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S02.E17: Welcome to Storybrooke

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David, Emma and Mr. Gold try to protect Mary Margaret from a vengeful Regina; a man and his son find their way into Storybrooke.

 

Note: please use spoiler tags when referring to major events that happen after this episode to allow new viewers to choose to be spoiled.

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This was arguably the worst episode in the entire series.  From the letdown reveal of the first days of Storybrooke, to the warped and disturbing message of the story about Regina and Owen, to the public shaming of Mary Margaret, to making Henry into the Irrational Morality Police... I just have so much hate for this episode and everything it represented.

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This episode kicked off the nightmare of 2B.

I hate this episode just as much as Camera One. It's coupled with both weak flashbacks and weak present-day scenes. I outright loathe Henry in this episode. This was THE episode that condemned his character to oblivion. The Well scene with the "foolish adults" and the "smart kid" is easily one of the dumbest moments on the show.

The only two good things I have to say about the episode is the car chase was cool, and I'm happy we got to see 1980s storybrooke.

I really wish there were more 1980s hairstyles and culture jokes. No one looked any different from people in modern times. The only thing we saw was a Reagan newspaper.

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I would even call this as kicking off 2C, with 2A being Team Princess, 2B being the Terrible Cora Era and 2C being Home Office Fiasco.

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The Queen is Dead, Manhattan and The Miller's Daughter are the best S2 episodes in my opinion. They had something good going until they killed Cora.

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I really liked "Manhattan", and the other two were alright.  

 

I forgot to say I also enjoyed the visual look of the 1980s but also wished for more as well.

Edited by Camera One

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I watched this one just before I left town, and I had to drink a glass of wine so I could get to sleep afterward in the midst of all the rage.

 

First, there was the Shut Up, Henry incident of "Snow White would never hurt anyone! Heroes don't kill people!" which is inaccurate on so many levels. What he needed then was a gentle rebuke to point out that actually, heroes protect and save people, and sometimes the only way to save the innocents is by taking out a bad guy. When the bad guy won't be reasoned with and doesn't care what happens to others -- or enjoys the suffering of others -- then the only heroic thing to do is remove the threat in whatever way is necessary. Not cruelly or in a way to deliberately inflict pain, but yeah, some people just need killing. There are massive, long lists of people anyone would consider heroes who killed people. And then there's the fact that our heroes have killed people, considering that Snow and Charming fought a war, and it looks like they were a big part of the fighting. Even if they didn't personally fight in battles and kill people themselves, they sent their soldiers to do so, unless maybe they were sending them out to challenge their enemies in a massive chess tournament. I doubt Snow was using Nerf arrows when she led the raid into George's castle to rescue Charming (only to find out George had already turned Charming over to Regina). She may not have killed anyone, but she certainly hurt a number of them. I think it would have done everyone, the adults and Henry (and the audience), good for someone to have remembered and pointed this out. Hell, I'm pretty sure that there was some killing in Henry's storybook, so he shouldn't have been that naive.

 

And then there's Regina. I'm pretty much done with her because of this episode. I can't make myself feel any pity or sympathy for her. Even if you stretch yourself to imagine that Snow really did wrong her and deserves everything that happened to her, what she did to Owen and his father is totally unjustified and the ultimate in selfishness. I get enraged when I even think of the scene of her standing and weeping at the town line as she watched a little boy cry for his father, because she wanted the two of them to give up their entire lives and move there to be her playtoys and they wouldn't cooperate. When she knew Owen wasn't going to stay and she still kept his father, knowing she was leaving a child orphaned, that was beyond the pale. And I can't believe the show had the nerve to set up Owen as some kind of shady villain because he was opposing the woman who left him an orphan.

 

Not to mention the present-day part of the story, with all Regina's wrath over being on the other end of the equation, for a change. She can dish it out, but she can't take it. She can kill parents, curse people, torment them, and all that, and everyone's supposed to just take it, but the moment anyone does anything against her (even if she's done worse to them), she retaliates in big, dramatic ways. I can't believe Henry was ever willing to speak to her again after the events of this episode.

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Shut Up, Henry incident of "Snow White would never hurt anyone! Heroes don't kill people!" which is inaccurate on so many levels. What he needed then was a gentle rebuke to point out that actually, heroes protect and save people, and sometimes the only way to save the innocents is by taking out a bad guy.

 

I've said this before, but the fact that Henry never knew Johanna was thrown off the clocktower and murdered by Cora while Regina stood by was a cheat.  This was a huge disservice to Henry's character.  If he had known, he would never have said the dumb comment about Snow, but the writers NEEDED him to.  Since the whole Cora death was meant to show how much of a victim Regina was, this time at the hands of Snow.  It would actually have been so much more interesting to see Regina dealing with Henry rejecting her again, this time based on something her own mother did, but knowing that she should not have allied with her.   Regina should have been shocked that Cora killed Snow's mother and she should have gotten a revelation when Cora was gloating about killing Eva and then gleefully murdering Johanna.  That could have been a wake-up call to how she didn't want to turn into such an ugly person.  At this point, Regina was still salvagable 

(no village murder yet) AND if they hadn't said she just out and out murdererd Owen's father.  It was the writers who destroyed their own favorite on their own accord.

.

Edited by Camera One
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This episode was just one big pity party for Regina. I think in some ways it was sort of the turning point where the writers lost all perspective on Regina and started seeing things from her very skewed and self-pitying perspective. I have zero pity for Regina here. She's won. Everyone's miserable, she watches their suffering and then she's bored within days and looking for her next toy. This just clarifies that It's always been all about Regina. Honestly, the most disturbing thing about this episode is the way they have Regina crying at the town line as Owen leaves with the police like it's her pain that I should be focused on and feel. When taken in context with the rest of the story, this occurred days after she had made both Pinocchio and Emma orphans as well. That's three innocent children whose lives were destroyed by her within a week. I have zero sympathy for her. None. I hope she drowns in her tears.

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Regina also grieved over her mother in this episode. I think this episode had more Woegina than any other episode ever.

I also disliked the whole Owen/Kurt Flynn plot completely. It's so disconnected from the rest of the show, and just very unnecessary. It really didn't matter if Greg had a connection with Storybrooke or not.

