In Once Upon a Time‘s “Quite a Common Fairy,” our intrepid heroes Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas), Regina (Lana Parrilla), Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) continue their search for Henry. (Mr. Gold, Robert Carlyle, is absent from the quest this week.) Stymied by Pan (Robbie Kaye) as he continues to play games with Henry’s location (well, he is Peter Pan, after all, and everything to him is a game), Hook suggests they enlist Tinker Bell (Rose McIver). Except there’s one problem: Regina.
It seems Tink, also known as the Green Fairy, and the Evil Queen have quite a dark history. Back in the days just after she married Snow’s dad, Regina continued to mourn the love of her life, killed by Cora (although Regina blames Snow, and deservedly, albeit indirectly). Tink sees Regina’s sadness and resolves to help her find her “happiness,” which Tink defines as finding true love.
Tink finds Regina while she’s training with Rumple. Although she seems uncomfortable following a dark path, Rumple reminds her that it’s too late to backtrack. She is trapped by her own rage — the darkness of her heart.
“The darkness has tasted you,” Rumple tells her, and it’s unlikely to let her go. (Even if there is a hilariously meta roast swan on the table upon which to dine!)
Now, meanwhile the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) is none to pleased with Tink for helping the Queen. Because Regina is in bed with the Dark One, Tink is forbidden from helping her. The idealistic and and naive Tink is undaunted however, and steals a bit of pixie dust to help Regina find her true intended — her soul mate.
For this, Tink risks Blue’s wrath, and Blue is not a fairy with which to be trifled. No wonder she’s Mother Superior in Storybrooke! Yikes, she is one tough fairy! Tink is punished severely by the uncompromising Blue Fairy and she is stripped of her wings, her magic and plunged into Neverland. This series of events makes us understand why it is so important to Tink that people believe in her. For it is this lack of belief in her, both from Blue and from Regina, who calls her a “bad fairy,” that has brought Tink so low.
And for all Tink’s effort, Regina doesn’t even cross the threshold to happiness, her fear and anger overwhelming her. She is afraid of happiness because if she is happy, her anger will be stripped away, and what is Regina without her anger and hope of revenge upon Snow? She reminds me here of Hook, who asks philosophically and literally “what am I without my anger and desire for revenge?”
She would rather give up on happiness and love than to relinquish her fury, which over the years has corroded her heart, so that by now, in Neverland, when she again encounters Tink, it is blackened and small. Our understanding of the relationship between Tink and Regina, informs our understanding of Regina’s reluctance to call upon Tink in Neverland. Ultimately, however, it is about Henry, and Regina, unselfishly for a change is driven solely by pure parental love as she tells Emma to go ahead without her, because Tink would never help them if she knew Regina was about.
But Tink knows exactly what’s going on. And in a lovely, emotional scene between Tink and Regina in Neverland we begin to understand that Regina is beginning to show remorse and regret for a live not well lived. And Tink gets that.
In the meantime, back in the decimated Enchanted Forest, Baelfire continues seeking a way to Emma in Neverland. That way comes in the guise of Robin Hood, or rather, his son Roland. Roland “believes,” and is ripe pickins for Peter Pan’s menacing shadow. But Robin is understandably reluctant. However, when Bae reminds Robin that Rumple spared his life, Robin relents and allows Roland to be the conduit for Bae’s journey back to Neverland.
And in a way only possible in Once Upon a Time’s interconnected storytelling ways, turns out that Robin is Regina’s forgotten soul mate. As Tink tells the evil one, Regina has not only ruined her own chance at happiness, she has ruined the life of the one with whom she belongs.
Of course the question becomes, what will happen to ultimately bring the two of them together. If they do come together at some point, with Bae perhaps as a conduit, will that reverse the decree brought upon Tink, and bring happiness (finally) to Regina?
At this point we have several pairs of star-crossed lovers: Rumple and Belle, Regina and Robin Hood, Baelfire and Emma amongst the main characters. Add to that Red and Doctor Whale, Grumpy and his lovely fairy love, and we have a whole lot of unhappily separate soul mates. Then there is poor Mulan, who has an unrequited love for Philip, but with the news that Aurora is with child, her hopes, too, are dashed.
Snow and Charming are happily together, but not, it would seem, for long. Right now, Charming is dying — poisoned by the same stuff that nearly killed Mr. Gold. The slow-acting poison, rampant in Neverland is working its way through Charming, but he won’t tell Snow. Only Hook knows the truth. So, right now, not much happiness at all.
Where is it all going? I’ll ask Once Upon a time Consulting Producer Jane Espenson when visits Let’s Talk TV Live BlogTalk Radio show tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET. Listen live or to the podcast after the show airs.
Once Upon a Time airs on ABC Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.