if you think rumplestiltskin deserves a happy ending but don’t think regina deserves one take a long hard look at your life and choices and while you’re distracted doing that that i’ll salsa dance away from your sexism and racism and hopefully never have to see you ever again
remember that time it was literally confirmed how every single event in this show has been rumplestiltskin’s game all along (not that it isn’t confirmed every time we see him meddle in someone else’s life)
remember that time he was never held accountable for deliberately and systematically destroying lives because of that time he was chicken and abandoned his son
if she does not suffer from a mental illness what is wrong with her?
there is nothing “wrong” with her. her coping and self-defense mechanisms are unhealthy but there is nothing “wrong” with her. calling her mentally ill dismisses and invalidates everything she has experienced. she is not mentally ill. she is the product of a system of oppression that allowed her to be abused for her entire life and only gave a shit about her when she started fighting back the only way she could. think about the fucking implications of calling a woman of color “crazy” for how she responds to her experiences of oppression, abuse, and harm and then stop. pathologizing. regina. mills.
do you ever lay on the ground and cry because regina never had a chance her entire life was spent with people actively working to destroy her innocence and happiness for their own selfish gain and she never had anyone to help her because snow white is a selfish little shit and daniel was dead and her father was weak and leopold hahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA and the only thing regina could do to survive was to let herself be destroyed and then rebuilt in the image of the two monsters (cora and rumple) that ruined her life in the first place
so i’m gathering from the sneak peek of the captain swan kiss that in the ouat universe, relentlessly sexually harassing someone until extreme emotional circumstances finally push them to submit to your unwanted attention is actually attractive and romantic, instead of fucking horrible and disgusting. good to know
okay, i know that in the real world, the inclusion of poseidon on ouat was just another example of the show decontextualizing real world entities in order to turn them into poorly constructed plot devices with bad dialogue because they have no respect for anything, but if he’s there, and medusa’s there, does that mean that these nebulous “gods” people reference in FTL are the greek gods? like legit? are zeus and hera there? all of them? does snow pray to artemis the huntress? are there cult centers? are there oracles comparable to historical greek oracles? what’s the divination like? that chick with eyes in her hands could see the future but does anyone ever read entrails? have the characters ever sacrificed any hecatombs? to which god does regina feel the most spiritual connection? is there a homeric tradition in FTL? how about an epic tradition in general? how tf do lancelot and the arthurian tradition fit into this world? these questions need to be answered
i think someone else noted this a while ago (i think in comparison to aang from atla?) but just, the way there’s no room for unknowable, natural forces in ouat, like when david just has to kill the guardian of lake nostos. like – bro, you didn’t have to challenge her. he could have literally nabbed the water and left, or bargained for it, or made an equal offering in return. there are a thousand ways to outwit or bargain with dangerous powers – literally, just look at actual mythology from the real world; stories from every culture are full of tricksters who nab gifts from under the noses of the powerful. even if the bargain isn’t necessarily honest or in good faith, it doesn’t require the destruction of something natural or vital.
i think it really says something about this show’s ideas of heroism and strength that “heroes” feel the need to destroy things that aren’t doing them any harm (the lake guardian, MEDUSA). especially considering that david’s murder of the siren makes the lake – a potential source of beneficial magic for everyone – dry up completely, removing something that can break curses that true love’s kiss can't from the world. like, that’s not heroic. it’s shitty, dangerous, and shortsighted. just because you can kill something doesn’t mean you should. heroism shouldn’t be predicated on murder.
i, personally, see the cruella/ursula relationship as romantic, and i am so into a romantic relationship on ouat that does not take place in the context of redemption. the show holds up “true love” as the great fixer and redeemer, as though love is impossible in any other context, and i think that’s both boring and bullcrap.
i want an immortal ursula who places no value on mortal ways of measuring morality, and who loves cruella anyway. this isn’t leda and the octopus: ursula loves cruella. i want a selfish, greedy cruella who unashamedly walks all over anyone who can’t stand up to her, but she becomes tender with ursula, because she loves her, and that love isn’t mutually exclusive with her greed.
if you don’t feel sympathy for regina mills, i do not want to know you. she doesn’t have to be your favorite character. you don’t have to be an evil regal. but if you don’t think about all the horrible shit she’s endured and all the ways she’s been forced to change herself to survive it and get a little pang in your gut as you wonder what kind of strength she must have to be able to fight back again and again, i don’t want to know you.
