Offscreen info & OQ development
If you have to TELL your viewers about the plausible offscreen info, you’re doing it wrong (in my opinion). I feel like OUAT season 4 cuts a lot of corners, especially when it comes to couples development, and while I totally understand that it’s an action packed show and there’s not a dull moment and the plot is carefully designed for consistency, there’s an accidental implication that relationships don’t require much communication, and that love is far more about destiny than about choice and getting to know the other person and discussing and getting through problems with them.
An example of this is Regina’s comment to Henry about how great it was when it was just him and her and Robin and Roland (somewhere in 4b). Regina came across in that moment as a mother who cared far more about sex in her vault (with a married man who pushed things with her even though she said she didn’t want to - not in a rape way but in a “I don’t respect your wish to do the right thing and I’m going to make it as hard for you as possible” way) than her BELOVED son. Henry has been Regina’s WORLD, and I found that scene particularly jarring. From what happened onscreen, the only time Regina really got to know Robin (in a non physical way) was when she was desolate and lonely and thought she’d never get to see Henry again, and Henry was in New York with Emma. So, this comment seems to discount Henry’s importance regarding the inclusion of another man, and son, in his life, or the fact that he might want to talk about it or not feel particularly brilliant about it.
Watching it again, and desperately trying to find a more positive interpretation in which I wasn’t furious at my favourite character’s parenting, I decided that this scene might have been intended as a suggestion that the group have spent time all together offscreen, and that Henry and Robin have some kind of amicable relationship. However, I’m still inclined to stick with my initial interpretation, and still hopeful that Henry and Regina will have a conversation about people’s happy endings not being all about who they’re sleeping with (which is a common misconception in teenagers, but as the author he probably should know that) and about the huge changes in their family.
To give the show credit, there has been LOTS of conversation and evidence and development about Henry’s family unit when it comes to his two mothers - they have both talked to him about the complexities of the relationship and spent a lot of time with him both separately and all together.
However, there is still a lot of relevant information/progression that does not take place on screen. As a student of film, I’m taught to interpret what I see in the text, but what I see has me expecting a huge fallout between Robin and Regina because Robin isn’t at all integrated in Regina’s life and doesn’t seem to care very much about her family or her morals or what matters most in her life. But instead, there are declarations that he’s her soulmate or true love. And yet, I’m still waiting for everything to crash and burn because I want there to be a reason for the way the story has happened!
OUAT has always impressed me with storylines, especially early on, and of course I LOVE the show (thank you!), or I wouldn’t be dedicating all this time to it! But I’m unsettled by the potential implication that all the development I’m waiting for is deemed plausible offscreen info, because that makes it hard for me to engage with the characters, and very hard to understand Regina and Robin’s relationship beyond an appreciation of the benefits of sexual compatibility.
And even then, I see so much to do with Regina STILL not believing she’s in control of her own destiny - she says no to Robin because he’s married, but he still wants to have sex with her and goes and kisses her again so she gives her body to him. Considering her past, this hints at psychological damage from the past sexual abuse she has endured (at the hands of her late husband). In part she still sees herself as the sexual object she was brought up to be, so she’s compelled to have sex with Robin because he wants to have sex with her, even though she previously stated she didn’t want to. She feels attraction and gives consent, but she is not in control. Then, after pushing for continuing the affair with Regina, Robin leaves with Marian! He makes no attempt to communicate with Regina or to fight for the love he’s supposed to feel. And yet Regina continues to fight for him, and takes him back. The only evidence based explanation for this is that again, Regina sees herself as an object, the property of men who desire her, and her difficulty in countering this is exacerbated by the fact that Robin isn’t abusing her (sexually at least, for me the jury is still out on emotionally), and she is attracted to him. Regina’s earlier relationship with Graham (which was all about her forcing control without actually having it for real) also fits in with this argument. As I said before, all this has me waiting for a meltdown, where Regina truly realises her value.
Please, please, tell me this makes sense to you as well.