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

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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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.
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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.
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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.
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Please improve, OUaT!
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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…
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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?)
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Gee, the only thing left to do is watch TV...look how much young impressionable minds can learn....
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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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Man this episode was boring... like super boring... like we just went through this exact same storyline 3 episodes ago with Little Red Riding Hood boring. Nothing happened, the twists were straightaways, the characters were dumb, the pacing was awful. Just bad television.

I mean they want me to feel sympathetic to Regina they maybe don't give her an awesome final speech about how she regrets not having been more evil, and that her biggest regret is that she didn't murder Snow White. Then don't have that speech be what causes the heroes to give pause to what they are about to do. Finally don't then jump back to the present and have Snow White be all wary of Regina now, when years ago she spared her life after she gave a public declaration of her Murderous Manifesto. That is not a good way to make a character sympathetic and its certainly not the material you use to pave the road to redemption station. They went to too far with Regina's evil in the beginning of the episode before they went to far with Regina's evil at the end.

I will say this though, I have had nothing but joy commenting on this review and replying to other comments that had bene made, so that's one feather in Once Upon a Time's hat. Still if the show contiues to be this boring then I will be very upset.

Also and I know this isn't the proper forum but I need to bring it up. Why does the reply window have the option to cancel the reply. I had spent a good fifteen minutes writing a response to the lack of Perdita in the show and then accidentally hit cancel and it was all gone, I tried to recreate it but I definitely think my first draft was better... Please get rid of that cancel feature its foolish... Thank You
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Agreed. I don't believe the writers are trying to make Regina sympathetic because, whenever they are actually trying to do that, she DOESN'tT come across as such. The only conclusion possible is that the Evil Queen comes across as sympathetic because they are bad writers.
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I think (which is clearly not what the Once writers want us to do, but I can't help it) that they were trying to do some artsy fartsy Evil Queen Who Cried Wolf tale. She was horrible and evil when everyone gave her second chances. Now she is trying to redeem herself (because, you know, lasagna really goes a long way in healing the wounds of murder, terror, displacement, etc.) and nobody is quite so keen on giving her the benefit of the doubt. And yes, it is a super boring thing to do. Speaking of super boring storylines, how many female leads are going to be framed for murder in this series before we all join hands across the world? MM, Red, Regina -- GET SOME NEW IDEAS PUH-LEEZE!
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I don't believe Archie isn't a successful part because the actor is not as hot as Graham, but I do believe the show treats Archie as if he wasn't a successful role because he isn't as hot as Graham,
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I actually liked this episode, but I've also lowered my expectations for it. I'm no longer looking for a fast moving plot, or an end to a particular story line. With the curse broken, the characters are just living lives and some of those lives are creating drama, some just aren't. The over arching story line that they have a goal to accomplish in breaking the curse is gone. I assume they want to defeat Cora before the end of the season, but really, what then? The writers started off with something so big, they can't top themselves any more. The biggest obstacle is cleared, now we know finding Bae is coming up, but that's nothing compared to breaking the curse. So what more can they throw at us as an audience? It will all pale in comparison to season 1.
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To me, the problem is not the characters are just living lives, but that those are the same lives episode after episode. I already know the Charmings E!True Hollywood Story by heart at this point.

Its getting boring if I'm not going to see Victor's, Nova's Jefferson's, Grace's or Peter Pan's. This isn't Dallas for fairytale characters, its supposed to be about more than one Disney's Princess.
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Yes and no...

Too many main characters gets confusing and dilutes their stories + time. If this was simply like a rated-G version of the comic Grimm Fairy Tales where a modern-day setting/plot mirrors a fairy-tale setting/plot, following a different "story" every couple issues... then yes. But that's not what they made.

They made a show with a core set of main characters, a solid set of secondary characters (Ruby, Grumpy), and the potential for other background characters that could get the lime light.

Meanwhile: the MAIN conflict of this story was Regina vs Snow+Charming... it's who she hated, it's why she cast the BIG curse, it's who she messed with in the real world, etc. And the Viewer Surrogate (Emma) is their child. And the wise man with the back story is actually a little kid who's Emma's son.

So... no real surprise that the Charmings (Swans? whatever) are the focus of the show in their battle against Regina and company. The rest, they're just the captains and lieutenants while the main characters are the generals.
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It's fairytale characters living ordinary lives, it doesn't get any simpler than that, if only because because the audience already knows who Captain Hook, the Little Mermaid or Pongo really are. There's no need for the show to introduce them, just to show us what their lives have been like in Storybrook, Maine so far.

If these were a complex epic saga, where the writers need to introduce completely new character they created from scratch I would get it, but not now when dealing with the same old fairytale characters we can see in every Shrek movie.
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But then you go from a typical show, with a set-cast, to something like "The Twilight Zone" where each week you have completely different people playing completely different parts.

With your typical show: you have a set cast and some recurring characters. Fine. With Twilight Zone you have THAT kind of show, which is equally fine. You don't have the Twilight Zone cast ganging up to beat down that evil Rod Sterling that puts them into these weird situations.

If you're going to have a new "main character" each week then either you (A) dilute the main storyline (defeat Evil Queen in real world) to nothing or (B) too many "main" characters on at the same time.

In both instances, you have too little time with each main character to care about them in the real world. Great, we saw Cinderella's backstory (it was an alright episode). But now if Cinderella is ALSO in the main cast in the Real World having meetings about Regina... OK. But what about episode 2? Episode 3? How many people do we "add" until we have too many?

With a large story-population... the only way you can move the story forward AND get us emotionally invested in characters is to do what OUAT does... have the main characters... with some secondary characters thrown in the mix. And MAYBE a one-time back-story episode here-or-there with a character we'll probably never see again.

