Because in an episode that was ostensibly about why Cora gave baby Zelena up — long story short, the born-out-of-wedlock bambino cost her a royal wedding to Prince Leopold — “Bleeding Through” pulled off an impressive amount of overdue character work.
For one, many a TVLine reader mailbag Q was answered when Belle finally gave Regina some guff for locking her up all those years, asking why she should help her rummage through Gold’s shop. After noting, “Bookworm’s got teeth,” Regina genuinely apologizes, saying, “I’m sorry, Belle. I really, really am.”
But that exchange of olive branch was nothing compared to the convos that Regina and Snow shared, especially in the final acts.
Having discovered through the course of a séance-gone-awry that Snow’s mother Eva is basically responsible for everyone’s wicked predicament (by having disgraced pregnant Cora back in the day and then snatching up Leo for herself), the enemies-turned-frenemies realize that their history is even more complicated than they ever thought. Regina says she is sorry that Snow had to learn of the darkness that her pure momma had within her. Then when the topic turns to Regina’s heart (which Zelena had the Dark One take from Robin Hood), Snow comes out waving pom-poms as a cheerleader for the love that Regina has to give, the deep feelings she has to share. That pep talk prompts Regina to seek out the Prince of Thieves and steal a kiss (see what I did there?), which her soul mate gladly returns — and then some.
Characters are growing and evolving here, people.
Elsewhere in the hour, Zelena invited Rumple to suit up for a cozy little dinner, where she boasts of her plan to enact a curse that will turn back time (where/when, Belle surmises, the Wicked Witch will kill young Eva before she can blab to Leopold. Such a timey-wimey snuffing would thus endanger the futures of Snow, Emma, Henry and maybe even Regina herself). Rumple presents himself as impressed by Zelena’s plan to use the x-factor — the new Charming baby — to rewrite the laws of magic and enable time-travel (and theoretically let him reunite with Bae), but when he goes in for the kiss (…and maybe a bit of second/third base), Zelena’s wise to his agenda and keeps the dagger away from him. She then sends him back to his cage.
There was also a moment in (of course) Granny’s diner where Emma had some fun with her entry-level magic skills, but Hook was cranky because of his (secretly) cursed kisser.
Next week: Glinda shows up, looking eerily like Jennifer Morrison.
* “I’m not in the mood for a heart-to-heart.” / “I’m not sure that’s physically possible right now.”
* “And he told me that I have a tough placenta… which somehow came out creepy.”
* “What’s to talk about? You officially have a less-damaging relationship with my mother than I do. And you killed her.”
FUN FACT: This is the episode I was on set for, so while Lana Parrilla and Ginny Goodwin are doing that scene in the kitchen, imagine me and Josh Dallas downstairs in Regina’s rec room having a Puffy Shirt-Off.