'Once Upon a Time' Gives Us the Female Friendship We've All Been Waiting For
Blah, blah, blah, Emma Swan and her problems. As Once Upon a Time has repeatedly drilled into us over the seasons, Emma Swan wouldn't have problems if not for the indeterminably long feud between her mother, Snow White, and the Evil Queen, Regina. Snow and Regina were basically engaged in the fairy tale version of a celebrity feud. Everyone knew who they were and whenever they fought it was all over the kingdom, mainly because of the death toll and property damage. Regina even crashed Snow White's wedding like Justin Bieber crashing Drake Bell's album release party. One can only imagine that if the Enchanted Forest had Twitter, everyone would have whipped out their phones to start trending #ItsGoingDown.
The feud has been on its way to ending for a while. Regina might have killed Snow's father and trimmed the population of her kingdom considerably, not to mention separating her from her husband and child (and grandchild) for 28 years, but Snow has only ever been at her angriest at Regina when outright provoked. The number of second chances Snow handed Regina, like she wanted nothing more than to give Regina the family and love she's always wanted, is probably in the hundreds at this point. As with every complicated relationship on OUAT, Snow and Regina had a lot to work out.
In last night's episode, they made a mutual decision to let it go. Admittedly, it's a lot to let go. All of what Regina did to her aside, Snow did trick Regina into killing her own mother. (And Cora, who Regina summoned in the episode, was still pretty pissed about it.) However, neither Snow nor Regina are the people that they were when they were at each other's throats. Regina has undergone more profound character development than Snow has, making her steps forward a lot more noticeable and awe-inspiring, but Snow has grown and changed as well. She has always wanted to be close to Regina, to understand Regina, but was always incapable of doing so because she lacked darkness in her heart. She was Snow White, the character symbol of purity and goodness, and Regina's actions were as incomprehensible to her as they were infuriatingly tragic.
Now, Snow finally does truly understand Regina — at times better than Regina understands herself. Who would have ever thought between the pilot and now that it would be Snow giving Regina the pep talk that she needs to not only believe in herself but to let go of the doubts that have always kept her from reaching out to take her own happiness without it coming at the expense of anyone else's? Who would have thought that Snow and Regina would be sitting peacefully together, joking about their mothers and their pasts like it has nothing to do with their futures? After everything that they've done to each other, years of misery and resentment and paranoia and hate, who would have thought that Snow White and the Evil Queen could ever be friends?
But it's that same complicated history that gives Snow and Regina one of the most compelling friendships on the show. Over the course of their adventures in Neverland and their return to the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Regina developed the bond they always could have had if circumstances — the mothers they acknowledged as having perhaps messed them up a bit — hadn't been conspiring against them. The attention given to resolving any lingering resentment by putting it in the past where it belongs made for one of the most beautiful scenes in last night's episode and opened the door to a whole new world of best friendship that both women could really use right about now.
Regina once Snow asked while in disguise, "If she [Regina] wanted to change, if she wanted to be a family again, if she wanted to be good... would you forgive her for [everything]?" Of course, Snow never got a chance to give a proper answer as it was just about then that they stumbled upon a village that Regina had slaughtered earlier that day for refusing to tell her where Snow White was. However, it's a testament to how far they've come and how much Regina has grown that the answer is finally yes and we've never been more happy for her.