TVLine's Performer of the Week: Lana Parrilla

Once Upon a Time Regina Leaves HenryA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Lana Parrilla

THE SHOW | Once Upon a Time

THE EPISODE | “Going Home”

THE AIRDATE | Dec. 15, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | The queen of mean showed us her softest side yet as Once Upon a Time entered its winter break with a twist that required Regina to again give up that which she loves most — another Henry, in fact — in the name of survival.

Having previously shown us Regina’s transformation from exasperated new mom to loving mother (in this month’s “Save Henry”), Parrilla this week was afforded opportunity to demonstrate her character’s inner turmoil when, after being stunned unconscious by the Dark Curse scroll, she realized the price to be paid — the price she must pay — to stop Pan from casting the curse anew, enslaving Storybrooke.

She would have to never see Henry again, as she and other fairy tale characters are transported back to their respective realms, leaving him behind almost alone. But rather than be selfish about her son, Regina saw the bigger picture — his happiness, even if it is to only be witnessed by his birth mother Emma. “All I’ve wanted was for you to get the hell away from my son,” Regina said to her sometime adversary. “But really what I want is for Henry to be happy.”

Later at the town line, as goodbyes were exchanged, Parrilla surfaced Regina’s heartbreak as Henry tried to assume blame for all that had happened over the years. “Villains don’t get happy endings,” she countered, her voice quivering — prompting the boy to declare, “You’re not a villain. You’re my mom.” (Sob.) Regina then made her most selfless gesture to date, taking Emma’s hand and gifting both her and Henry with new, “good” memories to fill the void to be left by their expiring Storybrooke ones. This queen, at least right now, is evil no more. (Watch a clip of those closing scenes below.)

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Midseason Finale Recap: The Never Land — Plus: The Wicked Witch Comes!

HONORABLE MENTION | Oddly enough, Claire Danes’ most powerful work in Sunday’s Homeland finale didn’t involve her now-former co-star Damian Lewis. As heartbreaking as Carrie and Brody’s final scenes were, the sequence that broke us came later in the episode, following the four-month time jump, when Carrie broke down in front of her father and sister. After being interrogated about what she plans to do with her unborn child, the grief-stricken agent quietly, tearfully confessed, “I’m just SO sad.” It was simple, understated and agonizingly real — so much so that we almost felt guilty peering in on this incredibly private moment. When it comes to giving good grief, the great Danes remains in a class by herself.

RELATED | Homeland EP Reveals Whether [Spoiler] Is Really Dead, Confirms [Spoiler] Will Be Back, Teases Season 4 Storyline

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!

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64 Comments
  1. Roger says:

    For me it had to be Noah Bean on Nikita. His finals scenes were amazingly well acted.

  2. Anja says:

    Good choice. I always love Lana’s performance, as she’s a brilliant actress but she just killed this performance and killed our feelings in the process :D Couldn’t have done it better imo

  3. nikki says:

    I think Josh Bowman was actually pretty good on last week’s Revenge. There might be hope for Daniel yet.

  4. sacha says:

    Lana Parrilla is extremely talented, in love with her acting.

  5. Austin says:

    I definitely agree with the choices this week. Claire Danes and Lana Parilla each had very heartbreaking moments last Sunday. < / 3

  6. Jen says:

    Great choice! I though Lana, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Carlyle, and Robbie Kay were all amazing in the OUAT winter finale. Bravo to them.

    • Paul5 says:

      No offense, but Emilie’s acting is very poor :-/

      • Edw says:

        I´d say Jennifer Morrison is the weakest of all. She is simply terrible.

        • Lynn says:

          I think Parrilla was more than deserving this week, the ending was heartbreaking. But I love Morrison on this show…I think what she brings to Emma is real and really resonates with me. I enjoy the whole cast though.

        • Jennifer says:

          Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think Jennifer Morrison is really under appreciated. She has a very difficult job. Being surrounded by larger than life characters, she keeps the show grounded. She also has wonderful comedic timing and when given weightier material, she delivers. I do think though that some scene partners bring out the best in her and so other scenes may suffer by comparison.

          • Eunice says:

            I agree. ‘Manhattan’ with that scene where she confronts Neal, was great. I think she’s at her best when she’s with Lana, Ginnifer, and Josh, actually. She hasn’t had a lot of scenes with Robert Carlyle lately, but I did enjoy how they played off of each other back in Season 1.

