The Evil Queen may get a chance to prove that she's not so evil after all.
Once Upon a Time's dastardly villain may get a chance to redeem herself in the season finale when Storybrooke is faced with certain annihilation, as Greg (Ethan Embry) and Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) get ready to activate the curse's trigger. Sure, Regina (Lana Parrilla) created the trigger as a backup plan to use someday, but certainly not when it would also put herself and her loved one — Henry (Jared Gilmore), of course — in danger. So what will she do when the entire town is faced with destruction? TVGuide.com turned to Parrilla to get the scoop on that and her feelings about the Evil Queen's not-so evil — and sometimes super-evil — motives during Season 2.
It seems like Regina will be forced to team up with the Charmings in the finale. What does that partnership look like?
Lana Parrilla: It's like her worst nightmare having to team up with the Charmings. She has to make decisions that are best for everyone because she falls under that category of her life being endangered as well. So, she's going to have to team up with whomever to stop this trigger from being activated. We saw in the last episode where David (Josh Dallas) says to Regina while she's lying in bed, "We are family." I think that really hits a soft spot for her. It follows suit with the Evil Queen episode where we see her in fairy-tale land with Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) dressed as a peasant and she asks Snow, "If Regina could change, if she wanted to be a family again, would you take her back? Would you forgive her?" Snow says, "Yes, I'd love that. I'd like a feather bed too, but neither one is going to happen." That's ultimately what she really wants is a family, which is why she's adopted Henry.
Is the possibility of having a family her motivation for possibly getting redemption?
Parrilla: Her family, Cora (Barbara Hershey) and her father, weren't the most supportive and weren't the best parents. I think this is an opportunity for redemption or a change. She's going to do whatever it takes to save everyone.
Is she really doing it for everyone or is she, like most of the time, doing it for herself?
Parrilla: In this episode, I think it is genuine. I think she is doing it for everyone. Again, who knows what can happen next season. She was on the path to redemption for how many episodes this season and then again made another turn. But it's always something that leads her there. It's a choice, but something triggers that inside of her where she wants that revenge and she wants to get back and hurt someone. So, I find that at this point, she is responsible, she created this trigger, she made it, and it was a failsafe. I don't think she ever thought she would have to use it. Look at where it was hidden for crying out loud. But now I think she does feel responsible and I feel like she needs to do something to stop Greg and Tamara from activating it.
We do see in the promos that once it is activated, Regina is trying to contain it. Might we see Regina consider sacrificing herself to save the rest of the Storybrooke residents?
Parrilla: Yeah. I think you'll see that. The question is: Where does it go from there? That's what everyone is wondering. Is Regina going to survive or is she not going to survive? That's something you're just going to have to wait and see. She's doing her best to contain the energy, but given where she's come from and what she's just went through, she's very, very, very weak.
That makes me nervous for the Evil Queen — a sentence I never thought I'd say.
Parrilla: Well, I think it's surprising for everyone, including me when I read it. I was very surprised. She was just shocked for many hours at very high voltage. When you see her in this previous episode, she's lying down on the bed and she can barely move. She's already depleted and now having to contain this energy and control it, it's going to take everything out of her.
We've seen Regina flip-flop a lot this season as far as deciding whether she's good or evil. Will we see her definitively decide which side she falls on? And how do you feel about all the back-and-forth this season?
Parrilla: It's kind of been a yo-yo. [Laughs] Life is like that though sometimes. It's that moment of change where things are a bit muddy and you still fall back into old habits. It's like a state of confusion that takes place. You have the inner voice — it's like the little devil and angel resting on both shoulders going, "This is the right thing to do," and the other one's saying, "No. No. Don't do that." She's a bit distrustful even though she really wanted to go down that road. She was going down the road of redemption for quite some time, but like I said, something happened, Cora died. There were multiple people involved, including her. She was tricked into killing her own mother. That just turned everything around for her. ... Basically what she said is, "F---- you all. I'm going to take what I want. It always seemed to work before. Why should I change for anyone? I try to be good and it backfires. When I was evil, it seemed to work out all right for me."
Towards the end of Season 2, it's really going moment-to-moment with her. I don't think she really likes the Charmings. Like I said, she hears from David, "We're family," and it's a beautiful thing to hear, but still deep down inside her, she probably hates that she's family with them. She probably hates that they now are somewhat related. With Regina, it's always complex. I think that's what makes her such a beautiful character. It's just not black and white with her. I never know what she's going to do next. I'm always surprised when I read these scripts that she's pretty schizophrenic. It is fun playing out these different levels of emotion and not knowing really where her truth lies sometimes because she is all over the place. I am always just baffled by her behavior, her choices and the decisions she makes. I find them fun, I find them threatening, I find them vulnerable, scary and exciting. I mean, that's why people love her. She's so unpredictable.
Especially when she erased Henry's memory. Will we see a confrontation between her and Henry about that?
Parrilla: Well, first of all, I can't even tell you how many conversations I had over that scene because I was confused by it. ... I don't understand why is she doing this. Why would she use magic on Henry? She wouldn't use magic on Daniel (Noah Bean), so why would she do it to Henry? I think it's one of those crisis moments. She didn't completely erase his memory. It was short-term, so she just erased that entire conversation so he wouldn't remember what happened. It was almost like a little dose of magic just to see what it did.
I think her plan in demolishing Storybrooke and taking Henry to the Enchanted Forest would require a full bottle of potions, not just a little drop to really erase his memory. I think that's her secret. No one knows that that's happened. Obviously, Henry doesn't. Will she do it again? Who knows? We never know what Regina is capable of. She is a very strong, strong woman and relatable for many people and also someone we can admire because of her strength. I think she makes decisions that she wasn't necessarily expecting to make, but is forced to make in the moment. It's because that clock is ticking. She doesn't really have a lot of time to sit around and come up with a Plan B.
So she acts rashly, which is understandable... sort of.
Parrilla: Again, you see her heart. At the core of Regina, she is good. At the core of her being, I truly believe that she is good. I just think she's been messed up along the way. All the betrayals and all the trauma and all the lies and the deaths have made her the person she is.
While the potential destruction of Storybrooke is going on, there is also the prophecy looming, which Lacey (Emilie de Ravin) has just found out about. Will Regina need to protect Henry while also trying to protect all of Storybrooke?
Parrilla: She will definitely need to protect Henry. She's always protecting Henry. Lacey's always been a problem from the beginning. She's a wild one. But I think with that particular story line, there are bigger issues. What trumps all of that is this trigger. It doesn't matter what Lacey or Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) or Henry or anyone does. At this point, the most important thing is to stop this trigger from blowing up all of Storybrooke. I think that's where she's coming from and that's her No. 1 focus in this finale. Then she can deal with Lacey. Lacey can be demolished in about five seconds with Regina. She's not even really concerned with her. Now Mr. Gold — that's another story.
Do you think the Evil Queen is evil or good? Hit the comments!
Once Upon a Time's season finale airs Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.
Check out a cool featurette about the Once Upon a Time pros and how many Easter eggs you may have missed: