You can pretend all you want but we know how you are!
This statement really sticks out for me because it’s essentially Emma reflecting her own worst fears back at Regina. And what’s interesting is that both of them right now actually share that same insecurity: the fear that they might be incapable of change, despite wanting be a different and better person.
Make no mistake here: this is Emma feeling betrayed by Regina and lashing out. Emma’s hurt and so she’s angry. She’d invited Regina, defended her, saw something she thought they shared. It’s almost like a bit of a berate against her own foolish self in this moment; this bitter reality she tells herself she needs to armour against: that some people just can’t be someone else, no matter how much they pretend.
Emma just hopes to hell she isn’t one of them, for Henry’s sake and her own.
And then of course, there’s Regina, who’s realised she’s just made a damning slip: she’s used magic against others, threatened Emma. An understandable reaction given the circumstances. But nonetheless, she’s just shattered her promise to Henry. And that, after everything, is what brings her whole world to a screaming halt.
For in this moment, Regina has no idea who exactly she is; she’s now faced with a very imminent reality without her son and with the inescapable shadow who she once was. She’s trapped. But still, I like to think Regina would insist that the rest of them are wrong somehow; that a stubborn (some might say spiteful) part of her simply refuses to accept they know who she is. They can’t know for sure. At the very least, because she herself doesn’t know for sure.
Who is Regina then, when not pretending for the sake of someone else?
That’s a scary question for anyone, much less someone who’s desperately tried to rid one self for another and another.
Here are two characters whose destinies were laid out for them before they were even born, who’ve grown into their decided roles despite not wanting to, and now both trying hard to figure out what to truly make of themselves.