This article is by Amy Scales on "Entertainment Outlook."
I'm posting it because I like what it says! ;)
Once Upon a Time seems to get a lot of criticism from some fans when it comes to the family dynamics that exist between Emma/Henry/Regina and who his mother is. The show does a great job at showing that Henry doesn’t love one mother over the other and yes Henry did go search of his birth mother which surely is something that hurt Regina and made her feel like she ‘wasn’t enough’ but those weren’t Henry’s motivations for seeking out his birth mother.
One of Henry’s primary goals was to find Emma so that she could break the curse. Let’s also not forget that Henry is also a ten year old boy, who didn’t feel like his mother understood him or loved him. Of course he was curious about his birth mother, but besides being his mother, he was also of the thought she was the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. What ten-year old wouldn’t be curious about that?
It could actually be argued that Henry might have done Regina a big favor by searching out Emma. Before Regina cast the curse, The Dark One tells her that it will ‘create’ a hole that she will never fill and after Emma comes to town, she asks Regina if she really “loves him” (referring to Henry) and Emma doesn’t quite believe her answer. Sure Emma’s ability to discern lies is thrown off by her emotions but at this point she seems very much of the belief that Henry is where he should be, until Regina’s answer makes her wonder otherwise.
It could be that perhaps the curse had created a hole such as Rumple had suggested and once that curse was broken she was able to really finally fill that hole up with the love she had for Henry. Regina’s scene at the hospital with him is very touching after the curse is broken, perhaps their most touching moment the entire season. Regina admits in ‘We Are Both’ to Henry that she doesn’t know how to love very well, that she has issues with loving people.
Fans seem very split on the ‘The Evil Queen’, some adore her, some hate her and some love to hate her. Whatever category you fall into it can’t be denied that she’s done some unforgivable things and so did cursed Storybrooke Regina.
Can people really change; can they give up their self-destructive paths? If you think that one character on the show can change then don’t you have to apply that to all of them as well? If young Regina can turn into the Evil Queen, is it not possible for her to change back? This show is about hope after all, so shouldn’t one hope that someone can overcome their personal demons.
While Regina never had an actual cursed persona in Storybrooke can she not also be viewed as both ‘‘The Evil Queen’ and Regina and shouldn’t she get a chance to choose who of those personas she wants to be, both for herself and for Henry sake?
When only viewed as ‘The Evil Queen’ it can be hard to have a lot of sympathy for the things Regina has done especially in Season 1. When we first met Regina it was very clear that she was ‘trying’ to keep her curse intact, to keep what she believed was her ‘happy ending’ and to keep Henry. We saw a woman who would do whatever it took to get her revenge and to keep it regardless of who she hurt even if that person was Henry. Regina denied the curses existence and sent Henry to therapy and then she almost killed him when she tried to poison Emma. Instead of doing what was best for Henry,Regina was trying to do what was best for her.
Creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis have stated that Regina is ‘addicted’ to her magic and that’s very clearly pointed out in the episode ‘We are Both’. You can clearly see that she struggled with what to do with the book of spells she had. At first she goes to burn it, then you see her change her mind and lock it away.
If addiction is a disease and you view it as such, then this scene is very similar to a drug addict flushing their pills down the toilet then scooping them back up before they all go down. Regina knows she has a problem and voluntarily sent Henry with David. She then attempts to seek help by going to Dr. Archie Hopper, she attempts to stop using magic. She uses magic for ‘good’ trying to help Emma but if you’re alcoholic then there’s no such thing as just having ‘one’ drink.
Like any addict Regina falls off the wagon when convinced by Gold to go down the wrong path again playing on her fears. Regina’s heartless mother also cashes in on her weaknesses and her hatred toward Snow White.
Regina reverts back to being “The Evil Queen’ easily. She’s afraid to lose Henry but Henry has always been open to her, loved her and has always believed that she can be good. Henry wants his mother to be her best self, the Regina she was before she got ‘addicted to magic’ and before Daniel was killed, sadly she keeps trying to kill the other people in his life. Henry wasn’t living with her in Season 2 because Regina knew she was struggling with her issues and she made the decision to do what was best for him and sent him to live with David.
If you’re going to argue adoption issues on the show, you’d also have to look at the legality of Henry’s adoption into a town that doesn’t exist. We don’t yet know that particulars of baby Henry making it to Storybrooke but Emma never even questions that Regina isn’t also Henry’s mother.
Emma knows that Regina raised him and she knows that Henry loves Regina deeply, she even tells Cora in the Enchanted Forest that they kind of share him. Emma loves Henry too and she’s seen firsthand what Regina can do in the throes of her addiction. Emma was angry and emotional with Regina when she thought she had killed Dr. Hopper and given back into her dark side. What mother wouldn’t want to protect Henry from that dark side and seeing that kind of addiction?
It’s because Emma knows Henry loves Regina that she wanted to help keep her safe from the Wraith,it’s also why she wanted to believe Regina hadn’t kill Dr. Hopper at first. It’s that love that prompted Emma to invite Regina to dinner at the diner and it’s also why she decided to use the bean to try and save the town and Regina. Regina is Henry’s mother, and Emma knows that Henry didn’t deserve to lose another parent during the events of ‘And Straight on ‘Till Morning’, which she clearly told Hook when he asks why she’s really going to attempt to save Regina.
Henry is a good kid, but he’s also only 10 years and he’s being raised in a fictional town with a bunch of fairy tale characters. He’s allowed to be angry at one, or all of his parents as that’s a very normal thing for a boy his age. He’s also allowed to be curious, curious about his origins and he’s allowed to want a relationship with his father. Regina regardless of any of her faults or addictions seems to have raised a polite, well mannered, hopeful and seemingly very well adjusted son.
What will be interesting to see is how all these family dynamics play out once they save Henry, make it back to Storybrooke and are possibly reunited with Neal.
Neal hates magic because he blames it for ruining his family. It will be interesting to see how Neal will react to both Henry’s mothers having magic and with Regina particularly, as she struggles with her ‘addiction’ to it. Along with Neal’s issues with his own ‘magically addicted’ parent, Henry having two magical mothers and the events that have taken place with Henry’s kidnapping it makes one wonder if Neal won’t want to take Henry out of Storybrooke?
Neal may very well believe that magic will ruin Henry’s life and lead to an unsafe environment. In the end hopefully everyone will be able to put aside their issues and do what’s best for Henry, because while there are many forms of happy endings, one has to think that Henry’s isn’t tied to having the perfect family but for his perfectly odd family to just get along.