Revenge is the dish of which we are partaking this week, and a cold dish it is! With so many unknown stories looming in Storybrooke, we come face-to-face with one very familiar story: the story of The Count of Monte Cristo. As we read in our high school literature classes, The Count of Monte Cristo, which was written by Alexandre Dumas, tells of betrayal by Edmund Dantes’ neighbors and “friends.” He is framed for treason and is arrested on his wedding day. While in prison, he meets a priest who bequeaths him his fortune on the island of Monte Cristo. Edmund escapes, makes it to the island where he gains the treasure, and begins plotting his revenge. We pick up his backstory on OUAT at the beginning of his revenge plot. He plans a party and immediately kills Baron Danglars. As he runs his sword through his middle, his other guests flee and the Evil Queen announces herself sitting in the corner. She offers him the rest of the names of the people who framed him in exchange for him killing the Charmings with the venom from an Agrabah Viper. Because revenge is something he shares with the Evil Queen, he readily accepts the task.
Edmund poses as a villager who has been devastated by the Evil Queen and gains his way into the employ of the Charmings, awaiting an opportunity to complete his task. He also meets a girl named Charlotte who is acting as a nurse, helping when needed. He has an opportunity to put the venom in the Charmings’ wine, however Charlotte appears and they offer her a glass as well. Edmund cannot allow Charlotte to be hurt, so he takes the wine away and goes to the kitchen. While there, he meets Rumplestiltskin.
In a previous flashback, Rumple had put a protection spell on the Charmings so that the Evil Queen could not kill them. He needs them to produce a child to break the Dark Curse (which, at this moment in the flashback, the Evil Queen refuses to cast). When Rumple meets Edmund in the kitchen, he causes Charlotte to be poisoned with the venom and he shows Edmund the portal to the Land of Untold Stories explaining that if they ever left, their story would be finished and the poison would kill her. Edmund takes Charlotte and leaves through the portal. However, with their arrival to Storybrooke, the clock begins again and Charlotte’s lifeless body is found by Regina.
Back in Storybrooke, the Evil Queen and Zelena go to Regina’s vault. She takes Edmund’s heart and uses him to continue with her plan to kill the Charmings. (She still can’t kill them herself because of Rumple’s protection spell). Edmund starts by leaving an invitation for the Charmings to meet him. Regina immediately tells them she contracted him to kill them. They go to the meeting, which ends in a sword fight between David and Edmund. The Evil Queen is there to command the situation. Edmund gets the upperhand and knocks out the Charmings. He goes in for the kill when Henry and Regina rush in. Regina is ultimately the one who hurls a sword at Edmund, killing him. The Evil Queen reveals to Regina that her goal here was not to kill the Charmings, but to have Regina kill Edmund, showing her that she will always have the Evil Queen inside her.
There is also a great dynamic between Zelena and the Evil Queen. Although they don’t have much screen time together, what they do share is exceptional. Zelena has been struggling with how to fit in with Regina’s newly found heroism. She wants to have a relationship with Regina, but she doesn’t quite know if Regina trusts her or even wants to. While in the vault, the Evil Queen tests her to see if she would alert Regina. When she keeps the secret, the Evil Queen praises her. At this point, they forge a sisterly bond that she and Regina have yet to create.
While all of this is going on, Emma is still having visions of her death, this time revealing to Archie that the person in the cloak is Regina (however, it is unclear if it is truly Regina or the Evil Queen). Emma still tries to be the Savior by attempting to drive her parents out of town to protect them from Edmund, however, there is a protection spell around the town, much like there was at the beginning of the Dark Curse. They are all trapped in Storybrooke… again.
The consequences of Rumple’s actions are still coming back to haunt him when Belle decides to leave him and seeks refuge with Hook. Hook is still plagued with the fact that he shot her when he first came to Storybrooke seeking revenge on the Crocodile. True to her character, Belle forgives him and they share a nice moment. Hook offers her The Jolly Roger as an escape from Rumple. He is treading on very thin ice here, because he has already stolen a woman from Rumplestiltskin and, whether or not Hook is “stealing” Belle or not, Rumple will not be happy about it.
Henry doesn’t have much of a presence in this episode, however he does begin Operation Cobra II with Regina. After nothing goes the way he expectes, he remembers that sequels are always more involved that the original stories. He regroups to begin thinking of ways to be productive. As the author, he might be faced with being able to write the story that he wants instead of the story that is. If he chooses that route, there will be consequences.
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of many of the untold stories that have been revealed. There are so many questions that have yet to be answered. One in particular is what will happen when the Evil Queen and Hyde meet? Will they join forces or will they fight for power over Storybrooke? Will Zelena betray Regina and help the Evil Queen? Who will be the one to break the curse this time? I give the episode between a 7 and 8 out of 10 and look forward to more.