Happy January! It's Tuesday and we're back!
Now, I realize that most hearts were a'flutter and tongues were a'buzz with the Season 3 premeire of Downton Abbey on Sunday night. The mid-season return of Once Upon a Time flew under the radar a bit and that's too bad because this return is a good one, I think.
Bitterness and angst, redemption and revenge, sexy times and reckless HIPAA violations - there's something for everyone! Let's discuss.
I've finally come to a place where I enjoy this show's campiness and cheese-ery. The very dramatic music in the cold open was so helpful in letting us know SERIOUS THINGS ARE HAPPENING now that Cora and Hook have arrived! The music was SO INTENSE to the point of distraction. But thank goodness for that cue that THEY ARE EVIL and have MADE THE EVIL PLANS.
Now contrast that scene with Emma, Henry, and all of us walking in on Snow and Charming. Naked! In bed! This was a lot to take in in the first few moments of the the episode. I mean, I know true-love-reunited-at-long-last and all of that, but this is a family show. Sort of. I agree with Emma - maybe next time, let's hang a tie on the door.
Ultimately, however, The Cricket Game is entirely about Regina which made this Lana P. fangirl extremely happy.
I was proud of Emma for inviting Regina to the the Welcome Home party (which was only for Mary Margaret why? Emma, Sheriff of Storybrooke and SAVIOR OF ALL OF THEM, returned too, ya know). Obviously Emma sees in Regina a desire to change and tries to honor that by including her. She even gives us some helpful exposition on how Dr. Hopper grossly neglected basic standards of professionalism and told her that Regina wants to change and stop using magic and be a better person, etc. etc.
But the townspeople ain't buyin' it. And so I really appreciated that the backstory went back to a place where we could see for ourselves just how evil Regina had been as Evil Queen. I think it's easy for us to forget that, particularly as some of us root for her redemption, but in the Enchanted Forest, Regina was outrageously wicked. And unrepentantly so, as is evidenced by her pre-execution speech.
I thought, too, it was a nice touch for us to see Snow wanting to allow Regina a way to redeem herself back then. Both Snow and Emma recognize something in Regina that others don't seem capable of seeing.
So we see Regina in Storybrooke trying to navigate how to be a nice, normal person. She's making apologies, trying to do what is best for Henry, avoiding magic. But it's not enough for anyone to make way for her redemption, especially after Pongo's memory indicts her of Dr. Hopper's death. (Extracting memories from a dog? Is this Once Upon a Time or Fringe?!)
My heart broke for her as she crumbled under the allegations. "Now we see you for who you are and who you always will be!" Ugh. Soul-crushing words for anyone trying to leave behind a rotten past and dangerous decision-making. Of course she erupts in flashes of magic and smoke. And of course she will sink back into the evil person everyone expects her to be. It's too painful and too exhausting to do anything else.
I really, really like how the writers are handling her story. It would be too easy and too predictable if she quickly transformed into everyone's favorite gal pal. The complications and allegations and painful steps backward serve the ultimate redemption arc that is to come.
* So, I guess all we're going to get on how Snow and Charming defeated King George was the one throw away line from this episode: "Snow White and the Prince have defeated King George." Okay then. Thanks for clearing that up.
* OH CORA. You are THE WORST.
* Loved Gold coaching Emma to use her magic with the dreamcatcher. I don't know why. I just really liked that.
* Highly enjoyable how the Rumpel/Regina flashback at the end of this episode brought us full-circle back to the series premiere with Regina on her way to Snow and Charming's wedding. Have fun stormin' the castle!
* And finally, Dr. Hopper. Alive and bound and captive on Hook's ship. Seems a small price to pay for blabbing your patient's confidences around town. Good luck to you, sir.
What are your thoughts on The Cricket Game? What are your thoughts on Regina and redemption? Cora and her awfulness? And the possibility of our characters leaving Storybrooke in episodes to come? I can't wait to hear all of your thoughts!