Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC Television Group © 2012 Disney    
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Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time Burning Question: How Evil Is Regina?

If there has been an overarching theme to this season’s Once Upon A Time, it is the possibility of redemption. Many of Storybrooke’s residents have something to apologize for, but perhaps none more than Regina (Lana Parrilla). In the first season, she was quite villainous - crushing people’s hearts left and right - but Season 2 has seen a softer side to the Evil Queen, as she fights to be a good mother to Henry (Jared Gilmore). How has Regina done so far? And what are her chances of staying on the straight and narrow?

Redemption Scorecard: B-
Regina could have started out the season a bit better. In Season 2, Episode 1: “Broken,” she almost kills David (Josh Dallas) when he attacks her for letting Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) fall through the portal. It is only Henry’s arrival that stops her. Henry tells her that he doesn’t want anything to do with her until his mother and grandmother are safely returned to Storybrooke.

Regina put in a solid effort when it comes to proving herself to Henry. She ensured the portal would be safe for Emma and Mary Margaret to return through, despite Mr. Gold’s (Robert Carlyle) warning that it might be her devious mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey), who would come through it. She avoided turning to magic when everyone thought she had killed Archie, hiding out in her pimped out crypt instead. And, perhaps most demonstrative of her desire to change, she attended the “welcome home” dinner for Emma and Mary Margaret, despite it being uber awkward that she was there.

Sure, Regina’s had a few slip-ups - most notably locking Henry in her house and temporarily colluding with Gold to kill whoever came through the portal - but she’s had more successes than misses in her road to redemption...That is, until her mother showed up.

Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC    

Cora, Cora, Cora
Regina was doing so well! And, then, her evil mother had to visit Storybrooke. Cora has some twisted ideas about what constitutes good parenting (i.e. making everyone turn against your child so you are the only one she can turn to), so it’s no wonder where Regina gets her skill of justifying unforgivable behavior. Cora managed to convince Regina that, if she wants to get Henry back for good, they will have to eliminate Emma and the Charmings.

This is where we stand now: Cora and Regina are working together with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) as their minion. Their current plan is to find Rumple’s dagger, and use it to make him kill the Charming family (sans Henry). Yeah, strikes one, two, and three on the redemption front. But, there is hope yet! Regina appears to be working with her mother, but hasn’t done anything dastardly yet. Regina’s relationship with her mother is unstable at best. Anything could happen.

Why We’re Rooting For Her Redemption
It’s been hard not to feel bad for Regina after some of the hoops the Charmings have made her jump through just to see her own son. Yes, we know she was Evil, but she also raised the kid for the first 11 years of his life and she has managed to keep her magic in check despite his open acknowledgment that he prefers Emma. We thought it was pretty harsh when Snow told Regina they had no obligation to tell her that Emma and Henry had left town. We usually don’t disagree with the kind-hearted Snow, but that was just cold.

Why We’re Not Rooting For Her Redemption
Regina has been through a lot of pain in her life, but so have most of the other fairy talers and they have managed to stop themselves from ripping out other people’s hearts. Regina has had many a chance to change her ways, but up until now, has always chosen vengeance. Maybe she deserves her comeuppance? ...Plus, we love Lana Parrilla’s evil cackle.

Redemption Prediction
Given Cora’s arrival in Storybrooke and the addition of another parental figure in Henry’s life in the form of his dad, Neal Cassady (Michael Raymond-James), we give Regina’s redemption 30/70 odds of working out by the end of the season. Sorry, Reg! It’s nothing personal.

Do you think Regina will stay good for Henry or do you think she will be tempted back to evil? Let us know in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.