A Writer's Journey

April 4, 2017

Long Live Outlaw Queen

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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This entry started off as something completely different. It goes back to this entry where I wrote about how the writers of Once Upon a Time were bringing Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) back for a multi-episode arc. That arc began at the very end of Episode 10 (“Wish You Were Here”) when Regina (Lana Parrilla) encountered a version of Robin Hood in a realm created by a wish made by the Evil Queen, and ended two Sundays ago with Episode 14 (“Page 23”).

When Once came back after the winter hiatus (“Tougher Than the Rest”), Regina pursued Robin to find out if his life was better without her. She found out this Robin lost Marian before he could marry her and never became a thief with honor, stealing for himself rather than giving it to the poor. He admitted that he wasn’t happy and that it seemed the other version of him had a good life, even if it was cut short. Robin and Regina still had that connection, that pull, and they popped thanks to Parrilla’s and Maguire’s chemistry. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) suggested Regina take Robin back with them to Storybrooke and he agreed.

Things went a little south in the next two episodes (“Murder Most Foul” and “Ill-Boding Patterns”). This Robin soon proved darker than who I’ve now dubbed OG!Robin as he went after Nottingham the moment he had a chance. Regina was shaken by this and she told Robin he couldn’t hurt people, which he found funny of her to say since they were in the vault surrounded by dark magic as well as hearts she had removed. He was having difficulty adjusting to Storybrooke but decided to try. Robin kissed her but it was clear Regina didn’t feel the same as she did when kissing OG!Robin. However, instead of wondering if it had to do with the fact that this was a different version of Robin and she was currently split in two, Regina wondered who this Robin really was and what he really wanted.

He then stole magic from Regina’s vaults and OQ fans everywhere facepalmed.

Robin once again told Regina he was feeling overwhelmed but agreed to let her help him…as a ruse so she didn’t discover the magic he had stolen. He had then gone to Zelena and asked her to help him get out of Storybrooke and away from Regina. Naturally, we were a little uncomfortable with the writers pairing up Robin and Zelena, even if it wasn’t the Robin she raped. It was still there. (And let’s not get started on his line about not liking children). When Regina stopped them, he explained that he couldn’t be the man she wanted. So she agreed to help him leave.

Regina blamed herself for everything, believing encountering Robin was some test she had failed. Because how dare she still be grieving NOT EVEN A MONTH LATER. For goodness sakes’ show.  Give the woman some time. This is the woman who cast a dark curse because she lost the love of her life years earlier. While Regina has moved on and didn’t go dark, she still deserves more than a few weeks to mourn the loss of her soulmate.

Meanwhile, the Evil Queen found Robin and was able to use him to turn herself back into a person. Robin was surprised to see another Regina and this one promised him some fun.

So going into Robin’s last episode, confidence in the writing was way down across the fandom. It didn’t help that we knew that the episode was titled “Page 23.” Page 23 was introduced back in Season 4 when Robin discovered another version of the page in the storybook—instead of running away from Robin at the tavern, Regina went in and she shared a kiss with Robin. It stood as a symbol of hope—for Outlaw Queen, for Regina and for the fans. We clung to Page 23 when Robin went over the town line and even more so after Robin died. We were worried it would be destroyed along with our ship.

Why? Well, for me, it all stemmed from this summer when it grew abundantly clear that killing Robin was not a popular choice. Every time Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis were interviewed, they were asked about Robin and the possibility of him coming back to life. It is Once Upon a Time after all. It’s up there with soap operas when it comes to characters staying dead. They kept insisting “dead was dead” though that maybe Robin’s soul wasn’t obliterated. (Still dead though). People then also kept asking about Page 23 and their replies got terser and terser. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they decided to rip it apart just so we would stop asking about it.

How was the episode then?

It was actually pretty good. The Evil Queen took Robin with her on a mission, having him dig up the golden shearers for her. He asked her if she could use magic but we all knew she really wanted to watch his ass. She then used Page 23 to send a message to Regina, using Robin as bait to lure her to the mayor’s office so they could finish their fight once and for all.

While the Queen waited, she and Robin enjoyed some final banter. He said he believed he wasn’t there for Regina but for her, to give her a second chance. She kept rebuffing him, focusing on only on Regina. When Regina finally showed up, Queenie sent Robin packing. At that point, we all figured that was the last we would see him. It seemed to fit how else Outlaw Queen and Robin in general was treated.

The rest of the episode was more about Regina and her inner demons, but they were something we long wanted with her character. She made peace with her darkness and realized she needed it to be whole. With the Evil Queen as a separate entity now, she took some of the Queen’s darkness and gave her some of her light. They were now two whole people, ready to live their lives.

Determining that the Evil Queen wouldn’t get a fair chance in Storybrooke, they asked Henry to use his author powers to send her some place else. She apologized to Snow, had a sweet moment with Henry and then he wrote that she went some place where she could have a fresh start. She materialized in a small village, outside a very familiar tavern. When she looked in, she saw Robin inside and she then went in. She joined him at his table and they shared a drink together, smiling the entire time.

So the Split Queen arc ended with Regina and Queenie coming to grips with both their darkness and their life while Robin’s arc ended with some hope for Outlaw Queen to live on, albeit in the wish world.

Was I satisfied? Yes and no.

I am happy that they wrapped up the Split Queen arc with Regina accepting both sides of herself and finally coming to love herself. It was a long time coming and seems the natural culmination of her character arc. And it gave Outlaw Queen some form of a happy ending, living on in another world.

Before this arc, Horowitz and Kitsis as well as Maguire spoke of it as “closure.” Do I feel closure? No, not really. There are a few things that are still left open. Like poor Roland. He’s still growing up without a father. Robin’s daughter will never know her father and the show hasn’t really convinced me that Zelena is a good mother. And Regina…Regina is still without romance.

Look, I am the first person who will see that the way the Split Queen arc ended was Regina’s Happy Ending. She has a place she calls home (Storybrooke), family, friends, Henry and the love and trust of the people of the town. The one thing she doesn’t have is romance. It’s not that she needs a man, but after all this time, it would be nice for her to get to keep romantic love. So part of me is always going to hope that Sean can be enticed back for even just a scene so Robin can be undeaded and reunited with Regina (and Roland).

Because I don’t think it would work to give Regina another love interest. It wouldn’t be fair to any other character to follow someone who was Regina’s soulmate and who died for her. It just won’t be the same, no matter how much chemistry Parrilla has with the actor. The only exception I will accept is Maleficent.

No matter what, though, Outlaw Queen will always belong to the fans. We’ve kept it alive despite everything the writers did to our beloved Queen and her Thief. And we kept going even when Robin was dead and it looked like we would never see Maguire on the Once set again. We kept writing fanfiction, making fanart, fanvids, jewelry, tshirts, etc. And we’ll keep doing it.

Thank you to my shipmates. You have all been amazing. Let us always love the Lonely Queen and the Man With the Lion Tattoo.

Long live Outlaw Queen.

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