Just when you think the family tree cannot get any more complicated, it does.
Flashback: As the curse is about to strike, Regina visits Rumpelstiltskin one last time and he reveals that the happiness she seeks to attain with the curse will eventually leave a void in her heart. As we learned back in Season 2, Regina not only felt lonely, but she got tired of not living the same day over and over again. Back in Storybrooke after Greg Mendell disappears, she requests Mr. Gold’s assistance in finding a child to adopt, and he suggests an adoption agency with a child available right now as opposed to one two years later. It’s fairly certain that Rumpelstiltskin knew exactly what he was doing. Lana Parrilla continuously does an astonishing job of portraying all sides of Regina, and she’s undoubtedly outdone herself in this episode. Viewers are able to see every ounce of regret, pain, and love in her heart as she chooses to erase her memories in order to focus on being Henry’s mother. What Regina’s found in Henry is hope. The venal and cowardly choices she’s made in the Enchanted Forest are all put aside as she desperately and wholeheartedly tries to bring happiness into Henry’s world. It’s also revealed that John and Michael Darling were in the running to adopt Henry as well. Thankfully that didn’t happen. As great as it would’ve been for Wendy Darling to be saved, it’s a big no.
Modern Day: The episode picks up right where it left off with Rumpel trapped in the Pandora Box, Henry’s heart in Pan and Henry nearly dead on the floor. Regina casts a preservation spell on Henry to keep him steady until they could find a way to restore his heart.
What struck out boldly to us was this particular line.
“You have no idea what I feel. You have your parents. You have this … person (Neal). A pirate who pines for you. You have everything and yet you claim to know how I feel. All I have is Henry.” It’s absolutely beautiful how loud this line speaks not only for Regina, but also for the show’s broad theme. Once Upon A Time is about redemption – everyone deserves a happy ending, to be forgiven, and to be loved. Regina’s dark heart is healing because of Henry and it’s a nice journey to witness.
Emma Swan has always been an undeniably selfless character throughout the series, and this was proven when she tells Regina to take the lead in order to save their son. She’s able to see the pain and remorse in Regina’s confession; therefore, she allows her to guide them because she understands that even though Regina may have been a villain, she’s done a great job with raising Henry. This isn’t about Emma or Neal and that’s alright. It doesn’t mean they love Henry any less, it simply means that in this moment, Regina can get the job done and they’re acknowledging that. It means that blood doesn’t matter because Henry doesn’t just have a biological mother and father but an adoptive mother who’s just as significant.
The promos that aired prior to the season premiere have all foreshadowed just how gracefully each character would develop and become the best version of themselves as possible. This episode substantiated that that’s exactly what’s happened.
Emma Swan | Believe that a lost girl could find her way home.
Emma may not understand what Regina feels about not having anything at the moment, but she’s essentially the lost girl. She’s lived her entire life believing she wasn’t worthy to keep. She’s been abandoned and broken; thus, she’s easily able to identify herself with the lost boys and know that their utmost desire is a home.
“For a long time I thought I was never gonna find my family. I was an orphan, like all of you, a lost girl and I was reminded today that I am not alone. I have a lot of people that love and I never thought that was going to happen. If that can happen to me, it can happen to all of you.”
Emma Swan, the lost girl, has found a home in her family, her son, friends in Storybrooke, and someday, with the pirate who pines for her.
Since we’re on the subject of a certain pirate, he has again proven that he is in fact a hero. You don’t have to be a pirate to know how valuable the Captain’s quarters are, and he instantly offers it to Henry. Knowing he does all this because of how passionately he adores Emma unveils his generous and gentle heart, while displaying heroism impeccably. Our beloved Killian Jones evoked butterflies in the hearts of countless people as he spoke the celebrated “as you wish” line once more in regards to his lady and going home. The importance of this scene truly foretells the beautiful love story that’s to come with a lost girl who’s found home, and a pirate who’s become a hero.
Emma, Regina, and Snow White head off to Pixie Woods as it’s revealed that’s where Pan will be. However, they’re tied to a tree that holds them with their regrets. Neverland’s web of strange places keeps on increasing, it’s a good thing we’ll probably never go back, or will we?
Regina Mills | Believe that a mother’s love is stronger than her dark heart
“I’ve done some terrible things. I should be overflowing with regret, but I’m not because it got me my son.”
If the tree holds people by their regrets, it’s only natural to assume it’d let them go once they’ve forgiven themselves. At least that’s what we’re thinking. Regina knows she’s a villain, she’s well aware that she’s done indisputably terrible things, but she’s loved Henry with all her heart and that love was truly strong enough to overpower her dark heart. We know that true love is the most powerful magic of all, we’ve also learned that true love doesn’t just apply to a significant other. Henry is true love. He’s Emma’s true love. He’s Regina’s true love. He’s even Neal’s true love. The kid’s purity is undeniable and that precise moment was Regina being at her most selfless. It was Regina choosing not to let anything stand in the way of her and Henry even if it seemed naturally impossible.
Regina Mills is on her way to redemption; her love for Henry is definitely stronger than her dark heart.
Rumpelstiltskin | Believe that you can change fate.
It was quickly revealed to everyone to that Pan is Rumpelstiltskin’s father and thankfully it benefited a corrupt father/son relationship.
“We both abandoned our sons.”
“You came back for me, papa.”
Our hearts are always filled with utmost delight when Neal or should we say Bae calls Rumpel “papa.” It signifies forgiveness, love, and family. We’ve always believed they’ve had one of the best storylines as it’s clear Rumpel never wanted to become like his father. It’s unfortunate how it all played out, but it’s going to be great to watch their relationship unfold. Neal’s prime heartache has been stemmed from Rumpel abandoning him; moreover, since the relationship is on the path of restoration, it will inspire both Neal and Rumpel to become they men they’d always wanted to be.
Rumpel chose to be selfless, he chose family over power and we’re certain he can change his fate. As we’ve always believed, the boy won’t be his death.
On a lighter note: Tinkerbell has a bit of pixie dust thanks to Wendy. They’re both on their way to Storybrooke and here’s to hoping Tink’s wings could be restored soon.
Regina cast a spell on Henry’s heart to prevent it from ever being taken again, but unfortunately that was no match for Pan. Pan is now inside of Henry and judging by the trailer, Henry is inside Pan. Charming was right, Thanksgiving dinners would without a doubt be awkward with this family.
Until next week. “A New Neverland”