I actually found Regina's Groundhog Day boredom to be kind of funny - she finally gets all she's ever wanted and she's still unhappy. It felt like an ironic punishment for her crimes, like the end of a Twilight Zone episode.

What on earth did she do for the next 18 years?

Edited by KingOfHearts

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What on earth did she do for the next 18 years?

Graham, unfortunately.

 

Sorry. 

 

I think it depends on how, exactly, the time stuck thing worked.  Maybe she did things like fire Mary Margaret a few times a month, just to watch her panic?

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The only good part of this of this episode was seeing Graham again. I still miss him.

Me too! Forever missing Graham, Doxamully

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One thing I loved about this episode was that Regina woke up and pretty much immediately went to check out her new wardrobe. It was one of those things that just fit the character so well.

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I actually found Regina's Groundhog Day boredom to be kind of funny - she finally gets all she's ever wanted and she's still unhappy. It felt like an ironic punishment for her crimes, like the end of a Twilight Zone episode.

I'm not sure Regina is capable of being happy without fixing the issues in herself. She wasn't happy when she got everything she wanted because it wasn't very satisfying to have her enemies have no choice about deferring to her. So she latched on to Owen and his father because they weren't her puppets and her interactions with them were genuine, but then she was unhappy when they weren't her puppets and had enough free will to want to get away from her when she creeped on them. I guess what she really wants is for people to genuinely defer to her and love her, but she hasn't figured out that the way to do that is to actually be nice to people instead of seeing them as means to her own happiness.

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That's because she had no life, she had no interests.  All she had was revenge against Snow.  She didn't even have a genuine interest in actually ruling the kingdom.  What exactly does Regina want?  It's never clear.  I mean, in the Enchanted Forest, she was fine with everyone around her deferring to her and being afraid of her, which is also what happened in Storybrooke.  So what was the problem?  Not having the agenda of "Kill Snow White" on her daily to-do list left a hole in her life?  But instead of having her come up with a new enemy, they had her being attracted to a little boy who had the audacity to talk back to her.  If someone had done that in the Enchanted Forest, they would have been sent to the Never-ending forest in a blink of an eye.  Why was it so attractive now?  If the goal is for people to love her, then why be attracted to the little brat who was antagonistic?  It's not like she was desperate to win people over before.  She just used fear and power to get them under her control.  It just felt like a pathetic attempt to make viewers believe that all Regina wanted was love, and oh isn't it sad that she's her own worst enemy and sabotage her own change for happiness?  Cry me a river.

Edited by Camera One
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It just felt like a pathetic attempt to make viewers believe that all Regina wanted was love, and oh isn't it sad that she's her own worst enemy and sabotage her own change for happiness?

Except sometimes it doesn't even seem like they're aware that they're depicting Regina as sabotaging her own chances for happiness. They seem to be stuck on "All she really wants is someone to love and for people to love her, and WHY DON'T THEY LOVE THIS WONDERFUL PERSON? WHAT'S WRONG WITH THEM?" So it's not Regina's fault for being creepy and arresting Owen's father on trumped-up charges to force them to stay, but rather Owen being an ungrateful brat for not wanting to stay with Regina, who wants to give him everything and be the mother he lost, and poor, sad Regina when he rejects her generous offer. Why can't she be loved when she has so much to give?

 

At least, that's the way it seems to come across sometimes. Otherwise, why the long focus on Regina's tears when she's looking at the boy she turned into an orphan? Why make him into a shady suspect when he finds the town again as an adult and has valid reasons to have issues with Regina?

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More than any other episode, this one feels like one that destroyed the Regina character, and did damage to the show that it has never fully recovered from. It had long been heading towards the "poor sad Regina" show, but this is the one that truly pushed it above and beyond. And the saddest thing? This could have been a great episode if it was FRAMED slightly differently.

 

If this was shown in a slightly different light, it could be a fascinating look into a terrifyingly insane, narcissistic villain, who constantly sees herself as the eternal victim, and will twist her entire world around to fit it into her bizarre perspective, ignoring the facts to blame everyone around her for her own problems. Its actually a really interesting idea for a villain (an uber powered insane woman who still has the mentality of a petty teenager who thinks the whole universe revolves around her, and can never get past her mommy issues), only that its all accidental. She's supposed to be this tortured, constantly victimized soul who just wants love. So instead of getting a disturbing look at a town literally trapped in time, who's residents are forever trapped in an eternal purgatory to be used and abused by an insane dictator, who sucked an innocent father and son into her web of madness, we get the Regina pity party. The story of Owen and his Dad could have been almost a Twilight Zone parable. Instead we just got a lame origin for a lame villain in a lame storyline. At least we got Owens Dad calling Regina out. But now its all ruined due to their bizarre decision to make Owen an unsympathetic, cardboard bad guy. Spare me.  

 

Honestly, Regina comes off as so deluded and crazy (pretty much always, but this part of the season especially) I wish they had just committed to her as Mad Queen Regina. If they fully committed to Regina being legitimately mentally ill, or just so severely traumatized by her life that her sanity had started to wear, I would have a lot more sympathy for her. Its easier for me to feel bad for a person who might not be totally in control of their own mind. I cant feel bad for an immature, self obsessed, unrepentant rapist and murderer who occasionally decides to fight with the good guys.  

Edited by tennisgurl
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More than any other episode, this one feels like one that destroyed the Regina character, and did damage to the show that it has never fully recovered from. It had long been heading towards the "poor sad Regina" show, but this is the one that truly pushed it above and beyond.

 

Quotes like the above give me so much hope that I'm going to enjoy the remainder of S2 and S3 more than most of you all seem to since I am totally on board for the All Regina Pity Party All the Time! Except that I'd like Regina to occasionally win and get to be happy, too. I just want her to have the love she so desperately craves. If Rumpel doesn't need to acknowledge, understand, or pay for his crimes, why should Regina? (that's something of a joke... I do want Regina to learn from her mistakes and make different choices, so she can join Team Protagonist but I don't want to see her wear a hairshirt or anything)

 

Maybe she did things like fire Mary Margaret a few times a month, just to watch her panic?

 

I feel this was a missed opportunity for this episode. I really wanted to see comedy times of Regina doing stuff like that, and I feel she could have gotten at least a year's amusement out of it. But the episode wouldn't have worked without her getting bored faster.

