‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5 Confirms Regina’s Hero Arc, But Will Storybooke Accept Her

Thankfully, we're less than a week away from the premiere of Once Upon A Time Season 5 after a lengthy summer hiatus. It's safe to say we've had plenty of time to prepare for the Dark Swan, a trip to Camelot, and meeting Merida, but more than that, I'm so here for Regina as the new hero of Storybrooke. While Emma's slipped out of her Savior role to become the new Dark One, at least temporarily, someone's got to step up to the plate to get her back and keep things on the right path, and who better than Regina? Like it or not, the former Evil Queen's redemption arc is complete, and it's time for her to step into the Savior's role until Emma's back to reclaim the title. To say I'm excited would be an understatement, but something tells me the other residents of Storybrooke may not be so welcoming.

I've been saying all along that it makes perfect sense for Regina and Emma to be switching sides. As if they didn't already perfectly mirror one another in every way, allowing Emma to experience the darkness from which Regina has come and giving Regina the opportunity to step into the light is potentially the smartest movie the series has ever made. However, just because Regina has cast off the darkness for good doesn't mean she's going to be too thrilled about the idea of having to take over for Emma. As executive producer Eddy Kitsis explained to Entertainment Weekly, "Emma saved her life because Emma promised that she would give Regina her happy ending no matter what. Emma sacrificed herself for Regina’s happiness, and if you know Regina, nothing pisses her off more than owing someone." Ah, yes, that endearing quality of Regina's of begrudgingly accepting help and being mad that someone dares to care about her enough to do something so selfless for her. How charming (no pun intended)!

While the likes of Snow White, Henry, and Emma have fully accepted and embraced the new and improved Regina Mills, there are still plenty of people in Storybrooke who will be not only reluctant to believe her change of heart, but likely still hold a pretty deep-seated hatred for her, given the torture she unleashed on them in the past. As much of an Evil Regal as I am, I have to admit that I can't blame them. After all, Regina was, at her worst, a murderer and a tyrant who put a Dark Curse on her entire kingdom to take them away from their homes and lives and into a new world in which, if it weren't for Emma, they never would have even remembered who they were. It's not exactly something that's easy to forgive, but I do believe Regina has earned it and deserves another chance.

Of course, Regina never wanted to be the Savior, but she also never wanted to be the Evil Queen. Everything Regina has ever done in her life has been for one purpose: she wanted to be happy. Sure, she had some messed up ways of going about it, and her relatively well-meaning intentions and desires don't excuse her actions, but Regina isn't power hungry or evil. She was a woman who had a really messed up life and unfortunately took that out on the world around her for a long time, until she had Henry and met Emma and somehow, together, they showed her another way. That she was able to choose another path after all she'd been through and after all she'd put others through means something, and her move into the position of hero has been well-earned.

Whatever you feel about Regina's new role, the fact of the matter is, no one is better equipped to save Emma and the whole of Storybrooke in Emma's absence. After all, she knows exactly what it's like to be fighting the darkness and how hard it can be to come back from that. "Regina is very experienced when it comes to crossing over into the dark side and committing evil acts," Lana Parrilla told Entertainment Weekly. "She fears that the darkness is going to take over and Emma may never return back to her true self. She’s just worried — and worried for everyone, not just Henry [Jared Gilmore]. Everyone’s doomed." Except they're not really doomed, are they? They've got Regina to save them.

Images: Jack Rowand/ABC