        • Mariana Vidal says:

          Good afternoon EDW,

          I would say that you are unfair in your comments and do not really appreciate Ms. Morrison’s valiant efforts to work with mediocre material. Jennifer Morrison is as good an actor as the rest of this talented cast. However, her lines and the little time given to her character leave her at a disadvantage and unable to show her true colorors as an actor.

          Writers, producers, snap out of it. Ms. Emma Swan/Henry’s mama deserves better lines to continue developing her personage; she is the savior for heaven’s sake!

      • ella says:

        i totally ship rumbelle but i am with you. emilie is not so good, jmo is close second.

      • Simon Jester says:

        @Paul5 – Gotta agree about Emilie’s lack of acting ability. The result, unfortunately, was a total lack of chemistry between Belle and Rumplestiltskin.

        • jenn says:

          really? like hell it was. and it has nothing to do with acting btw. you can’t ”act” chemistry. it’s just there or not. they have the best chemistry on the show

          • Mariana Vidal says:

            Absolutely Jen, Robert Carlisle and Emilie de Ravin have the most wonderful chemistry going on. Their acting is extremely credible because of that chemistry Rumple is perfect and so is the enchanting Belle. I live for the episodes where they interact their personages are so on cue that I want them together no matter what.

            I keep asking the producers to get creative and bring Rumple back from the dead. Belle and Rumple belong together and without them I would say goodbye to Once Upon a Time! Mariana

      • jane says:

        emilie was great this episode and she is quite good when writing is decent. which is rare on ouat sadly

      • Mariana Vidal says:

        Paul5, you certainly have a right to your opinion but I do not share it. Emilie de Ravin is an accomplished actor. Anyone who can make us care for the personage the way she does has mastered her craft and Emilie has definitely done that. It is precisely the range of emotion that she imparts to the kind and lovely Belle that has made us love her and want for Belle to be happy with Rumple.

        Anyhow that is what I think but then again I truly love every single personage in this story and appreciate the dedication of all the actors involved.

        I hope you have a nice day! Mariana Vidal

    • jenn says:

      totally agree. esp on robert and emilie

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      Jen, I totally agree with your opinion. Lana Parrilla is an accomplished actress; so much in fact, that we care for our Evil Queen very much. I for one would love for her to have a wonderful happy ending I do want her to find true love and to have a family of her own. Perhaps her sporadic good deeds will buy her a happy ending? I do not know but I hope so, I live for the day when all these characters will be happy at last! My congratulations to the entire cast you are not only extremely good looking but also gifted performers who fascinates us all with your wonderful work in Once Upon A Time. Mariana Vidal

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      I totally agree with your opinion. In fact I believe that Robbier Kay stole the show with his awesome performance. Naturally Robert Carlisle could not be any better, Lana is not only beautiful but an accomplished actor as well and Emilie de Ravin as the Lovely Belle was absolutely convincing in her performance. She made me feel her pain and I cried. Of course, I also love Mr. Gold, so how could I not feel sadness? A thousand thanks to cast and producers for such an outstanding show. You always leave us wanting more and more. Mariana Vidal

  7. Jus says:

    The last act of that ep was heartbreaking. Good performances from Lana, Jennifer and Robert. Episodes like “Going home” remind you that OUAT really has a very strong cast.

  8. Kelly says:

    I loved both Lana Parrilla and Jennifer Morrison’s acting, Robert Carlyle too. Such a great cast, despite the sometimes mediocre writing.

  9. Couldn´t agree more! is so beautiful to see how far Regina has come this season, Lana Parrilla kill it, Robert Carlyle also did and amazing job, the last scene with him and Pan, WOW amazing!

    • jenferner8 says:

      I did love Lana’s work this week but Robert kills me every time. That last Rumple scene had me sobbing, especially when he was saying goodbye to Neal and Belle. I’ve never really been crazy about Emma but she did well in this episode. Hook about killed me at the end. The guy is smokin’ hot as it is. If he’d shown up at my door at the end looking like that, well, let’s just say the show would have had a very different ending…

  10. Jennifer says:

    Excellent choice! Could not agree more.

  11. Mary says:

    For me it was the whole cast of Once for performance of the week.

  12. Eli says:

    I agree Lana in “going home” is amazing!

  13. J says:

    Excellent choice! I want spoilers please 3 months is too long!

