Once Upon a Time: The Cricket

Here’s my take on tonight’s return of Once Upon a Time. Warning! Here be spoilers…

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It’s okay guys, Jiminy Cricket is alive.

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Some other poor fairy tale schlob is dead in his place. Probably one of Princess Jasmine’s rejected suitors.

Cora, looking swank as always in her sparkly couture, strangled this Archie look-alike with her magic purple haze (say no to drugs kids). She also inflicted her haze on the innocent and adorable Pongo, which means we are no longer friends. Luckily, Pongo was unharmed, which is why the writers and I are still friends.

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Yup, Cora’s in Storybook and wreaking havoc. She arrived with her man slave Hook in tow, atop an epic pirate ship. Which she then made disappear with a wave of her hand. Cora would be a useful friend to have when parking in Manhattan…

But for now Cora is busy in Storybrook, trying to break her daughter. You know, to help her. And man, is it working. Regina is losing everything here. She made a real breakthrough in the mid-season finale, sacrificing her own interests in order to save her bitter rivals for the sake of her son. And how is that working out for her?

Well, first it was just simple alienation at a town party. Is there any other public venue in town besides Granny’s? Someone must have a Buca di Beppo. Anyway. Regina wasn’t given a warm welcome at Emma and Mary Margaret’s “welcome back party.” I enjoyed this part because I think everyone can relate to being at a party and no one will talk to you because you tried to kill them all and then sent them to a cursed land where their happiness was systematically ripped away. So high school.

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http://i1.cdnds.net/11/43/618_once_upon_a_time_04.jpg

Then Cora frames Regina for murder, and does a thumpin’ good job at that. Pongo provided an eye witness account that Regina was the one who murdered Archie. By the way, when Gold said that Pongo could tell them what happened through magic, was I the only one who was really hoping they’d make him talk? I mean, I realize it would have been terribly kitschy and over the top…but it still would have made me happy.

No, instead, we find out that Emma is not a muggle as she looks into the pensieve — I mean dreamcatcher. She realizes Regina is guilty, and Emma’s pissed.

I like Emma’s progression in this episode. I mean, she started out having a pretty bad day. It’s awkward enough that your parents are fairy tale princes who sent you away in a magic tree trunk as an infant and are now the same age as you, but now you gotta walk in on them doing the nasty? That’s just cold, universe.

Emma’s day gets worse when she decides to really go out on a limb and trust Regina, which, even to a viewer who knew Regina’s innocence, seemed a little naive. So when Emma finds out she was duped after all, Emma loses it. Claws come out. Regina and Emma don’t catfight. It’s like a tiger fight.

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http://www.afterellen.com/sites/www.afterellen.com/files/2012/09/ouatprimer-5.jpg

Actually, I was siding with Regina in this episode. Clearly, we were meant to sympathize with her. That’s why we were shown her innocence. Although, it might have been more interesting as a viewer if we were kept in the dark…but oh well. I know Emma was sent to prison and had a rough patch and blah blah blah, but she put Henry up for adoption. That annoying little squirt is Regina’s son. Biology only means so much. Of course Emma has reservations because her biological son’s mother is a Disney villain…but no parent is perfect!

In all seriousness, this was an interesting character study of Regina. The parallel between her vicious determination to remain, well, evil, in the fairy tale world and her struggle to turn over a new leaf in Storybook was touching. When she sees Emma telling Henry that Regina is a murderer, killing all hope that she might reclaim her son, her tears flow and you can feel her heartbreak and frustration. This is what happens when you try to be good. She learned this lesson once before, and now it hits her just as hard the second time.

It’s an interesting character development, but somewhat predictable. Regina’s inevitably going to turn back to the “dark side” and fall into the palm of Cora’s hand. How long that will last, how she’ll be turned back to the “light” is up in the air, but I have a hard time thinking it will be anything too surprising. Still, it could be an interesting journey to watch.

Overall

This episode was…meh. I mean, it was a good progression of plot and set up places for the show to go for the rest of the season…but it didn’t have the aspect that makes the show great. There was no alternative and twisted take on classic fairy tales. Episodes where we find out Rumplestiltskin is the crocodile from Peter Pan or Little Red Riding Hood is also the wolf…that’s where this television show thrives. Otherwise, it just feels like bizarre fan fiction.

I’m looking forward to next week though, which looks like it will focus on my two favorites: Rumple and Hook. Just hope for a good back story!

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http://pmctvline2.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/once_rumplehook_300.jpg?w=640

Small Things I Enjoyed:

-Red Riding Hood participates in the Twilight bark.

-Prince Charming sports the “Game of Thrones” look with his fur cape.

-The mastermind puppeteer that is Rumplestiltskin. Once thought to be an agent of chaos, he now has a clear, driving motivation: finding his son. Seeing him manipulate both sides for his own purpose was fun to see.

-“Need I remind you of your PhD from a curse?” (By the way, Regina, if you could send a curse my way that might really help me with my student loans…)

What did you think?