A Journey of Self-Acceptance

There was no Rumple or Belle and very little Gideon in tonight’s episode. However, it was a Regina-centric and she is my second favorite character. I seriously love her. Anyway I will probably go on a little bit, because I have a lot of feelings about this episode, but first does anyone know any Regina gifmakers? I feel the need for a parallel between Regina saying she doesn’t regret her choice in last nights episode, with when Regina said she had no regrets because her life led her to Henry back in Neverland.

Spoilers under the cut and above I guess. I’ve tagged for spoilers so yeah – onward!

The Evil Queen flashbacks
Lana needs to win some awards! Seriously, the depth of her entire performance throughout the episode (all versions of herself) was incredible. From the very first scene, the layers she was showcasing through minor facial expressions and tone of voice, was just outstanding. Her gestures, her mannerisms – everything, it all combined to really show what she was feeling.

Doing an emotional journey is always hard on screen because so much of the ‘conflict’ so to speak, is internal and so it needs to be represented in a visual way. Well, Lana seriously knocked it out of the park. I’m sorry I will stop gushing in a minute but she really earned it. When she was the Evil Queen she was really playing up her sorrow, her self-loathing, her pain, that all came through even before the plot showed us with the arrow. The negligent snapping of the knights neck, the controlled pacing in front of the villagers, to show that she was trying to modulate her anger I guess. Her somber outfit, with the clean lines rather than the flashier gowns, also reflected this moderation and struggle.

Everyone around the Evil Queen was trying to get her to move on, to find love again with the guy with the lion tattoo – like that was going to fix her problems. My note on this when Tink first said it was “it’s not all about a man” and I must have repeated that comment half a dozen times. Regina loved Daniel and she lost him, moving on with another man isn’t the answer because quite simply she wasn’t ready then. To Regina love is loss and why would she want to open herself up to that level of pain again? There’s also the fact that she hasn’t forgiven herself.

While I think the Evil Queen was Regina lashing out at the world, trying to make the world hurt how she did because that was easier than facing the pain. It’s also misdirected anger, her hatred of Snow White rather than blaming her mother, or herself – it’s just denial. It’s stoking rage so she doesn’t have to feel the guilt and the sadness. There’s a lot more to it as well and until Regina dealt with that, she was never going to be ready to open up her heart to be broken again. Pushing her at a guy is like a band-aid on a bullet-hole.

It’s also kinda problematic. A second chance at love is all very well but Regina’s happy ending should never have been, and never was with a guy. I’m going to come back to that later because it sort of repeated in the present as well. I know her father meant well and I liked that Regina trusted him enough to walk into that pretty portal. With her words she said that he had betrayed her but there was no anger in her tone, because I reckon she knew that he was just trying to genuinely help her. I think she was lost and she wanted to be helped but she was afraid – afraid of loving and losing someone else.

It’s little wonder really that the arrow showed her the wardrobe with her Evil Queen outfits – a representation of the mask/role she’d chosen to adopt. Then she looked at her face in the mirror. The self-loathing of feeling trapped on a path, not able to change, wanting to but being afraid, and also not knowing what’s best. The sheer anger of frustration, of grief, of guilt. I could see it all in that shattered mirror. That was painful to watch and so very powerful a metaphor.

Present day Regina vs Regina
The split!Queen arc has ended and not at all how I expected. When the split!Queen used the shears of destiny I was not happy. I wanted them to merge because they are the same person and I didn’t think you should be able to cut away parts of yourself. You’d forever be incomplete, plus I thought it was a horrible message to send. That Regina had just ‘cut away her problems’ because real life doesn’t work like that. Where’s the hope?

Please note the past tense because I was angry for all of a minute because what they actually did was incredible. The mirror shattered and Regina looked at herself, at the split!Queen’s heart in her hand and she made a choice. She made the choice that she couldn’t make all those years ago because back then she wasn’t ready. Regina chose to forgive herself, she had slowly been opening herself up to love and the accompanying rejection/loss. She’d faced losing Henry and admitted “I don’t know how to love very well” and she had redeemed herself, she’d lost Robin to death, she let wish!Robin go because that was what was best for him. Basically it’s like Regina said on the show – she chose love and not hate.

