By Meredith Loftus
“Page 23” Gives Closure to an Outlaw and a Queen
At long last, the Evil Queen gets her happy ending!
In the latest episode, Regina and the Evil Queen unbind their destinies using the golden shears to face off one last time. During the battle, Regina is reminded of her darker days and the real person she hates most: herself. Realizing this, she trades some of the love in her heart and takes back some of her darkness from the Evil Queen. With the help of Henry, she sends the Evil Queen back to the wish realm where she can make a fresh start with the alternative Robin, Robin of Locksley. On the other side of Storybrooke, soon after celebrating her engagement to Killian with her family, she discovers Killian’s dark secret. He feels guilty for not being a good enough man, but Emma is just upset that he didn’t tell her and face this with her. Emma gives back the ring. Killian plans to leave with Captain Nemo, but after a sweet talk with Snow White, he decides to go home instead. Unfortunately, Gideon traps him on the Nautilus and sends him sailing away from his Swan, leaving Emma to believe that Killian abandoned her. The angst burns on!
Love Yourself, Love Others
The magic of Once Upon A Time comes from the way it uses curses, beanstalks, and pixie dust to tell human stories that connect with their audience at a heart level. The characters we hold so dear hold up a mirror and challenge the audience to be introspective. Minus the curses, how would we handle being separated from our loved ones, even if it was for the best? Without the use of pixie dust, will we ever find true love? In the midst of our darkness, do we love ourselves? That last question in particular was posed to two of the show’s most beloved characters: the Evil Queen, Regina Mills, and Captain Hook, Killian Jones this week. When you take a close look at the two of them, they really aren’t so different. Both Regina and Killian didn’t have the best parental guidance growing up. Their first loves were killed in front of them, they spent a majority of their life seeking revenge, and they have been given second chances at finding true love and their happy endings as heroes.
This season in particular, Regina and Killian have had to face their villainous pasts if they really wanted to move towards those happy endings. Killian’s demons came in the form of his half-brother, Liam, and realizing his involvement in Emma’s grandfather’s murder. For Regina, it was the physical manifestation of the Evil Queen. It’s challenged these characters to push and fight back to be the better versions of themselves, but it’s also exposed what they have been holding on to for quite some time: guilt and shame. Captain Nemo said it best in this episode that guilt can be as corrosive to the soul as revenge. Killian has done some horrible things as Captain Hook, but guilt cripples him from telling Emma the truth. Regina is constantly reminded of the terrible person she was as the Evil Queen, and prior to this episode, her plan for defeating the Evil Queen was trying to destroy her altogether.
However, Regina takes a different approach and it makes all the difference in the world. In a flashback, Regina as the Evil Queen tried to use Cupid’s arrow to lead her to Snow White, the woman she proclaims aloud she hates the most. Instead, it leads her back to a mirror in her castle to face a harsh truth: the person she hates the most is looking right back at her. We are our own harshest critics, and we have a hard time letting ourselves forget our record of wrong. It’s been said in previous reviews, but the only person standing in the way of pursuing your dreams and finding happiness is you. At the core of the Evil Queen is self-loathing while now at Regina’s core is the love and sense of belonging she’s found in Henry, Robin Hood, and her friends in Storybrooke. Regina Mills has learned to love herself. Love has transformed her, and that is what she used to transform the Evil Queen in turn. After she was reminded of the contempt she once carried for herself, Regina gave some of the love in her life over to the Evil Queen and took back some of the darkness she once held. They are now on level ground, finally understanding what it means to take the good with the bad. The Evil Queen was defeated by loving herself and it spreads a powerful message to the people of Storybrooke; the town is a better place for that. It’s when we love ourselves, giving grace to those dark parts, that we can extend that love to the people around us. It’s then we can move towards forgiveness.