Thank you! I did think about that (i.e. why Cora didn't just grab Charming). My fanwank is this: Cora wants to corrupt Snow. If Snow loses the love of her life, she might be more inspired to fight to her own death.
Interesting that Cora's still on that after 40 years while she's constantly promising Regina they can just kill Snow. Will she not kill her until she's corrupted her?
Thanks for linking to your essay, Aliasscape. You're dead right. This is a problem that (imo) a lot of fantasy shows face. My Vampire Diaries readers will feel me, here. The show wants to keep the protagonists in constant conflict, but in doing so, they create an unbeatable villain, and then have to get stupid in order to let the white hats defeat the black hats (or tolerate them, or escape their clutches).
Where does this kind of weirdo laziness come from? I used to write stories when I was 12 years old where I'd take the time to map out my characters powers and weaknesses so that I'd remember them and not mess them up. I don't get why there aren't more "one-time spells" or "one-time potions". Something they'd have to make again to use again so sorry, that was it.
As much as I hate armies of people fighting the bad guys (less suspense), if you're going to have so much power, then Snow and Charming need to stop taking everyone by themselves or they need to get Emma a magic teacher and figure out if her power can be an effective counter. When you have a magical enemy, why does refining ones magical powers get backburnered?
It is interesting that Regina hasn't actually killed anyone yet. Cora flung Johanna out the window. The heart-stealing could have been a show, looking like she went along with her mother. The only way I can get that to totally work in my head is if they reveal that it was Cora and not Regina who convinced the Giant to go after Charming. I'm not convinced, but I could see it as a possibility.
That Cora unleashed the giant was the first thing anyone who was hopeful about Regina's redemption thought of, and it was debunked that night by a writer of the episode on twitter. They've clearly shown us now every time someone was Cora. There'd have been no reason to not do it in that episode.
So yeah, Regina failed on getting the giant to kill everyone and destroy the town. But failing is not the same as not trying (to anybody but Belle.)
In Snow Falls, I assumed Snow figured it was a matter of time when she was hiding in the forest before she would either escape the realm or be captured and possibly taken to Regina. It seemed she intended to use that dust to protect herself in such a case, but she didn't seem to be hunting Regina down in the effort to get to throw dust at her. It's not like robbing people is "good" either, but at the time Snow said "All I'm doing is what it takes to survive." Though she said she only stole from the queen and so technically all that stuff belonged to Snow anyway I suppose. She didn't really bring that up though.
ColieK, I believe Johanna's constant presence was to quickly make you realize she was very involved in Snow's life since Snow had never spoke a word of her before today. Johanna was by Snow's horse but then they clearly show Cora in the forest behind a tree. They put Johanna constantly around so you'd feel Snow's dilemma in the clock tower and feel bad when she dies. Johanna told Snow HOW to reach the real Blue Fairy, to wish upon her star, Snow was just fooled before she had the chance to follow the instructions. The fake fairy didn't "happen to be in the forest", Cora was there hoping Snow would come so she could trick her before Snow reached the real fairy. Doesn't she come up behind Snow as if she had been following her?