The heart mixing thing was weird but basically I think it had the same result a merge would have. They are essentially doubles now, there’s no real split because of the mixing. It’s like she just duplicated herself. That conversation, that hug, the tears – seriously all the awards – it was such a good visual of self-acceptance. That was what this arc was all about in my opinion and they really came through with that.

Regina is Henry’s Mom
Wow, I am literally dead from feels really. The scene in Henry’s room, he was so close to outright stating the truth. The split!Queen was never the worst part of Regina – the darkness as they like to keep saying, it was just the parts Regina didn’t like and couldn’t deal with. The split!Queen was basically the wounded broken part that I thought Regina had already dealt with.

I said before this arc started that it felt like a retread and I was right and I was wrong. Yeah it did go over the same journey that Regina had already taken but that is actually very realistic. Mental health is a constant battle and when things happen, it sends you right back down into the pit and you have to crawl back up again. Robin died – just like Daniel, Regina’s trauma was repeated. This time she didn’t give into her hate but I think she was scared, and she didn’t want to feel the pain and the guilt so she pushed it all away. Then we saw her go through the same journey, until she could accept it back – become whole again, because she was ready.

This is why we had callbacks to the season one finale in this Regina and Henry scene – “no matter what anyone tells you, I do love you” – and also the scene where the split!Regina asks Regina if she regrets not going in the tavern. Regina says she doesn’t regret the path her life has taken because it got her Henry, and the life she currently has, which was exactly what Regina said on Neverland.

It just made the scene in the diner when Henry says “Mom that’s who you are” so much sweeter. They are the same person – they always were.

The not so good part
Split!Regina went to the wish!world – “the place where she could get a fresh start.” Now I said I was going to come back to it – Regina’s happy ending shouldn’t be a guy. I’m not saying Robin can’t be part of it but she should have a full life with family, friends, something to do that gives her self-worth. Now I know that they don’t have the screentime to show more than a cursory glimpse of the split!Queen’s life, I would have just liked a hint that her happy ending was more than just Robin – more than just getting the guy from Page 23. Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know.

Also, I’m confused about this wish!world place. They said it wasn’t real but it’s persisting so it kinda looks like it’s an alternate reality. Problem though everybody recognized Regina as the Evil Queen and they were running around screaming the second they saw her. My actual comment when the split!Queen was transported to the tavern was “FFS she doesn’t need a guy, she needs a wardrobe change!” and I was serious about the wardrobe change part.

People were diving out of windows to get away from Regina, but split!Regina in full Evil Queen garb is completely ignored. Has magic done something to the place to wipe everybody’s memories of her? Is she invisible to everyone but wish!Robin? What’s going to happen with the fact that wish!Rumple wants her dead? What’s going to happen with the fact that King Henry wants her dead because Regina killed his grandparents and Princess Emma is gone now? Wish!Robin remembered her so it’s not like she transported to the past before any of that happened.

Am I done? I wish but there was Snow saying things like “Not everyone is redeemable” excuse me really? Snow you said that TO Regina ABOUT Regina. How did Regina not roll her eyes at that? The split!Queen – or as everyone else just called her The Evil Queen – was part of Regina, it was who she was in the past. That person had already been vanquished once so to speak by Henry, Emma, Snow, David etc. all accepting her as family – they had already beaten with love once so why was it so unbelievable?

Then there was Zelena being a major hypocrite saying “heroes are so gullible, don’t blame me if she comes back later.” All Regina had said was basically you gave me a second chance in the past, so give this duplicate of me the same chance because fair is fair. It’s also the same second chance Zelena has received, and Zelena is basically still half-villain, doing whatever she wants anyway. Everyone lets Zelena walk around freely but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Zelena’s a hypocrite, I guess I’m more surprised that nobody called her on it because really?

I have one last comment which is not so positive. How did the shears of destiny get buried where they were? I’ve completely forgotten who had them last because we played musical chairs with them. You know I kinda came to the conclusion with this that I just didn’t care, like the random Tink flashback which was at odds with Regina and Tink’s confrontation in Neverland. It seemed fairly obvious in Neverland that they hadn’t seen one another since the Pixie Dust incident. Basically my feeling on this is never mind.

