Once Upon a Time "The Cricket Game" Review: Can People Change? Who Cares?

By Lily Sparks

Jan 07, 2013

Once Upon a Time S02E10: "The Cricket Game"

Can a person change? This is the question OUAT asked last night instead of moving forward. In past reviews I’ve said that this show excels at premieres, mid-season premieres, and finales and that everything else is just filler. Well, that is no longer the case, as last night kept Cora, Hook, and their ship on the DL while treating us to a long treatise by every gummy-brained character in town on the nature of change and how good it is to support people who want to change but can they really ever change?

Sometimes... on very particular occasions... like when someone has killed many people, like Regina has... the question is not so much does the criminal still have good in their heart or do they actively enjoy doing evil. In a way, this whole curse is Snow’s fault because she freed Regina as a nod of the cap to that time Regina kept her from falling off a horse.

Cora and Hook being essentially out of play this week was explained as them trying to break Regina, presumably so they’ll all be on the same side, but we have seen proof that these baddies are way, way, way more powerful than their opponents. I know Emma read a dog’s brain with a dreamcatcher (I cackled like a crazy bitch when they pulled out that dreamcatcher. The writers room well and truly ran out of ideas that day.) And she personally cannot have her heart pulled out, but everyone else in town seems pretty powerless. Cora is omniscient, she can body morph, she summon armies of the dead, and she has Wonderland under her control—yet she’s still creeping on Storybrooke in secret.

I really was sort of looking forward to an all-out battle that would shake up the status quo when the first half of the season ended with Hook and Cora onboard a ship careening toward Maine. But clearly the show is going to drag out the conflict to tuck in more revelatory flashback episodes. Think of all the new stuff we learned this episode! Like, Charming used to wear a bear capelet! That’s about it.

The biggest positive thing about this mid-season return is that Archie wasn’t killed off. Not that I like the character, but the actor seems like one of the less-marketable types, so I was starting to worry whether ABC had warned him his paychecks were going to stop. When the show killed Graham, which I will never forget or forgive, at least we could all rest assured he’d be out on rom-com auditions and soap series regular casting sessions the next day. Archie? Archie needs this check, guys.

I did think it was worth noting that Belle only showed up to deliver a picnic basket; her obsession with food and eating her feelings continues to be the most consistent part of her character. I thought Lana’s delivery of “red pepper flakes” was the funniest thing about the episode and her battle costume, like wow:

That’s quite a thing to see come riding toward you ‘cross the battlefield. And okay, this was definitely a series high point for me, because I’m not just a Charming Snow shipper, I am a Joshifer shipper too:

We have waited long for this moment, Snow and Charming finally getting their groove back, and it was handled very cutely, although it does raise the issue of, why did Mary-Margaret give up the master bedroom when Emma moved in? This was her apartment and yet when Emma showed up Mary-Margaret let her have a bedroom with walls and schlepped her brass bed directly across from the kitchen. No greater evidence that Emma scared the F out of Mary-Margaret before the curse was broken. Also, do you think Emma bought a bed or just slept in a tight nest of sleeping bags and old jean jackets up in Mary-Margaret’s old bedroom?

Altogether, after "The Cricket Game" I feel a little cheated of one of the three episodes of the season I thought I could really count on to move the story forward. It doesn’t bode well for the normal episodes that the mid-season return felt so light. This episode's whole arc could have been contained in one commercial break, but was weirdly padded. Basically I bought a steak burrito and it was just potatoes and gravy inside.

Anyway. What did you think of the episode?


QUESTIONS:

1. If someone seriously screws you over, does it even matter if they can change?

2. What is Cora’s long con here?

3. Did the hairstylists get a note from corporate that Emily’s curls were becoming distracting?

4. Is Mary-Margaret called Mary-Margaret or Snow?

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  • MidnightSword Mar 13, 2013

    While I generally love your snark, I think your treatment of Archie and the actor who plays him both uninformed and juvenile. At least take the time to look up his name - Raphael Sbarge, by the way - and check out his IMDB page. Sbarge is a highly accomplished actor with a long list of TV show, movie, voiceover, and theatre credits. And while I don't doubt that he'd want to stay on OuaT (he's expressed as much), assuming that he would have trouble finding another gig simply because he doesn't resemble Jamie Dornan is ridiculous.

