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KingOfHearts

S02.E10: The Cricket Game

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Regina is accused of murdering one of the town’s most beloved fairytale characters — but only Emma senses that she may be innocent. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, after capturing the Evil Queen, Snow White and Prince Charming set about planning her public execution in order to rid the land of her murderous tyranny.

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How do I hate this episode? Let me count the ways. I was surprised to see David Goodman as one of the writers because I usually like his stuff. But this one makes no sense. In the past, it's terrible that Snow thinks it's perfectly okay to let a thoroughly unrepentant murderer who caused so much pain and harm in the kingdom, go just because now she can't hurt Snow. That's her "other way" solution? And they're letting the person who murdered the king and caused all that trouble keep living in Snow's castle? Snow mentioned that Regina could change because she's changed before. When? Was she referring to Regina being good, then changing to become evil, which gave Snow hope that Regina could change and become good again? Because someone who can snap to the point of doing that much evil and who is currently showing no regret other than wishing she could have killed more people and caused more pain is not someone I'd count on being able to change for the good.

Meanwhile, how terrible they all are to suspect that an unrepentant murderer might have committed murder when they investigate and find that all the evidence points to her.

Even before that, Emma being such a cheerleader for Regina because she's trying to change -- but repentance never comes up. They're showing in the past that Regina's only regret is that she couldn't have caused more pain, and in the presence all Regina says is she wants to change for Henry. She hasn't said anything about not wanting to kill Snow anymore or recognizing that the stuff she did was wrong. She hasn't apologized. Emma just saw the aftermath of everything she did. Emma's attitude makes no sense here.

On the up side, I love Snow's red dress at the welcome-back party, and I really like Emma's hair during the investigation. She looks reasonably professional (unlike the bouncy curly princess hair of season one) but not harsh and severe. The way it frames her face is very flattering on her.

I also love Hook and Cora's arrival. Hook kicking the fish into the water is a good metaphor for his character in that it looks like a tough, cold thing to do, but then you realize he was actually saving the guy's life. I wonder if they ever broke the spell on him. But he's not a main character so I guess his fate doesn't matter. At least he wasn't killed here (unless the spell broke while he was under water and he drowned).

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I hate this episode so much. The absolute insanity to think that Snow would have just let Regina go in the past after all of her crimes. Murdering the her father, village massacres and more. No, it makes more sense for Regina to get away when they were closing in. Regina wasn't and never was sorry for anything she did. Snow should have either wanted her executed or locked away somewhere. I hate the "framing" of Regina in the present day. Oh, yes poor Regina, accused of a murder she didn't commit. Unlike all the other murders she did commit and really should be charged for. Or remembering she did the same thing to Snow just one season ago.  

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With some characters, they use their past experiences and learn from them to make the right decision in the present. 

With this flashback, Snow's past experience causes her to make the wrong decision in the present (by falsely accusing Regina and not believing her).

Spoiler

It's similar later this season when Snow's past experience with the candle causes her to make the wrong decision in the present (by being vengeful and killing Cora).

The plotline is framed such that Regina's belief that others are unfair to her is validated.  

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Releasing Regina to continue her reign of terror on the land just because she can’t hurt you and your loved one is beyond selfish. Executing her if there wasn’t a reliable way to imprison her or remove her magic was the best option.

Terrible messaging in this episode.

Spoiler

We should have seen right here that Regina would never get her comeuppance on this show. This is where they tip their hand, that this show isn’t Emma’s story, but Regina’s

.

Edited by daxx
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9 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Oh, yes poor Regina, accused of a murder she didn't commit. Unlike all the other murders she did commit and really should be charged for. Or remembering she did the same thing to Snow just one season ago.  

And Snow wasn't even the one framing her -- unlike the situation in which Regina manufactured evidence against Snow. Snow was just believing the evidence she saw and not having blind faith in the person who had murdered her father, tried to murder her multiple times, tried to murder her daughter not too long ago, and murdered countless people.

It's funny how this show's "we've got to find a better way" is always worse for people on the whole than the supposedly "worse" way that's being proposed. Snow's "better way" here is to protect herself and her husband (I know they referred to him as a fiance here, but they'd already been married by Lancelot at this point) while letting Regina go to do whatever she wanted to the rest of the kingdom. How many people died as a result of that decision? Regina's father died, we know. Graham died. If the Black Knights were able to get to the nursery where Charming was the last line of defense, it's a pretty good bet that a number of knights or soldiers died. Then there's the misery of the curse and Emma not being able to grow up with her family. Was that really better than executing an unrepentant sadistic murderer whose power was so great that they couldn't reliably keep her in prison?

