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The Villains of Once Upon a Time

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he won't break a deal

 

Unfortunately, I think if Rumple wants to break a deal, he'd still do it.  But he'll get around it with a technicality which has been carefully thought through and worded.  In other words, he tends to only make deals that he doesn't intend on breaking in the first place or where the odds are always in his favor. 

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Regina was sort of this constant threat whereas Rumple kept mostly to his castle plotting how to enact the dark curse, how to have it broken and basically just manipulating the hell out of the little pawns in his chess game.  Regina is a reactive person, Rumple is calculated.  He may not have as great a body count as she does, but he's a hell of a lot more dangerous because he bides his time.

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Personally, I'd hope Daniel would be disgusted with the person Regina has become and ask her why she never once thought about how he would have wanted her to treat his death. How he never would have wanted to be avenged or for her to become like her mother. 

 

Bringing this from the Regina thread. I think while Daniel would be horrified and initially disgusted with the person Regina had become, he would still be a little like Belle and believe that she had good in her, especially as Regina hasn't done anything evil lately. We don't know much about Daniel, but he was naive enough to want to run away with Cora's daughter. However I think their incompatibility would become quickly apparent, and I feel that he would back away from her life. 

 

How would Milah have reacted to Hook's centuries-long quest to avenge her? I think while she would have felt it a romantic gesture, ultimately she would have been pained by it. After all, she did love Hook enough to risk her life for his sake. I think that she would be hurt that Hook has moved on with Emma, but would eventually understand that it has been a few centuries since they were together. 

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The problem with bringing back past loves of the villains is that those loves are from so long ago that the changes that have occurred with the villains makes it that they are so far from the person they were, it doesn't really work. Even looking at non-villains, Emma/Neal were separated by 11 years of individual growth such that even outside of the betrayal, it made it hard for me to see them in love with each other as the people they are now.

 

Milah loved the pirate Hook. She loved the adventure and excitement and seemed to jump right into piracy. She actually kind of dug his villainy. Now that Hook is pretty disgusted with himself and his pirate ways, would Milah be happy to live in an apartment in Storybrooke and have a rather normal, boring life? Or going a different route, would she have ever fallen in love and run off with the man who was Lt. Jones? Hook has changed from the man she fell in love with and I'm not sure she'd be happy with who he is now or even the idealistic man he started out as.

 

The same goes for Daniel, although he knew Regina when she was still good and sweet. Trying to reconcile her sweet past persona with who she became and what she is capable of could be highly problematic for Daniel. While she may be trying to change and Daniel may be a catalyst for that like Henry is, there's a whole lot of changes that have occurred with Regina and she can never go back to being the woman that he loved. I'm not entirely sure she'd even want to. It's not that I can't see them potentially being able to make it work, I just don't agree with the assumption that two people who were once in love would still feel the same way after years and years apart and some very massive life changes - especially when those changes include mass slaughter of innocent civilians, sexual slavery and general terror of the populace.

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What really damns Regina for me is that when she thought she had burned Snow to death, it changed nothing for her.  She was still hell bent on a very misplaced and misbegotten revenge.  Whereas, when Hook thought he had killed Rumple, he realized it left him empty inside.  Regina kept going.

 

As for Rumple, neither the Dark One "curse" or his childhood remotely excuse his actions.  One, Rumple was still cruel calculating villain as Mr Gold when the Dark One curse would have been neutralized.  He acts the way he does because he wants to and has the power to get away with it.  As for his father's abandonment, it does not move me at all.  His father was a loser but he wasn't the calculating little psycho that Pan became in Neverland.  Moreover, Rumple was raised by caring spinsters

 

As for Hook and Milah, it is hard to say because we don't know enough about their relationship, but my head cannon is that they truly loved each other and both were willing to die for the other.  Assuming that, I think that Milah's heart would ache to know that Killian spent 300 years in Neverland trying to avenge her death, and that she would be happy that he is moving on with his life and finding happiness with someone new.  If you truly love someone, you would want them to find love again. 

 

I don't think Hook ever reached/stooped to Rumple or Regina's level and appropriately targeted Rumple, not like Regina inappropriately targeting Snow White.  I don't know that Hook did that much damage.  He allied himself with awful people but he wasn't condoning or killing with them. Milah would not be disgusted by him.  She would pity him because his quest hurt Hook more than it hurt others.  I think she would be grateful to Emma for bringing him back from a dark place.  Just as I would expect charming would have felt if he had truly died in casting the curse and Snow was left alone, he would be happy that Snow found someone that could make her happy.

 

If Milah came back to life would she want to live with Killian (post Hook)?  Hard to say because we don't know what Hook will do in StoryBrook.  Hook needs to find his place outside of Emma and it might be a lifestyle that Milah might or might not want.  It has also been 300 years.

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I don't think Hook ever reached/stooped to Rumple or Regina's level and appropriately targeted Rumple, not like Regina inappropriately targeting Snow White.  I don't know that Hook did that much damage.  He allied himself with awful people but he wasn't condoning or killing with them. Milah would not be disgusted by him.

 

I agree with the assessments of Regina and Rumple and that Hook never reached their levels of villainy.  Though he had an appropriate target, he did damage to other people, and deliberately (Belle at a minimum).  The important part, as you say, is that he didn't keep up with the vengeance quest and recognized he had been wrong.  It took a really, really long time but he he figured it out. 

