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S02.E17: Welcome to Storybrooke

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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.

Snow actually brought this up, sans the actually crushing. She was going to manipulate Cora into doing the right thing while holding her heart, then let Rumple die. Rumple manipulated Snow into doing otherwise with, "Just think of poor Henry when he finds out you killed his grandpa". Both Cora and Rumple were murderous menaces, so really letting Rumple die and crushing Cora's heart was the smartest thing to do.

 

(I do think there were multiple ways to save Rumple, but he chose this one to get rid of Cora once and for all. Plus, he wouldn't even get in trouble for it because Snow would be the actual killer.)

Edited by KingOfHearts

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She was going to manipulate Cora into doing the right thing while holding her heart, then let Rumple die. Rumple manipulated Snow into doing otherwise with, "Just think of poor Henry when he finds out you killed his grandpa". Both Cora and Rumple were murderous menaces, so really letting Rumple die and crushing Cora's heart was the smartest thing to do.

 

Given how upset Snow was about Cora's death and her culpability, I'm not sure that she'd be able to justify killing Cora by crushing her heart and thus allowing Rumpel to die. Rumpel was supposedly on his way to being a "good guy" and he hadn't done anything to them (recently) that would justify her letting him die when she had the opportunity to stop Cora and save him at the same time. Which is not to say he didn't totally deserve it.

 

I'd also say that given the magical clarification later on, any plans to do with using the heart are now up for debate as they were most likely not feasible. 

Edited by KAOS Agent

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Given how upset Snow was about Cora's death and her culpability, I'm not sure that she'd be able to justify killing Cora by crushing her heart and thus allowing Rumpel to die. Rumpel was supposedly on his way to being a "good guy" and he hadn't done anything to them (recently)

What Snow actually articulated on the show was that she would use the heart to control Cora, not crush it. Crushing is my addition because based on what we've seen at this point in the series, I think it would have been both viable and the best option. So Snow had (or believed she had) an option that would allow her to solve the immediate problem without actively murdering anyone. That's why I think her extreme guilt in this episode is actually justified by the show canon. 

 

(I also don't think the show has suggested anyone other than Belle believed Rumpel was on his way to being a good guy. Not that much time has passed since he abandoned Emma, Regina, and Henry in order to bring magic back to Storybrooke, released the wraith on Regina (that also destroyed a bunch of property), and cast the spell on the well that would have killed Emma and Snow had Regina not undone it. That's just the stuff that I know for sure Snow knows about.)

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What Snow actually articulated on the show was that she would use the heart to control Cora, not crush it. Crushing is my addition because based on what we've seen at this point in the series, I think it would have been both viable and the best option. So Snow had (or believed she had) an option that would allow her to solve the immediate problem without actively murdering anyone.

 

Why didn't Cora poof the heart to herself when she felt someone messing with it? Why didn't Regina just poof the heart from Snow White immediately? Why didn't Cora hide the heart or put a protection spell on it? If Snow tried using the heart to manipulate Cora, all Regina would have to do it poof it away from her. It wouldn't work. The idea that Snow would simply crush the heart rather than use the candle would mean that Snow would then be responsible for two deaths rather than one. They had an entire conversation about how letting someone die was murder in "In the Name of the Brother", so that would be a big no-no for Snow. It was said earlier in the thread that the Charmings et al even considering the idea of killing Regina was not acceptable unless it was in direct self-defense (which is actually how I saw that entire conversation - they didn't know what to do and were considering all options if attacked). How would it be okay for Snow to allow Rumpel to die because of his past evil deeds, but not be okay for her to kill Regina, who is actively out trying to kill her, even though she's killed/cursed/raped/tortured/kidnapped untold numbers of people as well?  

 

Snow's suicide attempt in this episode was so stupid. I don't care about the guilt. I can understand that, but the catatonia and the suicide attempt was lame. And Regina let her go because she was much more excited about watching Snow writhe in torment than killing her outright. Besides, she can always kill her later when she inevitably gets bored with her revenge. Given it took her about three days in this episode to be bored with the curse, I give her about a day before she decides Snow needs to die again.

