Remember when Snow was going to kill the queen and Rumplestiltskin told James that if she did, she would become evil? Maybe that’s what happened to Regina. She killed her mother and became indiscriminately evil. The other thing I noticed that I haven’t seen anyone comment on is how Cora praised Regina at the end of the episode. Regina’s look was interesting. I couldn’t tell if that was because she’d finally gotten the praise she must have longed for from her mother or because she was appalled.
After I watched the episode a second time I took away that when Cora said “Well played, you’re learning” after Regina talked to SW about how they were going to be a family after she married the king, she realized that she had been “played” by her mother for years herself. But she goes along with the charade for a few minutes by overplaying the good girl routine and saying she needs to get out of her dress so it won’t get dirty. Which I thought was interesting because Cora was standing there in black and Regina was in a beautiful white gown which she obviously wasn’t going to get dirty anywhere in the castle. I think that was meant to be symbolic – she was saying in an overly sweetly voice that she needed to get out of the beautiful white dress because she doesn’t belong in it anymore. And then when Cora told her she was proud of her, I do think there was a brief moment when she was glad to hear those words from her mother but then I think she quickly realized that her mother is a head case – how do you rip the heart out of the man your daughter loves one minute and then tell her you are proud of her the next. When she turns around and has the EQs voice for the first time – I think she has decided to no longer care what her mother, or anyone else thinks about her, she has decided to look out for only herself. I think something that probably also occurred to Regina is that SW said that she told Cora about Daniel because she didn’t want Regina to lose her mother. I think in those few short scenes Regina realized that she never really had a mother, in the traditional sense, in the first place. So there wasn’t anything for her to lose anyway.