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As for Hook and Milah, it is hard to say because we don't know enough about their relationship, but my head cannon is that they truly loved each other and both were willing to die for the other.  Assuming that, I think that Milah's heart would ache to know that Killian spent 300 years in Neverland trying to avenge her death, and that she would be happy that he is moving on with his life and finding happiness with someone new.  If you truly love someone, you would want them to find love again. 

 

I don't think Hook ever reached/stooped to Rumple or Regina's level and appropriately targeted Rumple, not like Regina inappropriately targeting Snow White.  I don't know that Hook did that much damage.  He allied himself with awful people but he wasn't condoning or killing with them. Milah would not be disgusted by him.  She would pity him because his quest hurt Hook more than it hurt others.  I think she would be grateful to Emma for bringing him back from a dark place.  Just as I would expect charming would have felt if he had truly died in casting the curse and Snow was left alone, he would be happy that Snow found someone that could make her happy.

 

If Milah came back to life would she want to live with Killian (post Hook)?  Hard to say because we don't know what Hook will do in StoryBrook.  Hook needs to find his place outside of Emma and it might be a lifestyle that Milah might or might not want.  It has also been 300 years.

I honestly kind of flip back and forth on Milah.

 

By the time she was involved with Killian, he was definitely not Lt. Jones any more.  He was definitely a pirate, and she was definitely a woman who was over and done with her quiet village life.    

 

Shanna Marie's done some interesting write-ups on how old Killian Jones was when all this started happening--and if her calculations are correct, he was pretty young when they met.  Add in that he seems very comfortable letting a woman be in charge (and at times, seems to expect that it'll be the woman in charge)?    I think she was definitely the boss of that relationship. 

 

Whether or not she'd want him to spend all that time questing for vengeance on her behalf--I think it comes down to how manipulative and selfish she actually was.  Personally, I can't make up my mind, and they haven't given us enough information to be on truly sold footing, but I've wondered if she was truly in love with Killian, or if she loved the lifestyle and the brave, passionate anti-Rumple she thought of him as. 

 

I do believe she loved at least parts of him, and their life together--but I'm not sure how much she'd love post-pirate Jones?  Because most people change a lot between 22 and 32, for example, and he seems to be working his way back to who Lt. Jones would have grown up into, albeit not exactly Jones.     

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I do think he's more reasonable to deal with than Regina and he seems to be tied into a certain code - he won't break a deal

He made the deal with Killian and Milah to spare their lives and let them go free in exchange for the magic bean, and then he killed Milah and cut off Killian's hand in order to get the bean, which broke the deal.

 

I'd say both Rumple and Regina have a bad habit of amplifying every slight or insult into a capital case -- and yet they expect mercy and forgiveness from others for their own crimes.

 

I've wondered if she was truly in love with Killian, or if she loved the lifestyle and the brave, passionate anti-Rumple she thought of him as.

I watched "The Crocodile" last night, and my read was that she really did love him. She threw herself on the mercy of her husband in order to spare him, was truly concerned when she dragged him back to the ship, injured, and her dying words to him were "I love you." I don't know that it was on the level of magical True Love that could break a curse because there was too much ugliness going into and out of that relationship, but I think her feelings were genuine enough and she was happy with him. However, she'd likely be bored to tears just hanging around in Storybrooke. Would the fact that he's not the village coward and still manages to find adventure and danger even in Storybrooke be enough to balance that out?

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He allied himself with awful people but he wasn't condoning or killing with them.

I agree that Hook was nowhere near the level of Rumpel or Regina in his villainy (or even Cora), but imo this lets him off the hook way too much (no pun intended). Allying with someone pretty much is the definition of saying that you condone what someone is doing.

 

I liked Hook's moment of contrition about/to FauxAriel (Fauriel?), but it would really help me get on-board the Hook/CS ship if he showed the same level of contrition about the village Cora massacred.

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I agree, stealinghome, and I hope that's still to come. I don't think he's been whitewashed, I just think they haven't properly addressed his career of villainy.

 

However, with regards to Cora's massacre, we don't yet know if he had any choice there. He might very well have said, "What are you doing? That's not good form." And Cora might have force choked him until he complied. Alternatively, he could have just shrugged and cheerfully hidden himself under the pile of bodies. We do know that he had already stolen the bracelet at that point, so it could have been this act which caused him to seek an alliance somewhere else.

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Even if Hook didn't have a choice, he didn't seem at all affected by it.  Being a pirate is one thing, but unless he was plundering like the Vikings, I doubt Hook was used to the killing of women and children (hopefully), so he should have had more of a response to it, even if only in hindsight.  

 

I liked Hook's moment of contrition about/to FauxAriel (Fauriel?), but it would really help me get on-board the Hook/CS ship if he showed the same level of contrition about the village Cora massacred.

 

I agree Hook apologizing to FauxAriel was effective at showing his actual remorse, a lot more than the apology to Belle.  

 

Then again, you have Regina's first moment of awareness and apology to Tink, in a situation which wasn't even fully Regina's fault.  Whereas she hasn't felt the need to apologize to anyone else except maybe Belle, and that was because she needed something from her.

Edited by Camera One

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He made the deal with Killian and Milah to spare their lives and let them go free in exchange for the magic bean, and then he killed Milah and cut off Killian's hand in order to get the bean, which broke the deal.