Look at Justice League Unlimited. Each week we had 1 or 2 "original" members with 1 or 2 "new" members. How invested did we really get with the new members? Other than The Question and Green Arrow, everyone is forgettable. Sure those episodes provided SOME character growth/backstory for the "original" members but ultimately it was just a bunch of stand-alone episodes until the end.
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There are lots of reasons to be disappointed, but - maybe it was the 2 glasses of wine I now feel the need to consume every time I watch this show, maybe it was Snow and Charming having sex (it's really weird how much I've been wanting that to happen, don't judge me), or maybe they've finally starved my thin expectations so much that a tiny crumb of entertainment in a vast cesspool makes me feel like I found a preciousssss. Some combination of these things made me not want to reach through my television and strangle every last thing I saw on it.
In a new personal best, I only rolled my eyes ONE TIME <---- Mr. Gold drags my 7th-grade-vacation-to-New-Mexico dreamcatcher across a dog who can turn door knobs while Emma uses her super frowny face (read: regular face) to extract a specific memory.
Congrats, Once. My strange hatelove for you grows. I expect things will only get worse from here, abusive lover. I'll await the season finale where you will softly stroke my hair, tell me you're sorry and it will never happen again. Maybe you'll be canceled during summer hiatus and this painful cycle will end.
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I have a question for anyone out there who cares to comment. My family has a theory that it was Cora, and not Regina, who shoved Emma and threw the magic fireball when Emma, Snow and Charming came to arrest her. Their reasoning is that 'Regina' disappears in a cloud of purple smoke, just like we see Cora doing throughout the episode. Is this obvious to everyone but me? I believed that it was actually Regina.

Thanks in advance for your input (for those of us who enjoy figuring out this sort of thing).

* I reposted this part of my previous post to make it easier to see.
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It's possible, but I see it being more emotional / effective if it was Regina because it cements the divide between her and the town.

It wasn't JUST the fact that Henry wouldn't believe her, but that she went from Zero-to-Witch in 10 seconds when push came to shove. That even though she herself THOUGHT she was actually changing... she still went all Dark Side when antagonized. And that even if she talked to Henry, she would HAVE to admit that she force-pushed Emma like the Sith she is. That she could NOT do what Henry wanted to keep his love.

After all, this was all about "breaking" Regina... and not just making Henry turn against her. By making her actually do something that Henry wouldn't forgive lightly it cements that she has really hit rock bottom. That she probably can't be the kind of person he needs or wants.

And I believe we've seen Regina use the Purple Smoke powers in the past... just not recently in the real world.

It's actually kind of sad... she was obviously making the effort this season. And while she was an evil tyrant that made the lives Hell for many... between learning her back-story and watching her actually fail to be a mother is kind of sad.
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Kind of a negative review, as usual, but I'm glad that Lily enjoyed the Snow/Charming romantic scene (it was great comedy relief as well). As most viewers here agree, I'm also glad that the show did not kill off Archie. I'm not too familiar with his other roles (except I recently saw him on an episode of Criminal Minds), but it is insulting to imply that he can't be a successful actor because he isn't as attractive as Graham. At least that's how it came across in the review.

I enjoy OUAT because we always learn something new every week, whether it's in the present in Storybrooke, or in the past in FTL or some other land. Obviously, some episodes are better than others (as in all series), but still they are all enjoyable.

I have a question for anyone out there who cares to comment. My family has a theory that it was Cora, and not Regina, who shoved Emma and threw the magic fireball when Emma, Snow and Charming came to arrest her. Their reasoning is that 'Regina' disappears in a cloud of purple smoke, just like we see Cora doing throughout the episode. Is this obvious to everyone but me? I believed that it was actually Regina.

Thanks in advance for your input (for those of us who enjoy figuring out this sort of thing).
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I wish this town would actually have medieval/puritanical attitude towards people, then perhaps the nun who splits dawrf/fairy pairings - despite being the ultimate Charming/Snow shipper - would actually make sense.

I think the show is trying so hard to be grim with these "mysterious murders", it really come out as a joke because OUaT doesn't really has the tone for it. That's why this kill-but-not-kill-kidnaping-to-frame-someone-who-doesn't-need-to-be-framed-for-murder makes no sense to me.
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#1- Your cynicism bores me, Ms. Sparks. You are consistant in your complaints. You chew at the same problems in each review. Use a little imagination!
There is only so much story to be told and I get the feeling that your the type of person who enjoys the destination over the journey. It would be no fun having big reveals every damned week without story fluff to pad it. You might as well be reading an outline.
#2- mistaria, you just took my thunder as I was about to make the point that Sbarge's resume is extensive while Jamie Dornan (Graham) hasn't done a whole hell of a lot.
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I think her complaints are consistent because the problems in the show are unchanging. If anyone needs to use a little imagination, it's the people who create the show.
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"It would be no fun having big reveals every damned week without story fluff to pad it." You obviously never watched the early seasons of Lost. Reveals, even mini-reveals, was what it was all about. I think reveals every week would be awesome.
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I felt the same way, but they deleted my comment, despite zero swearing or anything. These reviews have become no fun to read and I don't see why she doesn't relinquish reviewing this show to someone else who might like it better. These reviews are a shadow of what they once were and I wish they could be better.
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I agree. Give the show to a reviewer who is more positive, and actually likes the show. Snark is fine. In small doses. And a fan of it, will notice the subtle things that someone only looking for the negative will miss.
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Might want to do your research since Raphael Sbarge is a fairly well known voice actor and has a huge fan following as Kaidan from the Mass Effect series.
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THE MORE YOU KNOW!

The perfect rebuttal to Lily's argument about Sbarge not being a marketable actor because of his looks, is not to point to a role where only his voice was used...

THE MORE YOU KNOW!
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Hi, folks. Have been away for a while, but wanted to write to say that, IMHO, the trick to enjoying this show is to gave up on it being particularly good. I do, and probably will, continue to watch for 2 reasons: First, the occasional wonderful surprise, (such as when we, and poor Peter, learned that Red Riding Hood takes the expression 'be the wolf' a little too seriously); and second, simply the Reginaisms.

Mostly, it's the Reginaisms. I'm your average kinda person. I usually try to be polite, and I follow (most of) the rules even when I'd rather not. So it's great fun to occasionally see a character who is so out there. A few admittedly loose quotes: "Doctor? May I remind you that you received your PhD from a curse?' (although moments later, Archie's office door says MD...note to writers, kinda not the same degree). Or 'Private conversation. Go take yourself for a walk'. Or 'Why would I bother to learn about my curses? I've never cared what happens to my victims. Well, until now' (after putting Henry to sleep...opps.)