  14. Aly says:

    Completely agree! Lana was amazing in this ep. I was sad that she only got an ‘honorable mention’ for The Cricket Game, which remains one of my absolute favourite episodes, so I’m pleased she was noticed for this ep too. Save Henry was also a brilliant performance for her.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, Cricket Game, Save Henry, and Going Home are all amongst my top episodes and Lana is outstanding in each one but I do think Cricket Game remains my favorite performance just due to the sheer range of it.

  15. Agu says:

    I just love the way Lana plays with this character! And she does it in an incredible way. She plays like 4 charactera in 1 person! And in the finale she just killed it! Showing a whole new side 2 Regina that was just Beautiful :)

  16. extremely happy about Lana Parrilla as performer of the week, cos her acting was amazing in the mid season finale, and she has done a great job as Regina and the Evil Queen,very layered too. very curious to what will happen to her character next season!!

  17. Cede says:

    Lana Parrilla did brilliant work this past week. She’s a talented actress who started off wonderfully as the Queen and has only gotten better and better. Lana’s really someone to watch! I’m a huge fan of Once mainly because of her, though the casting, set design and all the other actors are quite fab too.

  18. Benerese says:

    Her giving Emma the happy ending she always wanted? That was such a romantic and tragic moment.

  19. lll says:

    Adore Lana in this episode. Her time to shine was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY overdue. Robert Carlyle, Jennifer Morrison and Robbie Kay were amazing too.

  20. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Never thought i see the Evil Queen SHOW emotion! Lana P. did a good job and plays Regina very well. It was sad but great ep. Is Robert Carlyle REALLY out of the show now?

  21. CW says:

    Excellent choice. Lana Parilla is such a good actress and unfortunately very underrated to this point. Thank you for giving her heartbreaking performance in Going Home this well deserved recognition.

  22. leo says:

    Lana deserves the shout out but I’m surprised no one recognize Ginny’s performance as well. She has been fantastic these last three episodes. Love her.

  23. Shaun says:

    Noah Bean or Maggie Q.

  24. Andrew says:

    Lana Parrilla/Regina is the only interesting character this show has, in my opinion. However, I strongly feel like she should’ve gotten this mention for her performance in “Save Henry.” The way she talked about having no regrets before immediately ripping Pan’s heart out was so badass.

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      Andrew, give us a break please! We all appreciate Lana’s brilliance as an actor. She has developed her character to the max. We went from hating our Beautiful Evil Queen to feeling compasion and understanding for Regina Mills as we gradually realized that she could be a loving mom who can be lonely and sad at times and who is also capable of doing good for others and she is definitely fascinating. That said, you exagerate by saying that she is the only interesting character in the show. How can you say that when you have seen the brilliant characterization of Robert Carlisle as the odious, somewhat pathetic, flamboyant and yet fascinating and indispensable Rumplestilskin/Mr. Gold. Not to mention Jenni Goodwing as the fairest of them all. Also, there is the lovely Belle who complements the Rumple character is such a wonderful way. Then what about Robbie Kay who in just a few episodes stole the show from under everyone with his wonderfully wicked Peter Pan.

      Do not lose your objectivity and please recognize that the show is wonderful thanks to the talented cast who practically perform miracles with the mediocre materilal they have to work with. Mariana Vidal

  25. Lauren says:

    Kinda stumped by all the bellyaching about “when” Lana won this thing. Maybe other weeks there was better work on the more serious emmy like shows? Why not just appreciate the recognition?

  26. Ginger Snap says:

    You know that a performance is special when just reading about the pivotal scene has you sobbing. And sob I did. Lana killed it!

  27. Shelly says:

    I don’t watch this but it looks really good. The chemistry between those two actresses seems amazing. Are they family? Why no hug good bye. Could I start watching now or should I start from season one? Who’s the scruffy looking guy in the weird leather that lip rapped the blonde chick at the end. So many questions.

    • Ysu73 says:

      Start with Season 1! It’s amazing how far the characters came in 2,5 seasons, and you can see it if you watch it from the beginnin to the end (aka 3rd Season midseason finale).

  28. Daniel says:

    No mention of Nikita? Noah Bean was great! So was Maggie Q.

  29. Rachel says:

    So happy to see this. All season Lana has been bringing it, and I’m so glad she’s getting recognized for it. She deserves it so much. I’ve started to really like Regina this season, and it’s all thanks to her.

  30. Matt says:

    I think the character of Regina/EQ is why quite a lot of people watch the show. Kudos should go to Lana Parrilla every week for pulling the character off, even when the writing is sometimes subpar. It’s only my opinion but I think without her, the show wouldn’t be around for a 3rd season.

