Signature Line: “Evil isn’t born. It’s made.”
Regina Mills, known in the Enchanted Forest as The Evil Queen, is another character that is undeniably complex and interesting. She has developed a great deal over the show’s 4 seasons starting out as a vengeful villain and changing to someone who struggles with dark tendencies but wants to change and be a better person for her son, the man she loves and her extended family. When she is in full on Evil Queen mode it is indeed entertaining to watch, but my favorite moments for Regina tend to be when she shows more genuine and human emotions as well as growth towards a better path in life
- “Regina realizes her happy ending is feeling at home in the world.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)
For the entirety of season 4 I had a hope for where the story would go in regards to Regina wanting to find the author and have him write her a happy ending. In my mind, though I understood her desire for happiness, I believed that happy endings cannot be given out like gifts. They have to be earned and come from within. Luckily the story did go in this direction and the result was not only wonderful but my favorite moment for Regina’ character ever! It was beautiful that Regina realized that the only person she needed to find happiness was herself. Her happy ending is being content with who she is and feeling at home in the world- a world that does include the people she loves including Robin and Henry. But truly, she creates her own happiness and that is a lovely message and the finest sign of character growth she has ever shown.
- “Regina sacrifices herself to save Henry in the author’s alternate universe.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)
Even though Regina had no memories of her son in this alternate reality, and had trouble believing anything he said, becoming a bit exasperated at first, she still obviously felt a connection with him. Henry believed if she stopped Robin Hood from marrying Zelena everything would go back to normal, and it was almost the case as she peers in at the ceremony, love in her eyes as she gazes at Robin. But when she hears Henry in danger, her thoughts turn away from her own wishes and rushes to aid him. Rumples slashes his blade at Henry and Regina pushes him out of the way, mortally wounding her in the process. When Henry asks her why she didn’t go into the church, she says “I couldn’t let you die.” Barely knowing him, she still couldn’t let any harm come to her son. Cue many tears shed.
- “Regina stops Pan’s curse, sending everyone back to the Enchanted Forest and giving Emma and Henry new memories in New York.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)
Regina has struggled with doing the right thing for so long, but in the third season she began to tread a better path when Henry was kidnapped by Peter Pan. When Pan’s curse threatens Storybrooke, she discovers she can stop it, but must give up the thing she loves most- Henry. With the curse looming above ready to consume the town Regina tearfully says goodbye to her son and kindly tells Emma she can give them happy memories for the two of them where they have always been together. She has come a long way and this act of both kindness and strength was wonderful to see. When Emma and Henry cross the town line, Regina counters Pan’s curse sending everyone back home is a flash of purple smoke. This was a powerful moment and one of the most heart wrenching of the series.
- “Regina apologizes to Marco.” (Season 4, Episode 13 “Unforgiven”)
Regina has often lacked self awareness and admittance of mistakes but as she has grown that has changed a great deal. But she still struggles and after reverting to her common quickness to anger and hostility (and towards the child Pinocchio) she seeks out the boy’s father, Marco. And she shows genuine remorse, makes a sincere apology, telling him that her happy ending will never happen if she reverts to her old ways as the two share a smile and small touch of the hand. It’s surprising that a scene between these two characters would be so moving, but it truly was.
- “Regina visits Mary Margaret in jail and tells her she knows she’s innocent.” (Season 1, Episode 18 “The Stable Boy”)
In Season 1 Regina was at her most evil, wanting nothing but revenge on Snow White and it was gripping to watch. You hated everything she did and in one of her most evil moments she visits a grief stricken Mary Margaret in jail who is in tears, adamant that she is being framed for murder, that she is innocent. In a rare moment where Regina is honest, she reaches in and touches Mary Margaret’s cheek, then harshly squeezes her face saying she knows, but she deserves this. The gesture and the scene are absolutely chilling and so fantastically evil!
- “Regina kisses Robin Hood for the first time.” (Season 3, Episode 18 “Bleeding Through”)
After a heartfelt and honest talk with Mary Margaret, Regina finds Robin Hood at his campsite who apologizes for losing her heart. He promises her he will get it back, to which she responds by passionately kissing him. This was a lovely movement of growth from her character, not letting fear stop her from embracing her feelings for this man- feelings that were strong enough even without her heart to help her be brave. And what a kiss it was!
- “Snow tends to a wounded Regina who is disguised as a peasant.” (Season 2, Episode 20 “The Evil Queen”)
This poignant moment between the two women with such a complicated history has such an interesting dichotomy. Because Regina is in disguise, Snow is completely honest about how she feels about Regina saying how she changed her and made her believe there could be a selfless connection between people, even strangers, and that she hopes that this person comes backs one day. Hearing these words obviously touches her because a tear falls down her cheek, and later she asks her if Snow would forgive her if she wanted to be good and be a family again. Obviously things take a turn for the worst, but in this singular moment we see once again that there is a genuine affection between them. I think Snow just wanted her step mother back, and Regina forgiveness for her misplaced anger, wrong as it was.
