Firstly, where would the world be without Jane Espenson? The writing virtuoso has done it again. Known for writing Skin Deep, Desperate Souls, Red-Handed and others, for the first season, Espenson returned with one heck of an episode.
“We Are Both” spent the hour diving into the fairy tale story of Regina, before her days as the Evil Queen. The viewers found her attempting to run away and, upon failing, pleading with both parents to allow her to flee before her impending wedding. Lana Parilla’s portrayal of a younger and more innocent Regina truly showcased her phenomenal talent. These flashbacks provided insight into her history with Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and also threw in more hints toward her mother being the Queen of Hearts. In the end, we observed Regina use magic for the first time, throwing her mother through a looking glass and into an unknown world, and discovers that “[she] loved it.”
Back in Storybrooke, both David/Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Regina are faced with quests to return their loved ones to them. Charming seeks out answers and a way to get to Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Mary Margaret/Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), and Regina takes Henry (Jared Gilmore) back to her home and does what she can to convince him that her new found magic is a good thing, and that she does love him. After an eye-opening conversation, she decides to allow him to return home with his grandfather, and vows to prove to him that she can redeem herself. Charming, meanwhile loses track of Jefferson (guest star Sebastian Stan); his only known hope to saving his wife and daughter.
At the end of the episode the audience is shown a glimpse at Emma and Snow, whom are now prisoners of Mulan (guest star Jamie Chung). Emma and an unconscious Snow are thrown into a holding cell, where, lo and behold, one Cora Mills (guest star Barbara Hershey) is waiting.
So in conclusion, it was a fantastic episode. It showed many new details, which changed many of my views of particular characters (especially Henry Sr. I have lost all respect for the man, who did nothing to help his daughter), and brought up many new questions. Will Regina be able to truly redeem herself, or was the fact that she kept the spell book foreshadowing of her continuation down the path of evil? How long will the Charming family be torn apart? And lastly, how will Rumple get to his son, now that he has learned that no one can leave town?