To give credit where it is due, Lana Parrilla delivers the Reginaisms flawlessly. But to give the writers their due also, these are truly funny lines. Although I don't remember her name, I do recall that one of the writers involved with this show also wrote for Buffy. Same thing there, some truly memorable, clever one-liners. Again loosely quoted: 'He's so late, he'd make Godot look prompt'; or 'Mom's so upset, I hope it'll be a funny aneurysm'. Same touch, so I'll bet that those contributions come from the same writer.

So, having given up any expectation that the writers will offer consistent quality regarding plot or characterization, I can now truly say I am enjoying the show. Could it be more, given the brilliant original premise? Sure. But as long as the episodes continue to be sprinkled with Reginaisms, and the (all too occasional) cool surprise, I'll continue to watch.
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Now I'm posting a reply to my own posting - how sad :-) But I do want to be clear that my previous comments - basically that I've been able to enjoy the show more now that I've given up hope that it will be any good - was not meant as a criticism of Lily's more negative reviews. I'm free to sit on my sofa and decide whether I want mindless entertainment, or a well-scripted show - they are both out there to be found. But I don't envy anyone who has to review Once on a regular basis - because, really, what actually changes? (Having said that, Lily's last review was the only one thus far that failed to make me laugh out loud, and her comments about Raphael Sbarge were uncharacteristically snarky - so perhaps there is some boredom with the show becoming evident there.)

IMHO, the basic trouble with ONCE remains the same - the producers have never defined an identity for the show. Do they want a kid and family-friendly adventure accompanied by some favorite fantasy friends and nemesis, or do they want a darker treatise on sin, forgiveness, and redemption, as these primal human themes are embodied by already archtypal fantasy characters. If the show could define itself, I've no doubt that writers could be hired who could script it well. But without that basic definition, the writers do neither direction well..

One final thought: I've always seen the acting as one of this show's main strengths (yep, including Sbarge :-). Regarding Jennifer Morrison, I think that they should create a 'Good Soldier Award' for the next Emmy's, and call her up on stage to receive it amid thunderous applause. Especially after having been hyped as the central character, I can only imagine the number of ice bags she needs for her head whenever a new script is released. Yep, her acting is often wooden, but then the lines that she needs to speak are positively leaden. I hope that her agent is working very, very hard to secure a good vehicle for her during off-season, so that ONCE doesn't end up being career poison for her.
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So true about Jennifer Morrison! (I want to post my agreement with you before the koolaid drinkers tell you that being on a hit show could NEVER be career poison - ha!) Her lines must be the absolute hardest to deliver in the show, not because they are the worst ones written, but because she is the least developed central character. We have no familiar alter-ego to ascribe to her. She is and has always been faux-tough, frowny, stupid, stupid, stupid Emma.

Rumple can trill out "Likeadeefeesh!" (2x04) and it is forgiveable because of a cache of stellar moments. Regina can give a wincingly bad baby-voice delivery of "Who said anything about taking her life?" (1x21) and we move on because she's a freaking badass. But when Emma delivers a bad line, it sounds baaaaaad. She has no redeeming moments to fall back on, no bitchin' costume to distract us. I hope she gets a really great romcom film this summer where she never has to look angry, confused, or focused.

(In my opinion, her best episodes were the pilot when her toughness actually seemed non-farcical while running down that bail jumper, and the Season 1 finale when she attacked Regina in the supply closet where for once her rage moved out of her eyebrows and into real action. Beyond that, she's been hard to watch.)
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"And she personally cannot have her heart pulled out, but everyone else in town seems pretty powerless." It is the tragic truth since the beginning of the show. The good guys are either incredible stupid/gullible or powerless. It is embarrassing to watch. We as the viewer smell the rat very early and it is awful to see how clueless the good guys are. Furthermore it doesn`t help that they use Emma allways as a plot device instead to explore her as a full-grown character. It is not Jennifer Morrisons acting, it is the way Emma is written and i could swear i saw her eyerolling over her own clunky & awful lines the writers give her, like (i`m paraphrasing) "Gold we know you have killed Archie"...WTF, tell me how should i as a viewer root for her? It is so insubstantial and out of the dark and causes severe facepalming.

However all logic aside: Beside the hilarious One-Liners the best in this episode were the interactions between Regina and Emma. These two Ladys have electric chemistry, IMo and it is quite entertaining to watch. Two emotional screwed up women who stand on opposite sides but have a deep understanding of each other. It works for me and i want to know how this relationship is further explored.
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Question #4 has been bugging me all season. You would think they would all prefer their fairytale land names, seeing as the Storybrooke alter egos were such opposites of who they were.
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I hate the way this show condones the puritanical attitude of the townspeople towards anyone who doesn't fit their standards. Remember the Scarlet Letter treatment they gave Snow in season 1? And now when Regina's been NOT Killing people for half a season and trying to change is when everyone chooses to shun her. Even David who has SEEN HER actively trying to change and chooses to shun her just because his wife is back. Regina is the best character in the show, but that's not really a problem unless the show is compelling me to wish Regina would wipe out have the town through its treatment of her. The townspeople have medieval attitudes; it really shows.
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Not killing people for half a season? Wow THAT is an impressive turnaround for a mass murderer. Oh, wait, she did try to kill Snow and Emma just last episode, well it was only attempted, she pulled back, let's forget it it even happened. I simply can't believe how justice-oriented a displaced, cursed, tortured group of people can be. I mean do they remember when she did that mass apology and went around door-to-door making it up to them and promised to help them all get home? Oh, yeah, she never did any of that. She threw magic at them and acted liked a self-righteous B. And it was only through the misguided, "mercy" of the Charmings that they didn't string her up in town square for her crimes. I'm actually glad I live in a world with a better sense of fairness in it's justice system.
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She spent years upon years as their major. That pretty much means she's spent her tenor in their servitude. Does that mean nothing?
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"Servitude"? Ha! Ruling over a people she'd cursed into misery and torment for 28 years. Um, no, sorry. She didn't serve crap, she took the most powerful position she could from which to inflict the maximum torment and enjoy her "happy ending," ie, everyone else's misery. She did whatever she wanted. Servitude would have been if she'd made herself the janitor.
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Wow. I had no idea that you lived in Story Brooke for 28 years.
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I certainly don't think Regina ever picked up a broom.
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Yet there's no denying that in the 28 years of her tenure as Mayor that, as an authority figure, she was required to serve them. Notice how nice-looking the town is? You think that happens on its own?
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The words "public servant" don't actually mean you are "serving" anyone. And I don't think anyone can say Regina was acting within the limits of the law, drugging people, setting them up for murder, trying to run people out of town, allocating funds however she wanted, running the press, telling doctors and sheriffs what to do, doing pretty much anything she wanted. She was feared and hated. Mayors have a lot of power in the real world, let alone in a fake world that she set up where she wasn't elected or beholden to anyone. She was absolute. She wasn't "serving," she was "ruling."
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You're telling me a mayor ISN'T a public servant? How much could she actually torment them within the limits of the law? And I see nobody responding to Mary Margaret's Scarlet Letter treatment or the Blue Fairy's asshole behavior.
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I don't know. I feel empathy for the character (Regina) She was trying to change, the love of her child was slowly changing her. We saw she had a very cruddy childhood and were told that magic learned via "the book" had a corrupting influence.