Sometimes I can just enjoy things for what they are, and sometimes I get bothered by inconsistencies. It seems today is one of the days when I just shrug and enjoy the phenomenal acting. That doesn’t mean that I like canon contradicting itself because I don’t but this episode knocked it out of the park in a lot of ways, so I’m just going to let this one slide really.

Other Stuff
The Split!Queen’s insulting of wish!Robin reminded me of when Regina insulted him by saying he “smelled like forest.” I thought then that was an indicator of maybe interest between these two duplicates and I was right. So good foreshadowing there.

A few random comments, Zelena grabbing Emma’s hand to look at the ring – look with your eyes not with your hands Zelena! Also, aside from the fact that it made for a hell of a good scene why did Regina and the split!Queen swordfight? Surely they could have fought with magic? I loved Regina using the apple basket as a weapon, and I liked her making the walls come alive, just like she used on David back in the season two premiere.

Snow’s quip of the split!Queen put her and David under a sleeping curse “like five minutes ago” was funny because on this show, that is about as fast as the timeline seems to go. That was like an in-joke and I appreciated it.

Right and then Emma and Hook. I feel bad for Emma really because everything she said to Hook about wanting a partner, someone who is honest, someone who will come and talk things over, that is everything she deserves. However, that is never who Hook has been, that’s not what their relationship is like. I don’t expect Emma realized that she never had that, I think maybe she’s deluded herself into thinking that they did.

Plus I’m glossing over the fact that Emma just focused on Hook destroying his memories, and not talking with her, over the fact that Hook killed her grandfather. I know Emma never met the man but really? I’m hoping that it was just shock. People do focus on something they can deal with, when they don’t know how to feel or what to do. Perhaps that revelation was just something she was putting off. I know that’s a ridiculous stretch really because Emma said that of course her parents would forgive Hook. I don’t really think she should speak for them on that matter, yes forgiveness if their thing but they are entitled to decide their own feelings. That was David’s father and his murder did affect his whole life.

Hook didn’t learn the lesson that Emma gave him. She said ‘you need to talk to me’ and his answer was running off with Captain Nemo. He should have gone for a walk, let Emma cool off, give them a bit of space, think about what he was going to say – reflect on what had happened – and then go back and talk with her. However, that’s not what happened and I know he changed his mind at the last minute but that doesn’t change what his first impulse was.

Unfortunately I suspect that the fact that Gideon trapped Hook on the submarine is all anyone is going to focus on. Hook was trapped, it wasn’t his fault, he didn’t want to leave. The promo for next week is all about Hook being desperate to get back to Emma, I think the tagline is reuniting true love or something. I can just tell that my hopes for Hook to finally have a mini redemption arc are going to come to nothing. Everything that happened: Hook killing David’s dad, then keeping the secret and lying about it, instinctively walking away without even saying goodbye etc. it’s all going to be forgotten/wiped away because Gideon banished him and he’s going to have to fight to get back.

Lana needs to win all the awards? Oh wait I already said that. That’s basically it though, a few issues aside this was a phenomenal episode for Regina. David wasn’t in it at all – Snowing need out of that sleeping curse! Rumple and Belle also weren’t in it and I really want to know what they were up to, and Gideon as well. Just because plot is happening other places, doesn’t mean those characters have just stopped. Their plot is ongoing even if we’re not seeing it on screen. So what were they doing?

We still don’t know, and we’re unlikely to find out in my opinion until May, the fate of the show. This episode confirmed for me that I’ll still be watching if it’s renewed for season seven no matter what happens with Rumbelle. I’m hoping they get a happy ending but if they do, they’ll be the first OTP of mine that do. I’ve always said that I thought that they had to because they are a Disney couple but I don’t know anymore. If Rumple or Belle, or both, are written out then I’m still going to watch for Regina. I think I’d only consider quitting if all three of them weren’t in it. In that I guess I’m fortunate that I like more about the show than just Rumbelle.

The promo for next week looks like a Hook-centric. No clue whether Rumple, Belle or Regina will be in it. If not then my review will probably be quite short. Although short is relative as I tend to go on a bit about all things.