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This episode gets a lot of flack because of the Woegina Fest that insues, but I actually don't hate the concept of the flashbacks. I hate the present day events, but seeing Storybrooke's early days and Owen's backstory did fill in some holes. It also gave us some insight on Regina and how the curse affected her.

I think it would have been marginally better if it weren't used as a way to sympathize with Regina. That's what really ruined it in the end.

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In some ways, it was fun to see the sepia-toned Storybrooke of back then.  I enjoyed seeing Graham again.  I wouldn't mind watching an entire episode of people in Old Storybrooke just interacting with one another.  But after one and a half seasons of anticipating and speculating, it just didn't show anything new or unexpected.  

 

Much of the episode I didn't find that bad.  The travesty for me was what they did to Henry and the lines they gave him by the well.  That ruined it for me moreso than Regina crying over Owen leaving.  I could even have sympathesized with Regina on losing Owen if she didn't rip apart and separate a father and son.

Edited by Camera One
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Much of the episode I didn't find that bad.  The travesty for me was what they did to Henry and the lines they gave him by the well.

I hated that scene. In fact, I would watch Breaking Glass before I ever watched that again. It made everyone look like complete idiots and Henry as the all-knowing golden child who just wants everyone to get along. Oh, it was a major scene to whoobify Regina too. It angers me so much.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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I was watching more clips and it led me down a rabbit hole to flashbacks from "Welcome to Storybrooke".  I had watched the scene from the pilot where The Evil Queen was in the nursery and the next suggested video was when Regina woke up in Storybrooke.

So on the first day, in the morning, she walks down the street and sees Gepetto, Archie, Granny/Red but doesn't bump into MM.

She then goes to the school and takes MM to the Hospital to ask her if she knew John Doe.

The second day, MM went to see John Doe and Regina is grinning from ear to ear behind her.  So Regina wasn't worried that MM was drawn to John Doe, or that they would have a True Love's Kiss?   Did this happen extra early in the morning or something?  Since afterwards, Regina walks down the street and she sees the same sequence of people, and then she bumps MM.  

I also forgot that Graham was in her bed as of Day 2 and Day 3.

Edited by Camera One

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10 hours ago, Camera One said:

I also forgot that Graham was in her bed as of Day 2 and Day 3.

But it was totally free will, right?

I bet back then they 100% thought it showed Regina as a powerful seductress, and not a vindictive rapist. And I bet once they started hearing the backlash, it started to sink in. They tried to either joke about it (like the “they may have been playing chess” podcast remark), or claimed that people had free will under the Curse, despite that being a nonsensical statement. Also, according to them, Mary Margaret cheated intentionally. Funny how these rules only incriminate the so-called heroes, but absolve Regina of wrongdoing.

Edited by Rumsy4
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9 hours ago, Rumsy4 said:

But it was totally free will, right?

I bet back then they 100% thought it showed Regina as a powerful seductress, and not a vindictive rapist. And I bet once they started hearing the backlash, it started to sink in. They tried to either joke about it (like the “they may have been playing chess” podcast remark), or claimed that people had free will under the Curse, despite that being a nonsensical statement. Also, according to them, Mary Margaret cheated intentionally. Funny how these rules only incriminate the so-called heroes, but absolve Regina of wrongdoing.

Honestly, I don't think it has ever sunk in that they wrote Regina as a rapist. If it had they wouldn't have turn Zelena into a rapist turned hero or they would have used that chance for Regina to see what she did was wrong. Instead she never once connected what she did to Graham to what Zelena did to Robin and hypocritically goes off on Zelena for what she did.  That and redeeming Zelena shows me they either still don't understand the backlash or they don't care. I'm not sure which since they really do live having villains do horrible things and ever get called on it or face any consequences. If they did understand the backlash, they would have either not done Zelena raping Robin at all or used it to show the writers do understand.  They certainly wouldn't have had WHook raped too. 

