Once Upon a Time
Episode 10: The Cricket Game
By: Carlos Uribe
Once Upon a Time is a show about fairy tale characters who got sent to our reality, which has magic now.
Fairy Tale Story:
Can the Evil Queen change?
This episode decides to explore that both in the real world and the fairy tale world. In the fairy tale world, there is a flashback to when the Evil Queen was defeated by Snow White and Prince Charming. The two manage to capture her when they lay a trap and they have to try and decide what to do with her. The idea of most of the characters is that this is a character who simply can't change. She has done too much damage and is considered beyond rehabilitation. It is interesting to note that none of them seem to want to punish her for what she has actually done but rather because they don't trust she won't do it again. There seems to have been a modern idea that believes that prisons and other sentences are merely meant to change the person rather than to punish when in reality it should be both. The Evil Queen deserves to be executed not because she can't change but because she has done too much evil for it to not matter. There is only one character who believes that the Evil Queen can change and that's Snow. She knew the queen before she went evil and she believes that if she changed once then she can change again. In order to see if Snow is right, she decides that she's going to test the queen by giving her a chance to start a new life. It could not come as any surprise when the queen decides to try and take advantage of Snow by stabbing her with a knife. Only Snow was smart: she and Charming are now protected by a spell that means that the Queen won't be able to harm them in that realm. This explains why she had to resort to the curse in order to have her revenge.
It should be noted that the Queen is not only given a chance to change but she's urged to by her father. Her dad tells her that it is imperative that she shows a sign of regret in order to spare her life. The Queen takes this advice into consideration and does the opposite. She claims that her only regret is she didn't want to do any more evil. Snow believes that the Queen was too scared to show weakness in front of other people. This is why she tries to test the Queen but they are forced to exile her when she fails. The Queen can't change simply because her heart is dominated with only one thing: her desire to see Snow fall. The queen can't stand the idea that Snow is alive or that she will actually have a happy ending. This is basically her entire motivation in the fairy tale land. This is why she's willing to die rather than to change. She really has no reason otherwise. It's important to note this because it's this reason that separates her from her Storybooke self.
Can Regina change?
Regina is a different person from the Evil Queen. They might be the same character but Regina no longer has a single motivation that drives her. Regina is less interested in revenge and more interested in being a good mother. She might not be very good at it but she does want to be in Henry's life. It is a huge difference between the two. The Evil Queen isn't interested in change because she has no real reason to live but revenge. Regina is interested in change because she wants her son's approval and to be in his life. She has truly been trying to change. She's given up magic except for emergencies and she's trying to be a good person. Her major obstacle is that just about everyone in the town remembers exactly what she has done. It is difficult to change when very few people believe that you are actually capable of it. At the end of the episode, especially when her son is told that she's the one who killed Archie, it's going to complicate her redemption.
The entire town believes she may have killed Archie but she was set up. Cora had taken the shape of Regina and killed Archie. This is why Ruby and the dog believe that they saw Regina kill Archie. They aren't aware that Cora is back or they might have suspected her of the murder. Cora's reason for doing this is simple: she's hoping to tear down her daughter so that Regina needs her. Of course it's nice to contrast this with the fairy tale world. In the fairy tale world, only Snow believed that the Evil Queen could change and she was proven wrong. In the real world, only Emma believes that Regina has changed and she's led to believe she was wrong-but she actually has. It's an episode that is all about perceptions and the belief in whether someone can change. The episode seems to conclude that it doesn't matter if Regina changes because the people won't believe she has.
The Cricket Game is a solid episode that launches the second half of the season. The Storybooke plot was mostly good but it continues to feel like magic is an easy way for the writers to develop the story. The fairytale flashback was also a nice development but it also did feel like it was tackling a lot of territory in a short time. Whatever the case, the Cricket Game is a pretty good episode for the show to come back to.
The revelation that Archie isn't dead but being held captive by Hook and Cora was a good one but it felt like the show was chickening out. Considering how underused Archie has been for a while now, killing him may not have been such a bad idea.