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Once Upon a Time Wiki
The Evil Queen
Season 2, Episode 20
Airdate April 28, 2013
Written by Christine Boylan
Jane Espenson
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Episode Guide
Second Star to the Right

The Evil Queen is the 20th episode of the second season of the American ABC fantasy/drama television series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 42nd episode overall. It aired on April 28, 2013.

In this episode, Hook helps Regina find a way to get her and Henry to the Enchanted Forest; and Emma and Henry investigate Tamara. In flashbacks, the Evil Queen goes undercover to kill Snow White.

The episode was written by Christine Boylan & Jane Espenson and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton.

View the The Evil Queen Gallery.


Opening Sequence

The Evil Queen's fortress appears in the forest.

Event Chronology

The Enchanted Forest events take place after "Child of the Moon" and before "Ariel". The Storybrooke events take place after "Lacey".

In the Characters' Past

In the Enchanted Forest, Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) searches for the fugitive Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and finds that Snow has recently left a village. Regina offers the villagers gold for information on Snow, whom she denounces as the murderer of Leopold, but they remain silent. Regina orders all the villagers killed. She meets with Rumplestiltstkin, asking to learn Cora's shape-shifting spell. He tells her it would take too long to teach it, instead offering to cast it on her himself, in exchange for her cutting off trade with King George's kingdom in order to bankrupt him. She agrees and is transformed into an inconspicuous peasant. She will be unable to use her own magic while under the spell, but she plans to get close enough to Snow White to murder her with her own hands, and then cast herself as a hero instead of the "Evil Queen" her subjects call her.

In a marketplace, Regina is unable to contain her anger at seeing the public defacement of an effigy of herself; blamed for the crime and mocked as a madwoman when she proclaims herself the queen, guards take her to be beheaded. Snow White appears and rescues her from the chopping block, taking her to a forest hideout to nurse her injuries. Regina asks why Snow, a known fugitive, would risk her own life to help her, a stranger. Snow explains that a stranger saved her life when she was a little girl on a runaway horse, and that two people can form a true connection through kindness. At Regina's prompting, Snow also speaks of Regina as they move within the forest, saying that if Regina were truly repentant and wanted to be a family, Snow could forgive her for sending the Huntsman after her. But when they come to the massacred village, Snow declares that there is no good in Regina and her crimes are unforgivable. Regina reminds Snow that Regina saved her from the horse, a connection Snow never revealed, leading Snow to recognize Regina. Snow nocks an arrow but does not shoot as Regina flees. Regina comes to the palace of Rumplestiltskin, who has repeatedly ignored her verbal summons. He forces her to acknowledge that neither Snow nor the people will ever accept her, then restores her appearance. She embraces her identity as the "Evil Queen."

In Storybrooke

At the library clock tower, Greg (Ethan Embry) and Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) remove Hook's (Colin O'Donoghue) hood, begin their plot to take magic from Storybrooke, and look for Greg's father. The outsiders offer Hook a chance to help them, but Hook says that he already succeeded in his mission in killing Rumplestiltskin. But the two show Hook that his mission failed by giving him his telescope to show him that Mr. Gold and Lacey are still alive. Hook reluctantly gives in to their demands. At the same time, at the docks, David (Josh Dallas) and Mary Margaret discuss what to do about Regina, knowing that every time they tried to trust her she kept breaking those promises, unaware that Regina, posing as a fisherman, is hearing the conversation and vows that she will not be locked away. The following morning, Regina approaches Henry at the park and tries to manipulate him into believing that his family is about to take him away from her by showing off the magic beans that would transport them back to the Enchanted Forest. However, when Regina tells Henry that she plans to solve the problem by unleashing a fail-safe trigger that would wipe out Storybrooke, Henry tells Regina that she has not changed. Before he can warn the family, Regina takes out her book of spells and gives him a short-term memory block to make him forget about the conversation and they start over as if nothing happened.

