The Queen Strikes Back

You know I think that best thing about season six of Once Upon a Time is that Regina is in almost every scene. Anyway, spoilers under the cut.

Let’s start with the Queen
Regina is my second favorite character and she has always done a phenomenal turn as the Evil Queen. It looks like both the actors that play Regina (and Rumple) are having such fun playing their ‘darker’ or ‘FTL’ counterparts. They are being really clever as well with how Regina is portraying herself, and even her wardrobe.

She used to wear heels, but now she’s dressed in flats and with no socks. It’s kinda an odd look to be honest but I guess it makes her shorter than the Evil Queen, and more vulnerable looking which I think is the idea. It really makes me wonder what qualities she ripped out and gave the Evil Queen?

In my fanfic I explored that a bit, because I didn’t think it was a case of just ‘the darkness’ because Regina was a person, she had a history and had made choices, there was no curse to remove or anything like that. I loved how Henry was supporting Regina, saying ‘Operation Cobra part two’ and making her part of it, after all the original was against her – they have come a long way.

What was that black mark on the EQ cheek in the flashback? I’m thinking it was perhaps some loose eye makeup or something as it didn’t appear to be significant. However, I noticed it so I’m mentioning it.

Why was Rumple sniffing her in the flashback? All the GoldenQueen was decidedly weird. I have never viewed them as a romantic pairing, though I know some people do. To be they were mentor and student, sometimes friends or sometimes enemies. If they had a familial bond I would have likened it to father and daughter. I know that the Evil Queen definitely, used her sexuality as a weapon, so the flirting in present day could be no more than that – just a way to unnerve Rumple and toy with him.

Rumple sniffing her in the flashback could be for similar reasons, getting close enough to invade her personal space and remind her that he has the power – especially given what they were discussing at the time. Plus the Evil Queen had just dabbed something with a cloth onto herself, it could have been a potion – maybe something to do with the enchantment spell she said she laid? After all she just killed somebody, witnessed by the count, and she took the victims blood, maybe that was a component of the spell.

I liked how Regina told Henry to call Emma. However, the real key part of that scene for me was – “Oh I thought heroes always found a third way” – because that is something about heroes that I do find a bit hard to swallow. There’s this big “heroes don’t kill” but sometimes killing is necessary, be it for self-defense or defense of others. Also, they seem happy enough to kill, or allow people to be killed, if they aren’t important. Like all the random knights I’ve seen Snow and Charming kill in battle before now. So I really liked the Evil Queen drawing attention to that issue, even if I think the wrong conclusion was drawn.

“You know how much I admire the ability to keep a secret.” – that is quite ‘key’ to the Evil Queen’s persona. After all for years the Evil Queen blamed all her problems on Snow’s failure to keep a secret. I mean Snow was just a kid, it was really Cora’s fault but anyway, I’ve dissected that enough times, I’m not going into it again.

Emma and the Charmings
Man Emma looks unwell, somebody take care of her quickly. No I’m serious, poor Emma. I’m really pleased she went to Archie for help. I think he needs to do far more than just address these visions but it’s a start.

With the flashback and the Queen razing villages to the ground – seriously? I could not believe Snow and Charming’s attitude. They are talking with someone who they thought was a victim, who said the Evil Queen should “pay for this” which doesn’t necessarily mean revenge. It could just mean he thinks the Evil Queen should be brought to justice, and presumably stopped from doing this again.

What was Snow and Charming’s response? “We’re not going to stoop to her level” – excuse me? That’s all very well for them, they aren’t being burned out of their homes, they aren’t losing everything they own. They might be happy to ignore her but what about all the people she is hurting? It just comes across really short sighted and selfish – doesn’t affect them so it’s easy to take the high road.

I loved Regina telling Henry to stay behind her. It really is about time they protect him, especially because he’s supposed to be younger than he looks. I have a question – who is looking after baby Neal? Snow and Charming are out all the time. I’m guessing daycare, and it’s fair enough, you know parents do have to work, but couldn’t they just mention it or something? The child exists.

I got such a Steve Rogers vibe when Charming was holding up that dustbin lid. I was practically expecting him to say “I can do this all day” and then there was the other Avengers link. Regina’s speech – “we’re in this together” reminded me of Steve’s argument of “yeah well we’ll do that together too.” Now yeah I’m a big Marvel fan and I’m sure there was no intentional link, but it made me smile.

“Are you sure it was an accident?” – the Evil Queen’s question at the end. I’m very intrigued. I wonder who she is trying to blame, after all she is trying to sow discord among the heroes. However, I think David’s father died when he was a kid, so it can’t be the Evil Queen. Maybe it was some knights belonging to King Leopold? However, there’s no way David would hold Snow accountable, so it’s not like it will drive a wedge between them.

Rumplestiltskin having the token, suggests it could be his fault. I don’t really see what the Evil Queen would have to gain though for trying to fan the flames between Rumple and the heroes. The heroes already hate/don’t trust him, so it’s not like it’s going to change anything. I mean maybe the Evil Queen is hoping it will drive Rumple more firmly into her camp, but to be honest I don’t think he’s interested no matter what.