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Seconding (thirding? fifthing?) everyone who sees this episode as a steaming pile of crap. The shame of it is that beyond the show's treatment of Regina being totally outrageous, it seriously detracts from what would have been a great opportunity to write an episode addressing Charming family dynamics. There are a few good scenes of Emma and her parents interacting - the famous "tacos" scene, all of them sheriffing together, Emma admitting that she's afraid of not knowing how to be a parent to Henry, and Snowing admitting that they're dealing with the same thing. But all of that is swallowed up by the show's bizarre need to bring everything back to a focus on Regina. At this point, we should have gotten an episode something along the lines of the Price of Gold, where the emotional emphasis winds up being on the way in which Emma helping Ashley keep her baby forces her to deal with her own feelings about giving up Henry. Really, this was the time for a one-off in which the arc-plot mostly took a backseat and we get to see these people trying to figure out how to be a family and ultimately recognizing that they've all suffered an irrecoverable loss, but are going to work to find a way to move forward together. That realization could have been helped along, ala the Price of Gold, by some external issue they're dealing with, but it shouldn't have taken a backseat to the martyrdom of Regina.

Even Emma's legitimate worry about her ability to be a mother to Henry is totally undermined by the absurd comparison she makes between herself and Regina. Sure, Emma should be concerned about her fitness to suddenly be the primary if not sole parent to an eleven year old. But it shouldn't be because she's worried that she'll revert into who she was pre-series, which doesn't seem like a realistic fear for her at this point, and even if she did, there's simply no analogy to be drawn between Emma having been a drifter and petty thief (which she had evidently given up by the time Henry came for her anyway)  and Regina having been a murderous despot. Just, no. The idea that Regina deserves a chance to change because Emma got that chance is offensive. 

At every turn, Emma's attitude toward Regina is nonsensical. First of all, as a few of us noted in the thread for "The Queen of Hearts," Regina did not "save" Emma and Snow. She backed out at the last second from a plan that would have killed them, and only because Henry was begging her not to do it. But I guess the show has to pretend that's tantamount to a great act of heroism, because otherwise, there's just no explanation for why Emma would now be on Team Regina. Possibly the worst line in the episode is where Emma says something like "I know in your world she was the Evil Queen, but here, she's Regina." Even if we bought that these were two separate identities - which they aren't, as Regina kept her memories -- what exactly in Emma's experience of Regina would make her "being Regina" be a reason to do anything but head for the hills? It was Regina who tried to poison Emma, Regina who framed Snow for murder, and would have killed the closest thing she herself had to a friend to do it, Regina who trapped the entire town in a free-will negating curse for 28 years, and Regina who, as Emma must realize by now, if she isn't a total moron, killed Graham. At no point until the season finale, when Regina thought Henry was going to die, did she ever show the least bit of decency or concern for anyone, and her first reaction to the curse breaking was to try to resume her evil ways. The fact that she's been making some effort since then might be a reason to grant her cautious, supervised visitation with Henry. It isn't a reason to invite her to family parties or ignore that she's the primary reason for basically all of the pain that Emma, her parents, and her son have endured throughout their lives.

It is also egregious that no one brings up the possibility of bringing Regina to some form of justice in the present, apart from when they think she's killed Archie (which I agree was a terrible idea, as it sets up a situation in which Regina is an innocent victim, and everyone else winds up being wrong despite acting on what seems like rock-solid evidence). There are a variety of reasons why they might try and fail, or why they might even decide not to try at all, but there should be some acknowledgment of the fact that this woman does not deserve to be walking around free, let alone getting invited to family celebrations. I actually think it would have been fantastic if Emma had basically said to Regina "You want to prove you've changed? Then agree to let yourself be locked up. I'll bring Henry for visits." Obviously, that's not a state of affairs that could have lasted for long, but Regina spending some amount of time in jail - even if the circumstances of the next crisis du jour wound up with her inevitably getting released -- would have gone a long way to giving Regina's redemption some credibility and would be a far more rational response to her than what we see.

The irony is that Regina's redemption itself isn't handled terribly in this episode. With the usual caveat that it takes some suspension of disbelief to buy that Regina is capable of redemption at all, she has been showing signs of change during 2A, even with the temptation to kill Emma and Snow, which she was only willing to do because of the greater-good justification provided by Rumple. The scene where she asks Emma, fairly humbly, if she can have Henry for a night, becomes immediately cruel and insulting when Emma refuses, and then apologizes is a really good one for her, establishing that she hasn't totally become a different person, but is sincerely trying for Henry's sake. It also, crucially, involves her not getting something that she very much wants, lashing out, but then apologizing for it rather than stewing in self-pity. It also helps that Emma not agreeing to the sleepover with Henry is the one time in the episode she shows anything approaching a normal degree of caution towards the woman who, let's not forget, recently tried to kill her, in addition to a long rap sheet of other crimes. Too bad the show couldn't keep that up for more than the space of a scene. 