Meanwhile, at Granny's Diner, Emma Swan bumps into Tamara moments after she picks up sandwiches for her and Neal/Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James). As Emma helps her, she notices Tamara has a list of Storybrooke residents and their true identities. Tamara is quick to pick it up but assures Emma that she won't reveal the truth about Storybrooke. Emma deduces that Tamara is the "she" that August warned her about, but when she runs this by Mary Margaret, her mother dismisses it as Emma's jealousy towards Tamara because Emma might have feelings for Neal. Mary Margaret warns Emma if Henry finds out, he will want to reunite his parents, so she tells Emma not worry about it until she has proof. However, Henry heard everything and now wants to tag along with Emma and restart Operation Cobra. At the Inn, the two stake out the place until Neal and Tamara leave so Emma can snoop with Henry as a lookout. Inside, she checks the room until she notices a creaking sound on the floor, only to have Neal return to discover Emma trying to pry the floor open. Emma insists Tamara is not to be trusted, but the floorboard reveals nothing. She tells Neal that Tamara has a list of Storybrooke residents; however, Neal tells Emma that he gave Tamara the list so she can tell who's who in town. Emma and Henry believe that Tamara might be planning something, but Henry thinks that Neal and Emma should get back together and brings up the subject of the magic beans to Emma. When Mary Margaret, David, and Leroy arrive at the bean field, they discover the crop was burned, leading to speculation that someone found out at the last moment.

At the Mayor's office, Hook shows up to warn Regina about Greg and Tamara, and that he was offered a deal to help them take magic from Storybrooke, but tells Regina that he can help her by betraying the outsiders, reminding her how loyal he was to Cora, who he learns has died. Regina agrees to this alliance and explains that the curse has a fail-safe trigger that will wipe Storybrooke off the map and retrieving the device would be the only way to take Henry with her now that she has found out about the magic beans. As the two venture down the library's elevator for what Regina reveals to Hook was a two-man operation, Regina notices Hook wearing Cora's arm brace and demands that he give it to her, and he does. When they reach the bottom, Regina tells Hook that this task requires a distraction, so she pushes Hook down into the lair to face a wraith-like Maleficent while Regina heads to Snow White's coffin to pick up a black diamond. As Regina returns to the top of the library, she is shocked to see Hook is there as she hands over the diamond. Regina has been betrayed by Hook, since he had been allied with Greg and Tamara all along. Regina also discovers that she cannot use her powers, as the leather cuff Hook gave her and placed on her left wrist renders her powers useless. As Tamara takes out her list of Storybrooke residents and identities, Greg tells her that Regina is the "Evil Queen" before they bag her.


"The Evil Queen" was co-written by Christine Boylan & Jane Espenson, while Gwyneth Horder-Payton served as the episode's director.


  • Berkeley and Rivers the names of Reginas guards have royal connections. Berkeley was the name of a noble family and in the 1300s Thomas Berkeley was arrested for his role in the death of King Edward II. Rivers was the name given to the father of Elizabeth Woodville who married King Edward IV.