 

Perhaps because I am on board for Team Regina Pity Party, I liked a lot of this episode. I didn't think the writers expected us to feel sorry for Regina in the sense of thinking what she did was justified but more to feel sorry for her for being so f'd up by Cora and Rumpel that she has no idea how to be. That's why when she does things like burn the curse at the well, it's so meaningful and significant to me. It shows that the seeds of a decent person is still in there, but she's going to need a lot of support to ever grow that because she's so damaged.

 

The literal darkness in Snow's heart was ridiculous, but I think the idea of it is solid. We've seen from "Heart of Darkness" (and a little in "The Queen is Dead") that Snow does have the elements of evil in her. It wasn't just that she killed Cora, but that she chose to kill Cora in the particularly cruel way that she did when she had acknowledge an alternative. Now, I do NOT criticize Snow for this. But I do see why Snow criticizes herself for it and how that can lead her to give up and give into her dark side. But, if they're going that way, Snow should be struggling with NOT feeling guilt over what she did rather than going catatonic from guilt. She should have been the ringleader for kill Regina with Henry and Emma getting worried and trying to pull her back.

 

I don't know what I think about Regina actually going through with the de-hearting even if she then undid it. I flip flop on thinking it's in character for how Regina is at this point in time and thinking it's a poor writing choice of the writers really do want to move Regina over to Team Protagonist. I feel like it would have been better to leave things with Regina on her burning the curse (and taking another small step forward)... maybe even have small signs of rapprochement with Henry and have Emma be the one to discover the dark spot on Snow's heart. 

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Quotes like the above give me so much hope that I'm going to enjoy the remainder of S2 and S3 more than most of you all seem to since I am totally on board for the All Regina Pity Party All the Time! Except that I'd like Regina to occasionally win and get to be happy, too. I just want her to have the love she so desperately craves

I say this without snark: You seem to enjoy using Regina's sad past as an excuse for all the evil things she does, so I think you'll love the rest of the show. I don't understand that mentality myself, but your thinking is in line with the writers. (Though I will say this has only reinforced my opinion that the only reason people irrationally cheer for the Evil Queen is because they like to watch Lana Parrilla cry. The fact that she's a cray-cray murdering bunny boiler means nothing. It all comes down to because she cries pretty means that she deserves love.)

 

I for one don't understand how Regina shouldn't be held accountable for anything bad she's ever done because it supposedly wasn't her fault because she had a sad upbringing, and yet you want to give her all the love in the world because she deserves it? Look, if she can't be held accountable for the bad as if she had no choice (which she did. Regina of her own free will chose to murder people. She's an unrepentant murderer!) then she can't deserve the good. You can't pick and choose what behavior counts. All actions count and Regina's reactions are of a fairy tale unrepentant murderer. To say an unrepentant murderer deserves something as good as love is kinda disgusting to me. How does someone who doesn't feel bad for murdering people deserve all the love in the world? 

 

And whether Rumple is held accountable is irrelevant to Regina being held accountable. That's absurd. If one person is allowed to get away with murder then they all should be? Well, hell, why bother saying anything is bad at all. I think they should be allowed to murder whoever they want, willy-nilly. I say the good guys just kill themselves and save Regina and Rumple the trouble. After all, Regina's sad past (that's no sadder than anyone else's but apparently that doesn't matter) makes her special and deserving of good things like love and happiness. Boy, this has changed my whole world view. I've been looking at this all wrong. You need to murder someone to really deserve love and happiness. The murder shows how unselfishly you love yourself and therefore deserve the love of others too.

Edited by FabulousTater
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I for one don't understand how Regina shouldn't be held accountable for anything bad she's ever done because it supposedly wasn't her fault because she had a sad upbringing, and yet you want to give her all the love in the world because she deserves it?

 

This. For me, no one on this show has had a sadder upbringing than Emma (even if it's in implication only ... having no support system whatsoever and no place to belong is absolutely brutal on a child), and she's proof to me that evil isn't inevitable. Emma's walked the same path as these villains and has not chosen darkness. So for me, it's like, get over yourselves, villains.

 

I'm not averse to seeing Regina achieve her happily ever after, but I would at least like to see some recognition from her that her path was wrong and actual attempts at atonement that don't get overturned the second things don't go her way. Without that atonement and recognition, I feel like Regina achieving her happily ever after is rewarding villainy. Because yes, you can steamroll over anyone you want because your life sucks and that'll make it better.

Edited by Dani-Ellie
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I didn't say Regina deserves love; I said she desperately craves it and that I want her to have it. To be clear, though, I do want her to earn it by learning from her mistakes and changing it, exactly as she was doing before Cora came to town and actively worked against her.

 

I do think Regina's past is sadder than a lot of other characters, though. What connects to me about Regina's story is the combination of the way first Cora abused her and then Rumpel deliberately schemed against her for the sole purpose of making her so miserable and desperate that she would cast the Dark Curse. Both Cora and Rumpel blocked Regina from making the better choices that Regina tried to make. Regina's father loved her, but he also appears to have been completely ineffectual at protecting her. She never had a moment of stability, safety, or freedom when she was growing up, and it doesn't seem like she really got it much as an adult either. No other main character had anyone actively working against both their happiness and goodness like that. On the contrary, most of the other main characters not only had Rumpel often helping them, but they had a stable bedrock before tragedy hit. (Emma's probably an exception in terms of the stable bedrock, but her past is so vague that I don't know if it's comparable to what Regina dealt with through Cora or not. It's also too real world for me to connect to, which is a problem I have with the character of Emma in general.) 

 

And whether Rumple is held accountable is irrelevant to Regina being held accountable. That's absurd. If one person is allowed to get away with murder then they all should be?
I was being sarcastic. The way Rumpel faces no consequences in terms of his relationships is a huge source of frustration to me. I hate it. I like that Regina has to struggle; I like that she has to make concrete sacrifices of her own wants for Henry. I'd like to see Rumpel either be treated by the show as a villain or have to the same. What I don't want--and this is true in Rumpel's case as well--is any kind of "making amends" arc because I don't think that could be done in an emotionally satisfying way or a way that would be enjoyable for me to watch.

