’t last long when Cora and Regina show up and barge their way in. While David, Emma and Neal fight them off, Gold asks Mary Margaret to get him a blanket. It’s all a round about sort of way for her to discover the candle that is used to take a life and she recognizes it as the same candle that Cora (disguised as the Blue Fairy) gave her as a child. Gold tells Mary Margaret that Cora must be stopped and she’s the one to do it. However, Mary Margaret has to find Cora’s heart, light the candle, say her name, then get Cora’s heart back in her body. No pressure at all….such an easy task!
During the scuffle with Cora and Regina, David is tossed outside and Mary Margaret uses it as a way to escape so she can get her mitts on Cora’s heart. Emma and Neal retreat into the back room and Emma once again places the protection spell. Cora senses that something is wrong and sends Regina after her heart, while she tries to get into the back room. In the meantime, Gold makes a call to Belle and tells her that he loves her. Neal is surprised by the tenderness Gold displayed and tells him so. Father and son then have a rather tender moment themselves.
At Regina’s vault, Mary Margaret finds Cora’s heart and works the mojo. As she’s leaving she runs into Regina who demands to know what she’s doing there. Mary Margaret tells her that she was getting the heart for her because without it, Cora can’t truly love. It’s a valid argument and a rather crafty one as well. Well played Mary Margaret! Regina takes the heart back to Gold’s shop and when she returns, Cora has made it into the back room. Just as Cora is about to stab Gold with the dagger, Regina shoves Cora’s heart back into her. Cora drops the dagger, and Gold realizes that he’s healed. Cora looks at Regina and I’ll give major props to Barbara Hershey here, has that look of a mother’s love multiplied by a factor of ten. Regina sees it too and begins to get all teary eyed, up until the cursed heart kills Cora. Regina immediately blames Gold, but he simply says he didn’t do anything. Regina realizes it was Mary Margaret.
David finds Mary Margaret on the steps of Regina’s family vault and she’s pretty much turned into a basket case because of the guilt she feels for being responsible for ending a life.
I did not expect Cora to go out like that. She was so evil I’m almost sad to see her go. This will put an interesting spin on things with Regina who will no doubt be blinded by her quest for vengeance. But really, I think she had it coming. Now that Gold is all better, the question is will Neal stick around. I’m thinking he probably will. For a while at least. Also, what’s the deal with the stranger? Looking ahead to next week’s episode it looks like John Pyper-Ferguson guest stars in some capacity. This pleases me greatly. I really like him but have no idea who he plays or what his connection is to Storybrooke or FTL. There are only six episodes left in the season so expect more upheaval.
I cheated and looked ahead at the remaining episode titles and the last two are titled “Second Star on the Right” and “And Straight On Till Morning”. I’m thinking that Neal is Peter Pan since he knew how to sail Hook’s ship and made a crack that where he ended up wasn’t his first stop. That’s my bet. We’ll see if it holds true.Tags: Barbara Hershey, Emilie de Ravine, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jared Gilmore, Jennifer Morrison, Joaquim de Almeida, Josh Dallas, Lana Parilla, Michael Raymond-James, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time 2x16, Once Upon a Time recap, Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 16, Once Upon a Time The Miller's Daughter, OUaT, Robert Carlyle, Rose McGowan