Mayor Regina Mills of Once Upon a Time is the best villain currently on TV. She is cunning, powerful and has just a hint of crazy. She also cares very much for her adopted son, Henry. In the land of fairy tales, Regina is The Evil Queen. She is just the right kind of evil: snarky, conflicted and magical. Even in Storybrooke, where she does not have her powers, the way that Regina carries herself and engages with the town’s residents screams authority.
Lana Parrilla portrays Regina and does a phenomenal job. It’s the kind of role that could be lackluster if given to someone else, the kind where you can tell that the actress brings her own spin and something extra that makes the character a fan favorite. Regina is deliciously evil because Parrilla manages to make her sympathetic without undercutting her power and anger. You get all the fun of an Evil Queen with the layers and facets usually reserved for the heroine of such tales. Plus, she is super cool.
The episode of Once Upon A Time that gave us Regina’s back story, The Stable Boy, remains my favorite of the season. It provided the opportunity to see my favorite villain in a new light. There’s a reason she is the way she is and it’s very clear that she cannot be written off as pure evil. If you haven’t tried the show yet, or only watched the first few episodes, check this one out. It’s a perfect example of how OUAT balances the fairytale realm and the real world and how it explains the ties between the two. It would be easy to get caught up in one world or the other, but the parallels between them in this episode display OUAT’s strengths. I love Storybrooke and the politics therein, but learning the origins of the characters is something I look forward to with each new episode.
Regina isn’t soft by any means, despite her sympathetic story. The delight she takes in her power and in the destruction of others is ridiculously fun to watch. The only reason that there is a Storybrooke is because Regina wanted revenge. In Storybrooke, everyone’s happiness has been taken from them. They live magic-free uninspired lives, separated from those they held most dear and with no memories of the people they were. Regina’s disdain for the citizens of her town is apparent and very funny. I’ve become annoyed by some of the characters because they’ve gotten in Regina’s way! Whenever she exerts her mayoral power, such as in town meetings, you get a taste of the queen she once was.
I especially love how the Evil Queen interacts with our intrepid savior, Emma Swan. Emma is a former bounty hunter, the daughter of Snow White, and birth mother of Henry. Regina and Emma have had verbal spats and full on fist fights, and the only negative thing I have to say about this show is that there is not enough interaction between these two! Whenever they go head to head you are guaranteed an engaging episode. I would love to see Regina and Emma attempt to resolve their differences for Henry’s sake while still retaining their stubbornness and disdain. Can you imagine how amazing an awkward family dinner at the Mills mansion would be?!