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Two quotes that are apt for Regina:

 

“Just because your pain is understandable, doesn’t mean your behavior is acceptable.” (Don't know where this originated.)

 

From "Brooklyn Nine-Nine": "Cool motive. Still murder."

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(Emma's probably an exception in terms of the stable bedrock, but her past is so vague that I don't know if it's comparable to what Regina dealt with through Cora or not. It's also too real world for me to connect to, which is a problem I have with the character of Emma in general.)

So not seeing Emma's background does make it harder to relate to the character? From previous comments you've made I'm guessing you're pretty much ignoring the other threads, since you're not spoiling yourself? We've touched on this idea, but it would be impossible to read any of that without spoiling the series.

In some of the other threads we've discussed Emma's likely background at length, but we've also talked about how by ignoring it--probably because the show is assuming people don't need to see it, because she's not a villain who needs the sympathetic background for pity points and because it's a real world thing they figure everyone has references for so, well, useless--they're doing a disservice to the show or the character.

Everything done to Emma becomes less important, because we haven't seen it. For example, while chances are pretty good she was physically and/or sexually abused simply because of her circumstances, things like that are never shown to the audience.

One of the things we've talked about is how ignoring things like that manipulates the audience--does it that make Emma less sympathetic to the audience, and make Regina seem less villainous--because it's one more thing that the audience would have to actively think about and connect to Regina, and often don't.

Edited by Mari
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I do think Regina's past is sadder than a lot of other characters, though.

This is easily argued against, but it's completely besides the point. Who gives a hot damn who had it worse? Everyone has a sob story, but an excuse is still an excuse and there exists no valid enough excuse for Regina's cold blooded murders. Regina has free will. She in fact was riding free and clear away from everything (after sending Cora through the mirror) when she allowed herself to be seduced by Rumple dangling power and magic in front of her. Regina could have said no. She knew better. That's why she wanted to get away from Cora. Regina knew better. But that's not the choice Regina made. Seduction doesn't work unless you allow it and Regina wanted the power and magic, and later revenge, more than she wanted anything else. Regina freely chose evil. Regina freely chose murder. No matter Rumple's manipulations Regina always had a choice and she chose wrong over and over and over.

 

So I don't give a crap what Regina's sob story was. Everyone has a sob story on this show, and I can far too easily argue that no, Regina didn't have it worse than everyone else because 99% of Regina's misery is self-inflicted. But that is all irrelevant. An excuse, or sob story, or whatever you want to paint it as to make it sound pretty, doesn't make what Regina (or Rumple) has done any less heinous and deserving of severe and lasting punishment. And more so since Regina doesn't want to be better. Regina just wants her reward for suffering -- suffering which she has actually brought upon herself.

 

Regina wants Henry like a toddler wants a prize at a carnival. Regina doesn't recognize what she has done is even wrong. She has an inkling that she probably mistreated Henry, but that's all. Regina has tried to murder Snow countless times and she feels no remorse for that. She has tried to murder Emma and feels no remorse for that. Regina even tried to murder Emma when Emma was a fresh from the womb newborn for no other reason than having the audacity to draw breath into her newborn lungs and Regina doesn't feel bad about that. Regina murdered Graham because he rejected her and she doesn't feel bad about that. Regina murdered her father to get her revenge/what she thought was her own happy ending and she doesn't feel bad about that. She tries to kidnap a child, Owen, and holds his father, Kurt, captive (at the least

she actually murdered Owen's father

) and she only feels bad for herself. The show can serve all the bullshit excuses they want, but as far as I'm concerned, Regina deserves nothing good.

 

ETA: My original point still stands though -- In all seriousness and based on your posts, if you love Regina and especially Pity Party Regina you are really gonna love the rest of the series.

Edited by FabulousTater
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(Emma's probably an exception in terms of the stable bedrock, but her past is so vague that I don't know if it's comparable to what Regina dealt with through Cora or not. It's also too real world for me to connect to, which is a problem I have with the character of Emma in general.)

 

Urgh, this is hard because I want to stay on topic, but I also don't want to drag this into another thread for fear of spoiling you.

 

It's precisely Emma's real-world problems that have garnered my sympathy. In other threads, I've mentioned that my nephew was well on his way to becoming wee Emma before my brother and sister-in-law took custody of him. Kids know when they're not wanted, and they know from a very young age. It's heart-breaking to have a two-year-old say to you, "I don't want to go back to Mommy's house" because he thought we were bringing him home and he didn't want to give up the attention we gave him. It's heartbreaking to hear of a four-year-old whose Mom hung up on him with the promise of calling him back and never did, and the four-year-old turning to my brother and sister-in-law and saying, "I guess she doesn't want me."

 

Emma spent 28 years believing her parents cared so little about her that they tossed her little newborn self along the side of the road like a piece of garbage instead of leaving her somewhere safe. All those little-kid things that make kids feel safe and secure, things like crawling into bed with someone after having a nightmare or having someone sit with you when you're sick or having someone take you out or make a special dinner to celebrate a good report card? She got none of it.

 

If she'd shown any affinity for the arts, who would have sent her to music lessons or dance classes or art classes to nurture her talent? Who would have enrolled her in extra-curricular sports if she'd been athletic? All those things cost money, money foster homes already strapped for cash wouldn't have to spend on every child. If she'd shown book smarts, who would have helped her and encouraged her to challenge herself? If she was bounced around a lot, it's not even like she'd necessarily have a special teacher or school official looking out for her, because she might not have been in the same school from one year to the next.

 

She was very much a little girl lost, falling through the cracks of an overburdened system. Jennifer Morrison has said that she plays Emma as if there was abuse in her past, so there's that to consider as well. And like Mari said, the fact that the show hasn't shown us any of this is such a disservice to the character. If Emma can pick herself up by her bootstraps and make something of her life and not turn out to be an evil murderer, there's no reason for me why any of the other characters couldn't, either.

 

I frankly don't care how rough Regina had it. It doesn't excuse what she's done. It doesn't excuse trying to kidnap a little boy. It doesn't excuse separating that little boy from his father. It doesn't excuse her control and murder of Graham. Those are all choices she made because she was hurt. She's very much like a toddler who lashes out at the world to make everyone else as miserable as she is, because if she can't be happy, then no one can. She needs to find a healthier way to handle life's disappointments and challenges because they're always going to be there, and the answer can't be "kill challenger, problem solved."