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      You are correct sweetie it is your opinion and I respect it. However, Although Lana Parrilla is quite the acomplished actor, Jennifer Goodwin AKA: Snow White is just as good. In fact, she is awesome. Robert Carlisle is out of this world as Mr. Gold, the man facinates me and I cannot wait for the show to return so that I can continue to enjoy his talent and the talent of all these enchanting actors. I certainly hope that Mr. Carlisle comes back to the show because without him; not even all the talent of the rest of the cast or the most wonderful writing could save the show.

      As far as I am concerned, Mr. Gold, Regina, the Charmings and Belle are the pillars of these wonderful produccion. I cannot imagine Once Upon a Time without any of them. I also hope to see Mulan more often she is another wonderful personage.

      Have a wonderful day and may we all enjoy a healthy and properous 2014.

  31. Aileen says:

    I love this show! Lana and Robert are my favorite characters. They really make me laugh, cry and scream at my TV when it’s on. One of the best shows on TV.

  32. Mikael says:

    Regina was incredible. I was hoping she and Emma would hug. I have to say, I liked Robbie Kay so much that I was hoping that Henry had to stay in Pan’s body so we could keep him.

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      Mikael, I agree with you in the fact that Robbie Kay was stunning as Peter Pan. He is an enchanting youngster and extremely talented, he made me hate him in some scenes. However, that does not mean that i want my adorable little prince to go away. We can ask the writers to get creative so that we can keep Robbie Kay somehow. Whatever happens though, we must keep my precious prince Henry as well. The story without little Henry would be like having the story without Mr. Gold totally absurd!

  33. Carla Lopes says:

    You obviously haven’t seen Nikita last week!!! Noah Bean was so AWESOME I enjoyed Lana’s performance but Noah totally NAILED IT!

  34. Erica says:

    All hail the Evil Queen! Can’t wait to see her run into Robin Hood. Lana Parilla is amazing and so deserves an emmy nomination. So many actors on this show are fantastic.

    • Mariana Vidal says:

      Yes, Erica we agree hail to her majesty Queen Regina she is one of the reasons I can’t wait for the show to resume. Lana Parrilla is an accomplished actor. She not only deserves de nomination my friend, she actually deserves de Emmy and much more!. As far as I am concerned, every single actor in the show is fantastic. Some of them stand out for obvious reasons. The show could not exist without the lovely Snow White /the fairest of them all. Prince Charming is esential to the story and so are the dwarts but the evil Queen, ahhh she is the Majestic frosting on the proverbial evil cake. I am also anxious to one day see Regina find happines with the hansome Robin Hood. However, all that fades away in comparison to the happiness I expect to see when my amazing Rumple reunites with the lovely Belle.

      Naturally, I want happiness for the entire kingdom. Each and every character deserves a happy ending. The magic mirror is such a tragic figure that I want him free and happy. Red, grandma, the fairies, Mulan, Phllip, Aurora, Ariel, Eric. I want for Emma and Neil to be happy with their precious little prince Henry.

      In sum, all the characters in the enchanted forest are so interrelated that if one is happy, all of them have to be happy.

      I hope you have a happy healthy and prosperous New Year, Mariana Vidal

  35. Veronica Medina says:

    LANA PARRILLA IS SOOO AMAZING! SHE IS SOOO TALENTED. I DIDNT KNOW HER BEFORE THIS SHOW BUT I AM TOTALLY AMAZED BY HER PERFORMANCE. IF SHE DOES SOME MOVIES SHE EVENTUALLY MIGHT WIN AN OSCAR. IM A FAN!

    • MARIANA VIDAL says:

      I totally agree Veronica. Lana Parrilla is an awesome actor. She imparts such credibility to her characters that is hard to imagine her ever doing anything else to make a living. I mean, when she plays the Evil Queen she does it with absoluite distiction and oh so naturally as if she really were a Royal Personage.

      How about the way she dealt with that hideous flying creature, turning it into a harmless stuffed toy! The lady is so amazing that her performance is equal only to Bobby Carlisle playing Rumplestilskin.

      By the way, I knew that Regina and Selena would be sisters; the producers provided enough spoilers for us to guess that much. However, I was shocked at finding Rumple in the midst of that mess!

      Like you, I am also certain that if she were in a movie, she would quickly win an Oscar

      Have a wonderful day, Vero. Mariana

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