People have already addressed the idiocy of Snow's decision in the past, but one more element of it that I wanted to comment on is that throughout the flashbacks, both the script and GG's acting try to retcon a relationship between Snow and Regina that really hasn't been established as existing. The scenes work somewhat better if you view these women as people who were once extremely close, to the extent that Snow might still feel great pain over what Regina has become. But there's really no indication that Regina ever spent a lot of time as Snow's loving stepmother, and it is implausible to think that she did. Little Snow had a brief period of idol worship over the sweet woman who saved her, but Regina was barely restraining herself from wringing Snow's neck even before the wedding, and it isn't that long after that that she begins falling under Rumple's sway in earnest. Regina would have had to be the greatest actress of all time to have established what seemed to be a genuinely close relationship with Snow while also taking lessons as a dark sorceress and, eventually, plotting to murder her. 

A few final points:

- NItpicky, but I hate that David calls Snow "Mary Margaret" during the party. It makes no sense, and it is lazy writing.

- I love, on the other hand, Emma's little smile when she tells Regina she has magic, and Snow's obvious pride in that revelation. Yeah, we don't get to linger on it, but I'll take my moments where I can get it. 

16 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

Hook kicking the fish into the water is a good metaphor for his character in that it looks like a tough, cold thing to do, but then you realize he was actually saving the guy's life

- Yes, this is a great moment. I wonder if it was scripted, or if that was Colin's decision. Either way, a wonderful way of establishing his character. Although I must say, otherwise, Hook is really at his worst in this episode, as he seems if anything admiring of Cora having killed a random person to make everyone think Archie is dead, and he's clearly looking forward to (or doing a good job pretending he's looking forward to) torturing Archie. Whereas usually, as in the fish scene, he doesn't seem to take pleasure in causing pain to innocents, though he'll do it if it serves his purposes. He's vengeful and selfish, not a sadist. 

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1 hour ago, companionenvy said:

Although I must say, otherwise, Hook is really at his worst in this episode, as he seems if anything admiring of Cora having killed a random person to make everyone think Archie is dead, and he's clearly looking forward to (or doing a good job pretending he's looking forward to) torturing Archie.

I wonder how much torture is necessary. Would anyone in that town, other than Belle, require any persuasion whatsoever to tell just about anyone anything they want to know about Rumple? Or to make Regina look bad? (well, other than the Charming family, apparently) They could probably have approached Archie, said, "Hey, want to get both Rumple and Regina in one fell swoop? Come hang out on this invisible ship for a while and tell us all about Rumple and his weaknesses." As it is, I'm imagining the scene, Hook being all menacing in talking about making a cricket chirp (makes you wonder how either Cora or Hook know Archie is Jiminy Cricket, and how they would know about Jiminy Cricket to begin with. I don't think either of them was around the Enchanted Forest long enough pre-curse to know all the scoop on Snow's inner circle), but as soon as Hook asks the first question about Rumple, Archie relaxes, realizing he's not going to have to hold out, and says, "Oh, him. Let me tell you ..." and just spills it all, leaving Hook disappointed that the only thing he has to do is provide enough liquid (rum or water) for Archie to keep his voice going. And if they knew enough to know who Archie was and that he was in the inner circle, they'd have known that he'd have no loyalty to Rumple, so that scene really makes no sense other than as an "a-ha!" cliffhanger to reveal that Archie isn't really dead but make it look like he's in danger.

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6 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

I wonder how much torture is necessary. Would anyone in that town, other than Belle, require any persuasion whatsoever to tell just about anyone anything they want to know about Rumple? Or to make Regina look bad? (well, other than the Charming family, apparently) They could probably have approached Archie, said, "Hey, want to get both Rumple and Regina in one fell swoop? Come hang out on this invisible ship for a while and tell us all about Rumple and his weaknesses." As it is, I'm imagining the scene, Hook being all menacing in talking about making a cricket chirp (makes you wonder how either Cora or Hook know Archie is Jiminy Cricket, and how they would know about Jiminy Cricket to begin with. I don't think either of them was around the Enchanted Forest long enough pre-curse to know all the scoop on Snow's inner circle), but as soon as Hook asks the first question about Rumple, Archie relaxes, realizing he's not going to have to hold out, and says, "Oh, him. Let me tell you ..." and just spills it all, leaving Hook disappointed that the only thing he has to do is provide enough liquid (rum or water) for Archie to keep his voice going. And if they knew enough to know who Archie was and that he was in the inner circle, they'd have known that he'd have no loyalty to Rumple, so that scene really makes no sense other than as an "a-ha!" cliffhanger to reveal that Archie isn't really dead but make it look like he's in danger.