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Hi everyone. First-time poster here. I really like seeing the perspectives of viewers who are watching these episodes for the first time, and I’ve been trying to remember my reaction to the character of Regina when I watched this particular episode. At the time, I was a casual viewer. This didn’t become a must-watch show for me until the third season. Before that, I really didn’t give a lot of thought to the characters or their motivations. I didn’t mind Regina as a character, and I didn’t notice or object to the way she was being treated by the writers (this has since changed!), but I also didn’t feel sorry for her. Even after seeing her backstory with Daniel and Cora, and then Rumple's manipulations, I never really felt like any of her actions were justifiable or even understandable.

 

Now when I think about this show, it seems like the writers are often trying to make Regina a sympathetic character, using the whole ‘shades of grey, no character is entirely good’ angle, but to me, as a casual viewer, it fell flat. I may have liked Regina and even found her more fun to watch than characters like Emma (again – this is no longer the case), but I never felt sorry for her. Episodes like this one are probably the main reason. Any time she starts to come across as sympathetic, we’re then reminded of all the evil things she’s done, like her treatment of Owen's dad.

 

I’d also like to point out that while the writers seem to love drawing a line between the Evil Queen and Regina, as if they aren’t the same person, Regina was not in “Evil Queen" mode here, and yet she was still doing some pretty crappy things.

 

I like a good redemption story, and if I had remained a casual viewer, I probably wouldn't have had a problem with Regina's. But now that I've spent so much time thinking about it, episodes like this one demonstrate why, in my opinion, she doesn't deserve a happy ending. One of my biggest problems is her selfishness. Her love for Owen wasn't about Owen at all. It was about making herself happy. So even when Regina shows that she is capable of caring for another human being, it rarely seems to be a selfless kind of love.

Edited by Katherine
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Regina is a character who will forever lack self-awareness.  Cora took Daniel from her, Rumple manipulated the hell out of her, but at the end of the day, she is still responsible for her actions, but it's everyone's fault.  It's Snow's fault and it's Emma's fault, and it's this and it's that...and this is from someone who actually enjoyed the character (though I think I really enjoyed the Evil Queen because she was an unapologetic villain rather than Regina who is just all about how the world has done her wrong). 

 

The whole Owen thing was like the whole Henry thing.  I felt sorry for Owen, his father who was trying to protect him, Graham doing Regina's bidding.  Regina went down a pretty twisted path and no she doesn't deserve a happy ending.  At the end of the day, she cannot force people to like her, love her, wanna be with her. 

 

She should get one though just so that she can shut the hell up about it.  So over it!

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Urgh, this is hard because I want to stay on topic, but I also don't want to drag this into another thread for fear of spoiling you.
Yeah, it's challenging. But I can clarify what I mean when I say Emma's too real world for me to connect to by talking about the Snow/Regina de-hearting scene. 

 

When Snow went to Regina at the end of this episode, the scene so powerful for me because there's so much history between those two characters. Snow has lost so much, but she's also the only current character who's seen that Regina could have been someone different. IMHO, it's why Snow can always hope that this time will be different but why she'll always be the wrong person to approach Regina. There's layer upon layer in Snow/Regina interactions, and that can't be there with Emma. And it's not just Snow/Regina, but Snow/everyone in Storybrooke because her story is central to the other major character's stories except Rumpel/Belle's (Snow is part of Rumpel's, but not central). I feel like the show was trying to get that for Emma by adding in Neal/Bae, but so far, it's not working for me because Neal is not working for me.

 

Ginnifer Goodwin also has this lightness about her that somehow, magically, lets a scene like Snow weeping in despair over the dark spot in her heart work instead of being a cheese fest. One of the things I dislike about how Jennifer Morrison plays Emma is that Emma feels like the opposite... she's always so heavy. To me, she feels like she should be in a Law & Order type show. That worked for me at the start of S1 when Emma was supposed to be out of place, but I started struggling with her character at some point around the midway of S1 as the fairy tale elements took precedence. So I don't think seeing her back story would help me better connect to her. 

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Emma is meant to be heavy. She was not raised in the land of fairy tales and magic. Regina robbed her of the lightness and hope that she should and would have had had she been raised a princess by her loving parents. It's amazing when Emma smiles. It really means something. And the fact that it happens so rarely on this show just underscores how badly all of these fairy tale characters ruined her life.

 

In terms of Regina, one of the things that makes the Evil Queen's redemption less plausible for me is how Lana plays the part when she's going all crazy eyed. There aren't layers where she's conflicted or shows understanding that what she's doing is wrong or even a total lack of emotion. Instead, she's full on gleeful, reveling in the suffering of others. It makes her a sadistic psychopath. And because people love the Evil Queen, the writers aren't willing to let her go. So we continually see Regina doing terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things and enjoying it which makes it really, really hard to try to pretend she's secretly a good person way down deep. A good person does not nor ever will revel in the suffering of innocent people.

 

I loved the Evil Queen and I loved Mayor Mills. I loathe whiny, victim blaming, verbally abusive Regina with the fire of a thousand suns. She will never be happy because even when she gets what she wants, she decides she wants something else too or instead. This episode was the shiniest of shining examples of that. Two days into the curse that she wanted, she was bored and decided that nice little boy could be her new toy. Cue more lives being destroyed. No one has everything, but Regina will never see that. Snowing argue, they fight, they work to be together. It's not a perfect little life. They will never raise their daughter. Their daughter is seriously messed up and will never share the type of parent/child bond that Snow longs for. They do not have everything and yet, they are happy. I read something the other day that said, "Happiness is found in wanting what you have, not getting what you want." Snowing gets this. Regina I fear never will.

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I can't really buy the "Regina just wants to be loved so desperately, and she deserves love" argument because Regina has been loved. And every single time she's destroyed or tried to destroy that person because of her own selfish desires.

