How and Why the Three Major Anti-Villains on OUAT Became Dark:
Regina: Lost her true love, Daniel, when her mother killed him because Snow White told her secret about their affair, and then gave into the temptation of darkness when Rumplestiltskin taught her dark magic, and manipulated her to cast the curse.
Rumplestiltskin: Goes to war to try and be a hero, cripples himself to get out of the war, so that he can be a father when a seer reveals to him that he will have a son. Gets scorned by his wife and entire village as a “coward” for skipping out of the war. Takes on evil curse to try and save Bae from getting drafted into a war that twists his naturally gentle, meek, and kindhearted personality into something dark, manipulative, violent, and murderous. Becomes addicted to magic. Let’s son fall through a magic portal to LWM because he has a panic attack, and because he is afraid that he can’t protect him without magic when he has become such an addict with an inferiority complex a mile wide. Spends three centuries perfecting a dark curse to find his son in the LWM.
Hook: Becomes an asshole pirate, after brother dies.
Regina and particularly Rumple: Get amazingly dynamic and heartwarming redemption arcs from S1-S3A that focus on themes of making selfless sacrifices for family and true love.
Hook: Wasn’t even meant to be a main villain, and only gets “redeemed” after they shove him together with Emma out of fucking nowhere in S3, and goes after her like he’s trying to win her as a prize.
Regina and particularly Rumple: Get shit on by the narrative post 3A with OOC character assassinating bs plots, keep going in circles of regression and redemption, and get ignored/and or rejected by their loved ones, no matter how much they try to make up for fucking up with them, even though they never meant to hurt them.
Hook: Gets immediately forgiven and called a “hero,” after nearly murdering Emma and sending her family to the UW in cold blooded revenge because he wants to “hurt her like she hurt him” for bringing him back as a Dark One against his request.
Me: They are choosing the wrong villain’s redemption arc to focus on, and I still don’t see why Hook is more deserving of a happy ending/redemption arc than Rumple and Regina.