The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 18: The Stable Boy

Regina’s plan to finally get her revenge against Mary Margaret is coming together, while the reason behind their feud is revealed.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Eion Bailey, Jared S. Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle

Season 1
Episode 18: The Stable Boy

The Enchanted Forest

A young Regina rides her horse, while her father watches, but her mother scolds her for doing so. When Regina tries to stomp away, her mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey) drags her back with magic, and Regina complains at her using magic to control her, but promises to be good. Later that evening, Regina meets up with Daniel, the stable boy, and kisses him. Daniel is adamant that Regina tells her parents of their love, but Regina is worried about her mother’s magic and the harm it could do to them.

At that moment, a young girl loses control of her horse nearby and Regina saves her. The young girl tells Regina that her name is Snow White. King Leopold comes to thank Regina for saving Snow, and then proposes marriage to her, as she is the first person to have taken an interest in Snow. That night, Regina proposes to Daniel, explaining the situation she finds herself in, and suggests that they run away together. Snow catches the pair and runs away, causing Regina to pursue her. Snow wants to know why Regina was kissing Daniel, and Regina admits that it’s because she loves Daniel and not her father. Regina makes Snow promise to keep the secret, and Snow agrees, understanding that true love is something special and magical.

The following day, Cora speaks to Snow about the distance between herself and Regina. Snow tells her that to fix it, she needs to let Regina marry who she wants, as she does not love King Leopold. Snow, not wishing for Regina to lose her mother in the same way that she did, tells Cora about Daniel. Regina prepares that night to run away with Daniel, but Cora arrives. She tells Regina that she will not stop her, and Regina gratefully hugs her. Cora gets close to Daniel and rips out his heart and crushes it, killing him in the process. Regina wants to know why Cora has done it, and Cora explains that it’s because this is her happy ending, stating that love is weakness.

Regina is then fitted for her wedding dress, and Snow tells her about how she told Cora about Daniel, believing that Regina is now going to get married to Daniel instead of Leopold. Snow White asks Regina if she is mad, but Regina pretends to be happy and tells Snow that Daniel ran away and that she is now marrying Leopold, because they are going to be a family together. Suddenly cold and impassionate, Regina asks Cora once Snow has gone whether she was the cause of the wild horse. As Regina leaves, she bitterly spits that she should have let Snow die on the horse, unaware that it was actually Cora’s manipulation responsible for Snow’s revelation.


The exact terms of Regina and Gold’s agreement come to light, revealing that a week before Kathryn’s disappearance, Regina intended to frame Mary Margaret. In exchange, Gold wanted the battery charges dropped against him. Meanwhile, in real time, David finds Emma and tries to apologise for thinking Mary Margaret capable of murder, but Emma tells him that at this stage, Mary Margaret needs a miracle to be declared innocent.

Regina threatens that, confession or not, Mary Margaret will be leaving Storybrooke. Mary Margaret is adamant that she will speak to the district attorney, as she is secure in her innocence. Unfortunately, the DA in question is Albert Spencer (Alan Dale), who is King George’s Storybrooke counterpart. He succeeds in agitating Mary Margaret to the extent that she admits that she wanted Kathryn gone. Mr Gold terminates the questioning early, discontent with Spencer’s aggressive line of inquiry.

Emma is desperate to prove Mary Margaret’s innocence, and is encouraged by August to look back over the key elements of the case. At the location where Mary Margaret’s jewellery box was found, they discover a shard from a shovel. When Regina is in the shower, Emma and August break into the garage and discover a broken shovel, which the missing shard attaches onto. Emma returns the following day with a search warrant, but discovers that the shovel has been replaced, leading her to accuse August of telling Regina.

Mary Margaret weeps in her cell and Regina appears to gloat and states that this is what Mary Margaret deserves, and even admits that she knows that she did absolutely nothing wrong. Emma talks to Mr. Gold, who tells her there is still time for him to save Mary Margaret. Frustrated, Emma smashes the tulips that Sidney brought in to her, and discovers that there is a bug within them, and that Sidney is working with Regina. Emma shows August the bug, and apologises, at which point Ruby screams in alarm. Emma and August run to her aid, and discover Kathryn lying on the ground, very much alive.

In Short

  • Snow was manipulated by Regina’s mother to reveal Regina’s secret relationship with Daniel, the stable boy, leading to Regina’s mother killing him.
  • Regina plotted with Mr. Gold to frame Mary Margaret as revenge.
  • Emma and August find evidence that Regina planted Mary Margaret’s jewellery box, but she gets rid of the evidence before Emma can make moves against her.
  • Kathryn is alive, and has been found.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? This week he took up knitting. So far, he has made a little hat for a cricket.
  • This is a lovely point to find out about Regina’s tragic backstory and her feud with Snow White. It’s so strange how all of these decades of animosity have all spanned back to this one event. I wonder whether Regina even still feels the loss and the love from Daniel or is just so consumed in her bitterness and anger at Snow for living her own life and fulfilling her own love, considering that she was robbed of that herself. It’s also so unfortunate that this occurred, as Snow, while her actions ultimately did lead to the loss of Regina’s happy ending, were also manipulated out of her by Cora. The true villain behind the Evil Queen’s story is, in fact, her mother, so I wonder whether this will ever get explored. It’s also interesting that after this event, from what we see, we do not have any conception of Regina blaming her mother for the actions. It’s almost like Regina knew of that monster, and had accommodated for it, but it was the unexpected factor of Snow intervening that caused the most ire. I almost wish that Regina’s backstory had been peppered a bit more throughout the series in little chunks, helping us to fully understand the love story between Regina and Daniel to make it that much more emotionally affecting for the audience when Cora kills him. It’s so hard to do justice to an epic romance within the constraints of a 40-minute episode, half of which is focussed upon the Storybrooke elements.
  • Regina confronting Mary Margaret as she sobs was an absolutely stunning piece of acting from both Lana and Ginnifer. The absolute horror in Mary Margaret’s face when she realises that Regina is actively sabotaging her, and wants to see her be punished for actions she did not commit is spot on, and Regina’s pain and anger is visceral.
  • The main function of this episode is to allow us understanding into Regina’s character, and it comes in spades here. The entire rivalry between Snow and Regina is at last uncovered, and it is entirely understandable. I’m not sure if any of us would quite go to the extremes that Regina has done, but I suppose we also don’t have the same means to perform the same actions.
  • It’s also commendable that now that I’ve seen the tragic roots that Regina comes from, I just want to see her gain her happy ending. I wonder whether Regina will actually get any satisfaction from taking away other people’s. After all, she existed for 28 years in her bubble, with all of the other fairytale creatures without their memories and suffering, and yet it did not quite bring her the contentedness that she clearly displays with Daniel. Clearly she has a different idea of what a happy ending will look for her, but really in revenge she’s hoping somehow to offset Daniel’s loss, and it doesn’t appear to be working.
  • The transformation that we see Regina go through in that final scene to the controlled and measured Evil Queen persona is absolutely breathtaking. You can see the hurt and the fragility behind the forced voice. It is so well done, and lends such a brilliant understanding to Regina and her character.
  • Also, a brilliant element of this episode is Barbara Hershey as Regina’s mother Cora. Firstly, I wonder how she came to have magic in the first place. You can also see where Regina learned everything, as the model within her life. They clearly haven’t got the best relationship, but there are lots of common elements between the two of them. I hope that Cora crops up again – she doesn’t appear to be in Storybrooke, so there must be more to the story that we have not yet seen, considering we already know what happened to Regina’s father.

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