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S04.E01: A Tale Of Two Sisters

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Speaking of Misthaven, I can't wait 'til A&E release their annotated map of the geography of the world they so meticulously created!

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45 minutes ago, Camera One said:

Speaking of Misthaven, I can't wait 'til A&E release their annotated map of the geography of the world they so meticulously created!

It's just like two dozen kingdoms all squished together within walking distance, then there's Arendelle across a sea.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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33 minutes ago, KingOfHearts said:

It's just like two dozen kingdoms all squished together within walking distance, then there's Arendelle across a sea.

And then later on 

Spoiler

When people from all over the multiverse are showing up in the Room of Doors, they act like Arendelle is in a totally different universe, like Neverland. Except, its clearly just across the ocean, in the same universe. Its like saying that Sweden is in a different universe than Canada. 

All of the kingdoms are apparently so easy to travel around, and so squished together, and there are seemingly so few people, its like every kingdom is about the size of Delaware. 

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2 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

All of the kingdoms are apparently so easy to travel around, and so squished together, and there are seemingly so few people, its like every kingdom is about the size of Delaware. 

I had this fanwank that all the "Room of Doors" realms were in the same universe, just different planets. They're all in the same plane of existence. 

Spoiler

Realms like Disenchanted Forest and NoWonderland were in a different plane of existence.

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I remember being so excited for this episode, and then spent much of it staring at the screen in disbelief. What a letdown.

On the up side, the depiction of the Frozen stuff was rather good and, for a change, the big "Huh?" with that side of the story was from the source material, not from these idiots. Elsa and Anna's parents' decisions never made much sense. Then again, it fits perfectly into this universe where no one thinks anything of magic, except when they're afraid of it and hate it.

They completely lost track of their timeline. This picks up immediately after the season 3 finale, which happened apparently the day after the confrontation with Zelena in the barn. Regina's wearing the same clothes when she talks to Zelena in the jail, and then Rumple comes and kills Zelena right after getting engaged to Belle with the fake dagger. Right after Zelena's death, her essence comes from the necklace and opens the portal, which shoots a column of flame into the sky. They don't notice it until the big "coronation" ceremony at the diner. It's already hard to believe they didn't notice the fire or Zelena's absence until near sunset the next day, so it's really hard to believe it was more than a day. So, there was the engagement one night, then the wedding the next night, and then the following morning there's already a newspaper blowing around showing Belle and Rumple's formal engagement portrait. Not to mention Belle talking about finding the mansion that must have been created in this new curse on one of her morning hikes, when they've only been back in this world for about a week, and during most of that time they weren't doing a lot of roaming around because of the flying monkeys who were attacking people in the woods. Hook was having to hang around the shop to protect Belle. When was she taking these hikes? It's been a couple of days since they defeated Zelena, and she got engaged the night they defeated Zelena. She must have taken a hike on the morning of her wedding day.

As for the rest of it, ugh. The characters are put in service to the writers' agenda and aren't acting like real people at all. An Emma who's just been thrown into Regina's dungeon and watched Regina try to execute her mother isn't going to come back to the present and be all "hey, you're so different now, meet one of your victims" and then feel bad about poor Regina losing her new boyfriend because she didn't get to execute his wife. Seeing past Regina would surely make her look at Regina from a different perspective and be a bit bothered by her. And Regina hasn't changed all that much if her first thought is to find a way to murder Marian and not get caught. Even if she changes her mind and saves Marian rather than trying to do Zelena's time travel spell so she can go back in time and murder Marian and not be suspected, a good person isn't going to come up with that kind of plan. That's not the sort of thing that would even cross a good person's mind. If Regina had really changed and was truly a good person and a hero, she'd be feeling horrible about being the person who put the man she loved through so much pain. She just had that conversation with him about how much he suffered when he lost Marian. Then she learns that she was the one who caused that suffering, but she doesn't seem to feel the least bit of guilt about that. She doesn't seem to have an ounce of joy for him having been reunited with his wife, for Roland getting his mother back. If she truly had any love for them, she would at least have mixed feelings. She could still hurt for herself while being happy to see people she loved being happy. It's not the book making her evil. She is evil. She's just making slightly better choices in her actions now.