On the other hand... Regina was quite evil back in FTL. Ignoring what she did to Snow + Charming and even just the war she started due to them... we learn she's apparently done some very dark things to lots of people. She cursed an entire world and tore families apart. THOUGH... it hasn't been shown as explicitly as, say, Rumple who got entire episodes showing him mess up the lives of various individuals.

Apparently all of their FTL memories are restored and in parallel... so their memory of their last week in FTL is about as fresh as their previous week in the real world. So it's not like "Oh yeh, 30 years ago you were a real *itch". So... it's kind of hard to just ignore that.

I'm not saying that she's redeemable, nor that she's irredeemable. But, imagine Saddam Hussein decided to kick back at your birthday party... even if he tried turning over a new leaf these last 10 years you probably wouldn't want him there. Especially if you knew people that died because of him.
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Murder or be murdered? Eh, eye for an eye leaves everybody blind, and murdered.
What'll we do tonight, Cora? What we try to do every night Hook, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
Ugh, again all Belle is good for is bad outfits, picnic baskets and kidnapping... I mean who didn't think she wasn't in Cora's invisible boat hold?
James or David? Ruby or Red? Archie or Jiminey? Whatevs. Also in love and hate relationship with this show, cuz it can be great when it's spot on, but also seems to have an identity crisis, like in all the Storeybrooke scenes. Can't we just move everyone back to FTL? Where the costumes, dialogue and everything is better?
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Excellent Pinky and the Brain reference!
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Are you thinking what I'm thinking? ;o)
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Eh, I'm about to bail on this. I've stuck around for the fairytale side because it has most of the action, the best costumes and hair, the characters with the most personality... and huge plus, no freaking Emma. Jennifer Morrison is just the worst!

Last night was just pathetic, and they capped it off by continuing the tired Regina theme of redemption. She says she's changed so she must have, right? No reason for any of the townspeople to disbelieve her. Her word is enough, no deeds are needed for proof. It's not like she didn't just try to kill Emma and Mary-Margaret. Can't imagine why no one believes what she says.

And can I just say how stupid Emma and Mary-Margaret are? Where is the Snow of old? They saw Cora; they even battled her. Mary-Margaret knows how evil she is. These people are living brain donors, I swear.
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Well, as viewers we that she HAS been trying. She mainly cast the well-spell to ensure that Cora (an even greater evil) wouldn't return... and then painfully reversed the spell when Henry insisted that Emma and Snow would be the winners. Perhaps even to the risk of her health / life.

Granted, it's NOT a lot. And even though it's been a bunch of episodes and a hiatus... it's probably only been a few weeks since she promised to Henry that she'd be a better person. Which isn't a lot to undo decades of evil. "Congratulations, you haven't killed anyone this month!"

But... until the end there... the sheer LACK of her evil actions spoke to her wanting to change. Like Emma said, the Old Regina would have blasted them for even daring to arrest her for murder. Old Regina would have either killed Grumpy or turned him into a large Tuna for talking smack to her.

If you can kill or mame WITH JUST A THOUGHT and you let people poop all over you every day... I'd say that shows great restraint. It's not the same as a gun because it's not exactly showing restraint that you didn't grab your rifle and kill someone. But when it's something as simple as a thought... I'd say that says much.
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But as you pointed out, most of that is viewer-only knowledge. Absence of action takes a lot longer to sink into people's consciousnesses than actions would. There's also the habit of thinking of her as evil that Regina has to overcome, and again, she's done nothing more than to say she's changed and expect everyone to make a polar shift towards her.
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Eh, Archie, or Raphael Sbarge if you will, already has a very lucrative voiceover job and the task of being in just about every single triple A video game out there. So not really worried for him, as he was the only actor on this show I'd ever heard of before. NERDS UNITE.
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I'm actually quite disappointed in e review. ;-)

There was one screen grab I was hoping to see you mock. At the diner party we see this huge sign with large individual party-letters. Like welcome back Mary Margaret or something.

With the words "and Emma" that might as well been scribbled a large post-it underneath

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YES!!!! best shot of the episode!! i was wondering if anyone else noticed that! lol and emma..
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The episode was awesome I like how the show revels the past in little parts like a puzzle and I like it all fill out quite nicely.
The only thing they messed up is right at the end of the episode
If the scene with Regina and Mr Gold is right before Regina went to the wedding in the first episode then Mr Gold should be in prison ??? Not to mention the Regina dress and hairstyle was nothing like we saw in the first episode when she crashed the wedding.
I am pretty glad that the Cricket is alive (I expected as much because I knew they would not let such a important character just die) but in the moment where Cora said she captured someone she and captain Hook can use I really expected someone else
I thought at first It was Belle but when Cora said the person knows Mr Gold secrets I was sure it was August.(He knows about the knife that can kill Mr Gold. What a relief it is not him).Where the hell is August ??? He is one of my favorite characters the only Good guy I really like on the show.Oh And I have to take my hat off for Lana Parrilla for some really great acting on this episode.
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If you back track the math the time line goes something like this: The Queen (presumably she had time to change her clothes) crashed the Snow/Charming wedding. Then Cinderella and Tom (?) get married. The two women get pregnant about a month apart (Cinderella gives birth about a month after time starts moving again). When Cinderella is about 7 months along they catch Rumple (that makes snow about 8 months along). Snow goes to see Rumple in prison somewhere between there and giving birth.
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There was at least 8 months between the Royal Wedding and Emma's birth when the Dark Curse was unleashed. Within that 8 months, Rumple was still free to attend Cinderella's wedding where Charming and Snow were as well.