 

Snow adored her and wanted her to be her mother, but she was so bent on destroying Snow in revenge that she drove Snow away from her home and tried to have her killed, repeatedly. Sidney/the genie was madly in love with her, and she used him and then discarded him when he'd served his purpose. Her father may not have been able to protect her from Cora (could anyone?), but he stuck by her even when she turned evil and tried to give her good advice, but casting the curse was more important to her than he was, so she murdered him. Kathryn thought of her as a friend, but she tried to arrange her murder so she could frame Mary Margaret. And in this episode, if she'd just been willing to relax and let things progress naturally instead of wanting what she wanted the way she wanted it right this minute, it's possible she could have maintained some kind of relationship with Owen and his father, but instead she wanted it all her way and destroyed it all, ruining Owen's life.

 

Regina's problem is not that she isn't loved, it's that she doesn't love anyone more than she loves herself, so her own desires always come first. Until she figures that out and gets past it, she won't be able to get love because she'll be destroying everyone who loves her.

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Emma is meant to be heavy. She was not raised in the land of fairy tales and magic.
I understand that, but it doesn't work for me as a viewer. I'm not trying to persuade anyone otherwise; just explaining why I personally do not connect with Emma.
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I understand that, but it doesn't work for me as a viewer. I'm not trying to persuade anyone otherwise; just explaining why I personally do not connect with Emma.

I think it's normal to not feel connected to Emma yet at this point in the story. (Which is pretty sad considering it's nearly the end of Season 2 and we still don't know a whole lot about her.) I know it took me a bit longer to warm up to her character than some others too, but once I started to understand and embrace her closed-off nature, it just clicked with me and I jumped on the Emma train. I honestly couldn't even tell you a specific point or episode when I finally warmed up to her, but I think it took nearly this long.

 

Hi everyone. First-time poster here. I really like seeing the perspectives of viewers who are watching these episodes for the first time, and I’ve been trying to remember my reaction to the character of Regina when I watched this particular episode. At the time, I was a casual viewer. This didn’t become a must-watch show for me until the third season. Before that, I really didn’t give a lot of thought to the characters or their motivations. I didn’t mind Regina as a character, and I didn’t notice or object to the way she was being treated by the writers (this has since changed!), but I also didn’t feel sorry for her. Even after seeing her backstory with Daniel and Cora, and then Rumple's manipulations, I never really felt like any of her actions were justifiable or even understandable.

This is pretty close to where I was at, too. I watched the show every week Seasons 1-2 casually, but didn't really get into analyzing it every week online until Season 3. Once you start doing that, you realize all the plot holes and glaring mistakes in the previous episodes, and it's like... wow, how did I not catch these things before?!

Edited by Curio
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I think it's normal to not feel connected to Emma yet at this point in the story. (Which is pretty sad considering it's nearly the end of Season 2 and we still don't know a whole lot about her.) I know it took me a bit longer to warm up to her character than some others too, but once I started to understand and embrace her closed-off nature, it just clicked with me and I jumped on the Emma train. I honestly couldn't even tell you a specific point or episode when I finally warmed up to her, but I think it took nearly this long.

This is pretty close to where I was at, too. I watched the show every week Seasons 1-2 casually, but didn't really get into analyzing it every week online until Season 3. Once you start doing that, you realize all the plot holes and glaring mistakes in the previous episodes, and it's like... wow, how did I not catch these things before?!

I originally watched a lot of S2 before S1 on Netflix, and I binge watched it. I actually felt sorry for Regina in Cricket Game (don't now), but in this episode I really didn't. She took a kid's dad away, tried to force them to stay and engaged in a car chase. She was definitely the bad guy here.

I HATE Henry in this episode. His scene at the well was just patronizing, bratty and idiotic. I despise shows that try to make kids look smarter than the adults. Someone needed to reprimand him, but no one did.

Edited by KingOfHearts

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Worst episode ever...(even worse then the one with Grumpy in love with the nun/fairy) as it ruined the mythos of how we saw Storybrooke run in S1 and was glaring in how dumbed down S2 is in comparison. In S1 the outside world knew of and interacted with Storybrook on a limited basis, and because of the curse, no one really wanted to go there ( there were state troopers that come to take Hansel and Gretel away, Emma talks to Maine Power company when lights go off during Grumpy.) But yet we are supposed to believe that Storybrooke is invisible to the outside world even though credit cards work, etc.  Also, the stupidity of the control through the heart, even though magic didn't exist there, and even though she already controlled everyone due to the curse,..(which was the point of the curse correct...) So if Regina wanted that why not just rip everyone's heart out in CGI land? It would have been more interesting if Regina had planted something on the dad and had Graham find it.

 

Then, we are supposed to feel sorry for Regina though she seperated a man and his son, and THEN Regina causally tells the boy he killed his dad. How????Regina is not exactley the "take a shovel to someone's head and get her hand;s dirty kind of gal." Dumb, dumb, dumb.

 

Can you tell I hated this episode

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Then, we are supposed to feel sorry for Regina though she seperated a man and his son, and THEN Regina causally tells the boy he killed his dad

 

A boy who had already lost his mother sometime before, whose father took him camping to make him feel better.  Regina is good at making orphans, that's for sure!  Questions that will never be answered...Did Owen also end up in the foster system?

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Owen's dad told him to find a phone and call his uncle, so l think he probably ended up with relatives not in the system.

Also, because it cannot be said enough, shut up, Henry.

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Also, because it cannot be said enough, shut up, Henry.

 

This was actually the most I liked Henry, although that bar is very low for me. Or maybe I should say that it's the most I liked the writing for Henry because I still didn't like Henry. But I thought his behavior was very consistent with how he's always behaved and an 11 year old. I think he was wrong, but I liked seeing him pull his same crap on Emma and Neal and still have his black-and-white morality. I only wish that the writers had made Snow or Charming explain to Henry that real life can't be as simple as his stories--that sometimes people have to make hard choices to protect more people. Snow's character arc is to deal with those issues already, so the omission felt glaring.

 

She took a kid's dad away, tried to force them to stay and engaged in a car chase. She was definitely the bad guy here.
 

 

I think she was supposed to be, though. She's still completely evil Regina at that point in time. For me at least, the tragedy of Regina is never about denying or justifying that she does really evil things (I like the quote above about understanding pain not making behavior acceptable). It's the contrast between who she could have been if Cora and Rumpel hadn't so aggressively pushed her towards evil and who she ended up being. So I don't feel sorry for her at the end because I think what she did is somehow excusable, but because I feel sorry that the Snow-rescuing woman who still had hope in her heart ended up becoming what she never wanted to be. I want her to learn and change because I want that original goodness in her to be able to be expressed and to overcome Cora/Rumpel's machinations. 