As for Marian and Regina ...

Spoiler

That confrontation with Marian and the snow monster is pretty much proof that they didn't come up with the Zelena twist until later. There's no one else present and conscious, so there's no reason for Zelena to keep acting like Marian and just be helpless with the snow monster. She had no way of knowing that Regina was coming to the rescue. I don't think Zelena would have maintained her facade if she thought she was going to be killed even if there had been people watching. She'd have been using her magic to defend herself, not just lying there. With no one else watching, she definitely would have been throwing fireballs.

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I really liked the Frozen stuff especially Anna and Elsa, their love and relationship for each other. I hate the Regina stuff. It'll never stop blowing my mind that we are suppose to feel sorry for the murderer. They want us to feel sorry for Regina without ever giving us a reason too. She murdered Marion in the past. The only reason she's alive now is Emma saved her when she went to the past. She watches herself in the past with Marion. She's not horrified at herself. She's not bother at all. She doesn't care that she hurt Robin. And decides she wants Marion dead. Wow, what a great person. So sympathetic. 

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14 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

On the other hand...the Regina plot. In the words of Heather Chandler, fuck me gently with a chainsaw, how could this have been seen as a good idea?! Oh my God, the insanity of this whole plot is just mind boggling, both morality wise, and by the rules of its own damn universe. This is when the show not only starts to suck (which has already happened, lets be real), but it begins to slowly implode, and tear apart the fabric of not only its own universe, but all of fiction in general. This is probably the plot that team Disney read, and said "we need to get someone down there ASAP before these wackos decide to write Elsa becoming a serial rapist but also the hero or some shit" and sent out people to keep an eye on things.

I love everything about this comment.

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The annoying thing about the Regina stuff is that it's not only offensive, it's horribly executed. I don't think they could ever have made me pull for Regina over Marian, given the circumstances of Regina having imprisoned and (in the original timeline) executed Marian. The murderer should never be allowed to hook up with the surviving spouse of one of her victims. But they could have possibly pulled it off in such a way as to make Regina a bit sympathetic. Just a few ideas, off the top of my head:

  1. Have Regina and Robin get together sooner, so that they've been together for more than a couple of days when Marian returns. I know they didn't want Regina to fall in love or be happy during the Missing Year because she was away from Henry, but that's actually rather ridiculous and unhealthy. Let Regina and Robin have met during the missing year, hit it off even though they're from opposite poles of life, and only after they're pretty far along in falling for each other (maybe the first time they sleep together) does she see the tattoo. Maybe they even get married, and then the curse tears them apart because they don't remember each other, so it's like they're meeting all over again back in Storybrooke. They're finally reunited for real when they get their memories back, and then Marian shows up. As it is, she hated him until she saw the tattoo, and they've only been seeing each other for a few days, at most. She's in love with the idea of the man with the tattoo at this point. It has nothing to do with Robin himself, and that makes it hard to believe her life is really that ruined.
  2. Have Regina react with the slightest bit of empathy. She's all sad and horrified, but when Emma goes to comfort Regina, Regina says she's sad because Robin just told her what losing Marian did to him, and now she knows she's the one who caused him that pain. Bonus points if she apologizes to the Charmings because now she understands what she put them through. Even better if she confesses to Emma about Graham and apologizes because she now realizes what she did to Emma.
  3. I don't know, maybe not have Regina's first thought be how to murder Marian and get away with it, and her second thought not be to go back in time so she can murder her and not get caught. We just did a whole arc about how Zelena was evil (excuse me, wicked) for doing that. Now we're supposed to sympathize with Regina for doing the same thing? Or were we supposed to think Regina was evil here, but then we realize that she's really a hero because she changes her mind? Because, you know, a hero, to me, is someone who doesn't even consider murdering her rival and trying to get away with it.
  4. The plan to find the Author and rewrite the book would be a lot more rootable if she didn't come up with that plan as though it was an evil scheme, crazy eyes and all. Not that it makes any sense because, up to this point, the book has always been a record of what happened, not something that makes things happen. Marian got a happy ending not because it was written in the book, but because Regina didn't follow through on meeting her guaranteed soulmate, so he then found someone else, and Marian was awesome so naturally he fell in love. Regina is a villain in the book not because the book made that happen, but because Regina did evil things. There are consequences to doing evil things, and those consequences are likely to get in the way of your future happiness.
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I was reading an interview from this era, and it does address some of our points.

