REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep2 – A Bitter Draught

The second episode of Once Upon a Time introduces another new character from the Land of Untold Stories: The Count of Monte Cristo. And by now we know that even characters from classic literature will somehow have a connection, however tenuous, to the main cast of the show. Back in season one, nearly every minor character introduced had made a deal of some kind with Rumplestiltskin. It’s almost the same case here, though the Count had more of a history with the Evil Queen.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep2 - A Bitter DraughtThere was a brief but lavish scene from the story The Count of Monte Cristo, as he exacts his revenge on the man who wronged him. Naturally, this desire for vengeance appeals to the Evil Queen who enlists the Count’s help for her own vendetta. He disguises himself and tries to poison Snow and Charming but in the usual Once Upon a Time fashion, he falls in love with a handmaid (who’s been with Snow a lot but has only appeared conveniently in this episode) who reminds him of his dead fiancée.

Back in Storybrooke, the Count is now being heart-controlled by the Evil Queen, and he tries to murder Snow and Charming once again. Regina tries to make things right but it only leads to more complications. There’s a pretty thrilling sword fight between her and the Count and it’s great to see Regina exhibiting her mad fencing skills as opposed to launching fire balls. But the duel ends tragically and with her magic weakened, Regina is forced to kill the Count, causing her immense guilt. This leads to the Evil Queen revealing herself and confronting Regina, declaring her intent on ruining everyone’s stories as the big bad of this season of Once Upon a Time. She leaves them with an ominous threat:

The people from the Land of Untold Stories aren’t the only ones with tales they don’t want told. And when your stories finally play out, I’ll just sit back and watch you tear yourselves apart.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep2 - A Bitter DraughtMeanwhile, Emma lays low in the episode, spending some quality time with Archie as she at least confides in one person about her disturbing visions. It’s good to see Emma opening up about her troubles to at least one person, and it’s always great to see Archie again. In the end, Emma worries that the hooded stranger who stabs her fatally may possibly be Regina or the Evil Queen.

The Evil Queen has been very busy wreaking havoc all around town. You got to hand it to her, she’s thorough. She tries to forge a relationship with Zelena, convincing the latter that she is the sister Zelena truly wants, one who has more in common with her than Regina will ever have. She also dangles a mysterious coin as well as the truth about the death of Charming’s father.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep2 - A Bitter DraughtShe got this important artifact after an intense and seductive visit to Rumple. As messed up as their dynamic is, it was still a fascinating scene to watch since both of them have great chemistry together. And with Belle currently seeking refuge on the Jolly Roger (of all places!), Rumple’s all alone. But he’s not likely to fall for the Queen’s charms. At least not yet. Whatever her plans are, it’s clear that she’s going to try and drag Regina back into the darkness. How the reformed queen will be able to resist her Evil Half is bound to be a fascinating journey to watch.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, we’ll see a darker side to Cinderella as well as a proper introduction to Aladdin and Jasmine: