Regina could have been good! What else is new?
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, and Robert Carlyle.
If this week’s fairytale flashbacks had been placed at any other earlier juncture in the show, it might have seemed extraordinary and touching. Indeed, it often feels that way: suitably buoyed by both Lana Parrilla and Ginnifer Goodwin’s charming performances, but ultimately it’s just retreading old ground. How many times do we have to see the same story occur in the Enchanted Forest to get the point across? There were many, many points in her past where Regina had the opportunity to reform her character. Unfortunately, the more times that we see that happen in the past, the more irritating it becomes. To know that Regina has been close to turning her life around at multiple points in her past, and hasn’t, is just frustrating when the show is trying to paint her as a human capable of redemption. Furthermore, I long for past Regina to have something to do other than dogmatically hunting down Snow White.
It is more frustrating when this mirrors the actions in the present day. Despite the strides she has made towards the side of good this season, Regina, when faced with the possibility of Snow and Charming leading Storybrooke’s inhabitants back to the Enchanted Forest, Regina decides that she is going to utilise the fail safe that will terminate Storybrooke, allowing for her and Henry to escape. In her defence, Snow and Charming’s “compromise” for Regina coming with them was for her to be locked in Rumple’s cell the entire time they were there (as if that’s a favour?), but Regina’s plan to entirely destroy Storybrooke is not needed. Taking her own supply of magic beans to allow her to travel independently and maintain her freedom, I could sympathise with, but she clearly shows that her first instinct is to murder to get out of a situation.
Ultimately, this episode, while showing us a delightful moment of familial closeness between Regina and Snow in the past, also serves to take Regina out of the equation by having Tamara and Greg capture her. Once again, her sense of entitlement and pettiness serve as her downfall, as Hook’s cuff from Cora is claimed by Regina, serving to dampen her magic and allow Tamara and Greg to overpower her. Other than this, Regina destroys the town’s supply of beans so that the Charmings can no longer escape to the Enchanted Forest, and Emma and Henry investigate Tamara, as Emma becomes suspicious of Neal’s new fiancée.
- In the Enchanted Forest, Regina is cloaked by Rumple to allow her to kill Snow White.
- Regina ends up getting closer to Snow than she intended, and gets close to making a meaningful change.
- In the present, Regina destroys the town’s supply of beans.
- Emma and Henry start to investigate Tamara, but are unable to convince anybody else that she is the woman August tried to warn them about.
- Regina is captured by Tamara and Greg.
- An interesting new concept covered in the past here is the idea of the public not loving Regina, and her wanting them to see her “goodness”. It’s interesting that she conceives of herself as good and that she wants to be good once she has eliminated Snow White. Who knew that it would take so long?
- The Evil Queen is truly dreadful at remembering that she doesn’t look like herself. She behaves in a horrendously outspoken way, so it’s little wonder that she was targeted by the guards.
- My poor British ears were shocked when the guards called Regina a “slag”.
- I loved Neal, and Snow, calling Emma out on her “superpower”. They’re right – it has been horrendously inconsistent.
- On that topic, Neal and Emma have incredible chemistry still. The way that he teased her over her superpower and when he found her in his room, it’s obvious that he still has feelings for her, and her for him as well.
- I can’t believe that Charming and Snow genuinely think that they’re doing Regina a favour by saying that she can come to the Enchanted Forest if she spends the rest of her life in captivity. That’s not a deal, guys! Couldn’t you just find some way to strip her of her magic or something like that? There must be some way to make that happen.
- Could Regina not have taken off the cuff so that she could use magic? Could she not tell that she couldn’t use magic? I’d assume that people would notice that sort of thing.
A fairly bland instalment, seemingly recycling plot points we have seen play out before, and ultimately serves to just create more tension for the finale episodes.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.