Quote

Has that been a tricky tightrope to walk in terms of the audience’s knowledge versus the characters’ lack thereof?

Eddy Kitsis: Hopefully you're watching for the story. When I watch True Detective, I’m not like, "Wait, is this Thursday?" Hopefully the audience isn’t asking what date it is, because what we do is we pick up from where we ended last year

Listen to Eddy, everyone.  Stop thinking.

Quote

The show is known for putting its own twist on iconic fairy-tale characters. Should we expect the same treatment for the Frozen gang?

Kitsis: There are times we take liberties as we’ve done with Peter Pan and other characters, but Frozen we really feel like they are so well-defined and we were so inspired by what we saw up on the screen last November, that we don't want to change those characters.

I'm giving Eddy a 10 for convincingly explaining why they're not twisting the Frozen characters into a pretzel without referring to outside pressures.  You see, Peter Pan and Snow White and Cinderella etc. etc. aren't as well-defined...

Quote

Eddy:  In fact, what happens when Elsa, who is somebody who wanted to run away, meets another character who loves to run away, Emma? 

Oh boy.  Emma LOVES to run away.  It's like a hobby.

Quote

Kitsis: The bigger threat in her mind is definitely Marian. We’ve shown three seasons of growth for the Evil Queen, and now she’s really faced with her first emotional setback, which is she thought she had her happy ending. And when you go back and look at the finale last year, you see her and Robin Hood coming to that party. For the very first time on the show, [Regina] really looked happy, and that’s been taken away. So for us, it's a now what? The old Regina would immediately rip everyone’s heart out. Will this Regina revert to heart wrecking, or will she evolve? And we’re going to find that out quickly in the premiere.

I guess we're supposed to believe it's "evolved" if she wants to kill someone but just plans it and doesn't follow through.

Quote

How deep in the doghouse will Rumplestiltskin be with Belle when she finds out the truth?

Horowitz: I would not want to be him when she does.

Uh, I would not want to be HER.

Quote

How will Michael Socha's Will Scarlet/Knave of Hearts be incorporated into the Once world?

Kitsis: We’re going to get a little taste of Michael in the first 11 [episodes] — glimpses of him. But Michael's character, as we remember, was a disgraced member of the Merry Men, and Robin Hood is very much alive living in Storybrooke. So we’re going to see them reunite. Obviously for people who watched [Once Upon a Time in] Wonderland, they are like, "Wait, he had his happy ending. He went off with the Red Queen." We are going to tell that story, what happened and what brought him back to Storybrooke. And that will probably be in the later half in the season, and it will be done in a way that if you’ve never seen Wonderland, we’re going to fill in the blanks. We’re also going to find out that he has an interesting connection to another character from the past, from season one of Storybrooke.

Spoiler

So they were still saying this in September.  I wonder what changed.

Edited by Camera One
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This episode is a good showing of one of my biggest issues with Regina's redemption arc: Regina just isnt very empathetic towards other people. A traditionally heroic person should care about other people, be able to put themselves in their shoes, do what is best for other people when they can, and be happy when other people are happy, even if its a bittersweet happiness. Regina often just seems incapable of that. Its always about HER and what makes HER happy. So when Marian shows up, there is no moment of guilt at knowing she killed this innocent woman who meant so much to people that she is supposed to love, no conflicting feelings where she is heartbroken that her new family has left her, but also being happy that Robin has his wife, and Roland has her mother. She pretty much immediately starts angrily saying that Marian probably did something to deserve to die, that she is a waste of space, and when she accepts that she cant just kill Marian or let her die, she mops and whines despite the town being in danger, yet again. Regina often seems incapable of really being selfless, unless it gets her something out of it, and truly struggles with caring about her victims, or people in general, unless its Henry, her favorite trophy to prove how awesome she is. its how she can escape the vines of regret, because she got Henry out of it. Why should she care about her countless victims, people who she has killed directly or indirectly, and whos lives she ruined? It all worked out for her! They probably deserved it anyway!

