Subtext Recap: Once Upon a Time 2.17 – Welcome to Storybrooke

Oh, Once Upon a Time, it’s a damn good thing I’m a slave to subtext (and now to Lana Parrilla).

Ah well, it’s hardly the first time I’ve watched a show’s entire run for subtext and hotties alone.

I won’t grumble about stuff – like Gold as “family” or Henry as the show’s moral authority. Instead, I’ll just say –

SPOILERS, no doubt.

Before we get to the squinty-eyed subtext moments, did Regina know the curse was going to trap her in a Groundhog Day loop, because what sexy moron would agree to that? And I have a hard time believing the Evil Queen didn’t change her personal style in thirty years.

Anyway, back in 1983, Regina realizes Gold’s curse is more of a curse on her than anyone, because everyone is obedient to her, but only because they have to be. She gets an opportunity to steal someone’s son, so she gives that a try (to be fair, she did ask politely first). Then, she realizes it’s not right and releases him to the real world.

Present day, Regina’s got a spell that can, in fact, buy her love. Henry’s, of course. And fake, of course. But it’s all just semantics. Since she needs the heart of the person she hates the most, it’s also a two-fer that gives her good reason to rip Snow’s heart out.

When Gold warns Mary Margaret/Snow/Pixie Cut/Goody-goody and her heroic family what Regina is planning and why, his only solution is to put an end to the reason I’m still watching the show Regina, and we get our first blip of subtext when Emma says, “Is there no other option?” and looks all no, until she has to run after Henry, that is, and is suddenly all, “Eh, whatev.”

So, Henry gets himself free and goes on a mission, and Regina keeps him from blowing himself up. Then, the hero squad shows up at the point at which Henry would be stop-dropping-and-rolling if Regina hadn’t come to his rescue, and Emma’s all “Get away from my son,” and Regina’s all “He’s not yours, he’s mine,” and Riley’s all, “First, he’s a person, and you both sound creepy, and, second, one of you made him, one of you raised him, so he’s both of your son. Could we move past this, like now?”

Anyway, at that point, they proceed to do as much damage to my subtext-fueled heart as possible by having Regina threaten Emma with substantial bodily harm for the second episode in a row and Emma state both that Regina is the problem and a bad person. As if she weren’t in the room when Gold stated “If you’re as desperate for love as Regina appears to be…”

Come on, Emma. Seriously. You’re the one who falsely accused her, who told her she would never be anything other than what she was, and who tried to turn her son against her. Maybe just a little slack?

Remember when you were of the “I couldn’t have changed without a second chance…” mindset not that many episodes ago? You need to remember, because the writers clearly don’t. At least, not consistently. Seriously, your back and forth attitude on Regina is damn near yin-yang, love-hate, bump-and-grind.

Oh, and Mary Margaret’s heart has a black spot. And, in a desperate plea, she wanted to make herself a martyr to save everyone else around her. And then just because she was “tainted.”

And, little by little, Regina becomes the only character on the show whom I care about getting a happy ending.

A few more scenes where her heart grows three sizes because a little chump gives her a gift or she smiles painfully through tears to deliver a line like, “You see, I can have everything,” and I might just commandeer a white steed and ride in to save her myself.

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