The Rumbelle Side
The surprise Emma showed, about Belle being awake and back in Storybrooke was kinda telling. They really hadn’t given her a second thought had they? That was also very rude about Granny’s mattresses, I mean they were in the diner and within earshot (especially given Granny’s enhanced hearing) and it was so unnecessary. Couldn’t they have just said the diner was full?

Also what about the library apartment? Or you know all the houses people abandoned during the evacuation – they are kinda up for grabs. Just pick somewhere empty. There are so many options for places Belle could stay if she doesn’t want the salmon Victorian. Although to be honest I think she could live there, and Rumple would stay at the shop or his cabin. He would respect Belle’s choice not to live with him and he would let her have the house.

“Harboring me” – really? That’s certainly a very emotive way to phrase it.

Hook’s apology to Belle, that was actually a very nice apology, I have to give Hook that. It addressed the hitting and the attempted murder and the shooting. He didn’t just say ‘sorry’, he actually explained what he was saying sorry about, which makes it a real apology. It’s very overdue, and it was nice to see some guilt on Hook’s behalf, saying that he hadn’t forgiven himself – this is the sort of redemption arc I wanted for him!

I generally don’t like Hook because of how he behaves, but I’m not a hypocrite. Regina changed, so perhaps Hook can as well. I still don’t like a lot of what he does, but yeah this was a good apology. Belle forgave him which makes sense. She knows that people can change, or at least I thought she did.

“I spent way to long trying to make things work because I wanted to and now I need to do what is best for my son.” – oh Belle, this and the ‘harboring’ comment and it’s adding up to a lot of bitterness – perhaps another link to the title. I can understand that she is putting her child first, that is exactly what a parent should do. I can understand that there is a lot that remains unresolved between them, but I would have thought that Rumple and Belle should have talked about that.

I suppose it does fit with Belle’s previous behavior. She does withdraw, to get some space, and to give her time to think. So, her taking some time out, it’s fine but I don’t know. It’s not what she is doing, or even what she is saying, so much as how she is saying it. If it came out that Belle was being influenced or controlled by somebody/something I wouldn’t be surprised.

I don’t object to her thinking things through, but it is the bitterness. There is no forgiveness in her heart for Rumple, and I understand she’s angry, but it’s not like Belle. I think maybe if the scenes weren’t so rushed, if she had more screentime, then we’d get more of an insight into her feelings and thoughts, and then it would make more sense because there has to be more depth to it, than what they are showing us.

“When I heard what Regina had done I thought – no this is too good to be true.” – this sounded very telling to me? Rumple might have accepted his darkness, because he knows the truth that Regina will come to understand in time. He knows that you can’t wave a magic wand and erase the past, he accepts what he’s done. However, the idea of a clean slate must be appealing, especially given how much he loves Belle. It would be the easy option to carve out his ‘worst self’ but I think he would consider it, if he believed it would work. Unfortunately he knows it’s not as easy as that.

Something else that was very telling – dealing to protect Belle and their child. Forget his safety, or any personal gain, the only thing he asked for was that Belle and his kid were kept safe. You know I don’t think he’s made any deals for personal benefit since he woke from his coma. He pulled Excalibur from the stone and dealt for Merida’s heart. After that? All he’s done has been to protect Belle and their child – what matters most to him.

In the flashback sequence I thought that Rumple was going to remove the poison. He might not be able to harm the Count, but presumably he could protect Snow and Charming. However, he didn’t have to do that. That key to get to the land of untold stories, how did Rumple get it? I know that the land of untold stories is just a magical realm, so Jefferson’s hat etc. could get there, but now a key can make a doorway? The ease of transport is getting easier by the episode.

General episode comments
They really have forgotten about the third dark curse haven’t they? There’s no tree in the middle of the road, and Emma was driving like they could leave before encountering the Evil Queen’s protection spell. I suppose they are going with – the curse broke upon the caster (Hook’s) death. However, I wish they would say that, rather than just ignoring it.

I do love Henry – “sequels are always more involved than the original.” I feel this so much right now, I just wrote a sequel and it’s much harder than starting from scratch. His list of movies and suggestion of a movie night was brilliant. It’s nice to see some normality in Storybrooke.

Then when David lied to Hook about the letter, you know what popped into my head? That exchange from Stargate Universe – “Why is everyone lying?” “Grown ups do that sometimes.”

Regina was epic in this episode. I’m loving season six, if only because of all the Regina scenes! Seriously, the performance as the Evil Queen is incredible. Plus playing the two different sides like that, it’s like two characters, they are so complete and separate. Absolutely awesome work.

Rumple didn’t cut his hair! Next week right? Next week? I want to see why he does it and I want to see short haired Gold walking around. I have seen behind the scenes pictures but that’s not the same. I’m looking forward to episode three anyway!