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The scene in front of Granny's is just so cringe-worthy to watch in so many ways, so I just watched it three times.

First of all, you have Emma running out with her apology. 

Regina then says: "Once again I felt the brunt of heroism - always the villain, even when I'm not".  Uh, excuse you that people saving other people's lives inconveniences you.  At least Emma said outright that she saved Marian from Regina, who promptly came back with "The woman who did that - that was the person I was, not the person I am.  I worked *very* hard to build a future."  Not a smidgen of remorse or self-reflection that she caused her own problems here.  

Then, Robin comes running out and wants to introduce Marian to Regina.  Wouldn't it be more tactful to have a private conversation with Marian first?  Robin: "I want us to... talk about this."  Seriously, how dense is he?  

Marion: "You and the EVIL Queen?  Did you let her near my son?  Do you know what she's done, the terror she has inflicted?"   I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a balanced portrayal, or if we're supposed to think Marian is mean or if we're supposed to think Marian is justified.  

Then, Snow comes out and the first thing she asks is if Regina is okay.  I just hate what they've done with the character.  At least they had Charming make a snarky remark that at least no one got incinerated yet.  

I loved Marian's line "What is wrong with you people!!!"  

Henry then goes, "Mom!  What is going on?"  Well, what do you think, dolt? 

Which prompts Marian to point at Regina to say, "She's a MONSTER!"  Oh my gosh, just like the people of Arendelle called Elsa a monster!  The parallels!  

And for the second time in this scene, Emma starts to defend and almost goes after Regina before Hook stops her.  

Then, the three males - Hook, Charming and Henry all voice how afraid they are of what Regina might do in her anger.  It's in character for Hook and Charming, but Henry?  It's how he should act, but quite contrary to his usual role of cheerleader.

2 solid minutes of watching embarrassment.

Edited by Camera One
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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

At least Emma said outright that she saved Marian from Regina, who promptly came back with "The woman who did that - that was the person I was, not the person I am.  I worked *very* hard to build a future."  Not a smidgen of remorse or self-reflection that she caused her own problems here.  

This right here is what really bothers me. On any other show, Emma's revelation would have stopped Regina dead in her tracks. There would have been a huge dramatic pause and Regina would have been horrified to learn that she was, in fact, the one that killed Marian and caused Robin and Roland so much pain. Her reaction (and that of most of her fans) was all about Regina with no thought given to anyone else's feelings. I came into S4 so high from the S3 finale and didn't dwell on this at the time, but looking back this was truly the beginning of the end of the coherent writing (IMHO).

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11 minutes ago, Kktjones said:

There would have been a huge dramatic pause 

I guess they did have the huge dramatic pause.  

When Marian stated that she was a monster, Regina did a small hand motion like she was about to conjure up a fireball or something before she turned around and stormed off.  Did they seriously include that in the script direction?

I did have a laugh at some of the highly liked comments on Youtube:
- "Wow really Charming?  "It's what she does in that space I'm worried about".  How many times has Regina saved your life?  She's good.  Get over it
- "Snow and Charming are sooooo nosy!  Go back inside!"

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40 minutes ago, Camera One said:

I did have a laugh at some of the highly liked comments on Youtube:
- "Wow really Charming?  "It's what she does in that space I'm worried about".  How many times has Regina saved your life?  She's good.  Get over it
- "Snow and Charming are sooooo nosy!  Go back inside!"

I really don’t understand the mindset of the rabid Regina stans.

I agree with all that’s been said about how wonderful the Frozen crew was and how terrible Regina’s “redemption” arc is this episode.