JasonMelvil is confusing King George with Prince Thomas' father, The King, who was in friendly manner with Charming and had no reason not to be.

Rumple was jailed after both weddings had already occured. In fact MONTHS after Cinderella's wedding, as Cinderella was not yet showing, IF PREGNANT, at her wedding. Then when Rumple was jailed we see Cinderella sporting a huge belly, which was months later.

We've always known that the Evil Queen had cast the Dark Curse as a very last resort. She knew casting the Dark Curse would sacrifice an entire world, not to mention the work involved to do it.

Not only did she trade it away to Maleficent for something less drastic and simpler as the sleeping curse, but swore she would never use the Dark Curse. Learning the only way to get at the Charmings now was to unleash the Dark Curse because of Rumple's FTL protection spell for the Charmings fits perfectly.
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Nope. That happens much later cause Snow was very pregnant when she went to see Gold in prison.
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So they messed that up also
Snow suppose to be pregnat when she is married
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The continuity has been out the window for ages now...

Gold went to prison during the cinderela story and in that story the king was with charming in friendly manner.
Clearly not what happened in this episode.

And while we are at it, why does Cora bother pulling people's heart outs or toss incredibly slow fireballs instead of just turning people into fish like she did in this episode?

The mind boggles.


The only good thing about this episode was to explain why on earth did Regina cast the stupid curse to begin with.
I mean she lost all of her magic and her position as queen to become a normal person ruling a crummy old town?

So bypassing Gold's spell is something, but still it's incredibly stupid (and why didn't anyone in town thought of casting that particular spell again? It's hardly an issue to get a hair from Regina, just ask Henry to sneak in to her bathroom)
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@FoxZerro I thought that too when she said her biggest regret was not killing Snow White - she has had ample opportunity in BOTH worlds to do so and never followed through. It's an example of why we can't fully commit to these characters - they are on shifting sand all the time because the people writing don't go back and think about how current lines and stories contradict previous episodes. It's a fantasy - I want to be able to immerse, dangit!
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See but if vengenance and death were her overall goals then why are Mary-Margaret and David still alive. Regina clearly came over with her memories intact so why not just shoot them in the head and be done with it. Why the Coma and why the allow my most hated enemy to live and teach my child.

We were told the real and only motivation behind Regina casting the dark curse was to be able to hurt Snow and Charming again, so why the hell didn't she do that?
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It was said in the ?pilot? that the price of the curse would be her happiness... and later restated (or perhaps ADDED) that the ingredient was a sacrifice of what she loved the most.

Whether that's an "and" or an "either or" it's a pretty big cost by itself... to go to a land without magic (which is your biggest advantage) so seek vengeance.

But as the episode displayed, it was one of the last avenues open to her IF she wanted to seek the vengeance herself.

A cheaper alternative probably would have been to just hire assassins since the spell probably wouldn't protect against them. But that would probably not satisfy her.
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I am currently in a Love and Hate relationship with OUAT. Some episodes I will love them for and others I will be hating them for. Unfortunately of late I am finding myself more and more falling in the later if this continues I may end up jumping the OUAT ship before the season finally.
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Oh and I will never forgive them for Graham either!! (the show would have been so different with him in it sigh)
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The worst part about Graham's death was they didn't do anything with it. When they killed him off I was sad, but I figured it was for a good reason and they were going to play with the idea that Emma's heart was broken. They pretty much just up and forgot about him the very next episode. His death was useless (he didn't even get to reveal what he knew about the curse before he died. At least that would have been a use for his death).
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OUAT has become one of those shows that i desperately want to stop watching but keep watching it hoping that it will suddenly be great but never is (trying to repress bad memories of Heroes).

I didn't even remember Snow slept in the living room, but for all the things Henry knows i cannot believe that he didn't know his grandparents were "getting it in;" what kind of noneducational elementary school is he attending? And Grandpa- "i was helping her rest" seriously? Henry should have asked how, silence would have been better.

Emma needs to do a "how to be a magical being tutorial"....Everything else that happened was boring to me
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I thought the ep was okay, my problem was with the Ruby and Pongo. Ruby is supposed to be this super tracker with an exceptional sense of smell, how did she not realize that the person she saw wasn't Regina. Everyone has a specific scent. That goes for Pongo and Archie too. The dog would know that wasn't his master.
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I agree with you, Ruby should have been able to smell that that wasn't Cora. @ the same time I would imagine that there was some distance between Ruby and Cora, so upon seeing Regina, Ruby would have ignored any discrepancies because vision trumps smell and in the new world the use of magic isn't commonplace yet.

Pongo does react appropriately to Cora. As for not knowing it wasn't Archie, I don't know how the magic works so for now suspension of disbelief is working for me.
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Cora is Regina's mother so maybe they smell the same?
As for Pongo - he's a dalmatian - let's say that's not the wisest dog breed in the world...
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Yeah, dogs can see in technicolor now. I thought the PhDs came with the curse, didn't they?
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I think it was OK to use the dream-catcher to catch thed dog's vision, after all wasn't LOST all just Vincent's dream?

Seriously, I can't imagine what possessed Snow White to "test" the Evil Queen in the hopes she could have changed. hadn't she just proven she was all hate and fury towards Snow, Charming and everyone else? Snow expected the Queen to change just like that?

Now, modern-day Regina is different. She's completely reformed. And since this is just fiction, these are fairy-tale character (to which logic is at least peculiar), Lana is a great actress, and Regina is sexy and a well-liked character, I'd say she's good now and deserves a second chance and I truly feel sorry for her to be unfairly victimized like that.
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If only LOST was just Vincent's dream.....