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I think with Regina they didn't realize what they were actually doing, how it would look to the audience. I think they still don't quite get it, which is a disservice to the character of Regina as much as anyone, as it prevented the character from ever being able to address what she did. I think it would have been an amazing character moment for Regina to address that what she did to Graham was horrible. It would have gone a long way to showing that she is truly trying to be a better person. Since that seems to be the show runners main goal in life, to make Regina a hero, it makes me think they just don't see what we saw. If they did, they would have addressed it, turned her into a true hero, and avoided a good amount of the Regina hate that runs rampant around here. (I don't know about elsewhere as I don't go to other message boards). To have had Regina turn herself in, apologies, show remorse, or even address Graham at all would have done wonders for her character. They just clearly do not seem to see it as rape which is terrifying. She basically did the magical equivalent of roofying him. She took away his ability to consent. Of the three rapes, Graham by Regina, Robin by Zelena and Whook by Gothel, Regina's is the most classically comparable to a real life rape scenario that happens far too often. It bothers me that they don't get this. 

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Jane Espenson is the only writer on this show who flat out stated that Regina raped Graham. This was the episode where Lana described Regina's relationship with Graham as "fun and flirty" and referred to him as her boy toy. It's really gross to hear the actress think it was light and not the horrific, evil thing it was.  Jamie Dornan had a completely different opinion about the whole thing. Let's review his interview about this episode.

The Hollywood Reporter: You're coming back to Once Upon a Time in a different period. How would you describe Storybrooke?
Jamie Dornan: Storybrooke is pretty much almost identical to how we see it up to this point. It’s the first day of the curse, so essentially nothing really changes from that point onwards...It’s fascinating to see, from the first day of the curse, Regina had total control – especially over Graham.

THR: Do we see the beginning of Graham and Regina’s romance?
Dornan: Yeah. In season one, we see the fact that she’s in control of him, to a point, and getting what she wants from him. [In this episode] we get to see it right from the start. We can see just the scale of it, how easily she can get him to do what she wants. It’s kind of sad. It’s kind of tragic – to see someone get used, essentially, like a puppet. We see her at her most evil and controlling. Poor Graham, he’s just doing what’s he’s told. He doesn’t have the conscience to fight against it. It’s kind of hard to watch. I find myself feeling very sorry for him. It’s interesting, I think, for the audience to see the level of manipulation from day one of the curse.

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42 minutes ago, KAOS Agent said:

It’s interesting, I think, for the audience to see the level of manipulation from day one of the curse.

Also incredibly frustrating that he never got any justice for it. I doubt A&E get why so many of us are still hung up over this. It makes the whole of Regina's redemption a complete farce. I'm sure they dismiss it as shipper nonsense.

Edited by Rumsy4
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I was watching another scene from this episode... the dinner with Regina, Owen and Owen's father.  It's so hard not to feel for Regina since she put herself out there and asked them to stay... but I also felt my emotions were manipulated.  "How come you're not a mom?  You'd be great at it," the boy said.  Riiight.  Did we ever find out why Regina had such an urge to adopt children?

There was a lot of dramatic tension in that scene... I'll give them that.    

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The whole story was manipulative. We were supposed to see Regina not being happy with her revenge and get rejected by people who didn't know her history as the Evil Queen and feel bad for her. The problem with this is that Regina could have left Storybrooke at any time. She could have gone out and met all kinds of new people and had new experiences. She clicked with Owen and Kurt, but she was ridiculously dumb in believing that they would give up their lives for someone they met a couple of days ago. She could have tried to continue a relationship with them that built into something, you know, like normal people do. Instead, she turned to kidnapping and murder. If she was bored and lonely in Storybrooke, there was nothing keeping her there. She could live her life happily all while knowing that her enemies were suffering a life of total monotony separated from their loved ones. That would be a much better revenge than whatever she did for 28 years in Storybrooke. Basically, Regina was super dumb. I don't feel a bit bad for her. 

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10 hours ago, KAOS Agent said:

The whole story was manipulative. We were supposed to see Regina not being happy with her revenge and get rejected by people who didn't know her history as the Evil Queen and feel bad for her. The problem with this is that Regina could have left Storybrooke at any time. She could have gone out and met all kinds of new people and had new experiences. She clicked with Owen and Kurt, but she was ridiculously dumb in believing that they would give up their lives for someone they met a couple of days ago. She could have tried to continue a relationship with them that built into something, you know, like normal people do. Instead, she turned to kidnapping and murder. If she was bored and lonely in Storybrooke, there was nothing keeping her there. She could live her life happily all while knowing that her enemies were suffering a life of total monotony separated from their loved ones. That would be a much better revenge than whatever she did for 28 years in Storybrooke. Basically, Regina was super dumb. I don't feel a bit bad for her. 