I was struck by the fact they open this season with Rumple promising Neal that he’ll be better.

Spoiler

And this season he does some of the most brutal and cruel things of the entire series. Hats fairies, tries to hat Emma, enslaves Hook(given his history a particularly cruel fate) almost crushes his heart. Makes a deal that would see the whole town destroyed and steal Henry away in the process.

I do like that Hook calls Emma out for avoiding him and not being straight about why.

hate this “frozen” callback with Emma talking to Regina through the door.

Spoiler

It’s obvious they retconned Zarian just from this episode. They must have gotten bad feedback from the crypt sex with a married man and decided to “fix” it. 

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23 hours ago, Camera One said:
Quote

Eddy Kitsis: Hopefully you're watching for the story. When I watch True Detective, I’m not like, "Wait, is this Thursday?" Hopefully the audience isn’t asking what date it is, because what we do is we pick up from where we ended last year

Listen to Eddy, everyone.  Stop thinking.

You only get the luxury of your audience not asking what date it is and trying to figure out your timeline if you (the writer) are so obsessive with your own timeline that you don't have any "huh, what?" moments in the story that make the audience stop to try to figure things out. If you make it clear that it's Thursday, and if you don't act like Wednesday was a month ago, and you're consistent, your audience will go with it. A big reason we obsess over the timeline on this show is that the writers don't seem to have any clue where they are and can't seem to keep straight how long it's been since something happened. Like with the emotional breakup between Robin and Regina. On the show, it's only been a few days since she saw the tattoo and realized that this guy she actually couldn't stand before she saw the tattoo was her soulmate, so it shouldn't even be a breakup at this point when he goes back to his ex. If I've been dating someone as long as they've been seeing each other, I don't even consider it ghosting if the guy just vanishes, and I shrug and move on. But the writers seem to have forgotten that it's just been a few days. They're looking back and thinking that Robin and Regina have been together since April (or possibly earlier if they're thinking of when they wrote it) and it's now late September, so they're in an established relationship that it would be heartbreaking to lose (never mind that the hiccup actually came in mid-May, so they haven't really even been together during the hiatus and were only together maybe six weeks in real world time before Marian returned).

17 hours ago, Kktjones said:

On any other show, Emma's revelation would have stopped Regina dead in her tracks. There would have been a huge dramatic pause and Regina would have been horrified to learn that she was, in fact, the one that killed Marian and caused Robin and Roland so much pain.

That's what I was expecting, but alas. Really, no one in that scene behaved like a human being. It was already bizarre that Emma came back from having been imprisoned and scheduled for execution by Regina and from having seen her mother executed by Regina, and then she just bounces up to Regina, all "hey, meet my new friend I met in your dungeon!" Meanwhile, as part of the timeline alteration, wouldn't you think that a Snow who narrowly escaped execution by Regina and a Charming who watched Regina (try to) execute Snow would have had a different relationship with Regina in the present? (And that's if that didn't change Snow's attitude about executing Regina when they caught her). Why would they have been at all sympathetic or supportive of Regina when she's confronted with a woman she was going to execute (and who was being executed for supporting Snow)? Robin's been miraculously reunited with his wife, so would he really have chased after Regina when she flounced out of the diner? Would it really be a painful and difficult sacrificial decision for him to make to choose to break up with the woman he's been dating for three days and who he just found out was the one who caused him to lose his wife when his wife's life is miraculously saved?

I actually do believe Regina wouldn't be horrified because she's terrible. It's Robin's reaction that's so hard to believe because he doesn't seem to be at all conflicted or bothered by the fact that Regina was the one who imprisoned Marian. And then there's everyone else being so worried about Regina, feeling guilty, and wanting to comfort her while having zero concern for Marian.

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35 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

And then there's everyone else being so worried about Regina, feeling guilty, and wanting to comfort her while having zero concern for Marian.

Yeah, it's really not a good look for Snow especially given that in the original timeline Marian was executed for protecting Snow...