I don't think it should even be relevant that Regina as changed, I wouldn't mind her evil (I think her evil version is far more interesting than her fragile nice version)

I find myself in need of a relatively unhinged Mad Hatter meets the Joker type of villain to shake up the dynamics of the show.
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I gotta say that I agree this episode wasn't the "hey we're back, here's some crazy coolness" that I was expecting it to be, but it still was an enjoyable episode. However, it was more enjoyable as a set-up for things to come, rather than for what actually happened. It got us wondering what Regina is going to do, and if she'll actually side with her mother (when it should be pretty obvious to her that her mother is behind everything). And I guess this is a problem faced by the returning episode of the show, in that the previous episode was kind of a finale so the next episode has to set up things that will happen for the rest of the season.

Looking back at last season, the returning January episode did something similar with setting up Emma as the sheriff, which including one of the worst speeches of all time. However, I think they found a solution to this by having the flashbacks be about something really cool, in that case it showed how Rumpelstiltskin became the Dark One. Unfortunately in this episode the flashbacks were about some of the worst instances of justice being slapped and torn apart that I have ever seen. Anyway, on to the questions.

1. I think the short answer to this is yes. There are a few people in my life that have done something pretty cruel to me at one time or another, but that I have been able to deal with over time, while they have subsequently become better people, so that now we have pretty good relationships. Of course, none of these people have killed someone I love or anything like that. However, I think this question is a weird one to ask when it come to the show, which is strange because it is exactly the question which the show is asking. Can Regina change?

Well, yes, is the obvious answer. She has changed. Other than having temper tantrums now and then, she has done remarkable progress. In fact, since the show considers magic use to be an addiction, and the writers have basically shown that Regina is addicted to magic, I think it would be strange for her not to be able to change. Because pretty much all addictions of that nature can be dealt with in one way or another. Her method: just don't use it, is most similar to Alcoholic's Anonymous, and there are several recovering alcoholics that lead fine, productive lives and don't drink. But AA isn't the only way to go when it comes to being addicted to alcohol. There are other therapies, focused on a social reward system, which assist people in becoming social drinkers, where they can have one or two drinks without going crazy. So yeah, Regina should be able to change her magic ways. And with her relationship with Henry (how did that initially come about btw's, the writers still haven't explained that one in the least), she has a good reason to want to be a better person. So yeah, she can change.

But while this episode asked us whether or not Regina could change, it did it to the music of justice, which was very strange. Charming suggested, at their weekly round table meeting (side note: how did some of those people get to sit there? The Blue Fairy makes sense, but why are there two dwarves when it's kind of a stretch for even one of them to be there? And again, why two nights, who look like they're only foot soldiers, and not generals. Anyway.) that they execute Regina because she can't ever change and become a better person; she doesn't even want to change. Then Snow said that this would be killing which apparently they haven't ever done before (though they've fought a massive war and we've seen both of them kill people with our own eyes, but I guess those soldiers, who hadn't done a hundredth of the bad things Regina has, don't count as people), and she worried that killing Regina would be wrong. So in order to set her conscience at ease, she performed a test on Regina to see if she wanted to change, which Regina failed. So they decided to let her go...what? I mean, I know that she can't harm Snow or Charming, but she could straight up kill everyone else...yeah. Great King and Queen there (though Charming was still being referred to as Prince,which is awkward).

And then there was the investigation into Regina's innocence or guilt, which was surprisingly well handled for this show. Don't get me wrong, it was still bungled on several levels, but compared to the other investigations carried out in Storybrook, this one was top notch by comparison, complete with an actual interview in the police station, and two eye-witness accounts. The big problem here is that both Snow and Emma have seen Cora take on the appearance of someone else, and since there's magic in Storybrook, evidence really doesn't mean anything anymore. I hate to say it, but Emma's ability to sense when people are lying, which doesn't work most of the time, though is reliable when it does, is the most reliable investigative tool they have. But seriously, the moment you try and learn any sense of morality from this show, you will go crazy.

2. As other people have said, Cora's long con is pretty much to win Regina back. In just the last episode we saw Regina admit to her mother (when she thought she was dead) that she loved her. Also, in this episode she told her father that he was the one she loved the most, and now he's dead, so Cora jumps pretty high on that list. However, once she reveals herself as being in Storybrook, Regina would have to be really stupid not to realize that she was the one who framed her. Also, Cora doesn't know (yet) about Regina's love for Henry, so that will hopefully keep Regina turned against her. But Cora's plan is very smart, since at the very least she is making her enemies turn against each other, as opposed to being on a united front.

3. I honestly find it funny that the character with the most hair issues happens to be the one supposedly "normal" person in that department.

4. Yeah that was weird. I don't even remember the last time Snow called Charming "David," and only Emma calls her mother Mary Margaret. I guess since Charming said way back when in "We Are Both" that in fact they are both, so they can call each other either name, and it doesn't matter. But still, Mary Margaret sounds like an old person's name, whereas Snow is what a lover would call someone, just like Charming. So it took a little of the magic out of the moment.
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Lana needS an Emmy nod! She is the villain you can't get enough of. Regina is a sociopath raised by a abusive mother and a really submissive father. She never had a chance! The story has moved the story forward, OUAT is also about the backstory. The fact she couldn't killed Snow and Charming is HUGE. Cora's plan is dumb and will fail but Cora has issues and we all know that. What I really want to see is Cora, Henry sr and Regina BEFORE magic's story. I wonder if they push her outside the limit of the town she will forget who she is??? (Cora)
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Submissive Father? Try Dangerously Manipulative. Seriously that whole speech regarding showing you regret your actions is not something a submissive would say. That was the cold, calculating, machinations of an evil genius. I also think that it would have worked because "heroes" always fall for the regret card and then deal out redemption when they see it. I also think it would have worked because Threatening to kill the Queen saved her life, so I definitely think that showing remorse for her actions would have too.

Or maybe Regina's Father knew that his daughter being the defiant little wench that she is would go all Megolomaniac in her final speech if her suggested showing a little humility, and he knew that in seeing how evil she could have been it would convince them that the restraint must have come from some good inside.

Either way... Original Henry is a Bad Ass
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I'm no fan of Regina but I don't understand why Emma didn't finish watching the rest of the dog's memories. You watched whom you assumed to be Regina start to strangle him but gosh you just couldn't watch his body fall to the floor. WTH?

What happened to Emma's ability to know when someone is lying???