That makes so much more sense. Really, your right everyone except Belle would be jumping at the chance to give up anything they knew on Rumple. Same for Regina. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to get rid of the Dark One and Evil Queen? Maybe they don't trust the Charmings to deal with them  (which is fair) or worry its only a matter of time before one or both do something evil (also a fair concern).

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I know Regina as a leader is ineffectual at best, and a psychotic tyrant at worse, but...was Snow much better? I mean, yeah alright, she was/is, but she also let this mass murdering, unrepentant, still dangerous murderer run free. Yeah she was banished, but that doesn't mean she cant still cause trouble (which she clearly did) and hurt other people (which she also did) so...was justice served? Were people protected? How many people would still be alive right now if Snow had just had Regina killed, or at least locked her up? Everyone else was totally ready to kill her (Charming was leaping at the chance) but Snow didnt want to because she supposedly thought there was a better way? Because, while it might look kind and merciful, it can easily look very selfish. She knew that if Regina died, she would feel bad, so she let her go, damning any and all of her future victims just so Snow wouldn't have to feel guilty. And this just shows, again, that Regina had ample chances to redeem herself, and she choose evil. She has chosen evil so many times, her phone auto-corrects to evil automatically. 

So, yeah, I hate that flashback. Hate, hate, hate. The only thing to like is seeing Charming in his super hot prince outfits. Really, I think they could have saved some of this if they had showed Regina being motherly towards Snow, and had showed their relationship more, and then I think I could have sympathized with Snow more. If Regina really was someone she loved one, I could understand why this was hard, even if I didnt support it. But we never saw that. We saw her being nice to Snow once or twice, but mostly Regina was enacting schemes, or being evil. Snow knew that Regina hated her even when her father died and she tried to have her killed, so how great could their relationship have been? 

Also, I wish we had seen some flashbacks of the war that Snow and Charming won against King George and Regina, that sounds super awesome. 

Anyway, there are some decent moments in the Storeybrooke stuff. Some funny lines like "You should have tried making meatloaf! What a bitch!" and the whole tacos sequence is adorable, and, look, consensual, non creepy sex does, in fact, exist in this universe! But then of course, comes the Tell Tale Lasagna, and everything that follows. I honestly laughed when Hook was like "is she broken yet?" and it only took a little bit more to push her to the brink. Regina is hilariously quick to fold under even the mildest of pressure, and generally comes off as less of a woobie and more of an wimp who cant handle crap that the rest of the characters have dealt with thirty times over without going darkside. Plus, after setting poor MM up for murder (and actually trying to kill the supposed victim) seems less like a miscarriage of justice, and more like karma. I mean, Cora really just needed to bust her for one of her countless actual murders. 

Hook is kind of all over the place this episode. He seemed almost giddy at the prospect of torturing Archie, and blew off Cora killing some rando, but he looked disturbed by her turning the poor bait shop guy into a fish (and kicked him into the water, sparing him a nasty death) and was rather snarky about what a crappy parent Cora is. I guess you can chalk that up to him just being excited about getting closer to revenge, whatever it takes, versus random cruelty. 

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10 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I know Regina as a leader is ineffectual at best, and a psychotic tyrant at worse, but...was Snow much better? I mean, yeah alright, she was/is, but she also let this mass murdering, unrepentant, still dangerous murderer run free.

What Snow has going for her over Regina is that she doesn't randomly kill people just for grins. But she's not a great leader because she puts her personal comfort over the good of the kingdom or the greater good. A good leader needs to be willing to do things that might hurt her personally if the greater good is at stake. What's more important, Snow feeling sad because she has to execute the woman who once saved her life, years ago, but who has also tried to kill her many times, or protecting the kingdom from a loose cannon psychopath with magical powers? I wonder what Snow thinks now, after the curse and losing her daughter and all the other suffering. Does she still think she made the right choice?

The horrifying thing is that I get the feeling the show thinks she made the right choice and did the right thing.

Of course, it would have ruined the story if Snow had acted logically, so she had to keep Regina alive for the curse to be cast, but they could have written around that. Rumple has a stake in Regina surviving since he needs her to cast the curse. Just have Rumple help her escape the execution. Then if Snow really was going to execute Regina, Regina has more reason to hate and resent Snow. As it is, Regina looks even worse for having continued to take such drastic measures against someone who showed her mercy.

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52 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

Just have Rumple help her escape the execution. T

Or have it play out exactly the way it did and after Snow leaves Regina show Rumple returning Snow’s heart.