 

No, Rumpel never made the deal. Milah & Hook proposed it and he said he wanted to see the bean first. After he saw it and she threw it to Hook, she said, "Well do we have a deal?" Then he went nuts and went off about her abandonment of Bae. He never agreed to the deal. Incidentally, in that scene, Rumpel starts off by saying he wants her to answer one question first. It's the same thing he did in the finale to Emma and while I doubt Colin remembers that particular scene, it was definitely a turn of phrase that Hook would have remembered and should have made Hook really, really wary about what Rumpel might do to Emma. 

 

 

Even if Hook didn't have a choice, he didn't seem at all affected by it.  Being a pirate is one thing, but unless he was plundering like the Vikings, I doubt Hook was used to the killing of women and children (hopefully), so he should have had more of a response to it, even if only in hindsight.

 

I kind of assumed that Hook was not in the village during Cora's rampage and that he returned after it was done. I just don't see him not objecting to it or being a party to it. It's not something Hook even at his worst would be a party to. There was no reason for it to occur. It was most likely the action that caused him to steal the bracelets and climb the beanstalk without Cora. It's the sort of thing that would definitely spur Hook to pick the "safer company" and get the hell away from the crazy.

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I kind of assumed that Hook was not in the village during Cora's rampage and that he returned after it was done. I just don't see him not objecting to it or being a party to it. It's not something Hook even at his worst would be a party to.

 

I assumed he wasn't there either when she went murderous.  Mulan said he had come to them a month before so it's not like the people in the village didn't know the "blacksmith" and he didn't start to know who those people were.  How does it make any kind of sense that Hook would be a "plant" in that village and then Cora just murders everyone.  I mean that whole thing was just weird.  Cora was posing as Lancelot, it's not the villagers had any clue that she had done away with him.

 

I'm thinking there was a whole different plan and Cora just went full on cray cray which forced him to improvise.

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If the writers were interested in an AU story rather than that joke of a finale they should have shown the EF without Rumple's interference... No Dark One. No Evil Queen. No Curse. No Wicked Witch. Possibly no Evil Cora. That would have been interesting. Take away the cause of everyone's destruction and life  in the EF is completely different.

This is an interesting theory, but I think you're blaming too much on Rumple, and not enough on the Mills family themselves, and not giving enough credit where it's due.  Going to list, because I like lists:

 

a)  The only reason Cora was able to marry Regina's father was because of Rumple.  Without Rumple, no Regina--which would, true, cut down on the number of massacres, so I guess you might be right about no Rumple, less destruction. 

 

b)  Cora had not met Rumple when she had Zelena.  Zelena, having those Mills genes, was pretty selfish and unhinged even before she met Rumple.  In fact, what sent her over the edge into Wicked Witch territory was unreasonable jealousy of a tweener.  (Huh.  Unreasonable reactions to tweeners.  Sound like someone else with Mills' genes?)  Rumple actually doesn't seem to be responsible for much of the Wicked Witch destruction.

 

c)  Cora was a pretty selfish and nasty piece of work even before she met Rumple.  Again, she's got those Mills genes.  (I'm glad Henry's adopted.)  Cora was a character who slept with someone she thought was rich and was going to marry her.  She got pregnant.  That's a pretty normal, and in her life situation, pretty tragic outcome.  Cora's reaction, though?  Not exactly a shining beacon of glorious morality.  She pretends to fall in love with some other rich guy, lies to him about being pregnant, steals from him, and the abandons the baby at the side of the road.  Cora didn't even do the Enchanted Forest version of leaving her on a doorstep, ringing the bell, and running away.  She simply left her child to die.  Again--this was preRumple meet.

 

Rumple's responsible for a whole lot of evil, and much of the destruction is his fault.  But I do not  think you are giving Zelena, Regina, and Cora enough credit.  They came up with some pretty nasty things to do without his help.

 

Edited because petty and pretty are completely different concepts.

Edited by Mari
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Good post. Despite what the creators try to tell us that evil isn't born, it's made, they keep showing us that the Mills women are BSC and disposed to hurting others by nature. Even moreso, the creators show us evil isn't made so much as consciously chosen.

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Yes--and the premise of the post I was responding to, which seemed to think that if Rumple hadn't manipulated things, Regina wouldn't have become evil?  I don't think I buy that.

 

She would have been less evil, and most likely not doing her harm with magic, but I'd be amazed if she didn't cause some destruction.

 

Regina was sweet, and innocent in the Daniel flashbacks.  But her response to tragedy was  not "How am I going to rebuild my life?  What do I do now?  I feel lost."  It was "I want to make people suffer."  The wrath was completely misplaced, and disproportionate to what happened.  It doesn't seem to be mentally stable.

 

What would've happened when real life tragedy struck?  When after she and Daniel ran away they couldn't afford medical care--because he's a groom, and she's not trained in a trade--and he died?  Does she kill the doctor?    What if she miscarried?  Or wasn't able to get pregnant?  Who does she take that out on?

 

Because as horrible as losing the man you love is, if your response is "Don't try and stop the person who actually killed him, get revenge on the child who was trying to help me.", you are not someone who reacts well to life going differently than you were expecting.

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Yes--and the premise of the post I was responding to, which seemed to think that if Rumple hadn't manipulated things, Regina wouldn't have become evil?  I don't think I buy that.