- “Regina gives Henry a True Love’s Kiss and breaks Storybrooke’s new curse.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)
The changing relationship between Henry and his adoptive mother (technically also step great grandmother) has been a long one from mistreatment brought on by great fear, to attempts to relate to each other with more honesty, and finally to genuine contrition and forgiveness. It took a while but Regina finally learned to be a better parent and love Henry the right way, which was solidified when she shared a True Love’s Kiss with her son. This broke the curse that had brought everyone back to Storybrooke, which was obviously a very important moment. But more significantly it once again showed the power of familial love which is one of Once Upon a Time’s loveliest themes.
- “Regina defeats Zelena with light magic.” (Season 3, Episode 20 “Kansas”)
No one can deny that Regina has very powerful magic. But up until this point it had only been of the darkest kind. While I don’t think every time Regina has used magic since it has been light, I think the point to this fantastic scene was that what seemed impossible could happen. She could change for the better, and on her own, if she has the courage to do so. Zelena may have taunted her that she could only ever be dark, but when she saw Robin with her heart back in his hands, she found her strength and learned that we make our own destiny.
- “Regina admits she mistreated Henry and tells Snow and Charming letting Emma get rid of her magic is a mistake.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)
One of the things I have most wanted to see Regina admit to was the way she treated Henry when the series began, and when she finally did, it came at a crucial moment for our characters. Not only was it wonderful to finally hear he her say how much she regrets not supporting Henry and how wrong it was to make him like he was crazy instead of special, but also that it related to what Emma was going through and what her parents needed to hear. The unique things that make us special are what make us beautiful, and hearing Regina own up to her mistake, be thankful Henry was strong enough to overcome it, and finally convince Snow and David that they can’t let Emma lose a part of herself was a truly touching moment for these characters.
Honorable mention: “Regina tells Henry he should never feel ordinary just because he doesn’t have magic.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)
It broke my heart to hear Henry tell Regina he felt useless and ordinary when he was not able to do anything to help Emma when her magic was out of control. But she comforts him and tells him something that is undeniably true. He has the heart of the “Truest Believer” which is indeed special, but even more beautiful is that he brought them all together. More so than any other character, Henry can unite people and hearing his mom tell him this was special. I loved this moment.
Favorite Little Moments:
– Seeing the way Regina smiles and face lights up when she is with Robin is beautiful. You can see how happy he makes her and the sight of her cupping his face in amazement or of her walking down the street with him as she holds his son’s hand is so lovely.
– Regina and Snow have come a long way in their relationship. She went from trying to kill her, to telling her they need to get back to “our castle,” to protecting her from her mother’s ghost.
– It was so brief but I also loved seeing Regina and Henry looking through the Storybook together and seeing her smile at the picture of Snow and Charming’s wedding. Things certainly have changed.
– Regina’s first appearance on the show as The Evil Queen has become an iconic one. I love it not only because it shows her in her evil grandeur but it is such as strong contrast to where these characters are now.
– I was happy to see Regina no longer spouting anger at Emma in the second half of season 4 and the two relating to each other more amiably. Her comment that she “eats like a child” could have once come across as mean, but now this was such a typical older sister thing to say, showcasing the new dynamic between them.
– When Emma talks about trusting Hook because he brought her back to Storybrooke and didn’t have to, it was funny how Regina commented on what everyone except apparently Emma could see: That of course he would bring her back, and that the two of them constantly share “yearning looks and doey eyes.” Emma denies it saying she doesn’t yearn, but Regina affirms that Hook certainly does. It was like a scene from Hercules was being played out with Regina as a Greek Muse, and Emma as Meg because “who do think you’re kidding Emma, Hook’s the earth and heaven to you.”
Favorite Reader Moments:
When it came to reader’s favorite moment two scenes stood out to them, both of which showed a tremendous amount of growth of her part. The rest are singular, and all fantastic, combining both moments decidedly Evil Queen, and others the Regina trying to be a better person.
The top Regina moments for readers are:
- Regina realizes what her happy ending is in “Mother”
- Regina defeats Zelena in “Kansas”
The rest of readers favorite moments are as follows (In episode order):
- Regina interrupts Snow and Charming’s wedding in the “Pilot”
- Regina kills her father in “The Thing You Love Most”
- Regina must kill Daniel and lose him a second time in “The Doctor”
- Regina tries to stop the self destruction of Storybrooke in “And Straight On Til Morning”
- Regina shows Tinkerbell her dark heart in “Quite a Common Fairy”
- Regina stops Peter Pan’s curse in “Going Home”
- Regina stands between Snow and her mother’s ghost in “Bleeding Through”
- Regina is miffed she can’t walk through the door to see Glinda in “A Curious Thing”
- Regina apologizes to Marco in “Unforgiven”
- Regina drinks a potion that makes it impossible for her to conceive a child in “Mother”
Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Regina moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂
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