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Totally agree on Henry having the black and white world view of an 11 year old obsessed with heroes, villains and fairy tales. The problem is that the adults in the room are painted as agreeing with his ridiculous ideas that heroes don't kill and all lies are equal. Sometimes we do lie and it's necessary. Sometimes good people need to kill because it's the only option. In a kill or be killed situation should someone sit on their hands and let it happen instead of defending themselves because they are a "hero"? That kid needed a huge dose of reality and no one gave it to him. This is a continuing problem with everyone's treatment of Henry. These people need to be adults and treat Henry like the kid he is. Henry constantly inserts himself into things that are none of his business and often endangers himself/others in the process, but no one ever tells him to take his immature opinions and shove it. I think that there is only one instance in the entire run of this show where that happened and I cheered. 

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Does it bother anyone else that Henry stole dynamite and was about to use it to blow up city property, putting his life in danger, and he didn't even get so much as a side-eye from his parents? That's disturbing behavior.

 

(Bonus: Attempting to blow up magic is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.)

Edited by KingOfHearts

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I really liked Henry in Season 1, and I still try hard to like him, but it was in this episode where he was pretty much destroyed.  It happened way before the idiotic dynamite scene which was made moot when Regina easily apparated it away from him.  The moment of no return was when he exclaimed earlier in the episode, "Stop! Listen to yourselves...You used to be heroes."  Why didn't Henry find out about Johanna's death at the hands of Cora (and to a lesser extent, Regina) in "The Queen is Dead"?  Surely, that would have given him some food for thought.  Henry may have been precocious but he was never stupid.  I can see why Henry might still be against killing Regina outright, but sanctimoniously reprimanding everyone for stating the obvious fact that a vengeful Regina is dangerous?   And no one was mad at Rumple for manipulating the hell out of Snow?  The only good thing was when they told him the least he could do was to stand guard over Snow.  Snow is completely broken over using the candle in "The Miller's Daughter" and this episode was about Regina.  Emma doesn't get to talk to Snow, and neither do Snow's friends.  She just gets a handful of scenes numb in the background and then she basically offers to commit suicide at the end.  Suuuuuuuure.

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Henry constantly inserts himself into things that are none of his business and often endangers himself/others in the process, but no one ever tells him to take his immature opinions and shove it.

 

Yes, that is what drives me crazy about Henry. I don't mind his black-and-white morality because that's age appropriate. I don't mind that he had ridiculous expectations about post-curse life because again, age appropriate. I do mind that none of his, at this point now THREE parental figures, seem to be trying to actually raise Henry in the sense of disciplining him when he does dangerous, risky things or helping him negotiate the murky terrain of adult, shades of gray morality. 

 

I do think, though, that part of what Henry was reacting to was the idea of trying to essentially assassinate Regina rather than incarcerate, rehabilitate, or simply defend against her. If I stop and think about it, that is pretty dark actually. Like, in real world examples, I don't support people going out to kill someone who was sending threatening messages even though I do think lethal force in self-defense can be justified. They actually did have alternatives since they had Rumpel (mostly) on their side and Emma potentially capable of magic. And Snow was lying in bed torn up with guilt over assassinating Cora, so there was an inconsistent message being presented to Henry... why was it so harmful to Snow to have killed Cora in complete self-defense but Charming and Emma could expect to do the same thing to Regina and not be traumatized?

 

I think I may be convincing myself that Henry was actually right!

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Like, in real world examples, I don't support people going out to kill someone who was sending threatening messages even though I do think lethal force in self-defense can be justified.

But that's not a real world analogy of what Regina is doing and has done. Regina didn't just send Snow and her whole family threatening letters. This isn't like a "Mean Girls" style juvenile vendetta with empty threats. Regina has repeatedly made several attempts on Snow's life and those of in her family. That fireball Regina threw at Emma a few episodes back was meant to maim if not kill. A more appropriate analogy is that Regina is a homicidal terrorist that has proven herself to be a lethal threat. Regina has murdered, she has been an accessory to murder (see: Cora defenestrated Johanna while Regina helped hold her hostage), and Regina herself is guilty of attempted murder (several times over). And in my book, if a terrorist starts mailing me pipe bombs or conducting drive by shootings of my house in an attempt to kill me or my family, I see zero problem in going out and trying to stop them even if stopping them includes lethal force. Regina is trying to kill Snow and her family and they are within their rights to try and kill her back first. It is self-defense for the Charmings to put an end to Regina even if that means killing her.

 

And Snow was lying in bed torn up with guilt over assassinating Cora, so there was an inconsistent message being presented to Henry... why was it so harmful to Snow to have killed Cora in complete self-defense but Charming and Emma could expect to do the same thing to Regina and not be traumatized?

Like KAOS Agent pointed out, some needed to tell Henry to shut the hell up and explain that sometimes "heros" do have to kill in self-defense or in the defense of others. But this back half of season 2 is when the show went into a tailspin of mind-numbing stupidity, and in this episode the result is that they essentially let Henry act like the mouth piece for the show's skewed morality that seems to be implying that even killing in self-defense is morally wrong and you should just let yourself be killed. I guess that way you get to keep your "hero" badge and your moral high ground as your soul ascends to the fairy tale Valhalla (only to be rejected when you reach the gates because you should've fought back!)

 

The problem is that the real reason Snow is curled up into a sobbing mess about killing Cora in self-defense (and this is according to the writers because they were asked about this in an interview after the episode originally aired) is because the episode was trying to show that for Snow White herself, killing even in self-defense was something that her "always be good no matter what" compass/moral integrity couldn't let her live with her actions. But this is completely absurd because to take back her kingdom from King George and Regina, Snow and Charming ordered many an ambush and lead several battles that resulted in the deaths of I'm sure many soldiers. So it's really idiotic that on the one hand Snow would've been responsible for the deaths of soldiers on a battlefield (even if it wasn't by her own hand), but it's this time, where she effectively kills Cora by proxy but in self-defense that turns Snow into a sobbing, useless lump of guilt. 

