|Posted by Once Upon A Fan on September 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM|
Theory contains some minor spoilers about season two.
Episode 17 "Hat Trick" definitely ranks among the best episodes of Once's first season. It had a great story, fantastic visuals and a stunning performance by Sebastian Stan as Jefferson, the Mad Hatter.
There are many unanswered questions in this episode: Who was Jefferson's wife, and why was she lost? How do Jefferson and Regina know each other? Where do the other portals within the hat go? But a stand-out among them: who is the Queen of Hearts?
Her face is covered by a veil, and the people in her court all wear masks, implying that she finds herself ugly and requires everyone to hide their faces as well. She also speaks through a tube with an airy, damaged-sounding voice, likely the result of whatever caused her to use the veil. It's obvious that her identity will be a big reveal in a later season. However, I think I know who she is:
The Queen of Hearts is Regina's mother Cora, who is also the miller's daughter from the Rumplestiltskin story. The clues are given in the next episode, "The Stable Boy." Here's how:
The Queen of HEARTS
"The Stable Boy" finally revealed that Regina hates Snow White because she blames Snow for the death of her true love Daniel. Snow had revealed their relationship to Cora, and Cora, in turn, ripped Daniel's heart from his chest and crushed it.
In "Hat Trick," when Regina and Jefferson are about to enter the maze, she tells him she wants a short walk through, and he asks if she knows who the maze belongs to. She says, "The Queen of Hearts. She's not one for subtlety." He then asks if she knows what happens to people who cross the Queen of Hearts. She replies: "Indeed. Better than most."
She knows what happens because she's seen it done already: Cora is the Queen of destroying Hearts. And killing someone by ripping out their heart and crushing it is anything but subtle.
Queen for a Day
When Jefferson is taken before the Queen of Hearts, he is accused of helping to steal from her. Jefferson begins to defend himself, stating "The Queen-," but is interrupted by the footman, who says that "that woman's name is Regina. There is only one Queen. The Queen of Hearts."
Her Highness obviously has some control issues.
In "The Stable Boy," the whole purpose behind Cora's murder of Daniel was to control Regina, and ensure that Regina would end up as King Leopold's Queen. In fact, Cora set it up so that Regina would be queen: Cora made Snow White's horse go wild, which led to Regina saving Snow's life. Cora then accepted King Leopold's proposal in Regina's name, a proposal he never would have made if Cora hadn't made Snow's horse go wild, so that Regina would save her.
She also told Regina that she would live her life the way that Cora wanted because of the deals Cora made to get them out of poverty. And in the beginning of the episode, Cora used magic to bind Regina and told her she will not tolerate insolence.
Cora obviously has some control issues, and clearly wants to be Queen.
Threats, Leverage & Family
When Jefferson and Regina are about to jump into the hat in "Hat Trick," he tells her that the same number of people who enter must exit in order for any of them to leave. After they go through the maze, they arrive at a vault, where Regina opens a drawer and removes a box. (Incidentally, the vault is the same one used by Regina later to contain the Huntsman/Sheriff Graham's heart. Curiouser and curiouser...) Back at the looking glass, the box's contents are revealed to be Regina's father Henry, miniaturized.
After a magic mushroom grows Henry to normal size, Regina tells Jefferson that the Queen of Hearts has always viewed her as a threat, so she kidnapped Regina's father for leverage. After Jefferson realizes that Regina intends to leave him in Wonderland, he begs her to consider his promise to return home to Grace. Regina is secretly moved, but instead tells him: "If you truly cared for your daughter, you never would have left her in the first place... You don't abandon family." (Emphasis mine.)
In "The Stable Boy," Cora says to Regina: "If you loved me, you wouldn't try to run away." I bet Regina feels the same way. With that in mind, imagine what "If you truly cared for your daughter, you never would have left her in the first place" would mean coming from Regina if her mother had left FTL to be Queen in Wonderland. I bet we find out in the *SPOILER AHEAD* 3-episode arc with Cora in Season 2 that Regina hurts Cora with magic in such a way that she needs the veil and speaking tube.
Also, why would the Queen of Hearts view Regina as a threat? Wonderland is an entirely separate land, where the two Queens would never have contact. Regina cannot go to Wonderland on her own or she wouldn't have needed Jefferson's help, so there is no reason for the Queen of Hearts to worry about an attack. The only reason she would have "always" viewed Regina as a threat is if they knew each other in FTL.
And how would the Queen of Hearts know that Regina's father Henry would be the perfect leverage against Regina? What is she using him as leverage for? The only thing that keeping him from Regina would accomplish is Regina's unhappiness- something that Cora has no problem creating.
Who ARE You?
Prior to "Hat Trick" airing, it was announced with great fanfare that the Caterpillar would be voiced by Roger Daltrey of The Who, and it was assumed by some that such an announcement meant that the Caterpillar would play a large role in the story. However, Roger Daltrey's Caterpillar has only three words of dialogue at the beginning of the episode: "Who are you?" It seems strange that they would make the casting seem so significant if it was only for one line. But the one line itself is signifcant in the context of applying it to the Queen of Hearts: who are you?
Don't worry, Caterpillar. You'll find out who she is soon enough.
Categories: Fan Theories