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1 hour ago, Shanna Marie said:

What's more important, Snow feeling sad because she has to execute the woman who once saved her life, years ago, but who has also tried to kill her many times, or protecting the kingdom from a loose cannon psychopath with magical powers?

It would also help if there were any reasonable basis for the supposedly deep feelings of affection that Snow had for Regina in the first place. But, aside from the very, very early days of their relationship, there is no evidence of Snow and Regina being close, and a lot of good reasons why they wouldn't and couldn't have been. At best, Regina would have been able to keep her intentions under wraps enough to keep up a token pretense of motherly care. But frankly, Regina was a pretty lousy mother to Henry even without factoring the curse into account, and that's a kid she hadn't sworn undying revenge against. Snow had a doting father and memories of a loving mother, in addition to being the beloved princess of the realm. I don't believe she was so starved for affection that she would have lapped up any crumb of feigned warmth she could get from her stepmother, and I don't believe Regina would have been offering her more than that. If she had, her marriage to Leopold probably would have been better than it was, as he married her primarily so that Snow would have a mother. And if Regina was a skilled enough actress to play mother-of-the-year to Snow, there's no reason why she wouldn't have been able to parlay that skill into a better relationship with her husband the king, and, consequently, a more powerful position in his court. 

Certainly, there is no evidence in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" that Regina and Snow are close; to the contrary, Regina is presented as the outsider in a loving father daughter relationship between Leopold and Snow.  The flashbacks in "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" seem to set the limits of the relationship: Regina is apparently covert enough in her evil that Snow - who, let's remember, likes to think the best of people -- assumes she feels some grief for Leopold and reaches out to comfort her, but not covert enough that Snow doesn't almost immediately realize Regina must have sent Graham to kill her.

Spoiler

Later, we also get Regina complaining to, I think, Tinkerbelle that Snow and Leopold are always off touring the country on their own, and Snow's "You know I could be a brat as a kid." Stupid as the latter line was, it seems to establish that even to the extent that Regina and Snow were having some semblance of a parent/child relationship, there were some tensions. So there's really even less room for seeing these people as having been super close for any length of time.

 

That's not a relationship out of which you get a love so strong that it would survive the murder of a parent, the killings of your allies, and multiple attempts on your own life. At least it hasn't, as of the Cricket Game, survived the curse and the separation from Emma, as, unlike Emma herself, Snow is not presented as sympathetic to Regina in the present.

12 minutes ago, daxx said:

Or have it play out exactly the way it did and after Snow leaves Regina show Rumple returning Snow’s heart.

Ooh - that's a fantastic idea!

Edited by companionenvy
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3 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

Of course, it would have ruined the story if Snow had acted logically, so she had to keep Regina alive for the curse to be cast, but they could have written around that. Rumple has a stake in Regina surviving since he needs her to cast the curse. Just have Rumple help her escape the execution. Then if Snow really was going to execute Regina, Regina has more reason to hate and resent Snow. As it is, Regina looks even worse for having continued to take such drastic measures against someone who showed her mercy.

I think having a flashback of Regina's failed execution is a dumb idea to begin with. It just makes Snowing look incompetent whether Rumple helps her escape or not. There's really not much point in showing it. I guess the writers were attempting to explain away why Regina couldn't just walk up and kill Snowing, but she had many ample opportunities to do so before the protection spell was put into place. Other than Charming's line in the Pilot about "she can't hurt us any more," the protection spell is only mentioned in...

Spoiler

Monte Cristo's episode.

The flashbacks only existed for PLOT and to give people "reasons" for feeling sorry for Regina. They don't expand the characters or reveal any need-to-know info. In fact, it's a retcon. How embarrassing would it be for Snowing to have Regina in their grasp only to lose her because of a dumb decision? That should have a bigger impact than it does. You can add that to the arsenal of questionable plays they made they "forgot" about it.

Spoiler

Eggnapping, fetus lobotomy, letting Regina go free after she murdered an entire village... funny how Snowing has selective memory.

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This was another way A&E could say their characters were grey.  Their "heroes" had huge faults, made huge mistakes, were judgemental, selfish, useless, lacked a brain, etc.

This episode was also meant to justify why Regina would give her mother the light of day.  We're seeing the past, where Regina was treated poorly.  All these sanctimonious heroes were ready to execute her, basically making them as bad as Regina.  

Everything so easily fell into Rumple's lap.  He wants Regina to run out of options to hurt Snow, so that she would want to cast the Dark Curse.  

Some interview quotes from way back when...

Quote

"I would look at it more as a commitment to excellence. [Cora]'s focused and she's committed. She saw her daughter upset but not broken and she said she'd come back and break her. And she did. That's love," executive producer Edward Kitsis half-joked to reporters at a screening earlier this week of "The Cricket Game."