Neither do I. Poor Regina she got her revenge and still wasn't happy. Let's feel sorry for her being rejected.  And feel sorry for her when she murdered Kurt. We're not suppose to feel sorry for Kurt who was murdered or his son who grew up without a father. Yet another family Regina destroyed. How nice that Regina never ever pays for anything she does. 

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9 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Yet another family Regina destroyed. How nice that Regina never ever pays for anything she does. 

I guess when you've already destroyed countless families, what's one more? I like when Regina stans go on and on about how much she's suffered and how sad it is when people reject her all the while ignoring all the lives she's destroyed one way or another. Honestly with all she's done to others she's lucky to still be alive. It's gross that the show wanted us to feel bad for Regina in this situation. She's not the victim here. To think there was a time where I was sure she'd pay at some point. 

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She basically tore apart the lives of hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more), but wah, it wasn't what she wanted!

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If she was bored and lonely in Storybrooke, there was nothing keeping her there. She could live her life happily all while knowing that her enemies were suffering a life of total monotony separated from their loved ones.

That's a really good point.  As of 2.17, did we know Regina could leave Storybrooke?  I vaguely remember that I had assumed at that time Regina couldn't leave, so I was confused how Rumple got Baby Henry there.

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In fairness to Regina, she was new to our world and we don't know if whatever memory download she got to enable her to live in 20th century America (she kept her own identity, but she seemed to function okay without culture shock) told her that there's an entire subgenre of horror/suspense/thriller stories about people who get way too intense with you in relationships way too fast, so that bad things end up happening, and an entire subgenre of horror/suspense/thriller stories about strange small towns with weirdly powerful mayors, in which bad things tend to happen to visitors. So she wouldn't have understood that getting stuck in a strange small town where the weirdly powerful mayor takes an oddly intense personal interest in the car repairs for a couple of visitors, going quickly from "let's get it repaired and get you out of here" to "it could take a while, so why don't you join me for dinner at my place and then maybe move to this town for good and let me adopt your child" would have triggered all of their "GET OUT!" reflexes.

More seriously, it's weird how they seem to be painting Regina as this wonderful maternal figure, in spite of the fact that she's repeatedly left kids orphaned, or functioning as orphans, out of spite when they don't want her to be their mother (in one case, after sending them into the clutches of a witch who eats children). I don't know what definition of "maternal" they're using, but I tend not to think of putting out a hit on your stepdaughter, sending large numbers of children to their deaths, or separating kids from their fathers when they don't want you to adopt them as being very "maternal." The situation with Owen reminds me of the story about Solomon, in which two women claim to be the mother of a child and he suggests cutting the kid in two so they can each have half. He knows who the true mother is when one woman offers to let the other woman have the child. When Regina saw that Owen didn't want to stay with her, if she'd really cared about him and was being truly maternal, she'd have given up and let Kurt go so that Owen wouldn't be alone in the world. The fact that she kept Kurt and killed him, leaving Owen alone in the world, shows that it was never about love or caring on her part. It was about possession and control. She was bored being around people who had no choice but to obey her and accept her, but the moment someone used free will to reject her, she couldn't deal with that, either.

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Just for fun I was reading the original TWoP thread for this episode. This comment totally cracked me up:

"I'm so done with Henry. I was heartbroken when he didn't let Nealfire take him to New York, hopefully to remain unseen for the rest of the season. "

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It would have been more interesting if Regina did NOT get the Curse download and had to figure everything out herself.

I thought the whole reason why Regina cast the Curse was because she couldn't hurt Snowing while they were in the Enchanted Forest.  So she really should have just killed them both in this episode.  Or she tries to and wakes up the next day, and they're still there.

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9 hours ago, Camera One said:

It would have been more interesting if Regina did NOT get the Curse download and had to figure everything out herself.

Regina got the curse download, but the fact that she obviously had no idea who "The Boss" was made me wonder how good it was. That should have been pretty standard pop culture knowledge.