 

I don't know about that.  Before Rumple manipulated her in "The Doctor", Regina couldn't kill the unicorn.  The Daniel resurrection scheme was the last straw, and that was way beyond anything that would naturally have occurred.  Without Cora's insistence, she would not have married Leopold, only to get even.  And without Rumple, after killing Cora, she would have run away from Leopold's castle.  As much as I think Regina has been let off the hook way too often, if not for Rumple and Cora, she would not have spent her entire life plotting to kill Snow.  So yes, she was quick to blame the wrong target, but from what we have seen, if the events of "The Stable Boy" had ended without interference from Cora or introduction of Rumple, she would not have become a murderer and even if she had vengeful intentions (which I think was partially compounded by prolonged exposure to Snow which would be a constant reminder of loss), she would not have had the means to put them into action (without magic) and she would have moved on.  

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If Cora hadn't killed Daniel and Regina didn't have magic then she wouldn't have done what she did, but I think the underpinnings of sociopathic behavior must have been there and there would have been some other triggering event, probably due to Cora's actions.  Cora's obsession with Regina being a royal would have resulted in some other catastrophe that gave Regina grounds to lash out at someone inappropriately.  Cora would have to have been out of the picture entirely, and that didn't even work out well for Zelena.  We see Regina acting out of malice reflexively, toward peasants and children.  She didn't have to do most of what she did in order to get Snow. 

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There is definitely some sociopathic tendency in Regina, but based on her performance of pre-Daniel Regina, I don't think it would have been pushed to the surface without Rumple's grandiose manipulations with the dead Daniel.  I agree Cora would have continued to push Regina towards becoming royal, but from her relationship with her mother, Regina was basically bullied by her and did what she wanted, but without much enthusiasm.  Unless Cora taught her magic and also manipulated her emotions like Rumple did on a grand scale, based on the evidence we've seen, I don't think it's possible to jump to the conclusion she would have murdered peasants and children (which all happened after her mind "snapped" - and that wasn't the case immediately after the loss of Daniel - it was after Rumple continued prodding, pushing and manipulating).

 

As for Zelena's turn into a sociopath, I didn't buy that for one second based on the pathetic backstory we saw, which seemed like they started from "Oh, she goes green from envy!" and just worked backwards from there.

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Even pre-evil Regina who couldn't bring herself to kill a unicorn was already keeping Daniel's body magically preserved in a glass coffin so she could go visit and look at him, which isn't really what I'd consider healthy behavior. Everyone grieves in different ways and on a different timetable, but that's a good sign that she wasn't able to let go and might never have been able to move on. She might not have slaughtered villages, but she wouldn't have let herself bond with her husband and stepdaughter, probably would have ended up very isolated, and never would have had love in her life. Then she was willing to have some pretty horrific things done to him to try to bring him back to life. Yes, Rumple set that up and manipulated her to get her to the point she'd rip hearts and kill, but the manipulation wouldn't have worked if she didn't already have something screwy going on. How many people would actually think that reanimating a corpse was a good idea and something good to do to someone they loved? I don't think that Rumple's manipulations would have worked on a sane, healthy person who didn't have something wrong with her already.

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How many people would actually think that reanimating a corpse was a good idea and something good to do to someone they loved?

 

Rumple had already done some manipulation before she learned the preservation spell and then went to Frankenstein. She wasn't at village slaughter levels yet, but she was still twisted by magic to some degree.

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Immediately after Daniel's death, Regina started fantasizing about throttling young Snow, right? That was before she met with Rumple. So I agree with the idea that there was already something wrong with Regina that Rumple pushed and prodded to bring to fruition.

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Immediately after Daniel's death, Regina started fantasizing about throttling young Snow, right? That was before she met with Rumple. So I agree with the idea that there was already something wrong with Regina that Rumple pushed and prodded to bring to fruition.

Yeah, she was having daydreams about killing Snow before Rumple showed up. I guess it's like what they say about how you can't con an honest man -- a con is generally based on tempting someone with the idea of putting something over on someone else and coming out ahead, so it takes someone with at least the propensity to be a little crooked to fall for it. A really honest person won't be interested in trying to get something for nothing. You can't tempt a truly good person into going evil. For instance, Cora (playing fairy) couldn't tempt little Snow into killing someone else to save her mother.

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I don't think that Rumple's manipulations would have worked on a sane, healthy person who didn't have something wrong with her already.

 

I do agree with that, and good point about the unhealthy keeping of Daniel's body preserved. But despite all that, I still don't think it's a foregone conclusion that she would have turned into an evil murderer.  The fantasy of throttling Snow, again is a sign of issues, and that was likely brought about by being forced to interact with Snow constantly.  I still see the events in "The Doctor" as being the big event that broke the camel's back, in comparing Regina at the beginning and the end of that episode.  Without Rumple's manipulations, she might have fallen into deep depression, maybe spending forever in Daniel's crypt, but at that point, from what we were shown, there was still a moral compass inside of her.  Whether or not I agree with the writer's preoccupation with victimizing Regina.

 

You can't tempt a truly good person into going evil. For instance, Cora (playing fairy) couldn't tempt little Snow into killing someone else to save her mother.

 

And yet apparently, Rumple's potion could have made Snow White kill Regina and that would make her turn dark and never return from it?  And Rumple was able to tempt Snow into using the candle in the end.  Which I hated but still... I think the writers' message about evil born vs. made is inconsistent.

Edited by Camera One

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And yet apparently, Rumple's potion could have made Snow White kill Regina and that would make her turn dark and never return from it?  And Rumple was able to tempt Snow into using the candle in the end.  Which I hated but still... I think the writers' message about evil born vs. made is inconsistent.