Later, explaining: "When we were coming up with this, it was what does Cora need? She needs information. If you come to this strange land and you've never been there [before], the psychiatrist is perfect. He knows everyone's secrets, he knows how they run, Gold has gone to him, Emma has gone to him, it's more valuable to her to have him alive right now. But you never know what's going to happen."

How much information did Archie end up giving?  If I remember correctly, it wasn't very much?

Quote

Rest assured, the real identity of Cora's victim isn't significant to the story. "If we had an alternate universe, we would be able to show that guy, his family; they're totally worried about [his death]," Kitsis joked. "To Cora, he's just a random schmuck she found."

So the villains' redshirt victims are only important "if they had an alternate universe".  Riiiight.

Quote

Executive producer Adam Horowitz said of what's ahead for Cora: "Things in that storyline will progress very quickly." 

Much of the theme of the second half of the season is change, and whether Regina (Lana Parilla) truly is turning over a new leaf. "She's laying low and she has a next move," Kitsis hinted. "The real question is how persuasive is Cora? And we know she has a commitment to excellence."

Spoiler

Very quickly?  Ha!  Of course the theme of the second half is Regina, who got the crappiest character turnaround in history.

Edited by Camera One

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35 minutes ago, Camera One said:

This was another way A&E could say their characters were grey.  Their "heroes" had huge faults, made huge mistakes, were judgemental, selfish, useless, lacked a brain, etc.

This episode was also meant to justify why Regina would give her mother the light of day.  We're seeing the past, where Regina was treated poorly.  All these sanctimonious heroes were ready to execute her, basically making them as bad as Regina.  

Except on top of everything else, the messaging is totally incoherent. This show, even when it is good, isn't exactly subtle in its use of flashbacks; if they aren't advancing the story (which these aren't), there's usually an obvious parallel with what is going on in the present. 

In this case, I'm actually not sure what the writers want us to take from the parallel. It seems pretty plain to me that, despite the consequences, we're not supposed to see Snow showing mercy to Regina in the past as a huge mistake - killing her would have been the mistake, and Snow does the right thing in refusing to go through with it. She's also pretty clearly supposed to be right when she decides that Regina's claim about only regretting not causing more suffering was just Regina pridefully lashing out. But either way you slice it, it is hard to play this as a story about Regina being victimized in the past. Yes, everyone else wants her dead, but Snow ultimately does show her mercy, and she responds with the Curse. 

The present situation has some similarities, in that we have people - and some of the same people -- deciding how to handle Regina. But, once they introduce to suspicion that Regina has killed Archie, the parallel totally breaks down. In the past, the question was whether or not to execute Regina for crimes she was known to have committed. In the present, the question was whether or not to trust that she had changed in evaluating her culpability for a crime the viewers know she is innocent of.  Then any thematic integrity more or less breaks down when the whole thing is mooted by Emma getting what seems to be incontrovertible evidence of guilt - which means, in the end, no one is making a real choice about whether or not to trust Regina. They're just getting duped, because it would have been impossible for them not to be given the information they have on hand. 

So...what is the takeaway? That you should always show mercy, even though the end result might be getting tons of people killed and having your life destroyed when the villain turns on you, because it is possible that the next time a quasi-similar issue comes up, the same villain will be innocent of the particular crime you happen to be accusing her of in that moment?

Really, it is a case of the heroes being damned if you do, damned if you don't. Snow lets Regina go in the past, to horrific consequences. Snow is suspicious of Regina in the present, and she's wrong. Emma does the "right" thing by being willing to extend Regina benefit of the doubt, but still winds up wrong because she literally has what anyone who doesn't know that a shapeshifting Cora is in Storybrooke would have to see as ironclad evidence of her guilt. Hell, even if Emma were still skeptical, it would be malpractice not to arrest Regina on at least extremely reasonable suspicion.

The only sort of thematic point I could see them making is "Regina rejects the opportunity to change in the past; ironically, she is working really hard to change in the present, but isn't being trusted." This, of course, feeds into the vile Regina as victim narrative, so I hate it anyway. But the show also seems to want to draw some sort of parallel between Snowing's argument in the past and Snowing + Emma's argument in the present, but the actual details of the two situations make this really strained. 

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In Regina's mind, she sees the whole world as being against her, and Cora plays on this sentiment.  

19 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

The only sort of thematic point I could see them making is "Regina rejects the opportunity to change in the past; ironically, she is working really hard to change in the present, but isn't being trusted." 

That is pretty much it.

