Regina Is Still the Best Mom on Once Upon a Time

first_img Now that the first big twist of the season is out of the way, Once Upon a Time can start really digging into how this new curse came to be. While it’s still saving most of the details for a future big reveal, the show no longer has to pretend that Lady Tremaine is the ultimate bad guy. We can start to see what led Drizella to cast the curse again, and how she improved upon the Evil Queen’s original design. Her plan is way more complicated than Regina’s ever was. So far, the show’s handling that complication well, only revealing one small detail at a time. The result is that we’re not left feeling confused because the show explicitly tells us that we don’t have all the information yet. OUAT has always done things this way. It only gets frustrating when they’re so obviously dancing around information. Like at the end of this episode.Now that we know Drizella is actually the one in charge, the season can finally start to tell her story. It’s a rough one. One of the things I worried about with this season was that the apparent villain had no redeeming qualities. As much fun as it was watching Victoria Belfrey act like one of the bad guys from Captain Planet, she always felt like a diet version of Regina from season one. Now, we have Drizella, who is much more fleshed out. Like any good fairy tale villain she has her reasons for doing what she’s doing. She’s still evil, but we can at least identify with her more. Just like Regina, she’s had a rough life with an overbearing, uncaring mother. Just like Regina, she intentionally darkens her heart because of it. The difference between the two is that Drizella still directs her anger at the person who hurt her. She just doesn’t care who else gets hurt along the way.Adelaide Kane (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC)This was one of those episodes where the flashbacks were way better than the main story. We got a cool scene of Henry and Cinderella fighting off a group of bandits with motorcycle repair tools. Aside from being a well-directed fight scene, it set up two plot points to come later in the episode. One is a scene where Henry and Jacinda fix up her food truck. The other is more important: Regina’s empty nest syndrome. Henry is all grown up now, and he doesn’t need his mother’s magic to protect him. So, while Henry’s off leading the resistance, Regina finds someone else who needs help: Drizella. This is where the story gets interesting. Regina finds a young woman being attacked by a living plant. She dispels the plant with her magic only to find out that she saved Drizella. That’s when we learn all about Drizella’s backstory.Like all good villains on Once Upon a Time, Drizella wasn’t born evil. Her mother always treated her like a second-class kid. Clearly, Anastasia was the favorite, even in death. Drizella assumed it was because she had magic, and that her mother hated it. That’s why she summoned that monster plant. She was trying to practice a skill her mother discouraged. Regina agrees to train Drizella, and it goes pretty well. Henry may be all grown up, but Regina is still a great mom. It’s only after a brief conversation with the reformed Rumplestiltskin that she realizes: nothing in this kingdom goes on without Lady Tremaine knowing about it. She and Drizella consult a magic mirror and find out that Tremaine wants Drizella to learn magic and become a true believer. That way, she can use Drizella’s heart to revive Anastasia. That’s way more messed up than anything Cora ever did.Robert Carlyle (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC)That’s why, as great a mom as Regina is, she can’t undo years of trauma. Drizella brings the Prince into Tremaine’s tower and kills him right in front of her. With her heart darkened, it can no longer revive Anastasia. She’s not done yet, though. She announces her plan to make her mother suffer, to compound her suffering and agony. And to do that, she uses another lesson Regina unwittingly taught her: The Dark Curse. As origin stories go, this was one of Once Upon a Time’s better ones. It took a story were told all the way back in season one and twisted it into something new. That’s something this season is really good at. Every week, I continue to be impressed that, even in its seventh year, this show can make the familiar feel fresh. And, just as this show’s always done so well, it ends each episode with us desperately wanting to know what happened next.Well, that was the case for the flashbacks anyway. If they made up the entire episode, it would have been a fine one. This week, the present day scenes didn’t really hold up their end of the bargain. Hook continues his investigation, but it just kind of stalled out. Alice gave him a new way of thinking about the missing girl case, and it led him to a dead man with that mysterious symbol tattooed on his wrist. It’s clearly going somewhere with all this, but there wasn’t enough forward momentum in the story this week to make us really care about it.Lana Parrilla, Adelaide Kane (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC)As far as Henry’s story goes, it was mostly inconsequential. Regina’s efforts to figure out the photo were written solely to twist a knife in the hearts of longtime fans. What with her wishing she had a son, Henry wishing he’d had a mom, telling her she’d be a great one… This kind of fan torture is fun, but I wish it had a point beyond that. She pushes him to ask Jacinda out on a date, and he does. He pulls a Say Anything, but the moment doesn’t have any weight to it. It feels like an empty reference, rather than a grand romantic gesture. Probably because they haven’t really gone through any emotional turmoil that we’ve seen. Also, Henry keeps talking about John Hughes movies, which confuses the reference even more. Hey show, Say Anything was Cameron Crowe. John Hughes had nothing to do with it. In the end, she agrees to have a date with him. Said date involves fixing up her new food truck. It’s really cute, despite the fact that her food truck may or may not be a former meth lab.As this show does so well, even a lackluster collection of Seattle scenes leaves us intrigued and wanting to know more. Right at the end, Drizella brings Regina out of the curse. It appears she’s taken the story of the first curse to heart and found a way to make it hero-proof. Or at least more hero-proof than Regina is. She frustratingly dances around exactly what she’s done, which makes the scene extra awkward. Both Drizella and Regina talk as if there’s some secret they don’t want to say aloud even though they’re the only two people in the bar. They speak with an obnoxious vagueness that makes it so obvious that this scene only exists to draw out a big reveal for later in the season. All we’re given for now is that Drizella is somehow threatening Henry so that Regina will do her bidding. And for now, that bidding includes keeping Henry and Jacinda apart. It’s just bad writing, but hopefully, the show feels a little more forthcoming next week, when it has a full two hours to tell its story.Also, Seattle inaccuracy of the week: A restaurant sells pizza by the slice, and it’s good? That’s… not the Seattle I know. Now, if Henry had been eating teriyaki, we’d have something. Once Upon a Time’s Finale Was Everything We Loved About an Imperfect ShowHenry Screws Everything Up Again on Once Upon a Time Stay on targetcenter_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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