sometimes i rewatch episodes like the cricket game and i get so irrationally angry that emma, snow, and charming essentially have all this power over regina. and i just ugh like when regina leaves the party because she’s upset no one will talk to her and emma and snow and charming are RIGHT THERE and could be making her feel like she’s wanted and that they genuinely want to give her their support or when regina gets mean when emma won’t let her see more of henry (and is TELLING THE TRUTH in her meanness, that emma has been around for TWO SECONDS compared to the ten years regina spent taking care of henry) and then immediately she gets teary and immediately apologizes, like i don’t really know how to interpret that instant move to genuine tears and apology except to think that she is scared that emma will keep henry even further away from her like she has got tears in her eyes, immediately jumping through hoops to placate emma. how is it okay that so much of regina’s happiness is contingent on these people? isn’t it just so fucking awful that she’s spent so long trying to take control of her own life and now when she’s supposed to be reforming/redeeming herself it's still not in her control it’s in the control of the three people who are least deserving of stakes in what she does?
today, i was listening to a lot of into the woods at work, and i was thinking, why do i connect with this so much? why is this resonant with me in ways that ouat’s main narrative isn’t? i started to think, and to maybe plan a whole analysis out – to talk about how the characters are handled, or address the source materials (the original germanic/french fairy tales for ITW, disney only for ouat), and then i was listening to no one is alone, and i got it. i got it right away.
Sometimes people leave you / Halfway through the wood / Others may deceive you / You decide what’s good. / You decide alone. / But no one is alone. …
Witches can be right. / Giants can be good. / You decide what’s right. / You decide what’s good. / Just remember: / Someone is on your side (our side) / Someone else is not. / While we’re seeing our side (our side) / Maybe we forgot: they are not alone. / No one is alone.
the theme of choiceand of complex morality is everywhere in into the woods. the first act is the most simplistic – the antagonists are clear-cut and the outcome is hollywood perfect. complexity is hinted at via songs like agony (the princes) and stay with me (the witch and rapunzel).the baker’s wife is manipulative; cinderella is vague and indecisive.
by the second act, it all breaks down completely. the princes are revealed as selfish womanizers (“i was raised to be charming, not sincere”), rapunzel is in the throes of serious post-partum depression, jack has become indirectly responsible for the giant’s wife’s ravaging of the kingdom, little red riding hood’s apparent strength is revealed to be the front for a little girl’s fears, the baker’s wife is unfaithful, the baker attempts to abandon his son the way he himself was abandoned.
the fact that the antagonist of the second act is the giant’s wife raises the matter of choice and morality. the witch says that a giant “has a brain,” that giants are just like people, only “much, much bigger… soooo big…” the giant’s wife is terrorizing the kingdom because jack killed her husband, and no one is alone comes when LRRH worries what her mother would say if she knew her daughter was going to help kill a person, and jack is seeking revenge for the wrongful death of his mother.
instead of being a revenge anthem, no one is alone tells jack/LRRH/the audience that neither cinderella nor the baker can offer easy comfort, because “witches can be right. giants can be good.” people who seem villainous aren’t just villains; they are people, and they have their own side to the story that none of us can see. all that anyone can do is decide for themselves, and themselves alone, what is right and what is wrong.
in ouat, “heroes” and “villains” are given individual backstories, but actions by heroes are rarely, if ever questioned. their actions are heroic because they are performed by heroes, not because their actions actually do good. a behavior enacted by a villain is “bad” (regina disciplining henry or speaking sharply to him in season 1); the same exact thing, performed by a hero, is “good” (emma doing the same thing to henry in season 3). heroes are assumed to uphold some ultimate standard of goodness, and are never questioned, even when they do grievous harm.
in ITW, there is no overarching, ultimate standard of good. there is no perfect morality. no one is called “pure.” the main characters of the show are just people – complex, troubled people who find themselves having to make frightening choices. the giant’s wife is killing people, forcing the main characters to kill her in turn; neither action is necessarily good or evil: it’s up to every individual to decide what’s right for them. no one is “just good” or “just bad.” a giant can grieve. a witch can love. and “heroes” can make terrible mistakes.