In the past, the viewer's reaction is supposed to be "Regina is her own worst enemy!  If only she accepted the help people wanted to give her but I understand why she couldn't".  In the present, the viewer's reaction is supposed to be "I wish everyone could realize that Regina is truly innocent in all this.  It's so sad that she's being judged based on the past when she was just lashing out!  Regina is so starved for love and I identify with her."

Edited by Camera One
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4 hours ago, companionenvy said:

It would also help if there were any reasonable basis for the supposedly deep feelings of affection that Snow had for Regina in the first place. But, aside from the very, very early days of their relationship, there is no evidence of Snow and Regina being close, and a lot of good reasons why they wouldn't and couldn't have been.

That's another one of their mutually exclusive things. Snow and Regina had such a close relationship that Snow can't bring herself to execute Regina and Snow and her father shut Regina out so that she was lonely and isolated. Poor Regina was so starved for love, but Snow loved her and believed in her too much to be able to execute her.

And we have yet another case of someone doing the "right" thing and being punished for it. Snow shows mercy to Regina, and she has her life torn apart by the curse.

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I think the title of this episode is incredibly clever.  "The Cricket Game" is clearly an homage to the Croquet Game in "Alice in Wonderland".  Just like in the book, the "game" Cora/Queen of Hearts was playing involved animals.  In the book chapter featuring the game (called "The Queen's Croquet-Ground") there was debate over an execution of the Cheshire Cat, just like this episode, which had the debate over Regina's execution.  And Regina did grin like a cat when she was being bold and audacious exclaiming that she only regretted not causing more suffering.  

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19 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Hook is kind of all over the place this episode.

I love his snarky expression when he calls Cora "Mum of the year" -- it's one of my favourite small moments. I think Hook here is a) definitely at his most evil, feeling so close to killing Rumpelstiltskin and also b) playing up his evil for Cora's sake. I think he was sincere in Tallahassee when he said that Team Princess were safer company, now that they're not an option (probably also playing into the extent of his evil is Emma leaving him on the beanstalk) and he needs to be sure that Cora believes he's genuinely dedicated to being bad and on her side. So even though he is unquestionably at his nadir before his epiphany and the beginning of his redemption, we still get the small things that make it clear the redemption is possible, like the fish and like Aurora's heart. I also agree with whoever said on the other thread that we see from the beginning that Hook is not 100% evil, if for no other reason than that he's shown as being capable of selfless love. In The Crocodile he's pretty much just a jerk and a bully, we don't see him go full evil until these mid-S2 episodes. 

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3 hours ago, Camera One said:

I think the title of this episode is incredibly clever.  "The Cricket Game" is clearly an homage to the Croquet Game in "Alice in Wonderland".  Just like in the book, the "game" Cora/Queen of Hearts was playing involved animals.  In the book chapter featuring the game (called "The Queen's Croquet-Ground") there was debate over an execution of the Cheshire Cat, just like this episode, which had the debate over Regina's execution.  And Regina did grin like a cat when she was being bold and audacious exclaiming that she only regretted not causing more suffering.  

You've clearly been intoxicated by the essence of A&E.

Even if you totally sympathize with Regina, this episode still sucks. If you block out all the atrocities she committed and need tissues when she cries into her lasagna, it still doesn't do you any favors as an audience member. As justified as everyone is for blaming Regina, it's all manufactured and heaps condemnation that doesn't deal any actual justice. For comparison, in the S3 finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca went to jail under extraordinary circumstances for something she didn't do. She did a lot of people wrong and needed to amend her misdeeds, but being punished for something so contrived wasn't payoff. If she had been sent to jail for something illegal she did (and she did do illegal things), then I could follow her redemption arc. But both her and Regina were targeted artificially and it felt super cheap. 

If I were an Evil Regal, I wouldn't want to watch Regina making steps toward redemption only to be dogged on for a crime she didn't commit. It was very ham-fisted. Whether you'd watch with glee at her execution or wanted to see her become a hero, this episode doesn't benefit either desire. It just makes characters do things to make Cora look like a badass. 

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5 hours ago, KingOfHearts said:

If I were an Evil Regal, I wouldn't want to watch Regina making steps toward redemption only to be dogged on for a crime she didn't commit. It was very ham-fisted. Whether you'd watch with glee at her execution or wanted to see her become a hero, this episode doesn't benefit either desire. It just makes characters do things to make Cora look like a badass.

The only way to make this episode palatable would have been if Regina and Cora had thrown down at the end. We need to see Regina fight back against her mother and get angry instead of being portrayed as the sad faced victim whom everyone attacks for no reason. Bonus points if Regina actually brings up Daniel and puts the blame for his death where it belongs. Let her fight for her redemption because she wants to be trusted by Henry and the others, not mope about how unfair her life is. Regina in S1 was fairly proactive in her evil and she seemed like a formidable villain. The more this show has other villains manipulate her into doing their dirty work, the less interesting the character becomes. 