Edited by FabulousTater
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Like KAOS Agent pointed out, some needed to tell Henry to shut the hell up and explain that sometimes "heros" do have to kill in self-defense or in the defense of others.

This was a fail on the part of the adults in Henry's life. Though I think they actually kind of regressed Henry at this point in the story. Even sanitized versions of fairy tales have deaths in them. Knights go into battles with swords. What does he think they do with them, tickle people? Not to mention that even though he grew up in Storybrooke, it was still more or less 20th/21st century America, and he seems to have had access to stuff like TV and videogames. He reads comic books. The concept that sometimes heroes have to kill people shouldn't have been foreign to him at that point in his life. But that would have been a good place for his parents or grandparents to talk to him about self-defense or defense of others, and they should have been honest with him about what Cora was up to and why she had to be stopped. Considering that Emma is sheriff and carries a gun that I don't think shoots Nerf bullets, it's not outside the realm of possibility that there may come a time when she has to kill someone in the line of duty, and Henry needs to get used to that fact. It could cost a life if she hesitates in a crisis because she's worried that her idiot son will think she's now a villain if she shoots.

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A more appropriate analogy is that Regina is a homicidal terrorist that has proven herself to be a lethal threat.

 

That was what I meant by threatening letters... I was thinking of a credible threat like a stalker ex or a terror threat. It is not legal to find someone and kill them because they've threatened you nor do I think it is moral. IMHO, self-defense applies to an active threat, not just a credible future threat, because the future is never certain. Regina's backed down and softened before, and indeed the alternative approach worked. Rumple was able to easily protect Snow, and Henry was able to reach Regina and convince her to let go of the spell. (and the way I read the end scene is that Regina had no intention of hunting Snow anymore, but when Snow literally showed up at on Regina's doorstep and begged to be killed, Regina just couldn't resist)

 

Even with Cora, what Snow's actual action wasn't really self-defense. It was about preserving Rumple due to family ties. If she just wanted to defend against Cora, she could have crushed the heart or used the heart to control Cora. She only needed to manipulate Regina into murdering her mother in order to keep Rumple alive. The show even had her articulate this to make sure all viewers knew it and knew that Snow knew it.

 

I think that's why Snow feels so guilty in this episode. She knows that she had an alternative to killing Cora and that she also had an alternative to using Regina to kill Cora, and per her explicit admission, the murder-free alternative would have been safer for the people of Storybrooke (since it would have ended the Dark One power completely and defanged Cora). Battle is different because at that point, it is pure self-defense. It's the premeditated, cold-blooded nature that I believe upset Snow and Henry.

 

I think exploring how the characters approach that distinction actually could be an interesting character arc, except that this episode is so close to the end of the season and I can tell by episode titles that the last two episodes are going to have something to do with Neverland. I feel like this season crammed two seasons worth of character arcs into one and all the characters are suffering for it.

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Even with Cora, what Snow's actual action wasn't really self-defense. It was about preserving Rumple due to family ties. If she just wanted to defend against Cora, she could have crushed the heart or used the heart to control Cora. She only needed to manipulate Regina into murdering her mother in order to keep Rumple alive. The show even had her articulate this to make sure all viewers knew it and knew that Snow knew it.

 

Snow was caught by Regina in the vault.  If she had tried to use the heart to control Cora at that point, Regina would have thrown her across the room and Cora would have become The Dark One.  If she had crushed the heart right then and there, Regina would probably have killed Snow out of anger right there, and then exact revenge on her family.  Or, Regina would have thrown Snow across the room and knocked her unconscious before she could crush the heart, and again, Cora would become The Dark One.  So I do see it as self-defence at that moment. 

 

 

 

I feel like this season crammed two seasons worth of character arcs into one and all the characters are suffering for it.

 

Agreed.  It would have been more interesting and more organic to space out the character journeys.

Edited by Camera One
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That was what I meant by threatening letters... I was thinking of a credible threat like a stalker ex or a terror threat. It is not legal to find someone and kill them because they've threatened you nor do I think it is moral. IMHO, self-defense applies to an active threat, not just a credible future threat, because the future is never certain.

No. Regina is an active viable threat and Snow killing Cora was self-defense.  Going after Regina now that she has declared her intention to murder Snow is self-defense. Regina has murdered her own father, had Sydney kill Snow's father, she hired Graham to murder Snow, and Regina captured David so that she could get Snow to essentially commit suicide. Later Regina decides that she wants to murder a newborn Emma and only because of David actions does Regina fail to kill an infant. And, as a part of the audience, we also know that she murdered Graham in cold blood just a few months ago. Now what part of any of that seems like, "Oh, Regina will change her mind. She's an old softy now"??? Death and murder are Regina's true calling cards.

 

Regina isn't just a crazy person writing angry letters from a cabin in the woods and mailing them to people. She has actually killed many, many people and now has sent a message declaring who her next victim is. She's like a serial killer who leaves clues to who her next intended victim is. Stopping her, by whatever means necessary, even by lethal force is self-defense and in defense of other innocent people who might get in her way. She's not a cuddly teddy bear that's just having a bad day. She may dress in business professional clothes, drive a nice car, adopted a child, and she cries a convincing set of crocodile tears, all which paints a pretty picture of benign domesticity. But that doesn't change facts -- Regina is a cold blooded killer.

Edited by FabulousTater
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. Stopping her, by whatever means necessary, even by lethal force is self-defense and in defense of other innocent people who might get in her way.

This is probably just an agree to disagree area because I don't believe that there is ever a time when pre-emptive force is self-defense.

 

Snow was caught by Regina in the vault.

 

My interpretation of that scene is that Snow was deliberately caught by Regina so that she could manipulate Regina into killing Cora. If instead of lighting the candle and whispering Cora, Snow had grabbed the heart and crushed it or grabbed the heart and said "Grab Regina and drop the dagger," I think Snow would have been able to safely leave the vault. 

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How would Snow have known that Cora would sense something was threatening her heart, and that Cora would send Regina over to check it out?  There is no way Snow could have planned to confront Regina in the vault.  

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I never considered that Snow could have crushed Cora's heart. The episode presents it as having to pick between Cora and rumple, instead of an opportunity to get rid of two menaces. We always talk about how Snow was a bad leader for not executing Regina but she could have gotten rid of the dark one.

Edited by kitticup

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