Once Upon A Time kicks off the second half of the season with a murder. And leather. And tacos. Wait, what’s going on here?
Let’s bitch it out…Fairytale endings are off the menu in Once‘s tenth episode as the show returns with a rocky first episode for the new year. There are pockets of good here and there, but now that everyone is back in Storybrooke, it feels like the show is spinning its wheels already.
I struggled a lot with what I didn’t enjoy about the episode. Characters making rash decisions based on circumstantial evidence? Well that’s admittedly a bit of a show trademark at this point. The obscene amount of leather that everyone seems to wear (including execution blindfolds – so chic!)? Aside from making this one of PETA’s least favourite show after Game Of Thrones, that’s also kind of par for the course.
In all honestly, ‘The Cricket Game’ just isn’t very entertaining. After nine episodes of character separation and the promise of a dramatic confrontation as resolution, this feels slow and dull. And it’s filled with trademark Emma (Jennifer Morrison) annoyances, to boot.
I was particularly frustrated by Emma’s flip-flopping support of Regina (Lana Parrilla) whenever it’s convenient for the plot. Ex: She watches the dog’s vision (just…no…I can’t) of Jiminy’s (Raphael Sbarge) murder, but throws down the dreamcatcher (again…just…ridiculous) right before she would have seen him engulfed in purple smoke AKA Cora’s (Barbara Hershey) trademark tell-tale of magical usage. Thank goodness, because otherwise how would this mess have been prolonged?!
Or the idea that the worst thing that Emma can do to Regina is keep Henry (Jared Gilmore) away from her? Umm…that’s pretty weak. In FairyTale, they imprison Regina in a magic-less blue coating and then remove her ability to hurt Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas). Emma’s plan is to tell Henry that Regina killed Jiminy and that’s punishment enough? It doesn’t even make sense! Everyone is confined to the town’s limits, which are pretty definitive (for now), and it’s not like Emma can lock Henry up in a tall tower, Rapunzel-style.
Wait…Jiminy was murdered? Nope – sorry. It’s just another Once fake-out as he’s (naturally) revealed to be alive at episode’s end. On the plus side, for once the show appears to be doing Raphael Sbarge a solid. By kidnapping his character instead of killing him, maybe this will finally give him something to do (he’s easily one of the most misused characters in Once). It’s all part of Cora’s (Barbara Hershey) plan to isolate her daughter from the other Storybrooke residents and if it works, well, it’s mostly because Storybrooke is populated by idiots.
I get that Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), Charming (Josh Dallas) and even Red (Meghan Ory) don’t know that Cora is in town, so they don’t have reason to suspect someone else. But – as Emma points out during a rare lucid moment – isn’t it all a little too obvious and convoluted? As though Regina would really kill someone because some information from her therapy sessions came out! Considering all of the other vendettas she must have, this one feels pretty slight. But obviously she must be a killer since her files are missing! No need for CSI here, because this is clearly a black and white case.
It’s especially uninteresting for us because of the Columbo effect: we know it is Cora who committed the crime, so watching Emma bicker with her parents over their 28 year old feud with Regina is blandsville. You can do better Once.
- Good to see Cora and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) using Star Trek spells to cloak their ship. Captain, there’s a Romulan ship off the wharf!
- Did the costume designer shoplift wardrobes from Game Of Thrones? Because Charming’s chestplate and fur throw are awfully Winterfellian, are they not?
- Kudos on Regina’s final outfit in FairyTale, however. Side ponytail, and a crushed velvet dress for an hourglass shape? How very Revenge-y
- Emma, the saviour, has magical powers. And Rumple encourages her to use them. And Regina warns her of consequences. Haven’t we seen this story about three or five times already?
- Why does Henry take a bus to school? It’s not like the town is that big. And are there really enough kids to fill an entire bus?
- I quite liked Regina’s mean spirited dig at Emma for thinking she’s a better mother after five minutes. We all know we’re meant to hiss and boo at Regina, but she does have a point. No one is voting her for mother of the year, but considering the issues this show has with absent parents, methinks Regina probably knows a bit more about childrearing than sob-story orphan Emma
- Case in point: Emma feeds Henry french fries for breakfast before sending him to school. Clearly she needs to brush up on her major food groups
- Also when Emma says she’s “making tacos” is that a euphemism for something? Because who the hell brings tacos to a party? Is Emma just weird when it comes to food?
- Finally: Ruby speaks dog?! Stroke a dog with a dreamcatcher to project its memories?! Who wrote this crap?
- Granny (Beverley Elliott) to Emma (about the challenges of preparing food in FairyTale): “Meatloaf back home? What a bitch.”
- Regina (to Jiminy): “You got your PhD from a curse”. Meow!
What did you think readers? Are you happy with Once‘s return or did you feel it was a bit of letdown? Are you concerned that Emma is using magic? Did you empathize with Regina’s situation? Do you think Henry should be worried about his dietary health considering his mom’s weird eating habits? Sound off below!
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm EST on ABC