Once Upon a Time 3.18: “Bleeding Through”

But, again, this is what makes the situation so complicated and why Regina and Snow realize they have to put aside their past enmity in order to face the future…and face Zelena. They could spend the rest of eternity arguing over who’s to blame for what and wherefore and get nowhere. And in the end, they actually have much more in common, underneath it all, than not. They were good friends once, and, when Snow tells Regina that she, Regina, has always felt so deeply and strongly, she could have been talking about herself as well. That, incidentally, is my single favorite part of the episode. As far back as season 2’s “The Evil Queen,” we have known that Snow really does get Regina and what drives her, and that she could theoretically forgive her if Regina were willing to repent. She understands that, as horrible as Regina’s actions have been, they sprang originally not from evil but from love–lost love, really–and the fact that she feels so deeply that she can have trouble controlling herself. Many viewers try to paint Snow as blindly optimistic, and yet I’ve never believed this to be the case. What she is is deeply perceptive, and this is a perfect example of that, knowing exactly the right thing to say to Regina, comforting her while also speaking the underlying truth.

And it says something very strongly about the depth of Regina’s ability to feel–that, even without her heart in her chest, she feels the need to protect Snow from her mother’s spirit, reconciles with Snow after all of these years, doesn’t blame Robin for choosing his son’s life over her (she would have done the same for Henry), and in the end, passionately kisses him. In part, this might be because, rather than simply stowing it away in a vault as her mother did, Regina entrusted her heart to someone who she took it on faith was meant to guard it, but it additionally reveals that she has grown into a stronger person than her mother ever was, regardless of Cora’s possibly superior magical powers. Her mother saw a heart as a weakness, and removed hers in order to numb herself to human emotions such as love and compassion. Regina, however, continues to feel just as strongly with it removed and draws strength from it. Our girl has grown up a great deal this year.

Other odds and ends:

–I hope we get the backstory of how Eva became a better person at some point soon. I wonder whether that is what reunites her and Leopold–assuming my theory about them having had a falling-out over Cora is accurate. Regardless, I’m glad that Snow explicitly asked that question, as it hints that it will be answered one day. On the other hand, it’s also possible that the writers will deliberately choose to keep it open, as a symbolic underlining of the fact that we can never really know all of someone else’s secrets, particularly a deceased beloved someone.

–They used Belle brilliantly this week, as well. This really was the Regina-dealing-with-her-past episode. Last season, when she attempted to become a better person, it was really more to placate Henry than because she felt genuine remorse, and so whenever someone expected her to be sorry, it just caused her to get more irritated and then wonder why they weren’t embracing the “change” in her. The loss of Henry, however, has had a surprisingly maturing effect on her, and I think it’s largely because she realizes that it was her own decision that caused it. In some ways, it’s the best thing that could have happened to her–not forever but for now–because when she repents now, it is for herself, because she realizes she was wrong and wants to make things right, not just to impress her son. By the time Henry’s memories are restored (as I’m assuming they will be), she can truly be the person she always wanted to be for him…but now for herself, as well. And so, here she finally apologizes to Belle for what she did to her. I admire Regina for the guts it took to do that, and Belle for remaining firm but also accepting her apology. And the two agree to work together, and once again, Belle’s voracious appetite for reading and learning pays off, as it is her research that reveals Zelena’s time travel plans.

–Another person who has grown enormously: Rumpelstiltskin, and significantly, once again, it is due to the seemingly permanent loss of a child. The old Rumple would have jumped at the opportunity Zelena offered him to potentially bring his son back to life, but Rumple, as he is now, instead wants to honor his son’s sacrifice. Bae died in order to help him fight this woman, and he continues to refuse now to ally with her in order to undo that bravery. Even if it brought him back, Rumple would have to work with Neal’s murderer to do it, and he refuses–an interesting reflection of the ultimatum Jafar gives Will in the penultimate episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

–Emma practicing teleportation at Granny’s!! This is all very exciting.

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Author: Robert Berg

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