I think the story they are trying to tell with OQ over this arc is that the young Regina pre-Evil Queen who Tink brought to the tavern that night, never would have worked with this version of Robin. Wish realm!Robin, who didn’t go through what Regina’s Robin did. He needed his experiences, his life with Marian, the loss of Marian and a son to make him the man that could fit with Regina, a former Evil Queen who’d done terrible things, lost love, and found love in a son.
What I think they’re trying to accomplish is
putting a bow on the tavern, page 23, and all of the what if’s
surrounding them not meeting at that point in Regina’s life. Because
even if she had put her fear aside and gone in, it wasn’t meant to be
because they weren’t the same people then that they were when they met.
That fits with the themes this season. The wish realm storyline highlighting
that it’s our experiences and pain that shape who we are. And the split queen storyline, where I hope it’s going, in saying that Regina needed that side of herself all along.
Quite frankly I think that’s a beautiful story. It’s a good message about what makes us who we are and that regrets shouldn’t form our perception of ourselves and our story.
It also puts a nice nail in the coffin on Regina only choosing Robin because of pixie dust. She loved Robin for who he was just as he did her. And even though magic led her to him sooner, that doesn’t mean it was meant to be then. Just that it was meant to be eventually.