This episode is infuriating, and more so in retrospect 

Spoiler

given that we're never allowed to sympathize with Greg/Owen, and are supposed to be pleased - with Regina - when we find out that he 's dead.

 

It is another example of how obviously irredeemable Regina is, in that what she does to Owen and his father is not in any way tied to her vendetta against Snow. Bad as it is that she had been willing to hurt so many people in the service of a totally warped revenge quest, the fact that literally the first interaction she has with perfectly decent people who have no tie to the EF ends in abduction, family separation, and possible murder just provides more evidence that we're dealing with an utter psychopath. Yet, the way it is framed - especially the scene where she and Owen are standing across the town line from each other, and he can't see her -- we're evidently supposed to feel sorry for her because she's unhappy and feels rejected.

Really, it is a version of Nice Guy syndrome. Somehow, the writers seem to think that Regina, no matter how many terrible things she does, is entitled to love and acceptance as long as she isn't actively being evil at that particular second. She wanted to be kind to Kurt and Owen, and they spurned her, and so, while I don't think K&H would go so far as to say she is justified in doing what she does, they still see her as a victim in a way that minimizes her culpability and shifts our sympathies away from where it actually should be. 

The writers' warped morality is also in evidence in Mary Margaret's totally over the top reaction to having killed Cora. Should Mary Margaret be jumping for joy about what she had to do? Maybe not, though I wouldn't blame her if she didn't feel remorseful, either. But the idea that she's catatonic in bed and, ultimately, suicidal over killing an extremely powerful person who had murdered Snow's mother and old nurse and was actively plotting to kill her entire family except for Henry - or, alternatively, that she's guilty about forcing Regina into doing it, when Regina is an extremely powerful person who murdered Snow's father, separated her from her daughter for 28 years, tried to kill her entire family multiple times, and is actively working with Cora -- goes beyond believable human behavior. Any normal person, even if they felt some qualms, would remind herself that she had done what she had to do to save herself and her loved ones from literal serial killers who wanted them dead. On top of that, if she didn't do it herself, any normal husband or daughter would firmly tell her this. 

Instead, the show again frames this as Snow being understandably overwrought over the terrible thing she did. Henry is allowed to condemn her without any meaningful protest from Emma or David, she has a conversation with Rumple about learning to live with guilt in which someone who has literally been the Dark One for centuries doesn't laugh in her face at the idea that there is any comparison, and then we see that she has an actual black spot on her heart. To which the appropriate response should be "Yes. Life is messy, no one is perfect, and everyone has some darkness in their heart." But that clearly isn't how the show is playing it. 

At least Emma has a good line when Henry, after explaining that he wants to destroy magic because "It makes good people do bad things," adds "And bad people," clearly referring to Regina in a comment that implicitly questions the screwed up moral equivalency. Too bad she couldn't have been allowed to explain to Henry that there's a difference between lying and not believing that an eleven year old is entitled to know everything, especially when that eleven year old is proving himself to be a self-righteous little shit. 

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Oh boy, its this episode. This is where the show officially takes a sharp left into crazy town, plowing through the streets of "Deranged Morality" and "victim complex" into it rides straight into town sure, all the while massacring passers by, crying about how it was there fault for being on the sidewalks and not in the clouds. O just read some old thoughts from this thread, including my own, and my opinion has not only stayed the same, its deepened. This is the episode that killed Regina as a sympathetic character. It started this shows truly bizarre trend of showing us flashbacks that, on any other show, would be a character pole vaulting over the moral event horizon, but are supposed to make us feel bad for her, it is the true beginning of the worst of Woegena, the character who will define the rest of the series, and it went so hard on her being such a psychotic, horrifying person, that she would basically need to spend the rest of her life doing an endless litany of good deeds around Storeybrooke to even get close to making amends, but, the person we saw here is incapable of that. The person they wrote seems to be even more incapable of love and a real relationship than Cora, and Cora ripped her own heart out! She sees love as a one way street, where she expects that if she does the bare minimum, like not murder you, she expects your eternal love. Its so horrible, and so creepy, I cant even comprehend how writers could think this episode would make us feel bad for Regina. I just...I just cant. 

