Once Upon A Time: “The Cricket Game”

JENNIFER MORRISON, GINNIFER GOODWIN, MEGHAN ORY, JARED GILMORE (OBSCURED), RAPHAEL SBARGE, FAUSTINO DI BAUDA

Grade: A+

Airdate: 1/6/13

The return of Once Upon A Time picked up right where the winter finale left off. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), doing his Jack Sparrow impression of gazing at Storybrooke and then jumping down onto the ship, arrives at the Storybrooke port with Cora (Barbara Hershey). Their first couple actions told me that Cora is not just here to help daughter pick up the pieces of her broken life. She turned the first resident  they met into a fish and made the boat invisible. She then tells Hook he can’t go kill Rumple (Robert Carlyle) yet because magic is in Storybrooke and they need the element of surprise.

Even though this show is all about  true love, we have never seen any of our couples in bed until this point. And no couple would be better to get the first slot than Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas). After getting over my excitement of how cute it was, I was thinking isn’t that bed in Mary Margret’s living room? The show thought that too and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) come home. Henry was clueless to what was going on and Emma had the freaked-out face that any kid would in that situation. So, some light-hearted fun from the Charming family. It was way overdue.

Other thing that was way overdue was the story of how Snow and Charming defeated Regina (Lana Parrilla) and got the throne in the Fairytale World. A guard rides up to fully-evil headdress Regina and tells her the battle is about to end and Snow has gone off alone to rejoin Charming. Regina finds her. Snow gives her a chance to surrender but she doesn’t take it. So, she is frozen by the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) and captured by Snow and Charming.

Back in Storybrooke, everyone is having a welcome back Emma and Snow party at Granny’s. Emma invited Regina because Henry wanted her to come and her parents were not too happy about it. Emma said she changed from bad to good once (the theme of this episode) and maybe Regina could to. That was the first of many vague references to Emma’s past.

Emma talks to Regina while she is trying to leave and tells her that Archie (Raphael Sbrage) told her she had come to him and was trying to change. Regina wasn’t happy about that and was even more unhappy when Emma said she didn’t think Henry should spend too much time with her. Regina calls Emma an unfit parent (the second theme of this episode). Regina then storms off and we see that she is being watched by Cora and Hook on the rooftops. Cora said she isn’t broken yet.

Back in the Fairytale World, Snow and Charming’s court decide that killing Regina is the only way to stop her. Charming is set that she can’t change, Snow in not so sure, because she knew young, high-voiced, braids Regina, who once saved her life. Storybrooke Regina doesn’t seem to be that person anymore. She goes to Archie’s office and apologizes for getting mad at him earlier for telling people. She then magically freezes his dog, Pongo, and chokes him to death as some black smokes comes out of him. I was confused and with good reason because Regina then walks outside and turns back into Cora. Unfit parent, much?

The next morning as Emma is leaving Granny’s Pongo runs across the street and Ruby (Meghan Ory) is able to tell something is wrong. They go to Archie’s office and find him dead. The Charming Family Sheriff’s Office brings in Regina for questioning. She is clearly shocked and upset to hear Archie is dead. Charming refuses to see it, but Emma uses her superpower and tells her parents she isn’t lying. Snow and Charming are forced to agree with Emma and let Regina go. Changing from bad to good?

Back in the Fairytale World, Regina is being tried up to be executed by a medieval firing squad. Her last words are that she is mad she couldn’t kill Snow White. Charming yells from the arrows, but Snow yells for a stop at the last second and the Blue Fairy stops it. Snow and Charming go talk in private because Snow still isn’t sure she can kill braids Regina.That night Rumple comes to Snow and tells her he can give her a test to see if Regina can change and one that will not get her or Charming hurt.

The Charming family is still gathering evidence in Storybrooke and Emma realizes there is too much. She thinks it is a frame job and the only person who has enough magic to do it is Rumple. Rumple tells them he didn’t do it and he will use magic to prove it. Charming isn’t keen on that idea but Rumple says Emma will be using the magic. After he magically pulls the memories out of Pongo with a dream-catcher Emma is able to make it play the footage of “Regina” killing Archie.

Back in the Fairytale World, Snow goes to Regina’s cell, with a knife up her sleeve and tells Regina she is letting the woman her saved her life go. For a moment, I though Regina was going to go and the whole curse was actually Snow’s fault. Nope, Regina takes the knife from Snow and stabs her. But, she isn’t hurt because Snow and Charming used the protection spell Rumple gave them. They banish Regina who can never hurt them  in this land again. Rumple points out that detail to Regina later and there is the reason for the curse.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma heads off to arrest Regina, but Snow and Charming tell her it is too dangerous and they need magic. The Charming family gets Regina outside and tells her they know she did it and Emma says she will never see Henry again. Regina is about to do something to Emma when the Blue Fairy tries to freeze her again. It didn’t work. Regina throws Emma across the yard and magics herself away.

Emma then goes to the bus stop with her parents to tell Henry that Regina killed Archie. She has a minor freak-out that maybe she is an unfit parent. She is still caught up on the fact Regina said she was only Henry’s mom for five minutes. In a very cute moment, Snow and Charming have the same worry that maybe they are unfit parents. Emma tells them its different but they say they are all still learning. Emma then goes and tells Henry with Regina watching and crying in her car across the street. Aw, poor Regina.

The last scene is Cora returning to the ship and telling Hook she was a present for him, someone who will know how to defeat Rumple. Instantly, I was saying, “okay, it’s Belle just show us.” But, mind-fuck! It’s not Belle it’s Archie. Cora says she killed someone else and made the body look like Archie.

So, who is actually dead? I don’t know. I kept trying to think of any major character that we didn’t see after Archie was found dead but I think they were all in there.

A couple other comments: shout out to the costume designer. Regina’s outfit and hair in prison in the Fairytale World was all very plain and that is usually how we can tell her stage of evil. Also, Snow’s Storybrooke outfit was a very Snow version of Mary Margret’s clothes, if that makes any sense. Sadly, there was not even a mention of Aurora and Mulan so they might have been written off. But, don’t be too upset Sleeping Warrior ‘shippers a lot happened in this episode so maybe they just spilled under the radar. Regardless, A+.

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