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!