Anyway, the one thing I do like about this episode is getting to see Storeybrooke from the beginning, and seeing a bunch of the old characters, and how Storeybrooke worked before Emma showed up and started making things happen. The town appearing out of nowhere and Kurt and Owen finding it really does have that magical, mysterious feel that Storeybrooke had in the first season, and, when you look at this episode in a vacuum, its a pretty good little horror episode from their perspective. Its downright scary when Kurt finds Regina talking into Grahams heart about bringing his son to her, and its heartbreaking when they're chasing him down while he begs Owen to run. Plus, its nice to see so much of the old gang (Gus! Graham!) and seeing how Storyebrooke was basically in a time loop for 28 years. 

All that being said, this episode is an utter mess, due to its obsession (and the shows obsession) with making Regina look like the victim. Oh, how dare Kurt not want to uproot his whole life to be around this woman he just met, in a town he just stumbled into! He must now die! Yeah, such great maternal instincts that Regina has. Trying to kidnap kids to be her son like some Law and Order SVU villain, than taking his dad and leaving him an orphan, and this is after separating god knows how many children from their parents, and, oh yeah, feeding kids to the blind witch not so long ago! Regina doesn't want a child, she wants a puppy that tell her how special and wonderful and loved she is over and over until she gets bored with it. Honestly, its kind of fascinating, in a dark kind of way. If Regina was shown as being a proper villain here, it would be a fascinating character study of this unstable but powerful person who desperately craves love and affection, but has no idea how to give or receive it in a healthy manner, and is so narcissistic that she assumes that any problem in the world has to be because of someone else, and never her. Turn this around, and this is a really interesting look into a sick mind. Of course, we dont get that. We get the Regina Mills Pity Party Hour. 

And the stuff with Snow is, somehow, even worse. Much like this episode terribly hurt Regina, it REALLY damaged Snow and her characterization. I can get feeling bad about how things went down with Cora, but this comatose fugue state of suicidal horror? Would she have rather be burying her husband and daughter and friends like she did her mother and Johanna? Well, guess so, because thats what heroes do! Let psychopaths murder innocents and their loved ones, because doing anything else is wrong! It makes her this sad, broken meek damsel like we saw in the flashbacks, and not the Snow we have come to know and love. And its not even like this is the fist time she has ever killed anyone! I dont think all those guards she shot with arrows all made it home! So Regina gets to murder left and right while cackling evilly when she isnt crying, and be fine, but Snow must now offer herself up in penance for killing a woman who almost killed the whole town? I DONT GET IT!!!!

Poor Kurt. And its so sad to see Graham, and what he was reduced to, and his constant abuse by the woman who literally controls him like a puppet. Oh, what a hero that murderous rapist is! I feel so sad for her! Oh the humanity, SHE is the real victim! Not the father separated from his son, not the innocent child orphaned, not her abused sex slave, not any of the other town full of people she has trapped, its HER! 

Spoiler

Its all even worse knowing that she killed poor Kurt, and that poor Owen will be demonized for wanting to get justice for his father from Poor Regina, and will die a pointless death that no one will care about. And that, oh yeah, Regina will end the series with a whole fucking multiverse at her mercy! Are we sure this isnt some weird American Horror Story spin-off? Because this is all sounding like a horror movie.

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2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Oh boy, its this episode. This is where the show officially takes a sharp left into crazy town, plowing through the streets of "Deranged Morality" and "victim complex" into it rides straight into town sure, all the while massacring passers by, crying about how it was there fault for being on the sidewalks and not in the clouds. O just read some old thoughts from this thread, including my own, and my opinion has not only stayed the same, its deepened. This is the episode that killed Regina as a sympathetic character. It started this shows truly bizarre trend of showing us flashbacks that, on any other show, would be a character pole vaulting over the moral event horizon, but are supposed to make us feel bad for her, it is the true beginning of the worst of Woegena, the character who will define the rest of the series, and it went so hard on her being such a psychotic, horrifying person, that she would basically need to spend the rest of her life doing an endless litany of choors around Storeybrooke to even get close to making amends, but, the person we saw here is incapable of that. The person they wrote seems to be even more incapable of love and a real relationship than Cora, and Cora ripped her own heart out! She sees love as a one way street, where she expects that if she does the bare minimum, like not murder you, she expects your eternal love. Its so horrible, and so creepy, I cant even comprehend how writers could think this episode would make us feel bad for Regina. I just...I just cant. 