I suppose it depends on what the potion really did to Snow. If it was advertised and just took away her memories of loving Charming, then okay, maybe Snow really is as bad as Regina and would have done the same thing (though I find it very hard to believe that). It seemed more like it took away her ability to love anyone or anything, as seen in her behavior with the dwarfs and even the little bird (which I must admit is one of my favorite moments in the entire series), and yeah, someone without the ability to love is going to be evil. But then on the other hand, if Snow would have turned dark and never been able to return from killing one person who had tried to kill her, was trying to kill her on an ongoing basis, and who was threatening everyone she cared about, then what does that say about the possibility for redemption for someone who's done the things Regina has done? If killing Regina would have been a point of no return for Snow, how can Regina be redeemed after killing Leopold, slaughtering villagers, sending children to their deaths and killing Graham?

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I kinda interpreted the "killing Regina means Snow can never be brought back" stuff in "Heart Of Darkness" to mean the potion's effects could never be reversed if she killed someone while under its influence. It's not an unheard-of trope, I think "Charmed" used it once. One of the sisters was turned into an evil creature (Windigo?) and if she killed someone in that form, she could never go back to normal.

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I kinda interpreted the "killing Regina means Snow can never be brought back" stuff in "Heart Of Darkness" to mean the potion's effects could never be reversed if she killed someone while under its influence.

That's a possibility. I'd also considered that because Snow's a good person with a massive guilt complex, if she killed Regina and then the potion was reversed, she wouldn't be able to live with herself and what she had done, which would keep her from finding happiness again. But then that brings us back to Regina, who doesn't seem to be losing any sleep at all after all the things she's done -- and even has said she has no regrets -- and what does that say about her?

 

If they really wanted to show that evil is made, not born, then they shouldn't have given all the good guys even worse backstories than they gave the villains, since just about everyone on the show has gone through worse stuff than Regina, Rumple, Zelena or Cora without turning evil to the extent they did, and then there are the ones like Archie/Jiminy and Hook who did do something bad in the past in response to the bad things that happened to them and who now feel guilt about it and are trying to make up for it. Emma had a very similar experience to Zelena -- found abandoned by the side of the road as an infant and raised by foster parents and then learned that she could have grown up in luxury as royalty -- except without the loving foster mother, and she didn't go nuts and try to rewrite history. So, what made Zelena evil and not Emma?

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Emma is my sticking point in this whole damn thing.

 

If Emma can survive being given back by her first family, growing up with no family, no love and no support system, and being abandoned to jail by the person who'd promised her home and not become evil, what the hell is the villains' excuse? Within the show's own story structure, Emma is proof that evil is not inevitable. At some point, personal accountability has to enter into the equation.

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Emma had a very similar experience to Zelena -- found abandoned by the side of the road as an infant and raised by foster parents and then learned that she could have grown up in luxury as royalty -- except without the loving foster mother, and she didn't go nuts and try to rewrite history. So, what made Zelena evil and not Emma?

 

This is exactly why I was so annoyed at the writers. They chose to parallel Zelena with Regina rather than the examine the exact parallel she had with Emma - though Emma had it worse. So I watched this story where Zelena doesn't get what she wants and goes psycho and I look at Emma and wonder...umm...how exactly was this evil made? Because I'm looking at an example in Emma and she's not evil. I don't understand why they chose such a direct parallel when they could have written a backstory for Zelena that didn't make me sit there and scoff at Zelena's reasons for evil. By paralleling the Mills sisters and having a direct contrast in Emma, they actually made a case for the opposite - evil is born, not made.

Edited by KAOS Agent
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 So, what made Zelena evil and not Emma?

The Mills genes.

 

Seriously, I don't think they realized that to much of the audience, Evil isn't just the cool title they gave Regina, and many of us don't think of her as a white hat, yet.    To them, they were pairing "evil made" (Zelena making bad choices) and "someone who's good", not realizing that really, what they were pairing was someone who was crazy against someone who was willing to ally with people she didn't particularly like against someone who was obviously dangerous.

 

Add to that how little thought they've actually given Emma's backstory, and I'd bet that at least a couple of the writers never even thought Emma and Zelena have similar backgrounds, with Emma's slightly more tragic--after all, Emma's parents loved and wanted her. 

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Given the events here, how can Regina say she has no regrets in Neverland? If that is true, it means she doesn't regret her actions towards Henry in this episode or at any other time. No Regrets Regina becomes more and more problematic with every episode I rewatch because I'm reminded again and again of things she should have been regretful of. If she truly loves Henry the way they are now painting her, she ought to be eaten up with regrets for the way she treated him. And besides that, she was clearly regretting her actions even within this episode - mostly because things weren't working out for her, but you know they were still regrets.

That's a really good question, and a serious writing problem.

 

The fansplanation I've seen that almost makes sense (if you squint a little and tilt your head) is that she's just really good at compartmentalizing.  While she was tied to the tree of No Regret, she just shoved all of that guilt way, way, way down, and was able to fool the tree. 

 

I've also seen the theory that it was simply bravado, and she was faking the lack of Regrets.

 

Unless there's a retcon on the tree, I don't quite buy it, simply because it was the "Regrets" tree, not the "Tree of Stuff Everybody Can Tell By Looking At You" or "Tree of Stuff You're Willing to Share with Others".

 

Other possibilities? Maybe she's only able to feel bad about something she's done when she's directly experiencing the consequences.  She's only feeling bad while she's being caught?    Or maybe at some point after that, she basically said "Screw it.  I don't care."

 

It's problematic writing.  A couple of times now they've thrown away sensible, reasonable character development for POWER! moments that really damaged Regina's characterization.