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I don't think Snow knew Marian was trying to protect her in the past and died for it.  Still, that line was definitely irksome.

Spoiler

When Season 3 ended, I thought maybe we would get the backstory of why Marian was defending Snow, and maybe see their meeting, but nope.  I thought maybe Marian had taught Snow and Borin Hood (that was a legitimate typo but then I thought it was appropriate to leave it that way) archery.

I just rewatched the scene where Regina saves the day as she is the only one who can defeat the Snow Monster.  

She was such a drama queen when she disappeared making Marian think she was going to let her die, before reappearing and destroying the Snow Monster from behind.  

It's so obviously for the benefit of the audience.  But onscreen, it looked like Regina was petty enough to intentionally make Marian think that she was going to die.

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Not letting an innocent person die when you have the means to save them without much risk to yourself is, like, the absolute bare minimum for being a halfway decent human being. It is not a sign of heroism. The fact that Regina first considers killing Marian at all says more about her than the fact that she ultimately decides not to.

To be fair, it is a significant moment of growth for Regina, in that it is only a very, very short time ago that she was coming off of literally decades of mass slaughter/enslavement in which killing Marian would have been as much a no-brainer for her as saving Marian would have been for any normal, functional person.  But the show can't have it both ways - to the extent that the moment is significant, it is only because Regina was an absolute monster until very recently, in which case the response of our heroes to her makes zero sense. Especially, in Emma's case, after just getting firsthand experience of Regina's reign of terror at its worst.

What the show is doing with Regina isn't a redemption arc, it is a retcon. But bizarrely, it is a retcon that coexists with active reminders of how terrible she was in the past. Essentially, in the present, people act in a way that is totally inconsistent with Regina's past, even as Regina's past is being shown repeatedly on screen. Which suggests that something more disturbing than a retcon is going on - the writers legitimately don't understand how absolutely morally reprehensible and unforgiveable Regina's actions are, or at least think she deserves a pass because she had a tough backstory (though not as tough as tons of her victims'), and because Snow isn't perfect either.

Once again, I really wonder about the writers RL opinions. Like, do they legitimately think that a genocidal dictator should get forgiven - not to mention retain shared custody of her illegally adopted kid, who is also the biological kid/grandkid of some of her primary victims  -- as long as she stops killing people and says "my bad?" Not that Regina even really says "my bad," at least not in any sustained way.  

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2 hours ago, companionenvy said:

What the show is doing with Regina isn't a redemption arc, it is a retcon. But bizarrely, it is a retcon that coexists with active reminders of how terrible she was in the past. Essentially, in the present, people act in a way that is totally inconsistent with Regina's past, even as Regina's past is being shown repeatedly on screen. Which suggests that something more disturbing than a retcon is going on - the writers legitimately don't understand how absolutely morally reprehensible and unforgiveable Regina's actions are, or at least think she deserves a pass because she had a tough backstory (though not as tough as tons of her victims'), and because Snow isn't perfect either.

Once again, I really wonder about the writers RL opinions. Like, do they legitimately think that a genocidal dictator should get forgiven - not to mention retain shared custody of her illegally adopted kid, who is also the biological kid/grandkid of some of her primary victims  -- as long as she stops killing people and says "my bad?" Not that Regina even really says "my bad," at least not in any sustained way.  

Before every writing session, they repeat the following mantra 815 times - "Regina and The Evil Queen are two different people.  We identify with Regina as a metaphor for failed television writers in Hollywood who have slaughtered thousands of story ideas.  We shall disown any continuity error that we make like they are not our fault and people who criticize us are judgmental hypocrites like Snow and Charming."

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22 hours ago, Camera One said:

Before every writing session, they repeat the following mantra 815 times - "Regina and The Evil Queen are two different people.  We identify with Regina as a metaphor for failed television writers in Hollywood who have slaughtered thousands of story ideas.  We shall disown any continuity error that we make like they are not our fault and people who criticize us are judgmental hypocrites like Snow and Charming."

Exactly! It’s quite ridiculous the way they manage the storylines on this show.

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