That's the thing about being "good" and being "evil". You can't do "evil" in the name of "good" and still be "good".
Cora was unreasonable because she lacked a heart. Had Snow given Regina Cora's heart back, uncursed, and then re-inserted, frankly, the series would've been over.
The Dark One dies and his evil passes into nothing. Cora and Regina reconcile, which would lead into Cora and Regina's reconciliation with Snow. Then, having her mother's love, Regina would reconcile with Emma, and the dyfuncitonal "Charming" family tree would be whole.
In the context of Snow, being the most innocent and pure, yes, that was extremely awful. She cursed the heart and then manipulated Regina into re-inserting into Cora, thereby resulting in Cora's death.
Snow played on Regina's desperate need for Cora's love to serve as the literal nail on Cora's coffin.
If it wasn't so awful, Snow would not have regretted it and attempted to stop it.
I think with the intention of "protecting her family", she paved the way to her own hell. What's that age-old addage? "Sometimes the hardest thing, and the right thing, are the same thing."
Snow rationalized to herself that it was the best shot, knowing full well it wasn't, otherwise she would not have regretted it and attempted to stop it from happening. Snow knew she committed an act of evil, going against her mother, and was partly responsible for tearing a daughter from her mother, a feeling she knew all too well.
I don't believe this was Snow's best shot, and she knew it too.
Crushing the heart, while taking a dark path, isn't as dark as what Snow actually decided. That would have resulted in Cora's death, Rumpel's death, but that would still leave Regina seeing Snow taking a life. But what Snow actually did was to let Regina be the final cog in Cora's ultimate destruction. Playing Regina's heart with love to accomplish a dark task was, perhaps IMO, the darkest path that Snow could have taken, and she did.
Letting Gold die without returning the heart would've allowed a great evil to pass, but that would mean Cora and Regina remain with their influence, and cause further heartache down the line until, eventually good would prevail.
But I think that's the whole point of being "good". It's doing something and having faith in the other person that they also do the right thing. Snow's "Charming" option would've been to give Regina Cora's heart untainted.
As Cora was shown to admit that "love was enough", her pursuit of the Dark One's powers would not have been forefront. This in-turn would've left the Dark One's curse to fade, to never curse anyone again, it would've allowed Cora and Regina's reconciliation to happen, Regina would've accepted love, and the blood fued between the family would've finally died.
Regina would see that Snow acted altruistically, and the healing of old would could finally begin.
Although I would agree that it would've been awesome had Regina been Rumpel's. That family tree would've been crazy even moreso that it is now. That and, if it were true, the blood running through Regina's veins would've been the same blood in Henry's, albeit thinned down.
I don't belive Cora's powers were a result of the amended contract. Cora asked to be taught as part of her condition to relinquish her first-born child, not to be given powers. Just as Rumpel mentored Regina, he too, mentored Cora before in the ways of magic.
Also, the contract is magically binding. If Regina were truly Rumpel's child, Rumpel would've been entitled to her, regardless if Cora lied or not. Remember when they attempted to bind Rumpel and Cinderella's prince got caught in the crossfire?
A deal is a deal, especially when magic enforces it.
Maybe the Enchanted Forest has knock-off versions of gowns that people can buy. Instead of something like Vera Wang, Cora got a Shera Lang or something.
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