Anyway, the one thing I do like about this episode is getting to see Storeybrooke from the beginning, and seeing a bunch of the old characters, and how Storeybrooke worked before Emma showed up and started making things happen. The town appearing out of nowhere and Kurt and Owen finding it really does have that magical, mysterious feel that Storeybrooke had in the first season, and, when you look at this episode in a vacuum, its a pretty good little horror episode from their perspective. Its downright scary when Kurt finds Regina talking into Grahams heart about bringing his son to her, and its heartbreaking when they're chasing him down while he begs Owen to run. Plus, its nice to see so much of the old gang (Gus! Graham!) and seeing how Storyebrooke was basically in a time loop for 28 years. 

All that being said, this episode is an utter mess, due to its obsession (and the shows obsession) with making Regina look like the victim. Oh, how dare Kurt not want to uproot his whole life to be around this woman he just met, in a town he just stumbled into! He must now die! Yeah, such great maternal instincts that Regina has. Trying to kidnap kids to be her son like some Law and Order SVU villain, than taking his dad and leaving him an orphan, and this is after separating god knows how many children from their parents, and, oh yeah, feeding kids to the blind witch not so long ago! Regina doesn't want a child, she wants a puppy that tell her how special and wonderful and loved she is over and over until she gets bored with it. Honestly, its kind of fascinating, in a dark kind of way. If Regina was shown as being a proper villain here, it would be a fascinating character study of this unstable but powerful person who desperately craves love and affection, but has no idea how to give or receive it in a healthy manner, and is so narcissistic that she assumes that any problem in the world has to be because of someone else, and never her. Turn this around, and this is a really interesting look into a sick mind. Of course, we dont get that. We get the Regina Mills Pity Party Hour. 

And the stuff with Snow is, somehow, even worse. Much like this episode terribly hurt Regina, it REALLY damaged Snow and her characterization. I can get feeling bad about how things went down with Cora, but this comatose fugue state of suicidal horror? Would she have rather be burying her husband and daughter and friends like she did her mother and Johanna? Well, guess so, because thats what heroes do! Let psychopaths murder innocents and their loved ones, because doing anything else is wrong! It makes her this sad, broken meek damsel like we saw in the flashbacks, and not the Snow we have come to know and love. And its not even like this is the fist time she has ever killed anyone! I dont think all those guards she shot with arrows all made it home! So Regina gets to murder left and right while cackling evilly when she isnt crying, and be fine, but Snow must now offer herself up in penance for killing a woman who almost killed the whole town? I DONT GET IT!!!!

Poor Kurt. And its so sad to see Graham, and what he was reduced to, and his constant abuse by the woman who literally controls him like a puppet. Oh, what a hero that murderous rapist is! I feel so sad for her! Oh the humanity, SHE is the real victim! Not the father separated from his son, not the innocent child orphaned, not her abused sex slave, not any of the other town full of people she has trapped, its HER! 

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Its all even worse knowing that she killed poor Kurt, and that poor Owen will be demonized for wanting to get justice for his father from Poor Regina, and will die a pointless death that no one will care about. And that, oh yeah, Regina will end the series with a whole fucking multiverse at her mercy! Are we sure this isnt some weird American Horror Story spin-off? Because this is all sounding like a horror movie.

I agree with everything you said. God, I hate this episode. Its so insane and horrible that we're suppose to feel sorry for Regina who had just gotten everything she wanted. But no only a couple days into the curse she was all sad again. So what does she do? Decide to KIDNAP a boy and when that doesn't work she MURDERS his father. I mean what the hell? Why are we suppose to feel sorry for her? She just destroyed another family and this was days after getting everything she wanted. If they kept her as a villain or didn't try to make use fell sorry for her it would at least be something. But no they show us Regina once again doing something absolutely horrible and then turn around and what us to feel bad. Because Kurt didn't want to uproot his entire life base on someone he just met a couple days ago. We're not suppose to feel bad for Kurt who gets murdered by Regina or Owen who's left an orphan by a selfish psychopath who murdered his father. Nope, Regina is horrible psychopath who needs to pay for her crimes. All of them.

