A lot of the flashbacks this season have been paralleled by the respective character polarising it in present day Storybrooke. Belle losing herself was contrasted by her finding her identity when she set out on her own in the Enchanted Forest. More recently, August succumbing to temptation in Thailand was negated by his act of bravery in the present. In ‘The Evil Queen’, Regina’s past encounters fell in line with her current ones. It’s something that strengthens the actions in both instances, but one thing that concerns me is what this might mean for her character’s journey this season.
She’s gone from a lamenting ex-villain to a revering daughter, and now she’s taken a turn towards vengeance again. I spend the majority of the episode debating whether or not I’m buying into this chain of development. On one hand she’s learned just how much her repentance has meant to Henry, and earning back his love and trust has always been where her motivations have come from this season. Why would she think that scheming and manipulating behind the scenes to kill everyone else her son cares about is OK? It’s extreme and pretty despicable.
But then I remember how hurt she’s been since Cora died. Regina has only just come around to accepting the mistake that Snow had made years ago when her ignorance lead to Daniel’s death, and then Snow’s temporary misgivings lead to the death of her mother, just when she needed her most.
I think the main problem is that her actions here are just far too extreme. But that’s always been her style. She massacred a whole village just to track Snow down. Now that she’s found a way to get what she wants most (Henry), there’s no reason not to think she would do the same to Storybrooke, especially given how jilted she’s been feeling.
Snow’s a character that’s never hit any extreme either way. In flashbacks we are afforded the rare opportunity of watching her embrace her more exciting role as saviour and bandit. It’s only in these cases that we see that side of her tie so nicely with the benevolent side, which was enough to temporarily convince Regina that she has the opportunity to give up her quest of tyranny, but only temporarily. If there’s one thing this show has taught me it’s that no character transformation is permanent.
Elsewhere, Emma and Henrys' return to their secret agent posts was fun to watch. They always make a good team and the fun rapport between them was at its best this week. It’s a little annoying that Emma’s gut instinct is being relegated to jealous ex-syndrome, though. Can’t a woman’s intuition about another woman just be taken at face value, and not down to a case of the green-eyed monster?
Clearly Tamara is a little shady. My opinion keeps changing as the show slowly opens up on her and Owen’s secret plot. First I thought Owen was only in this for his father, but apparently that’s just a part of his plan. Can we believe that his and Tamaras’ respective end-games are on the same page?
It’s worrying that the show is arriving at its penultimate episode with this season’s inherent problems still intact. I’m praying for a last minute turnaround for Regina, just to make her journey this season stand for something, but I’m not going to get my hopes up just yet. All hands on deck for next week though; we’re Neverland bound!
I was sort of hoping Emma had snuck something out of the floorboards and not told Neil and Henry about it.
Nice to see Hook back in the game again. If only his respect for Cora had meant more to him, Regina wouldn’t be stuck in some potato sack right now.
Regina Fashion Watch: Gotta love her hunting gear; shoulder pad alert! Not too sold on the peasant look. It’s not for everyone though; don’t take it to heart Regina.
He Said, She Said
Rumple: “Well, it seems you’ve taken to power quite well. Gives your cheeks a nice rosy colour.”
Regina: “They don’t see the good in me, the good you’ve seen. They only see the evil queen, which they made me.”
Also posted at Doux Reviews and Nad's Reviews.