 

And there are things that you can shake your head at and think "Character fluke."  But how do you "character fluke" the No Regrets thing?

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This is giving Regina a lot of credit, but in regards to the tree, it's possible that the tree only fed on regrets that the characters were letting eat each other up. Snow and Emma were still actively regretful about what they did, but Regina wasn't letting it get to her. It's possible she had regrets, but she wasn't letting them surface. It's not that she had dealt with them already, but she just compartmentalized them as Mari said.

 

I don't think Regina is regret-free. I think she just jams her feelings down so low she won't let anyone get to them, including herself. When she blames others, it's a form of serious denial. It's probable that her regrets are so strong, she refuses to deal with them. She takes it out on other people to avoid dealing with her own issues.

 

The character writing is so flawed. It contradicts itself. It's basically impossible for Regina not to have regrets about mistreating Henry, then TLK'ing him. If she had no regrets about trying to kill Snow, she would have let her mother's ghost kill her. She wouldn't have been so reluctant to split her heart in A Curious Thing either. Not saying Regina is a saint, but thanks to the writing she's a living, breathing paradox.

Edited by KingOfHearts

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There's something I don't understand about Regina's character journey. I understand that back in season 1 they probably didn't plan on making Regina a hero by the end so they made her full-on evil. But then they fell in love with the character and Lana so they decided to redeem her. I get that.

What I don't get is that near the end of season 2, when they had long before already began Regina's redemption story arc, they decided to show the village massacre, which is IMHO one the worst thing she has ever done. Why backtrack like that, if they were trying to make her more sympathetic and likeable?

 

........

 

About Regina's lack of regret. I think we might have a difference here between regret and remorse (wait, no, I checked and they mean pretty much the same thing). Regina wouldn't take anything back because everything she did led her to Henry. If she could go back in time, she'd still cast the curse because that's how she got to Henry. That doesn't mean she doesn't think everything she did was wrong or that she doesn't feel bad about it, but she'd never change it. And maybe she doesn't even feel bad about the things she's done in the past but she wouldn't do them know (for example killing Snow). I don't know if my point came across. I'll blame it on English not being my first language :P

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If she could go back in time, she'd still cast the curse because that's how she got to Henry. That doesn't mean she doesn't think everything she did was wrong or that she doesn't feel bad about it, but she'd never change it. And maybe she doesn't even feel bad about the things she's done in the past but she wouldn't do them know (for example killing Snow).

 

I get the feeling that if she could go back, she'd do the same things all over again, too, and that is my exact problem with Regina's redemption. The ends still justify the means for her. Yes, her murdering and torturing and cursing may have gotten her something she never intended in the end, but I think a good person would still feel awful about the fact that she steamrolled over countless people to get it. I think a good person would be horrified at what she's done. And I think a good person would have enough empathy, if not sympathy, to recognize how many lives she's taken or utterly destroyed just to get what she wants.

 

As it stands right now, I don't think Regina has that empathy. If she can't put herself in her victims' shoes enough to recognize the pain she caused them, what's stopping her from steamrolling over everyone all over again the next time something unfortunate happens to her?

 

Basically, for me to believe Regina's redemption, I'd like to see her get her head out of her own ass. I'd like to see her regret the choices she made, even if it got her Henry, because what she did was horrible and hurt countless other people. I'd like to see her recognize and admit that her actions were wrong, no matter what she got out of it. Obviously, she can still feel overjoyed about Henry coming into her life, but I'd like her to at least recognize that Henry is an unexpected silver lining in a very, very, very dark cloud.

Edited by Dani-Ellie
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Basically, for me to believe Regina's redemption, I'd like to see her get her head out of her own ass. I'd like to see her regret the choices she made, even if it got her Henry, because what she did was horrible and hurt countless other people. I'd like to see her recognize and admit that her actions were wrong, no matter what she got out of it. Obviously, she can still feel overjoyed about Henry coming into her life, but I'd like her to at least recognize that Henry is an unexpected silver lining in a very, very, very dark cloud.

 

Oh yes, and how about she recognizes that she does not deserve to have Henry given all the abuse she directed toward him specifically.  How about the realization that she is damn lucky he wants anything to do with her, or that Emma lets her have contact with him at all.  But Henry and Emma have undergone character weakening so as to not make Regina accountable, and she gets a pass on all of that.  The fact that she still has Henry in her life should humble her and make her determined to make up for her misbegotten murderous rage, but no, she crows about no regrets. 

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I can get on board with the idea that Regina has mastered smothering pangs of guilt by making other people responsible for her actions and it's something she does deliberately when tied to the tree. It could have been a "Hells yes Regina!" moment if the show said that's what happened. It could have been that all important step where Regina acknowledges the full extent of the damage she's done. It could have been when the writers fully committed to redeeming Regina, no more quick fixes, no more throwing it away for what they think will be a shining moment of awesome. But it wasn't. 

 

The end of 3A is when I officially gave up on Regina as a character and accepted she was a writers' pet. 

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Emma is my sticking point in this whole damn thing.

 

If Emma can survive being given back by her first family, growing up with no family, no love and no support system, and being abandoned to jail by the person who'd promised her home and not become evil, what the hell is the villains' excuse? Within the show's own story structure, Emma is proof that evil is not inevitable. At some point, personal accountability has to enter into the equation.