  • bleumystique Jan 13, 2013

    Felt truly bad for Regina on this one. I can't lie. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I was definitely more on Emma's side with trying to give Regina a chance.
    -I haven't the foggiest idea.
    - They must have because they totally tamed the mane!!
    -Snow. Always Snow. It's just easier.
    -I had a feeling Archie wasn't dead because to just get rid of a character like that without any real anything going on leading up that point seemed unlikely. I almost laughed at Cora and Hook stepping off their boat ripped right from a fairy tale with these ridiculous clothes and no one asks any questions.
    -Ok fan of Regina or not, Emma legally doesn't have any rights over Henry. I mean unless the SB court system is up there with Mystic Falls, which, now that I think about it, it probably is...all these threats emma makes about keeping Henry from Regina etc, and treating Regina like she's the scum of the Earth when it comes to being a parent. Not plausible and very, very, very annoying to watch. They take the whole adoption thing and crap on it, and I'm not fond of that aspect of this show at all.

  • InsanelyMe Jan 12, 2013

    First you hate Regina. Now she's awesome. Emma had the most sense of anyone in this episode, even though she had little. She actually believed Regina wasn't that bad.
    This episode was a giant *face palm*.
    When Regina cried, my heart broke. And I wanted to kill Henry.
    Little dipshit. You should know better than to believe your mom's still a murderer.

  • ben45tpy Jan 11, 2013

    Please improve, OUaT!

  • ChanX95 Jan 11, 2013

    Well I am really ready to forgive Regina for EVERYTHING EVER! Seriously you guys Lana Parrilla has got to some sort of goddess type thing. We should build alters and statues... and ask for her lasagna recipe I mean she can disapparate and cook like a bad-ass? Sold.

  • Abelak Jan 11, 2013

    I am beginning to realize that the writers' strong point this season is making jokes about food. Seriously, with the lasagna, and Gold's fantastic line about the condiments the other ep, and Belle in pretty much every scene she's in... Maybe the producers are withholding lunch hours in hopes that they'll work overtime and come up with something better, but now food is all they can think about. The only way to save the show is to make sure the writers are well-fed, you morons!

  • ionee24 Jan 10, 2013

    Not to mention how convulted the storylines actually are: If you want to kidnap Archie, just kidnap Archie! Not plot to kill him, but not kill him, to kidnap him, but not kidnap him and make it look like an acccident. It only makes the episode look stupid.

  • rivas_ju Jan 10, 2013

    I am a huge fan of the show, and I must say there are times that I get really frustrated with the speed of the stories, I mean we are heading to Episode 11 and still no ‘Pinocchio’. Yet we saw him in the finale of S1?
    We saw Henry dad at the opening of S2 but we have not seen him again? I think the writers need to prioritize their story and try to cover more things the way True blood, Lost, and other shows do. Because this way is not really working for me, I feel cheated at the end of every episode No Wonder why ‘Lily Spark’ gave such review…

  • OuAt Jan 10, 2013

    Yeah pretty much the only thing I care about anymore is Rumple finding Bae. Neal should have been in every episode this season in some capacity. Even if he was just lurking around corners, there should be the constant tension of his reveal. And I am beyond pissed that Pinocchio and Gepetto haven't had any screen time whatsoever. They had a real opportunity to progress the stories we cared about. Instead we get stuck for half the season wishing someone would just kill Mulora and dance upon their entrails. (Just me?)

  • bingo1492 Jan 10, 2013

    Gee, the only thing left to do is watch TV...look how much young impressionable minds can learn....

  • LytaAlexander1 Jan 10, 2013

    This review is way too cynical for me to enjoy reading. If we approach every show with this amount of cynicism we're bound to find fault with everything and never enjoy anything we watch. I feel like this reviewer would write in a similar manner about Citizen Kane if given the chance...
    The episode was a little lukewarm, more focused on character development than furthering the plot, but that's also necessary for the show to progress. And Regina changing from good to bad and vice versa in the blink of an eye wouldn't have been believable. They're just trying to justify her change, and that will take more than one episodes. Cora isn't going all out at the moment, because if she did Regina would be against her, and that kinda defeats her purpose to win her over to her side. The dream catcher was a little cheesy, agreed on that. The costumes, I kinda like the exaggeration. It is fairytale land after all, not the Oscars.

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