Also, can someone tell me why only one person noticed that BIG ship in the harbor?
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She was able to tell that Regina was lying, but then she saw the dogs memories and it pretty clearly implied she might have been wrong.
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Emma's ability comes and goes in spurts, according to plot convenience. As for the ship, I imagine the mess that's going to happen when somebody tries to dock a another ship there, at the "empty spot" where Hook's ship should be.
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But who would dock there? Nobody comes to town, and everyone in town who has a boat already had somewhere to dock it, presumably.
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Maybe that's somebody else's spot, or maybe they are not that organized and dock wherever they want. But I see your point.
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Maybe some fairy-tale character has a fishing boat and is coming back, or something.
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about the hairstylist thing, only thing I could think of is how good Emma looked in this episode. Really. with the makeup and hair like that, way better.
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That dog is magic. He can see colors. And yeah totally boring episode, though I did get a bit dizzy every time the charming switched sides. I agree with Regina on the Family buisness comment, as if it isn't enough that the sherif car is actually stolen(awesome) now the whole family is running the office(lame).
did anyone else notice that Hook's boat is really colorful? and I loled when Henry "went to school".
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I'm soo soo soo tired of the writers trying to make a very lame and badly written argument that we should somehow feel sorry for Regina. Especially when you intersperse her crying over Henry right after she used magic to attack Emma with stabbing Snow for trying to give her another chance. She's a sociopath, she doesn't deserve to raise a child or roam free. She should have stayed a villain, but maybe reduced her powers so the others can fight her. As is, magic is omnipotent and Regina is just mean and incompetent.
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Truth be told, I feel more sympathetic towards Regina when they writers aren't trying than when they make cheesy arguments like that.
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1. Well, that really depends, which I think was the point of the episode which was kind of yawn (it was odd, I wasn't expecting much from either this or Revenge - the returns I really want are next week)

2. I just don't know, she either wants herself or Regina to be queen of this little Storybrooke kingdom, I guess? I don't know that was where they were the last time they were together. I kept waiting for Emma to say this last night, guys, we are actually in the United States, there are some rules we are going to follow. I think it will be funny for some of the citizens of Storybrooke who have become familiar with the country they are actually in to not obey or listen to a queen.

3. I theorize that Jennifer Morrison want to cut her hair (just like shoulder length) and they are getting us used to other hair styles (heck, maybe she wants to go back to the color she had on early House, I liked that a lot better)

4. That does seem to be the big question (also, did anyone else find the add on of and Emma funny on the party sign, like that if Regina and Emma would realize that they are both the whim and fancy of a eleven year old away from being an outcast). I think it is like when we talk about them, it is easier writing and spelling Gold than it is Rumplestilskin. See I got that wrong. Heck, we don't actually know Charming's real name. Before I hear it, it is not JAMES, that was his twin brother). Mary Margaret probably just feels more like a name to everyone?
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I love your reviews Lily but I'm gonna have to disagree with you - Of course they can't have the big battle straight away - what would they do for the rest of the season? Plus which I think it's good to have a bit of build up, more dramatic attention. I think it is in keeping with Cora's character not to go in all guns a-blaxing. she has survived this long 'cos she is smart and cautious - note how she sneakily extracted info from snow (as a child) and Emma before she made a move. although I do agree that using the dreamcatcher on the dog was a bit lame! :-)
BTW - chips for breakfast Em? Not good mothering!
2) completely agree with Ladypeyton
I also agre with Loooooooooooooost - I thought it was really ballsy of them to kill of the cricket. I was seriously impressed. Although I am mainly glad he is still alive 'cos I do actually like the character. but I was a little disappointed that the writers didn't have to guts to see that one through.
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"It's good to be back" - well said Snow! I'm so happy the holidays break is over and OUaT's back with new episodes.

I have to say the lovers interrupted scene was one of the best moments of season 2. I'm glad Snow finally had some bow chicka bow wow time. You earned it, girl!
The look on Emma's face when she entered the apartment was priceless. Her eyes were telling "Mom, Dad... what are you doing?!" Great work Jennifer Morrison!
I'm not a fangirl of Charming, but he delivered one of the best quotes of this show: "It's impressive that we can still provide her with few traumatic childhood memories at this stage of the game". If he keeps talk like that I may change my opinion about him.

I couldn't believe they killed Raphael Sbarge (Kaidan anyone?) I was like "first Graham now Jiminy?!" Luckily, it turned out he's alive - huge relief.

Pongo! It was fantastic to see him! However, I have two questions: where is Perdita? She's as much important in 101 Dalmations as he is! Also why is Pongo a dog in Storybrook if a cricket can be a psychiatrist? That's a double discrimination!

I kind of felt sorry for Regina when she was sitting in the car crying. For once she really was innocent. Emma, what happened to your lie detector?

Is it me or is the Hook's pirate ship kind of small? I thought it was bigger...

Fantastic episode - I can't wait for the next one.

Questions:

1. If that person really hurt me then no, it doesn't.
2. She wants Regina to go back to her.
3. Bella had not enough screen time for me to notice that.
4. I think everyone calls her Snow since the end of season 1.
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Pongo is a dog for the same reason that Pluto is a dog while Goofy is an anthropomorphised dog. The reason is that Pluto is a pet dog and so is Pongo. Plus Jiminy was a cricket because of magic so when you take magic out of the world he becomes a man again. Unless I'm remembering 101 Dalmations wrong I'm pretty sure Pongo was always a dog so there would be no reason for him to become human.

I do agree that I want to see some Perdita action though. My guess is they will have an episode where Anita is introduced as a love interest for Jiminy. Then Jiminy becomes an avatar for Roger when its revealed that he always wanted to be a musician when he volunteers to write the musical that Anita will be directing. Then once they come together, bob's your uncle we'll be on our way to having a Dalmation Plantation. It would also lead into Cruella DeVille being the owner of the clothing boutique in town and very nice way to bring her character into Storybrooke.

My guess is all of that won't happen until late in Season 3 when they are looking for some more storyline padding and they have already pushed every other Disney movie franchise that needs a kick in the pants to the foreground...

I am also quite excited for the forthcoming Dumbo episode when we will finally have black character's introduced back into Storybrooke. Sure they'll doubt the claims of Henry's flying elephant, but they will do it in delightfully racist spirituals
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Hahaha! Will Smith as Dumbo. Killed with a crossbow within 4 minutes of the first commercial break. Granny framed for murder by newly introduced boring villain. Audience knows the truth but idiot townsfolk draw out stupid storyline for 5 weeks. *increases dosage to 3 glasses of wine per episode*
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What about the guy who was an ordinary mouse in FTL? Sure, they killed him quickly in Storybrook, but nevertheless he gained human form.