I would give this dozens of thumbs up if I could!  This is the crux of the whole reason that "sad backstory excuses horrid behavior" does not and will not ever wash for me.  Emma is the moral center of the show and when you measure the Regina's, Cora's and Zelena's up against her it becomes impossible to buy into their whiny, self-pitying justifications.   

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I don't view Regina's character as the problem. Her character was fine and balanced up to 2A. It's the writing. The writers gave her an almost decent redemption arc in S2, only to totally dismantle it by giving her a village massacre and attempting to do it again in Storybrooke with the failsafe. Did she really think killing Henry's family was going to make him love her? Her character got assassinated just to throw in drama for the disaster known as 2B.

 

3A was mostly a saving grace for Regina's character. Until the Regrets Tree, she was cooperative with the Charmings and didn't cry about not being accepted. Then we have Save Henry and The New Neverland, which did no favors.

 

3B Regina, up until A Curious Thing, was pretty good. She did make some small steps to redemption during this time, which was good. But getting to TLK and become a strong purveyor of light magic? Was she doing a bunch of selfless redemption stuff off camera all season or something? Is she volunteering for a soup kitchen or going to church camp when we're not looking? I don't mind Regina having light magic, but making everyone else useless just for her is just plain unbalanced.

 

 

That doesn't mean she doesn't think everything she did was wrong or that she doesn't feel bad about it, but she'd never change it. 

 

ITA. That goes for any character. I don't even think some of the heroes would stop themselves from doing things they shouldn't have done, only because it made them who they are. That doesn't mean they'll do it again in the future, though.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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I don't view Regina's character as the problem. Her character was fine and balanced up to 2A. It's the writing. The writers gave her an almost decent redemption arc in S2, only to totally dismantle it by giving her a village massacre and attempting to do it again in Storybrooke with the failsafe. Did she really think killing Henry's family was going to make him love her? Her character got assassinated just to throw in drama for the disaster known as 2B.

.

I wish we knew what the writers originally had planned for 2b before Colin broke his leg. I think it would be fascinating to know. 2a seemed to go so well, I can only assume switching currents mid sail must have thrown them off course.

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I wish we knew what the writers originally had planned for 2b before Colin broke his leg. I think it would be fascinating to know. 2a seemed to go so well, I can only assume switching currents mid sail must have thrown them off course.

 

Replying in All-Seasons.

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I want to know what they had planned for 2B before they found out they could go to Neverland in S3. I thought 2A was underwhelming, but miles better than 2B, and I suspect 2B would have been much better if they hadn't suddenly retooled mid-S2 to set up Neverland.

I'm actually wondering if the fail safe stuff was even in the original plan for the season, or if the end of S2 was initially supposed to be Regina killing Cora because she realized Cora didn't care about anything, including her and Henry, and was a danger to them. We'll never know, but I hope that was the initial plan, because I can at least then believe that the writers aren't TOTAL morons.

(Bet Regina's heart wouldn't have been infinitely blackened by killing Cora. The town probably would've thrown her a freaking parade.)

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I'd like to see her regret the choices she made, even if it got her Henry, because what she did was horrible and hurt countless other people. I'd like to see her recognize and admit that her actions were wrong, no matter what she got out of it.

 

For a show with a major theme of redemption, Once really undervalues regret, doesn't it? I really can't see any meaningful redemption without it. Never.

 

I want to know what they had planned for 2B before they found out they could go to Neverland in S3.

 

Yeah, me too. Especially the stuff with Ruby/Red, they've locked her into contract for a reason, and I think somebody actually said they've sidelined her because of Neverland.

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Yeah, me too. Especially the stuff with Ruby/Red, they've locked her into contract for a reason, and I think somebody actually said they've sidelined her because of Neverland.

 

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What I don't get is that near the end of season 2, when they had long before already began Regina's redemption story arc, they decided to show the village massacre, which is IMHO one the worst thing she has ever done. Why backtrack like that, if they were trying to make her more sympathetic and likeable?

 

The writers gave her an almost decent redemption arc in S2, only to totally dismantle it by giving her a village massacre and attempting to do it again in Storybrooke with the failsafe. Did she really think killing Henry's family was going to make him love her?

I think--think--what the writers were going for in 2B, with the village massacre and Regina's attempted trigger of the failsafe, is to show Regina bottoming out. To, in both past and present, show her hitting literally her worst, lowest moment, in preparation for her Big Change of Heart at the end of S2.

 

I've been thinking recently about the lack of unity in the S2 fairybacks, and I've decided that it's not quite right to say that they lack a through line (though they do lack a true through plot). It seems like what A&E ultimately wanted the S2 fairybacks to show was Regina's fall from being Regina of The Stable Boy to truly The Evil Queen, and 'The Evil Queen' was the last stop on that particular train. And they paralleled that with her being BSC in the present day to build up to her destroying the failsafe as her first real Hero Moment, the beginning of her real redemption, the moment where she bottoms out and then begins to recover on a better track.

 

The problem is, when you remind the audience that the character is a cold-blooded mass murderer, who has in the past killed entire villages full of people and who not two episodes ago was trying to kill all of our protagonists and mind-rape the child she claims to love more than anything, they're a lot less likely to cheer for her, or care about her sacrifice or wtfever at all. They don't get why a person like this should be forgiven or deserves redemption. They're a lot less likely to feel like she is dying heroically, or should be saved, when she was the one who put the town in danger in the first place. But Adam and Eddie live in Regina's world, where they probably cheer wildly when she brushes her teeth in the morning ("Look at her technique! So flawless! So thorough! She brushes her teeth better than anyone in the history of eeeeeeeever!"), so.

