It’s about time that Henry stepped up and accepted at least SOME of the responsibility for what happened to Regina. His language shows very clearly just how much he understands. Ignorance isn’t an option anymore and neither is being a passive witness to what Cora has done to Regina - in essence, what she’s made of her daughter.
But what strikes me the most about this scene is that, of all the people in Regina’s life that she might have cause to blame or resent, Henry Sr is one of the most obvious. I love that he uses the word “protect”, especially as that was what he SHOULD have done throughout Regina’s childhood. You could argue that he offered her love and affection and that in some way, that perhaps provided her with an example to follow when it came to her own emotions. But was it really what she needed? What was missing?
Henry’s awareness that he’s failed Regina is heartbreaking, especially as it’s come to this point and “the end” in order for him to admit it openly and actually SAY it to her.
However, what is the most moving thing about this scene is Regina’s reaction. As I said - if she could have blamed anyone for what happened to her, then surely her father would be viewed as culpable. But no. Instead she tells him that there’s no NEED for forgiveness, that she loves him “the most”. That he’s the only one to “stand by her”. And even if he’s weak and ineffective and utterly powerless to do anything to ACTUALLY help her (both now and throughout her life), Regina accepts this about him and loves him anyway.
Two things occurred to me during this scene:
1) The Regina that talks to her father through the cell bars looks more like young Regina than anyone else. And it’s kind of ironic, isn’t it, that THIS is the woman Snow believes still exists deep down inside Regina’s adopted persona of Evil Queen. Even more ironic that Regina herself told Snow that THAT woman - the one who saved Snow’s life and was capable of such great love - doesn’t exist anymore. Because clearly, she does. Lana’s face is so soft here, the look in her eyes so sincere and unguarded. It’s really quite a beautiful transformation.
2) I think what I find incredible about this is that, for all the things people say about Regina’s capacity to love, it’s obvious that she has one of the biggest, most vulnerable hearts on the show. Because here she is, telling her father - that ineffective fool who stood by and LET Cora abuse her so badly - that there’s no NEED for forgiveness. Because after all that he’s done, or not done, rather, she still loves him “the most”. Because being able to love someone THAT much after all that’s happened is pretty incredible. And whether he’s deserving of that love or not, it’s also pretty incredible that Regina can still feel it after all these years.