We now know who the Tin Man is on Once Upon a Time. The “Bleeding Through” episode saw Zelena grab Regina’s heart to use in her evil spell to turn back time. For some reason, Zelena feels that it will take Regina’s heart (along with Charming’s courage and Rumple’s brain) to make the spell work. The real questions are: Has Zelena got it wrong? And does Regina stand in the way? If you ask us, the answer is yes. What does having Regina’s heart really mean in this spell Zelena has cooked up? Just what does a heart mean?
Let’s take a closer look.
Regina Has a Lot to Fight For
A heart beat means life. Regina (and several others) have survived without a heart actually beating in their chest. It’s a fairy tale symbol but it’s true. A heart taken gives someone control over the heart’s owner.
Let’s think back to one of the hearts that Regina had in her vault during season one. She possesses the heart of the huntsman when he is serving as sheriff in Storybrooke. Sleeping with Regina, he is only threatened when feelings for Emma start. When Regina realizes that his memories are returning, she squeezes the heart and that ends his life. Thus a heart for a fairy tale character must be physically destroyed for them to die.
The heart is a symbol of life yet Zelena’s possession has not eliminated Regina from the mix. Instead, Zelena’s possession has given Regina more reason to fight. Heart means life but only if it stops.
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Regina Continues to Love
When we discuss love, the heart is the symbol most commonly used to illustrate the feeling. It’s the symbol of Valentine’s Day. Regina may have lost her heart but she hasn’t lost the ability to love.
Regina has always loved Henry. Even though she has removed her heart prior to her battle with Zelena in the town square, she still loves Henry enough to be concerned when Charming tries to teach him to drive. She’s also hurt because he doesn’t remember her as his mother, the giver of love to a young son’s heart.
More importantly, Regina’s love for Robin is getting stronger even without her heart. She understands why he gave it to Zelena to protect his son. She even tells him she would have done this herself. And that kiss at the end of the episode. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. Zelena does not have Regina’s ability to love.
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Regina’s Knowledge Has No Bounds
Literature often represents the heart as the symbol of knowledge. Regina’s knowledge is of dark magic but she has an open mind when it comes to the magic of others. She has learned the trade from Rumple, yet she has an adopted son who has the “heart of the true believer.” She’s also working with Emma who has the heart of the savior.
Each of these people have their own knowledge. Regina knows how to use magic and evidently it can be for good or for evil. While she has used it primarily for evil, she has become a teacher for Emma who is learning her magic. By using their combined knowledge (heart), they have managed to turn the tide when things look bleak in Storybrooke.
More importantly, the heart of the true believer (Henry) has helped form a group which eventually manages to oust the wicked Peter Pan. While Zelena thinks she has Regina’s knowledge, she hasn’t stopped Regina’s from practicing magic. Regina’s magic is what defeated Cora after all.
Regina Still Has Her Soul
Zelena may have Regina’s heart but she doesn’t have her soul. While some link the heart and soul together, in Regina’s case the two are evidently not the same.
Regina has come a long way since season one. Her soul mate is Robin and her love for him is still strong. While she has felt anger toward Snow over Cora’s death, they have now buried the hatchet and work together. Regina even has accepted that Emma is just as important to Henry as she is. While she doesn’t like it, Regina has grown to see that Henry has two mothers.
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Has Zelena goofed? Has she misunderstood the spell? If Regina thinks that having Regina’s heart controls her emotions, she has underestimated what the true “heart” is. It may not be an actual thing you can hold in your hand but something you experience. Zelena has never experienced any true emotions. She fakes emotions to suit the need. With only a few weeks left, Regina’s love, knowledge, and soul may become more important than any physical thing that Zelena could use in a spell. One thing is for sure: Regina and Robin are an item that, even without a heart, feels love.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)