 

And this, of course, is compounded by the fact that they're just not very good writers, so what was already some questionable ideas became even worse in execution.

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The problem is, when you remind the audience that the character is a cold-blooded mass murderer, who has in the past killed entire villages full of people

 

I"m willing to bet they wrote the massacre so she could make that pronouncement "I AM The Evil Queen".  Speaking of which "The Evil Queen" was another episode co-penned by Jane Espenson.  

 

So apparently, if Snow White had only given Peasant Regina the chance that deep down she really wanted, she might have changed.  Blech.

Edited by Camera One
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You know, come to think of it, I also wonder how much of it is because Adam and Eddie seem to have bizarrely decided that Regina and The Evil Queen are actually two different people, like Regina has Dissociative Personality Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). So to them, The Evil Queen might have murdered a village in the past, but whatever, that's not pwecious likkle Regina! She can't be held responsible! The Evil Queen's actions don't reflect on Regina at all!

 

Except, you know, they totally do, because it's not two different personalities.

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I"m willing to bet they wrote the massacre so she could make that pronouncement "I AM The Evil Queen".  Speaking of which "The Evil Queen" was another episode co-penned by Jane Espenson.  

 

So apparently, if Snow White had only given Peasant Regina the chance that deep down she really wanted, she might have changed.  Blech.

You're just determined to crush every speck of fannish affection I have for Espenson, aren't you?  My illusions are being ripped away, post by post.  ;)

 

The impression I had when I watched it, was they were going for "This could've been a reconciliation moment if it weren't for Snow finding out right then about Regina killing all those people."    In hindsight, considering the follow-up writing, I do think we were supposed to be more annoyed at Snow in that scene, for not blindly accepting Regina.

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I"m willing to bet they wrote the massacre so she could make that pronouncement "I AM The Evil Queen".  Speaking of which "The Evil Queen" was another episode co-penned by Jane Espenson.  

 

So apparently, if Snow White had only given Peasant Regina the chance that deep down she really wanted, she might have changed.  Blech.

Of course! It was Snow's fault for saying it was too late for her that she became the Evil Queen. It's all again Snow's fault. SMH.

 

 

You know, come to think of it, I also wonder how much of it is because Adam and Eddie seem to have bizarrely decided that Regina and The Evil Queen are actually two different people, like Regina has Dissociative Personality Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). So to them, The Evil Queen might have murdered a village in the past, but whatever, that's not pwecious likkle Regina! She can't be held responsible! The Evil Queen's actions don't reflect on Regina at all!

 

Except, you know, they totally do, because it's not two different personalities.

They even had Hook saying that in the finale. "Not Regina, love, the Evil Queen". It's not like any of other characters (we are both) because she was the only one who wasn't cursed. She was always the same person and she never had fake memories.

 

I even thought about that, that they showed that in the flashback to show the difference but then they showed us she'd do the same with the trigger in Storybrooke, so...

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You're just determined to crush every speck of fannish affection I have for Espenson, aren't you?  My illusions are being ripped away, post by post.

 

LOL.  I was just curious who wrote it, so that surprised me.

 

The members of the writing team of this show probably need to fill out a survey first to gauge their mindset about villains... for example:

 

1. What do you think of Cruella de Vil?

A. Cruel animal killer.  I have no sympathy for her.

B. What a stylish dresser.  She can't be held responsible because I think she was mauled by a pit-bull as a child.

 

2. What were your thoughts on Scar from The Lion King?

A. Evil power-hungry psycho.

B. His bond with the hyenas really show a deep yearning for connection with others.  I think King Medusa, I mean Mufasa, turned their father against Scar when they were children, when Scar was trying really hard to change but Mufasa told a truth which ruined Scar's life.

 

3. What about the Hun Leader in Mulan?

A. Bloodthirsty village-killer.

B. After he killed the village, he was probably crying and Mulan should have forgiven him so he could enter the path for redemption.  Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Cinderella fell in love with him, no questions asked?  He did burn the village down to ashes.  She'll love the gray parts of him too since ashes are both black, white and gray.  Write that line down, somebody!

 

-----

 

A = Do not hire.  They do not see complexities.

B = Snap up this writer quickly!

Edited by Camera One
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Considering the overabundance of villains getting redeemed on modern TV, I think it should be a rule for TV writers: if you could see yourself ever redeeming a villain on your show (no matter how unlikely you think it is), please, build in a good excuse for them to commit the deeds that made them a villain. Being possessed by a demon like Angel was is a good excuse. Repeatedly trying to murder a teenager whom you mistakenly blamed for the murder of your loved one really isn't.

 

You're just determined to crush every speck of fannish affection I have for Espenson, aren't you?  My illusions are being ripped away, post by post.

 

As a Buffy fan, I've always thought Espenson was overrated. She can do some great one-offs, but anything she writes pertaining to a long-running storyline can sometimes be problematic. She's also no good as a showrunner/co-showrunner. She also has a weird fascination with unhealthy, dysfunctional romantic relationships (Spuffy, Rumbelle).

 

fter he killed the village, he was probably crying and Mulan should have forgiven him so he could enter the path for redemption.  Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Cinderella fell in love with him, no questions asked?  He did burn the village down to ashes.  She'll love the gray parts of him too since ashes are both black, white and gray.  Write that line down, somebody!

 

There are actually fanfics pairing him with Mulan. Think about that.

Edited by FurryFury

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