I understand that this is meant to be a long running arc for 2B, but the way it played out makes everyone look terrible. An initial fight between Cora and Regina to kick things off - even if it was completely private and unseen by anyone else in Storybrooke - would have gone a long way toward making Regina more interesting and put her squarely on the road to redemption. It would also be good to see her work to be better even while everyone distrusts her and thinks she's off doing evil. It gives her a different motivation for her redemption beyond Henry's approval.

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One other problem I have with this episode is that it seems to give Regina a kind of blanket immunity for all her crimes -- because she was falsely accused of this one crime and later found innocent, that means she can't be judged on any of her other crimes -- even though we saw her commit them. We're seeing Poor, Persecuted Regina in the present, and they juxtapose that against her being judged in the past, as if to raise doubts about her guilt then.

Spoiler

And then after this, it's like her slate is wiped clean and no one's allowed to mention what she did wrong again.

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Really, Regina being Poor, Persecuted Regina here, treated badly for the one crime she didnt commit (unlike the billions of crimes she DID commit) and that meaning that her whole slate is wiped clean, is very similar to another super annoying tendency that the show will start to indulge in very soon. 

Spoiler

Anyone with a grudge against Regina, even if its a very legitimate grudge, is almost always instantly treated as a villain, is told to cackle like a low rent Bond villain, and disposed of quickly, all to make Regina look better, and to remind the audience that anyone who dislikes Regina is bad, and no one should think about her victims with sympathy, because apparently every person she hurt is evil, or have forgiven her instantly. Percival and Greg are the ones that come to mind instantly, but its pretty much how things always will be very soon. 

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9 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

One other problem I have with this episode is that it seems to give Regina a kind of blanket immunity for all her crimes -- because she was falsely accused of this one crime and later found innocent, that means she can't be judged on any of her other crimes -- even though we saw her commit them.

That's a very good point and it really does start a pattern.  It's significant that this is the first episode in 2B and the first episode since the crisis ended and Snow and Emma are back home.  Yet this episode creates a situation where Snowing embarrassingly accuses Regina of a crime even though she didn't do it, becoming the perpetrators of injustice rather than the reverse.  It makes it very difficult to then bring up all the things she DID do.  In addition, Regina "saved" Snow and Emma, so again, it would be ungrateful of the "heroes" to bring up all the horrible things Regina did to them in the past.  It's borderline genius how A&E turned the tables to permanently nudge the show towards the POV they are aiming for.  Was Snow ever able to confront Regina over casting the Curse and framing her from murder, as one would expect from 2B?  Was Emma ever able to point out that Regina was responsible for her separation from her parents for 28 years? 

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On 9/17/2018 at 1:29 AM, KAOS Agent said:

Let her fight for her redemption because she wants to be trusted by Henry and the others, not mope about how unfair her life is. Regina in S1 was fairly proactive in her evil and she seemed like a formidable villain. The more this show has other villains manipulate her into doing their dirty work, the less interesting the character becomes. 

So true..the Regina Mills of S1 and the Regina of S2B seem like totally different people. She was fun manipulating everyone around her, and it was fun when Emma got a one up on her, and it was fun when Gold had her number...but this Regina is annoying as hell. Also, if I wrote this I would have never let Cora have magic...as it makes no sense...why didn't she just magic her way to Queen if she was so powerful? I would have had her been a conniving manipulative woman who finds out her daughter has the potential for very powerful magic..and Cora sees her as an entre not only to royalty but great, great power, as long as she controls Regina. Cora would then be a king of role model for Regina in our world using her cunning to manipulate others without magic. I just can't see Cora keeping whiny good Regina around as  a kid, and not poofing her into a statue while she take control of the world.

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15 hours ago, Mitch said:

So true..the Regina Mills of S1 and the Regina of S2B seem like totally different people. She was fun manipulating everyone around her, and it was fun when Emma got a one up on her, and it was fun when Gold had her number...but this Regina is annoying as hell. Also, if I wrote this I would have never let Cora have magic...as it makes no sense...why didn't she just magic her way to Queen if she was so powerful? I would have had her been a conniving manipulative woman who finds out her daughter has the potential for very powerful magic..and Cora sees her as an entre not only to royalty but great, great power, as long as she controls Regina. Cora would then be a king of role model for Regina in our world using her cunning to manipulate others without magic. I just can't see Cora keeping whiny good Regina around as  a kid, and not poofing her into a statue while she take control of the world.

I really can't see Cora bothering with that either. Magic or not she would try to take control of the world. I don't see her ever wanting or caring to be the power behind the throne. I mean why bother?

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