I hate the Snow storyline just as much as Regina's.  I could see her feeling bad or not really wanting to cheer that she murdered someone or regetting that it had to be done. But she's never be a catatonic over it. She knew why she did it. To save her family and her town. More likely Snow would be relieved that Cora wasn't a threat anymore and they'd all be worried what Regina was going to do. Snow's lost way too much at the hands of Cora to be so devastated she takes to her bed. Season one Henry would never blame her or be shocked or unable to understand why Snow killed Cora. He would know. Sometimes Good has to defeat the Villain by killing them. Plus he should know enough about Cora and he knew his family was going to battle Cora and REGINA because he left with Ruby right before it happened. He'd be happy and relieved his family was okay and he should be furious with Regina. For all her claiming of trying to be good for him, she aligned herself with Cora and came to help her become the Dark One and what would happen if she did. Henry should be going off on Regina and never wanting to see her again. 

Poor Graham. 

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I just went and rewatched the well scene (yes, we're all doomed to replay the same show over and over again).  

This time, I was quite amused by the moment where Henry ran in front of Regina holding the fireball.  David and Emma were cool as cucumbers, while Neal was all panicky and wide-eyed and even breathing heavily when he didn't have lines.  

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29 minutes ago, Camera One said:

I just went and rewatched the well scene (yes, we're all doomed to replay the same show over and over again).  

This time, I was quite amused by the moment where Henry ran in front of Regina holding the fireball.  David and Emma were cool as cucumbers, while Neal was all panicky and wide-eyed and even breathing heavily when he didn't have lines.  

Maybe they were hoping Henry died? Oh, wait that was me. 

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Up to a point, if you consider this episode in a vacuum, there are things I like about it. As mentioned above, it's cool to see the curse hitting from the perspective of this world, with a town miraculously appearing, and it's interesting seeing the early days of the curse. Regina is so deliciously weird and creepy in the way she deals with outsiders, and it's amusing how quickly she got bored with her own curse, the one she killed her father to cast because it was her only way to find happiness.

The problem is that uncomfortable sense that we're supposed to be sympathizing with poor Regina, who just wants love. Her problem is that she wants someone loving and respecting her out of free will and not because they're curse zombies who are forced to love or respect her, but then she completely flips out if someone who has free will doesn't do what she wants them to and she immediately tries to remove their free will.

It's just so bizarre that their way of trying to build sympathy for Regina was to show her teaming up with her evil mother and laughing as her mother murdered an innocent woman, then to show her trying to essentially kidnap people and force them to live as her family, leaving a kid as an orphan when they refuse and try to escape from her. I might have been more sympathetic if she'd let the father go once the kid was over the town line and she realized it wasn't going to happen, but she didn't and just kept crying because they didn't love the creepy person who tried to hold them prisoner.

Then there's the hypocrisy that Regina is allowed to want vengeance on the person who killed her mother, but it was wrong (and worthy of vengeance) when Snow killed the person who killed her mother, who was an imminent threat. Not to mention the fact that Regina had already killed Snow's father and tried to kill Snow many times, plus framed her for murder. I just want to say, "Do you hear yourself?" whenever Regina speaks.

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50 minutes ago, Camera One said:

This time, I was quite amused by the moment where Henry ran in front of Regina holding the fireball.  David and Emma were cool as cucumbers, while Neal was all panicky and wide-eyed and even breathing heavily when he didn't have lines.  

Also amusing? The fact that Regina doesn't even bother to ask who the heck Neal is. You'd think SB doesn't get so many visitors that Regina wouldn't be curious about the identity of this stranger who showed up to deal with Henry-related crisis with Emma and David.

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I watched the clip of Regina and Graham in the police car chasing Owen and his father.  It was really quite horrifying.  

Spoiler

Especially chilling now knowing that Regina killed Owen's father and laughed about it.  That was just so cruel and unnecessary.  I'm sure Owen's father would have agreed to never speak of the town again, if he was allowed to leave to find his son.  

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