Pongo is not an ordinary dog (at least in the "101 Dalmatians" book / 1961 animated film). He's the narrator of the story and he's smarter then his owner (ok, Robert is not Einstein, but still...) Pongo also communicates with other animals - it's not his fault humans are too dumb to understand him. In comparation to Pongo, Pluto is just a yellow nuisance.

Is Dumbo going to be an elephant or peanut obsessed boy?
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Yeah I remembered Gus(-Gus) halfway through my post but I felt like I was on a real role and after once accidentally cancelling it I was more obsessed with recreating it than disproving my argument at that time.

Still at one point, based on the story of Cinderella, Gus was a human so I'm alright with him being a human again in Storybrooke, even though it defeats my theory about the lack of magic being what turned Jiminy back into a human. In truth I know it was a desire to save on CGI cost but why quibble. Also if I took the time to try and go through and understand each instance of magic vs. non-magic in storybrooke I would be left with a list of descrepancies a mile long.

Dumbo, if and when it happens, will be an elephant that Henry finds or something and then because by that time his grasp of Reality versus Fairytale has become so blurred he will believe it can fly and no one will ever see it and doubt him. Eventually though everyone will be able to see the elephant is magic. The reason is the same reason why Snuffleupagus is now a real character and that is because Standards and Practices won't allow an episode where adults don't believe a child because they fear it will make them not come forward if they are victims of sexual abuse, because like that one episode where no one believed in Big Bird's imaginary friend, my parent's might not believe I was molested.
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I liked Regina's "Go take yourself for a walk line." to Ruby. referencing her wolf personna.
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"2. What is Cora's long con here? "

I thought it was fairly obvious that Cora's long con is to alienate Regina so that 1) Regina gets rid of Henry and the weakness of love he represents and 2) so Cora can swoop in when Regina is most vulnerable and win her back. With added irony in that I don't think Cora realizes that Regina is *her* weakness.

3) (I assume you are referring to Emilie de Ravin but this applies to every other character on the show) I honestly feel that Regina's Fairy Tale hairstyles are more distracting than anything Emily ever sported.

4) Yes.
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But why does Cora want to win Regina back? She's the one who drove her off in the first place. She wanted Regina to have what she had, but Cora no longer has anything.
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Cora wanted Regina dead until she heard R speak to her when she was lying in her coffin and R admitted that she still loved C. It was that admission of love that changed C's plans.
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so upset the Cricket lived. and how hilarious is it that the first time Emma uses her powers, with a dream catcher and a Dalmatian no less, it turns out she is totally wrong. like, yaaay, but whoops! hope it comes back and makes her look stupid. er.
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You just KNOW that Emma is going to screw something up with magic. That's a given.
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Does anyone else hate how in Storybrooke, Mary-Margaret kind of takes the backseat and let her daughter do all the work? So different from the epic Snow from the FTW
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Honestly, who would shed a tear if Emma dies? Along with Emma...she's probbly one of the most useless characters on the show. If it focused entirely on Snow and the Queen and Rumple and the rest it would honestly be awesome. But Emma's kind of useless. Anyone agree?
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Actually I completely disagree with you, but not because of Emma not being useless. I will say briefly in her defense that when things have "mattered" she has pulled through (killing the dragon, breaking the curse, defeating Cora with her own heart, that kind of thing). But I agree, her abilities are very inconsistent: one moment she can magically tell when people are lying, the next someone lies badly to her face and she believes them completely.

However, I also think that Snow and Charming have these same flaws. I mean, would you honestly want them to rule your kingdom? The people that let their most dangerous/devious enemy out of jail to go free into the world? Only because she couldn't harm them specifically, but she could kill anyone else if she wanted to? So no, Emma is not completely useless, because as a "good guy" she is just as effective as Snow and Charming, if not more so.
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I would probably stop watching OUaT if they killed Emma. I can't imagine this show without her, Snow and Red.
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Seriously...Jennifer Morrison's acting is just...gah. That scene where she magics the dreamcatcher or something...horrible. -_____-
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"I can't do it!"

You clearly weren't even trying until the second time. I wish she'd put some effort into the first attempt... I mean come on where's the director to say you need more effort the first time, then really be straining the second
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"1. If someone seriously screws you over, does it even matter if they can change?"

In this show? It depends on whether said someone is a Charming or not. Seriously, what a bunch of self-righteous hyphocrites.
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Yeah, those jerks who kept giving Regina chance after chance. How dare they!
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I stand corrected: those *merciful* self-righteous hyphocrites then. Seriously, when was the last time a Charming ever made a mistake?! Far for me to judge such perfect characters who cheat on their spouses, steal (but only from the Evil Queen, that's what makes Snow & Henry so "good") and lie to get their way. Don't tell me who the good guys are OUaT, show me one.
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I agree with the underlying concept of show not tell. I think the Charmings annoy people because they are good. They give bad guys infinite chances and they don't really fight back--just enough to not be in danger anymore. They are good, but weak. Morally correct, but common sense stupid. They keep fighting the same battle with the same bad guys and only have one card to play: faith in their love. Their arsenal is pitiful. But they aren't hypocrites. The cheating was when they were cursed--it doesn't count. And I don't know about the "stealing" and "lying" but seriously a lie here or there doesn't really make you a bad guy. Killing, raping, regicide, torturing children, pulling hearts--those things make you a bad guy.
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Batman does the same thing with the Joker.

Superman does the same thing with Lex Luthor.

Somewhere along the way it was decided that the difference between bad guys and good guys is that bad kills and good spares. Unfortunately this is very flawed because in being spared it doesn't instantly make the bad ones good, it just gives them more opportunities to kill.

Personally I think a good person is the one who makes the tough decision even when morally or spirtually it might be viewed as wrong. Mercy is a powerful tool but only when employed early. Once someone has gone so far as to seneslessly slaughter hundreds of people all for the sake of revenge, or pleasure, or boredom that person has sacrificed their right to Mercy
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