Hook: You ever wonder if this constant pursuit for revenge is the reason we have no one who cares for us? I mean, when all this is over and I know the Crocodile is dead for good and all... I'll have nothing to look forward to. My life will be empty. Revenge may sate your being, but don't misunderstand me, my dear. It's an end, not a beginning.
Henry Mills: Operation Cobra was about breaking the curse. This is about keeping Storybrooke secret. We need a new name.
Emma Swan: Operation Tiger.
Henry Mills: Why?
Emma Swan: *I* need a "why"? You never need a "why"!
Evil Queen: I don't understand them. I offer these peasants a fortune; and still they protect Snow White. Why are they loyal to her and not me, hm? I am their Queen.
Rumplestiltskin: You did just slaughter an entire village. Maybe that's why they call you the "Evil Queen".
Evil Queen: But I am not evil. They call me that because of her. She's the evil one.
Rumplestiltskin: They're her people, dearie. You're gonna have to be content with their fear. They'll never love you.
Evil Queen: The Queen is dead. Long live... the Evil Queen.
[Snow White tells the disguised Queen how she once was saved by a stranger - Regina herself - from the brink of death]
Snow White: She risked her own life. It changed me. My mother always told me to keep goodness in my heart, and this woman proved that she was right. - You OK?
Evil Queen: I'm good, I'm listening. - It "changed" you?
Snow White: Yes. It taught me that there can be this genuine, selfless connection between people, even strangers.
Evil Queen: You want to hear you were right, is that it, hm? Well, you were right.
Rumplestiltskin: Oh, I like that. Right about what?
Evil Queen: They'll never love me.
Rumplestiltskin: So sad; and yet... so true.
David Nolan: You know, when we get back, Leroy, we're going to need your help restoring the palace.
Mary Margaret Blanchard: It's in pretty bad shape.
Leroy: Cosmetic or a total teardown?
Mary Margaret Blanchard: Burn down.
Evil Queen: When Snow is dead, then they will see my kindness.
Rumplestiltskin: Through the charred remains of their homes. I'm sure that will be perfectly clear.
[on the market, Carny is presenting an effigy of the Evil Queen with a big red heart on its chest]
Evil Queen: [in disguise] That... that-that's the Queen.
Carny: The Evil Queen. Step right up and sink an arrow into her heart!
Evil Queen: Tha-that's not right.
Carny: Well, it's fixed, actually. You... you can't hit the Queen in the heart. Because she ain't got one!
Peasant Boy: Kill the Evil Queen!
All: Kill the Queen!
Season 1
PilotThe Thing You Love MostSnow FallsThe Price of GoldThat Still Small VoiceThe ShepherdThe Heart Is a Lonely HunterDesperate SoulsTrue North7:15 A.M.Fruit of the Poisonous TreeSkin DeepWhat Happened to FrederickDreamyRed-HandedHeart of DarknessHat TrickThe Stable BoyThe ReturnThe StrangerAn Apple Red as BloodA Land Without Magic
Season 2
BrokenWe Are BothLady of the LakeThe CrocodileThe DoctorTallahasseeChild of the MoonInto the DeepQueen of HeartsThe Cricket GameThe OutsiderIn the Name of the BrotherTinyManhattanThe Queen Is DeadThe Miller's DaughterWelcome to StorybrookeSelfless, Brave and TrueLaceyThe Evil QueenSecond Star to the RightAnd Straight On 'til Morning
Season 3
The Heart of the Truest BelieverLost GirlQuite a Common FairyNasty HabitsGood FormAriel (Episode)Dark HollowThink Lovely ThoughtsSave HenryThe New NeverlandGoing HomeNew York City SerenadeWitch HuntThe TowerQuiet MindsIt's Not Easy Being GreenThe Jolly RogerBleeding ThroughA Curious ThingKansasSnow DriftsThere's No Place Like Home
Season 4
A Tale of Two SistersWhite OutRocky RoadThe ApprenticeBreaking GlassFamily BusinessThe Snow QueenSmash the MirrorFallShattered SightHeroes and VillainsDarkness on the Edge of TownUnforgivenEnter the DragonPoor Unfortunate SoulBest Laid PlansHeart of GoldSympathy for the De VilLilyMotherOperation Mongoose
Season 5
The Dark SwanThe PriceSiege PerilousThe Broken KingdomDreamcatcherThe Bear and the BowNimueBirthThe Bear KingBroken HeartSwan SongSouls of the DepartedLabor of LoveDevil's DueThe Brothers JonesOur DecayHer Handsome HeroRuby SlippersSistersFirebirdLast RitesOnly YouAn Untold Story
Season 6
The SaviorA Bitter DraughtThe Other ShoeStrange CaseStreet RatsDark WatersHeartlessI'll Be Your MirrorChangelingsWish You Were HereTougher Than the RestMurder Most FoulIll-Boding PatternsPage 23A Wondrous PlaceMother's Little HelperAwakeWhere Bluebirds FlyThe Black FairyThe Song in Your HeartThe Final Battle
Season 7
Hyperion HeightsA Pirate's LifeThe Garden of Forking PathsBeautyGreenbacksWake Up CallEloise GardenerPretty in BlueOne Little TearThe Eighth WitchSecret GardenA Taste of the HeightsKnightfallThe Girl in the TowerSisterhoodBreadcrumbsChosenThe GuardianFlower ChildIs This Henry Mills?HomecomingLeaving Storybrooke
Down the Rabbit HoleTrust MeForget Me NotThe SerpentHeart of StoneWho's AliceBad BloodHomeNothing to FearDirty Little SecretsHeart of the MatterTo Catch a ThiefAnd They Lived...